Week 14 NFL Recap & Week 14 Highlights
1. Bills dominate in primetime while knocking Steelers out of the No. 1 seed.Two weeks ago, the Steelers donned an undefeated record. Oh, how the tides have turned by the publishing of this Week 14 NFL Recap. Once seated at 11-0, the Pittsburgh Steelers have dropped two straight games since the start of Week 13 and are now the No. 2 seed in the AFC with the reigning, defending, undisputed Super Bowl Champion Chiefs now slated at the top of the conference standings. Although the Bills won 26-15, I don’t think the game was even that close. Buffalo had a 23-7 lead entering the fourth stanza of the game. While many, including myself, questioned whether Josh Allen can win in big spots ever since his deer-in-the-headlights demeanor in last postseason’s loss to the Texans, the emerging signal-caller is slowly putting those questions to rest. Allen has logged big-time victories over the Patriots — they are rarely an easy out even in a down year — the Seahawks and Steelers this season. Allen even managed to take the Chiefs to the wire earlier in the year. The Bills are for real. If I had to question anything on the Bills outside of their sometimes erratic defense, it is the fact that they struggle to run the football. The Bills are averaging the 11th fewest rushing yards per game (102.5). Balance is key this time of year, especially when facing the conference’s elite in the playoffs. While Devin Singletary leads the Bills in rushing with 576 yards and a touchdown, the team’s second-best rusher is Allen with his 350 rushing yards and six scores. Buffalo needs to find a running game. Quickly. And although Allen has taken a tremendous step forward this season, he is still somewhat careless with the football at times. Allen has accounted for nine interceptions and eight fumbles, six lost. Last night’s game could have gone in another direction following Allen’s first and only giveaway of the night. However, if you wagered Allen to throw a pick, you’ve hit at (-148) odds. The game was scoreless midway through the second quarter of play until Ben Roethlisberger found James Washington in the end zone for the game’s first points. Washington’s first touchdown scorer prop cashed at (+2800). It was also his second touchdown in as many games. With less than a minute left in the second half, Buffalo began to gain momentum, blowing the game open entering half-time with a Taron Johnson pick-six, cashing in on the Bills’ D/ST anytime touchdown scorer prop at (+550). It was all downhill from there for the Steelers. Early in the third period, the Bills picked up where they left off late in the first half and more or less put the game away with a Stefon Diggs touchdown from Allen. With three games left to play, Diggs has already set career highs in receiving yards (1137), yards per game (89.8) while matching his current career-best of games over 110 yards (5). Diggs is only three receptions away from setting a new career-high in receptions, currently set at 102. He has 100. In the offseason, the Bills traded a king’s ransom to acquire Diggs from the Vikings, sending a 2020 first-round pick (No. 22 overall), a 2020 fifth-round pick, a 2020 sixth-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick to Minnesota for the then, disgruntled wideout and a 2020 seventh-rounder. The Bills believed Diggs was the missing piece to put the team over the top. Diggs has more than delivered in regular-season play. The next step comes in a few weeks.
2. Dolphins take Chiefs to brink, but Kansas City hangs on and moves into No. 1 seed.Sunday’s Chiefs-Dolphins game was one of those matchups I get up for. Playoff implications; a pair of defenses that are stout but can be beaten in the right matchup; polarizing quarterbacks; and terrific coaching. The list goes on. I had said in my Chiefs-Dolpinhs Betting Tips Preview that I loved the Over — my Best Bet — but also said that it would not shock me whatsoever if Miami pulled off the Upset Special of the week. While the Chiefs won, the Dolphins put up a fight and covered the spread, which is essentially all they had to do to be taken seriously. With so many questions surrounding the Dolphins’ decision to start and ride Tua Tagovailoa, I think they can be put to bed. Sure, the Dolphins lost, but they were defeated by the league’s elite. They were not blown out either. The Dolphins had a chance to win the game at the very end. Tagovailoa completed 28 of 48 passes for 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception while adding another 24 yards and a touchdown on six carries as a rusher. It was Tagovailoa’s first game with 300+ passing yards while registering his first outing with 3+ scores. It was also Tagovailoa’s first game with a rushing score. With only one giveaway, I think we can now accept that the upside rookie is the real deal, going toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and blow-for-blow with the very best the league has to offer. Tagovailoa is currently slated as the QB2 for Week 14 with 28.04 fantasy points. Tagovailoa was not the only Dolphins’ fantasy asset to come through. New Jersey native Mike Gesicki, who played high school football about 20 minutes north of me, had himself a day as well. Gesicki corralled 5-of-6 targets for 65 yards and two touchdowns. If you took Gesicki’s two touchdown prop, you hit big with his (+2000) odds. Gesicki is currently seated as the PPR TE2 with 23.5 points. Sadly, that was it for the Dolphins’ offense. DeVante Parker failed to catch either one of his targets and Myles Gaskin did not play as he was placed on the reserve/ COVID list on Saturday. Perhaps if Gaskin was good to go, Miami could have had a semblance of a rushing attack and changed the overall outcome of the game. Unfortunately Gesicki is also now dealing with a right shoulder injury. On the defensive side of the football for the Dolphins, which is their bread and butter, they kept Miami in the game with plays like this from Xavien Howard. Howard has nine picks on the season, including one in each of his past five games. I would fire up those player props for Howard where you can find them. As I said last week, the Chiefs can beat you in so many ways. Once again, they showcased that on Sunday, blowing the game open in the second half with a punt return score. That wasn’t the only big play by the Kansas City D/ST either. They also recorded a safety. While the Chiefs’ D/ST had themselves a day for betters and fantasy managers alike, their usual suspects on offense also showed up. Travis Kelce managed 27.6 fantasy points — he is currently the TE1 — on an 8/136/1 line on 10 targets. Kelce has now recorded six games with 100+ receiving yards, all in his past nine games since Week 5. He’s also gone for 100+ in five of his past six games. Simply ridiculous. Kelce also has 8+ receptions in six straight games. To round out how incredible the Chiefs are, we must mention Tyreek Hill. While Hill only caught 3-of-7 targets for 79 yards and a touchdown, he managed another score on the ground on his lone carry that went for 36 yards. Normally, two-touchdown props have unbelievable odds. But in Week 14, Hill’s was set at (+350). Why? You ask. Hill has scored two touchdowns in four of his past six games, including the hat trick back in Week 12 against Tampa Bay.
