NFL Week 14: Overcoming The Odds – 3 Games to Watch

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Richard Graves

Presenter, Writer and Broadcaster

NFL Week 14: Overcoming The Odds - 3 Games to Watch

Here Come the Kansas City Chiefs! Will the Lions Continue to Roar at Mile High & Do Buffalo Have the Answers for Brady in Tampa?


Detroit Lions (1-10-1) @ Denver Broncos (6-6) – Broncos -8.5

The Detroit Lions finally have a win! It came in dramatic fashion against the Vikings last week and showed plenty of character, having blown a double digit lead to then go on a game winning touchdown drive as time expired.

The relief around Detroit was palpable. The ecstasy, clear for everyone to see. The question now is, can you raise your performance to those heights again? On the road? In Denver?

Firstly, this is a group that’s had to deal with a flu outbreak this week. Secondly, there’s a reason it’s taken 13 weeks for the Lions to win a game. Thirdly, Denver’s defense is good! Ranked 8th overall and in the top 10 defending both the run and the pass. This is a tough assignment for the Lions. Their top running back, DeAndre Swift is dealing with a shoulder injury, and even if he does make the field, he’s going to be limited. Jared Goff came through for Detroit on the game clinching drive but he needs to show a lot more before you trust him, throwing the ball against this defense.

If Detroit are to cause another upset, their own defense will need to make big plays but in the 6 games Denver has won this year, QB Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t thrown a single interception and neither is he asked to do too much in those games, averaging 236.3 passing yards per game. Rookie running back, Javonte Williams is also turning heads. He’s forced 47 missed tackles this season – only Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has forced more (52)

Finally, of their 6 wins this year, the only time Denver failed to win by double digits was against Washington when they won by 7. Denver need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. They are the better team. Expect them to cover the spread!

Broncos -8.5


Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3) – Buccaneers -3

Monday night’s loss to the New England Patriots was as tough in those conditions as it was demoralising for the Bills. Their division rival dared them to stop the run and they couldn’t – even on home soil!

Head Coach Sean McDermott and his staff will have had to work this week to lift this team. That was a crushing, physically exhausting loss – and now they have to travel to the Super Bowl Champions!

Standing opposite them – a quarterback who has the most wins ever against a single opponent in NFL history. Tom Brady is 32-3 when playing against Buffalo. He leads the league’s number 2 ranked offense and although the Buccaneers run game ranks a lowly 25th in the NFL right now, recent performances by Leonard Fournette suggest the Bucs’ ground game is getting productive at exactly the right time of the season. He scored 4 touchdowns against the Colts and last week his physicality against the Falcons jumped off the page.

This is a bad matchup at the wrong time for Buffalo. The stats say their defense is still the best in the NFL but the eyeball test doesn’t back that up. Both the Patriots and the Colts have run the ball down their throats in the past 3 weeks. Across those 2 games the Bills gave up 486 yards on the ground on 92 carries and gave up 5 TDs. Their offense has ground to a halt – Josh Allen is 2-3 in their last 5 games with 9 TDs and 7 interceptions while their run game is non-existent. They average just 18 rush attempts per game this year – and the Buccaneers run defense continues to be the best in the NFL. Take the Buccaneers in this one.

Buccaneers -3


Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) @ (8-4) Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs -9.5

Increasingly I’m hearing “beware the Kansas City Chiefs – nobody wants to face them if they get hot!” Well, they’re currently riding a 5 game winning streak. By any other measure, that would be regarded as being “hot” right now!

Perhaps the more surprising element in this run has been the play of their defense. Since week 8, they’ve conceded just 11.2 points per game (only the Patriots have been better). When you consider their defense was one of the worst in the entire NFL through the opening 6 weeks of the season, this is a remarkable turnaround.

I suspect the reason the Chiefs aren’t regarded as being “hot” has more to do with what we’ve come to expect from their offense. As witnessed on Sunday night, balls continue to bounce off the hands of their receivers. Turnovers are still an issue and Patrick Mahomes, who in his first 50 starts only ever had a passer rating below 75 on two occasions, has now had that mark in 6 of his last 8 outings.

Still, the Chiefs problems pale into insignificance compared to what the Raiders have dealt with this season and despite their high profile Thanksgiving Day win over Dallas, their record is 1-4 over the past 5 games. Heading into this clash, that’s significant – especially when you consider one of those losses was a 41-14 defeat, to the Chiefs 4 weeks ago.

The bottom line is, there’s just too much talent on Kansas City’s offense for them to not break out and the Raiders look like perfect opponents. This team is beat up and depleted. Top receiving threat, tight end Darren Waller continues to struggle with a knee injury and is listed as day-to-day while the Chiefs have been getting healthy and are primed for another playoff run.

In this matchup don’t expect Derek Carr to stop throwing the ball for the Raiders and don’t expect the Chiefs to rely solely on their defense to win this game.

Chiefs -9.5

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