One final week of the NFL, one final week of picks against the spread. As always, the line I'm using is the line given by Yahoo for the pick 'em league I participate in. Disclaimer: I have a chance to win this league but I need to be creative with a few picks. You'll likely pick up on that.
16 points - Indianapolis (-4.5) over Jacksonville
Lets go all-in with the Colts, as an 8-8 record seems fitting for this team. They've got a capable quarterback, they've got capable weapons, but everything else, sans Adam Vinatieri, is a mess. A win at home seems like a resonable ask against a disappointing Jacksonville team.
15 points - San Diego ( 5.5) over Kansas City
Phillip Rivers likes to play the spoiler role, as unfortunately that's the situation he nearly always finds himself in. I wonder how we'll remember Rivers in 20 years among this generation of quarterbacks. Is he Stan Humphries? Steve DeBerg? I think somewhere in there. A recognizable name but lost in the shuffle among those who were able to win more consistently.
14 points - New York Jets ( 3.5) over Buffalo
So to my understanding, Rex Ryan was fired so that Tyrod Taylor would be benched because the Bills don't want him to get hurt as that would guarantee a large portion of his contract. Thus, EJ Manuel is getting the start. I was likely going to take the Bills until I read a report that Manuel was throwing passes to Watkins in practice and kept sailing balls into a nearby camera. I'll go Jets.
13 points - Arizona (-6.0) over Los Angeles
I started a Madden franchise with the Rams and it's literally all I want to talk about to anyone right now. I will spare you the details....
.... except for the detail that I gave up a 3rd round pick and got Joe Callahan, Jeff #JANIS, and Ty Montgomery in return!
12 points - Seattle (-9.5) over San Francisco
It's another high line for Seattle, especially on the road. But I'll go with a Seattle team playing for seeding over a San Francisco team that could get the number one overall pick in the draft.
11 points - Baltimore ( 2.5) over Cincinnati
What a mess for Cincinnati this season has become. Is there anyway Marvin Lewis survives yet again?
10 points - Cleveland ( 5.5) over Pittsburgh
Okay, I'll take the Browns. Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell are all sitting so that levels the playing field considerably. I know the Browns fans may rather have the number one overall pick, but if you're the Browns and you have the chance to end this season on a two-game winning streak, that's a no-brainer. Actually I just assume that trying to win every time you play is a no-brainer but I've found there a lot more people out there that would rather "tank" than win.
9 points - Tampa Bay (-6.0) over Carolina
Here's another where I wanted to take the other result. This one is tough. But ultimately I see Tampa deserving to end their season on a high note and Carolina not.
8 points - Minnesota (-5.0) over Chicago
Last year I predicted the Vikings to win ten games, was called a Vikings fan, yet was right in my prediction. This year I said that the Vikings defense is not elite, then was called a homer, but was also right. I will never get over that, clearly.
7 points - Miami (+9.5) over New England
Brock Rademann shoutout. Who's Brock? He knows who he is, and that's what matters. He tweeted me Friday during the show that Tom Brady is 0-3 in his last three games against Miami. So I will take Miami. Oh wait, I now see that he also tweeted me, "....which is why Miami will probably lose". Well, they might, but I'll take them versus the spread. For Brock.
6 points - Denver (-1.5) over Oakland
Was pretty strong on Oakland here but I'm going to switch at the last minute. It's at Denver. The Raiders are staring Matt McGloin. That's enough for me.
5 points - Green Bay (-3.5) over Detroit
Detroit's whole season has been coming back from deficits in the 4th quarter, and here they are now in the final act of their season, the underdog at home against a divisional foe. I can see Detroit winning this game, very easily I can see that. And maybe they do six, seven, eight times out of ten. But with the way Aaron Rodgers is rolling, I have to go with the Packers. Green Bay 31, Detroit 26. Just enough to cover.
4 points - Atlanta (-6.5) over New Orleans
This is a hate pick. I want Matt Ryan to do bad but my feeling is he'll "lock up" the MVP voting with a win here. Obviously I think Matt Ryan being the MVP is stupid. He's having great numbers but that offense and the backfield is doing just as much work. Offensive Player of the Year? Sure. Player of the Year all-around? That's okay too. But I think Rodgers is more VALUABLE to his team than Ryan his, so my vote would go to Aaron.
