It’s hard out here for a Pick.
Last week I did two things that I rarely do: Laid off one of my picks and then flipped another right before game time. Right before halftime of the Cowboys and Eagles I just flat out laid off. I almost took the Eagles, but ultimately didn’t have a solid pick either way, except that I thought about Dak’s shoulder problem and Jason’s Garrett’s ability to mess up the most winnable games.
Then, on the night game the entire idea that the Bears would somehow cover as a home dog evaporated when I realized, again, that this is Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. I must have been in a stupor when I made that play, but flipped and took the Chiefs three hours before kickoff.
Week 16 was bonkers
Speaking of Dallas, their injuries are a real problem. Say what you will about Garrett, but if you have at least a half dozen starters dinged up or out you are not going to win the games you should. Same thing goes for the Rams who lost two starting offensive linemen to season ending knee injuries. In the old days before the salary cap teams could stock their cupboards with quality backups, but not anymore. I guess parity is great and all, but the only way you can have depth is by convincing a lot of players to accept less than what their real market value is worth.
Mike Tomlin won’t win coach of the year, but he should get a lot of votes based on his team’s performance this year. Losing the Killer B’s is decimating, but also losing James Conner and JuJu for stretches should have killed this team. Mason Rudolph and Delvin Hodges are so far below replacement level quarterbacks that they barely register as below quality backups, so if they win eight games it’ll be a miracle.
Marshawn Lynch was serving tequila shots in the parking lot at the Raiders game last week and is now going to be the starting running back for the Seahawks. Yes, the man is a legend, but be cautious thinking that he’s going to be able to make the difference for a banged-up Seattle club. More on them later.
Week 17 is one of the most difficult weeks to bet. So many starters will be sitting and so many games are meaningless. Let’s focus our online betting on games that actually matter.
On to my NFL picks:
Sean’s Top NFL Picks For This Week
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Spread: Falcons +1
The only angle here is the Falcons presumably playing one last game for Dan Quinn who has racked up a 5-2 record since the bye. The Falcons have some bruises at wide receiver and the Bucs are missing Mike Evans which means that Jamies Winston is going to be throwing to subpar receivers again. He’s capable of throwing at least two picks even against a defense as bad as Atlanta’s. And his propensity for turnovers means the Bucs defense will be on the field a lot more often than they’d like.
At first glance I like the idea of this being a shootout, but Atlanta’s 6-9 ATS on the total. The Bucs are 5-8-2 ATS and are 2-5 at home straight up. I know this is a trash game, but I like it because Quinn has quietly put together a great second half, Winston is leading the league in passing yards and interceptions, and Julio Jones is lighting it up. There is nothing at stake here, but it should be a fun game to watch. I’m liking the healthier team and Matt Ryan since he doesn’t turn the ball over nearly as much as Winston.
THE PICK: Falcons to win
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Spread: Redskins +10.5
The LOLs have been fast and furious. Dallas has been given every chance to win games against quality opponents but only cover the number against inferior teams or the Rams when they suddenly forget how to block and tackle. I just can’t in good conscience recommend backing this team under any circumstances. They are poorly coached, undisciplined, and are now also hurt across both the offense and defense. Dak’s got a shoulder issue that seems more serious than they are letting on and Amari Cooper is definitely not feeling great. Washington is utter trash, but this is a rivalry game and they will be motivated to ruin Dallas’ season.
The line opened at -7 and has been juiced all the way up to double digits. There isn’t a lot of value on the sides right now. Dallas should be able to kick the shit out of a bad DC team, but laying 11 is a lot even when Dallas is in must-win mode with Philly visiting the Giants. The NFC East is so atrocious that it is possible a 7-9 team could win the division. Anyways, DC is just terrible on the road carrying a 1-5 record, however, there is hope as they are 4-2 ATS as a road dog. This is a divisional matchup with a playoff spot on the line for Dallas. If they lose they need Philly to lose.
DC would love nothing more than to ruin Dallas’ season and their own miserable season on a high note. This is a pretty classic bounce back spot for Dallas regardless of their injuries. They could just as soon cruise to a victory as meltdown if the Redskins were to somehow get a couple early scores. Just stay away from that side and stick to the total. I can see the Cowboys winning by seven, but expecting them to win by double digits is nuts.
