I just can’t shake it.
Week 12 was a little kooky, and because of that I went 7-7 against the spread (97-79 overall), but it could’ve been a lot worse. This upcoming slate has a lot of road favorites, which usually means that we’re going to get some more crazy results. With so many inconsistent teams this year, that has become the norm. Still, I’m going to offer the best advice I can because that’s what I do.
So without any further ado, let’s try not to get embarrassed!
(Betting lines via Caesar’s Sportsbook; lines last updated November #29th)
NEW YORK JETS (4-7) [-3.5] vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-11)
Let’s being with the Week 13 #StinkerOfTheWeek!
The Bengals are desperate not to go 0-16, and with Ryan Fi\nley looking truly horrific, they made the decision Monday to go back to Andy Dalton at quarterback. It is a very desperate move by new head coach Zac Taylor, but who could blame him? Who wants to pull a Hue Jackson in their first NFL season!?
The Jets have been surprisingly hot the past three weeks, and Sam Darnold put forth a masterful performance against the Raiders last week. Darnold is finally starting to reestablish the chemistry he had with his receivers towards the end of last year, and on defense, Jamal Adams may win Defensive Player of the Year. There is always a concern for New York to lay an egg, but this Cincinnati team has shown they can’t even make things competitive against poor competition.
THE PICK: Jets (-3.5)
TENNESSEE TITANS (6-5) vs. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (6-5) [-2.5]
In this matchup between two AFC South opponents going in opposite directions, the loser’s playoff chances will take a monster hit. The Colts have looked really bad since Marlon Mack got hurt, and Tennessee has found new life with Ryan Tannehill commanding the offense. We saw this Titans offense put up 42 on the Jaguars last week, including a monster performance from Derrick Henry. The way this Colts’ run defense is play, Henry should eclipse 100 yards once more. Indy will need to really on Jonathan Williams having another great game and Jacoby Brissett to pass more than he has since returning from his MCL sprain. All of that being said, I’m taking Indy because Frank Reich knows this is a must-win and Tennessee also knows this is a must-win… and we know what usually happens in that situation.
THE PICK: Colts (-2.5)
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-6) [-10.0] vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (2-9)
As much as Carson Wentz and the Eagles have looked subpar these past few weeks, this is a perfect get-right spot for them. After their surprising two-game winning streak, Miami has gone back to their terrible ways. They have given up 37 to Buffalo (!!!) and 41 to Cleveland over the past two weeks, and despite all of the offensive injuries on the Eagles side, I would truly be stunned if they failed to drop at least 30 on the Fins. Throw in an improved defense, this should be an easy win for the former Super Bowl Champs.
THE PICK: Eagles (-10.0)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-3) [-6.5] vs. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-9)
The Giants are bad. Like… really bad. Their defense is a train wreck, Saquon isn’t having the same impact as he did his rookie year, and Pat Shurmur is a dead man walking. Until this team has a major organizational shakeup, they will not sniff an ounce of success, and they walk into a buzzsaw this week when an angry Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay team comes to MetLife Stadium. The Packers were dismantled by the 49ers last Sunday night, and if there was ever a team that you could count on to have success against, it’s the 2019 New York Giants. Vintage Rodgers will certainly be on display in this one.
THE PICK: Packers (-6.5)
CLEVELAND BROWNS (5-6) [-2.5] vs. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-5)
Just like the Colts/Titans game I wrote about earlier, this one is basically a loser leaves town matchup between division rivals. The Browns have been soaring the last three weeks, and Baker Mayfield has gotten back to the level of play that made everyone marvel at him last season. The Steelers, on the other hand, are massively banged up and will be starting Devlin Hodges in this one. The only item that gives me pause is that Cleveland hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh on the road since 2003! With that being said, they took care of business against this team only two weeks ago, and their level of play has only gone up since then.
THE PICK: Browns (-2.5)
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (2-9) vs. CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-6) [-10.0]
Good for Dwayne Haskins and the Redskins team to get a win against the Lions last week. It’s a shame that this organization is such a decrepit mess that they couldn’t even celebrate correctly.
Could Haskins pull off that same magic against a slumping Carolina team this weekend? Not likely. Despite the Panthers woes that now appear to have Ron Rivera on the outs, Kyle Allen looked really impressive against the Saints formidable defense last week, and if he can replicate that performance against Washington’s secondary sans Josh Norman, this will be a blowout.
THE PICK: Panthers (-10.0)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-7) [-1.5] vs. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (4-7)
While both of these teams are pretty much out of the playoff hunt, I do find some entertainment value in this matchup Jameis Winston should have a typical seesaw game where every time he passes it’s either picked of or an 80-yard touchdown, and the Jaguars have… well, nothing really special anyway. Outside of the emergence of D.J. Chark and Leonard Fournette this season, their defense is in shambles and Nick Foles doesn’t look the same after returning from his collarbone fracture. Maybe this is the week where he explodes against this morbid secondary, but I still like the Bucs to pull out a second straight win.
