Merry Christmas everyone. 2020 has seemingly contained nothing but chaos, but each week, we are given an escape through sports. As my Christmas present to all of my readers, I am gifting seven picks with a certified Swatson guarantee to make you money. Our total record on the year is 53-48-4, so let the record show that you'd be in the black if you followed my advice throughout the NFL season. The Lock of the Week is on fire now, so after a mediocre 4-2-1 week 15, I'm rolling into this week with supreme confidence in my following picks.
New Orleans Saints -7.0 vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Saints at home with a healthy Drew Brees, a chance to clinch the NFC South, and a first round playoff bye on the line is too good to pass up. Especially against a slumping Vikings team who have lost two in row and are falling out of the playoff picture. While New Orleans is also coming in on a two-game losing streak, their first of those losses can be attributed to an absent Brees and the second one was a game in which they played well against the dominant Chiefs in Brees' first game back from injury. Typically, the Saints have been elite on defense and the offense receives an overwhelming boost with Brees back at the helm. I'm predicting a Saint double digit victory.
Miami Dolphins -3.0 at Las Vegas Raiders
Both teams in this matchup are in must-win situations. The only difference is Miami is trending in an opposite direction from Las Vegas, as the Dolphins have won eight of their last nine against teams not named the Chiefs, and the Raiders' only win in their last five games was a miracle win against the formerly winless Jets. Miami is playing sneakily well on defense, allowing only 12, 7, and 3 points in their last three wins. All signs point to the Dolphins defeating the Raiders and improving their stance in the AFC playoffs, as the Raiders fade into oblivion. I would say we're looking at a push at worst if Miami is somehow unable to put Vegas away.
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens Under 43.5
The Giants have been incapable of scoring points for much of the season, and have combined for 13 total points in their last two games. The Ravens, meanwhile, possess one of the better defenses in the league and are capable of pitching shutouts against inferior offenses. While New York hasn't been able to do enough offensively to give them a shot to win in their most recent outings, their defense has done a relatively good job limiting their opponents' scoring to keep their games within reach. This feels like it'll be a similar final score to New York's last two affairs and will end with somewhere around 30 or 35 total points scored.
Los Angeles Chargers -3.5 vs. Denver Broncos
The Chargers have been excellent this season at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, mostly due to Anthony Lynn's questionable decision making. But after two straight wins, I feel confident taking Justin Herbert's team to win and cover at home against a Broncos team who just got blown out by the Bills. Herbert is having a record-breaking year for a rookie quarterback and will likely have a healthy Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen to utilize on offense. Denver looked downright bad last Saturday night and I don't expect to see a vast improvement this week. As long as there are no coaching malfeasances down the stretch, I love the Chargers to cover in the rematch with their division foes.
Carolina Panthers at Washington Football Team Under 42.5
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers Over 55.5
Lock of the Week: Indianapolis Colts -2.0 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Written by Nick Swatson