“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.”
Last week was sweet, hitting 11-4 on the picks. Everything seemed to be going our way all day long. Sure, we had a few stinkers. Cardinals +10? They lost 58-0. Ok, I was slightly off on that one. Texans + 3 1/2 and I said they would win straight up? Ha ha. They were down 21-0 before I was settled in on my couch.
Good times, and I’ll enjoy it while I can because week to week you never know how the gambling gods will treat you.
Stay in the loop. I usually tweet out some picks on Sunday morning, so follow me on Twitter (@Fantasource) to get the latest.
Here’s hoping for another great week with the picks…
Last Week: 11-4
Season Record: 94-81-3
Sunday, Dec. 16th
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (+3, O/U 43)
One team is hot (GB has won seven of their last eight and is 6-2 ATS in that stretch), and one team is cold (Chicago is 1-4 straight up and against the spread in their last five games).
I think a lot of people are going to take the Packers, and that scares me a little but I don’t think the Bears will win this game. We know that the Bears defense is one of the best in the league, but the Green Bay “D” is also pretty good and they’ll be getting back Clay Matthews. And they’re going to need those guys as their defensive line is still shorthanded.
Despite the injuries on the d-line I’ll take the Packers -3 on the road.
Pick: Packers -3
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons (-2, O/U 51)
Yeah, I like the Falcons in this one. I know that the Giants rolled up 52 points last week against the Saints. And I know that the Falcons went into Carolina and lost to the 3-9 Panthers. But I like the Falcons.
This is a bounce back game for the Falcons and they also have some revenge on their side. Last year in the playoffs the Falcons went up to New York and got embarrassed by the Giants. They lost 24-2 but it was much more lopsided than that. I think they will remember that.
I like the Falcons to get it done at home.
Pick: Falcons -2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3 1/2, O/U 53 1/2)
Nick Foles went into Tampa last weekend and threw for 381 yards. Now Drew Brees gets to face the same Bucs pass defense? I think he’ll get 400. But the Saints just gave up 52 points to the Giants last week. So neither defense is playing that well.
This is a division battle and Tampa is still (sorta, kinda) alive for the playoffs at 6-7. But even though this is a ‘must win’ game for the Bucs, I like the Saints.
This will be a high scoring game and the OVER is probably a decent bet. Both teams could hit the 30’s in this one. I just think that the Saints, at home, with some momentum after getting exonerated by the Commissioner in the Bountygate affair will have an extra spring in their step. They should get the win and the cover at home.
Pick: Saints -3 1/2
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (-3, O/U 38)
This line seems off. I know that the Rams have a good defense, but they have no offense. St Louis has only scored over 21 points twice in their last 11 games. And you’re giving me three points with Adrian
Peterson (who is absolutely on fire lately) and the Vikings? I’ll take it.
I expect Adrian Peterson to run the ball all day, and I think the Rams will counter with a lot of Steven Jackson (to kill clock and keep AP off of the field) so it should be a low scoring game. So I’ll take the points.
Pick: Vikings +3
Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns (+2 1/2, O/U 43)
This game is impossible to handicap without knowing if Redskins QB Robert Griffin is playing. As of Thursday it looks like he will play. So I’ll make my pick as if he is playing.
And either way, I’m going with the Redskins. The Washington rush offense is tops in the league at 167 yards per game. A lot of that has to do with Griffin’s scrambling ability but they do have Alfred Morris in the backfield to make up for what you lose by Griffin not being 100%.
The Redskins are hot (four wins in a row), so are the Browns (three wins in a row) but in this one Washington has some extra motivation. They need a win to keep pace with the Giants and Cowboys for the NFC East title. Just a month ago that seemed impossible, but now they are 7-6 and only one game back.
I like Washington to stay hot, Griffin will be hobbled but still have a good game and that should be enough to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Redskins -2 1/2
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (-7, O/U 37)
There aren’t many spots where I’d lay 7 points with the Dolphins, but this is one of them. Jacksonville is not a good team. There’s no other way to put it. They are 28th in defense, 30th in offense. Just, bad all around.
Now, Miami isn’t exactly a powerhouse but they can hang their hat on a defense that is ranked 12th in the league. I think the way to handicap this is to expect the Jags to score 17 points or less. Now can Miami score 24+ and cover? I think they can. I’d say Miami 27-17 and that means I’ll lay the 7 with the Dolphins.
Pick: Dolphins -7
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (+2 1/2, O/U 48)
If the Ravens win this week then they will clinch the AFC North, so they have a lot of incentive in this game. Plus, they are home dogs, something that hasn’t happened since 2009. I like the Ravens in this one.
The Ravens also fired their offensive coordinator this week and I think that will jumpstart the offense a little. Baltimore has lost two games in a row so this game lines up for them as a ‘must win’ and if you add in all of the extras (new OC, clinching the division, home dog) I think they can pull the upset.
I know Denver is on fire. They’ve won eight games in a row and they have already clinched the AFC West division, but coming east as a road dog against a decent Ravens team? Nah. I’ll take Baltimore.
Pick: Ravens +2 1/2
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-8 1/2, O/U 48)
So, before last week we thought the Texans were the 2nd best team in the AFC and they headed up to Foxboro to try to claim the top spot. How’d that work out? Wow, the Texans got blown out. Down 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter and it was over by halftime.
But I think Houston can put that loss behind them this week and they get a big win at home against the Colts.
Yeah, I know that I’m going against all kinds of karma when I pick against the Colts. They seem to cover every week. Well not every week, but they are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games. That’s pretty darn good.
But despite all of that I am still going with the Texans.
This game is a big step up in class for the Colts, they haven’t played a “good” team since they were blown out by the Patriots four weeks ago, and before then you have to go all the way back to October 7th against the Packers. Yes, they’ve gone 8-2, but mostly against a pretty mediocre slate of opponents.
