As this season continues to beat Steve into the ground, Shaun continues to tread water and give this article any semblance of credibility. Steve presents his ugly Christmas sweater edition of picks this week and Shaun attempts to finish this year above .500. Thanks everyone for sticking around this year! I’d say we’ll do better next year, but I’m afraid of commitment. Let’s see where we stand:
And now, we’re on to week 16! The final week!
Los Angeles Chargers (-7) @ New York Jets
There a lot of narratives in this game, and most of them go against this pick, but maybe the most damning is just the fact that I’m picking the Chargers. This is the ugly Christmas sweater edition of my picks for the week, as I think they’re a bit ugly. The Chargers fell back to earth last week against the Chiefs but are still very much alive in the playoff hunt and need this game to keep hope alive. Last week in New Orleans, the Jets did much better than many thought they would. They still weren’t able to start the Bryce Petty experiment off with a bang though. Although the Jets are 6-1 against the spread (ATS) at home this year, those were the Josh McCown Jets. The Chargers are still good too so don’t let last week fool you. Los Angeles is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 and that includes 4-2 ATS in their last six on the road. This one has severe blowout potential as the Jets start looking towards improving their draft position. Chargers win 28-13.
Miami Dolphins (+10.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs
I love picking against Shaun since I always seem to do well there. But, as the ugly sweater theme continues, I don’t feel great about this one. I’m counting on a letdown performance from the Chiefs after their win against the Chargers last week. Miami is, well, still Miami, but dammit a team that can do what the Dolphins did to the Pats just a couple weeks ago has the ability to keep this game close. The Chiefs are 5-2 ATS at home (shocker) this year but are only 2-4 ATS and straight up (SU) in their last six games. The Dolphins aren’t good and haven’t been a good bet this year but I feel that 11 is too many points. I know Kansas City is playing to lock up the division but I don’t think they get a blowout win here. Dolphins cover but Chiefs win 27-20.
Seattle Seahawks (+5) @ Dallas Cowboys
The Seahawks let me down in a big way last week when they forgot to show up to the most important game of their season and got trounced by the Rams in Seattle. The Cowboys went to Oakland and got a nice win to keep their slim playoff chances alive. And now they get Zeke back to help. I’m assuming that has helped inflate this line a bit, plus Vegas knows the public is going to remember Seattle getting smashed. The Seahawks are still playing for a playoff spot as well, so I think this game has serious shootout potential (ahem, take the OVER). Neither of these teams have been a solid bet this year with Seattle going 2-5-1 ATS over their last eight and Dallas going 2-3-1 ATS in their last six. Dallas is also only 2-4 ATS in Jerry’s World this year. I think Russell Wilson comes back big in this one and leads the Seahawks to a road win. Seahawks win straight up 34-31.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-5) @ San Francisco 49ers
Look at what this season has done to me. This has become my most confident pick of the week. Yes, the Jaguars. The 7-2 ATS over their last nine Jacksonville Jaguars. This team might be one of the best stories of the season as they’ve clinched a playoff spot and will be a force in the postseason with the league’s most impressive defense. The 49ers have found new life with their new Fancy quarterback and they’ve got plenty of reasons to be excited. But this will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s toughest test yet so we’re gonna really see what he can do. I think the hype comes back down to earth here. The Jags are 4-2 ATS on the road this year while the 49ers re 1-4 ATS in their last five at home. I know this team has a bright future but so does Jacksonville, and their future is now. Jaguars win 28-13.
Detroit Lions (-4.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit beat Chicago last week in the first of our NFL Saturday games. The Lions have won five of their last seven, beating up on cupcakes such as the Bears, Packers (minus ARod), Browns, and the Bucs. Well guess what? Now they get a Bengals team that has been beaten the last two weeks by a combined score of 67-14. It seems this team has finally given up for good on head coach Marvin Lewis. Last week was at least understandable. They played the Vikings. But the week before that they hosted the Bears and were blown out just as bad. Detroit is 10-2 ATS over the last three seasons when playing teams with losing records over the back half of the season. This Lions team has a legitimate shot at 10 wins as long as they don’t crap the bed this week. Detroit wins 23-16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10) @ Carolina Panthers
Carolina racked up their 10th win in the short lived “return of Aaron Rodgers” game, eliminating the Packers from the playoffs and effectively ending Rodgers’ comeback story. Tampa Bay finally resembled the team we thought they might be this year. Jameis looked ok, Mike Evans finally made an appearance, OJ Howard caught a nice TD, but ultimately they lost to Atlanta in their fourth straight loss overall. Not gonna lie, I was not a Cam Newton fan fantasy-wise going into this season and he has proved me wrong. Even without a true number one receiver and with Greg Olsen missing a bunch of time, Cam has been a high end QB1 for most of the year. The Panthers can seal a playoff berth with a win and while I don’t think they’ll be in danger of losing, I don’t think it will be a blowout either. Panthers win 31-23.
Miami Dolphins @Kansas City Chiefs (-10)
Well, probably my worst call of last week was taking the Chargers over the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the cold. The Chiefs romped 30-13 in the game that may have decided the division, winning back to back games for the first time since early October. Kansas City can clinch with a win this week. The Dolphins fell to the Bills, crashing back to reality after their upset of the Patriots on Monday Night Football the week before. Smokin’ Jay Cutler threw three picks and looked more like the Jay we all know and love (except Dolphin and Bears fans). Miami is 5-14 ATS in conference road games over the last three seasons. I expect to see a lot of Kareem Hunt, I expect to see Bad Jay Cutler and I expect that this game will not come down to the last minute. Chiefs win 27-14.
Oakland Raiders (+9) @ Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz who? Ok, not really, but Nick Foles was pretty damn alright. He threw four TDs and brought the Eagles back to beat the New York Giants in a close one Sunday to clinch a first round bye. It seemed like the Wentz injury somehow hurt the defense more than the offense. They let Eli Manning and his group of no name wide receivers move the ball up and down the field at will through the first half and into the second. Next up for them is a matchup with the Oakland Raiders who got the short end of the stick in their game with the Cowboys. That game was decided by a folded up piece of paper and the old “fumble out of bounds through the endzone” turnover rule. I think Philadelphia keeps winning but I also think the game is going to be close with Foles at quarterback. In one of the games I got right last week, I took the points against the Eagles and I’m doubling down and taking them again this week. Eagles win 24-20.
Steve - Indianapolis Colts (+13.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
As my ugly Christmas sweater theme draws to an end, it doesn’t get much uglier than this. The Colts will be turning the organization upside down in the off-season while the Ravens are still fighting to lock up a wild card spot in the AFC. This one just doesn’t sit right with me and I think two touchdowns is just a little too heavy. Every betting stat I could find disagrees with this #hottaek so I’m not even gonna bother. Colts cover but Ravens win 27-17.
Shaun- New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals OVER 40.5
The Giants were able to get something going on offense last week against the Eagles. The Cardinals put up 16 and 21 in Stanton’s two starts earlier this season. This has more to do with Giants defense being bad than it does with having any confidence at all in Drew Stanton. But being in Arizona weather isn’t an issue and I think both teams have a chance to get into the 20’s. Giant win? 23-20.