Week 14 picks

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Week 14 picks

49ers at Raiders – under 41

In five games since their bye, the 49ers have allowed fewer than 20 points four times and an average of 15.8 per game. In that same span, the San Francisco offense has struggled mightily, cracking 20 points just once while averaging 14.6 per contest. Riding the under on the Niners down the stretch has historically been profitable in the Jim Harbaugh era, as his defenses have surrendered just 18.3 point per game in the month of December since 2011 (a number that is inflated by a 42-13 loss to the Seahawks in 2012). The Raiders, meanwhile, are coming off a 52-0 destruction by the Rams last week. In a rivalry game in which they could essentially end the playoff hopes of their Bay-area foes, the Raiders have ample reason to get up for the Niners. Furthermore, prior to last Sunday’s undressing in St. Louis, the Oakland defense had played well over the previous two weeks, allowing a total of 33 points to a pair of tough teams in the Chargers and Chiefs. This game figures to be played in a meat grinder.

Chiefs at Cardinals – under 40.5

Both teams enter this pivotal matchup on two-game losing streaks that are directly attributable to their scuffling offenses. The Chiefs were only able to muster 464 total yards and 4.4 yards per play in losses to the Raiders and Broncos, while the Cardinals were stymied by the Seahawks and Falcons to the tune of 533 total yards and 5.4 yards per play. Despite the defenses having their respective holes (the Cardinals against the pass and the Chiefs against the run), one thing they have in common is an ability to perform at a high level in situational football. Arizona ranks eighth in the NFL with an opponents third-down conversion rate of 37.42 percent, while Kansas City is just a tick behind with a 37.65 mark. And both defenses are even better in the red zone, as the Chiefs are allowing opponents to score touchdowns on just 38.46 percent of their opportunities (best in the league), with the Cardinals (42.42 percent) ranking No. 3. Get ready for a battle of field goals.

Last week: 3-0
Overall: 19-18-2

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