I know 8 1/2 is a lot of points to lay in the NFL, but the Texans need a bounce back game after that embarrassing loss last week, and they can clinch the division with a win this week. So I expect them to show up and get the job done.
Pick: Texans -8 1/2
Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers (-3, O/U 44 1/2)
I can’t pick the Chargers, especially not after that huge win last week at Pittsburgh. That game was pretty much their Super Bowl, and now they come home to play the Panthers in a ‘who cares’ game, I don’t see San Diego getting up for this one.
You could say the same for the Panthers, that they could be flat after a big division win over the Falcons last week, but the Panthers weren’t going anywhere this season, so while 4-9 is disappointing, it’s not like we thought they could win their division (unlike the Chargers). I think the Chargers just want this season to end.
The defenses are pretty even in this matchup, but I think Cam Newton is the difference on offense. He should be able to move the ball against a mediocre Chargers defense. And after a bad start to the season the Panthers have played well the past few weeks, and Carolina is 4-2 against the spread on the road this season with no losses by more than 6 points. I’ll take the points here and say the Chargers come out flat after a big win last week, and the Panthers get the cover.
Pick: Panthers +3
Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills (in Toronto) (+5′, O/U 42 1/2)
As much as I want to say Seattle will have a let down in this game after beating the Cardinals 58-0 last week, I can’t do it. I like the Seahawks.
Seattle is a good team. And as the season goes on and rookie QB Russell Wilson gets more experience, they just seem to get better. This week I think we will see a lot of RB Marshawn Lynch. Buffalo is giving up 134 yard rushing per game, so Lynch could have a huge week. Combine that with the Seattle defense that is ranked second in the league, it could be a long day for the Bills.
West coast teams going east is not a good position to be in, especially when they are the favorite, but I’ll lay the points and say the Seahawks run the ball all day and win big.
Pick: Seahawks -5 1/2
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (+6, O/U 44)
Hey, the Cardinals just lost by 58 points to Seattle. They haven’t scored over 20 points in a game since September. They have no offense. Let’s pick them to cover this week.
What? Why would I pick the Cardinals? Call it a hunch, maybe a little “they can’t stink forever” logic. Who knows, but I think they can hang here, and getting 6 points at home? I’ll take it.
Forget last week for a second, and let’s look at the stats. Arizona has the second ranked pass defense and if the Lions are going to win this week, they’ll need to move the ball through the air. I think this game will be close (Lions 24-21?), and I’ll take the points.
Pick: Cardinals +6
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys (+1 1/2, O/U 44)
So, this line seems fishy. People will see Dallas getting points at home against a not-so-great Steelers team? But I think Pittsburgh is a little bit better than Dallas on both sides of the ball so I understand the line, but I still think it will generate a lot of Dallas money.
Dallas is 0-6 against the spread at home this season, and that is a trend that I think will continue. I like Pittsburgh here.
It’s been a rough month for the Steelers. Since QB Ben Roethlisberger got hurt against the Ravens five weeks ago the Steelers are 1-3. But Ben is back and after a stinker like they had last week (losing at home against San Diego as 7 point favorites) I think they will win here.
Dallas has played well recently, 4-1 in their last five games, but this week they could be without WR Dez Bryant and that could be big. Plus, Dallas has the 23rd rated pass defense, and with Ben healthy and ready to throw, it could be a long day in Big D for the Cowboys.
I like Pittsburgh to win and cover on the road.
Pick: Steelers -1 1/2
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-3, O/U 43 1/2)
Wow. Can my pick be “who cares”? If you had to rank the NFL teams top to bottom these two would definitely be in the bottom 3 or 4. I’d put the Chiefs last (but the Jags are really trying hard to take over that bottom spot), and probably stick the Raiders 30 out of 32.
So, how do you handicap this one? Well, you just pick the Raiders because the Chiefs are bad on a whole different level this season – especially on offense. And I think that is the difference here. A decent (not great, just decent) offense for the Raiders should be enough to win this game at home.
Both defenses are bad, but the Chiefs offense couldn’t get out of their own way. I don’t have confidence in Brady Quinn as a QB, and I sure as heck won’t put my money on him.
In a battle of bad teams, I’ll go with the one that stinks less. Raiders.
Pick: Raiders -3
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (-5 1/2, O/U 46)
The Patriots are the best team in football. Let’s stop the discussion right now. On offense they are unstoppable. Tom Brady is moving them up and down the field like a robot. They’re averaging 36 points per game, 8 points more than the Broncos (who are in 2nd).
We all know that the 49ers have a pretty solid defense. But is it good enough to go on the road and stop the Patriots? I don’t think it is. I like Colin Kaepernick, he’s had a nice stretch of games, but this is a different type of atmosphere here. Sunday Night, on the road against the Patriots, and it’s going to be cold with a chance of snow in Foxboro.
I think the Pats win this one handily. New England demolished the Texans last week and they should be able to handle the 49ers this week. I’ll lay the 5 1/2 with the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots -5 1/2
Monday, Dec. 3rd
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (-1 1/2, O/U 41 1/2)
J-E-T-S. I’m taking the screwed-up, dysfunctional, no-offense, best QB is on the bench, circus team on the road on Monday Night Football. Am I nuts? Maybe. But I think the Jets will win here.
Tennessee has lost five of their last six games. Why are they favored? Just because they’re at home on a Monday night? The Jets defense has been playing well recently, so they should be able to handle the Titans’ below average offense. And the Tennessee defense is just bad enough that I think New York can put up some points and win this one.
I’ll take the points on the road on Monday night but I don’t think I’ll need them.
Pick: Jets +1 1/2