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N.F.L. Week 14 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Lions at Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Vikings -13 | Total: 43.5

Stefon Diggs became a household name for a 61-yard touchdown reception in the playoffs two seasons ago, but last year the Vikings inexplicably turned him into a possession receiver. Despite his game-changing speed, Diggs caught 102 passes for just 1,021 yards, giving him the worst yards per reception of any wide receiver in the N.F.L. with 60 or more catches. The team clearly decided something was wrong, because Diggs has turned that statistic on its head this year, averaging a whopping 18.1 yards per catch, which ranks fourth in the N.F.L. That average could increase against the Lions (3-8-1), who have already allowed 53 passing plays of 20 or more yards this season, which is the third most of any team.

This game represents a large swing for the Vikings (8-4): A win would give them an 83 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to The Upshot, while a loss would drop their chances to 53 percent. A 13-point spread would usually be absurd, but Minnesota had a 12-point road win over the Lions in Week 7, and that was with Matthew Stafford, rather than David Blough, at quarterback for Detroit. The possibility exists that the Vikings will not extend an expected blowout, but there is no reason to expect they will show mercy. Pick: Vikings -13

Broncos at Texans, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Texans -9 | Total: 41.5

After watching the Texans (8-4) score with ease against New England’s stifling defense last week, it was reasonable for oddsmakers to get awfully excited about their chances against the Broncos (4-8) this week, especially with the game in Houston. But while there is no real concern about an upset in a game in which Deshaun Watson, one of the N.F.L.’s best quarterbacks, is up against Drew Lock, its least experienced starter at the position, there should be some healthy skepticism about a spread of 9 points. After all, Houston has won by 9 or more just twice this season, while Denver has lost by that many just three times. Pick: Broncos +9

Titans at Raiders, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Line: Titans -2.5 | Total: 46.5

The star of Tennessee’s offense is Derrick Henry, a terrific running back who can be absolutely devastating when he’s healthy. But the Titans (7-5) have also received unbelievable production and efficiency from Ryan Tannehill since he became their starting quarterback. During the Titans’ current three-game win streak, Tennessee has outscored its opponents by 108-69, with Henry rushing for 496 yards and Tannehill throwing for six touchdowns. The surge has the Titans trailing Pittsburgh in the wild-card race by just a tiebreaker. A road game against the struggling Raiders (6-6), who have scored a total of 29 points over the last three weeks, does not seem likely to interrupt that forward momentum. Pick: Titans -2.5

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