3. Jalen Hurts shines in first NFL start en route to an Eagles victory.The Saints entered Week 14’s matchup in Philadelphia riding a nine-game winning streak. Many, including myself, did not give a lost Eagles’ offense a shot, especially considering how well the New Orleans defense has been playing and the fact that it was Jalen Hurts’ first NFL start. They say anything can happen on any given Sunday. That narrative was in-play on Sunday. The Eagles pulled-off an improbable 24-21 and much-needed victory at home. Not only did the Eagles expose a Saints defense that had surrendered fewer than 16 points in each of their past five games leading into Week 14, but they also allowed their first 100+ yard rusher since Samaje Perine did it on Nov. 19, 2017. A streak that lasted over three years. If that is not bad enough, the Saints allowed two 100+-yard rushers in Sunday’s loss. Miles Sanders, who had been left for dead in fantasy football circuits, went for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries while Hurts managed 106 yards on 18 totes. Sanders is currently Week 14’s RB3 with 29.6 PPR points while Hurts finished as the QB11 with 19.3 points. On top of his rushing totals, Hurts completed 17-of-30 passes for 167 yards and a score with no picks and a lost fumble. Hurts even made Alshon Jeffery relevant for the first time this season. Jeffery caught a 15-yard touchdown from Hurts on his only target. The Eagles’ offense finally showed signs of life. All it took was a quarterback change. The Saints didn’t play a terrible football game. They nearly came back and won it in the end. For Taysom Hill, he has shown that he can play under adversity. With under two minutes left in regulation, Hill found Jared Cook in the back of the end zone for the score. Following an ice-cold month from Cook from Weeks 9-12, the veteran tight end has now scored in back-to-back games. Trailing for nearly the entire game, Hill could not play his usual game, which is rushing-dominant. He had to showcase his ability to sling it deep and throw the Saints back into it. While Hill completed 28-of-38 passes for 291 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, he also rushed five times for 33 yards and a fumble lost. It was a career-high passing game for Hill in terms of completions, attempts, and yards. However, he also recorded his first game with multiple giveaways. There will be growing pains. but if Hill is indeed the heir-apparent to Drew Brees, I would not be worried about the future of the Saints. Hill finished Week 14 with 19.9 fantasy points and potentially another QB1 finish.
4. Washington Football Team takes over first place in the NFC East after outlasting 49ers.The Washington Football Team controlled their own destiny on Sunday following the Giants’ loss to the Cardinals in the 1 p.m. slate. The Football Team, on the road, failed to disappoint. Despite not having lead-back Antonio Gibson, who missed the game with a toe injury, the Football Team defeated the 49ers 23-15, covering the spread (+3), the Moneyline (+128), and the Under (43.5). Washington is now in first place in the NFC East amidst their four-game winning streak.
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5. Packers win, take control of No. 1 seed in the NFC.With the Saints losing to the Eagles, the Packers are now the No. 1 seed in the NFC with three games to play. Remember, Green Bay owns the tiebreaker over the Saints after defeating them early in the year. The Lions kept the game close, but Green Bay ultimately came out victorious with a 31-24 win. The Packers clinched the NFC North in back-to-back years in Sunday’s victory. Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level this season, that did not change on Sunday. Completing 26-of-33 passes for 290 yards and three scores while adding another 13 yards and a score with his legs, Rodgers finished Week 14 as the QB1 with 30.1 fantasy points. Rodgers was not the only star of the game for Green Bay, however. Stud wideout Davante Adams went for a 7/115/1 line on 10 targets. It was his eighth straight game with a touchdown and his fifth game with 100+ yards in his past eight. Adams has also scored in six of his past eight games versus Detroit. Along with Rodgers and Adams — Adams is currently the WR6 with 24.5 PPR points — both Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR12) and Robert Tonyan (TE5) walked out of Sunday’s slate as top 12 players at their respective positions in fantasy. As long as their defense can get it together for a January run — Green Bay’s defense is eighth in total yards per game (335.7) and 17th in points allowed per game (24.8) — the Packers are poised to make a Super Bowl run in 2020.
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