Week 13 NFL Picks – brought to you by the hottest gambler alive

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Everything I touched last week turned to gold. A ridiculous string of winning bets. A 10-5-1 record against the spread in my picks (bringing my season record to a 55% win rate, which is as good as the pro’s). Going something like 15-2 in my bet recommendations. And did I mention a ridiculous amount of winning bets?

Week 12 was a blast. But when the dust settled on Sunday night, the oddsmakers were already hard at work making sure week 13 isn’t nearly as fun. I’m nervous. It doesn’t feel quite as easy this week.

So be careful out there this week, and don’t get overconfident (like I’m almost definitely going to do).

Here are the week 13 picks.

Teams on Bye: Cleveland, Tennessee

Dallas (-4) at Minnesota | over/under 44

The Pick: Minnesota

The Score: Minnesota 23, Dallas 21

The Bets: Under (54) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

So I was already feeling suspicious of the obvious Dallas bet in this game. They’re coming off a gigantic home division win on Thanksgiving over Washington, and next week they play at the Giants, another gigantic division game. Tell me this doesn’t feel like the ultimate letdown or “everything goes wrong” game for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys really should realize that if they beat Minnesota, the Giants game is almost irrelevant. But I think they’ll succumb to thinking about how New York is suddenly nipping at their heels.

Statistically and logically speaking, Dallas should win and probably cover. But this is the time of year where weird shit happens.

And as you’re watching them look more like the 2015 Brandon Weeden Cowboys than this current installment, just remember that I tried to warn you, and even reminded you that Minnesota hasn’t lost a home game in regulation this year.

(Wrote all of that way before Dallas squeaked out a 17-15 win on Thursday night. Taking Minnesota with the points was the ultimate Sharp move. Feels like a good omen for the rest of the weekend.)


Kansas City at Atlanta (-4.5) | over/under 49

The Pick: Kansas City

The Score: Atlanta 26, Kansas City 23 (in OT)

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

Atlanta has come through for me time after time this season, but I don’t see them doing it again in week 13. At best, they should be 3 point favorites because that’s the standard spread for two teams at a similar level of success/talent.

The fact that the KC offense hasn’t put up more than 20 points in over a month is alarming (last week’s Denver game saw a safety, a safety kick return and a FG in overtime that they were handed by Denver).

I think this game is going to overtime and I trust the Falcons offense just a bit more than the Chiefs defense in terms of pulling out a late win. But can’t pick Atlanta to cover.


Detroit at New Orleans (-5.5) | over/under 53.5

The Pick: New Orleans

The Score: New Orleans 34, Detroit 27

The Bets:Over (54) / Over (44) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

I initially thought this was a dumb line because Detroit is 7-4 and possibly playoff bound while the 5-6 Saints are a longshot to be playing meaningful football in January.

But it turns out the Lions still don’t rate out very well in the overall advanced stats. Considering Detroit has the 32nd ranked pass defense and the Saints are slightly better at #25, I think the over is pretty damn safe in this one.

Four of the Saints six home games this season have exceeded 68 total points, and the two that fell below that number were against defensive stalwarts Seattle (5th in defense) and Denver (2nd in defense).

I’m reluctant to touch either team with the point spread because the Lions have been doing a great job making sure every game is decided by 7 points or less, but if ever there was a game for them to lose by double digits, this might be it.


Los Angeles at New England (-13.5) | over/under 44.5

The Pick: Los Angeles

The Score: New England 28, Los Angeles 19

The Bets: New England (-3.5) in a 3-way tease / Over 34.5 in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

It’s probably safe to get the Patriots into a 3-way tease where you adjust the lines by 10 points. Even though it would be nice to not have someone favored by more than 3 when you’re risking so much in a teaser, I don’t think you have to worry about Jared Goff and the Rams pulling off any kind of backdoor (teaser) cover.

I also think teasing the over is super safe. Even with the Patriots rolling out a (permanently) Gronk-less offense, they’ll wander their way to 24 points at least. And since everyone should know by now that the Pats defense regularly gives QBs a career day, I think we can count on the Rams to put up a couple touchdowns.

