by Noah Pires
December 13, 2018
Last week was fantastic. If there's one word to describe my hand right now, it would be HOT. Sure, maybe 10-6 isn't an objectively great line, but anything above .500 for me is out of this world. Now, there's only one thing to do: keep it rolling. Week 15 is here, so it's time to win some moola.
CURRENT RECORD: 102 - 106 - 0
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-3.5)
PICK: CHIEFS (-3.5)
The Chargers are one game behind the Chiefs, and since they lost to them head to head in week one, they'd need to win this week to have any chance of catching up. Sure, I'd love to see them win, but it just doesn't seem realistic. First off, the Chiefs are at home. Truth be told, the Chargers don't have a homefield advantage, but KC does, and in December against division rivals, they'll be going wild. Not only are they on the road, they're also facing one of the most elite offenses in football, and with their recent defensive lapses, Kansas City may put up 50. I mean, LAC allowed 21 to Cincy last week, a team without a QB and one viable receiver. This will be a high scoring game, no doubt, but I don't trust the Chargers to keep up. Now, the Chiefs did just go into OT with Baltimore and their game against the Raiders went down to the wire, so it could be a tough turnaround for them on a short week, but I wouldn't bet against them in this spot.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-6.5) @ NEW YORK JETS
PICK: JETS (+6.5)
Over the last two weeks, the Jets surprisingly haven't been horse shit. They beat the Bills, who boast a strong defense, and held off the Titans until the very end two weeks ago. Now, they are going up against another elite defense, so Sam Darnold could struggle, but I don't see Houston putting up a huge number in this spot. The Texans are content with pounding the rock and keeping Deshaun Watson from getting lit up, so that could be there gameplan against a team who is fairly dysfunctional. The Texans should win this game, but I'm not sure they do it by more than 2 field goals.
CLEVELAND BROWNS @ DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5)
PICK: BRONCOS (-2.5)
The Broncos basically need to win out to make the playoffs, but so do the Browns. If the Browns were at home, I'd take them, but it's in the Mile High City, so they aren't my pick. Outside of last week, the Broncos' defense has looked elite, and with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller on the defensive line, they'll be causing havoc all day long. This will be a hard fought game for sure, but I'm just rolling with the home team here, as their fans will be screaming bloody murder all game long, which will be tough on a rookie QB.
ARIZONA CARDINALS @ ATLANTA FALCONS (-8.5)
PICK: CARDINALS (+8.5)
This pick is extremely simple; I will NOT take the Falcons if they're giving anything more than five points. They are a complete mess on defense, and recently, their offense has been pathetic. Julio Jones is the only one scoring touchdowns, which should show how poorly they're playing. The last time they put up more than 20 points was in Week 9 against the Redskins, and I don't think that streak ends this week. The Cardinals have a strong pass rush and Pat Pete will do his best to lock down Julio. Sure, their run defense is pathetic, but I'm not confident Tevin Coleman will singlehandedly tear Arizona apart. The Cardinals' offense blows, but they should be able to take advantage of the Falcons' poor defensive unit, and if they utilize DJ out of the backfield, they'd actually have a shot in this one. I'd expect the final line to be somewhere in the realm of 20-13, so I'm rocking with the red birds on the road.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS (-7.5)
PICK: RAVENS (-7.5)
Jameis Winston against this defense? This could get ugly REAL quick. If he doesn't throw 3 picks, I'll be shocked. I have no confidence in the Tampa offense this week, as Winston will be turning it over every other possession, and Peyton Barber already blows, so in this matchup, he'll likely produce next to nothing. As for the Ravens' offense, since moving to Lamar Jackson, they've been running on 64% of their plays, which is 12% more than the percent Seattle (52%) has run on this season (they lead the league). They dominate time of possession on offense and lock up defensively, which is a perfect combination against a team that can't stop anyone and defense and has a quarterback who plays like he's colorblind. Give me the Ravens by a million.
DETROIT LIONS @ BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5)
PICK: BILLS (-2.5)
If there's one thing I know about this game, it's that I won't watch it. Detroit STINKS, but they managed to pull out a win against a similarly terrible Cardinals team last week. As for the Bills, their defense is strong, but their offense leaves a lot to be desired. Josh Allen has a cannon, but lacks accuracy, and with LeSean McCoy out, who the hell is going to lead the charge in the backfield? Chris Ivory? Whatever, I'm still taking Buffalo. I think their defense will be too much for Stafford to handle, and there's no shot Buffalo lets down Bills Mafia two weeks in a row at home playing teams who don't deserve to demand any respect.
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ CHICAGO BEARS (-5.5)
PICK: BEARS (-5.5)
The Packers are flat out bad. They beat the Falcons convincingly last week, but Atlanta is terrible. Now, ARod is heading into Chicago, who just held the Rams to 6 points. I don't see how they could put up anything more than 20 against a team who, at home, are extremely dominant. As for the Chicago offense, they couldn't get much going last week, but it was Trubisky's first week back from a shoulder injury, so with another week to recover, he should do enough to expose the Packers' defense. I think this spread should be bigger, which is why I'm siding with Chicago.
