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It is week 16 in the NFL. We have gotten to the point where there are no more Thursday night games; only Saturday games in addition to the standard Sunday and Monday night slate. Only two weeks left in the regular season—crazy how quick this season has gone.
The current state of the NFL is crazy. Last week we had some really surprising results. Many of the top teams in the league (the Patriots, Rams, Chiefs) and some of the hottest teams (the Cowboys and the Seahawks) all lost. The Chargers, who are traditionally perennial choke artists may be the best team in the AFC? The Cleveland Browns, yes those Cleveland Browns, are still in the hunt for a playoff spot? The Patriots have lost two in a row and Tom Brady looks really really old; are they done? What is going on with the Rams? Chaos, absolute chaos.
As for the bettors, specifically myself, it's been a blood bath, one out of four again last week. After going over a month straight of being consistently over .500 with these picks, I am ice cold. The teams I thought I can trust are not very trustworthy; in fact no one seems to be trustworthy this season. There really isn't that one dominant team right now which makes for compelling television but it's tough to predict. But, because we need some juice to watch the NFL these days, since the reffing is horrible, the level of play is poor, the coaching is generally bad, we try to handicap the games (responsibly of course). My goal is to be around 60 percent this year, and right now I need to finish hot to get to that mark. So I said it last week and I will say it again, then next week (and hopefully it comes true); it's time for a major comeback. With out further ado, here are this weeks picks against the spread:
1. Dolphin (Down Four) Against the Jaguars:
The Dolphins really hurt my feelings last week. I expected a lot more from them against Minnesota and they got absolutely pounded so why am I going back for seconds with them? Because they are 6-1 at home this year and they are hosting the Jaguars who are pitiful. The fins are still alive for a playoff spot so I expect them to play like it.
2. Raiders (Up Two and a Half) Against the Broncos:
Happy Christmas Eve to all celebrating; what better way to celebrate with a TERRIBLE football game on TV which happens to be the finale of Monday Night Football for the season. I have been making fun of the Raiders all year and with good reason, BUT, the home dawgs as they say, have been cashing tickets all year and the Broncos have so few starters on offense available that they are a shell of themselves. So I can't believe I'm doing this but, give me the Raiders with the points.
3. Bears (Down Four) Against the 49ers:
I know, I just mentioned how the home dawgs have been great this year and going against San Fran burned me last week, but the Bears defense is fierce and defense travels. The Bears are looking at potentially getting a by in the first round and want to stay in the three seed so they have every incentive to play well. Bear down.
4. Bengals (Up Eight) Against the Browns:
The Browns are riding high these days; as they should be. The fact that the Browns are in the hunt in late December is a win for the city of Cleveland. Baker Mayfield has been amazing this year and he has given the city someone to be very excited about. Had the fired that jackass Hue Jackson earlier in the year, this Browns team could easily be a playoff team. However, I don't trust the Browns to beat anyone by more than a touchdown. Not yet. If the spread was five to six, sure. Bit not at eight.
5. Texans (Up Two and a Half) Against the Eagles:
I'll admit, this Nick Foles thing scares me a bit. For some stupid reason the Eagles rally around him and play well when he is at the helm. And sometimes it has nothing to do with him. It's very strange. However, this Eagles team is not the same team as last year. Their secondary is in shambles. I expect Hopkins and Demariyus Thomas to have nice days against them. Houston wants to have a first round bye, which considering they started zero to three is pretty crazy, and I think they get it done.
On the podcasting front, a new episode of For the Love of the Game is recording Christmas Eve. I'll be recapping the Saturday and Sunday games and I will be going over what is going on in the Eastern Conference in the NBA and preview the giant Christmas Day games so be on the lookout for that and if you have not subscribed yet to the pod, stop reading this and do so. You will be doing yourself a favor.
Good luck to all the bettors out there and happy holidays.
Last Week: 1-4
Season Record: 39-35-2