I would put low confidence on picking LA to cover, but it feels more likely than the Pats rolling to an easy win against a solid defense in December football.


Denver (-4) at Jacksonville | Over/Under 40

The Pick: Denver

The Score: Denver 21, Jacksonville 14

The Bets: Under (50) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Jaguars have scored more than 23 points exactly one time through 11 games this year. Do you really expect them to excel against the Broncos? No, they’re going to struggle mightily.

Keep in mind this is a pissed off, suddenly-outside-the-playoff-picture Denver team (ranked 2nd in defense) facing a full-on Jacksonville dumpster fire.

Denver games have gone over the teased total of 50 just once this season in regulation. The Broncos offense is even less effective on the road than at home. And the Jags putting up 14 points might be a generous estimate.

Crush the under in this one.


Houston at Green Bay (-7) | Over/Under 45

The Pick: Green Bay

The Score: Green Bay 28, Houston 18

The Bets: Green Bay (+3) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Green Bay (-7)

So I was originally looking at lines during the Monday night game and the Packers were favored by 3.5 in this game…that woulda been awesome. Too bad they looked so decent in Philly and ruined everything. Imagine teasing them to +6.5 in this game? That train has sailed, but don’t be afraid to still tease the Packers down. They’re winning this game.

Rodgers is on an absolute roll and I think the Packers figured out that he needs to have the ball in his hands and give up on a real running game. Also, Jordy Nelson has 7+ catches in 3 of his last 4 games while having zero 7+ catch games in his first 7 games this year. Same with yards. Nelson has had 90+ in 4 of his last 5, but only had 1 such game in his first 7 games.

Houston on the road is 1-4, with their one win being a 24-21 nailbiter at the Jaguars.

The Packers are a favorite this week.


Philadelphia at Cincinnati (-1) | Over/Under 42

The Pick: Cincinnati

The Score: Cincinnati 24, Philadelphia 21 (in OT)

The Bets: Cincinnati (+9) in a 3-way tease / Under (52) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

The Eagles are 1-5 on the road, where their road win was at Chicago. Think about that. This game feels very even.

Before I knew the lines, I pegged this game as a “don’t even look at the total…automatically bet the under,” and I stand by that.


Miami at Baltimore (-3.5) | Over/Under 40.5

The Pick: Miami

The Score: Baltimore 17, Miami 14

The Bets: Under (50.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

This is a pretty easy under. Yeah, the Dolphins are decent on offense, almost entirely due to the running game, but the Ravens have a top 5 defense, are awesome defending the run, and have given up more than 16 points only once in their six home games this year.

-Listen, if the Dolphins don’t slip up here, they could easily be 10-4 heading into week 16. They’ve gotta lose this game, but it feels like a close one.


San Francisco at Chicago (-1) | Over/Under 43.5

The Pick: San Francisco

The Score: San Francisco 22, Chicago 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

These two teams have scored a combined 406 points this year. By comparison, the Falcons alone have scored 358 points (just 48 fewer points).

And with that, we’ll spend no further time on this game. Both teams are too volatile to rely on.


Buffalo at Oakland (-3.5) | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Buffalo

The Score: Oakland 30, Buffalo 27

The Bets: Over (39) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: No

Oakland puts up 30 points on just about everyone and they give up almost as many. This game pits the 4th ranked offense (Oakland) against the 7th ranked offense (Buffalo). This is such an obvious over game.


NY Giants at Pittsburgh (-6) | Over/Under 48

The Pick: NY Giants

The Score: Pittsburgh 25, NY Giants 20

The Bets: Giants (+16) in a 3-way tease / Under (58) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Giants (+6)

The Giants are on a 6-game win streak, but the last five have come against teams that are now under .500, and other than last week in Cleveland, they haven’t been able to beat anyone by more than a touchdown.

The Steelers look like a group who can beat non-playoff contenders (at Cleveland and Indianapolis in the last two weeks), but can’t beat contenders (4 game losing streak starting in week 6 against Miami, New England, Baltimore and Dallas).

I think this will be a close game because neither team is as good as we think they are. If anything, the Giants’ defense is the difference-maker.


