December 20, 2018
For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 16 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.
Redskins at Titans (-10): The Titans and Redskins are both fighting for their playoff lives. Tennessee is doing so with their starting quarterback, while the Redskins are doing so with their fourth quarterback, a guy who won his first ever start at the age of 32 last Sunday (which was actually a pretty cool story).
Ravens at Chargers (-4.5): According to FiveThirtyEight.com, if the Ravens win this game, they have an 84 percent chance of making the playoffs. If they lose, 18 percent. This is obviously a huge game for all Eagles fans who have been monitoring the second-round pick the Ravens owe the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Giants at Colts (-9.5): Darius Leonard leads the NFL with 146 tackles (12 TFL), to go along with 7 sacks, 8 quarterback hits, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 pass breakups, and a pick. He is Exhibit A on how much of a joke the Pro Bowl is. Anyway, the Giants still stink, despite winning four of their last six.
Texans at Eagles (-2.5): The Eagles' biggest, most consistent strength, their defensive line, matches up perfectly with the Texans biggest weakness, their offensive line. As we noted in our five matchups to watch, the Texans have allowed 52 sacks and 107 hits on the quarterback this season, both of which lead the NFL. They've also allowed at least 3 sacks in each of their last 6 games, and 26 sacks overall during that span. They are going to have a very difficult time trying to deal with Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, and Brandon Graham, who are all playing their best football of the season the last few games.
The Texans are a 10-4 team, and they have a few supremely talented players on both sides of the ball, but they're still a highly flawed team, due to their creaky offensive line. The Eagles will aim to take away the Texans' rushing attack, which will be missing starting running back Lamar Miller, and try to make them one-dimensional. I believe they can, and will do just that. Then they can pin their ears back and attack Houston's overmatched offensive line.
Jaguars at Dolphins (-4): It's incredible how far the Jags fell this season.
Packers (-3) at Jets: The Panthers have made the correct decision to sit Cam Newton, who has clearly been hampered all season by a shoulder injury. The Packers, meanwhile, are stupidly thinking about allowing Aaron Rodgers to play with a groin injury.
Bengals at Browns (-9): Your season has not gone well if you're nine-point dogs to the Browns.
Buccaneers at Cowboys (-7): Dallas has won two games by more than seven points this season. They're just not built to blow teams out. I'll take the seven, please.
Vikings (-5.5) at Lions: This game looks like it should heavily favor the Vikings, given that they're the more talented team and are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Lions have nothing to play for.
BUT... it should be noted that both of these teams are far better at home than they are on the road. Since 2013:
|Vikings||33-14 (0.702)||18-27-2 (0.404)|
|Lions||28-19 (0.596)||20-27 (0.426)|
I'm calling the upset.
Bills at Patriots (-12.5): Tom Brady is 29-3 against the Bills for his career, and one of those losses was in a meaningless Week 17 game in which he stood on the sidelines for most of the game.
Falcons (-3) at Panthers: Who is the Panthers' backup quarterback?
I'll bet like 98 percent of you don't know, unless you happened to hear it on TV or something with the announcement that Newton is done for the season. Go ahead and google it.
Bears (-4) at 49ers: The Bears still have a shot at a first-round bye, so they'll very much be looking to take care of business in San Francisco.
Rams (-14) at Cardinals: Are the Rams just not as good as we thought? They really need to bury this trash Cardinals team and get some confidence back, and I think they will.
Steelers at Saints (-5.5): The Saints' offense has been down the last few weeks, but their defense has stepped up. I think that's the sign of a true Super Bowl favorite. They can lock up home field advantage with a win over the Steelers, and the starters will be highly motivated to get Week 17 off.
Chiefs (-2.5) at Seahawks: This is a great game. Andy and the Chiefs are desperately trying to fend off the Chargers in the AFC West, while the Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth with a win.
Broncos (-2.5) at Raiders: Ugh. Who thought this would be a good Christmas Eve game when they released the schedules?
• Picks against the spread: Buccaneers (+7), Lions (+5.5), Falcons (-3).
• Eagles picks: 7-7
• 2018 season, straight up 142-83-2 (0.630)
• 2018 season, ATS: 35-32-1 (0.522)
• 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 4 years, ATS: 158-128-5 (0.552)
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