Before we get to this week’s picks, let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about the NHL.
Last Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning ripped the hearts out of Detroit fans more than any economic depression ever did.
Going into that game, the Lightning had won 12 straight against the once mighty, now paltry Detroit Red Wings.
Up two goals in the third period with only a few minutes to play, it looked like Detroit would finally get that monkey off their back and end the second longest, tete-a-tete losing streak in NHL history. Alas, it was not meant to be as our beloved Lightning scored two in the third, forcing an overtime and a shoot-out which the Bolts eventually won.
Those of us watching saw it coming a mile away. Detroit fans did too.
So, what does that have to do with this week’s picks, you ask?
It will take that kind of streak to win this contest in the last few weeks. Anyone’s hope is still alive… except for Detroit’s.
Slowly but surely, some of us #WhiteBelt have put together positive streaks to keep themselves in the mix. It’s still a tight squeeze at the top, however. With only four weeks to play, this contest is wide open… but it will take some sharp-shooting from here on out to make sure you don’t drop out of contention.
Here are your current standings:
Captain White Belt: 25
Dr. Laura: 20
Kid Sheraton: -2
Sauze Bauze: -3
Deacon Blues: -25 (eliminated – not enough weeks picked)
Pick wisely, my friends. Streak on as here are this week’s NFL betting lines:
Jaguars at Titans (Titans -4.5)
Ravens at Chiefs (Chiefs -6.5)
Colts at Texans (Texans -4.5)
Panthers at Browns (Browns +1.5)
Falcons at Packers (Packers -5.5)
Saints at Buccaneers (Bucs +8)
Jets at Bills (Bills -3.5)
Patriots at Dolphins (Dolphins +7.5)
Rams at Bears (Bears +3)
Giants at Redskins (Redskins +3.5)
Broncos at 49ers (49ers +4.5)
Bengals at Chargers (Chargers -14)
Lions at Cardinals (Cardinals +2.5)
Eagles at Cowboys (Cowboys -3.5)
Steelers at Raiders (Raiders +10.5)
Vikings at Seahawks (Seahawks -3.5)
Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Dallas Cowboys for FIVE CONFIDENCE POINTS
At this point in our gambling exhibition, I believe we all know what a hook is. In case we don’t, a hook, is a half a point. It basically ensures there are no pushes. A hook is also what they use to grab people off the stage when their acts have gone bad. The Dallas Cowboys act hasn’t quite gone bad yet. Heck, they just beat the Saints in prime time. The NFC East, however, is up for grabs and while the Cowboys are hot, they Eagles see what’s right in front of them: another division title. They’re not ready for the hook either. Considering the division is so tightly contested, I see a close game, which leads me to believe the Cowboys will not cover the three-and-a-half against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Atlanta Falcons (+5.5) at Green Bay Packers for FOUR CONFIDENCE POINTS
The Packers just fired their head coach. Despite getting them to the playoffs nine times in his tenure, the Packers sucking had to fall on someone’s head. It couldn’t be Aaron Rodgers’ so they canned Mike McCarthy instead. Joe Philbin will take over play-calling duties on an interim basis. This is the same Joe Philbin who has never had a winning record as an NFL head coach. The Packers lost at home last week to the Cardinals. They were a double-digit favorite. This week, they’re laying five-and-a-half to the Falcons, who are awful, but karma’s a bitch. I’m not convinced McCarthy is the reason this team sucks and I’m even less convinced Philbin is the answer. The Packers aren’t five-and-a-half points better than anyone. I’ll take the Falcons plus.
Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) for THREE CONFIDENCE POINTS
The Ravens have very quietly put together a nice string of wins behind their quarterback of the future (we think) Lamar Jackson. Since Joe Flacco went down with a foot injury, Jackson hasn’t lost a game. Their numbers, however, might be a bit inflated as those three wins have come against the Bengals, Raiders and Falcons, three of the worst teams in the league. This week, Lamar Jackson will let us know whether he’s ready for prime time as they take on the Chiefs in Kansas City. I get the game plan. Ravens will tie up clock. Chiefs are susceptible to the run. That being said, this is still the Chiefs and the Ravens are playing with their back-up quarterback in only his fourth career start. If I can get the Chiefs at home and lay less than a touchdown, I might do that against any team in the league. Chiefs minus.
