Week 13: Come at me bro!

New Orleans  -7.5  at  DALLAS

This is the 5th year in a row that two teams play on consecutive Thursdays. (Useless fact: Packers are the only other team to play back to back Thursday games, back in 2007. They split. Both were road games. I think that’s also the year that Aaron Rodgers’ immediate family made the schedule.)

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The Saints have never played back to back Thursdays. The Cowboys are veterans. This will be the 4th year out of 5 where they go back to back on Color Rush Jersey Day. They split in 2014 and 2017, and in 2016 became the first team to go 2-0 in consecutive Thursdays.

It won't happen again.

While we relate to Dallas’ irrational confidence, never forget that the NFC East is terrible. Sorry, Cowboys. Beating the Falcons, Eagles, and Redskins doesn’t make you good. Only way it’s close is if Sean Payton forgets to run up the score in the 4th quarter.

Saints -7.5
2 fireball shots


Indianapolis  -4.5  at  JACKSONVILLE

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Jacksonville is done. Starting center and left guard put on IR. Offensive coordinator fired. Fournette lost his appeal of the 1 game suspension for his bare knuckle brawl. The Jags have good backup RBs, but they won't have a chance to get started without an offensive line. Indy is the most public team out there right now … but wait until next week against the Texans to fade them. Colts Texans is going to be a good game. Unlike this one. Good luck Cody Kessler.

Colts -4.5
3 fireball shots


PITTSBURGH  -3.5  vs  LA Chargers
The Fallacy of the Lonely Fact pick of the week

Ben Roethlisberger acted nonplussed about his atrocious interception at the goal line versus Denver last week with the game on the line. He called the play “fluky” and said throwing it to a nose tackle who had been blocked 5 yards off the line was something so absurd it had never happened to him.

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Look closely at that picture. Shelby Harris does pop up out of nowhere to make the play, but look behind him. (We made it easy for you.) You can barely see Antonio Brown behind the safety he's covered up so well. That was going to be a pick no matter what. He should be very plussed.

Roethlisberger is guilty of The Fallacy of the Lonely Fact. It goes like this:

  • The Lonely Fact: I can't believe that particular player made that interception

  • Applied to all Possible Outcomes: Therefore I can't believe that any player would make an interception

You can’t fool us with logic, Big Ben. The logically consistent and grammatically correct response was “to which of my atrocious interceptions are you referring?”

The Chargers fell behind 10-0 last week but ultimately beat up on the Cardinals to recover from their own Broncos loss. Pittsburgh would love to come back strong after losing to the Broncos, but the Chargers are way better than the Cardinals. If the Steelers get down two scores the Chargers D is way too good.

Related: Shelby Harris had a great weekend. He made that interception, and his wife had a baby on Friday before the game. He gave the happiest postgame interview ever. (It’s 5 minutes long just so you're warned.)

The Broncos are the nicest darn guys around.

Chargers +3.5
2 fireball shots


Carolina  -3.5  at  TAMPA BAY

Betting in this game is pretty lopsided. Public is all over Carolina (75% of tickets), but the money is 55% on the Bucs. Implies that the average bet on Tampa is over 3x larger than the average bet on Carolina, and implies that the professional bettors are driving that action and are on Tampa. It’s the smart play to take the hook at home, but the Panthers own the Bucs. 9-3 in the last 12 meetings, average victory 13.3 points. 4-2 in last 6 at Tampa, average margin 13 points.

Carolina is right in the middle of the wild card hunt despite a 3-game losing streak. They have to win this game. They’re 1-4 on the road this year, but we don’t think that will matter. Jamean FitzWinston have thrown a combined 23 interceptions this year, leading the league by a wide margin. The “Against All Odds” podcast this week noted that both Tampa QBs are on the board for the “most interceptions this year” prop bet.

This week it’s Jameis Winston who’ll be chucking it to the other team. Give the points and hedge it with the under TB interceptions prop.

Panthers -3.5
2 fireball shots


Baltimore  -0.5  at  ATLANTA

Fun new drinking game:

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  •  Ask 10 Ravens fans who they think should be starting at QB.

  •  Do a shot every time someone says “I cant take any more Flacco”.

  •  You’ll get super drunk.

  •  Space the questions out and drink water. For your own sake.

But don’t combine this with questions to Falcons fans. They have the level of despair about this season that only Southerners can get when their football team isn’t playing well. It will just make you sad to listen to them.

