Your weekly NFL picks brought to you by our staff retired gambler, LaCharles himself
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus Charles Robinson @CRob5769
We’ve made it to NFL Sunday, but at what cost? The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, and now we’re faced with arguably the most intense case of Sunday Scaries of the entire year. 4 days off of work – if you didn’t have the Friday before Thanksgiving off, you should quit your job immediately – and heading into a month long stretch where you have to be increasingly creative in finding ways to seem like you’re actually doing work. It can be a taxing affair faking it for an entire month, but I wish you all the best as we approach the Christmas holiday and the dawn of 2022.
The consolation for this immensely scary Sunday is a hell of a NFL game slate. The noon hour has a couple huge matchups that are going to prove to us who’s real and who maybe needs some work in the Bucs/Colts and Titans/Patriots games. The Sunday matinee features the matchup of the week when the Rams visit Lambeau to prove if they’re actually a contender or if they’ve sold their draft picks for headaches and heartbreak. And we wrap up the day with a big divisional matchup between two AFC North opponents that will at the very least be an extremely physical football game. No Chiefs this week, which is both a good and a bad thing. Bad, obviously, because we don’t get to see our boys continue to roll and make more headway in the AFC. Good because we don’t have to experience 3 hours of hypertension today and because the fellas get to take a load off and enjoy their families, and continue to fire up more in preparation for the stretch run of the 2021 season. And who know, perhaps a run at Super Bowl 56? Even Ben Niemann couldn’t ruin a run like that.
We got off to a little bit of a rough start on Thanksgiving, going 1-2 on the straight up picks. But, to my surprise, we were 3-0 against the spread on turkey day. Sets me up perfectly to absolutely swing and miss on everything on today’s schedule. Here goes nothing.
Buccaneers (7-3) @ Colts (6-5) : Tampa Bay -3; O/U 52.5
Jonathan Taylor is on a historic run right now. If he reaches 100+ scrimmage yards today, it will be his ninth straight game with 100+ scrimmage yards which would set an all-time record that he currently shares with hall of famer Ladanian Tomlinson. He’s going to try to do it against a Buccaneers defense that has allowed only 1 RB to crack 100 yards so far in 2021 (Khalil Herbert) and have been the best run defense in the NFL this season in yards allowed (78.4 per game). Vita Vea and Devin White are listed as questionable on the Bucs injury report, and if either or both of them don’t play, I think Taylor will get well past the 100 yards he needs to set this record. If they’re both in the lineup, I’d say he’s going to be bottled up all day, and Indy is going to have trouble putting points on the Bucs defense if the responsibility to score ends up in Carson Wentz’ hands. Assuming White and Vea, or one of the two, are healthy, I’ll take the Bucs to bring the Colts back down to earth in this one. It’s just about that time of year for Tampa to start looking dominant, and I think it starts this week. Look for Gronk to have a big game today offensively for Tampa.
Buccaneers 28, Colts 20 (Tampa -3; Under 52.5)
Texans (2-8) @ Jets (2-8) : Houston -2.5; O/U 44.5
Unfortunately on weekends where it seems like all of the good teams are playing each other, it means that the bad teams are left to play – you guessed it, each other. Don’t really know or care on this one. Looks like Tyrod Taylor is a better QB option than whoever the Jets are going to throw out there. Texans will probably win. I was just watching NFL Gameday Morning and Michael Irvin’s bold prediction for the week was that this game will have more turnovers than touchdowns. That’s probably a lock.
Texans 19, Jets 12 (Houston -2.5; Under 44.5)
Eagles (5-6) @ Giants (3-7) : Philadelphia -3.5; O/U 45.5
The Eagles are surging and it looks like their offense might actually be dangerous. They’ve literally changed their identity mid-season, and look like the team they probably should have been all along. Jalen Hurts is a dual threat, and they have a three headed attack in the backfield with Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Jordan Howard. Behind their physical offensive line, they have been running the ball at will and are 3-1 in their last 4 games after starting the season 2-5. Both of these teams are somehow still in the playoff hunt, but after this week I expect Philly to inch closer to contention and the Giants to all but turn out the lights on their season.
Eagles 27, Giants 23 (Philadelphia -3.5; Over 45.5)
Panthers (5-6) @ Dolphins (4-7) : Carolina -2; O/U 42
Are the Dolphins good? They’ve rattled off 3 wins in a row to get to 4-7, and don’t look now – but their next three games are Carolina, NYG, and NYJ. We could be talking about a 7-7 Dolphins team heading into the last 3 weeks of the season to make things real interesting in the AFC playoff picture. Their last 3, though, are at Saints, at Titans, and the Patriots to end the season, so they would have to prove it if they want to get in. Big key to watch here today is Carolina’s defense being top in the league in sacks, and Miami giving up the 6th most sacks in the NFL. Tua wasn’t sacked at all last week, and it looks like he and Jaylon Waddle are starting to recreate some of that Tuscaloosa Tango in Miami. I think the Dolphins keep rolling in this one and move to 5-7.
