The NFL is headed into its home stretch, which means that you’ll now see games with playoff implications on the schedule every week. In the AFC, where more than half the teams are .500 or better, seemingly every game is that way. Higher stakes frequently means tighter contests and harder predictions, so I don’t expect my current hot streak to last very long.
I’m officially hot, having picked 7 of my last 8 Best Picks correctly and having further just had my single best week in the last two seasons.Last Week’s Picks: 12-2 Best: 3-1 Season Total: 98-71-2 Best: 22-18
Houston (+3) @Cleveland (Westgate Superbook)
The Texans are switching to Ryan Mallet to see whether he might be a viable option for them at quarterback moving forward. Mallet is almost a complete unknown, so that always makes for a tough call, but I tend to think he won’t be anything special, which means that Cleveland should be the right side here. The Browns are a bit better overall than the Texans, and they’re at home.
Cleveland Browns 27 Houston Texans 21
Philadelphia (+5) @Green Bay (CG Technology)
Two good offenses. Two bad defenses (relatively speaking). So which quarterback do you trust more to take advantage of the bad defense? I’m gonna say Aaron Rodgers. Are you gonna say Mark Sanchez?
Green Bay Packers 34 Philadelphia Eagles 28
Seattle (+1) @Kansas City (CG Technology)
I don’t see the Seahawks going to Kansas City and pulling out a win, not THIS year’s Seahawks and not against the Chiefs when they’re this hot. Add in that Seattle is in a look ahead situation with two divisional games coming up and there you go. Expect plenty of good defense in this game, which I’d rather watch than bet on anyway.
Kansas City Chiefs 23 Seattle Seahawks 21
Cincinnati (+6.5) @New Orleans (MGM Mirage)
This is a game where the line is telling you what to do. You might think the Saints are a bad play – they just lost at home to the 49ers and aren’t the Bengals a good team too? You think so? Go back and watch Cincinnati against Cleveland last week. The Saints are not just the home team here, they’re the better team, and it’s no coincidence that this spread is as high a touchdown or more.
New Orleans Saints 31 Cincinnati Bengals 23
Tampa Bay (+6.5) @Washington (Treasure Island)
I know the RacialSlurs are a reject team, but the Buccaneers are super rejects, and Washington has been adept at beating up on teams even worse than they are. Look at how they did against the Jaguars, and that was with Kirk Cousins.
Washington RacialSlurs 31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
Denver (-9.5) @St. Louis (Westgate Superbook)
No one should want to bet against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but the Rams have been a remarkably tough out this season and there’s no way Denver is going to be loaded for bear playing a last place out of conference team. Expect the Rams to hang around enough to keep it a single digit game.
Denver Broncos 27 St. Louis Rams 20
San Francisco (-4.5) @NY Giants (William Hill)
I don’t have a good reason for telling you to take the Giants and the points in this game, other than this is one of those where I have a gut feeling. San Francisco is coming off a big overtime revenge win over the Saints, and the Giants look like roadkill right now, except this is the part of the season frequently where New York turns itself around and starts playing better.
San Francisco 49ers 26 New York Giants 24
Oakland (+10) @San Diego (Westgate Superbook)
I tend to favor the underdog in division rivalry games with big spreads like this, but the Chargers are a much better team and they’ve had two weeks to prepare. That’s a good spot for double digit favorites, and San Diego’s season is hanging in the balance right now. I think they pour it on.
San Diego Chargers 28 Oakland Raiders 16
Detroit (+1) @Arizona (CG Technology)
There’s rampant speculation about the Cardinals’ chances with Drew Stanton at quarterback instead of Carson Palmer. Stanton was 2-1 in his stint spelling Palmer earlier in the year, and the one loss was a game he didn’t finish due to injury. The Cardinals are at home, Stanton is capable of playing game manager, and I just don’t trust the Lions on the road.
Arizona Cardinals 20 Detroit Lions 17
New England (+3) @Indianapolis (Westgate Superbook)
This is another game that I would much rather watch than wager on. The Colts are looking for playoff revenge plus elite level legitimacy, both of which they can get by beating the Patriots. Normally I’d love to get New England plus points in any scenario, but the Colts are their equals this season and the Patriots aren’t quite the same team without Jerrod Mayo. As an aside, I kind of like the over/under 58 play as an under (even though I’ve been going with the over all season with Indy). I’m gun shy about doubting the potency of that Colts offense, however.
Indianapolis Colts 28 New England Patriots 24
Pittsburgh (-7) @Tennessee (5Dimes)
There are few things less appealing than the Steelers as a road favorite, but the Titans as anything is one of them. I’ll take Tennessee here, but they are so bad I can only say stay away from this game. This is a true no-win scenario.
Pittsburgh Steelers 22 Tennessee Titans 16
Best Picks of the Week
Minnesota (+2.5) @Chicago (5Dimes)
After the Bears complete humiliation the last two weeks, no one wants anything to do with them, especially against a hungry Vikings team with an exciting rookie quarterback and, who knows, maybe Adrian Peterson at some point? Well, Peterson won’t be playing in this game, and now that the Bears have no chance of making the playoffs and their season is ruined, you can expect them to win a game like this, now that it doesn’t matter. This division rivalry has, in fact, been so home field heavy, I’m even willing to put the Bears in as one of my Best Picks.
Chicago Bears 28 Minnesota Vikings 23
Atlanta (+1) @Carolina (Bookmaker.eu)
I’m aware that I’m taking the Falcons on the road, and that I’m bucking the most recent trend in this rivalry. BUT. I also know what I saw from the Panthers last week. They suck. They are a shadow of the team that started the season 2-0 and 3-2. They haven’t won a game in a month and a half, and they made the Eagles defense look ferocious. I also know that the line on this game has been steadily moving toward the Falcons since it opened at Panthers -2.
Atlanta Falcons 28 Carolina Panthers 17
Detroit @Arizona over/under 41.5 (CG Technology)
I can’t pass up the under with two defenses this good. I’ll probably get burned but it’s just too tempting to pass up.
Arizona Cardinals 20 Detroit Lions 17
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