3 points - Washington (-8.0) over New York Giants
A Washington loss would lock up a playoff spot for the Packers which would be awesome, which is why I don't think it will happen.
2 points - Houston ( 3.0) over Tennessee
Tom Savage preseason game!
1 point - Philadelphia (-4.0) over Dallas
Dallas is an extremely better football team, but 13-3 sounds more realistic to me than 14-2 with just two losses to the Giants. So let's give Philly the win against Dak, or Sanchez, or Romo, or whoever.
My partner Chuck Friemund and I went a little crazy during the final hour of our show on Friday and started throwing $25 bets around like nothing. The first four games are the games that we bet on, and I'm going with all the favorites. That, and the rest of the action upcoming this week ranked confidence pool style.
16 points - Green Bay (-6.5) over Minnesota
As I'm writing this, I see the news that the Vikings plane slid off the runway while approaching the gate at the airport. Glad everyone is okay. It has officially been winter for not even two days and it's already been a dreadful one. Hold on... I have to go scrape the dish so that I can watch the Bucks.
Okay, dish cleared. Anyway, I like the Packers here. Leading up to week two I was very confident and somewhat cocky in proclaiming that Green Bay would snipe the Vikings in their home opener, and I had a terrible time facing the fact that I was wrong. But with the way Minnesota is playing as of late, I have to think that the Packers are at least a touchdown better than this team, especially now that they get to host the game. I'm going Green Bay 31, Minnesota 16, which would be plenty enough to cover.
15 points - Pittsburgh (-4.5) over Baltimore
I really like Pittsburgh on Sunday, bolsted by the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is AVERAGING more than three touchdowns a game at home this season. Stack the Steelers for me in Fanduel and let me squeeze another $25 out of Freems.
14 points - Houston (-1.0) over Cincinnati
Admittedly, I watched Chris Simms do one of those weird videos where three cameras are on him but he never looks directly in to one and every word he says also pops up on the screen. He was high on Tom Savage and I'm taking the bait.
13 points - Kansas City (-3.5) over Denver
I'm not that confident about this one but this was the final bet I made with Chuck so I need to put my money where my mouth is. Kansas City has been playing well but they are also winning games late that could go either way. The last time these two played they needed a field goal to clank off the upright to avoid a likely tie. Could be close, but I'll go with the Chiefs.
12 points - Dallas (-7.0) over Detroit
I bet this line tightens by Monday as a lot of people are assuming that Dallas will just start resting their starters. But honestly, a team with Tony Romo and Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris is still better than the Lions as of late. The injuries have been too much for them. They were able to get past the banged up backfield with the play of Matthew Stafford, but the injury to his hand might cost them their season.
11 points - Tennessee (-4.5) over Jacksonville
I don't know how the Titans are still alive after their two point conversion stunt of a week ago, but good for them for taking a risk, seeing it not pay off, yet still overcoming. Jacksonville is bad so they will lose.
10 points - Oakland (-3.5) over Indianapolis
Doubts have been creeping in about the Raiders but I like them to take care of a deflated Colts team (thin Deflategate reference not intended) which needs a lot to go right for them to make the playoffs, because of the Texans and Titans wins last week.
9 points - Chicago (+3.0) over Washington
I like the Bears to grab this one from Washington. They are playing spirited football and they kind of have a lot of weapons, if last week against Green Bay is any indication. The Kirk Cousins train in Washington would derail with a loss here. I think management wants to not have to pay Kirk Cousins a ton of money and they may get their wish should the Hogs stumble out of the playoff race with a loss here.
8 points - Atlanta (-2.5) over Carolina
There will be a solid argument to give the MVP to Aaron Rodgers, but I don't think he'll get more votes than Matt Ryan. Rodgers has two in his back pocket and year after year there seems to be this desire to get Matt Ryan the award. I swear, every year after like week 3 it's Matt Ryan leading the MVP race even though everyone has about the same stats. But he is a good quarterback and he'll lead his team to a win here.
