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Don’t head out to that sports bar or neighborhood man-cave to meet up with your fantasy crew unarmed. Make Fanosis your 1-stop place to cop or drop and get locked and loaded for that well-deserved winning weekend aid. Combined and condensed below are the consensus latest lines from Las Vegas, my selections and why, along with final score predictions to give you a better read on how strongly I feel for or against the spread in quick access format because your time is precious and let’s face it, who has just one fantasy team anymore?

“Whew! That was a close one!” said fans of the Carolina Panthers last week as their team gamely fought on and survived against the New Orleans Saints to remain the only undefeated team in the NFL. I’m quite certain Mr. Betting Mann said something else…Week 13 saw the Patriots lose a second straight game sending astronomers running to check the heavens to see just how far out of whack all the stars and planets are. The favorites won 12 games outright, and went 10-5 versus the spread.

Week 14 kicks off with a great match-up of two winning-record teams. Arizona needs this win to clinch a playoff birth, while Minnesota needs it worse. Although they are tied at 8-4 with Green Bay, they are behind head-to-head so a victory to a Packers loss puts them right back in first. As it currently stands, the wild card spot is theirs to lose.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

The Line: Cardinals -8

The Game: Thursday, 5:30PM PT, NFL NETWORK (CBS)

The Skinny: The Vikings’ scoring has been down lately. Could it be that teams are more aware with more footage to study? At any rate, the Seahawks had little trouble putting this team to sleep last week. Do they rebound or is that brief appearance in first place in the NFC North as good as it gets. The Cardinals show no signs of tailing off in time to miss the post-season. They are deep enough to overcome injuries to key starters and only the undefeated Panthers are hotter in the conference.

Just a gut feeling, but I doubt (after the comments made after last week’s game) the Vikings limit Adrian Peterson to just eight carries again this week. Whether or not they can stick to it is another thing entirely, but coach Zimmer should have a better game plan to get A.P. involved early and often. This will help open the offense against another formidable defense featuring a secondary that has two of the best cover men in the game today in Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.

What helps/What hurts:

What helps Minnesota’s chances is that Cards QB Carson Palmer won’t be doing much scrambling to extend plays like what Russell Wilson did to them. The Vikings are a mid-level team at pressuring the quarterback, but poor at getting INTs. What hurts them is the lack of major weapons outside of A.P., Bridgewater is not the most creative-minded person, and needs help. It hurts a great deal that their secondary is a bit beat up.

What helps the Cardinals’ chances is that they have weapons galore and a coach that’s not afraid to bomb Baghdad — women, children and all. What hurts them is Palmer’s mobility, but perhaps not enough. This team utilizes its running backs just fine. Their defense might not be as effective as Seattle’s was, but it’s plenty good enough to hold the Vikings to 24 points or less. I say less. Cardinals Win, 34-23

BUFFALO BILLS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The Line: Bills -1

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: Tough to gauge the Eagles, who obviously play better with Sam Bradford starting, but he doesn’t play defense so no explaining why the defense gave up 40+ points to lesser teams two weeks in a row then held Tom Brady and Co. to only 28 in a win. Meanwhile, the Bills have lost by fewer to better teams of late, and their defense will be the best Philly has faced since week 7 against the Panthers. Bills Win, 24-16

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Line: Seahawks -10

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Unlike the above game, this is not a hard game to handicap at all. Seattle is playing good again and their defense just held Adrian Peterson and the Vikings to one score. Baltimore has no A.P., their defense is suspect, and they just went 2-2 the last four games against four of the worst teams in the league. This may not be pretty unless you’re a Seahawks fan. Seahawks Win, 30-10

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS 

The Line: Bears -1.5

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: The Johnny factor is in effect here as Manziel is up again in starting role. Unfortunately, all he can do is either make the score slightly closer or the same. The Browns’ defense is among the worst — to put it kindly — giving up 30 or more points in their last 5 straight games, and losing 7 in a row and counting. The 49ers have been playing tougher teams with better results lately and are now motivated to exit the basement of the NFC West, above the Rams. Still, Manziel does has something to prove. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but only to a point.  49ers Win, 23-16

DETROIT LIONS @ ST. LOUIS RAMS

The Line: Lions -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny:  Detroit, although playing better of late, has not scored more than 12 points against the best three defenses they’ve faced this season (12, 10 and 10 points), and the Rams would be the 4th such unit. The Rams have a new offensive coordinator and things may look at least a little different… a good thing because things can’t get worse. Their defense should carry them into late stages at home, and on that note, Detroit’s defense only has 5 INTs on the year and as a team, third-worse turnover ratio in the league. This will make it difficult for Case Keenum to give the game away. Of course, none of the above matters is that Calvin Johnson’s ankle is fine and he isn’t neutralized.  Rams Win, 20-17

TENNESSEE TITANS @ NEW YORK JETS

The Line: Jets -7

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: This is a closer game with the Jets secondary banged up, and if the Titans play like they did offensively last week. But that’s a big “IF” because they tend to either score a lot or score a little. Mostly, they score very little against the better defenses. Mariota is talented and smart, but not experienced enough yet. For the Jets, Fitzpatrick has been playing lights out for two weeks and the Titans’ defense couldn’t stop the Jaguars week 13. The Jets should wear ’em down. Jets Win, 24-16

