By Steven Marcuz (@sidskeat) and Shaun Meyer (@deadduck77)
Vegas likes to play games with us. Many times this year when it seems like we’ve finally got a grip on things, Vegas comes and pulls the rug out from under us. We’ve got four weeks to get out of the gutter and we are gonna do it! Believe me. Let’s see where we stand:
And now, we’re on to week 14!
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Ride the lightning. That’s what this pick is for me. Russell Wilson has lifted this team and put it on his back and is deservedly in the conversation for league Most Valuable Player. He’s doing it all and last week orchestrated the victory over the visiting Eagles. The Jaguars also continued their impressive season as well and roll into this game at 8-4. Yes, the Jaguars, with Blake Bortles under center, are 8-4. This game should be great but I’m still not sure the Seahawks should be getting points at this time of the year. It is common knowledge that December is Seattle’s time each year to turn it on and they’re doing just that. Although only being 2-3-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last six, they’re 7-2 straight up (SU) in their last nine. I’ll be making it a point to take the Seahawks any time I see them get points for the rest of the season. Now, the Jaguars themselves are 4-2 ATS in their last six but even with that amazing defense they’ve got, Wilson is just on another level right now and I refuse to pick against him. Give me the Seahawks to win this outright 20-17.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2) @ Los Angeles Rams
Tied with the Minnesota versus Carolina game, this is my game of the week. I can’t wait to see these teams meet up in a battle of QBs that went first and second in the NFL draft last season. There aren’t too many stats to parse here, either on the field or in the betting world. Both of these teams have been great on offense and have solid defenses. Both teams have been excellent for bettors as well with Philly going 8-1 ATS in their last nine while the Rams are 6-1 ATS and SU in their last seven. The Eagles are 5-2 ATS in their last seven on the road while LA is 4-2 ATS in their last six at home. Something’s gotta give here. After seeing Philly go into Seattle and only put up 10 points I think they’re going to have something to prove Sunday. But it won’t be easy as the Rams aren’t just going to roll over and let it happen. I see lots and lots of points here much like we saw when the Rams and 49ers hooked up many weeks ago on a Thursday night. I’ll take the Eagles to win this one outright 37-31.
San Francisco 49ers (+2.5) @ Houston Texans
This is our 30th-something week doing this article and I think it’s the first time that Shaun and I are both taking the 49ers to cover a spread. We are both drinking the Garoppolo Kool-Aid. You can’t deny that he looked good last weekend although it was only against the lowly Bears. But this Houston secondary is even worse. The Texans are in my doghouse after allowing Derrick Henry to score a late touchdown and ruin my pick of them last week. That’s the second time Henry has done that and you can tell I’m not bitter at all. Now San Francisco is 3-22 SU in their last 25 games (my sources tell me that’s #notgood) but in their last seven on the road they are 5-2 ATS which is what we care about here. Like I mentioned last week, since losing Deshaun Watson, Houston has been trying to keep their heads above water but they’re starting to drown. Going 2-5 SU in their last seven and going 2-3 ATS in their last five, I think we see the 49ers come into town and keep them on their path. San Francisco steals this one and wins outright 17-13.
Washington (+6) @ Los Angeles Chargers
This is definitely a matchup of two teams that are heading in opposite directions down the stretch. Last we saw Washington was on Thursday night getting handled by a skeletal Dallas Cowboys team which might end having been the final nail in their season’s coffin. The Chargers were able to keep their streak going against the winless Browns and now find themselves tied for the division lead in the AFC West. Although currently on different trajectories I think this game will be closer than the six points that Washington is being handed. The Chargers are only 2-8 ATS and 3-7 SU in their last 10 games at home while Washington is 12-5 ATS in their last 17 road games. They don’t mind traveling. The Chargers are doing much better as of late, going 6-2 ATS over their last eight but I just don’t think they’re going to be able to pull away in this one. I like Kirk Cousins to get back on track and at the very least keep this one close and I think it comes down to a final possession. Washington covers but the Chargers win 27-24.
Minnesota Vikings (-3) @ Carolina Panthers
The Minnesota Vikings took care of the Atlanta Falcons last week in a low scoring game. Carolina lost to the Saints in a divisional showdown. The Vikings may just be the class of the NFC. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Case Keenum Experience but he may be the guy going forward in Minnesota. Last week the receivers took a backseat to the runningbacks and Kyle Rudolph but they proved they could win without the high flying passing attack that has kept Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs owners happy this year. Carolina looked OK on offense, but didn’t have an answer for the rushing attack from Ingram and Kamara. Now they get the Vikings who have a decent one-two punch at of their own in Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon. Minnesota is 8-0 SU and ATS in their last eight vs the NFC South. Vikings win 24-20.
San Francisco 49ers (+2.5) @ Houston Texans
The injury to C.J. Beathard is going to end up hurting the 49ers at draft time because no doubt Jimmy Garoppolo is going to give them a couple extra wins. It started last week with a win over the Bears. They were able to move the ball up and down the field at will but struggled in the red zone. But it turned out field goals were enough to beat the terrible Chicago offense (coming from a disgruntled Jordan Howard owner). Houston fell to Tennessee but would have covered the spread had it not been for their inability to stop a team who is just trying to run the clock out. Derrick Henry busted an 80 yard touchdown in junk time making Henry owners happy but sending bettors to cry in their beers. I say Jimmy G finds the endzone this week and I’m taking the straight up upset this week. 49ers win 26-23.
New York Jets (-1.5) @ Denver Broncos
For a while it looked like the Chiefs would end their skid against the lowly New York Jets, but the Jets rode on the back of Josh McCown and came back to win the game keeping the Chiefs on their cold streak. Denver? Well what can we say about Denver? It takes a special kind of bad to make the Miami Dolphins look good, but Denver did it. It seems like no one wants to be the quarterback of the Broncos. It seems like every time they go back to Siemian he is worse than the last time we saw him. He threw three picks to the Dolphin defense and they didn’t put together one drive that ended in a touchdown. Denver is on a SU and ATS skid of historic proportions losing their last eight. I’ll take McCown and the Jets to score enough to keep the Broncos on the losing side. Jets win 20-16.
Washington Redskins @ Los Angeles Chargers (-6)
Washington let Dallas get back on track last Thursday and took a whooping in Big D. It appears as though after all the injuries Washington has suffered this year, it was the one to Chris Thompson that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The line is bad and Thompson was Kirk’s safety valve when under pressure and without him it seems Cousins is running for his life on every play, a la Russell Wilson. The Chargers kept up their winning ways vs the Browns (big surprise) and really look to be one of the hottest teams in the AFC not named New England or Pittsburgh. Rivers has been good and the defense has been a hunk of late season fantasy gold. The Chargers can flat out get after the quarterback and Washington can’t protect their quarterback. Chargers cruise 30-20.
Steve - Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams OVER 48
I’ve already talked about this game so I won’t dive in to too much more. I just feel that these two teams are going to be trading touchdowns all game. We’re in for a good one here so grab the popcorn. Points. Lots and lots of points.
Shaun- New England (-11.5) @ Miami Dolphins
New England romped all over Buffalo on Sunday and Tom Brady didn’t even have to toss a touchdown. The Dolphins, as I said earlier, beat the tar out of the God awful Broncos. However, I don’t think Brady is going to repeatedly turn the ball over to Miami and their defense should make Smokin’ Jay Cutler go back to being Smokin’ Jay Cutler. I don’t think the Dolphins are able to keep it close. Pats win 33-20.