I don’t know how many of you remember the old-school classic The Money Pit starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long but it’s worth a looksee, especially if you’re a homeowner encountering problems with your recent investment. Hanks and Long play newlyweds who buy the house of their dreams only to have everything that can go wrong go far more wrong than they ever imagined. Theirs is the Murphy’s Law of housing projects but then again, aren’t they all?
The recurring line that stands out from this 80s comedy is “Two Weeks!” Anytime they hire someone to fix whatever has gone wrong, the canned answer they get for how long it will take to fix the problem is two weeks.
That’s what we have left in the season, everyone. Two weeks to make a move… and after last week’s missteps, many of us have houses that are desperately in need of repair.
Before we get to this week’s lines and picks, here’s an amusing gambling tidbit for you.
Last Sunday, I encouraged my bookie to bet every underdog across the board. There were a few I really liked so figured if at least two of them hit, I’d get my money back. I told him the only two dogs I didn’t like were San Francisco (over Seattle) and Philadelphia (over the Rams). We included them anyway, figuring that since those were the two teams I didn’t like, they’d be sure to hit.
Wouldn’t ya’ know it? They both did. Keep that in mind when reading my picks for Week 16.
Here, my friends, are your current standings:
Captain White Belt: 19
Dr Laura: 14
Kid Sheraton: 4
Sauze Bauze: -19
*Fibbs and Deacon Blues have been eliminated for not participating in the required ten weeks
Here are Week 16’s gambling lines. Pay close attention to those injury reports, people. You know Vegas has. Also, keep in mind, there are no more Thursday games but there are two games on Saturday and the usual one on Monday. Happy gambling!
Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (Titans -10)
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (Chargers -4.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys -7)
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (Patriots -13.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (Panthers +3.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (Dolphins -3.5)
New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts (Colts -9.5)
Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles (Eagles -2.5)
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (Lions +5.5)
Green Bay Packers at New York Jets (Jets +2.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (Browns -8.5)
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals +14)
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (49ers +4)
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints (Saints -6.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks (+2.5)
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (Raiders +2.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (-3.5) for FIVE CONFIDENCE POINTS
There’s this unwritten rule among the three Florida NFL teams. Considering it’s been a while since any of them have been relevant, when they play each other, it’s generally a big deal even if there’s nothing on the line but pride. No franchise wants to be the worst in a state full of bad teams. That Jacksonville playoff run from last year now looks like a flash in the pan. With the Bucs also stinking up the Sunshine State, it pains me to say that the Miami Dolphins are Florida’s best pro team. The Dolphins will be without Frank Gore this weekend. He has an AARP meeting to attend. The Fish are still in the hunt for a playoff spot although the chances of them landing one are about as great as Blake Bortles starting at quarterback next year for the Jags. The Dolphins will be looking to win this game resoundingly, which shouldn’t be all that difficult considering who they’re playing. Four points does not seem like a lot to lay against a team that has been horrible all season long. For that reason, I’ll take the fish to fry.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (-7) for FOUR CONFIDENCE POINTS
The Dallas Cowboys are pissed. Did you see them get shut out by the Indianapolis Colts last week? That last team I would want to play right now is the Cowboys scorned. Enter your 5-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers… or should I say your 1-6 on the road Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m not going to go as far as to say there is no possible way the Dysfunctioneers go into Dallas and win that game. After all, that’s why they play the games in the first place. But there’s no way Tampa goes into Dallas and beats a team that is looking for a playoff spot. From everything I’m hearing, which means absolutely nothing, Jameis Winston’s job is secure next season and Dirk Koetter’s is not. So why would Tampa give it their all this week and play for a dead man walking? They won’t. Dallas wins and covers.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at New Orleans Saints for THREE CONFIDENCE POINTS
The Saints are 12-2 and have already locked up a playoff spot. The Steelers don’t share that same luxury. The trick here is twofold. The Saints will want to win and keep a stranglehold on home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, HOWEVER, even if they and the Rams finish with the same record, the Saints will hold the tiebreak thanks to their victory in Week 8. If the Chargers take care of the Ravens in L.A. this weekend, the Steelers will have a little wiggle room knowing they’ll need only a win against the Bengals in Week 17 to land a playoff home game. But what if the Ravens continue to do what they’ve been doing and shock the Chargers? Then this game becomes a must-win for Pittsburgh. Either way, wiggle room is not a phrase teams like to hear with their post-season on the line. I’m taking the Steelers and the six-and-a-half. The Steelers played in Foxboro last weekend and won. Another tough roadie in New Orleans this Sunday will be all the tune-up they need for January.
Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (-10) for TWO CONFIDENCE POINTS
Am I the only one who’s noticed how well the Tennessee Titans have been playing lately? After dropping two very difficult games on the road at both Indy and Houston, they’ve won their next three, allowing only 31 points in those three games albeit it to inferior opponents. Guess who they’re playing this Saturday. Another inferior opponent. Redskins quarterbacks are dropping faster than Spinal Tap drummers. Not only that but Derrick Henry has finally become the running back we all thought he might be. I generally don’t like taking the Titans and laying double digits points but they’re hot right now and they just reenacted that scene from the movie Remember the Titans, which is all the more reason to take them and lay the points.
