It’s a pretty poor slate of games this week. Many games pair two under-performing teams against each other. Last week could possibly be our final week with a full slate of competitive NFL football games. Teams will start benching players in favor of keeping them healthy and a few more teams could further quit on their coaches. There are a few games (Packers/Cowboys & Bears/Browns) that the line could drastically change mid-week depending on the health of their starting quarterbacks. Make sure to keep an eye on the NFL lines at Topbet.eu, which have up-to-date point spreads.
In December, weather reports become more important than ever. Those must be looked at before you make a decision. It is also important to look at division records. If one of the teams in a game has nothing left to play for, it could sway your decision in the right direction.
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 15 of the NFL season.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (+2) - My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
What has gotten into Jacksonville? They started the season playing like a junior varsity team, but now find themselves covering in four out of the last five games and currently have a three-game winning streak. The teams they’ve beaten are playing are bad, but Jacksonville is playing with confidence. The Bills have only won once in their last six games, with that win coming in a blowout at home against the Jets. Neither team has anything left to play for, but the Jaguars haven’t quit on Gus Bradley. I’m going with the hot team, Jacksonville.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+2.5) - My pick is Miami Dolphins
Tom Brady’s go-to target Rob Gronkowski tore his ACL last week and will miss the rest of the season. Brady looked lost at the beginning of the season without him, so I expect a lot of the same. I haven’t been a believer in Miami all season, but they’ve surprised me lately. New England may figure out a way overcome missing Gronk before the playoffs, but not by their next game. I’m picking the points and I may put a few jellybeans on the Miami moneyline.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) - My pick is Indianapolis Colts
The Texans fired Gary Kubiak this week, so the team is left in the hands of Wade Phillips. I’ve made a living off betting against Wade Phillips-coached teams. The most recently example was when the Colts and Texans played earlier this season. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke at halftime, Phillips took over as head coach in the second half and the Colts came back to win in dramatic fashion. The Colts had some moments last week against Cincinnati. If their blown call didn’t happen, it would have been very close. I feel good about them this week. I’m picking the Colts to cover and push the Texans further in the lead for the #1 overall pick in the draft.
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (+4.5) - My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
I watched both teams play last week and they impressed me. The Eagles never gave up in the snow and LeSean McCoy ran all over the Lions. Minnesota didn’t miss a beat when Adrian Peterson left the game with a foot injury. They answered every touchdown the Ravens scored in the fourth quarter. The Ravens had the ball last, so Minnesota left Baltimore with a loss. Peterson isn’t playing, but Toby Gerhart is expected to start. He’s one of the best backup running backs in the NFL. I really like Minnesota, but I like Philadelphia even more. I’d feel better about picking the Eagles if the line was +3 or +4, but I have faith the Eagles will cover on the road.
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons (-6.5) - My pick is Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins will start against Atlanta, but 6.5 points is a lot to cover. Atlanta is only 5-8 against the spread this season, with three of those covers coming in a row. They have only covered twice when when favored this season. Vegas really wants the public to go with Atlanta, even though the value is in a Redskins play. This line would be -3.5 if Robert Griffin III were starting. I’m picking the Redskins to rally and will be shocked if Atlanta pulls off a cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5) - My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of my favorite things to bet in the NFL is a non-cover after a team beats Seattle. Since Pete Carroll has been the coach, it rarely happens. The team is so physical on both sides of the ball, it takes longer than a week to recover. Also, the 1:00pm East Coast game does not do the 49ers any favors. I think you’re getting at least two points in value. I’m picking Tampa Bay to keep this game close.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns (-1) - My pick is Chicago Bears
This game opened up at -2.5, but justly bet down. Browns got a few points for nearly beating New England. Teams are often overvalued when playing New England close, but they shouldn’t give a team 2+ points the following week, especially this year. Josh McCown looked great against Dallas last week, but Cleveland’s defense is much better. It is still unknown if Jay Cutler or McCown will start for the Bears, but I don’t think it matters. Chicago is playing inspired and are fighting for the NFC North crown. The Bears have too much to lose and will win outright in Cleveland.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (+7) - My pick is Seattle Seahawks
A week ago, I would have jumped all over a Giants +7, but I don’t see it anymore. San Diego manhandled them and they looked like they’ve already packed it in. Seattle is coming into New York ticked off they lost to San Francisco. I feel sorry for Eli Manning. Richard Sherman and the rest of the ‘Legion of Boom’ will make him look like a rookie. I’m picking a big cover by Seattle in the home of Super Bowl XLVIII.
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-11) - My pick is Carolina Panthers
The Jets are horrible on the road. They are 1-5 (2-4 ATS) on the road and have been outscored 184-79 in those games. Carolina is coming off a loss to New Orleans, so they are in the same boat as Seattle. They will be playing mad. Geno Smith has already struggled this season and he has not faced a defense as talented as Carolina. I hate picking double-digit point spreads in the NFL, but this is too good to pass up.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+4.5) - My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City finally righted the ship against Washington last week. They had a difficult stretch of games that paired them up against Denver twice and a San Diego trap game in-between. Oakland came out this week and said Matt McGloin will be their starter for the rest of the season, with Terrelle Pryor used in certain packages. I never like a team with plans to play two quarterbacks. Kansas City will cover on the road.
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (+2.5) - My pick is Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is horrible on the road and Tennessee is bad at home. In this scenario, I always pick the best overall team, which is Arizona. There isn’t much analysis with this pick. Arizona is the superior team and will pass all over Tennessee’s secondary. I think the +2.5 is generous and get on it before it moves to +3 or +3.5.
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-7) - My pick is Dallas Cowboys*
I put a caveat on my pick, since Aaron Rodgers has yet to be cleared to play. If he is cleared, this line will move and Green Bay would be a nice play if they are getting points. If Rodgers doesn’t play, I have little faith in the Packers quarterbacks. Dallas will bounce back and cover -7…if Rodgers doesn’t play.
New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams (+5.5) - My pick is New Orleans Saints
I’m not a fan of betting on New Orleans on the road, but Drew Brees will be in a dome AND the Rams secondary is bad. The Rams haven’t netted more passing yards than their opponent since they played Tennessee in Week 9. The Saints’ strength is the Titans’ biggest weakness. I’m picking the Saints to cover on the road (gulp!).
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (+3) - My pick is Cincinnati Bengals
It’s been a long time since I picked Cincinnati to cover in Pittsburgh. I just think they are playing much better than the Steelers. The Steelers are coming off two close wins that can really deflate a team. They have nothing left to play for this season. The Bengals will miss Geno Atkins and Leon Hall on defense, but I still think they cover on the road.
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions (-6) - [Monday] - My pick is Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were overrated early in the season, but now find themselves vastly underrated. They are 4-1 in their last five games, with their only loss coming in overtime. I wouldn’t have picked the Ravens two weeks ago, but I love this team with a healthy Dennis Pitta. He’s the security blanket Joe Flacco needed, but didn’t have all season. The Lions played in the ‘Snow Bowl’ last week and had a few embarrassing moments (i.e. Matthew Stafford’s face). I feel confident with my Ravens pick and a few jellybeans could be placed on the moneyline.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob is currently 107-74-10 on the season.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.