Your weekly NFL picks brought to you by our staff retired gambler, LaCharles himself
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Thursday night football lived up to all of the hype, huh? The Chiefs victory against the Los Angeles Chargers last night was the most fun this member of the Kingdom has had watching football in quite some time despite the massive spikes in blood pressure that it produced. It appears Mahomes Magic is back on track, and the Chiefs are set up nicely to win the AFC West for a 6th consecutive year and currently sitting atop the AFC with a 10-4 record. Two of the games we’re about to go through here will dictate whether they stay there, or someone else in the AFC joins them in the 10 win club.
For those who didn’t check out the pre-game blog yesterday, the game prediction went something like this :
I’m not going to talk about the threat that the Chargers pose, or who they have that can kill the Chiefs. We all know that. This game particularly is going to be able the Chiefs controlling what they can control. Hold on the the ball. Wrap up and form tackle. Keep your man in front of you. Block through the echo of the whistle. Do not commit senseless penalties. This team shot themselves in the foot in week 3 and couldn’t recover. They won’t make the same mistake twice. This team has shown over and over again this season that they are resilient, and they can win in a lot of different ways. Tonight is going to show you a new way the Chiefs can win a game, and will go a long way in sealing a record 6th straight AFC West title and hopefully another 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Chiefs 31, Chargers 28
While the way they won wasn’t necessarily new, the resilience showed. And – if I might add – my score prediction was pretty damn spot on. That starts the week 1-0 for the Chiefs, and 1-0 for your boy straight up and against the spread. Now queue the Mariah Carey Christmas music, mix up some J. Riegers in the egg nog, and enjoy a weekend where we get not only NFL football on Saturday and Sunday, but Bowl Games for college football starting today and running in to tomorrow. The Chiefs are back. Football is back. Santa’s about to be back. Life is good.
While I’m retired from sports betway, I still have most of the terminology vaulted up in the ol noggin from my days betting lines and laying down parlays. “Heater” is a good example of one of those terms. For those who are uninformed, a heater is a semi-long term streak that a gambler gets on that contains a lot more winning than losing. 22-6 in the last 2 weeks straight up certainly constitutes this, so it’s safe to say that your pal LaCharles has found himself on a heater. By mentioning this, I have completely opened myself up to having a disastrous weekend on the picks. But 1-0 is 1-0, and it’s the best start I could ask for. Let’s dive right in.
Raiders (6-7) @ Browns (7-6) : Las Vegas -1; O/U 38.5
If we thought the Chiefs had it bad with COVID news, go check out the Browns situation. Absolutely brutal draw for the Browns with massive playoff implications this late in the season. Vegas comes in after getting their souls snatched by the Chiefs in The Logo Game, you’d think the Raiders hope would be deflated. But the Browns (as of the most recent update I’ve seen) currently have 18 players on the reserve/COVID list going into Saturday’s game. I’m not sure if any of them will be cleared, but the names include much of the Browns defense, Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, Wyatt Teller, Jedrick Wills, Drew Forbes, Case Keenum, and Baker Mayfield. So they will go into this game essentially with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt needing to play running back, receiver, offensive line, and quarterback. Nick Mullens is in line to start for the Browns, but it’s almost a certainty that they won’t have enough warm bodies to beat the Raiders. If they do, the Raiders should be relegated to the Pac 12.
Raiders 23, Browns 19 (Raiders -1; Over 38.5)
Patriots (9-4) @ Colts (7-6) : Indianapolis -2; O/U 45.5
Both an interesting game, and a big game for Chiefs fans. If the Colts can pull off a win against the Patriots, the Chiefs are one step closer to controlling their own destiny for the 1 seed in the AFC. If the Patriots win at Indy, against a team that has looked very salty at times this season, then they have officially re-arrived as an AFC power. Everyone has gushed about the Patriots defense over the course of their 7 game winning streak, but the reality of the situation is that New England ranks 18th in the NFL against the run. The Colts are the second best rushing team in the NFL (151.7 yards per game), and tote the league’s leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor behind an offensive line that will absolutely beat you up, steal your lunch money, and try to date your sister. They are dirty, dirty men. The Colts have committed to making the Patriots one dimensional and putting the ball in Mac Jones hands to beat them. While it remains to be seen if that happens, in Mac’s last game he threw 3 total passes. Might be some rust to shake off there. The Colts have definitely given the Pats some bulletin board material this week, but I just think that their rushing attack at home is going to be too much for the Pats to overcome.
