I’m back, and I apologize to everyone who missed reading my weekly picks last week. I was really busy and experiencing some sort of hangover from having my best week, 9-5, the week before. I know all of you guys just muddle through your boring lives until you get the chance to escape them as you read my brilliant picks.
Ok, I’m sure you all found a way to fill the void in your lives, and thank you to Joey for filling in for me last week. And for the record, I did still make my own picks and went 5-9, so you’re welcome for not having to read those. Let’s get on to the Thanksgiving special.
Eagles (+2.5) over LIONS
I don’t know what to make of either of these teams. The Eagles seem like a team that shouldn’t be favored by more than three against anyone, and also shouldn’t be getting more than three points against anyone, while the Lions are a different team every week. However, the Chip Kelly offense could go bananas at any time, and though Bradford’s status is uncertain the running game has been better as of late. I’m taking the points but this is a major stay away.
Panthers (+1.5) over COWBOYS
I’m finally ready to start acknowledging the Panthers as legit. I still think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC, but Carolina has one of the league’s best defenses, a powerful running game, and Cam Newton has absolutely turned a corner. This game is all of a sudden more fun with a healthy Cowboys team, but on a short week I’m going to take the better running game and the better defense in this one.
Bears (+8.5) over PACKERS
The Bears are a team that isn’t getting a lot of respect. The Packers line is always inflated because everybody loves to bet on them, but while they looked good last week it was the first time they looked good since Week 3. Cutler is having a good season, Forte and Jeffery could both be coming back, and the Bears defense is much improved. I look for the Bears to cover easily, and I think they could pull off the upset.
Raiders (-1.5) over TITANS
I’m not jumping ship on the Raiders after the last few games. The Titans defense is exactly what they need to get back on track, and their pass rush should give Mariota problems. The Raiders are simply a much better team than the Titans, and they’ve taken care of business against bad teams this year (with the exception of last week).
Bills (+6) over CHIEFS
This feels like a classic Andy Reid game to blow. The Chiefs are feeling good, they’ve won four games in a row in impressive fashion and trail the Broncos by three games in the division. This isn’t a must win but it feels like it is, and I fully expect them to be trailing by three with under two minutes to go and all three timeouts, and for Andy Reid to waste all three timeouts on one play where Charcandrick West runs out of bounds on a swing pass that gained three yards, and then Alex Smith tries to throw three more of those passes before they turn it over on downs.
COLTS (-3) over Buccaneers
The Bucs are a little frisky and Jameis is really coming into his own, but I expect them to come back down to earth a little bit against a Colts team that needs this game more. The Texans have all of a sudden made the AFC South interesting, but Indy got a big win in Atlanta last week, and are undefeated with Matt Hasselbeck starting. They need to win this game and be 6-5 when they possibly get Luck back next week. Seriously Andrew, my fantasy team needs you back, there’s a playoff berth on the line.
Giants (-2.5) over REDSKINS
The Giants are coming off of a bye, and the last time we saw them they all but beat the Patriots again. The Giants are 7-4 coming off of a bye under Tom Coughlin, and had won six straight off of byes until last year. The Redskins had a horrible showing last week, and that defense has major holes. I’ll take Eli and Odell to carve them up.
TEXANS (-3) over Saints
J.J. Watt is once again proving why he’s far and away the best defensive player in football, even if that can only take a team so far. It’s possible that he just swallows a quarterback whole in the upcoming weeks, and Drew Brees is definitely a candidate for that. The Saints defense is putrid, so even a struggling Texans offense should be able to put up points against them, but they’ll obviously win this game on defense.
Vikings (+1) over FALCONS
I don’t know what happened to the Falcons, but they’ve fallen off of a cliff. Since their hot offensive start they’ve lost four of five games and the one win was a 10-7 victory over the Titans. Devonta Freeman might not play, and the Vikings need to win. I expect them to bounce back after a bad loss to the Packers.
Rams (+8.5) over BENGALS
I’m still picking the Bengals to win, but I think the Rams keep it close. They’ve lost three straight but their defense has been good in most of them, and they’re only two games out of a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Bengals need to clean some stuff up, as they’ve struggled with consistency in their consecutive losses.
JAGUARS (-3.5) over Chargers
This might be the best bet of the week. The Jaguars have a real chance to win their division, and the team has a lot of confidence in Blake Bortles. Think about this, Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Julius Thomas, and T.J. Yeldon are all on fantasy rosters. And frankly, the Chargers aren’t a good team, and they’ll be flying across the country to play a 10 am pacific kickoff.
JETS (-3.5) over Dolphins
I know the Jets are scuffling, but the Dolphins are simply not a good team. They struggle to ever build momentum because they can’t capitalize off of their own success, and their defense tends to wear down at the end of games. The Jets are in a four-way tie for the last wild card spot and really need all the wins they can get, I think they take care of business at home.
Cardinals (-10) over 49ERS
I said this earlier, but I think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC. They have the most balanced offense by far, and probably the best in the league besides the Patriots. Their defense is good situationally and they create a lot of turnovers, and the 49ers are a mess offensively.
Steelers (+3.5) over SEAHAWKS
We all need to stop giving the Seahawks the benefit of the doubt. Let me give you Seattle’s five wins this year: Jimmy Clausen and the Bears, 13-10 over the Lions thanks to a blown call, Matt Cassel’s Cowboys by a point in the last minute, and two wins over the 49ers. The Steelers, meanwhile, are coming off of a bye and are as healthy as they’ve been on offense. This will be the funeral of the legion of boom. Scratch what I said about the Jaguars, this is the best bet of the week.
Patriots (-3) over THE BROCKWEILER
While the Patriots keep losing receivers, they’re getting their line mostly healthy, and they should look more like their offense from earlier in the year than Monday night. Give Rex Ryan credit, he always puts together a defensive gameplan that confuses Brady at the line of scrimmage, and you saw him not knowing who to throw to most of the time. That should change Sunday night, and even without Edelman and possibly Amendola, and the underrated Pats defense should give Brock Ossweiler and his limited running game problems. I’d also like to offer a hot take: Peyton Manning has played his last game as a Bronco, but he’ll try to come back with someone else next year and it’s going to be even more of an embarrassment. Peyton, if you’re reading this, know that you’ve had a wonderful career, you’re a top three and probably top two all-time quarterback. Let it go. You’re tarnishing you’re legacy.
BROWNS (-2.5) over Ravens
Rather than break down the worst Monday night game the World Wide Leader has gotten so far, I wanted to use this time to give my opinion on Johnny Manziel. Like most, I loved watching Manziel in college. I loved how every time I watched him play he did something I had never seen before, and he constantly made a mockery of SEC defenses. And like most, I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt on a lot of his off-field escapades. But he’s done. There’s not a spot in this league for Johnny Manziel. He’s been giving opportunity after opportunity, and he refuses to grow up. In order to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League, you need to act like and adult, and Johnny never has, and from the looks of it never will, because he doesn’t understand. It’s a sad story, because he has all the talent in the world. But I applaud Mike Pettine on the decision he made.
For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Alabama (-13.5), Oklahoma (-7), Notre Dame (+2.5), Clemson (-17.5), Florida (+2), Nebraska, Michigan, and Baylor straight up.
NFL Record Last Week: 5-9-0
NFL Record Overall: 74-83-6
College Football Record Last Week: 5-3-0
College Football Record Overall: 49-39-0