NFL week 14 preview: Buffalo Bills to be haunted by old enemy Tom Brady

As we step one week closer to the NFL playoffs, there's still plenty to play for, with a handful of teams vying for the remaining spots. This week, the Bills and Bucs make our headline tip.

Now in week 14, we're entering the home stretch in the race for playoff places, but absolutely nothing is a certain in the NFL right now, with more surprises last week only adding to the intrigue of his incredible season.

The reigning Super Bowl champions are in action on Sunday as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host a Buffalo Bills team fresh from a schooling against the Patriots - after facing Brady's former side, they now have to face him for real on Sunday.

Both the Bengals and 49ers are in contention for a playoff spot this season, but it could largely depend on the outcome of their crucial matchup in Cincinatti on Sunday evening.

Elsewhere, Justin Herbert is chasing more records with the Chargers, but is struggling for fit receivers this week. Meanwhile the Detroit Lions will be high in confidence after grabbing a first win last week, but could struggle to match the result in Denver.

As we look forward to a new slate of games, here's our weekly NFL tips.

Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

NFL, Tom Brady for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Indianapolis Colts

The Buffalo Bills spent years losing to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's New England Patriots, but now they have to tackle an old foe at his new side when they face the defending Super Bowl champion's, Tampa Bay, just six days after being beaten by the Patriots.

Following the Bills' loss to the Patriots, it's becoming a very real prospect that we could see Tom Brady and the Bucs line up against Belichick's Patriots in the Super Bowl in February

That would be a Hollywood script writer's dream if it did happen, but there's a lot of football still to be played before we get carried away, and that includes the Bills testing the Buccaneers to see if they're capable of defending their title this season.

After watching those freezing, gusty conditions in upstate New York, Brady will be delighted this fixture is being played in Tampa - he's enjoyed the weather in Florida so far, going 5-0 at the Raymond James Stadium.

Surprise, surprise - Brady is close to breaking another record. This time he needs just 18 more completions to become the NFL's all-time leader in that metric. When he inevitably reaches the figure, it'll add to his records in passing yards (82,975) as well as touchdown passes (615).

The 44-year-old continues to astound not just because he's winning, but because he's doing it by throwing the ball, and throwing it as often and as well as he ever has. Brady leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns - his 35 is more than 17 teams in the league have managed all season.

Brady's also got more wins against Buffalo (32) than any QB in history has had against a single team, and the odds are in his favour again with the Bills having to travel after a tough loss.

The visitors are also missing Pro Bowl cornerback Tre'Davious White against Brady, who has thrown four TD passes in four of five home games this season. Buffalo statistically still have the top-ranked NFL defense this season, but it won't be enough hold the Bucs here.

Josh Allen will have to try and win this by going toe-to-toe with Brady. However, they'll struggle to penetrate the Bucs' run defence, and while he can put points on the board, he's commited nine turnovers in his last five games.

Therefore, I'm backing Brady to throw three TDs and running back Leonard Fournette to find the end zone as the Bucs win by 1-10 points (13/8). You can also back the Bucs to score 30 points or more at 11/10.

Best bet: 

Detroit Lions (1-10-1) @ Denver Broncos (6-6)

NFL, Denver Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater

The Lions finally got their first win of the season last week with a last-gasp TD against Minnesota, but they're still 10-point underdogs at Denver, who are in a herd of teams scrambling to make the AFC playoff spots.

Detroit will be high in confidence, but if Denver play to their strengths then the Broncos should win handily enough, although it may not be a pretty, free-scoring affair at Mile High.

Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater may be on course to be the first Broncos QB to throw 20 TDs since Peyton Manning in 2014, but he's often found himself playing a supporting role in this offense to rookie running back Javonte Williams.

Williams was given a lead role last week and totalled 178 yards and a TD. With the Lions allowing six opponents to run for 130 yards this season, then feeding Williams the ball at every opportunity will be central to Denver's gameplan.

Back Williams for another 100-yard game and a touchdown, but the scoring won't be plentiful, as the points total has gone under in all six games when Denver have covered the spread this season.

Best bet:

New York Giants (4-8) @ Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)

Justin Herbert, Quarterback, LA Chargers, NFL

The Chargers are another team in the running for a wildcard spot, and in Justin Herbert they have a special record-setting QB who could just make the difference.

After breaking the rookie TD passing record with 31 last season, Herbert leads the AFC with 27 and needs just three more to become the first player in NFL history to throw 30 TD passes in his first two seasons.

Only the legendary Dan Marino managed 60 over his first two seasons, which shows you what elite company Herbert is in - but the Chargers still need to give him a bit more help at times.

This week he's struggling for targets with top receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen out with COVID-19. That places a lot of responsibility on Austin Ekeler's shoulders - expect the running back to be majorly involved in both rushing and receiving.

The Giants will have a back-up QB under centre, so they'll also have to lean heavily on their star rusher Saquon Barkley. He'll be helped by the fact that the Chargers have been seriously poor against run plays this season.

I'm not sure the Bolts will have enough on either side of the ball to cover a 12-point spread but there's enough offense there to get over a reasonably low points tally at odds-against.

Best bet:

San Francisco 49ers (6-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

NFL, San Francisco 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings

The Bengals are just one win behind Baltimore at the top of the AFC North, but go into this home game as slight one-point underdogs after a blowout loss against the Chargers last week.

It's what we've come to expect from Cincinnati this season. They've laid 41 points on the Steelers and battered the Raiders, but allowed 41 points themselves in heavy losses either side of those two wins.

Adding to the unpredictability this week is QB Joe Burrow, who is struggling with an injured finger on his throwing hand. Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon have also missed practice this week.

They're no light absentees, especially as Mixon has scored in nine straight games. That'll help Seattle's confidence, who also lost last week, but they did lead 17-7 and gain 365 yards, they just need to cut out mistakes.

Burrow's fractured finger could be an issue against San Francisco's improving pass rush, who managed to sacked Russell Wilson four times last week. Burrow was dropped six times by the Chargers.

San Fran's exotic run game will trouble even Cincinatti's well-drilled run defense, but Niners tight end George Kittle could be a difference maker here, with that position causing the Bengals problems recently.

He caught two TD passes last week to make it five in his last five and the Bengals have allowed four TDs to tight ends in that same span - I'm tipping Kittle to score on Sunday and with all the Bengals' injury worries the Niners can take this one.

Best bet:

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