We started relatively strong in the early games last week but finished with a middling 3-3 record for the third consecutive week. So this week, I'll try to switch things up a bit again by giving out seven picks instead of just six. We're 40-46 on the year, but the Fade of the Week actually hit last time, which was a huge relief to Dolphins fans, I'm sure. The Fade of the Week has successfully hit only 4 out of 13 times so far, but as I always say, don't let that pick get hot.
Hopefully we can have a winning record in week 14 for the first time in what feels like years.
âDallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Under 48.0
Dallas's offense always has the potential to explode, but for whatever reason, they've been less than stellar most of the time lately. If you take away their destruction of a pathetic Falcons team and the overtime loss against the Raiders on Thanksgiving (which included a kick return touchdown), the Cowboys' offense hasn't put up more than 20 points in a game since week 6 against New England. That's despite the fact that Taysom Hill threw an interception seemingly every time he attempted a pass in last week's game. That being said, this Washington defense is playing really well again right now and have been holding opponents to minimal points in recent weeks. So I'm gonna ride with the under in this matchup, which I think is the safest play here.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Under 43.0
This is an interesting matchup because these teams played just two weeks ago. Cleveland had a bye in between that game and this one, which is why I don't want to bet on Baltimore to cover. But the final scores of each team's past few games are quite shocking. Point totals for the Ravens' last four: 39, 26, 29, and 32. Point totals for the Browns last five: 26, 23, 52 (45 of which scored by the Patriots), 57 (this was a significant outlier), and 25. The point (pardon the pun) is that both teams seem to be allergic to finding the end zone as of late, and as recent history typically shows, AFC North matchups tend to be slow-paced and low scoring. Which is why my money is on the under for this AFC North rematch.
Atlanta Falcons +3.0 at Carolina Panthers
I know that I just called the Falcons "pathetic" just two paragraphs ago, but hear me out for this one. The Panthers are down to their third string quarterback, P.J. Walker, and are without their best offensive player, Christian McCaffrey. If Matt Ryan and Cordarrelle Patterson can't beat a Panthers team with an essentially backup offense, then I don't even know what to say. That's literally my only reason for making this bet.
Denver Broncos -11.5 vs. Detroit Lions
This pick is partially in honor of Demaryius Thomas... rest in peace. The Broncos will be giving a tribute to Thomas pregame and the entire franchise will have one goal: to make a statement in honor of their fallen former teammate. And they will accomplish that goal by stomping an absolutely awful Lions team. We can write off last week's game as an anomaly, since there's no way to justify the Vikings actually losing to them. Detroit will be without both of their top two running backs, along with a plethora of defensive players. Denver is still trying to make a playoff push, so they have a ton to play for this week, especially.
Cincinnati Bengals +2.0 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Bengals certainly didn't look great in their last game against the Chargers, but let's not forget that the 49ers also lost last week. The Niners are starting to rise in most people's power rankings but I still can't tell whether they're actually a good team or not. In all honesty, I really just think it's too hard to not go with Cincinnati as an underdog at home to a team with an inferior record and a trend of hit-or-miss performances throughout the season. I think the Bengals are just a better team, which is a sentence I never thought I would say.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Over 51.0
This should be the best game of the week, so I couldn't not bet on it. It was hard for me to bet on either team, however, because while the Rams have looked pretty bad in recent weeks, they're the type of team who can turn it on at any moment. What I do like in this game is the over. L.A. just beat up on the Jags and put up 37, which hopefully has given their offense a spark of confidence that they'll take into this game. Additionally, I think the Cardinals are finally fully healthy on offense for the first time in weeks, and they scored 33 last week against the Bears with their main corps back together. It just feels like there will be a lot of points raining down in Arizona on Monday night. Or that's what I'm hoping for at least.
Fade of the Week: Seattle Seahawks -8.5 at Houston Texans
âWith this pick, we'll be betting on all four teams in the NFC West this week. So hopefully they don't disappoint (except for the 49ers, who we bet against). Houston is just so bad. Almost unbelievably bad. They lost 31-0 to the Colts a week ago and will be facing off against the Seahawks with Davis Mills back under center with Tyrod Taylor out for the rest of the season. Yes, I know, 8.5 points may seem like a lot for a team who has struggled so much offensively this season. But after knocking off the Niners last week with a 30-point performance, I feel comfortable that Russell Wilson and the boys will be able to get the job done and win by double digits on the road.
âWritten by Nick Swatson