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ CINCINNATI BENGALS (-2.5)
PICK: BENGALS (-2.5)
When I think of the two worst teams in the NFL, these two squads pop into my head. Surprisingly though, neither team has been awful as of late. Actually, the Raiders beat the Steelers last week, and in Week 13, kept it within 7 of the Chiefs. Because of this, I think there's no chance they go out and beat a shitty Bengals team. I have no stats to back this up, but I feel like whenever a bad team plays well, they always come crashing way back down, and this is definitely the spot to do so. The Raiders will try to play down to Cincy's level, and that's when the Dynamic Duo of Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis will strike. Obviously, I have no confidence in this pick because both teams blow, but I think the Bengals are just the better team, plus they're at home.
DALLAS COWBOYS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-2.5)
PICK: COWBOYS (+2.5)
Luck struggled against a similarly tough Jaguars defense two weeks ago, and now, they draw the Cowboys, who shut down the Saints and have looked incredible recently. Last week, they fell apart towards the end of their game, allowing 17 points in the 4th quarter, but with their offense looking much improved recently, they can afford to allow 20+ points. Against the Colts, they may not be able to completely shut down Luck, since he's shown he's almost matchup proof, but with a middling Colts defense, I don't see how Indy can win by more than a point or two, and I like the Cowboys to take this one outright.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-6.5)
PICK: JAGUARS (-6.5)
The Redskins are just terrible, plain and simple. They're on their 4th QB this season, one who wasn't even in the NFL 2 weeks ago. Now, if there's one thing the Jaguars can do, it's play a bit of defense. The Giants locked down Washington last week, so the Jags should have no issues defensively. The only worry I have is whether or not Jacksonville can win a game by 7 points, but the Skins have allowed 99 points over their last 3 weeks. Leonard Fournette could break one open or they could connect on a big pass and just run away with the game. I see this ending 20-10, which makes the Jags the pick.
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-6.5)
PICK: DOLPHINS (+6.5)
The Vikings are TERRIBLE. Their offense has looked awful, but their defense is still elite. Despite their defensive play, I have no confidence in them as 6.5 point favorites at home, especially against the Dolphins. You may ask: "The Dolphins? Why should the Dolphins be a threat to Minnesota?" Well, let me just say this. Last week, the Dolphins overcame an inevitable defeat while time expired against the Patriots. They finally looked like they wanted to be playing football, and now, they actually have a shot at the playoffs. They're currently sitting at 7-6, and with a win this weekend, they could make a run at the 6th seed. Now, do I think they'll win? Not necessarily, but they aren't going to get blown out. This game will likely be decided by a field goal, which is why I like Miami.
TENNESSEE TITANS @ NEW YORK GIANTS (-2.5)
PICK: TITANS (+2.5)
The G-Men are hot right now, putting up 27 or more points in 4 of their last 5 games. If you look at the teams over that span, though, only the Bears sport a similarly elite defense that the Titans have. I just feel like the Giants may struggle against a team that allows the 4th least points per game (19.5) coming off an extended week. Derrick Henry won't do what he did Thursday night ever again, but the Giants' run defense is awful, so they may just pound the rock with him for four quarters. In the end, I have no confidence, since both teams are frauds and I typically never bet on either team, but for the simple fact that the Titans are the underdogs, I'm rolling with them.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6.5) @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
PICK: SEAHAWKS (-6.5)
Seattle has quietly become one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. Their defense is shaping up to be one of the league's best units, and their offense, headed by Russell Wilson, is extremely efficient. The last time these two teams squared off was two weeks ago, where Seattle put up 43 and won by 27 points. I doubt this happens again (to that extent), but Seattle is getting no respect. Only 6.5 point favorites? I'd take them if they were giving 11, so this is a no brainer for me.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-1.5) @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS
PICK: PATRIOTS (-1.5)
This is the lock of the century. There is no shot the Patriots lose this game, and I don't think it'll be close. Sure, the Steelers have looked terrible recently, so it's easy to say they shouldn't come away with a W, but my pick has nothing to do with Pittsburgh. The reason I'm so confident in New England is because of how they lost last week. They can't lose to Miami on a last second desperation play without showing up the next week and blowing out their conference rivals. Pats are winning by a thousand, and you can take that to the bank (Literally. Take out a mortgage and bet it on this game).
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ LOS ANGELES RAMS (-8.5)
PICK: RAMS (-8.5)
The Rams were held to 6 points last week, a total which would have sounded unrealistic after seeing how they've performed offensively all season. The reason for that, though, is because they were on the road in Chicago. Now, they're at home against a Carson Wentz-less Eagles team who have done nothing to inspire any confidence. The Rams' offensive task will be much easier, facing a team who had no answers for Amari Cooper a week ago. 8.5 is a big number, but I'm not convinced Philly is any good at all while LA is a top 3 team in the league. If Wentz were to be active, I'd be a little more hesitant, but since they're rolling with a QB who's been on the shelf for most of the season, give me the Rams.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-6.5) @ CAROLINA PANTHERS
PICK: SAINTS (-6.5)
If you've seen Cam play recently, you'd know something is seriously wrong with his shoulder. When he throws, it looks like he's in pain and doesn't have the strength to push it down field, and against a defense that hasn't allowed more than 17 points since Week 9, that isn't a good look. As for New Orleans, their offense hasn't been up to speed these past two weeks, but they did face an elite Cowboys defensive unit two weeks ago and showed life in their comeback W against the Bucs. The Panthers' defense has been awful, so this should be a "get-right" game for the Saints. They should have no trouble winning by more than a TD on the road in Carolina.
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