We continue to limp through the 2021 NFL season. Not an awful lot to say after five consecutive weeks below .500 other than onward and upward into Week 14.

Season Record: 31-34-1

Last Week: 2-3

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) at Washington Football Team (6-6)
Line: Dallas -4

It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for both of these teams. True, Washington has won four games in a row, but its point differential on the season is -51. The Cowboys have scored a whopping 353 points this season. The game is in D.C., which is no longer a very tough place to play for visitors. I think Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have a couple wrinkles for Taylor Heinicke, and Dak Prescott will present a challenge that Washington hasn’t been up against in a while.

The Pick: DALLAS 26, Washington 16

Detroit Lions (0-10-1) at Denver Broncos (6-6)
Line: Denver -10

OK, I’ll admit I like Denver to win this football game. The Broncos have lost two of their last three, with the losses coming against Philadelphia and Kansas City. However, they absolutely dominated the Los Angeles Chargers two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Lions are coming off their biggest moment of the year, a last-second victory against Minnesota.

This spread has been around eight points most of the week. It’s suddenly bubbled over to Denver -10, which seems like a bridge too far for me. The Lions are the butt of a lot of jokes, with just one victory on the year. However, the Lions are 8-4 against the spread, tied for fourth best in the league.

The Pick: Denver 29, DETROIT 22

Baltimore Ravens (8-4) at Cleveland Browns (6-6)
Line: Cleveland -2.5

Not liking what I have seen out of the Ravens’ offense since that stinker in South Beach on a Thursday night. Most of it centers around how the Dolphins exposed a chink in Lamar Jackson’s armor — he just doesn’t pick up blitzes very well. It all starts with how Jackson and his offense saunter up to the line with less than 10 seconds on the play clock. Not much time to pick up a tell or two by the defense. Look at the great quarterbacks — they come to the line with 11 or 12 seconds, take a look and maybe check out of the initial call.

I haven’t even mentioned anything about the state of the Ravens’ once-formidable defense. Though the Browns have been a huge disappointment, I think they have enough on both sides of the football to win this one more handily than we’d like to see in Baltimore.

The Pick: CLEVELAND 27, Baltimore 17

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
Line: Kansas City -9.5

Andy Reid’s team finally has some wind behind its back, having won five consecutive games. The Chiefs walloped the Raiders, 41-14, on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas. Not sure the Raiders, with an interim coach leading the charge, will come off of that huge home loss to Washington with nearly enough mojo to make this one even marginally close.

The Pick: KANSAS CITY 34, Las Vegas 20

Buffalo Bills (7-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Line: Tampa Bay -3

I am a big Bruce Arians fan, but he is no Bill Belichick. The Bills played a pretty decent game against New England Dec. 6 in absolutely miserable conditions. I doubt Tom Brady will only toss the ball three times in this one. And I think Josh Allen will have a delightful day throwing the ball in non-blizzard conditions.

Buffalo will take this game a bit more seriously than Tampa Bay. The Bills need to pick up the pace or they could shockingly find themselves on the outside of the playoffs. I am also counting on the Bills’ defense scheming up something so the Bucs can’t control the clock running the ball.

The Pick: BUFFALO 24, Tampa Bay 23

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Stan Charles

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