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
As we dive right into Week Thirteen, I think the schedule makers feel a little duped. Before the NFL got greedy, the league used to only have Thursday Night Football games after Thanksgiving, if they had any, that is. Presumably, these games would feature the “best of the best”. I imagine the plan still is to subscribe to that theory…after the first several weeks feature several mediocre to poor teams because every team has to play at least one Thursday game.
Tonight’s game features two NFC East teams that big things were expected of. Dallas was 13-3 last year and Washington was 8-7-1, though on the fringe of the playoffs. Welp, both teams are currently sitting at 5-6, with little to no hope for the playoffs. Certainly neither will win the division, since both are behind the Philadelphia Eagles by 5 games with 5 to play. Disappointing, to state the obvious.
That all being said, I have a sneaky feeling that this game will be a good one. I have no idea why. Just another hunch. And we know how my hunches sometime go…
Washington at Dallas (-1.5)
The Cowboys are 2-4 at home. So yes, they have already lost one more game at home than they had lost all of last year in total. They have scored a total of 22 points in the last three games. No Zeke. The corpse of Darren McFadden retired this week, if anyone cares about that as well.
The ‘Skins haven’t been a ton better, struggling against a woeful Giants team on Thanksgiving. Though they have been at least scoring some points in their losses.
You’d think maybe Dallas may finally score some points again and win at home. I think half of that may be true. We shall see…
Washington 24, Dallas 20.
Week (against the spread): 12-4
Week (straight up): 13-3
Season (against the spread): 92-84
Season (straight up): 116-60
…jumping right in and feeling confident…let’s see how long that lasts:
New Orleans (-2.5) at Buffalo
Actually, starting off on one that I have no confidence in at all. Buffalo at home, where they are 4-0. New Orleans outside a dome, where they historically don’t play as well. Probably a cold weather game. Buffalo with 10 days to prepare after getting blasted by the Jets. Seems like a Buffalo pick, no? Well, no…and this is purely a gut feeling with no rhyme or reason behind it.
New Orleans 27, Buffalo 23.
Pittsburgh (-10.5) at Indianapolis
Indy has been a fairly competitive 3-6 team. But not this week.
Pittsburgh 31, Indianapolis 17.
Cleveland at Detroit (-11.5)
There’s usually no way in hell I’d ever lay 11.5 with Matty Stafford and the Lions. But I just have no more words to describe how bad the Browns really are.
Detroit 38, Cleveland 13.
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville (-4.5)
Kind of another gut feeling here as well. Jax at 5-3 just doesn’t feel right to me. The Jags at 6-3 just seems even sillier. I think that’s all it comes down to for me actually.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, Jacksonville 21.
Green Bay at Chicago (-4.5)
Hard to believe that the Packers lose one guy and they completely fall apart. I know, Aaron Rodgers as that one guy is obviously huge. But Tom Brady missed a year and the Pats rode Matty Cassel to a more than respectable 11-5. Though when the Colts lost Peyton Manning for his year, they went 2-14. So I guess it shouldn’t be too hard to believe for the Packers. Whatever…
Chicago 20, Green Bay 13.
New York Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
Tampa is reeling, no doubt. Lost 5 in a row. Jameis Winston is out. The J-E-T-S are a (very) surprising 4-5. But can this be a Ryan Fitzpatrick revenge game? FITZY!!!!
Tampa Bay 31, New York Jets 27.
Minnesota (-1.5) at Washington
This one I think could be a good one. Really? Yup. Big win for the ‘Skins last week at Seattle, coming back late…not one of Kirk Cousins’ strengths. Got them back to .500. The Vikes have cruised to 4 in a row, but against inferior competition. Should be a close battle, but going with the home team here.
Washington 24, Minnesota 23.
Cincinnati at Tennessee (-5.5)
How did A.J. Green not get suspended? Guess it really doesn’t matter for the Bungles.
Tennessee 27, Cincinnati 14.
Houston at Los Angeles Rams (-11.5)
Doesn’t appear that anyone can stop the Rams this year. Certainly not the injury-ravaged Texans, I would think.
Los Angeles Rams 34, Houston 13.
New York Giants (-0.5) at San Francisco
Hopefully no one is subjected to this game being televised in their market. Teams are a combined 1-16, so I suppose the half a point spread is about right. I don’t know if the Niners plan on starting (or even playing) Jimmy Garoppolo. But I say they should. The Colts threw Jacoby Brissett right into the mix and he has been serviceable. Isn’t Jimmy G supposed to be better? Plus, what better team to start him out at than the pathetic G-Men? OK, maybe the Browns, but you get my point. Just do it!
New York Giants 14, San Francisco 13.
Dallas at Atlanta (-2.5)
So I guess the Ezekiel Elliott suspension is back in force. I still believe the ‘Boys have enough to win without him. I said last week that I thought the Falcons look like they are done and I’m sticking to it. Especially after that brutal drop by Julio Jones last week on that 4th down play where he was 10 yards behind the defense. There’s really no explanation for that. Other than that the team is done.
Dallas 27, Atlanta 20.
New England (-7.5) at Denver
Speaking of things I said last week, I said that Denver’s D was still legit. Then they went out and gave up 51 to the Eagles. Nice call. But still, I am not ready to give up on the Bronco D at this point. I’ll give up on their QB’s, but not the D. The Pats are coming off a bye, but believe it or not, they’ve struggled some in that situation over the years…from what I recall anyway. Denver is always a tough place to play. It appears that Phillip Dorsett will log heavy snaps at receiver Sunday night, obviously not ideal. Game will be closer than most think. I wouldn’t even be shocked if the Broncos won.
New England 27, Denver 23.
Miami at Carolina (-9.5)
I still think Miami stinks, despite their 4-4 record. But the 9.5 seems a little high to me. The Panthers don’t exactly blow teams out.
Carolina 24, Miami 17.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 66-67
Season (straight up): 85-48