All I could think about when putting together this week’s post was the racetrack.
You’ve been to bet on the ponies before, haven’t you? It’s a blast, especially when you come home a winner #Rarities.
The most exciting part about a trek to the track is holding that potential winning ticket in your hand as you watch your horses gallop down the stretch, inching ever so close to that finish line.
That’s right where we are this football season and it looks like we could be heading for a photo finish, not only for NFL teams vying for playoff position but also right here in this very contest.
As you’ll soon see, the standings are getting ever so tighter. There are currently five players within seven points of each other!
I remember back in Week Six when I had 34 points and a commanding lead… which reminds me of an old joke.
This head rolls into a bar, plops down onto a barstool and says “Hey, bartender. Give me a drink.” The bartender helps the head drink his drink and poof! All of the sudden, the head’s torso appears.
The head shouts “This is amazing! Bartender, get me another drink!”
The bartender makes him another drink, pours it down his gullet and the both the man’s arms appear!
“Bartender,” he shouts. “This is a Christmas miracle! I can finally drink my own drinks! Make me another,” he commands.
The bartender makes him another, the man drinks it and wouldn’t you know it, one of his legs appears.
Logic tells the man that one more drink will make the man whole again. He asks for one more. The bartender makes it, he drinks it and the man drops dead.
What’s the moral of the story? Well, it’s obvious that the man should have quit… wait for it… while he was a head.
With all this talk about horses and heads, there’s gotta be a good Godfather joke in here somewhere but I know to never go against the family. The contest must press on. Good luck to everyone as we ahem, head down the stretch.
Here are this week’s lines, contest standings and an offer you can’t refuse.
Saints at Cowboys (Dallas +7.5)
Colts at Jaguars (Jacksonville +4)
Chargers at Steelers (Pittsburgh -3.5)
Panthers at Bucs (Tampa Bay +3.5)
Ravens at Falcons (Atlanta -1)
Browns at Texans (Houston -5.5)
Bills at Dolphins (Miami -4.5)
Bears at Giants (+4)
Broncos at Bengals (Cincinnati +5)
Rams at Lions (Detroit +10)
Cardinals at Packers (Green Bay -14)
Chiefs at Raiders (Oakland +15)
Jets at Titans (Tennessee -8)
Vikings at Patriots (New England -5)
49ers at Seahawks (Seattle -9.5)
Redskins at Eagles (Philadelphia -6.5)
Captain White Belt: 22
Dr Laura: 15
Kid Sheraton: 5
Sauze Bauze: -4
Deacon Blues: -25
Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) for FIVE CONFIDENCE POINTS
The Chargers just lost Melvin Gordon. I know this because it may cost me my fantasy season. Gordon has been listed as day-to-day (aren’t we all) but he’s been gimpy with an MCL sprain for a few weeks now. The Chargers are getting grief for playing him in a game last week when they probably didn’t need to. Austin Ekeler is an ample substitute but not having that two-headed monster with Gordon in the backfield is a blow especially as they head to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers. If you’re like me, you keep expecting these Steelers to be better than they are, which is funny considering they’re 7-3-1 and most people still think they’re underachieving. These are very likely two AFC playoff teams and this could even be an eventual playoff matchup. The Steelers need this win to stay ahead of the charging, Lamar Jackson-led Ravens in the AFC North. They’ll do so by getting a well-needed win this weekend against San Diego and covering the three-and-a-half.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) for FOUR CONFIDENCE POINTS
I’m keeping with the Pennsylvania theme because I just saw Creed II aka Rocky VIII… and it was amazing!!! The Eagles are desperate. A quick glimpse at the NFC East standings tells you all you need to know about photo finishes. The banged-up Eagles host the banged-up Redskins with a chance to take the lead in the division by jumping from third to first. After the Cowboys lose to the Saints on Thursday night, this Monday night game will take on much more meaning. An Eagles win (paired with a Cowboys and Redskins loss) will make all three teams 6-6. Chaos will ensue as tie-breakers might just come into effect as these three vie for the playoffs. The Eagles muddle things up and cover the six-and-a-half at home on Monday.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5) for THREE CONFIDENCE POINTS
Another team that has their sights set on the playoffs is the Seattle Seahawks. As a general rule, laying double digit points with those former Seahawks teams was a bad play. That rule is a thing of the past. The Niners aren’t any good. Want proof? They got spanked by the Bucs last week. These Seahawks are hot right now with Russell Wilson reminding us he’s a one-man wrecking crew. They know a win here is a must. The ‘Hawks are coming off two nice wins against both Green Bay and Carolina. As they return home, Seattle will want to leave no doubt as they dismantle San Fran in front of the 12th man and cover the nine-and-a-half.
Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (-1) for TWO CONFIDENCE POINTS
Am I the only one here waiting for A) the real Atlanta Falcons to please stand up and B) some team in the NFL to remind the Ravens that running quarterbacks simply don’t work? Or maybe, just maybe, we HAVE seen the real Atlanta Falcons stand up and they’re just that bad. And maybe Lamar Jackson is just that good. A friend texted me the other day and asked me if I thought Dan Quinn would be fired. I don’t think things are quite that bad in Atlanta although this team is grossly underachieving. A team with a defensive-minded coach shouldn’t be one of the worst defensive teams in the league and that’s just what the Falcons are. That won’t happen this weekend as Atlanta becomes the first team to solve the Lamar Jackson riddle and covers the lone point at home.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) for ONE CONFIDENCE POINT
The Panthers are reeling. They’ve lost three straight including a heartbreaker at home to the Seattle Seahawks last week. Running back Christian McCaffrey had the game of his life and the Panthers STILL couldn’t pull of the victory. Cam Newton still can’t find a way to get his once number one target Devin Funchess into the mix. (I know this because Funchess is also on my fantasy team.) Meanwhile, the Bucs are riding high off a well-needed victory over the Niners. I said it last week and I’ll say it again. Jameis Winston is auditioning for a job, whether it’s in Tampa Bay or elsewhere. Last week was the first week he didn’t commit a turnover, probably since birth, and the Bucs came up with a solid game plan to beat the lowly Niners. This should be a tight match-up this Sunday which means I’ll be taking the home team and the points.
J-Dub’s Poetically Prophetic Picks
Saints (-4.5) at Cowboys
Some lines are as high
As Saints by seven and hook
Big Easy all the way
Colts (-3) at Jaguars
I’ve been wrong about
These two more than anyone
Colts finally right
Bills at Dolphins (-5)
Football is land-based game
Giant mangy ruminants
Stampede finned mammals
Ravens at Falcons (PICK)
Battle of the Birds
Baltimore without Flacco
Take this anyway
Vikings at Patriots (-3.5)
Want to go broke fast?
Betting against Patriots
Great way to do that
KP’s Subtitle-Free, High-Flying NFL Week 13 Picks
FIVE – Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions (+10)
Let’s start with the battle for the league’s top team. The Saints surprisingly went silent against the Cowboys and the Chiefs are in complete turmoil. That leaves the Rams, coming off a bye. Aqib Talib is active and back, which boosts the pass defense. Throw in L.A.’s track-style offense in a dome (on turf). Meanwhile, the Lions are already without Marvin Jones (IR). Golden Tate was traded weeks ago. Kerryon Johnson is out this week and Bruce Ellington is questionable.
“Can you fly this plane and land it”, Matthew Stafford?
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”
No, really… I am very serious. The Rams cover big on the road.
FOUR – Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4)
If you haven’t noticed, the Colts have won five straight. The Jags, meanwhile, are crumbling right before our eyes. Let’s start on defense. Jalen Ramsey might not play. A once ferocious defense is now 27th in sacks (21). Oh, and to add to that, Indianapolis has allowed an NFL-low 11 sacks. What about the offense? There’s a new OC (Hackett is gone) and a new QB, Cody Kessler (enjoy that clipboard, Mr. Bortles). Carlos Hyde is replacing a suspended Leonard Fournette, too. There will be struggles. How will the Jags respond to all the change? To this point, the answer to that question has been – “not well”.
Hanging Lady: Nervous?
Ted Striker: Yes.
Hanging Lady: First time?
Ted Striker: No, I’ve been nervous lots of times.
Indianapolis keeps the streak alive. Give me the Colts to cover on the road.
THREE – Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers (-14)
Randall Cobb is excited to see how Aaron Rodgers will respond to recent criticism. Green Bay has its proverbial back against the wall, likely needing to win out. But can we really trust this Packers offense that has completely floundered over the last few weeks? Also, don’t overlook the Arizona defense, which is fourth against the pass (219.8 ypg allowed).
But, this is Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau against Josh Rosen. Right? Well, exactly! Lambeau in December. The forecast calls for light snow, 20 mph winds and temps in the mid-30’s. What will that do to the game plan? Could we see more David Johnson and Aaron Jones? I can’t tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?
Bank on high winds and more running. With that in mind, give me the Cardinals and the points.
TWO – Chicago Bears at New York Giants (+4)
Seven of New York’s games have been decided by five points or less this season. SEVEN. That includes the last three. Although, these games were against the Bucs, Niners and Eagles – lesser defenses. Nothing like what New York will face with the Bears.
Mitch Trubisky is doubtful, likely meaning it’ll be the Chase Daniel show again. The Bears, however, have had a few extra days to prepare following its Thanksgiving win over Detroit. The forecast calls for drizzle and chilly conditions. That could also play into Chicago’s hands. Red zone attempts could be at a premium. With that in mind, Chicago is 8th in overall red zone scoring percentage (TD only), while the Giants are 28th. At home, New York is also 28th.
Male announcer: The red zone has always been for loading and unloading of passengers. There’s never stopping in a white zone.
No arguing. Chicago’s rested D is too much for Eli. Give me the Bears to cover on the road.
ONE – Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5)
Yes, I know the recent history of the Redskins on Monday Night Football. It’s bad. I also realize the injuries the Redskins have had to deal with, especially on offense. It feels like half the team “has to be gotten to a hospital”.
Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?
Rumack: It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.
But there’s hope, as a number of key players are set to come back. Meanwhile, in Philly, the Eagles have had their own struggles. In fact, all but one of Philadelphia’s wins have been by less than a TD.
With that in mind, give me the Redskins and the points in a close game on Monday night.
5 cp – Titans
4 cp – Seahawks
3 cp – Eagles
2 cp – Colts
1 cp – Falcons
5 – Steelers
4 – Seahawks
3 – Patriots
2 – Colts
1 – Rams
1) Stick to gambling, Shecky.
2) “It’s a Sicilian message. It means J-Dub’s picks sleep with the fishes.”
5 – Indy
4 – Seattle
3 – Denver
2 – New England
1 – Washington
Could be a weird day