Sorry to say, it isn’t getting any easier this week.  Injuries cloud the issue at this time of year, and you have some teams playing their worst football at the wrong time of year, while others are just now finding their stride, even if it’s too late.

Most of these games are to be avoided, except to watch them, of course.

Besides ruining the NFL, Roger Goodell also stole Christmas.  Bastard.

Besides ruining the NFL, Roger Goodell also stole Christmas. Bastard.

Last week was the first time in two months my best picks were sub .500.  No, seriously, go back and check if you want.  Not to toot my own horn too much, but I’m at nearly 60 percent on those selections, which is both a personal best for me and pretty awesome for just about anyone.

Hopefully, you’ve dropped a few bucks on my advice and made yourself some Christmas present money (or, for you Scrooges, some Chinese food money).

Last Week’s Picks:  9-7-1    Best:  1-2
Season Total:  132-102-4       Best:  32-22

Oakland (+10) @Kansas City (Westgate Superbook)

This spread seems awfully high for a divisional rivalry game.  It also seems awfully high for a team that’s won two of their last three (Oakland) and a team that’s lost three in a row (KC).   This is a revenge game for the Chiefs and it’s also their whole season on the line, but don’t think the Raiders wouldn’t love to play spoiler.  Bottom line, I don’t think the Chiefs are good enough to win this game by 10 points.

Kansas City Chiefs 26 Oakland Raiders 20


Jacksonville (+13.5) @Baltimore (Westgate Superbook)

Of the Ravens’ 8 wins this season, 4 have been by more than 20 points and 2 more have been by 14 or higher.  When Baltimore is going good, they leave people in the dust.  The Jaguars have finally shown some modest improvement, but they’re not ready for a Baltimore team that tends to pour it on and can see it’s way into the playoffs if it wins out.

Baltimore Ravens 30 Jacksonville Jaguars 16


Houston (+7) @Indianapolis (CG Technology)

I don’t really like the way the Colts have been playing the last month.  They went from looking like the NFL’s best offense to being just another team that was good enough to win their division but not in the same class as New England or Denver.  They  might outpace the Texans by more than a touchdown, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Indianapolis Colts 27 Houston Texans 23


Cincinnati (pick ‘em) @Cleveland (William Hill)

The Bengals’ hold on first place is getting ever more tenuous.  And the Browns benching Brian Hoyer for this game tips the scales in their favor.  Cincinnati has no film on Johnny Manziel, and let’s face it, Manziel could stink and still be no worse than Hoyer.  Chances are he’ll be a marked improvement.  Add in that Joe Haden is AJ Green’s Kryptonite and Cleveland seems the obvious choice.

Cleveland Browns 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20


Miami (+7.5) @New England (Westgate Superbook)

I know I said this earlier in the year.  Anytime you see a Miami spread of higher than about 4 take the underdog.  The Dolphins don’t blow people out; the Dolphins don’t get blown out.  This is a revenge game for New England, so it’s a little more dicey than usual, but I’m sticking with what (usually) works.

New England Patriots 24 Miami Dolphins 17


Tampa Bay (+3) @Carolina (MGM Mirage)

Having seen enough of Josh McCown, the Buccaneers will go back to Mike Glennon, who lost his job after Tampa had seen enough of him.  Cam Newton is hurt, so he’s not playing either.  Instead you get Derek Anderson.  These two teams have combined for six wins this season.   If you bet this game, you have a problem.  Hell, if you watch this game, you have a problem.

Carolina Panthers 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20


Washington (+6.5) @NY Giants (Westgate Superbook)

There’s all kinds of metrics and trends that say Washington is the right side here.  Forget ‘em.  The RacialSlurs are a disaster.  I’ll be surprised if they score any points at all in this game.

New York Giants 24 Washington RacialSlurs 7


Green Bay (-5) @Buffalo (William Hill)

Green Bay is playing its best football of the year, but let’s face it, the Packers play their best best football in Green Bay.  I also feel like the Bills, who have a top 5 defense, deserve a little more respect than this in their own building.

