I’m in an all-out slump, although I seriously doubt too many people had good weeks last week given the plethora of upsets we saw. For my part, I think the upcoming portion of the schedule will be about identifying whether unexpected results are part of an overall trend or just isolated incidents.
Remember, there’s little value to identifying a trend before it starts, and it entails plenty of risk. Jumping on the bandwagon once it’s rolling will get you the wins you want with a lot less risk.
You just have to know when it’s over.
Consider, for example, a team like the Falcons, who started out great at 6-0 and now can’t seem to win a game to save their life. Is that going to continue? They’re hardly the only team with those kind of questions hanging over them as we head into the winter schedule.
Last Week’s Picks: 6-10 Best: 1-4
Season Totals: 74-81-5 Best: 18-20-1
Dallas (pick ‘em) @Miami (Wynn Las Vegas)
Everyone has been assuming that as soon as Tony Romo comes back, Dallas goes on a 7-0 or 6-1 tear to give themselves a shot at the division. I think they’re capable of that, but this is a perfect example of waiting to see if a trend is going to start instead of actually jumping on the bandwagon before there is a bandwagon. I’m taking Dallas to win here, but I wouldn’t bet this game or the next couple for the Cowboys until we see exactly what we’ve got now that they have their quarterback back.
Dallas Cowboys 24 Miami Dolphins 20
Denver (PICK ‘EM) @Chicago (My Top Sportsbook)
I have no idea what to expect from the Broncos offense with Brock Osweiler under center, but their defense has not looked like itself recently, while the Bears are playing their best football in almost two years. I don’t believe in Chicago, I’m confident they’ll choke short of the finish line, but during the stretch run and Peyton Manning currently out, as you can read here, they can win a game like this to raise hopes before dashing them later.
Chicago Bears 26 Denver Broncos 21
Indianapolis (+5.5) @Atlanta (MGM Mirage)
Here’s another game I wouldn’t touch. You have the Colts without Andrew Luck, except that they might actually be better that way, or at least less likely to get blown out. You have Atlanta at home, except that Atlanta has looked like total crap the last few weeks, except Atlanta is also coming off a bye so they may have been able to correct some things, except Dan Quinn is a first year coach, with no track record coming off a bye. . .You see the problem here? Too many questions to like either side, although my feeling is that Indy can cover the number with Hasselbeck playing a relatively mistake free game.
Atlanta Falcons 27 Indianapolis Colts 24
St. Louis (+2.5) @Batlimore (Westgate Superbook)
The Rams just named Case Keenum their quarterback. That’s the only reason I have to like the Ravens here. I have one less reason than that to like the Rams, and no reason whatsoever to want to watch this stinker much less risk any money on it.
Baltimore Ravens 20 St. Louis Rams 17
NY Jets (-3) @Houston (CarbonSports.ag)
The Jets are a huge question mark right now – they haven’t played well in a while. Houston is coming off a huge improbable upset, but they’ll be without Brian Hoyer. I have zero belief in the Texans so I’m on the Jets even though I have no idea what they can deliver.
New York Jets 20 Houston Texans 14
Green Bay (pick ‘em) @Minnesota (5Dimes)
On the one hand, Minnesota has been the best in the NFL this season, covering in every single game except one. They’re also playing better football than the Packers, who are in their worst funk of the season. But Green Bay has won 9 of the last 10 meetings, so I’ll temper my enthusiasm for Minnesota by remembering that, usually, they don’t win this game. Let’s see if this year is different, but I’ll be happy just watching (not betting).
Minnesota Vikings 24 Green Bay Packers 21
Tampa Bay (+6) @Philadelphia (MGM Mirage)
The extent to which I think the Eagles are a bit of a joke is matched only by the extent to which I think the Buccaneers, although inconsistent, are exciting, young and talented. I think the Eagles can win this game – they had better if they have any hopes of making a playoff run – but I doubt they run away and hide here.
Philadelphia Eagles 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
San Francisco (+12.5) @Seattle (Westgate Superbook)
This is a game where the is telling me something, also known as the sucker bet. The Seahawks look all discombobulated. They’re not the same Seahawks. Even at home. Especially at home. They’ll NEVER cover 12.5 points. This is a gift. Yeah, sure it is. You want Blaine Gabbert at Seattle getting less than two TDs when the Seahawks whole season is basically over if they lose? Maybe you should check what happened the last time Seattle played these guys.
Seattle Seahawks 24 San Francisco 49ers 8
Washington (+7) @Carolina (Westgate Superbook)
The Panthers are in a special place right now, playing well above any reasonable level that you might have expected. The RacialSlurs have also exceeded expectations, but only to the point that they have been able to beat some underachieving teams. They’re also dreadful on the road, having gone 0-4 thus far. I’m liking the Panthers’ chances to win an easy one here.
Carolina Panthers 31 Washington RacialSlurs 19
Oakland (+1) @Detroit (Pinnacle)
As I said earlier in the week, the Detroit Lions won their Super Bowl when they managed to fend off Green Bay and win there for the first time in over a decade. With another game on the horizon in four days, there is no way they are up for this matchup against an out of conference opponent. The Raiders are also clearly the better team, and have shown the ability to win on the road against lower level opponents like Cleveland, San Diego and, yes, Detroit. I like Oakland here for every reason there is to like a team.
Oakland Raiders 27 Detroit Lions 23
Cincinnati (+4.5) @Arizona (William Hill)
Have you noticed that when undefeated teams finally lose this season, they usually follow it up with a second loss as well? I’ve noticed, and I think the letdown effect will be showing on the Bengals this week, and Arizona is the wrong team to come out flat against. The Cardinals might be the best team in the NFL. The Bengals definitely aren’t.
Arizona Cardinals 28 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Kansas City (-3.5) @San Diego (Westgate Superbook)
The Chiefs are hot right now, having won three in a row, but there’s something behind the scenes to keep in mind. The Chargers, during the bye, got about half their starting lineup back from injury. They’ll be a different team this week. And Philip Rivers has been borderline MVP great all year. I don’t expect KC to be able to keep up.
San Diego Chargers 24 Kansas City Chiefs 23
Buffalo (+8.5) @New England (5Dimes)
I have absolutely no reason to be picking against New England at all, much less putting them in Best Picks. And picking them to lessen the undefeated ranks by one. None. It’s just a funny feeling I have about this game. Don’t listen to me!
Buffalo Bills 30 New England Patriots 28
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