I went undefeated on Thanksgiving against the spread, but after losing two games by a half-point and Denver blowing their lead Sunday night, I finished 9-7 last week. I could have had a very good week, but I’ll take the nine covers.
I can’t believe we could be seeing the ‘Matt Barkley Era’ begin in Chicago. He was able to move the ball and if it wasn’t for two redzone interceptions, they would have beaten Tennessee. I guess it’s pretty easy to look like a capable NFL quarterback when you’re following Jay Cutler.
There isn’t much need to keep an eye on weather reports this weekend. All of the games are expected to be nice.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 13 of the 2016 NFL season.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings (+3) – My pick is Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL, but fell short on covering the spread on Thanksgiving. The Redskins came back and completed the dreaded ‘backdoor cover’. Both Dallas and Minnesota won’t be on short weeks, since they played last Thursday. I still like Minnesota’s pass defense a lot, but Dallas can do a lot of damage on the ground. I have to take Dallas to cover in this game.
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
I’m going out on a limb here, but I really liked what I saw out of Jacksonville last week. They haven’t been able to run all season and they employed a run-option offense against the Bills. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles almost got 100 yards on the ground. It helped to open up some holes for both RB Chris Ivory and Denard Robinson. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury, but I like this rushing attack. Denver’s offense hasn’t been lighting the world on fire and their defense choked last week against Kansas City. They could come into this game taking the Jaguars lightly, so I’m taking the points with Jacksonville’s new running scheme.
Los Angeles Rams at New England Patriots (-13.5) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
I’ve been praising the Rams defense all season and then they were manhandled at New Orleans. They were outgained by 308 yards. Rams QB Jared Goff did have a nice game, but it gets second billing to the loss. The Patriots are 1-2 ATS the last three weeks. They were covering huge spreads when Tom Brady came back, but Vegas finally caught up with them. I hope the Rams defense just had a bad week and will look more like the team that has been holding teams to less than 14 points a game. I’m taking the points here.
Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers (-6.5) – My pick is Houston Texans
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers was fantastic Monday Night. He threw some of the prettiest balls he’s thrown all season. I want to have faith in the Packers that they fixed all their issues, but I can’t ignore their four previous losses. Houston hasn’t been on fire either, but their running game is at least functional. Green Bay does have RB James Starks back, but his numbers are extremely bland. I just have to take the points here until Green Bay strings together a few wins in a row.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints (-5.5) – My pick is Detroit Lions
I think I said this last week, but the Saints are the most dangerous sub-.500 team in the NFL. They have enough offense that can more than balance out their weak defense. The Lions are much better than many teams expected, especially after losing WR Calvin Johnson. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford is getting single coverage on a variety of wide receivers now instead of trying to throw to a triple-teamed Johnson. The Lions can hang with the Saints on offense, so I’m taking the points.
Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) – My pick is Atlanta Falcons
I don’t know what it is about Kansas City, but they always end up with like eight or nine wins at this point in the season. They aren’t flashy and don’t have any superstars, but play solid football on both sides. Their comeback win against Denver last week was a lot of fun to watch. I think they found a new star in WR Tyreek Hill. Atlanta has been taking care of business on offense with QB Matt Ryan having one of his best years in the NFL. If Atlanta can keep a lead and motivate the Chiefs to throw the ball, I think the Falcons cover this game. I do worry if Kansas City gets a lead, they could eat the clock on the ground, but I’ll take Atlanta to cover.
Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens (-3) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Miami RB Jay Ajayi changed this Miami team so much since he first had a breakout game. His numbers aren’t as bloated as they once were, but defenses now have to gameplan for him. This extra attention has made QB Ryan Tannehill’s life much, much easier. He has thrown 9 touchdowns and only one interception in the past few weeks. They will keep this close and I may put a few jellybeans on the Miami moneyline, so I’m taking the points.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) – My pick is Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are having a rough year. They started the season without TE Tyler Eifert and then by the time they get him back, WR A.J. Green suffered a hamstring injury. They are still a very capable home team and the Eagles are having their own struggles on offense. Philly QB Carson Wentz has been trying too many short passes and you can’t really attempt 45 passes a game and average 220 yards a game. The Bengals will keep this one close and I’m taking the points.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears (-1.5) – My pick is Chicago Bears
Chicago QB Matt Barkley threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL this week. He had a few other opportunities, but he had two redzone interceptions at Tennessee last week. They moved the ball okay against a pretty good Titans defense. If Barkley didn’t throw those two picks, the Bears would have definitely won. The Niners are keeping games close now with QB Colin Kaepernick starting, but they aren’t a good enough team to win on the road. The Bears are down on their luck with injuries and suspension, but I’m going to take the Bears to cover at home.
Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (-3) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
Oakland is possibly the best 4th quarter team in the NFL. They have came back and won games as well as stretch out a cover late in games. They come into this game 7-4 ATS, but did lose against the spread by a half-point. Oakland isn’t a very good home team and I have a feeling they will have issues with Buffalo’s defense. I think this will be a battle and I have to take the points. I may even put a few jellybeans on the Buffalo moneyline.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers (-3.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They are on a three-game winning streak with two of those wins came at Kansas City and at home against Seattle. Those are two huge wins if you’re a team like Tampa Bay who is trying to have their first winning season in quite awhile. Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston has limited his turnovers and they are trying to get RB Doug Martin going with more carries. Martin hasn’t had a breakout game since returning from injury, but teams are having to gameplan against the run. Winston has relied on WR Mike Evans through the air and it’s about time they hook up more. San Diego is a legit team, but I think they will struggle against the pass rush of Tampa Bay. I’m taking the points.
Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals (-3) – My pick is Washington Redskins
Washington lost on Thanksgiving, but they nearly pulled off an upset late in the game. Washington QB Kirk Cousins had 449 passing yards and was hitting targets all over the field with 41 completions. Washington had four receivers with at least five receptions. I can’t believe it, but Washington had a better offense right now than Arizona. Arizona QB Carson Palmer is having a rough year. He relies heavily on screen passes to RB David Johnson. I would love to see Johnson get more carries instead of screen passes. I wonder if Palmer is hiding an injury, because he hasn’t been right for quite awhile. I’m taking the points and may put a few jellybeans on the Washington moneyline.
New York Giants at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
As much as I love the Giants this season, and they have been very good to me, I like the Steelers in this one. The Steelers struggled midseason, but they have put the team on the shoulders of RB Le’Veon Bell the last two weeks. I doubt that Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger is completely healed from his injury, so having Bell carry a heavy workload is why they’ve won the last two weeks. The Giants have won six games in a row, but they were all against bad or average teams. This could be a tight cover since the Giants are a really good team, but I’m taking the Steelers to cover.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
Man, both of these teams are limping into this game. Carolina is 4-7 and their offense isn’t nearly as prolific as last season. Seattle is having the same issues on offense and have scored six points or fewer in three games this year. This could be a low-scoring affair. There’s a lot of pressure on Carolina since they would probably need to win the rest of their games to make the playoffs. I have to take the points in what could be a low-scoring game.
Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets (+1) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
Indy QB Andrew Luck is set to start after sitting out Thanksgiving Day game due to a concussion. The Colts struggled in about every facet of the game against the Steelers and they were never really in it. The Jets are 3-8 on the season, but they have kept games very close. They are on a three-game losing streak, but those losses were by 4, 3, and 5 points each. They have struggled to score points this season and could have trouble keeping up with a Luck-led Colts team. I’m going to take Indy in this game.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
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