I hope your holiday weekend was filling and fun. I always consider a good year of picks when I cross 100 wins before Thanksgiving. I did that with Washington throttling Green Bay and I’m looking to keep the good season going here. Picks have to be good, since the Vikings, Bearcats and 2 of my three fantasy football teams are having seasons that are gray hair producing. In any case, submitted here for your review and perusal are this weeks picks. Odds are provided by Westgate sportsbook via ESPN and are for comparison and entertainment purposes only. If you take these lines and get took, I have no sympathy nor any money to help you pay bookies.
Sunday November 27
Cardinals (4-5-1) at Falcons (6-4)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta 1:00 (FOX)
Falcons by 6
Last Week Cardinals lost to Vikings 30-24, Falcons were on a bye
Fast Fact Falcons rank first in points per game, yards per play, passing yards per play and touchdowns scored
An interesting aviary battle on tap here, as the Falcons try to keep their tenuous hold on the NFC South as they face the Cards whose uneven season teeters on the brink of being a lost one. Matty Ice is playing at an All-Pro clip and the Falcons offense has been humming. But that defense, ewwww. They have given up 24 or more point in each of their last five and are looking more and more lost each week, that puts even more pressure on their offense to continue to put up good numbers. I have lost what little faith I had in Carson Palmer long ago and don’t trust a western team heading east for a 1p kickoff anyway
Bengals (3-6-1) at Ravens (5-5)
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore (CBS/NFLN)
Ravens by 4
Last Week Ravens lost to Cowboys 27-17, Bengals lost to Bills 16-12
Fast Fact The Bengals have won the last five meetings
The Bengals are spiraling out of control and injuries are accelerating that spin. Facing a Ravens teams that is trying to hold onto their share of the divisional lead. With AJ Green out for an extended period (maybe the rest of the season) and Gio Bernard out the season with an ACL tear. The Ravens have a tough defense but their offense is wildly inconsistent. Nevertheless, I think the Bengals are already mailing it in and that Marvin Lewis’ tenure in Cincy is on fumes.
Jaguars (2-8) at Bills (5-5)
New Era Field; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (CBS)
Bills by 7½
Last Week Jaguars lost to Colts 26-19, Bills defeated Bengals 16-12
Fast Fact Jags coach Gus Bradley has 14 wins over three seasons, the 2nd worst win percentage in NFL history
The grinning jeering buffoon coaching the Bills still thinks he is a genius though his team keeps trying to give away games. He gets a break the size of his massive ego with the sad sack Jags on the docket. The Jags are playing hard to be sure but keep finding ways to lose. I think Shady McCoy will continue to play like a beast and the Bills defense will make Blake Bortles look pedestrian
Titans (5-6) at Bears (2-8)
Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)
Titans by 5½
Last Week Titans lost to Colts 24-17, Bears lost to Giants 22-16
Fast Fact Titans running back DeMarco Murray has scored a touchdown in each of the last six games
What does it tell you when the Titans are road favorites? They had their chances to steal a key win over the Colts but bungled them away. The Bears are just plain bad. Their offense is stagnant, defense punchless and injuries have evaporated any real promise. Marcus Mariota is showing real growth and I think he has enough on the ball to get the win.
Giants (7-3) at Browns (0-11)
FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 (FOX)
Giants by 7½
Last Week Giants defeated Bears 22-16, Browns lost to Steelers 24-9
Fast Fact Neither team has scored 30 points in any game this season
The Giants are extremely concerned about this game. Trying desperately to keep the runaway Pokes in sight for the division lead they see this game as a massive trap waiting to be sprung on them. The Browns are hapless, hopeless and find creative ways to lose games that are winnable. The G-Men are more talented on both sides of the ball, period. The Browns secondary struggle to contain one top notch receiver. They will have no fun with Odell Beckham Jr, and talented rookie Sterling Shepard. We’re not even figuring in Victor Cruz. The Browns will head into December (and their very late bye) wondering if downstate rivals will be their best chance to get a win.
Pick New York Giants (Lock of the week)
Chargers (4-6) at Texans (6-4)
NRG Stadium, Houston 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 1½
Last Week Chargers were on a bye, Texans lost to Raiders 27-20
Fast Fact Since rallying to beat the Colts on October 16th, the Texans have been outscored 41-9 in the 4th quarter
The Texans return home from south of the border facing a rested Chargers team that is better than their record would indicate. Brock Osweiler is trying like a scout and has talented wideouts to throw to but his lack of a consistent running game puts him at a disadvantage. The Chargers are a puzzling team to figure. They have a bevy of talent on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers is a wily old pro and Joey Bosa would be a runaway choice for rookie of the year if there wasn’t a dynamic duo in Dallas. You can never be sure of which team will show up though. They have a losing record but a positive point differential, this is a pick I’m likely going to regret either way I choose. I’ll go with the home team
49ers (1-9) at Dolphins (6-4)
Hard Rock Stadium; Miami Gardens, FL 1:00 (CBS/NFLN)
Favorite Dolphins by 7½
Last Week 49ers lost to Patriots 30-17, Dolphins defeated Rams 14-10
Fast Fact With a loss, the Niners would set a dubious team record with a tenth consecutive defeat
The Dolphins have quietly come on strong in the playoff picture and are riding a five-game win streak. They get a relative cookie game hosting the woebegone Niners who haven’t won since September and look more and more disinterested as the season wears on. The Niners are coming east for an early start, that would put them behind the eight ball to begin with. The fact that they are just one of the worst teams in the NFL helps matters little.
