I'll gladly lay 2.5 points on a team that is good, badly needs a win to stay in position for the 1 seed, and is playing a bad team.
Raiders (-8) at Jets: A look at the percentage chance the Jets win any of their final five games, via ESPN's matchup predictor:
- Week 13: Raiders: 29.5%
- Week 14: At Seahawks: 11.2%
- Week 15: At Rams: 9.5%
- Week 16: Browns: 32.3%
- Week 17: At Patri*ts: 22.6%
That Week 17 against the cheaters is interesting. If the Jets and Jaguars finish with the same record, the Jags will have the No. 1 overall pick on a strength of schedule tiebreaker. If the Patri*ts are mathematically eliminated heading into that Week 17 matchup, and a Jets win could mean that they have the same record as the Jags, I can absolutely see Bill Belichick purposely throwing that game so the Jets don't get the No. 1 pick.
Colts (-3.5) at Texans: According to fivethirtyeight.com, if the Colts win this game, they have a 73 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they lose, it's down to 32 percent. Meanwhile, the Texans have nothing to play for, though they have been playing better of late. I'll side with the team with playoff aspirations on the line, with little conviction.
Rams (-3) at Cardinals: When I first saw this line, I figured I'd be all over the Cardinals, until I saw the matchup history. Since 2017, the Rams are 6-0 against the Cardinals with a combined score of 195-56. The Rams scored at least 30 points in every one of those matchups. I understand that this isn't the same Cardinals team, but when one team owns another to that degree, those trends are hard to break.
Giants at Seahawks (-10): As we noted in the hierarchy this week, the Seahawks have one game down on the easiest four-game stretch I've ever seen, three to go:
- At Eagles ✔️
- At Washington
And they are likely to get the added break of facing Colt McCoy instead of Daniel Jones.
Eagles at Packers (-8.5): In each of the last two weeks, the Eagles have gotten garbage-time touchdowns to make final scores appear misleading. They lost 22-17 to the Browns, and 23-17 to the Seahawks, even though clearly those games weren't that close.
It has been the defense that has kept the Eagles at least semi-competitive, but it only feels like a matter of time before that dam breaks as well. The Eagles will face a Packers team led by Aaron Rodgers, who in my opinion is probably juuuuust a notch below Patrick Mahomes for the NFL's MVP through the first 12 weeks of the season.
Rodgers leads the NFL in TD passes (33), TD percentage (8.7% of his pass attempts result in TD), and QB rating (117.6). Conversely, Carson Wentz leads the NFL in INTs (16), sacks taken (46), and he has the second-most fumbles (10). Wentz actually has five more INTs this season (again, 15) than Rodgers has in his last three seasons combined (10).
In two of the Eagles' three wins (against the 49ers and Giants), they produced three turnovers. In their other win (vs. Dallas), they got two turnovers, and were otherwise unchallenged by Ben DiNucci. In this matchup, Rodgers is a quarterback who just doesn't make many mistakes. Only the Titans and Chiefs have turned it over fewer times in 2020. This may sound like remedial analysis, but because the Eagles' offense is so broken, they need their opponents to screw up in order to win games, and that just isn't going to happen this week in Green Bay.
The Packers are chasing the Saints for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, which is more meaningful this year since only one team will get a bye. They will not be overlooking the Eagles, who beat them in Green Bay last year. I think this one gets really ugly on both sides of the ball.
Patri*ts at Chargers (-1): The Patri*ts were beneficiaries of an awful personal foul called on the Cardinals last week, that enabled them to kick a late field goal for the win.
Ultimately, the Patri*ts are better off losing these games, because they're not going to make the playoffs, and they're only hurting their chances of selecting a good quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Broncos at Chiefs (-13.5): Hey the Broncos will have actual quarterbacks this week! Won't matter. The Chiefs swept the Broncos last season, with a combined score of 53-9. Earlier this season they beat the Broncos 43-16. They've also won 10 straight over Denver.
Football Team at Steelers (-8): The Football Team has beaten up on some bad teams this season, as their four wins have come against the Eagles, Bengals, and the Any Dalton-led Cowboys twice.
While probably the best team in the NFC East, this game will serve as a reminder that they still aren't good.
Bills at 49ers (-1): Ooh, why is this line Bills (+1)? What am I missing? Whatever. I'll bite.
Cowboys at Ravens (-7): This game will be played on Tuesday, which is fun. I guess we'll see how many Ravens players come back from the COVID list before this game is played, but there's almost no scenario in which I'd pick the Cowboys.
- Week 1: Ravens (Result: W)
- Week 2: Buccaneers (Result: W)
- Week 3: Colts (Result: W)
- Week 4: Rams (Result: W)
- Week 5: Cowboys (Result: W)
- Week 6: Dolphins (Result: W)
- Week 7: Bills (Result: W)
- Week 8: Chiefs (Result: W)
- Week 9: Steelers (Result: W)
- Week 10: Packers (Result: W)
- Week 11: Vikings (Result: L) 💀
Byes: Buccaneers, Panthers.
• Picks against the spread: Saints (-2.5), Packers (-8), Bills (+1).
• Eagles picks: 6-4-1
• 2020 season, straight up: 113-61-1 (0.649)
• 2020 season, ATS: 32-26-2 (0.550)
• 2019 season, straight up: 160-107-1 (0.601)
• 2019 season, ATS: 42-35-3 (0.544)
• 2018 season, straight up: 173-94-2 (0.647)
• 2018 season, ATS: 41-36-2 (0.532)
• 2017 season, straight up: 181-86 (0.678)
• 2017 season, ATS: 36-32-2 (0.529)
• 2016 season, straight up: 171-94-2 (0.644)
• 2016 season, ATS: 41-34 (0.547)
• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)
• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)
• Last 6 years, ATS: 233-187-11 (0.553)
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