And definitely don’t ask on Saturday night, after UGA loses a close game to Alabama and gets shut out of the CFB playoff as the best 2-loss team ever. Those Georgia boys and girls are going to be drowning their sorrows until next September.

Atlanta needs this game but only to preserve some dignity. Baltimore is playing to keep up with Pittsburgh for the division title. And Lamar Jackson is fast. Atlanta has given up 164 yds/game on the ground in the last 3. The Falcons move the ball on offense but Baltimore’s defense leads the league in yards per play. If the game was “who can move the ball up to the red zone but not score”, then we’d be on the Falcons heavy. But, alas, it is not.

Ravens -0.5
1 fireball shot


HOUSTON  -5.5  vs  Cleveland

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Texans bandwagon full. First.

Is Houston secretly a top sports city now? Texans, Rockets, Astros? It’s too bad that Houston is in Houston.

Texans -5.5
3 fireball shots


MIAMI  -5.5  vs  Buffalo

Do we have to? (Ed: Yes.) Fine.

The Dolphins are at it again.

  •  2017: 4-2 after 6 games, 2-8 rest of the way, finished 6-10.

  •  2018: 4-2 after 6 games, currently on a 1-4 slide

These teams are both ridiculously inconsistent. Betting on either is dumb. The line moved to Buffalo +7, because Miami is 4-1 at home. Also 3rd in the league in takeaways, against a rookie QB. We think the most likely scenario a 35-10 game. You decide who gets blown out. We’re taking the points because we want Monday AM YouTube videos of the Bills Mafia South Beach celebration.

Bills +5.5
1 fireball shot


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Chicago  -4.5  at  NY GIANTS
The Still-Salty About the Tripping Non-Call Giants Fan pick of the week

The Giants can't help it if God hates them. They’ll lose this game by 3 somehow.

Giants +4.5
All the fireball shots.


Denver -4.5 @ CINCINNATI

Bengals head coach has the 2nd longest tenure in the NFL behind Bill Belichick. Lewis has led the Bengals for 16 seasons and has a career record of 130-117-3. That’s a pretty solid record. Lewis has also led the Bengals to the playoffs 7 times. Unfortunately, the Bengals are 0-7 in those games. With Cincinnati sitting at 5-6, without starting QB Andy Dalton and likely to miss the playoffs, Lewis is on the hot seat. It’s not surprising a change is coming. What is surprising is the favorite replace Lewis is everyone’s favorite coach, Hue Jackson. I’m serious.

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Anytime you can get a recently fired coach with a career win percentage of .200 you have to do it right? Take out the 8-8 season Jackson had as head coach of the Raiders and his winning percentage drops to .088 (3-36-1). For comparison, since firing Jackson the Brown are 2-1. Brown’s fans are rooting for Jackson to get the job. It would give them the leg up in the Ohio rivalry indefinitely. 

Denver has put together a two-game win streak and has an outside shot at the playoffs. They have winnable games at Cincy, San Fran and Oakland and home games vs the Browns and Chargers. If they can go 4-1 in those games they’ll finish 9-7 and will be in the mix for the Wild Cards. I expect them to be all business this week in Cincy with the win and cover.  

Denver -4.5
3 Fireball Shots


LA Rams -10 @ DETROIT

Even though Matt Stafford ruined my Thanksgiving by throwing a late pick 6 in a tied game, blowing the cover and knocking me out of my spread survivor pool, I have to take the Lions here. This a let-down spot for the Rams. Coming off a huge win over Kansas City and a Thanksgiving week bye, the Rams should come into this one a little rusty. I don’t think the Lions can pull off an upset, but I would definitely consider a bet on them to be leading at the half assuming the odds are +200 or better.

DETROIT +10
2 Fireball Shots


GREEN BAY -14.5 vs. Arizona

Aaron Rodgers is going through the motions. He missed some easy throws last week ending any chance of a Packers come-back. My guess is he is done carrying the dead-weight of head coach Mike McCarthy. It’s time for the McCarthy era to end in Green Bay and Rodgers body language and play on the field confirms that. Also, Rodgers’ is channeling his inner Ron Burgundy with his new beard, another sign that he doesn’t care right now.

The Cardinals aren’t good, but not even they can blow this cover. It’s not like they are the Raiders.