7 points - New England (-16.5) over New York Jets
Shocked at this line honestly, I know the Jets are struggling but I'm just surprised they got so bad so quick.
6 points - Los Angeles (-3.5) over San Francisco
The Niners better thank the Browns for being miserable because it completely overshadows the story of how San Francisco has lost thirteen straight.
5 points - New Orleans (-3.0) over Tampa Bay
I like Tampa Bay a lot, but they are one year away.
4 points - Seattle (-7.5) over Arizona
Seattle is great at home and bad on the road. They'll have no problem with Arizona. (I know, what terrible analysis. Why even write the sentence? This article is getting shorter as my dish just went out again. I hate snow man. I used to like it as a kid, then progressively began to hate it as I got older, but this year I've become obsessed. Everytime it snows it's all I can talk about. I watch the window like a hawk so that I can clear the driveway as soon as the last snowflake has fallen. So my mind is drifting. Gotta get the Bucks back on my TV).
3 points - Miami (+3.5) over Buffalo
Buffalo reminds me of snow so screw them!
2 points - San Diego (-6.0) over Cleveland
I'm apprehensive about this pick, but I'll go with the Chargers. I did not think the Browns would actually go 0-16 but now they are just two games away. I can envision Cleveland picking up a win this weekend, and it certainly wouldn't surprise me if they did, but it's not the smart pick.
1 point - New York Giants (-2.5) over Philadelphia
I don't know how you've done it, but you've stumbled around original content on The FAN's website! Reap your rewards by using my NFL picks to break even this weekend. The spreads are based on a confidence pool league I'm in through Yahoo.
Last Week: 8-7 Year To Date: 93-92-5
16 points - Cincinnati (-6.0) over Cleveland
I was watching on Facebook this week a video game simulation done by the folks at Bleacher Report where the Browns actually lost to Alabama. I won't credit them with a link because when I was writing a blog they would take my articles and plaster "by Bleacher Report staff" with no credit to me, so screw them. But I'm starting to think - and I know it's terrible - that Alabama could win! They are a lot better than the best college football teams I've seen in recent memory, and the Browns are a lot worse than the worst NFL teams I've seen. So I know that argument shouldn't be had, EVER, but I think this year might be the year!
15 points - New Orleans (+2.5) over Tampa Bay
Saints are struggling and the Buccaneers are hot, so the trends would lead you to believe that Tampa will win this game. But the NFC South is weird and I like bucking trends, so I'll take the Saints.
14 points - Indianapolis (-6.0) over Houston
Seems like a great game to nap through before the Packers game.
13 points - Atlanta (-6.0) over Los Angeles
Rams are in line for some 4-12 bullsh&t.
12 points - New England (-7.0) over Baltimore
Tom Brady to Macolm Mitchell please! (fantasy playoffs, of course)
11 points - Pittsburgh (-2.0) over Buffalo
Commence the annual Pittsburgh gets hot before the playoffs stretch.
10 points - Denver (-1.0) over Tennessee
I just don't see Denver letting this one slip away when they need wins to keep up in a very good AFC West.
9 points - Minnesota (-3.5) over Jacksonville
Don't count out Minnesota in this NFC North race that we all assume is a two team race. They have the 3rd easiest remaining schedule in the league!
8 points - New York Jets (+2.5) over San Francisco
Seems like a great game to nap through if you're at the game.
7 points - San Diego (+1.0) over Carolina
Carolina's season is over.
6 points - Washington (even) over Philadelphia
Philadelphia's season is about to be over.
5 points - Arizona (+1.0) over Miami
Don't count out the Cardinals in the NFC Playoff race!
4 points - Detroit (-7.5) over Chicago
The spread seems high, but Detroit will keep on rolling.
3 points - Dallas (-3.0) over New York Giants
Could the Giants hand the Cowboys their second loss of the season and be the only team to do so? Could me asking this question prevent me from having to make a comment on the game?
Before we get to the picks, one more reminder that our 10th Annual WSSP Toy Drive has entered the #OnlineOvertime! In honor of celebrating our Toy Drive for a full decade, we're looking to do just a little bit more in years past and have extended the deadline through the weekend.