Rams (4-6) at Saints (4-6)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans 1:00 (FOX)
Saints by 7
Last Week Rams lost to Dolphins 14-10, Saints lost to Panthers 23-20
Fast Fact Rams defense giving up 18.7 points, facing the Saints offense averaging 28.5 points per game.
These are a pair of teams that are on the fringe and are hard to figure. The Rams are growing and showing potential. Jared Goff had a decent first start but their defense let them down again. The Saints are always going to score points if there is a guy named Brees at the helm. I think the Rams are still not ready to make the big step of getting a tough road win.
Pick New Orleans
Seahawks (7-2-1) at Buccaneers (5-5)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa 4:05 (FOX)
Seahawks by 3½
Last Week Seahawks defeated Eagles 26-15, Buccaneers defeated Chiefs 19-17
Fast Fact Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has thrown 2 interceptions in 335 attempts
This is a quiet good game to start the late slate, the Bucs stunned the Chiefs in Arrowhead while the Seahawks continue to lay claim to the title of NFC’s best squad with an almost surgical dissection of the Eagles. The Bucs are gaining traction as a good team but I think it might be a bit to ask for them to beat a veteran team even with no running game. I like the Seahawks to win a third game in the eastern time zone this year.
Panthers (4-6) at Raiders (8-2)
Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, Oakland 4:25 (FOX)
Raiders by 3 ½
Last Week Panthers defeated Saints 23-20, Raiders defeated Texans 27-20
Fast Fact A Raiders win will give them their highest win total since 2002, which was their last winning season, playoff berth and Super Bowl Appearance
The Panthers have a pair of tough west coast roadies on tap, first the red-hot Raiders then staying out west for their next game against the Seahawks. The Raiders played a solid game in Mexico and have sole possession of the AFC West to show for it. Cam Newton has played about as uneven as one could imagine this season. I’m not sold on the theory that facing the weak Raiders secondary will improve Newton’s numbers. Derek Carr however has been on point pretty much the whole season. I think that he will be able to push the ball downfield and get the offensive numbers that will add up to a win. This will be the breakthrough win that gives them their first winning season in 14 years
Patriots (8-2) at Jets (3-7)
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 4:25 (CBS) flexed from 8:30 slot
Patriots by 7½
Last Week Patriots defeated 49ers 30-17, Jets were on a bye
Fast Fact A win will give Tom Brady his 200th of his career, tying him with Payton Manning for the most by a QB.
The Pats bounced back from a dispiriting loss to the Seahawks to whip the lugubrious Niners and now face a Jets team that are having a hard time staying out of its own way. Tom Brady is playing with confidence and fire and showing no signs of slowing down at 39. The Jets offense is well offensive, I have no real thought that the Jets can pull off a shocking upset at home like they have done before. The only real question is how bad will Bill Belichick turn the screws on the Jets in beating them down again.
Pick New England
Chiefs (7-3) at Broncos (7-3)
Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Denver 8:30 (NBC) flexed to this time slot from 4:25
Broncos by 3 ½
Last Week Chiefs lost to Buccaneers 19-17, Broncos were on a bye
Fast Fact This is the first game this season to be flexed to the primetime slot
Instead of wrapping up the long weekend with a weighty dud matchup, the NFL quietly flexed the high stakes Chiefs-Broncos matchup to the primetime spot and the football world is better for it. Both teams are trying to keep the divisional leading Raiders in sight for a home showdown with them in December. The Chiefs picked a bad time to play flat, losing a tough one to the Bucs while the Broncos had a week to prepare to host this matchup. The hosts are cheered by the return of (Bearcat)Derek Wolfe and Aqib Talib from injury while the Chiefs are weakened with the absence of Jeremy Maclin on the offense and Dee Ford on defense. Though the Chiefs defense will give Trevor Siemian some trouble I think that the Broncos at home is still one of the safer bets in the game.
Monday November 28
Packers (4-6) at Eagles (5-5)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Eagles by 4
Last Week Packers lost to Washington 42-24, Eagles lost to Seahawks 26-15
Fast Fact The Packers have given up 40+ points in back to back games for the first time since 1953
The Packers got stomped for a second time in as many weeks and face a reeling Eagles team that has lost 5 of their last 7 after a shocking 3-0 start. Aaron Rodgers is trying his best, but the Packers defense is atrocious, their running game puny if existent at all and their game plan seems to chart a course to self-destruction every week. The Packers are going down in flames and the Eagles while nowhere near a juggernaut I think are good enough to outduel the Packers sending them further to mediocrity
Last Week 10-4 (Lock correct, Upset incorrect)