Green Bay Packers 27 Buffalo Bills 23


NY Jets (-2.5) @Tennessee (MGM Mirage)

I think there’s about two dozen or even more NFL teams that would be favored playing AT the Jets.  How bad do you have to be to be getting points from the Jets in your own building.  Bad enough that I wouldn’t touch you, that’s for sure.  Wanna hear even worse?  This line has moved UP since it opened, meaning people are actually putting money on the Jets.  What the hell kind of a world are we living in anyway?

New York Jets 17 Tennessee Titans 14


Denver (-4) @San Diego (Westgate Superbook)

Have the Chargers beaten the Broncos with Peyton Manning?  I don’t think they have.  I don’t think now is the time for them to start either, now that they’ve settled in as a second tier team while Denver is chasing the Patriots for the #1 seed.

Denver Broncos 27 San Diego Chargers 21


Denver @San Diego o/u 51 (Westgate Superbook)

Know what these two teams have in common?  No, nothing to do with the quarterbacks.  They both have top 10 defenses.  I think this is high because people see “Peyton Manning v. Philip Rivers” and assume a big shootout.  Remember that the Broncos are playing on the road here.  They aren’t gonna run it up that much.

Denver Broncos 27 San Diego Chargers 21


San Francisco (+10) @Seattle (Stations)

It’s frankly amazing to me that this spread is 10.  What do you suppose it was at the beginning of the season?  3?  How about six weeks in?  1.5?  Pick ‘em?  10 points!  How the Niners have fallen.  And I don’t disagree, they have fallen.  But this is truly their last hurrah.  Whatever playoff chance San Francisco has dies on the field this Sunday, just like their Super Bowl died last season.  Is there any team in the NFL the 49ers loathe more than Seattle, who passed them on the way to the top and then mooned them as they drove away?  The Niners aren’t good enough to win this game, but they’ll show up.

Seattle Seahawks 17 San Francisco 49ers 10


Dallas (+3.5) @Philadelphia (Westgate Superbook)

As an Eagles fan, it feels weird that I pick against them every week, but public perception is that Philadelphia is better than they actually are, and I’m more keenly aware of it because I follow the team so closely.  Dallas is unbeaten as a road team, so I like them here.  The reality is that both the Eagles and Dallas have one more loss apiece.  Dallas’ is next week.  The Eagles’ is here.

Dallas Cowboys 27 Philadelphia Eagles 24


New Orleans (-3) @Chicago (Westgate Superbook)

I don’t trust the Saints.  Not at all.  But they still have something to play for and the Bears don’t.  And this year’s weird-ass Saints win on the road and lose at home.  So be it.  Monday Night Football had to think this was gonna be a much better game when they saw it on the schedule in September.

New Orleans Saints 28 Chicago Bears 24


Best Picks of the Week

“Look everybody, here comes Blaine Gabbert.” “I remember him!”

“Look everybody, here comes Blaine Gabbert.”
“I remember him!”


Pittsburgh (-2.5) @Atlanta (MGM Mirage)

Beggars can’t be choosers.  I don’t exactly love the Falcons here, but I do like them at home, with the inside track to the playoffs.  Add in that the Steelers are coming off a big divisional win that may leave them a little flat and play like crap as road favorites.

Atlanta Falcons 31 Pittsburgh Steelers 28


Minnesota (+7.5) @Detroit (MGM Mirage)

It may look like the Lions have solved their offensive problems, but that was against Tampa and Chicago the last two weeks.  The Vikings still play some good defense, and I bet they can manage more than the 3 points they scored in their last meeting with Detroit.

Detroit Lions 20 Minnesota Vikings 16


San Francisco @Seattle o/u 38.5 (Stations)

There’s not a number low enough that it won’t be under for this game.  This one is a classic knock down drag out slug fest.  Two premiere defenses who just don’t care who’s on the other side on the ball.

Seattle Seahawks 17 San Francisco 49ers 10