Washington at Arizona (-2.5) | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Washington

The Score: Washington 24, Arizona 21

The Bets: None

SuperContest: Washington (+2.5)

I could see a way where the Cardinals win by one or two, but it’s far more likely that the Redskins offense does just enough to get the late win. I really don’t have a feel for any bets because the Skins are definitely worse on the road, but the Cardinals have only won four games all year, and two of those wins came against the 49ers.


Tampa Bay at San Diego (-3.5) | Over/Under 47.5

The Pick: San Diego

The Score: San Diego 28, Tampa Bay 18

The Bets: San Diego (+6.5) in a 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with San Diego (-3.5)

I realize this should be a close game and that a lot of people will probably bet the Bucs just because they’re getting an extra half point. But something about this game screams Chargers to me. Either they win somewhat easily, or a sloppy, turnover-filled game looks more like a blowout with the final score than what really transpired.


Carolina at Seattle (-7) | Over/Under 44.5

The Pick: Seattle

The Score: Seattle 27, Carolina 17

The Bets: Seattle (-1 or +3) in a 2-way or 3-way tease

SuperContest: Yes with Seattle (-7)

Seattle’s back to their old ways of being unbeatable at home.

Meanwhile, on the road, the Panthers are 1-4 with their one win coming in Los Angeles.

The Panthers won’t put up much of a fight. Maybe they play decent defense for a while, but their offense will be almost no threat and eventually the Seahawks will break through.

I think people are forgetting that if the season ended today, the Panthers would get either the 7th or 8th pick in next year’s Draft. They are REALLY bad.


Indianapolis (-2.5) at NY Jets | Over/Under 49

The Pick: Indianapolis

The Score: Indianapolis 27, NY Jets 24

The Bets: None

SuperContest: No

This is a perfect 14 seconds that captures my exact thoughts about this game.

Here are the season-long stats that I’m tracking:

  • Favorites are 73-95-9 against the spread through 12 weeks (including 7-8-1 in week 12)
  • The Point Total has landed on Over 89 times, Under 85 times, and Pushed 3 times
  • I’m 94-77-6 against the spread.

Enjoy week 13.

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NFL Week 13 Picks: Giving Thanks To All That’s Great With Football

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Hard to believe it’s already week 13.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that the Seahawks had their way with Green Bay and the entire NFL fan base was terrified of the defending champs rolling through the league once again?

Doesn’t it feel like we were just recently talking about Adrian Peterson’s crime and what that should mean for his NFL future? (Actually, it was just the other day that this was being discussed all over again.)

Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. I guess that means even though my season record for picks has absolutely tanked at this point, I’m still enjoying this NFL season.

The overriding theme this time of year is “giving thanks.” Even if you have a particularly stressful and crazy family that tends to make Thanksgiving more of a chore than a relaxing event, be thankful for nine hours of football on Thursday. And while you’re watching those games, think of less fortunate people…like me. I’ll be stuck at a five-star resort in Cabo, drinking whatever I want from their all-inclusive menu, and straining my eyes to see the single TV above the swim-up bar (most likely it’s only a 26-inch screen).

So just remember what I’m stuck dealing with on Thanksgiving when you get the urge to complain about Aunt Dorothy’s disgusting green bean casserole.

Before we dive into the picks, here are five items across the NFL that I’m thankful for this year:

