…for the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. 2-3 record to start 2018. Pretty underwhelming, but still only a half game out of first. The 2018 NFC East everyone! I know, I know…Carson Wentz is coming back from a major injury. But he has been back for 3 games and the numbers are good anyway. So it can’t be all that bad.
Speaking of bad, the schedule thus far hasn’t been filled with heavyweights. Atlanta, Tampa, Indy, Tennessee and an underachieving thus far Minnesota team.
So what’s the problem? Looks like they have had some injuries. And you know…maybe they weren’t all that good last year in the first place? Sour grapes? Absolutely!! But backup quarterback Nick Foles played out of his mind in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl and Coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Good for them and give them a ton of credit.
But I hope they go 2-14 this year.
So the New England Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and their 3-2 record isn’t much better. Seems like they are up to their usual early season tricks however. We will see what it looks like Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll talk more about that in the next piece. We sure as hell do not need to recap last weeks game against the Indianapolis Colts. Per usual, the Pats handled the Colts easily. But it was a little concerning how the defense played down the stretch of that game though.
Anyway, for now:
Philadelphia (-3.5) at New York Giants
Ah, so THAT’S why we started off the column with Eagle talk! Yup. So what more do we have to say here? The Giants still stink. And it was awesome to see them lose to the Carolina Panthers on a 63 yard field goal as time expired. Gave me great joy. That’s all.
Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 20.
Week (against the spread): 7-8
Week (straight up): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 37-41
Season (straight up): 45-33
Another (somewhat) abridged (but not so last-minute) holiday edition. Tough sledding here, as plenty of teams will be resting guys for the playoffs, shutting guys down period, playing some young kids to see if they are worth hanging on to for next year and any other scenario in-between. We will see what happens. If we go 1-15, we finish the year over .500 still. So that’s good enough for me anyway. Happy New Year!!
Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-13.5)
Cleveland is shooting for 0-16. I think they can do it, even though the Steelers are apparently not playing any of their key guys…well, Big Ben and Le’Veon Bell anyway…with Antonio Brown still out too. Landry Jones and Stevan Ridley anyone? Sure. They could (and should) probably still beat the Brownies.
Pittsburgh 17, Cleveland 13.
Green Bay at Detroit (-7.5)
The Lions actually should win this one going away…but of course they won’t.
Detroit 20, Green Bay 17.
Chicago at Minnesota (-12.5)
I believe Minnesota still has to play its way into the second seed and the bye over in the NFC. Therefore…
Minnesota 30, Chicago 10.
Dallas (-2.5) at Philadelphia
Philly is apparently going to play their starters for a bit. Which Nick Foles will show up? Who cares?
Dallas 27, Philadelphia 17.
Houston at Indianapolis (-3.5)
Speaking of “Who cares?”, 7-23 between these two squads. The only intrigue will be after the game to see if either of the two coaches keep their jobs. They both honestly probably should, based on their respective teams’ injury concerns this season. But I’d keep O’Brien and fire Pagano. Then again, Billy O’B and the Houston GM apparently despise each other. Kind of thinking both are going, right or wrong. Oh, I have to make a pick?
Houston 13, Indianapolis 10.
New York Jets at New England (-15.5)
It’s apparently going to be 50 below in Foxborough Sunday. The Jets are likely ready to hit the offseason, despite their competitiveness this season. Because the Pats still need to win (or have the Steelers lose) to sew up the #1 seed, I’d say that they will probably just try to do enough to get the W and get the hell outta there unscathed. But they may only have Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden at running back…and I’d prefer not to give Lewis 30 carries on the eve of the playoffs. Maybe Pro Bowler (?!) James Develin gets some carries too. I’m starting to think the Patriots come out throwing and take a little bit of a lead and then ride Bolden to victory in the second half!
New England 27, New York Jets 16.