Dolphins 26, Panthers 19 (Miami +2; Over 42)
Patriots (7-4) @ Titans (8-3) : New England -6.5; O/U 44
It feels like Tennessee’s offense is finally starting to realize they don’t have Derrick Henry. And this Patriots defense is the absolute last unit you want to see if you’re an offense trying to get right. This one has a bigger spread than I anticipated coming into it, I think New England is going to have a great showing defensively, but Tennessee will be able to make some noise too. Tennessee’s defense has the ability to make life very very difficult for rookie QB Mac Jones. The blitzes that Mike Vrabel and crew can dial up are diverse to say the least, and they have the players to make great offenses look pedestrian (see Titans vs Chiefs, Titans vs Rams). This one is going to be a defensive struggle, and the winner will hold the top spot in the AFC at the end of it. I think Tennessee has just enough to pull out a very close win today at home.
Titans 21, Patriots 18 (Tennessee +6.5; Under 44)
Steelers (5-4-1) @ Bengals (6-4) : Cincinnati -4.5; O/U 45
The bye week looked like it was an extremely welcome occurrence for the Bengals. After struggling a touch leading up to the bye, the Bengals came out and just demolished the Raiders in Vegas and looked like they were back. One of the two AFC North matchups going on today, this one is traditionally a dirty, physical contest between these two teams. If the Steelers want to hang with Cinci in this one, they need to dial up a steady dose of Najee Harris and hope Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson continue the momentum they started to build last week against the Chargers. Pittsburgh’s offense is so confusing and inconsistent, I’m going to count on them not having it today and Cinci going 2-0 against Pittsburgh for the first time in a season since 2009. Joey B and co are just too much this year for Big Ben.
Bengals 23, Steelers 17 (Cincinnati -4.5; Under 45)
Falcons (4-6) @ Jaguars (2-8) : Atlanta -2.5; O/U 46
Since they stunned the Saints on November 7, the Falcons have scored a total of 3 points in the last 2 games. If my math checks out, that’s 1.5 points per game. Their offense is completely missing at this point, which either means they’re broken or they’re due. With their lack of an ability to run the football, I’m going with the first option. The Jags may have gotten dumped on by the 49ers last week, but previous to that they had looked competitive and chippy. This may be the last game the Jags win in 2021, but I think they have it in the tank today.
Jaguars 20, Falcons 17 (Jaguars +2.5; Under 46)
Chargers (6-4) @ Broncos (5-5) : LAC -2.5; O/U 48
The Chargers offense looked like they were back last week, and their run defense held Najee Harris to under 50 yards. Now…the Steelers only handed him the ball 12 times, and I think Denver tries to exploit what has been a notably bad run defense for LA this season with a combination of Melvin Gordon (going for a TD in his 5th straight game) and Javonte Williams in the run game. The Broncos also get Bradley Chubb back today, and if they want to have a chance in this game, he’s going to have to get after Justin Herbert and make him uncomfortable. The Broncos run the ball and play defense well enough to keep this one interesting, but the Chargers might just have a little too much fire power. This one could go either way, but I’m going to take the Chargers here.
Chargers 27, Broncos 23 (LAC -2.5; Over 48)
Rams (7-3) @ Packers (8-3) : LAR -1; O/U 47
“Game of the week”. A list of the teams the Rams have beaten this year :
25-47-1 opponent record in those wins, only two wins against teams with winning records. I am a charter member of the “Rams are Frauds” bandwagon this season. Green Bay is coming off of a close divisional loss, and before the Vikings went for 34 on them their defense looked elite. I think they get back to that form today, and the offense finds it’s footing. Green Bay, to me, is the best team in the NFC, and I think they show that in a big way this afternoon.
Packers 33, Rams 24 (Packers +1; Over 47)
49ers (5-5) @ Vikings (5-5) : San Francisco -3; O/U 48.5
The Vikings had a very odd week with the Everson Griffen situation on Wednesday. Very thankful that that ended peacefully and with him getting the help he needs. Football rightfully is taking a backseat in this scenario. Both teams have been extremely game all season long, and I expect this one to be an absolute slug fest. Minnesota appears to have remembered that Justin Jefferson is one of the best running backs in the game, and with this being on their homefield I think they get above .500 today. Justin Jefferson and Deebo Samuel will both have big games today in a high scoring affair.
Vikings 34, 49ers 31 (Vikings +3; Over 48.5)
Ravens (7-3) @ Browns (6-5) : Baltimore -3.5; O/U 46
Which Browns team are we going to get, and which Ravens team are we going to get? The answer is easier for the Cleveland part of this equation. Call a spade a spade – Baker Mayfield is too injured to be playing right now. Why they’re trotting him out there, or why he is insisting to play, I do not know, but he can barely move. His knee is messed up, he has a torn labrum. The guy is obviously tough as nails, but he’s not real effective right now. The Browns need to run the ball down the Ravens throat, and make sure their defense shows up today. Lamar and the Ravens offense need to get north of 20 to win this game, and I think they can do that.
Ravens 21, Browns 17 (Baltimore -3.5; Under 46)
Seahawks (3-7) @ WFT (4-6) : Washington -3; O/U 46.5
The Football Team has messed around and also found themselves in the playoff hunt. Seattle looks officially broken, but I am a huge believer in the law of averages. Washington has been playing better than they actually are the last two weeks, and Seattle has been playing much worse than they actually are the whole year. So, having said that, I think we get a vintage Russell Wilson game on Monday night with TDs to Tyler Lockett (probably more than 1) and DK Metcalf as the Seahawks come into the nation’s capital and blast the football team.
Seahawks 27, WFT 14 (Seattle +3; Under 46.5)