  • 13 teams have unsettled quarterback situations going into 2015. That’s a perfect amount! Too many and the league would be unwatchable. Too few and we wouldn’t have nearly enough ridiculous moments and QB swaps throughout the season to laugh at.
  • Parity between the conferences. Sure, we’ll probably never have true parity among all 32 teams (and who would want that anyway?), but at least we finally seem to have a nice balance of power between the AFC & NFC. For the past few years, the NFC has been the dominant conference, but in 2014 that’s no longer the case. The AFC is 25-22-1 in games against the NFC this year. Three different sources—FootballOutsiders.com DVOA rankings, Bovada’s Super Bowl Odds, and espn.com’s Power Rankings—all have a pretty even split between the NFC & AFC when ranking the top 10-15 teams in the league. This is exactly what we want. A handful of teams at the top of each conference that could legitimately win the Super Bowl.
  • The Era of Receiver Greatness. This topic is probably starting to be over covered, but I can still be thankful that we’re witnessing wide receivers and tight ends performing at levels we’ve never seen before. I’m not as focused on the top receivers’ cumulative stats at the end of the year because we live in a time of inflated passing/receiving numbers. What I love is that we have a different receiver each week that raises the bar for his peers. I’ve talked about this constant passing of the Receiver Championship Belt among the top veteran wide receivers a lot this year, but after Odell Beckham Jr’s ridiculous catch on Sunday night, the rookie receiving class is starting to get some attention too (Beckham, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, John Brown, etc). The star pass catchers are what keep me tuning in week after week.
  • The NFC South! My absolute favorite ongoing theme from this football season is the historic atrocity happening in the South. Here was the best tweet of week 12 (from Will Brinson, a CBSsports.com writer): “The Buccaneers are 2 games out of first in the NFC South and 1 game out of first in the 2015 NFL Draft.” Just incredible. Part of me wants the Bucs to win the division because that definitely means a team finishing 6-10 or worse won their division, but a bigger part of me wants the Falcons to get into the playoffs instead. That way the Mike Smith era can continue for at least one additional game.
  • Announcers being hilarious. Not on purpose of course. It’s the unintentional comedy that I’m after. I always assume there will be a week when I don’t have a great announcer quote to share with you, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. This past week, it was Solomon Wilcots during the Bills/Jets game. As the announcers were speaking of that amazing catch from the previous night by the Giants rookie wide receiver, Wilcots confidently stated “We now know your name, Ladell Beckham Jr.” …except his name is Odell.

And since my season record is shot, I’m running short on time due to Cabo calling, and most people will probably already be in vacation mode by the time I post this on Wednesday, I’m going with some pretty quick picks and thoughts on the matchups this week. Let’s dig in.

Chicago @ Detroit (-7)

  • The Pick: Detroit
  • The Score: Detroit 28, Chicago 17

I don’t trust either of these teams at this point, but what I trust the least is Chicago, on the road, facing a great defense & pass rush, in a loud stadium, on short rest.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-3)

  • The Pick: Philadelphia
  • The Score: Philadelphia 30, Dallas 26

I’m giving the Eagles the slight edge because they aren’t the ones who played a tough road game on Sunday night. On a short week that includes Thanksgiving distractions, I’ll take the team that had a cakewalk of a win on Sunday morning over the team that battled it out on Sunday night.

Seattle @ San Francisco (PICK)

  • The Pick: San Francisco
  • The Score: San Francisco 24, Seattle 9

This is the first of their two matchups over an 18-day span, and I’m thinking it’s going to be a pretty easy win for the 49ers. The Seahawks just aren’t awesome on the road this year, and as this is the final Thanksgiving game, they’ll be traveling on short rest. It’s actually very strange that these two division rivals who have the same record and tend to play each other extremely tough aren’t generating the typical line of the home team favored by three. That seems fishy.

Tennessee @ Houston (-6.5)

  • The Pick: Houston
  • The Score: Houston 33, Tennessee 13

The Titans have been especially bad on the road this year. That’s my one takeaway from this matchup. Regardless of Houston’s talent or the fact that Fitzy Three Picks is back to being the Texans’ starting quarterback, the Titans are just a terrible road team.

Oakland @ St. Louis (-7)

  • The Pick: St. Louis
  • The Score: St. Louis 27, Oakland 12

The Rams’ last two home games have been wins over Seattle and Denver. How the hell am I supposed to expect Oakland to keep this game close? They won’t. Derek Carr facing an intense St. Louis pass rush might be painful for Oakland fans to watch.

San Diego @ Baltimore (-6)

  • The Pick: Baltimore
  • The Score: Baltimore 34, San Diego 23

A great game for AFC wildcard purposes. Currently the Chargers occupy the #6 seed in the AFC and the Ravens are #7, on the outside looking in. But that changes Sunday because Baltimore at home is almost a guaranteed victory. It may not be as bad as the last time San Diego traveled East (a 37-0 loss at Miami), but the Ravens are good enough at home and might even be sneaky great in general that I’m going with yet another favorite.

