– Jon Ramsey
Time flies when you are having fun, and this football season has certainly flown by. It is now December, time for the pretenders to fall away and the contenders to step it up. It is a great Sunday for football with several games between potential playoff teams taking place. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Bills stay “in the hunt” for several weeks, hoping that this might be the year the drought ends. But as they say… “the more things change, the more they stay the same” On to the picks!
Denver at Jacksonville (+3.5)
The Jags have been keeping games close as they welcome Denver to Florida this Sunday. Denver looks like they will be without Trevor Siemien and Paxton Lynch was pretty bad the last time he had to play for Denver. The Jacksonville defense looked legit vs the Bills last week and if they can avoid turnovers they should be able to keep this game close. I’m going to go with the Jags here, seems like one of those public baiting lines and I’m going to go against it.
Kansas City at Atlanta (-4.5)
I really like the Falcons here, the Chiefs are the type of team that need opponents to make mistakes in order to beat them and Matt Ryan won’t do that. The Falcons will score a ton and force the Chiefs to come out of their comfort zone in order to keep up. KC only ranks 27th in the league in offense, while Atlanta averages about 100 more yards per game ranking 3rd. This game should be a couple points higher and KC has lost all 3 of its games to non-division opponents. Make it #4 on Sunday and this is my best bet.
Houston at Green Bay (-6.5)
Houston has been outscored by over 40 points this year and have to travel to Green Bay to play the Packers who got a huge win vs the Eagles last week. Green Bay has struggled when they play teams that can score, it is when they start to press and Rodgers tries to win games by himself. Houston, however, is not one of those teams… The Texans have yet to score 28 points in a game all season and rank 28th in the NFL in total offense. I don’t really belief in the Packers, but I’ve seen some Houston games and I can’t believe that they can’t get the ball to Hopkins. I can’t take a team that has made Hopkins so bad.
Philadelphia at Cincinnati (-1)
I was extremely surprised by this line as the Bengals are without AJ Green and Gio Bernard, playing an Eagles team that has been a pain to play against all year long. When I see lines that I am surprised about like this, it usually means to take the other team. But I am going to stick to my gut here, I think all of the advanced stats can’t really adjust for how much of an impact Green makes. He is the guy that bails Dalton out when he gets into trouble. Cincy is playing out the string here and Philly still has an outside shot. I’ll take the Eagles on the road.
Detroit at New Orleans (-6)
The 5-6 Saints are favored by almost a touchdown over the 1st place Lions and I think that is absolutely correct. The Lions have been coasting on an easy schedule and some fluke victories at the end of games. While the Saints have been putting up tons of points and going up and down the field on other teams only to be sabotaged by bad luck at the end. The Saints are starting to heat up and still have a faint whiff of the playoffs, don’t expect the Lions to stand in the way.
San Francisco at Chicago (-1)
I weirdly like the 49ers here versus the Bears. Colin Kaepernick has been sneaky good the past 4 weeks with a QB rating above 90 and rushing for over 200 yards. The 49ers could easily be tanking right now, but don’t seem to be. While for the Bears they had a surprisingly good performance by Matt Barkley last week. I wish these teams weren’t play each other this week because I think they both would be sneaky underdog plays. But since the 49ers are getting a point here, I’ll take them in a close one.
Los Angeles at New England (-13.5)
Bill Belichick vs a rookie QB in his 3rd NFL start, easy win for the Pats. But that is with Gronk in the lineup, when the big TE has been out, the Patriots offense really suffers. New England’s defense has not been generating much of a pass rush and almost lost to Fitzmagic last week in a meaningless game for the Jets. I think the Pats win this one, but 13.5 is too much for my taste vs a Rams team that stinks, but still has a couple of guys that can make plays in Austin and Gurley.
Miami at Baltimore (-3.5)
This game is going to be a slugfest and the suddenly power running Dolphins take on one of the league’s best defenses in Baltimore. The Ravens allow a league low 74.9 rushing yards per game and the Dolphins win streak has been on the back of fantasy football league winner Jay Ajayi. Even though Tannehill has been having another “breakout” it has been because teams are so worried about the run game. Baltimore will have the run game locked down and Tannehill will have to win this one himself. I don’t think he can, and Baltimore eeks out a victory.
Buffalo at Oakland (-3)
The Bills make their 3rd long trip across the country to play the high-powered Raiders to kick off the 4pm games. The Bills got Watkins back last week and he made an immediate impact catching a long bomb to help setup an important touchdown in the win over the Jags. The Raiders beat Panthers in a great back and forth battle so this game should be a fun one to watch. The Bills should have no problem stopping the Raiders run game but will be without their Darby which will cause huge problems for their pass defense. The Raiders defense is pretty awful and the Bills should be able to put up some points, but will need to slow down the Raiders at some point. With Darby, I would really like the Bills, but I feel the drop off is too much and that Carr will be able to make the Bills pay just enough to get the win.
Tampa Bay at San Diego (-3.5)
Tampa Bay is surging as they travel to sunny San Diego to take on the frisky Chargers. San Diego has played much better than their 5-6 record indicates with several losses coming on weird plays at the end of games early in the season, while the Bucs have won 3 in a row including back to back wins over the Chiefs and Seahawks. Winston and Evans are really starting to get hot and the Chargers will need to make sure they keep up with them. The key to Tampa Bay’s win streak has been the better play of their defense and I like them getting points vs the Chargers.
Washington at Arizona (-2.5)
Interesting line here as the Cardinals are favored vs the Redskins despite having 2 less wins than the Redskins and losing 3 of their last 4. Seems like we have seen a lot of games like this, this week, where the team with the worse record is favored over the team with the better record. Usually, it means that the public is overvaluing a team while the smart money is on the other side. This seems like the case here with the public loving Washington, who had a great game on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. I’m going to do the usual and go against the public and take the 4-6-1 Cards.
NY Giants at Pittsburgh (-6)
I am really looking forward to the highlights from this game as it should be an offensive shootout between the Steelers and Giants. The Giants are the only team to beat the Cowboys this year and have won 6 in a row. While the Steelers have won 2 in a row and have had some help from their defense holding their last two opponents to single digits. At home this year, only the Patriots have held the Steelers under 24 points while putting up 30 or more 3 times. The Giants have had their star WR ODB get hot with 5 TD’s in their last 4 games. This game seems like a bit of a toss up to me, so 6 points seems awfully high for a team that has a leaky defense. The Giants are going to score enough to cover this, and could pull off the upset.
Sunday Night Football
Carolina at Seattle (-7)
2015 is calling and they want their Sunday Night Football game back as the Seahawks host the Panthers. Sometime we just have to accept teams for what they are, and that means that Carolina is a 4-7 football team. Seattle is one of the toughest places to play normally, but make it Sunday Night and the crowd really turns it up a notch. Seattle is still in line for a 1st round bye, so there will be no let up on their part. 7 points seems pretty low for a top team to get vs a 4-7 football team.
Monday Night Football Line
Indianapolis at NY Jets (+1.5)
I am going to assume that Luck will be back for the Colts as they go to NYC to play the Jets. I think the Jets really gave it their all last week vs the Pats and they came up short. So, even though they lost this is kind of a let down game for them. Indy never makes things easy on themselves, but since Moncrief has returned their passing game as been a lot more potent, which is opening things up for Gore and the run game. I am not expecting much from the Jets the rest of the way, so I’ll lay the points and take the Colts.
– Jon Ramsey (@YardsPerPass)