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December 06, 2018

Week 14 NFL picks

Eagles NFL
120418CarsonWentz2 Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz and the Eagles will have the opportunity to even the season series with Dallas on Sunday.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 14 NFL picks. To note, the team logos indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.

090418Titans

Jaguars at Titans (-4): It's hard to think of many matchups that I would be less interested in watching.

121418BillsLogo

Jets at Bills (-3.5): This is a matchup between two teams with rookie quarterbacks -- Sam Darnold and Josh Allen -- who have combined for a record of 6-10. Interestingly, Todd McShay of ESPN believes that the top rated draft-eligible quarterback (Oregon's Justin Herbert) in 2019 would have rated below four of the five quarterbacks who went in the first round last year

2. Where would Justin Herbert have ranked in the 2018 QB class?

McShay: Fifth. He'd be behind all four who went in the top 10 in 2018 (Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen). Herbert is my top-ranked guy in this class, and he has all the tools to be a good NFL starter. But the inconsistencies on tape showed this season, and another year at Oregon would really do him well. The rumblings that he'll return for his senior season aren't going away.

Darnold is 3-6 in his nine starts this year, Allen is 3-4, Mayfield is 3-6, and Rosen is 3-6. This should serve as your friendly reminder that whenever the Giants take a quarterback, the odds are that their struggles will continue for some time thereafter.

Kinda got off track in terms of picking games there. Oops. I haven't taken the Bills once all season yet, so I'll take them.

090618GiantsLogo

Giants (-3.5) at Redskins: After Week 10, the NFC East standings looked like this:

 NFC EastRecord GB 
 Redskins6-3 
 Cowboys4-5 
 Eagles4-5 
 Giants2-7 


Three weeks later, the Redskins are 3.5-point underdogs to a 4-8 team. Life comes at you fast.

090418Saints

Saints (-8) at Buccaneers: After a mid-season four game losing streak, the Bucs have actually won two straight, while the Saints are coming off their garbage performance last Thursday night against the Cowboys, who broke the Saints' 10-game winning streak. The Bucs beat the Saints Week 1, which was obviously a long time ago, and with a different QB. 

090418Patriots

Patriots (-7.5) at Dolphins: The Patriots have lost four of their last five in Miami, and Tom Brady is 7-9 lifetime on the road against the Dolphins. That means very little in this matchup to me, personally. The Pats are trying to fend off the Texans for a first-round bye, and are looking to keep pressure on the Chiefs for home field advantage. They won't be sleeping on this crappy Dolphins team that isn't as good as it's mediocre 6-6 record might suggest.

091218ChiefsLogo

Ravens at Chiefs (-6.5): The Ravens for a few short weeks were no longer the most boring team to watch in the NFL with Joe Flacco out, so a temporary congrats to them. To be determined if Flacco will play this week in KC. Either way, I expect the Chiefs to easily outscore them. 

091318TexansLogo

Colts at Texans (-4.5): While the Eagles' staff loves Frank Reich and wish the best for him, they had to be at least mildly relieved that he got shut out last week against what has been a bad Jaguars defense this season. That curbed the "Frank Reich was solely responsible for the Eagles' Super Bowl" talk for a week.

Anyway, the Colts now have a difficult matchup against the hottest team in the NFL, as the Texans have won nine straight. 

091918BrownsLogo

Panthers (-2.5) at Browns: I've said it every week for the last month and I'll say it again -- The Panthers are frauds.

090318Falcons

Falcons at Packers (-5.5): Wait. I get that the Falcons haven't been good this year, but how exactly are the Packers 5.5-point favorites over them? What am I missing here? They fired their head coach so guys are going to play harder? Is that it? Because I'm failing to see how this Green Bay team is favored by almost a touchdown over anyone other than the true bottomest of the bottom barrel teams, which the Falcons are not.

091218BroncosLogo

Broncos (-5.5) at 49ers: The Broncos have won three in a row, including wins over the Chargers and Steelers. They were 3-6 at one point, but their next four opponents are the Niners, Raiders, Browns, and Chargers, who may already be locked into their playoff seed by then. Don't count Denver out of the playoffs just yet.

090418Chargers

Bengals at Chargers (-14): The Chargers are really, really good. I would not want to have to face them in my first playoff game if I were an AFC team with a first round bye.

090418Eagles

Eagles at Cowboys (-3.5): I've thought long and hard about this pick, but ultimately I believe strongly that the Eagles are the better team, and should win this game, like they should have won Week 10. Why? Well, for me, I believe that the Eagles have significant advantages in the trenches. More specifically, the Birds' offensive line is beginning to look more and more like the dominant unit they were a season ago, and that's where it can all start for the Eagles to get back into the playoffs.

Obviously, the Cowboys have some momentum, heading into this game with a four-game winning streak that includes an impressive upset win over the Saints. The Eagles have a little momentum of their own at the moment, having won back-to-back games for the first time all season, albeit against Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez. 

Home field advantage in this series tends to be meaningless, and I expect this division to be all knotted up Sunday night. 

090618LionsLogo

Lions (-2.5) at Cardinals: Who cares?

090418Steelers

Steelers (-11) at Raiders: Next.

090418RamsLogo

Rams (-3) at Bears: The Sean McVay love is already annoying, but now we're pretending like basic stuff is extremely impressive.

Stop. Please, just stop it already. THAT'S. NOT. IMPRESSIVE. Jim Schwartz does that literally every week. I could do that right now with Dallas' defense. McVay is an NFL head coach! OF COURSE he knows basic things about each player on the opposing defense. This is not "Second coming of Jesus" analysis to fawn over. Just stop it.

"Hicks is doing an excellent job."

"Obviously, Khalil Mack is an outstanding player and they do move him around a little bit. Sometimes he's on the left, sometimes he's on the right."

"Leonard Floyd is a player who has gotten a lot better."

Oh, Khalil Mack plays on the left AND the right?!? A young player is getting better? Mind... blown!

Having gotten that out of my system, Rams big against a rusty Mitchell Trubisky, ha.

(Also, a "Rusty Trubisky" sounds like something you'd find on Urban Dictionary.)

090418Seahawks

Vikings at Seahawks (-3): This game is of huge importance in the race for the wildcard in the NFC. Russell Wilson is a stud right now. His last four games:

 Russell WilsonComp-Att (Comp %) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Rating 
 Rams17-26 (65.4%)176 (6.8) 3-0 123.2 
 Packers21-31 (67.7%) 225 (7.3) 2-0 110.3 
 Panthers22-31 (70%) 339 (10.9) 2-0 128.3 
 49ers11-17 (64.7%) 185 (10.9) 4-0 140.9 
 TOTAL 71-105 (67.6%)925 (8.8) 11-0 130.1 


I'm just going to ride them.


• Picks against the spread: Chiefs (-6.5), Browns (+2.5), Falcons (+5.5), Rams (-3), Seahawks (-3).

• Eagles picks: 7-5

• 2018 season, straight up 124-69-2 (0.641)
• 2018 season, ATS: 33-24-1 (0.578)
• 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)


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