There are only two weeks left in the NFL regular season and there’s a lot going on.
Instead of just picking five games, as I’ve been doing for most of the year, I’m going to run down ALL of the games.
There’s two reasons for this:
1. My record for the season is 41-53-4 against the spread. I can’t get to .500 (my goal) by just picking 10 games for the next two weeks.
2. There’s a lot to discuss!
So, let’s dig in. The lines come from the Las Vegas Hilton, via Vegas Insider.
The Miami Dolphins are 3-point favourites on the road against Buffalo.
Sorry Dolphins, it’s not your year. Buffalo is too tough at home, and they will break your heart.
The pick: Bills +3
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
The Carolina Panthers are 3-point favourites at home against New Orleans.
This is basically a game to determine which team is the #2 seed in the NFC. The Panthers are going to win because they are a better team, especially at home. The Saints are good, but their defence is not going to be able to handle Cam Newton.
The pick: Panthers -3
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-point favourites on the road against Washington.
The trendy pick right now is to go with Washington. The assumption is that the Cowboys won’t get off the mat after last week’s crushing loss. I don’t believe in that nonsense. The Cowboys are a good team that makes some silly errors. They will not lose to a horrible Washington team this week. Sorry, Romo is good! And he’ll prove it this weekend.
The pick: Cowboys -3
The St. Louis Rams are 5-point favourites at home against Tampa Bay.
When I saw this game with this line, all I could think was, “Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh. Ugh.” These two teams are the worst kind of teams. They stink early, they stink often, but they play just enough good games to give you hope that there’s something there. And as a result, the coaches for both teams are unlikely to get fired, even though they will produce the same losing results next year. The Rams are a decent team, with a chance to get really good in the draft thanks to holding the rights to Washington’s (probable) top-five pick. Anyway, who to pick here? I have no idea. I’ll just take the home team and hope for the best.
The pick: Rams -5
My second favourite coach.
The New York Jets are 2.5-point favourites at home against Cleveland.
Rex Ryan is my second favourite coach in the NFL. He’s a good head coach, and an excellent defensive coach. Of equal importance to me, he’s entertaining. There’s a reason the New York Times profiled him in 2010, and said, “the unrestrained Ryan may be the best football coach this side of the Patriots’ Bill Belichick.”
That said, things have not gone well for the Jets the last two years.
Ryan’s downfall as a coach can be traced to having Mark Sanchez as his QB, and Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator. It’s always tough to figure out who is really to blame in this situation. Sanchez looks really bad out there, but it could be that he doesn’t have a creative coordinator working to cover his flaws as he develops in the league. (It doesn’t help that Ryan’s focus is largely on the defence.)
With a shoddy offence, the Jets have had losing records, putting Ryan’s job status in jeopardy. He wasn’t given a contract extension, which made it nearly impossible for him to hire new, good coordinators. Instead, he ended up with Marty Mornhinweg, who is not good enough to run a great offence in today’s NFL, which requires a brilliant innovative mind, or a brilliant, sublimely talented quarterback.
I don’t think Ryan will last much longer in New York, unfortunately. However, I think he’ll get another head coaching job. Hopefully it’s in a place with a good QB, and he can prove that he knows how to lead a winning team.
The pick: Jets -2.5
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
The Kansas City Chiefs are 6.5-point favourites at home against Indianapolis.
I understand why the Chiefs are 6.5-point favourites, I just happen to disagree. I think the Colts manage to stun the Chiefs.
The pick: Colts +6.5
The Cincinnati Bengals are 7.5-point favourites at home against Minnesota.
Last week the Bengals got destroyed by the Steelers and the Vikings destroyed the Eagles. I watched the Vikings shred the Eagles, so I’m biased. Is there a chance they can string together two solid performances? I at least think they can play well enough to cover.
The pick: Vikings +7.5
The Denver Broncos are 10.5-point favourites on the road against Houston.
This is a lot of points, but it feels like one of those empty games where the Texans won’t care and Manning will run up the score to prove his team is great.
The pick: Broncos -10.5
The Tennessee Titans are 5-point favourites on the road against Jacksonville.
Another crappy game where it’s tough to make a pick. I’ll just roll with the home team and hope for the best.
The pick: Jaguars +5
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Seattle Seahawks are 10.5-point favourites at home against Arizona.
This is such a bad match up for the Cardinals. Carson Palmer is going to throw a lot of interceptions.
The pick: Seahawks -10.5
The Detroit Lions are 9-point favourites at home against the New York Giants.
Holy moly are the Giants bad. Eli Manning threw five interceptions last week. And he lost his favourite target Victor Cruz for the rest of the season. There’s no way the Giants can win this game.
The pick: Lions -9
The San Diego Chargers are 10-point favourites at home against the Oakland Raiders.
This is another one with a lot of points, which makes me nervous. But, Philip Rivers is weirdly great in December and the Raiders give up a lot of points, so there’s only choice here.
The pick: Chargers -10
The Baltimore Ravens are 2.5-point favourites at home against the New England Tom Bradys.
A great game. I think Brady and the Pats have just enough to win this game, so I am going to roll with them.
The pick: Pats +2.5
AP, Business Insider
The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-point favourites at home against Chicago.
I am an Eagles fan and I love Chip Kelly. What do I love about him?
- He’s a full-on football geek. There are rumours that he had an unfurnished mansion when he was at Oregon. He didn’t bother buying stuff because he was never there, he was always working on football.
- He makes mistakes. This is ok because he learns from his mistakes, and he adjusts. You can’t get discover new ideas if you’re not willing to take chances.
- He’s refreshing. Last week, Kelly went for it on 4th and inches in his own territory with plenty of time left in the game. His explanation: “It was a half yard. We had to get something going. Hopefully, you can pick up a half yard.” And he’s right! Your team should be able to get half a yard at any point in the game.
There are more reasons of course, but no need to go on. Every week I think about how lucky the Eagles are to have Kelly.
That said, Kelly can’t fix a pretty terrible secondary that’s going to get shredded up by the Bears. If there’s a reason to think the Eagles can win it’s that Cutler throws a lot of picks, which could help.
A funny thing about this game is that it was flexed, but it might not mean much for the Eagles. If the Cowboys win, then this game is meaningless for the Eagles. They will still have to win next week against the Cowboys. If the Cowboys lose, and the Eagles win, then the Eagles win the division. But if the Eagles lose, they still have a chance at winning the division next week. Basically, win or lose, this is mostly a warm up for next week for the Eagles.
The pick: Bears +3
The San Francisco 49ers are 13-point favourites at home against Atlanta.
The least talked about NFL story of 2013? What the heck happened to Matt Ryan? This guy was supposed to be a stud.
The pick: 49ers -13
(There is no line for Pittsburgh-Green Bay because it’s unclear if Rodgers is playing or not. Latest report says he’s not playing.)
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