THE PICK: Buccaneers (-1.5)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-1) vs. BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-2) [-5.5]
The worst part of living in New York is that this game won’t be on national television with the Packers/Giants game on at the same time. Please flex it, NFL! I BEG OF YOU!!!
The two best teams in the NFL, both playing at an absurdly high level, this duo of juggernauts could very well meet up again in February. It is so difficult to see the Ravens losing to anybody with the way they have been playing. It’s not just Lamar Jackson running away with the MVP now. It’s not just the rest of the running game and offense playing extraordinary. It’s also not just the defense and special teams playing at an elite level.
It’s how clean they play.
The Ravens rarely turn the ball over, and they are slaughtering their opponents in time of possession. That will be the biggest challenge for the 49ers, making sure they too hold the ball for a while and make the most out of their drives. Kyle Shanahan is very aggressive when it comes to play-calling (it cost him a Super Bowl), but he needs to establish the run if he wants any chance to pull off this upset on the road. This will undoubtedly be a high-scoring game, and it should come down to the wire. I’m truly ecstatic about this one.
THE PICK: 49ers (+5.5)
LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-5) [-2.5] vs. ARIZONA CARDINALS (3-7-1)
What has happened to the Rams? Before the season I expected their stock to drop a little, but this is 2008 level turmoil right now.
Jared Goff has been awful, but the offensive line of LA reminds me of their opponent’s one last year, which was one of the worst ever displayed. The addition of Jalen Ramsey has helped slightly, but Aaron Donald isn’t wreaking havoc as much this season and they have little to no pass-rush. The problem with the Rams is that they constructed their roster as if they were a team with many aging veterans in their prime ready to make one last run towards a title. This is still one of the youngest teams in the league, however, with multiple roster holes and no first-round draft pick until 2022. They should be able to take care of Arizona, who has seen great flashes from Kyler Murray but their defense is simply too forgiving. I’m reluctantly taking the Rams in this one, but I don’t feel great about it.
THE PICK: Rams (-2.5)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (4-7) [-3.0] vs. DENVER BRONCOS (3-8)
If it wasn’t for the euthanized Bengals, this would certainly be the #StinkerOfTheWeek. Alas, both of these team’s seasons are basically over. The Chargers have bigger fish to fry, such as determining whether to find their next franchise quarterback. They do get Derwin James back this week, which is ginormous for their defense. Speaking of defense, what happened to Denver’s? They made Josh Allen look like Joe Montana on Sunday, and their offense did them zero favors. This is one with a nearly negative watch factor, and whoever wins… good. Good for them.
THE PICK: Chargers (-3.0)
OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-5) vs. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (7-4) [-10.0]
With Lamar Jackson the clear front-runner for MVP this season, Patrick Mahomes will need to make a massive statement in this game to put him back into the discussion. He didn’t play poorly in his late game, but with only 182 passing yards, he will need to get back to his usual pass-heavy performance. He has an excellent chance to do so this week when the Raiders come to town. The Oakland defense was straight-up embarrassed by the Jets last week, and if Sam Darnold did that to them… holy moly, Mahomes might pass for 600 yards. The Raiders should be able to put up some offense on this Chiefs team, but it won’t nearly be enough.
THE PICK: Chiefs (-10.0)
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (10-1) [-3.5] vs. HOUSTON TEXANS (7-4)
Welcome back, Patriots defense!
Some will point to the bad weather, but New England really put it to the Cowboys on Sunday, holding them to nine points. Stephon Gilmore is playing like a man possessed, but will be tasked with shadowing De’Andre Hopkins. Deshaun Watson will need to target him frequently if they have any chance to pull off the upset at home, and their defense will need to make sure Tom Brady and the offense continues to sputter. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Texans pulled off the upset, but I still like New England to continue their shutdown level of play.
THE PICK: Patriots (-3.5)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-3) vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-2) [-3.0]
If not for Ravens/49ers, this would easily be the game of the week. A win for Seattle and a loss for the 49ers would put the Seahawks in first place, while Minnesota would need to be hoping for a Giants win over the Packers to put those two into a tie. Russell Wilson has lost some steam in the MVP race, and the Vikings defense should give him some fits. The Seattle defense has been playing very well as of late, and shutting down Dalvin Cook will be imperative to winning. At the end of the day, a loss for either team wouldn’t be the end of the world, but Seattle can really make some noise with a big game. The Vikings still need to be proven in primetime against an elite opponent.
THE PICK: Seahawks (-3.0)