Arizona +14.5
1 Fireball Shot


Kansas City -14.5 @ OAKLAND

Ah, the aforementioned Raiders. The Raiders are 2-9, tied with Arizona and San Francisco for the worst record in the league. The biggest difference between these teams in the race for the first pick in the draft is that the Raiders have given up on their QB. It’s obvious Gruden despises Derek Carr and that the Raiders will have a new starting QB in 2019. The Cardinals and 49ers are set at the QB position, so only the Raiders have an incentive to tank the remainder of the season. And based on their performance in Baltimore last week, they are in full tank mode. They allowed a 70-yard punt return for a TD and a late scoop and score in a blow-out loss.

Coming off a bye is the Andy Reid special. Kansas City should be able to score at will and the defense should generate a bunch of turnovers and probably some points. This game won’t be close.

Kansas City -14.5
3 Fireball Shots


TENNESSEE -9.5 vs. NY Jets

Sam Darnold (-110) is the betting favorite to lead the league in interceptions. Darnold has not played in two weeks and is questionable for week 13. Still, sitting at 14 INTs, only 2 ahead of Big Ben and Fitz-magic, Darnold is still the favorite? My bet is on Jameis Winston at +500. Winston has 11 picks already and has only played in 6 games!

The Jets defense is good enough to keep this game close. They should have covered a huge dog last week except they couldn’t punch it in from inside the Patriots 5-yard line on the last drive. Without Sam Darnold to throw garbage time INTs, the defense should be able to get the Jets this cover.

NY Jets +9.5
1 Fireball Shot


NEW ENGLAND -5.5 vs. Minnesota 

The best thing (re: only good thing) about the Fox Sunday pre-game show is seeing an old friend in the Fox :45 clips run throughout the show. Good stuff Matt Noonan!

Sure, they hooked me in with the turnover dig at Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the Belichick at a press conference impression at the end was perfect. It’s a perfect comparison - Belichick’s post game behavior and the dinner table conversation of a 13-year-old boy. Both surly, impolite and despondent. And that’s after a win. 

There’s a chance that these two teams meet in February in Atlanta, so this will be a great test for both. At 6-4-1, the Vikings really need this win to improve their playoff chances. The Patriots are 8-3 and with a 3-game lead have all but locked up the AFC East. The biggest game the Pats have in the remainder of their season is week 15 at Pittsburgh. This inter-conference battle with the Vikings has little effect on the playoff seeds so I don’t expect the best from the Pats. Vikings win outright.

Minnesota +5.5
3 Fireball Shots


SEATTLE -10.5 vs. San Francisco

This game was originally scheduled for Sunday night on NBC, but the NFL’s flex schedule allowed NBC to swap this game for Steelers vs. Chargers. If Jimmy G doesn’t get hurt, this game might have been able to hold onto its primetime spot. But a lot has changed since the start of this season. The 49ers limp into this game at 2-9 with Nick Mullens as their starting QB and still reeling from the release of LB Rueben Foster after his arrest. The team is in complete disarray and it showed as the 49ers couldn’t move the ball against Tampa. Yikes!

Seattle leads the league in rushing and is coming off an impressive win in Carolina. Yet again, after a slow start to the season, the Seahawks are firing on all cylinders. Since 2013, the Seahawks are 24-12 ATS in Week 11 or later. Credit to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff. This team continues to find ways to evolve and get stronger as the playoffs draw near. This should be a very one-sided affair with the Seahawks cruising to a 24-6 victory.

SEATTLE -10.5
2 Fireball Shots


PHILADELPHIA -6.5 vs. Washington

The Eagles escaped week 12 with a 3-pt win over the Giants. Unfortunately, as a Giants fan, I watched every play of that game. What I can tell you based on that game, the Eagles are not very good. Something is not right with the offense and I think a big factor is the loss of offensive coordinator Frank Reich. Since Reich left this off-season for the Colts HC job, the Eagles offense has been a mess. And on defense, the Eagles are missing their top 5 CBs due to injury. And the Giants still managed to lose.  

Washington has also more than their share of injuries this year, most recently Alex Smith’s terrible broken leg. Colt McCoy did a fine job leading the offense on Thanksgiving and if not for a huge blown call on a blatant helmet to facemask penalty on a defenseless Jordan Reed, the Redskins may have won that game. If not win, they would have covered and really that’s all we care about. The Redskins should have no problem moving the ball on Philadelphia and, barring any more injuries, the defense should be able to stop the Eagles. I like the Redskins to win this game, so consider the 6.5 points and early Christmas gift.

Washington +6.5
3 Fireball Shots