THE PICK: OVER 44.5
Philadelphia Eagles at NY Giants
Spread: Eagles -4
The line opened at five and this feels about right. The Giants are not good, but they are dangerous. Danny Dimes has some talent, the receivers aren’t bad, and Saquon Barkley can rip off long runs at any time, but this is a team that is more in need of a rebuild than their management is willing to admit. They took Philly to OT three weeks ago, but they’ve lost 10 of 11 to the Eagles.
Sooner or later something’s got to give, but in this spot, Philly’s feeling it, but let’s face it, they are just as bad as the Cowboys but have a Super Bowl trophy to buoy their fans’ hopes. They’ve won three in a row after dropping three in row, Carson Wentz is still mediocre at best, and Zach Ertz is probably out with a broken rib. Not for nothing, the Eagles secondary is also hurt, so it’s not like they are going to just be able to shut down the Giants’ passing attack.
The Eagles also tend to play down to their opponents. Look, the popular narrative might be that Philly goes in and clinches the division while Dallas slides away, but the realistic narrative is the most depressing one: Philly blows it in NY and Dallas wins and somehow makes a trip to the playoffs off another team’s unforced error. Then we get to see Jerry tout his team as capable of being a Super Bowl contender before winning a wild card game against Minnesota then getting absolutely blasted by the Niners. You know you love it.
THE PICK: Giants +4 in a not so surprising upset.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Spread: 49ers -3
The Seahawks had to go sign Marshawn Lynch off the tailgate party crew so they can have a running back for the playoffs. I love Beast Mode, but he’s older and injury prone and maybe he has something left in the tank, but considering that Seattle’s offensive line is still not great and they have injuries all over the defense I cannot in good conscience lay points with them. If Chris Carson were healthy and Marshawn Lynch were backing him up, I could see it. Maybe. But now the offense is going to be all about Russell Wilson and a team that has had a propensity to jump out to big leads and take their foot off the gas.
Remember that debacle in Carolina that flipped a lot of bets to losses and pushes depending on their number? I do. The Niners are poised to lock down the NFC West for the first time in forever and lock up the number one seed. There will be plenty of motivation for them to take it to the Seahawks who have been surprisingly bad at home ATS for a team that is heralded as a great home team. They are 4-3 SU at home and 2-5 ATS as a home favorite. This is a trend that won’t break this week.
THE PICK: 49ers -3
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Spread: Saints -13
The Saints are on a roll and kinda surprised some people by coming back and kicking Tennessee in the ass. It didn’t hurt that Tennessee sat Derrick Henry before kickoff, but whatever, Drew Brees came back from an awful first quarter and sparked a nice win. The Panthers are in freefall and looking at an overhaul and getting a new head coach. New Orleans is playing for the second seed and won’t overlook the Panthers. They have Super Bowl aspirations and no desire to let up at this point. If they can get a bye week that means they get an extra week to heal up and avoid a week of playoff level football. Lay the points, trust in Brees, and cross your fingers.
THE PICK: Saints -13
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Spread: Broncos -3.5
My heart says Raiders, but my brain says Broncos. It would be so wild if the Raiders could win a wild card spot considering they were picked by most folks to win maybe four games all year, but Denver is playing great football and Drew Lock looks like he might be someone one day. Derek Carr is going to have a lot more problems against Denver’s defense than he did against the Chargers’. Winning in Mile High is not like winning in a soccer stadium in Carson where the home team is outnumbered by your fans 4-1. The Broncos take this going away.
THE PICK: Broncos -3.5
Tennesse Titans at Houston Texans
Spread: Titans -3.5
This is a weird game. Houston is already in the playoffs, but they want to win so they can get a higher seed than Kansas City. It makes sense, but at this stage of the season, if you’re in, it’s about keeping your key players healthy. There’s a pretty good chance that Houston would face Tennessee again in the wild card, so I can’t see them showing too many new wrinkles. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Texans really went after it in the heat of the moment, but I expect Tennessee to pull out the win. They need a playoff spot and Tannehill wants a contract. I could see the Texans covering, but I think the Titans take it by a couple scores as the Texans try to stay healthy and not show their hand for the next round.
THE PICK: Titans -3.5
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