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Week 14 was a weird one that showed the syndicate still has no beat on the 49ers, who knocked off the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime to move to 7-6.
A few other notes registered during the up-and-down betting week. First, the Raiders are cooked. If not for that Thanksgiving win over the Dallas Cowboys, they would be a complete smoldering pile of garbage. We're in full fade of the Silver and Black.
Another member of the fade train is the Houston Texans, who are far and away the worst team in the NFL. Plus, with one Urban Frank Meyer III being jettisoned to parts unknown, the Jags might actually be bettable this week.
On the opposite side of the coin, the Los Angeles Chargers are hot and Joe Lombardi appears to have taken the handcuffs off Justin Herbert, which gives the Bolts a much higher ceiling offensively. That makes me want to dive back into my unhealthy habit of riding with the Chargers.
Let's get to the picks.
RECORD: 113-94 ATS (126-81-1 SU)
Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Line: Chiefs -3
The Chiefs will be without Chris Jones due to a positive COVID test but still have Melvin Ingram and Frank Clark. The Chargers will be without all-world rookie tackle Rashawn Slater and Austin Ekeler, Derwin James and Asante Samuel Jr. all are questionable. All that points to the Chiefs, but I’m rolling with Justin Herbert. The NFL is weird, and I have a sickness.
Pick: Chargers 28, Chiefs 27
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
Line: Browns -2.5
The Browns are ravaged by COVID-19, but the Raiders have been horrendous for a month outside of that Thanksgiving win over the Cowboys. Cleveland wants to run the ball, and the Raiders’ run defense is horrific. Nick Chubb, as of this writing, is still slated to play. Give me Cleveland. It’s time to clean house in Vegas.
Pick: Browns 23, Raiders 20
New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
Line: Colts -2.5
Both teams are coming off a bye week, so what is typically an advantage for Bill Belichick is somewhat negated. With Jonathan Taylor, the Colts are the type of team that can give the Patriots some trouble with their run-first attack. But I just can’t bet on Carson Wentz against Bill Belichick. Can’t do it, won’t do it.
Pick: Patriots 27, Colts 23
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Line: Titans -2
The Steelers desperately need to win this game to keep their playoff dreams alive. Mike Tomlin will have the motivated Steelers playing their best in a must-win game. Pittsburgh’s defense stifles a Titans offense that still is at less than full strength.
Pick: Steelers 23, Titans 17
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Eagles -7
Taylor Heinicke is expected to start for Washington after leaving the loss to the Cowboys with an injury. Star wide receiver Terry McLaurin didn’t practice Wednesday and remains in concussion protocol. The Eagles are coming off their bye week and will get Jalen Hurts back. Washington is wounded, and the Eagles put them out of their misery.
Pick: Eagles 23, WFT 13
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Line: Dolphins -10
The Jets flat stink. But the Dolphins have some COVID issues, and this is the type of 2021 NFL game that will throw us a curveball. Tua and the ‘Fins will win, but the Jets keep it close.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 16
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Line: Cowboys -10.5
The Giants, much like the Jets, are a complete disaster. Dak Prescott hasn’t played well since returning from injury. I expect Dallas to quickly brush the Giants aside and take another step toward the NFC East title.
Pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 16
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: Jags -4
Urban Meyer spent 14 weeks berating his coaches and kicking his players, and Shad Khan finally gave in and cut bait with a man who has no business pretending to lead anyone. Expect Trevor Lawrence and the Jags to play looser now that they aren't being dragged down by football's biggest hypocrite.
Pick: Jags 23, Texans 12
Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions
Line: Cardinals -13
Arizona is on a short week and will be without DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the regular season. Fortunately for them, they travel to Detroit to face a Lions team that isn’t good and has had some flu issues. The Lions fight hard for Dan Campbell, but the Cardinals have too much talent.
Pick: Cardinals 31, Lions 17
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
Line: Bills -10.5
The Panthers arrive at the perfect time for the scuffling Bills. It doesn’t matter if it’s Cam Newton or P.J. Walker; Carolina can’t move the ball. Buffalo takes out its frustrations on a team that is DOA.
Pick: Bills 31, Panthers 13
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
Line: Broncos -3
This is a de-facto playoff game. The Bengals have been sloppy in consecutive losses to the Chargers and 49ers, while the Broncos have won two of three. This will come down to Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase against the Broncos’ defense. Give me Burrow and the Bengals.
Pick: Bengals 24, Broncos 20 (UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK)
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Line: Rams -4.5
This is a classic letdown spot for the Rams, who are on a short week fresh off a win over the Cardinals. The Seahawks have won two in a row and somehow still have a faint playoff pulse. Russ keeps this close, but Matthew Stafford makes the plays late to secure the win.
Pick: Rams 28, Seahawks 27
Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
Line: Packers -5.5
The bill is finally coming due for a Ravens team that has been ravaged by injuries all season. Lamar Jackson’s status is up in the air. I don’t think it matters. The Packers are rolling, and that’s not stopping against a wounded Ravens team.
Pick: Packers 30, Ravens 26
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Bucs -11
New Orleans has given Tom Brady fits since he joined the Bucs, and the Saints need this one to stay in the playoff chase. Tampa’s defense has been average of late, so the Saints should be able to move the ball and keep it close. But Tompa takes this one.
Pick: Bucs 27, Saints 23
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Line: Vikings -4.5
The Bears are just playing out the string at this point, watching the clock tick down on Matt Nagy’s tenure. Minnesota needs this win to keep pace in the NFC. The Vikings can contain Justin Fields, but Mike Zimmer’s crew only plays one type of game … tight.
Pick: Vikings 27, Bears 20
Atlanta Falcons at 49ers
Line: 49ers -9
How the Falcons are still a factor in the playoff race, I have no idea. They are dead last in the NFL in DVOA, and most of their wins have been the product of smoke and mirrors. The 49ers’ blue-chip players showed up to beat the Bengals, and they will do so again here.r.
Pick: 49ers 30, Falcons 20