Well, it was another unfortunate week for us in week 12, as several of the favorites we picked failed to cover due to botched endings or simply because they let off the gas late in their games (see Arizona, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh). Alas, we stand at 41-40-3, a win percentage that floats just above the .500 surface on the year. The aforementioned Chiefs prevented the weekly "Lock" from hitting once again, and after being at 3-9 on the season, I'm officially declaring a name change of that pick from "Lock of the Week" to "Fade of the Week." Keep in mind that this pick is still the one I am most confident in each week, but my betting history has proven that it cannot be trusted. We'll try to build a buffer between our record and a losing win percentage in week 13.
Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans Over 53.0
The Titans proved how potent their offense could be last Sunday in a 45-26 victory over the Colts, a game in which they scored 35 by halftime. Cleveland's offense has been sort of hit or miss this season, but Tennessee's defense leaves a lot to be desired, and I expect the duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to have field day both on the ground and through the air. Both teams do a pretty good job of protecting the football so I'm not worried about turnovers preventing points. It could be a close game, but I expect the Titans to win and score at least 35 in the process.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Over 50.5
Houston just put up 41 points on the Lions on Thanksgiving, and even without Will Fuller for the rest of the year, their offense behind Deshaun Watson seems to be finding its footing as the season progresses. The Colts have accumulated 34, 34, and 41 points in three of their last five contests, and they have no problem scoring when they need to. The Texans have been poor defensively for much of the season, and Indianapolis should be able to run all over them. The trio of Nyheim Hines, Jonathan Taylor, and Jordan Wilkins will all be in for big days. The Colts are also still missing some key players on the defense, and we saw what the Titans did to them last week with an understaffed defensive unit. The over in this game could hit after three quarters.
New Orleans Saints -3.0 at Atlanta Falcons
These two teams met just two weeks ago, and the Saints dominated in 24-9 win. The spread is similar for the rematch, which is very surprising to me. Yes, Atlanta just annihilated the Raiders, but I just don't think they match up well with the New Orleans. Both Julio Jones and Todd Gurley are questionable to play, and both were non-factors in their last meeting. Taysom Hill has performed nicely in Drew Brees's absence, and the Saints are now 7-0 in the past two seasons in games without Brees. New Orleans is vying for the top seed in the NFC and a first round bye, so they'll come ready to play. With a defense playing as well as theirs has in the past several weeks, I'll confidently take them to cover again in week 13.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Under 48
The Rams defense is legit, and they come into this bout with their division rivals allowing less than 20 points per game. After losing to the 49ers last week for the second time this season, this would be a perfect bounce back game to remain in the hunt for the division title. The Cardinals have scored only 21 and 17 in their last two contests, and those were against teams with average defenses. Whoever dictates the pace in this one will win. Arizona would prefer an uptempo, high scoring game whereas Los Angeles would like to slow it down and beat you on defense. I think the Rams will contain Kyler Murray enough to provide for a relatively low number their offense needs to hit to win the game. The final score will be in the 23-20 range.
New England Patriots +1.5 at Los Angeles Chargers
New England opened as the favorite, but bettor confidence in Justin Herbert and the lack of consistent quarterback play from the Patriots has caused New England to be the underdogs now. Yes, Cam Newton threw for just 80 yards and two interceptions in their last game, but that makes the win against the Cardinals even more impressive. Statistically speaking, all signs point toward a Chargers win. I mean, Herbert has over 1,000 more passing yards, 19 more passing touchdowns, and two fewer picks than Newton this season, which is an astronomical difference. However, I just can't bring myself to bet against Bill Belichick in December versus a rookie quarterback. I think this will be Herbert's worst game of his young career, and while he will certainly be a stud in this league for years to come, New England will be able to pressure him, confuse him, and prevent him from achieving a victory.
Buffalo Bills +1.0 at San Francisco 49ers
I was surprised when I saw the 49ers were favored in this game. The Bills would be coming in on a five game win streak if not for Kyler Murray's Hail Mary to DeAndre Hopkins a couple weeks ago. This game happens to be being played in the same stadium in which that occurred after the Niners were forced to move out of Santa Clara due to COVID restrictions. Josh Allen started the season red hot, went on a bit of a slump for a few weeks, but now looks like he's back to his former self, passing and running the ball effectively. San Francisco is still suffering from a multitude of injuries, and I'm not prepared to bet on a team with Nick Mullens, who has thrown more picks than touchdowns this season, starting at quarterback. Give me the Bills to win in Phoenix and take a firmer grasp of the NFC East.
Fade (f.k.a. Lock) of the Week: Green Bay Packers -9.0 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Here it is, the first Fade of the Week. The Packers are very good and the Eagles are very bad. Theoretically, Green Bay should be able to score at will against the shoddy Eagles secondary. They should also be able to hold Philly under 20, a number they've failed to reach in their last three affairs. Philadelphia has lost all of those games, which were against the Seahawks, Browns, and Giants. The only way the Eagles cover in my opinion is with a late game score when the Packers have given up. I would be shocked if the Packers win by less than 10. With all of that said, just take the Eagles to cover and win money for yourself.
Written by Nick Swatson