Colts 27, Patriots 24 (Indianapolis -2; Over 45.5)
Panthers (5-8) @ Bills (7-6) : Buffalo -10.5; O/U 44.5
Great opportunity for Buffalo to bounce back against a Panthers team who simply can’t put up enough points to hang with Buffalo. Almost a carbon copy of their game against the Saints on Thanksgiving night, the Bills should roll here.
Bills 33, Panthers 13 (Buffalo -10.5; Over 44.5)
Cowboys (9-4) @ Giants (4-9) : Dallas -11; O/U 44.5
Mike Glennon is starting for the Giants. We’ll make this quick, Dallas is too good to fall in this one, even if it is a divisional game. Next.
Cowboys 29, Giants 16 (Dallas -11; Over 44.5)
Titans (9-4) @ Steelers (6-6-1); Tennessee -1; O/U 43
Second most interesting/biggest game post-Thursday for Chiefs fans. Not only will we see if Tennessee hangs with KC and gets to 10-4, we will also get a good glimpse of the team we play next week in the Steelers. The Titans defense looked down right dominant last week in a win against Jacksonville (not saying much), and while the Steelers made it interesting at the end against the Vikings, they lost because their offense never found consistency. Chase Claypool also might have pulled the biggest bonehead move I’ve seen in quite some time when he celebrated a first down in the fourth quarter with under a minute to go, no timeouts, and the team needing to spike the ball. Pittsburgh has the talent, but I’ll always bet against stupidity. Titans win a close one and keep pace with the Chiefs.
Titans 27, Steelers 23 (Tennessee -1; Over 43)
Cardinals (10-3) @ Lions (1-11-1) : Arizona -13; O/U 47
The league’s best record vs. the league’s worst record. An upset here would be hilarious, but Arizona has too much for Detroit to handle in this. This will not be close.
Cardinals 29, Lions 10 (Arizona -13; Under 47)
Washington (6-7) @ Eagles (6-7) : Philadelphia -9.5; O/U 44
Another matchup critical to both teams playoff chances with one of the participants being absolutely ransacked by COVID. The Football Team has 16 players on the reserve list going in to Sunday. Philadelphia has a decision to make as to whether they will start Gardner Minshew or Jalen Hurts at QB, but regardless they should be able to run the ball on WFT and secure a win against a skeleton crew.
Eagles 27, WFT 16 (Philadelphia -9.5; Under 44)
Jets (3-10) @ Dolphins (6-7) : Miami -9.5; O/U 41
Miami is hot and the Jets are bad. The Dolphins have to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and the Jets really have nothing to look forward to. That statement made me laugh out loud to myself. Tua Tagovailoa has been hitting at a 70%+ completion rate for the last 3 games, so he’s on about the same heater I am. He also, apparently, has an online following that call themselves the TuAnon. Also hilarious.
Dolphins 27, Jets 13 (Miami -9.5; Under 41)
Texans (2-11) at Jaguars (2-11) : Jacksonville -5; O/U 39.5
The Edmund Fitzgerald was an American cargo ship that operated in the Great Lakes from 1958 to 1975, when it sank in Lake Superior during a bad storm. The entire crew of 29 men were lost in this accident. This has nothing to do with this game, but is a much more interesting paragraph than anything I could have put together about this matchup. Someone has to win, though. The Jags got rid of Urban “The Kicker Kicker” Meyer and will likely have some form of solitude as a team around that. Sure, why not?