Cleveland @ Buffalo (-3)

  • The Pick: Buffalo
  • The Score: Bufflo 19, Cleveland 15

The Bills didn’t look like a team that had a chaotic week leading up to their Monday night game against the Jets in Detroit, but that was the Jets…

If you’re Cleveland, you should be scared of a Bills pass rush (and defense in general) going against your almost-always-looks-overmatched QB, and a healthy Fred Jackson facing your horrible run defense. A Bills win will put both these teams at 7-5, which is quite an accomplishment considering the franchises in question.

Cincinnati (-4) @ Tampa Bay

  • The Pick: Cincinnati
  • The Score: Cincinnati 30, Tampa Bay 10

I thought this line would be more like Cincinnati -8, so obviously I’m picking the Bengals. What’s great is that New Orleans and Carolina are both on the road, and Atlanta has to face Arizona. So we could be looking at a 2-10 Tampa team that’s STILL only two games out of first place when the dust settles on week 13. Brilliant.

Washington @ Indianapolis (-10)

  • The Pick: Washington
  • The Score: Indianapolis 33, Washington 27

The biggest indictment of RG3 is that the line on this game didn’t budge upon Washington releasing the news that Colt McCoy would start instead of Griffin on Sunday. As far as I can tell, my gambling site didn’t even take the line down for a minute to consider any changes or what the personnel change meant. That’s rough.

I’m going with Washington because this line is high and because we might just see this team play tough for a different quarterback. After all, the PotatoSkins are 2-0 in games McCoy starts this year.

NY Giants (-3) @ Jacksonville

  • The Pick: Jacksonville
  • The Score: Jacksonville 29, NY Giants 9

The Tom Coughlin Farewell Tour continues this week when the Jaguars get their second win of the season. The Giants played their hearts out on Sunday night trying to knock their division rival Dallas down a peg or two, but I can’t see them playing their hearts out at Jacksonville. If this is it for you, Tom, I’d just like to be the first to say it was a really weird era with you in New York—the annual “has Coughlin lost the team” reports, the two Super Bowls, the frozen face in that playoff game at Green Bay a few years ago. Good luck in your retirement.

Carolina @ Minnesota (-3)

  • The Pick: Minnesota
  • The Score: Minnesota 36, Carolina 20

Of Minnesota’s four wins this year, two have been against the NFC South. Big surprise. Let’s make it three. Speaking of coaches leaving or being fired, couldn’t you make the case that all four coaches in the NFC South are on the hot seat? Imagine a division that turned over all four head coaching spots in the same year? In the NFC South, anything truly is possible.

New Orleans @ Pittsburgh (-4.5)

  • The Pick: New Orleans
  • The Score: Pittsburgh 31, New Orleans 28

If it’s true that the Steelers play down to their competition, then this should be a close game. The Saints have proven to be no better than the rest of the muck at the bottom of the NFC, and we know how Pittsburgh likes to treat those teams.

Arizona (-2.5) @ Atlanta

  • The Pick: Arizona
  • The Score: Arizona 30, Atlanta 20

Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to pick Atlanta on account of the craziest possible thing that can happen in a given NFL week usually does happen. Imagine this shitty Atlanta team that’s 0-7 outside its division somehow knocking off the best team in the NFC. It’s taking every bit of self-discipline in my body not to do it…..

AHHHHH….Fuck it.

I’m doing it. Switch the pick. Atlanta wins outright, 28-23.

New England @ Green Bay (-3)

  • The Pick: Green Bay
  • The Score: Green Bay 29, New England 24

Even though the Patriots are technically underdogs, it kind of feels like they’re the favorite. Everyone seems to be picking them. Everyone seems to have come to the conclusion that while both teams are playing lights out right now the Patriots are playing lights outer than the Packers. It’s as simple as picking the home team when it comes to a matchup like this.

Denver (-2) @ Kansas City

  • The Pick: Kansas City
  • The Score: Kansas City 23, Denver 17

Such disrespect by the line makers.

By the way, is Andy Reid the Peyton Manning of head coaches? He has a great regular season record, gets to the playoffs a ton, but can’t seem to win the big one. Much like Peyton melts down when the pressure’s on him the most, Reid seems to do the same in late-game clock management scenarios. And they both have a lot invested in the Papa John’s business.

