This could be the trickiest week yet. You’ve got 6 teams playing in advance of a short week – the only time that happens all year. There are good teams in bad spots, bad teams in good spots, and a number of games with unexpectedly high playoff implications.
And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got a taste of winter weather, so you’ve got to start factoring in which teams won’t like the cold, wind or snow. Speaking of weather, in upstate New York it’s so bad we don’t know whether the weather will even allow us to have a game. Good luck.
Last Week’s Picks: 9-7 Best: 3-0 Season Total: 107-78-2 Best: 25-18
Cleveland (+3) @Atlanta (Westgate Superbook)
On the surface it looks like Atlanta has saved their season, but that’s only on the surface. The Falcons are still 4-6, and the only reason they’re not toast is that everyone else in the NFC South sucks just as bad. Atlanta’s two “season-saving” wins came against Tampa, who sucks, and Carolina, who’s ice cold. The Falcons are a better home team, but the Browns are the better team.
Cleveland Browns 24 Atlanta Falcons 23
Tennessee (+11) @Philadelphia (Westgate Superbook)
The Eagles are in complete sandwich mode, coming off a game against the Packers and with a major lookahead to Thanksgiving in Dallas on the horizon. They may not even notice the Titans have shown up. That’s because the Titans rarely show up. Terrible team vs. team in terrible spot. I’ll take the points, but this is a no-play situation.
Philadelphia Eagles 27 Tennessee Titans 20
Detroit (+7) @New England (Westgate Superbook)
The Patriots are red hot and they’re at home. It’s hard not to like them, but giving 7 to a Lions team that has the best defense in the NFL? As hard it is to do, I’m betting against New England.
New England Patriots 24 Detroit Lions 20
Jacksonville (+13.5) @Indianapolis (MGM Mirage)
The Colts come into this game need a win, holding just a one game lead over the Texans in the AFC South. For a team that was supposedly one of the NFL’s elite, Indianapolis hasn’t been very consistent this year. That’ll end this week. Andrew Luck owns the Jaguars, and the Jaguars have shown only periodic signs of life over the last two months. It will take more than a pulse to stay within two touchdowns of the Colts.
Indianapolis Colts 31 Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Cincinnati (+1.5) @Houston (Westgate Superbook)
Fun fact, Andy Dalton’s never beaten the Texans, and I don’t think he’s gonna start this week. Houston’s defense is playing well at the right time of the season, and Ryan Mallet has actually seemed to energize the offense a bit. As an aside, I also like the under 43.5 play in this game, although not quite enough to take it.
Houston Texans 23 Cincinnati Bengals 20
NY Jets (+4) @Buffalo (Belmont.ag)
This line has dropped by as much as a point and a half at some books since the game moved from Buffalo to Detroit. This is no longer a Bills home game, and I think a lot of people see what I see, which is that the Jets have had the upper hand in this matchup over the last half dozen years and that New York is a much better team with Michael Vick at quarterback instead of Geno Smith. I like New York to win outright. Too bad they’re not playing in that blizzard or you could have had an easy win taking the under, too.
New York Jets 20 Buffalo Bills 14
Tampa Bay (+6) @Chicago (Wynn Las Vegas)
The Bears still stink, don’t doubt it. And the Bears have a real motivation problem. There’s a general perception that their coach and maybe their quarterback too are in lame duck status. This team will have trouble getting up for games the rest of the year unless they have an outside reason. Last week their manhood was being questioned after getting beaten silly by Green Bay. Plus Minnesota’s offense was shooting blanks. No such pick me up this week against a Tampa team that is better with Josh McCown after all.
Chicago Bears 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Arizona (+7.5) @Seattle (5Dimes)
This is a tough one. On the one hand, the line is telling you to take the Seahawks. How could a 9-1 team be more than a touchdown underdog unless they were actually going to get smashed this week? On the other hand, Seattle has rival San Francisco coming up on short rest on Thanksgiving, and people have been underrating the Cardinals all year. On the other other hand, Seattle is still tough at home, and they need this game in the worst way. Bottom line, this is a game you’d rather watch than bet. Enjoy the defenses.
Seattle Seahawks 24 Arizona Cardinals 17
St. Louis (+5) @San Diego (Westgate Superbook)
I’m no expert, so I can’t tell you what happened to the San Diego Chargers from September and October, I can only tell you that they’re gone. And in their place is this very shaky organization that barely beat the Raiders. They’ll barely beat the Rams too, if they beat them at all.
San Diego Chargers 20 St. Louis Rams 16
Washington (+9.5) @San Francisco (Atlantis Reno)
It’s almost like the schedule makers have a sense of humor. While these two self-imploding, dysfunctional, self-loathing teams take the field, will the Chicago Bears be in the stands to cheer them on? The 49ers are clearly the better team, but they were clearly better than the Giants and couldn’t manage to rub sticks together against them either. Plus they’ll be looking ahead to the ass-whooping the Seahawks will be giving them on Turkey Day.
San Francisco 49ers 22 Washington Redskins 14
Dallas (-3) @NY Giants (CG Technology)
The Giants look like they’ve checked out at this point, and Eli Manning isn’t the type of quarterback to suddenly play great after he’s been terrible. Plus, the Cowboys epic collapse every season starts after Thanksgiving, like not wearing white after Labor Day.
Dallas Cowboys 24 New York Giants 17
Baltimore (+3.5) @New Orleans (MGM Mirage)
I am off the Saints. For good this time. That probably means they’ll win this game by a zillion points, but I’m off them. I’m done. That’s it.
Baltimore Ravens 28 New Orleans Saints 27
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Detroit @New England o/u 48 (Westgate Superbook)
The Lions have gone over 48 once all season, and that was in week one. I realize the Patriots have been playing games in the 60s, but they’ve also been playing weak defenses like Indianapolis and (vomit) the Bears. The Patriots will win this game, but they ain’t scoring no 42 points this week.
New England Patriots 24 Detroit Lions 20
Green Bay (-9.5) @Minnesota (MGM Mirage)
I know the Packers and Aaron Rodgers have looked great of late, but they’re on the road here and this spread is just a ridiculous over reaction. The Vikings are second tier, but not they’re not cellar dwellers. This is also a sandwich game for Green Bay, who just beat Philadelphia and have to play the Patriots next.
Green Bay Packers 28 Minnesota Vikings 20
Miami (+7) @Denver (MGM Mirage)
Anytime you see a big spread in a Dolphins game, take the underdog. Miami doesn’t blow people out, and they don’t get blown out. Denver, meanwhile, is struggling a bit, and while they’ll be anxious to bounce back, Miami’s defense isn’t likely to let this game get out of hand.
Denver Broncos 24 Miami Dolphins 20
Miami @Denver o/u 48.5 (MGM Mirage)
The Broncos are without Ronnie Hillman in this game, Julius Thomas may not play either, and Emmanuel Sanders is not 100%. With that many weapons on the sidelines or playing at half-strength, the risk of a shootout is diminished. A push-pull tight game is more likely, and the under looks that much better.
Denver Broncos 24 Miami Dolphins 20
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