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Line: Bengals -3

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: A game to watch, especially now that the NFL touchdown leading Tyler Eifert returned to practice and is expected to play. Cincinnati will definitely need him against a team that has both its tight ends banged up and nobody’s noticing. That’s how loaded the Steelers are, and I seriously doubt [Mr. Betting Mann] that the score is as low as the previous match-up won by the Bengals (16-10). The Steelers need this game badly as they fight for a wild card spot, being unlikely to catch the Bengals for the division crown three games back with 4 weeks left to play…with Baltimore and San Francisco on Cincy’s remaining schedule. Yet, for the Steelers this goes deeper. Big Ben threw 3 INTs in that last game — his first game back after injury and not 100% — and Le’Veon Bell was lost for the season. Do you think, despite whats said publicly, that coach Ben and coach Tomlinson do not want payback? Cincy receiver Marvin Jones described this week’s contest this way, it’s “going to be bloody.”  Steelers Win, 34-31 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS   

The Line: NO CURRENT LINE (Opened at Colts -1.5)

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The Colts need to win to stay afloat  in the AFC South. With the Texans losing to the Bills last week, the Colts escaped dropping below their division-leading record of 6-6, same as the Texans but ahead via the tiebreaker. Jacksonville has Hurns back and the offense is better for it. But this may be over their head a bit. Colts Win, 26-20

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS  @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 

The Line: Chiefs -10 

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The Chiefs are rolling (6 straight wins) and the ailing Chargers realistically have very little chance for upset with Philip Rivers a bit gimpy. The one-dimensional team will need to be extremely creative to overcome all the Chiefs can throw at them defensively. It’s not likely without a miracle, and the last quarter of the season looks to be on the easy side. They could finish with 10 consecutive wins. Chiefs Win, 30-10

WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ CHICAGO BEARS

The Line: Bears -3.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Both teams lost to teams they probably should’ve beat last week The Bears have too much going on here offensively for the Redskins to handle after seeing what the Cowboys were able to do. Not among my choices to watch, but it should be competitively close enough points-wise. The Bears will need to play both backs in play-action, if a second receiver doesn’t step up big time. Bears Win, 21-16 

ATLANTA FALCONS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Line: Panthers -7.5

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Atlanta has little chance against the Panthers this week unless they do what the Saints did last week,explode with scoring…but Matty is not Drew Brees and Julio Jones has not scored a touchdown since week 7…which is just absurd. Mr. Betting Mann, give the points easily.  Panthers Win, 34-16

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 

The Line: Bucs -4

The Game: Sunday, 10:00AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: This is difficult because Drew Brees defies all logic at times. What I know is that Jameis Winston’s day won’t be a disaster against a poor defense. The Saints are hurting at receiver, and now RB Ingram is lost for the season. Look for Spiller to appear, but I don’t know….Bumps in the road.  Bucs Win, 28-26 

OAKLAND RAIDERS @ DENVER BRONCOS

The Line: Broncos -7.5

The Game: Sunday, 1:05PM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The Broncos are just too strong on defense and can turn away the occasionally-surprising Raiders’ pass attack with the pressure they possess. Carr and Company will be rather one-dimensional here with little choice. But turnovers might be in the cards this weekend. Broncos Win, 28-17 

DALLAS COWBOYS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS

The Line: Packers -7

The Game: Sunday, 1:25PM PT, FOX

The Skinny: The Packers appear to have this game in hand on paper as this is the kind of game that needs Tony Romo to win. Knowing where they stand with the Vikings by then, Aaron Rodgers will likely play much better than Cousins was able to against the Cowboy defense, and if the receivers step up, Lambeau Field will be a tough place to play again…especially if it rains, as is the forecast. Packers Win, 38-20 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ HOUSTON TEXANS

The Line: Patriots -3.5

The Game: Sunday, 5:30PM PT, NBC

The Skinny: “Tom Brady” and “three-game losing streak” are rarely in the same sentence, and you can bet he and coach Belichick put in extra time this week to prevent thoughts of what comes after such a rarity. They will have to contend with the disruptive Mr. J.J. Watt first and foremost, and that’s despite his newly-broken hand suffered in Wednesday’s practice. Expect James White to catch more passes out of the backfield, expect a surprise or two, but expect a win. Patriots Win, 30-27 

NEW YORK GIANTS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS

The Line: Giants -1

The Game: Monday, 5:30PM PT, ESPN

The Skinny: Monday’s night’s affair looks like two 5-and-7 teams fairly close on paper, but this is Monday Night Football and many times, you can throw everything out the window when in prime time. If that’s the case, it may turn into Odell Beckham night. Miami plays hard for the current interim coach but lacks enough overall talent defensively behind the line and gives up points. Their O-line also gives up sacks at a time when N.Y.’s quarterback pressuring is looking up.  Giants Win, 27-19

Last week vs. the spread (disclaimer games excluded): W9 – L7 (Season total: W73 – L58)

MY FANTASY FOOTBALL STARTERS (STANDARD-LEAGUE POSITION):

QB – Russell Wilson, Seattle

RB – Thomas Rawls, Seattle / Charcandrick West, Kansas City

WR – Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants / Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

TE – Travis Kelce, Kansas City

K – Brandon McManus, Denver

Def – Seattle Seahawks

That’s a wrap! Thanks, and good luck, Mr. Betting Mann! 

 

About Author

Tony Lopez

Tony Lopez is a die-hard Rams fan and Rams representing writer at Fanosis, as well as an avid fantasy football player that has won championships at Yahoo, ESPN, NFL(dot)com and FOX. An ex-employment specialist at Goodwill of Southern California's main headquarters, he has work with prison programs and has L.A. certified training to aid people with disabilities. He is also a poet and ghostwriter.