Miami (-6) @ NY Jets

  • The Pick: NY Jets
  • The Score: NY Jets 6, Miami 3

Let’s find out if the Dolphins can win in cold weather, shall we?

And hey, don’t like now, but Geno Smith is back in the starting lineup. Could that be a spark for the Jets? No? OK. It won’t be a spark.

Enjoy your turkey, side dishes, fighting relatives for the best couch spot, having Friday off of work, and of course, all of the week 13 football games.

I’ll be back next week with a more traditional set of NFL columns.

Week 13 NFL Picks: Thanksgiving Uncertainty

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Well that wasn’t so bad, was it? An 8-6 record against the spread in week 12!! Sure, it’s not nearly good enough to get me back above .500 by season’s end if I keep going at this rate, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. Unfortunately this week’s slate of games seems very tough to pick. There are almost no home underdogs that we can blindly back (13 of 16 games feature the home team as the favorite). Injuries to guys like Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler make it difficult to know what you’re getting out of certain teams. Teams that we were betting against with great success early in the year (Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, the Giants) have suddenly found their winning groove…but we’re still leery of when they’ll do yet another 180 and start to suck again. Even the newly announced suspensions in Seattle throw some doubt on the Seahawks’ chances to keep that home winning streak alive. I would just say that if you normally bet $100 on each of my picks, maybe drop it down to $50 per pick this week. Just to be safe.

Since last week’s “don’t think, just pick” strategy worked pretty well, I decided to take it one step further. I made all of the following picks while flying from Los Angeles to Boston on Tuesday night. That means even if I wanted to look up some key info about a matchup, I didn’t have a chance. It’s all instinct and the knowledge I’ve collected from the first 12 weeks that are driving these week 13 picks.

From a scheduling standpoint, you should have very low expectations of any week 13 recap that might come on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Thursday through Sunday of this week are shaping up to be the “rage a lot, sleep a little” kind of days that I’m now used to when I return to Massachusetts. Monday and Tuesday will likely be recovery days. And then there’s the little matter of me scheduling my flight back to LA to interrupt the afternoon games on Sunday. My actual focus on the games this weekend will probably be at an all-time low.

But that’s the price I pay for my family demanding me and my hilarious hijinks make an appearance for Thanksgiving.

Let’s go to the week 13 picks:

Green Bay @ Detroit (-6.5)

Incredible that we’ve come full circle on the Matt Flynn career. It was a game against Detroit almost two years ago where he went off for 480 yards and six touchdowns, which set events in motion for Seattle, then Oakland, to pay him big bucks to be their starter. So is Flynn poised to parlay another start against Detroit into yet another chance to be some desperate team’s starter next year? In a word….no. I just don’t see the short turnaround from playing Sunday to being ready for a Thursday afternoon game being a good thing for a guy like Flynn. As down as we all are on Detroit, I think they cover this line. The Lions get Thanksgiving started with a 34-24 win.

Oakland @ Dallas (-9)

One thing to keep in mind is that these are still Thursday games, even if it’s a special Thursday. That doesn’t change the fact that most Thursday games seem to be ugly, closely-contested, unpredictable affairs. I can’t take the Cowboys to win by this many points. Give me Oakland to cover while Dallas takes the four-point win, 27-23.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-3)

Cleveland finally ruined our ability to blindly pick the home team to win in these AFC North matchups by losing to Pittsburgh last week. But that’s because the Browns have now rounded into “let’s get the best possible draft pick since the playoffs are out of reach” mode. For this classic Steelers-Ravens matchup, I’m falling back on the home team wins model. And everyone’s saying that the winner of this game will have the inside track for the #6 seed in the AFC. That’ll be momentarily true, of course, but with the way the season has gone for all these 5-6 teams, couldn’t you see the team occupying that final AFC spot changing 56 more times between now and week 17? What’s going to be comical is when all the media types start telling us not to take whoever gets the #6 seed lightly because “as we’ve seen so many times in the past, it’s often an overlooked team who gets hot right as the playoffs start that goes on to win the Super Bowl.” And while that’s true, I think we already have that team and they’re in the NFC (San Francisco). Anyway, Baltimore covers and wins, 30-20.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis (-4)

