Last week I went 9-7 with my best call my "gut feeling" that the Raiders would upset the Broncos. This week and moving forward is always a bit fluky in my opinion because it's tough to tell which teams are just going to start mailing it in. The season is nearly over for many teams, there's little to play for with dead man walking coaches and outcomes can be a bit more unstable, I think Here goes nothing.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5) at St. Louis Rams
The Rams are favored by 2.5 points here at home on Thursday Night Football and I haven't been great on Thursday night games in large part in my estimation because the games are just sloppy and not your typical football game, but I think the Buccaneers are actually the better team here so I'll take the points.
New York Jets (-3) at Dallas Cowboys
Most times when the Cowboys meet up with their opponent and our going over their scouting report they know they have an advantage of their offensive line vs the opponents defensive line, but I don't think it's clear cut this week. The Jets defensive line can be a handful, they also have more on offense then I think the Cowboys can handle. The Cowboys simply put are a bad football team this year. I could see the Jets blowing the Cowboys out here
Chicago Bears (+5.5) at Minnesota Vikings
I have been on the Bears' bandwagon all season as an underrated team though I do think they are starting to trend back towards average/below average. Still 5.5 points feels like a lot to me in a divisional game against a Vikings offense that is not really dynamic.
Atlanta Falcons (+3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
How the mighty have fallen. It might be tougher to be a Falcons fan this year then a Giants fan. At one point the Falcons looked like Superbowl contenders know they are one of the worst teams in the league. The Jaguars offense is good and growing up right before our eyes. Allen Robinson is a S-T-U-D. Blake Bortles looks to be a much better pick than Blaine Gabbert (not saying much). I'll take the Jaguars to win by more than three, it feels like they have more to play for.
Houston Texans (+1) at Indianapolis Colts
Both teams might be playing guys who started the season as complete afterthoughts at the quarterback position for a game that is really important for playoff implications. Yuck. Without Luck, I think the Texans have the two best players in the game in J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins and I think more talent overall.
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5) at Baltimore Ravens
I pretty much successfully pick against the Ravens every week and like I said last week I'm rooting for Andy Reid to win the Super Bowl (assuming the Giants don't make it), but this is another gut feeling game here that the Ravens put forth a solid effort and don't lose by more than a touchdown.
The Bills can't win big games but they are the better team. By the way football is a funny sport. The Bills spent the last two years at the top of the leagues in sacks, kept their same terrific defensive line, hired a very good defensive-minded head coach and now can't sack the quarterback. I think the Bills are better, but it makes me nervous that the Redskins are at home where they have been much better this year.
Tennessee Titans (+14) at New England Patriots
I'll take the 14 points -- maybe the Titans backdoor cover, but the other thing is really the Patriots offense isn't great right now and that's asking too much for me personally.
Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are very hit and miss. They are hard to predict and a lot of that to me deals with how successful they are early in the game on offense though I don't have the data to back it up. it's just their style of play can lend itself to major issues if they get out of the game early. They also over the last two years have had a ton of big defensive and special teams plays. Anyway I don't think anyone in the NFC east is in the class of the terrific Cardinals.
Carolina Panthers (-5) at New York Giants
The narrative of this game will be so much about how the Giants are in their fourth year again and Coughlin is on the hot seat and the Giants should be 10-3 but they are not and it's a fun narrative and keeps things interesting, but this Giants team is outclassed and there area ton of match-up problems the Giants have against the Panthers. One, the Panthers generate a ton of pressure up the middle, which is Eli's Achilles heel. Second, the Giants cant cover tight ends and running backs, or stop running quarterbacks, which is essentially the entire Panthers offense. .Josh Norman might be the best cornerback in football and if he can minimize Odell Beckham bad things will happen for the Giants offense. The Giants can't run on seven-man fronts against any team in the league so they certainly will not do it this week. This is a bad match-up for the Giants, getting a very good team that is on a mission to go undefeated. The Giants do not get the benefit of a trap game because of this mission and I don't see great things for this game
Pick: Hope I'm wrong, but Panthers big
Cleveland Browns (+14.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks are rolling. Browns are trying to get the No. 1 pick.
Green Bay Packers -3 at Oakland Raiders
I liked the Raiders last week against the Broncos, but their defense is brutally bad and I think the Packers will have great success there.
San Diego Chargers (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins
Two potential head coaching changes coming up after this season here so I"m not sure what to expect here, but I think the Dolphins are healthier so I'll take them to win outright.
Denver Broncos (+6.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers are getting hot at the right time, but that Broncos defense is legit 6.5 points is too many.
Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5) at San Francisco 49ers
Bengals are so much better than the 49ers 4.5 points is not nearly enough.
Detroit Lions (+3) at New Orleans Saints
Saints win comfortably at home.