You gotta believe in the Jaguars, baby! Watch out for them in a couple years. They’ll be coming for you. (Deep breath…) OK, I’ve calmed down after last night’s toilet bowl that I didn’t even watch, but it was nice to be right on the Jags and the under. The Titans probably gave up on the second half because they really need to lock in one of Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. At least their fans got some pie! Better for those of us anyway who took the Jaguars. With two Saturday games this weekend, it’s a nice holiday gift for us degenerate gamblers and fantasy football players.
Locks of the Week:
Baltimore -5 over HOUSTON
Welcome back to the NFL, Case Keenum! A week ago you were hanging out on your couch and now you’re starting an NFL game! Keenum wasn’t awful in his first couple starts for Houston last year, but he ended his reign as Texans quarterback so poorly that he got flushed out of the league. Now he’s back only because he has a good idea of the offense compared to other healthy quarterback, Thad Lewis. That doesn’t bode well since the only way to beat Baltimore is to throw the ball. Their secondary is as bad as their run defense is good. It could be a long afternoon for Houston as Baltimore marches towards the playoffs.
Buffalo -6.5 over OAKLAND
The Bills run defense has gotten worse in recent week, but Oakland throws the ball on a higher percentage of their plays than any team in the league. Normally you’d play this as a letdown spot after a big win over Green Bay, but Buffalo has playoff aspirations in mind. They should be focused.
Denver -3 over CINCINNATI
The Bengals’ rushing defense has been poor all season long so it’s quite convenient that Denver’s strong running game has been the focus in recent weeks. Add in Andy Dalton’s inability to perform in primetime games (maybe it’s his vision?) and Denver should coast in this one.
Trap Games of the Week:
WASHINGTON +8 over Philadelphia
Maybe Washington has given up or maybe they’ll show up against one of their biggest rivals. Your guess is as good as mine, but I’ll lean to the side of eight points being too many.
TAMPA BAY +13 over Green Bay
This game will be a walk in the park for the Packers after what they went through last week, but they’ll take their foot of the gas and let the Buccaneers get a late cover. Tampa Bay is great at that since they have plenty of passing weapons for garbage time. Also check out Aaron Rodgers’ home and road splits.
Kyle: Tampa Bay
Rest of the Picks:
SAN FRANCISCO -1 over San Diego
Philip Rivers has been nursing a back injury for the last few weeks and it’s clear when you look at the way he’s played. The 49ers may’ve just cut Ray McDonald and they may have star rookie linebacker Chris Borland miss the game due to injury, but they can still play pretty good defense. San Diego’s lack of offensive bite may even wake up the offense some too. Maybe the refs won’t be against San Francisco this week.
Kyle: San Francisco
N.Y. JETS +11.5 over New England
We all will be very surprised if Rex Ryan returns to coach the Jets next season, but you can’t tell me he doesn’t have his team playing hard. There’s nothing like a game against their main rivals to keep them playing hard. The Patriots will still win this game, but they may not be as sharp after facing so many strong teams in a row.
Kyle: New England
Minnesota +7 over MIAMI
The Vikings have been frisky with Teddy Bridgewater in charge. How many games would they have won if Adrian Peterson were active all season? Miami is bottoming out after a few key injuries and some playoff hope crushing losses.
Detroit -7 over CHICAGO
I’ll let you take Jimmy Claussen and I’ll take the other side. I’ve heard enough about Jay Cutler to this point, but I’ll suggest he gets traded to the Jets for a second rounder.
Atlanta +7 over NEW ORLEANS
We have another rivalry game here and again I like the team catching points. As we’ve seen recently, New Orleans doesn’t have the same magic at home and Atlanta has been surprisingly competitive despite all their inefficiencies.
Kyle: New Orleans
Kansas City +3 over PITTSBURGH
The loser of this game likely misses the playoffs. While the Steelers’ offense has been chugging along, their defense has not. Kansas City should be able to keep pace and anything more than a field goal is purely based on offensive perception. There will be a lot of points in this once, so the over isn’t a bad idea.
CAROLINA -3 over Cleveland
This line may look weird to you, but Carolina’s defense has been much better in recent weeks and Johhny Football clearly needs some time with his training wheels. The under seems like a strong position to take in this one.
ST. LOUIS -6.5 over N.Y. Giants
The Giants have won two games in a row against two of the worst defenses in football. It’s time for a reality check as their poor offensive line won’t be capable of keeping Eli upright against St. Louis’ predatory defensive line. The Giants’ defense is also capable of making Shaun Hill and Tre Mason look like Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.
Kyle: St. Louis
DALLAS -3 over Indianapolis
This game reminds me of when New Orleans came to Dallas earlier in the season. People thought Dallas’ defense would be exposed, but the key ended up being New Orleans’ terrible defense allowing the Cowboys to kill them with the run and Dallas won easily. All factors point in that direction again and T.Y Hilton being banged up certainly doesn’t help.
Seattle -7.5 over ARIZONA
The last time Arizona had Ryan Lindley play in a game against Seattle, they lost 59-0. That game was in Seattle, where the Seahawks generally play better, but that doesn’t mean Lindley is any more talented. Seattle doesn’t need to spot Arizona 60 in this one. 10 will do.
This Week: 1-0
Last Week: 10-6