It is going to be brutally cold in the Midwest this weekend, but thanks to domes, it really only affects the Green Bay/Chicago game.
I’m feeling pretty strong on a lot of the favorites this week. I’m not a huge fan of taking favorites this late in the year, but there were some favorable lines this week. There are just a few double-digit point spreads that give me pause, but they are against teams that have already packed it in for the season.
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-16) – My pick is Los Angeles Rams
The Rams beat Seahawks early this season, but that was back when the Rams defense was pretty good. They have had issues soon after that win that cost head coach Jeff Fisher his job. The Seahawks do have issues at times scoring, but they should be able to move the ball okay. I do worry about this game being on a short week. If the interim Rams head coach John Fassel can just keep it basic on offense, they should keep it within two touchdowns. It’s probably not a popular choice, but I’m taking the points.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (+2) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill found out he didn’t tear his ACL, he suffered a bad sprain, so his season could be over. Backup QB Matt Moore has had a little success here and there as a backup and starter in his career. I think he could do well with this team since Tannehill has been the reason for a few of Miami’s losses. The Jets are coming off an overtime win last week at San Francisco, but they may have won their last game of the season. I don’t know of many other teams in the NFL that they are good enough to beat. As long as the Dolphins hand off the ball to RB Jay Ajayi and limit turnovers, they should cover.
Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
I have to admit that I’ve been off on a lot of Colts games this season. I’m a Colts fan, but my betting bias is the opposite of what you’d expect from a fan. I’m pretty pessimistic because they’ve been a team of extremes this season. They are either on fire or only show up for two or three quarters. Their running game is beyond horrible and I don’t think QB Andrew Luck can avoid turnovers against the Vikings secondary. I have to go with the Vikings to cover at home.
Detroit Lions at New York Giants (-4) – My pick is New York Giants
The Lions have been a huge surprise this season. They have been a very good against the spread and QB Matthew Stafford should be a Comeback Player of the Year candidate, but I don’t think his previous seasons were bad enough to qualify. The Giants are another team that are very good against the spread are 6-1 outright at home. The Giants just keep winning and surprised me last week when they beat the Cowboys without the injured Jason Pierre-Paul. I think they should cover again this weekend in a competitive game.
Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a rare surprise team that haven’t been very good against the spread. They are only 2-3 ATS when favored. They have a fantastic running game and QB Marcus Mariota has taken the next step in his development. Kansas City doesn’t have a very good run defense, but they actually have a pretty good record when they are outgained on the ground. The Chiefs are extremely efficient and I think they found themselves a star in WR Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs may win, but I have to take the points in what could be a close game.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+3) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are just feeding RB Le’Veon Bell and have won four straight games when they changed offensive philosophies. The Bengals come into this game playing their best football right now, but they are useless when they give up a lot of yards on the ground. I think it is inevitable that Bell will get plenty of yards, so I don’t think the Bengals will be very competitive in this contest. I have to take the Steelers to cover in Cincinnati.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (+6.5) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
The weather could be an issue in this game since the temperature at kickoff could be below zero. The weather didn’t bother Aaron Rodgers last week, so I don’t expect it to bother Green Bay passing offense. I think the Bears may have one good game left in them this season. RB Jordan Howard is a good player and if he goes off, that will help QB Matt Barkley. I don’t think this is a game the Bears could win, but a cover could be tight for Green Bay. I still have to take the Packers to cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-6) – My pick is Houston Texans
I think this is the game that seals the fate of Jags head coach Gus Bradley. The Jaguars have had some close games, but they are an extremely flawed team on offense. I’m not sure QB Blake Bortles is good enough to be a starting quarterback and their running game never really got going. They did have some flashes a few games ago after Bortles injured his throwing shoulder, but they reverted back to their old offense the next week. The Texans do have issues scoring points themselves, but they are a good home team and should take care of business with a cover.
Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
I’ve trashed Baltimore off and on this season, but they have been a pretty good team the last few weeks. They probably should have lost to New England by a lot more and were gifted some easy scores late in the game, but playing at New England in Primetime is a tough spot. The Eagles are in a rut and are probably playing up to their skill level. They were overachieving early this season and fell back to reality. Philly QB Carson Wentz looked competent last week against Washington. He competed nearly 70% of his passes for the first time since Week 8. The Ravens are playing pretty well right now and think they will cover.
Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills (-10) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
I hate picking so many damn covers, but the Browns haven’t been within ten points of their opponents since late October. The Bills aren’t exactly lighting u the league on offense right now, but Cleveland was lucky to get a touchdown last week against Cincinnati. The Bills may not need to score many points to cover, so I’m taking them.
San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons (-14) – My pick is Atlanta Falcons
The Niners completely gave up last week and lost to the Jets in overtime. Niners RB Carlos Hyde had the best game of his career with 193 yards on only 17 carries. I don’t expect him to have as big of a game against Atlanta. The Falcons smoked the Rams last week and I have a feeling they are about to do the same to the Niners. This is a large point spread, but I can’t lay a dime on San Francisco right now.
New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5) – My pick is New Orleans Saints
Saints QB Drew Brees threw three interceptions and zero touchdowns in back-to-back weeks for the first time in his career. This is the guy who once had a touchdown streak, so he should bounce back this week. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill had a good game against Arizona’s secondary last week before he left with an injury. The Saints will keep this game close, so I have to take the points.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (+3) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
The Raiders fell to the Chiefs last week and it was mostly the fault of Raiders QB David Carr. He had his worst game as a pro. He should have an easier time this week against San Diego’s secondary, but he clearly had issues throwing with a glove last week. The Chargers have relied heavily on RB Melvin Gordon, but he injured his hip and knee last week, so he will be unavailable. QB Philip Rivers could work his magic and keep this one close, but without Gordon, they will be one-dimensional. I have to take the Raiders to cover.
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (+3) – My pick is New England Patriots
In their last seven head-to-head matchups, the home team is 7-0 and are perfect against the spread. I think the home team trend could end this week. This is the first game in awhile that didn’t pit Tom Brady against Peyton Manning, so this game has a different feel to it. Denver has been horrible against the run and haven’t been able to move the ball on the ground themselves much the last month. The Pats may not need huge came from Brady to win. I have to take New England to cover with a dominant ground attack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (-7) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I was late to party when it comes to Tampa Bay. Their early losses were hard to forget, so I didn’t think they were legit for quite awhile. They have won their last five games and are 5-0 ATS during their winning streak. The Bucs defense has shown up in a huge way. They had some good outings in the middle of the season, but their performance in their 14-5 win against Seattle put them on the map. They shutdown Seattle’s passing game and sacked QB Russell Wilson six times. Bucs QB Jameis Winston just needs to be efficient and limit turnovers to keep them in games. I don’t trust the Cowboys to cover this large of a spread, especially after only scoring a total of three touchdowns the last two games. I’m taking the points in this game.
Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins (-6.5) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Panthers have skated by on their reputation from last season. They are a completely different team. They have more weapons on offense, but yet haven’t came close to last year’s dynamic totals. Their defense is definitely weaker and look to be without LB Luke Kuechly once again. The Redskins just finished a stretch of three-straight road games and were humbled in two of those games. They return home, where they have had success this season. The Panthers secondary has given up a ton of yards and Redskins QB Kirk Cousins should be able to move the ball against them. I have to take the Redskins to cover on Monday Night Football.
*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