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (-4) for ONE CONFIDENCE POINT
The Ravens are also hot right now, winners of four of their last five. Lamar Jackson is playing so well, he might have saved John Harbaugh’s job. Their hotness is reflected in this point spread. The Chargers have virtually no home field advantage. Quick, without looking, where do they play their home games? SportsChump Central didn’t know either and had to look it up. Answer: Rokit Field at StubHub Center in Carson, California, home to California State University. Seating capacity: 27,000. That being said, they’ve won ten of their last eleven and are making the suddenly cold Rams awfully uncomfortable with their division lead. This should be a great game between two playoff teams but in my mind, the Chargers’ hot streak trumps that of Baltimore’s. They’ll cover the four-and-a-half on a cool night in Carson.
Note: J-Dub opted out this week. He’s busy playing Santa Claus at a local strip mall full of vagrants and cigarette butts. He’s promised to make a resounding return for the final week of the season.
FIVE – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+5.5)
The NFC North is a breeding ground for frustration this season, with the lone exception being the Chicago Bears. These two teams have combined to go 12-14-1 – quite an unexpected result. Fans and critics have a variety of contract complaints. Matt Patricia has his fair share of critics and Kirk Cousins (and all that guaranteed money in tow) is getting a lot of flack, too.
Frances: Talk about pissing your money away. I hope you kids see what a silly waste of resources this was.
Audrey: He worked really hard, Grandma.
Art: So do washing machines.
So, which “washing machine” is going to perform better? Well, the Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot and have more to play for. Also, the Minnesota offense saw quite a spike following its OC change. Is that a fluke and an outlier or the real deal? The Vikings defense leads the NFL in sacks (47) and should wreak havoc on a banged up Matthew Stafford, too.
“The little lights… they aren’t twinkling” – not in Detroit, at least. Vikings cover on the road.
FOUR – Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (+4)
Do you hear that?
Aunt Bethany: What’s that sound? You hear it? It’s a funny squeaky sound.
Uncle Lewis: You couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.
It’s the sound of Chicago cheering on a Bears division title – its first since 2010. Don’t stop there, as the Bears still have a shot at a first round bye. With that motivation and a lethal defense, this is a good luck message to the San Francisco offense.
Many don’t realize the Bears have an NFL-high 26 interceptions, six more than any other team. Of course, we all know Khalil Mack. He’s all over the field and anchors a defense that has 45 sacks.
Clark: Burn some dust here. Eat my rubber.
Rusty Griswold: Dad, I think you mean burn rubber and eat my dust.
Clark: Whatever, Russ. Whatever.
What’s that sound? It’s Nick Mullens and Kyle Shanahan sighing in frustration. Perhaps eating some dust, too. Give me the Bears to cover on the road.
THREE – Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (+3.5)
The Panthers have lost six straight. It’s now a lost season. Cam Newton is likely out for the year. A once promising start has completely vanished.
Clark: [Clark and Eddie carrying the chair outside after the cat was electrocuted] You smell something?
Eddie: Fried pussycat.
Taylor Heinicke takes over for the injured Newton. What will be interesting is how much Cam was hurting the team. Still, this is Heinicke’s first start and there are bound to be lumps taken.
The Falcons (22nd against the pass, 25th against the run) can be scored on. Offensively, Julio Jones is a game-time decision. The Panthers also showed a lot of heart defensively last week and also play quite well in front of its home crowd. So, otherwise, I’d consider ranking this game higher on my list.
Still, my gut says Julio plays and Heinicke will make too many mistakes against the Atlanta defense. Give me the Falcons to cover on the road.
TWO – Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (+14)
This is an interesting one. Jared Goff has struggled as of late and Todd Gurley is injured and a game-time decision. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are closing in on the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft. What are we looking at? A lot of crappy play and a lot of open-ended questions.
Ellen: What are you looking at?
Clark: Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn… the clean, cool chill of the holiday air… an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer…
[Eddie, in the driveway, is draining the RV’s toilet]
Eddie: Shitter was full.
Clark: Ah, yeah. You checked our shitters, honey?
Ellen: Clark, please. He doesn’t know any better.
Clark: He oughta know it’s illegal. That’s a storm sewer. If it fills with gas, I pity the person who lights a match within ten yards of it.
This broadcast might also be illegal, where no one should light a match within ten yards of it. This could either be a blowout or just an ugly, sloppy game. It depends on which Jared Goff shows up and if Gurley is hampered or out. No Gurley puts more pressure on Goff. Goff is facing an Arizona defense that is fifth against the pass.
The 14-point line scares me and that’s why I’m taking the Cardinals and the points at home.
ONE – Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-8.5)
Guys, no need to wipe your eyes or clean your glasses. That’s no typo. The Cleveland Browns are in fact favored by 8 1/2 points.
Clark: Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.
What a difference a year makes. The Browns have already trounced the Bengals once this season, but that’s tough to do twice. Then again, Cincinnati is without its two top receivers and has been without its starting QB for weeks. The defense is a mess and could be on the field longer, because the offense can’t move the ball. Still, I expect a heavy dose of Joe Mixon against a Cleveland run defense that is 24th against the run and has allowed 18 TD’s on the ground.
The Bengals managed a close game against a much better Chargers team a few weeks back. My gut says Cincinnati keeps this one close, as well. Give me the Bengals and the points. Oh, and refill my eggnog.