NFL-AFCE GameDay Wk 14

NFL-AFCE GameDay Wk 14
Luciano 11
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Patriots (9-3) at Dolphins (6-6): 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Point spread: NE -7.5 | Matchup quality: 40.6 (of 100)


Mike Reiss‘ pick: Tom Brady is 2-6 against the Dolphins in December and January regular-season games, and one of the notable themes around the team this week has been how players are tired of coming back from late-season trips to Miami with a losing feeling. Here’s one major reason this year has a chance to be different: Dolphins CB Xavien Howard, arguably the team’s best defensive player, might not play (knee). And if Howard does play, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be 100 percent. That’s a huge development that favors the Patriots, who can clinch the division title with a win. Patriots 31, Dolphins 17

Cameron Wolfe’s pick: It’s expected to be in the low 80s with plenty of humidity in Miami for Sunday’s game. Multiple Patriots, including Brady, have noted how the heat and humidity have played a factor in their recent struggles (1-4) in South Florida vs. the Dolphins. But this Dolphins team is banged up, has struggled to consistently move the ball on offense and is expected to be without Howard. The Patriots are likely tired of hearing about their struggles in Miami. Patriots 38, Dolphins 13

FPI win projection: NE, 75.7 percent. The Patriots have now been favored 17 straight times against the Dolphins by FPI dating back to 2010, their longest streak against any opponent in FPI’s dataset (since 2008). The Patriots’ chances at a first-round bye could swing by 35 percent this week (84 percent with a win, 49 percent with a loss), the most of any team.

What to watch for in fantasy: Stephon Gilmore is playing at a high level this season, and New England has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to perimeter receivers during the past month. DeVante Parker was already a desperation flex, so this matchup should lock him onto either your bench or waivers.

New England Patriots 27, Miami Dolphins 20


They might be NFL royalty, but the Patriots have royally sucked in Miami during the Bill Belichick era. They have managed just an 8-10 record in Miami during his reign, which includes dropping four of the last five there. Key to the Dolphins‘ fortunes this week: A) If they can stop the four New England running backs from consistently putting Tom Brady in second-and-manageable situations; and B) converting third downs on offense. The latter’s been an issue all year, and it hasn’t improved with Ryan Tannehill under center the last two weeks, as Miami’s gone 6-for-20 on pro football’s most important down. Still waiting on the Brady-Josh Gordon connection to take off. Gordon has caught 34 balls for 605 yards in nine games with New England — a rate of production that would produce 1,076 yards over a full 16-game slate — but it’s still far from the dominant WR1 status that we know (think?) he is capable of attaining. Maybe this is the week, against this Miami secondary.

Jets (3-9) at Bills (4-8): 1 p.m. ET, CBS

Point spread: BUF -3.5 | Matchup quality: 14.4 (of 100)


Rich Cimini’s pick: This is a bad matchup for the Jets. Sam Darnold is coming off a one-month layoff, which means he’ll be rusty in the first cold-weather game of his life. Buffalo’s zone-based defense will cause problems for the Jets, who have only three offensive touchdowns in the past five games. Bills 23, Jets 12

Mike Rodak’s pick: The Bills are favored by Vegas for the first time this season, and for good reason: They walloped the Jets 41-10 with fill-in quarterback Matt Barkley last month at MetLife Stadium. I would expect some regression by Josh Allen, whose 83.6 Total QBR in his two games since returning from an elbow injury has exceeded his 53.0 mark for the season. But the opportunity still exists for Allen to have another big game against a Jets defense that has given up an NFL-worst 450.7 yards per game since (and including) its loss to Buffalo. Bills 26, Jets 20

FPI win projection: BUF, 71.5 percent. After being favored just once in their first 12 games of the season, the Bills are favored in three of their final four games by FPI, with a 71.5 percent chance to win against the Jets on Sunday. That is the largest favorite the Bills have been since Week 1 of last season, when they were 75 percent favorites, also against the Jets.

What to watch for in fantasy: The Jets’ blitz-happy defense should create some lanes for Allen to exploit via scrambling, while a blend of vertical passing and designed running plays helps support a fun ceiling, if unstable fantasy floor, for Allen.

Buffalo Bills 20, New York Jets 9


One of the few games this weekend that are relatively meaningless. Draft positioning will dominate all the discussion with these two teams going forward, though we know that no real fans will be rooting for their precious Jets or Bills to lose. Yeaaaaaaah, maybe that isn’t a totally accurate statement. Sam Darnold appears poised to return for this game, but those Buffalo fans will definitely make life miserable for Darnold (or Josh McCown, if Darnold’s foot acts up again), as will the Bills‘ front seven. The Buffalo defense gave up 175 total yards in Miami last week. If the Jets are to sneak in a road win here and end their six-game losing streak, they must re-script their red-zone plays. Blow up what they’ve been doing. Do a 180. That overlooked area of pro football cost them a win last week in Tennessee — and, from a macro view, the Jets are the worst offense in the NFL inside the 20.



Luciano’s Picks

Last week 3-0, Season total 25-12

Jets @ Bills: 13-20

Jets players, regardless of their public comments, as a team, they have checked out on Todd Bowles. This team is just going through the motion. The bills on the other hand have decided that a top 10 pick is not their mojo. Bills will win easily!

Patriots @ Dolphins: 20-23

I have gone against the trend (experts picks above), and often I have been right! This week I will again. I’m not necessarily convinced the Dolphins are a very good team, however, I DO NOT feel the 2018 Patriots are that good! They will lay an egg down/under!!!


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