Jaguars 17, Texans 9 (Jacksonville -5; Under 39.5)
Bengals (7-6) @ Broncos (7-6) : Denver -2.5; O/U 44
A very interesting game when it comes to the AFC playoff picture. Both teams are just outside the playoff mix right now looking up at teams with the same records and tie breakers over them. One will leave Sunday in the thick of things, and one will leave itself with likely too much catching up to do with 3 games left in the season. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase have been dynamic this year for Cincinnati, and the Bengals are coming off of a heartbreak overtime defeat to the 49ers. Denver is one of the more enigmatic teams in football, but will go as Teddy Bridgewater goes. This is a tough, tough matchup to pick, and I believe it will be a very tight game with the Bengals pulling it out at the end. Eventually I will learn not to stake my reputation on the Bengals, but not today.
Bengals 27, Broncos 24 (Cincinnati +2.5; Over 44)
Falcons (6-7) @ 49ers (7-6) : San Francisco -9.5; O/U 46.5
The Falcons are absolutely atrocious at rushing the passer, and as long as Jimmy Garropolo is above averae when he’s not getting heat. Between George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk, and Deebo Samuel, the Falcons defense is going to be in over their heads in this game. Matt Ryan will have trouble getting things going with an offensive line that struggles against teams that can effectively rush the passer, and it turns out that San Francisco is a top 10 pass rushing team in the league. The Falcons have not beat a team with a winning record yet this season.
49ers 31, Falcons 20 (San Francisco -9.5; Over 46.5)
Packers (10-3) @ Ravens (8-5) : Green Bay -6; O/U 44
Aaron Rodgers comes to town to face a Baltimore defense that is missing 3 starters in their secondary. Couple that with the fact that Lamar Jackson and Hollywood Brown are both questionable (Jackson – ankle, Brown – illness), and the Ravens might have a tough time scoring with the Packers. Injuries have been an issue for the Ravens since training camp, and it’s finally starting to catch up to them. Hats off to John Harbaugh for the great start, but Baltimore is regressing back to the mean with Green Bay, Cincinnati, and the Rams next up on the schedule.
Packers 31, Ravens 16 (Green Bay -6; Over 44)
Seahawks (5-8) @ Rams (9-4) : LAR -4.5 O/U 45.5
My “Rams are Frauds” take took a hit last Monday as LA beat the division leading Cardinals in front of the entire country, specifically right in my face. But to keep the Rams hate alive here’s the narrative – this has trap game written all over it. Big win on MNF, then the next two games after this are on the road against teams in their respective playoff hunts (Vikings and Ravens)- yep, trap game. Somehow the Seahawks will win this game. Underdogs in NFC West games are 7-2 outright and against the spread this year, let’s make it 8-2.
Seahawks 24, Rams 20 (Seattle +4.5; Under 45.5)
Saints (6-7) @ Buccaneers (10-3) : Tampa Bay -11 O/U 46.5
New Orleans has Tom Brady’s number, but that’s when they have viable quarterbacks on their team. I can’t see this team hanging with Tom Brady and the Bucs, especially with how their offense has been clicking. Buffalo found a bit of a recipe in the second half last week, but the first half was a bloodbath and way too much for the Bills to come back from. New Orleans does not have nearly as potent of an offense as Buffalo, but Alvin Kamara could give the Bucs some problems. Closer than you think, but still the outcome you expect.
Buccaneers 27, Saints 23 (New Orleans +11; Over 46.5)
Vikings (6-7) @ Bears (4-9) : Minnesota -4.5; O/U 44
The Bears in primtime in back to back weeks? Makes sense. Chicago showed some life in the first half against the Packers last week on SNF before Aaron Rodgers reminded the entire city of Chicago that the McCaskey family are representing themselves falsely in saying they own the Bears. The Vikings offense was sharp last week, and while their defense is confusingly bad, the Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson connection is very very real. The Vikings are going to hang around and be right in the thick of things by the time the playoffs roll around, fans in Minnesota just have to hope that so many close losses don’t come back to bite them in the end.
Vikings 29, Bears 17 (Minnesota -4.5; Under 46.5)
That took forever. No teams having byes this week really makes this a chore, but it’s something I do for the people, not for myself. Let’s hope this heater continues, and if not….we’ll just have to start a new one next week!