Last week I went into the 4:00 games with a 7-2-1 record between the Thanksgiving games and the Sunday 1:00 games. I ended up finishing the week at 8-7-1. That pretty much sums up this picks season.
Week 14! Let’s go!
(Home teams in caps)
JACKSONVILLE +3.5 over Houston
After a 2-1 Thanksgiving Day, the Thursday picks are 10-4. This is the one game I feel confident picking.
Kansas City -3.5 over WASHINGTON
Once upon a time, the Chiefs were 9-0. Now they’re 9-3. With three consecutive losses to the Denver (27-17), San Diego (41-38) and Denver (35-28) again, the Chiefs have given up almost more points in the last three weeks (103) than they had in their first nine games (111). But now the Chiefs go to Washington where the Redskins are marred by a 3-9 record and a season of turmoil that will likely lead to the departure of Mike Shanahan at the end of the season and will lead to a long offseason of “Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins” debates. I can’t wait.
Minnesota +7 over BALTIMORE
I’m picking the Vikings here because they have done a good job for me this season and I want to repay them for their efforts. But really I’m picking them because I want the Ravens’ offense to get off a lackluster start so that John Harbaugh brings out the Wildcat and then Joe Flacco calls out Harbaugh again in his postgame press conference. These are the things you look forward to in Week 14 when your team is 5-7 and the playoffs aren’t a real possibility.
NEW ENGLAND -10.5 over Cleveland
No team fails to cover spreads like the Patriots, but for some reason, every week they are favored by two possessions and every week I talk myself into taking them. I guess I do it because someday they will cover a spread like this 10.5-point one and I don’t want to miss out when they do.
Oakland +3 over NEW YORK JETS
Geno Smith has thrown eight touchdowns and 19 interceptions this season. His last touchdown pass came on Oct. 20 in Week 7. It’s now Dec. 5 and Week 14. Here is what Smith has done since Week 7.
Week 8 at Cincinnati: 20-for-30, 159 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
Week 9 vs. New Orleans: 8-for-19, 115 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Week 11 at Buffalo: 8-for-23, 103 yards, 0 TD, 3 INTs
Week 12 at Baltimore: 9-for-22, 127 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs
Week 13 vs. Miami: 4-for-10, 29 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
He has thrown eight touchdowns and 19 interceptions this season. His last touchdown pass came on Oct. 20 in Week 7. It’s now Dec. 5 and Week 14.
Indianapolis +7 over Cincinnati
Yes, I know the Bengals are undefeated at home and the Colts are the weirdest team in the NFL, but seven points with two 8-4 teams?
Detroit +2.5 over PHILADELPHIA
Yes, the Giants are done when it comes to the playoff picture. But there is that little, tiny, miniscule, minute chance that they could get in. The only way that’s possible is if the Eagles and Cowboys collapse. And given the history of both teams, it’s very possible. The one problem is that the best record the Giants can be is 9-7. The Eagles and Cowboys are both 7-5, but play each other in Week 17, so one of the two teams will win at least one more game this season. So let’s say the Cowboys win that Week 17 game, that means at worst they would finish the season 8-8. And let’s say the Eagles finish the season 1-3 and end up 8-8 also. That’s what it would take for the Giants to make the playoffs.
Miami +3.5 over PITTSBURGH
I just don’t want the Steelers to do well, OK?
TAMPA BAY -3 over Buffalo
There it is! It’s that Game of the Week …
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Buccaneers fan or a Bills fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
GREEN BAY -4 over Atlanta
Yes, I’m still upset about the parlay from last year.
DENVER -13.5 over Tennessee
The Broncos are 6-0 at home this season and have won by margins of 22, 16, 32, 16, 24 and 10 points. That’s good enough for me.
ARIZONA -6.5 over St. Louis
The Cardinals couldn’t help the Giants out last week by pulling off the late-game comeback against the Eagles and usually that would make me pick against the team I needed. But in this case, I’m staying with the Cardinals since if I pick against them, they will cover. Yes, that’s what this picks season has come to.
New York Giants +4 over SAN DIEGO
The over/under on stories from the FOX broadcast team about the 2004 Draft and Eli Manning and Philip Rivers during this game is set at 12.5 and I have the over. Even if the Giants’ season is over, I don’t want Eli to lose to Rivers, or get outplayed.
SAN FRANCISCO -2.5 over Seattle
Why wait until Feb. 4 to have the Seahawks-Broncos Super Bowl? Why not just have it right now while temperatures are still somewhat manageable since that’s what the Super Bowl matchup is going to be? The same way the Broncos and Falcons met in Super Bowl XLVII. The same way the Patriots and Packers met in Super Bowl XLVI. And the same way the Patriots and Falcons met in Super Bowl XLV. Sure there are years like 2009 when the Colts and Saints (both 1-seeds) did end up playing in the Super Bowl, but more times than not the 1-seeds don’t meet.
NEW ORLEANS -3.5 over Carolina
Do I need to post it again from old picks? OK, I will …
The Saints’ last home loss with Sean Payton as head coach came in Week 17 in 2010 when they had nothing to play for. Including the playoffs, the Saints have won their last 15 home games since that loss and here are their margins of victory going back from Week 4 in 2013 to Week 2 in 2011 with Payton as head coach: 21, 24, 6, 17, 28, 29, 14, 25, 11, 55, 7, 17, 18, 32 and 3.
CHICAGO +1 over Dallas
What I said about the Eagles.
Last week: 8-7-1