You can donate here - bit.ly/DonateToCHW
I've pledged to donate $1 for every point the Packers score on Sunday against Houston, hope to get at least a few people to join me!!!
Moving on towards the picks, again these are done against the spread each week and I rank them in order in confidence, with the spread based off of the confidence pool I use in a Yahoo league. I'm doing fairly decent but there is a guy in first place that I need to catch up to, and quickly, and some of these picks will reflect that.
Last Week Thanksgiving: 2-1 Last Week Sunday/Monday: 7-5-1 Year-to-Date: 85-85-1 (.500!)
15 points - Green Bay (-6.5) over Houston
I was consistently getting burned on the Packers so for the last month I would bet no more than one confidence point on the result of their game. But, screw it. They're my favorite team, I'm an NFL OWNER!, and I do look at this line and think that Aaron Rodgers should be able to be seven points better than Brock Osweiler, no matter what the defense they face would be. Granted, this could be a quick overreaction to a team that is no better than there 5-6 record would indicate, but I guess we'll know more on Sunday. THE PACK IS BACK!
14 points - Detroit (+5.5) over New Orleans
These next two games are the two games I bet my partner Chuck on, so let's put my mouth where my money is. Detroit's games are all within seven points, so even if they lose I figure they can keep it close. But let's not overlook the Lions, they control their own destiny in the NFC North and as bad as that divison is, there's something to be said for being in first place during the first week of December (unless you're Houston, obviously).
13 points - Seattle (-6.5) over Carolina
Carolina's season has slipped away at 4-7. What they were able to do so succesfully last season in winning games that come down to the wire seems to be impossible for them this season. I don't think it ever gets that close on Sunday Night Football.
12 points - Buffalo (+3.0) over Oakland
Okay, I'm very high on Oakland. And I like them better on the road than I do at home this season. But this is a home game and they are essentially a pick 'em if you consider the three point bump a home team gets. So something is up here. Buffalo is a quiet 6-5 and this is my upset of the week, in that I don't even believe it myself. But let's roll the dice here.
11 points - Denver (-5.0) over Jacksonville
I have officially paid Mike Wickett the $50 we bet that Jacksonville would be a ten win team this season, and they were used to purchase toys for our toy drive. DONATE HERE!
10 points - New England (-13.5) over Los Angeles
I'm with Eric Dickerson, Jeff Fisher has to have naked pictures of somebody.
9 points - Chicago (-1.0) over San Francisco
8 points - Atlanta (-3.5) over Kansas City
Atlanta is a team that I never want to admit when they are good, but I'm not sure why that is. They are 7-4, they have a great offense, but I will continue to underestimate them at every turn. I'm going to go against my unexplained bias here and take them to beat a very impressive Chiefs team. Going to give Atlanta the benefit of the doubt being at home, really.
7 points - Philadelphia (-1.5) over Cincinnati
The Eagles are not a good football team. But the Bengals are worse. This is finally the year that the seat gets too hot for Marvin Lewis.
6 points - Pittsburgh (-6.0) over New York Giants
Fluky Giants Year alert! Give me the Steelers at home against a team that is somehow 8-3. This Giants team, man. They beat the Cowboys but lost to Green Bay. WHAT ARE THEY??
5 points - Arizona (-2.5) over Washington
Rooting for a tie to give both teams their second tie of the season. If Arizona does win this though and strings a few more together, this is could a key game down the stretch as these two teams, and Seattle, all have ties in the NFC. The ties haven't come into as much play as I thought they would quite yet because Arizona has been losing more often than they've been winning. But I'll take them at home here.
4 points - Miami (+3.0) over Baltimore
This seems like it could be the 11:30am Wild Card Saturday Game in one month's time.
3 points - New York Jets (+2.5) over Indianapolis
I think both these teams are bad.
2 points - San Diego (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
I think both these teams are good! But give me the home team again against a cross country traveling Buccaneers squad.
1 point - Dallas (-3.0) over Minnesota
That's now two straight games the Cowboys haven't covered after going 9-0-1 against the spread to start the season.