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Chicago Bears for TWO CONFIDENCE POINTS
52 is the over/under in the Los Angeles Rams/Chicago Bears game. We haven’t talked over/unders much in this contest but an over/under is the total points Las Vegas thinks will be scored in the game by both teams. Known for their defense, Chicago hasn’t seen an over/under this high all season, which leads me to believe Vegas likes this game to be a shoot-out, which also leads me to believe they like L.A. I know the Bears defense is stout (as is the Rams) but they’re about to be put to the test by one of the best offenses in the league. Mitch Trubisky is iffy and the Rams don’t want to give up home field advantage in the NFC, which they currently own over the Saints. They’d also like to make a road statement against a potential playoff opponent. I’ll go with Vegas’ inclination and lay the three.
Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals FOR ONE CONFIDENCE POINT
My golf coach calls me stubborn. I don’t know why he would say such things. Perhaps it’s because I continue to tell him quasi-jokingly that I’ve never heard of this thing he calls a driving range. My bookie scoffs at me any time I bet on the Lions, thinking I’d be better off giving money to the Salvation Army getup outside my local supermarket. My girlfriend knows I’ve bet on the Lions multiple times this season and wonders why I would possibly continue to act so erratically. However, this week she likes… the Lions. Either she makes total sense or my bad habits are rubbing off on her. Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Albert Einstein never bet on football. I’m here to prove him wrong. I’ll take the Lions to cover on the road because they have to eventually do so, right?
J-Dub’s Poetically Prophetic Picks for Week 14
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-4)
AFC South tilt
Who do you trust more or less?
Tennessee trust time
Indianapolis at Houston (-4.5)
In December tend to show
The truth, Colts do not
Philadelphia at Dallas (-3.5)
Eagles at Cowboys
NFC East up for grabs
Philly’s special day
Minnesota at Seattle (-3)
Teams with no future
Gotta fill schedule somehow
Vikes won’t win on road
Atlanta at Green Bay (-6)
Teams with no future
One with a new coach at home
Packers don’t cover
KP’s Neuralyzer-Worthy NFL Week 14 Picks
FIVE – Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders (+10.5)
People aren’t high on this game. Maybe it’s the Raiders staying within seven of the Chiefs last week. Perhaps it’s Pittsburgh using the Samuels-Ridley combo in the backfield. Maybe it’s the fact that the Steelers are just 3-2-1 ATS as a road team this season.
Still, dive deeper. The Steelers lead the league with 41 sacks, while the Raiders are dead last with ten. Oakland has also allowed the fifth most sacks (39), while Pittsburgh has allowed just 17. That’s “NYPD”.
Jay: [holds up his badge] See that? NYPD, means I will Knock Your Punkass Down!
So, Big Ben (AGENT B) is going to have all the time in the world, while Derek Carr is likely to be running for his life. Roethlisberger also faces a Raiders pass defense that has allowed 29 TD’s through the air (with just 9 INT’s). Give me the Steelers to cover big on the road.
FOUR – New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
The Bills are the “noisy cricket” of the NFL. They don’t look like much, but there are times when they can really pack a punch. Place that defense in front of the “Bills Mafia” and they often take it to another level. Offensively, Josh Allen is starting to figure it out, being a threat through the air and on the ground. Zay Jones (AGENT Z) is now his clear top receiver, with thirteen targets last week.
A few weeks back, Buffalo thrashed the Jets in New York. Now, the Jets have to face the league’s number one pass defense (187.2 ypg) on the road. The key will be whether New York can establish a consistent run game – and yeah, I just don’t see it.
Kay: [notices Jay is pointing the gun in his direction] WHOA! kid…
[grabs the arm Jay is holding the weapon with and points it away from him]
Jay: Feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing…!
There’s no breaking the Bills Mafia. Those unpredictable Bills cover at home.
THREE – New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+3.5)
For weeks, the strength of the Redskins has been its defense. The offense battled injuries and struggled to put points on the board. Last week, the injuries got too big, forcing Mark Sanchez into the starting QB role. Sure, Sanchez has had a week with the first team, but the O-line is still depleted, as is the WR core. Adrian Peterson and the run game could only get going on one carry last week. That was Monday night, which also means the ‘Skins are playing on short rest. The defense is wearing down and not the same group it was weeks back.
Then, there’s the Giants, who play in close games and have been better in recent weeks. New York is actually 5-1 ATS as a road team this season. I expect a strong day from the Giants offense, especially from Saquon Barkley (Agent S). Sanchez and Co. simply can’t hack it, leaving another lost season for the Redskins, where every D.C. fan wishes they could be “flashy-thinged”.