Washington (-3.5) at New York Giants
The brand new Giants GM said he is leaning towards keeping Eli as the starting QB next year. Yeah, until he finds someone better this offseason…likely with the #2 overall draft pick. The Giants owner also seemingly wants to bring cornerback Eli Apple back too, because you “don’t give up on talent…” or some nonsense like that. That should go over well in the locker room. Not to mention the Giants interim coach is playing Eli Sunday “start to finish”. Why? He says they already know what they have in third rounder Davis Webb…despite Webb getting zero game experience this year. All of the above is kind of irrelevant for Sunday…even Eli playing the whole game…but it does make me laugh.
Washington 14, New York Giants 13.
Cincinnati at Baltimore (-9.5)
The Bengals winning on Marvin Lewis’ way out? Nah. The Ravens need this one. Though the spread is probably too high. I’m still doing it.
Baltimore 27, Cincinnati 17.
Carolina at Atlanta (-3.5)
This may be the one game worth watching. The Falcons need this one more. That of course makes me nervous…but I’m still gonna do it here too.
Atlanta 27, Carolina 20.
New Orleans (-7.5) at Tampa Bay
The Bucs are bringing back Dirk Koetter next year? Yaaaay! Wait, what happened to all those Jon Gruden rumors? Anyway, the Saints should roll here either way.
New Orleans 37, Tampa Bay 23.
Kansas City at Denver (-3.5)
The Chiefs are resting everyone and the Broncos are starting Paxton Lynch (I think). I should be taking the Broncos defense here, but I’m not.
Kansas City 17, Denver 13.
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3.5)
This may be the second best game of the week…if the Jags play their regulars…which their coach said they were going to. But we will see, since the game doesn’t mean anything to Jacksonville. Other than to get revenge on a Week Two beating the Titans handed to them. Since that point was mentioned specifically by Dougie Marrone, I’ll take my chances with the Jags this week. The Titans have continuously underwhelmed and I really don’t expect anything different here…even with a playoff berth staring them in the face.
Jacksonville 31, Tennessee 20.
Arizona at Seattle (-8.5)
The Cards are 7-8? Hard to believe. The Seahawks have been inconsistent, but still have a chance. Based on their inconsistency, laying 8.5 seems aggressive, but the feeling here is that they come out ready to go.
Seattle 34, Arizona 23.
Buffalo (-2.5) at Miami
Two times in three weeks for this marquee matchup, with the Bills winning by eight in the first one in Buffalo. The Bills are still remarkably in the playoff mix and therefore need it more. Despite the Bills not actually being very good. Throw in the fact that Miami isn’t good either, I am not expecting the ‘Phins to go all out to knock the Bills from the playoff chase. I don’t know…
Buffalo 27, Miami 17.
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5)
The Raiders actually gave the Eagles a game last Monday. Both teams were kind of inept though. Chargers have a chance. Raiders do not. That’s all I can say really.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, Oakland 13.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
The oddsmakers apparently have not been watching the Jimmy G show. Of course the Rams are the better team, but when your coach has already said your best players aren’t playing and the rest of the starters aren’t playing much, one wonders how the Rams could still be favored in this game.
San Francisco 27, Los Angeles Rams 16.
Week (against the spread): 6-10
Week (straight up): 13-3
Season (against the spread): 128-112
Season (straight up): 163-77
Abridged (and last-minute) holiday edition. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Festivus! Have a great “whatever you celebrate”!!
Indianapolis at Baltimore (-12.5)
Hate laying this many points with an average Ravens team. But their offense has picked up. And Indy’s D ain’t good. Baltimore still fighting for playoffs of course as well.
Baltimore 34, Indianapolis 17.
Minnesota (-2.5) at Green Bay
If Aaron Rodgers was playing, this game would be a whole lot more interesting.
Minnesota 31, Green Bay 20.
Detroit (-3.5) at Cincinnati
MARVIN LEWIS IS GONE!!! Or he will be. Will that spur the Bengals on? Well, it didn’t last week.