This is the stay away game of all stay away games. I could see the Colts winning by 20. I could see the Colts losing by 20. I could see the Colts winning by three. I could see the Colts losing by three. I could see a tie. I could see Ryan Fitzpatrick leading Tennessee to an improbable win that pulls them to within one game of the AFC South lead. I could see Fitzy throwing up all over himself while throwing 5 interceptions. You just don’t know with these two teams. Tennessee started the season 3-1, then lost Jake Locker right as they entered the rough part of their schedule (Seattle, San Francisco), got him back temporarily, lost him again, and have clawed their way to 5-6. Indianapolis started the season looking sketchy as fuck, then rattled off wins against Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, and then proceeded to fall behind by at least two touchdowns in each of their next five games. Who are they? What I’m trying to say is…flip a coin. My coin flip resulted in a Tennessee cover. I think the Colts win by only three, 23-20.

Jacksonville @ Cleveland (-7)

Does Vegas set the line for this game thinking millions of people are still blindly betting against the Jaguars? Like we haven’t seen them win two road games in a row? That’s the only reason I can think for Cleveland giving so many points. If these teams played each other 100 times on a neutral field, I’m not even sure the Browns would come away with a 50/50 split. They’re bad. Is the line as high as it is because the Jags are from Florida and Cleveland in November is probably cold? Doesn’t matter to me. No way you can back the Browns giving a touchdown. Let’s take the Jaguars to get their third consecutive road victory with a 33-27 win.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-9)

I miss the good old days of five weeks ago when a game like this would have seen Carolina favored by only six or so. I made so much money off them during those glory weeks. But now the public is all over the Panthers, which means this line is inflated by at least a couple points. I’m taking the Bucs and the points…and you know what? I’m taking the Bucs to win outright, 28-23.

Chicago @ Minnesota (-1)

The Vikings just allowed Matt Flynn to rally the Packers back from a double-digit hole in the second half last week, right? But the Bears got killed by St. Louis while giving up a ton of rushing yards yet again. Which of these terrible teams will rise to the occasion? I don’t have a god damn clue. While the Bears may soon find themselves officially out of the playoff race, the Vikings are actually playing for something: They still have a great shot at getting the 1st pick in the 2014 draft (at which point they can boggle everyone’s minds by not taking a quarterback). I like the Vikings to tank…Bears win 29-17.

Arizona @ Philadelphia (-3)

I’m frustrated because Dallas and Philly could both be improving to two games over .500, and we were promised an NFC East that would never have a single team doing that well all year. The half point is roping me into taking the Cardinals on the road. I already went against them on the road when they were at Jacksonville a few weeks ago, and they made me look stupid. I don’t know that they can win this road game, but I know they can keep it close. Arizona covers, but Philly wins 30-27.

UPDATE: I wrote that paragraph when the line was Philly -3.5. Now that it’s come down a half point…I’m stumped. Let’s change it up: Philly covers with a 31-27 win.

Miami @ NY Jets (-1) (CONFIDENCE PICK)

This should be a three-point line. The Jets have only really gotten embarrassed on the road this year. They’re decent at home, and Miami is no better than decent whether they’re home or on the road. The Jets D going after that Miami offensive line should negate any awfulness from Geno Smith (I doubt Matt Simms is really going to get a start for the Jets). The Jets win 23-15.

New England (-9) @ Houston (CONFIDENCE PICK)

From a Patriots fan’s perspective, you couldn’t make this line high enough. After that Sunday night comeback over Denver, I’m ready to bet my life savings (currently $43.26) on the Pats to win out…and blowout a lot of the shitty teams left on the schedule. The Patriots will have the opposite of a letdown game this weekend…that’s just how they operate. Big big win for New England, 38-10.