The Redskins are heading for 6-10. Meanwhile, the Giants cover on the road (again).
TWO – Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)
Is this the same offense with Spencer Ware anchoring the ground game? Also, Kansas City teams of the past tend to fade a bit down the stretch. Don’t get me wrong, they are still great, but the Chiefs managed just a seven point win over the Raiders last week. It’s a legitimate question.
As for the matchup, well, we get two of the most electrifying young QB’s in the league: Lamar Jackson (Agent L) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Agent P). It’s “the best of the best of the best, sir!”
James Edwards: Boy, Captain America over here! “Best of the best of the best, sir!” “With honors.” Yeah, he’s just really excited and he has no clue why we’re here.
Only, we know why we are here – a pivotal game in the AFC race. K.C. is tough to beat at home, but as I said, there are questions. Now, the Chiefs face Baltimore’s defense that is third against the run and second against the pass. Baltimore’s pass defense has allowed just 16 passing TD’s. Although, it has just five picks, so perhaps Mahomes can expose that. Finally, it’s how a Chiefs defense can handle the RPO and talents of Jackson.
This will be the week’s most entertaining game, and a close one. Give me the Ravens and the points.
ONE – Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (+4.5)
The Broncos have found a way to win some big games and stay in the playoff race. There’s talent on this team, but the injuries are piling up, especially in the pass game.
“Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter. You’re a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. You don’t exist; you were never even born.”
OK, that’s a bit extreme. But, Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles during practice this week, meaning the top two receivers of recent memory are out. That leaves talented rookie Courtland Sutton (Agent C), who has been inconsistent. Another rookie like DaeSean Hamilton will also need to step up. But that inconsistency is likely to mean more focus on Phillip Lindsay and the run game. San Francisco is actually pretty decent against the run – and playing at home, too. It’s San Fran’s pass D (just two INT’s) that can be exposed. But who will catch all the passes?
Yeah, this one could be a nail biter (or just ugly). With the injuries and open questions, give me the 49ers and the points at home.
5 cp – Broncos
4 cp – Falcons
3 cp – Chiefs
2 cp – Giants
1 cp – Saints
5 – Chiefs
4 – Rams
3 – Seattle
2 – Lions
1 – Falcons
Lions – 5 pts
Seahawks – 4 pts
Saints – 3 pts
Panthers – 2 pts
Falcons – 1 pt
5 – Chargers – Legit SB contenders, Rivers is having one of the best seasons of his career, Derwin James is a freak (should be wearing pewter), and, umm…Jeff Driskel
4 – NYFG – Has anyone noticed the Giants playing pretty good football over the past month? No, seriously, they have been, but nobody has noticed, so they’re undervalued against a QB who will forever be known for the butt fumble. And he’s being protected by two 3rd stringers, so we might see another one in this game
3 – Buffalo – I’m not sure how this team continues to be so undervalued, except that they suck. But that’s okay, I’m not betting on whether or not they’re good. But I’ll bet that their defense is better than the Jets’ offense. Bills beat the Jets 4 weeks ago by 3 decades, and Josh Allen didn’t even play in that game. Buf is also nearly on a 3 game win streak (lost at Miami by 4 points despite a 240 yard advantage). Some things just make you go…hmmm
2 – Seattle – I actually like the Vikings, and I’ve picked them (with mixed results) a few times this season. But something is just not right with them. They should be playing better than they are. Meanwhile, Seattle is quietly taking care of business. Yes, they’ve beat up on some inferior opponents, but their only losses since Week 2 have been to legitimate SB contenders (SD and STL, er, LA and LA; I mean the Rams and Chargers). Vikes are 1-7 last 8 vs winning teams. Line says these teams are even? Maybe on paper, but not on the field. But God, I hate that hook (and by God, I mean Sports Chump)
1 – Dallas – This is one of my least favorite picks I have ever made. Why? Because I always think the Boys are overrated, because I don’t like Jerry Jones, and because I’m betting against a seemingly resurgent defending champion. So why am I making this bet? Well, because I can admit when I’m wrong, and I have watched this team play one of the most boring, yet winning, styles of football that exists. I might not always know how to bet this game, but I do know this game. And I know that a strong offensive line, blocking for an elite back, coupled with a suddenly error free QB throwing high percentage throws to a recently acquired play maker, is a recipe for success. On the other side of the ball you have a stiff front 7 who I think will shut down the Eagles’ running game and force Wentz to go against a solid back end that just limited the high-flying Saints to 10 points. Ughhhh!! go boys, I guess