Detroit 27, Cincinnati 17.
Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) at Tennessee
Seems like the Titans should be better than they are. So when their collapse this year is complete, people should lose jobs. Only fear here is the Rams have a letdown from their blowout win against Seattle last week. And the cross-country travel. But I don’t see it.
Los Angeles Rams 37, Tennessee 23.
Denver at Washington (-3.5)
Brock Osweiler looked great in relief last week…wait…it was against the Colts. Paxton Lynch? Surprisingly, not a better option. The ‘Skins actually should have lost to the Cards last week, but the Cards couldn’t get in the end zone. Otherwise, Washington is also playing out the string. Tough call here.
Washington 24, Denver 17.
Atlanta at New Orleans (-5.5)
Second time these foes meet in three weeks, with the Falcons winning the first by three in Atlanta. Should be another close one that could go either way.
New Orleans 30, Atlanta 27.
Cleveland at Chicago (-6.5)
Hate laying this much with the Bears. But seems like they are letting Trubisky loose a little bit. Plus…the Browns.
Chicago 24, Cleveland 20.
Buffalo at New England (-12.5)
No revenge expected on Gronk with the Bills still being in the playoff chase. I think. Some think this game will be close. Buffalo, with Tyrod Taylor early on last game moving the ball fairly well. And maybe a letdown from the Pats after their “controversial” win in Pittsburgh last week. But don’t count me among that group.
New England 38, Buffalo 20.
Miami at Kansas City (-10.5)
Jay Cutler sure came crashing back to earth last week, eh? The Chiefs seem close to early season form as well.
Kansas City 34, Miami 20.
Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) at New York Jets
I know, the Jets seemingly play everyone close. The Chargers are on the East Coast. There is some merit to all of this.
Los Angeles Chargers 20, New York Jets 14.
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-9.5)
Couple of three-point losses the last two weeks against the Lions and Falcons. Still a lost season for them. And the Panthers are in the thick of it, have won 6 of 7 and have been putting up some points. Don’t expect that to change against Tampa
Carolina 38, Tampa Bay 23.
Jacksonville (-4.5) at San Francisco
Could be a little bit of a trap here. The Jags appear to be for real, as I now begrudgingly admit. They are on the opposite coast. Jimmy G has the Niners playing some inspired football. The Jags could possibly be looking ahead to the matchup with the Titans next week. But since the Jags are inexplicably in the mix for a first round bye…and even the #1 overall seed in the East…I’m thinking they will show up this week. Led of course by their defense.
Jacksonville 31, San Francisco 13.
New York Giants at Arizona (-4.5)
Eli seemed rejuvenated last week against the Eagles. Arizona choked a game against Washington. In the end, I really don’t care about this game, but I have to pick someone.
New York Giants 27, Arizona 24.
Seattle at Dallas (-4.5)
I know, Zeke is back. The Seahawks are not the same team as in past years. Lots of holes. I just don’t see them throwing up a couple of stinkers in a row. Plus…every time you want to count Seattle out, they prove us all wrong.
Seattle 31, Dallas 27.
Pittsburgh (-9.5) at Houston
The Steelers need to keep winning games. They are probably still infuriated about last week. T.J. Yates. Pittsburgh hasn’t really blown many teams out this year. But expect it to happen this week, even with no Antonio Brown and a porous defense.
Pittsburgh 37, Houston 10.
Oakland at Philadelphia (-8.5)
The Raiders are just about done. Disappointing season, to say the least. The Eagles had a tougher fight than expected last week against the G-Men. Maybe a Carson Wentz injury letdown. But then Nick Foles comes in and tosses 4 TD’s anyway. The Eagles need to keep winning, so expect a score closer to what they have been normally doing this year.
Philadelphia 34, Oakland 20.
Week (against the spread): 10-6
Week (straight up): 14-2
Season (against the spread): 122-102
Season (straight up): 150-74