Atlanta @ Buffalo (-3.5) (CONFIDENCE PICK)

If I was Arthur Blank (that’s the Falcons’ owner, for all your jerks who don’t take the time to learn every owner’s name), I would tell Mike Smith that this specific game will determine whether he keeps his job or not. This is the type of game that you don’t show up for if you’ve quit on your coach…in Canada, in the likely freezing weather, against a team that’s also not fighting for a playoff spot…just nothing to “get up” for in this one for Atlanta. If they play a good game, he keeps his job next year. If not, he’s free to seek employment from whichever team wants an ultra-conservative coach who looks like Ari Gold’s nemesis agent colleague from Entourage. I say he’s gone. Buffalo wins 30-10.

St. Louis @ San Francisco (-8.5) (CONFIDENCE PICK)

It’s very tough to gauge this 49ers team off of last game because the Redskins are really really terrible. I mentioned above that San Francisco may very well be that team this year who we don’t ever consider as a Super Bowl contender because they had a rough middle of the season and they’re being overshadowed by some other noteworthy teams in their conference (Seattle, New Orleans, Carolina). The defense is healthy, the offense got a healthy Vernon Davis back recently and it sounds like Michael Crabtree is playing in this game. The weapons are back, this game is at home and don’t forget it’s Kellen Clemens playing QB for St. Louis. Let’s take San Francisco to cover with a 32-20 win.

Denver (-5) @ Kansas City

The Patriots fan in me wants to create so many reasons why the Broncos will lose this game. The truth is neither of these teams is nearly as good as we thought in the first two months of the season. But the Chiefs are due for a bigger fall than the Broncos. The sudden injuries on defense hurt badly since getting pressure on Peyton Manning seems to be the only way to slow him down (other than the combination of epic winds and a god-like coaching performance from Bill Belichick). I’m taking Denver to cover, pretty much sealing up the AFC West title with a 31-17 win.

Cincinnati @ San Diego (-1.5)

It seems like the Bengals haven’t really felt the impact of losing Leon Hall and Geno Atkins yet. I’m sure they’ve lost at least one game since those guys went down (I’d look, but you know, plane), but I’m waiting for a big meltdown from this team. On the road against a potent offense seems like a good time. Or…is this typical San Diego setting me up. They stun everyone by winning a huge road game against the Chiefs. We base their next game off of that performance. But instead they revert to that crappy team we should have remembered all along. I’m torn. I’m leaning towards the team with the above average quarterback. San Diego wins 30-21.

NY Giants (-1) @ Washington

We’re at the point of the season where it’s tough to care about certain matchups. A game featuring two teams essentially eliminated from playoff contention like this would be one of those matchups. You may think that Atlanta is the NFC team that most closely resembles the Houston Texans this year, but I’d contest that it’s the Redskins. I don’t feel like Atlanta fans are waiting to pounce on their team’s poor performance with boos and vitriol. But Washington fans have entered that zone…where if anything goes poorly during a home game, they jump all over it and send expletive-laden jeers down at their team. That’s a tough position for any team to be in because you just can’t ignore that. You go into a game knowing, for instance, that if RGIII throws a pick in the 1st quarter, the fans are going to go nuts (and maybe even chant for Kirk Cousins…yes, we’ve entered that zone with Washington). That’s why I’m picking the Giants to cover. Because the ‘Skins need to play almost perfect football to get the support of their fans. I’m not even a fan, and I’m still disappointed at how bad things have gotten in D.C. The Giants win 37-24.

New Orleans @ Seattle (-6) (CONFIDENCE PICK)

Why is this line so high? Whenever there’s a game featuring two teams that would be pretty evenly-matched on a neutral field, the line is always -3 in favor of the home team. Well I feel pretty positive the Saints and Seahawks would be pretty much a PICK on a neutral field. So why the extra three points? No idea. And now that Brandon Browner is out, this secondary is thin. They’ll only be able to take away one weapon on the New Orleans offense. I think the Saints have lots of weapons to throw out there. The logical thing is to take the points but expect Seattle to win. But I hate the Seahawks so let’s go ahead and hand them their first home loss since the Truman administration. New Orleans wins 28-24.

For those of you keeping score at home, in week 13 I’m taking:

  • 10 Favorites & 6 Underdogs
  • And all 6 of those happen to be Road Dogs

Good luck in week 13. I hope the Magical Thanksgiving Turkey brings you something awesome (for me, that would be a 13-3 or better week against the spread).