Detroit Lions (3-10-1) at Denver Broncos (5-9) Line: Broncos by 8. Total: 39.5. Sunday, Dec. 22, 4:05 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Broncos.
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DENVER OFFENSE: Drew Lock had a brilliant performance against the Texans a couple of weeks ago, but regressed against the Chiefs this past Sunday. He threw some dismal throws and had a bad habit of drifting back in the pocket and launching passes off his back foot. This wasn't a surprise, as Lock is a raw rookie who will be inconsistent until he gains some experience.
Lock will have a great chance to rebound in this contest. The Lions have a dreadful defense that has been carved up by the likes of Mitchell Trubisky and Kirk Cousins in recent weeks. Jameis Winston followed that up with his second-consecutive 450-yard passing performance. Outside of Darius Slay, the Lions have no one who can cover, so I like Lock's chances of moving the chains consistently.
Meanwhile, the Broncos could even have more success with their ground attack. The Lions are missing multiple starters on the defensive line. If the Broncos get back some of their injured blockers - Ronald Leary and Ja'Wuan James were out last week - they could establish Phillip Lindsay very effectively.
DETROIT OFFENSE: Matthew Stafford has officially been placed on injured reserve, which is a smart decision. There's no reason to trot him out in meaningless games, especially when he's not 100 percent. Thus, it'll be David Blough over these final two weeks.
Blough had a rough start last week despite battling the Buccaneers' sketchy secondary. If he couldn't have success against Tampa Bay, how can he possibly thrive against the Broncos? Denver has a much better defense, and I have to believe that Vic Fangio will have some tricks up his sleeve for Blough.
There's a glimmer of hope for the Lions' offense, and that would be Kerryon Johnson's return to action. However, it's unclear if Johnson will handle a full workload. Plus, the Broncos have been stellar against the run after a poor start in that regard earlier in the season.
RECAP: I'm leaning toward the Broncos at the moment, but the injury report will dictate where I'm going with this game. Both teams have major injury question marks, after all. For the Broncos, they need at least one of their offensive linemen to return from injury. For the Lions, they're going to be unbettable if they miss 10 starters like last week.
I'll have updates later in the week. Check back, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has risen to -7, but that's not enough for me to switch to the Lions, barring a far better outlook for them on the injury report.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Neither Ja'Wuan James nor Ronald Leary have practiced this week, which is bad news for Denver's offense. The Lions are getting some players back from injury, so I'm changing my pick to Detroit.
SATURDAY NOTES: As if the Broncos' offensive line couldn't get worse from last week, now Dalton Risner could be out as well after getting in just one limited practice this week (he was downgraded on Friday.) I'm not going to bet this game, but I like the Lions to cover.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I'm not betting either of these 4:05 games. There are just too many injuries for all four of these teams.
FINAL THUGHTS: This spread is up to -8 because of public action, but that's not enough for me to bet the Lions because they're so banged up.
The Motivation. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Spread. Edge: Lions.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Broncos -9.5.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: No Line (Stafford).
Computer Model: Broncos -5.
DVOA Spread: Broncos -4.5.
The Vegas. Edge: Lions.
A decent chunk of money on the Broncos.
Percentage of money on Denver: 68% (13,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Lions.
Lions are 21-7 ATS on the road after a home loss of 10+.
Lions are 15-5 ATS after losing by 20+ points since 2007.
Lions are 6-17 ATS as underdogs of 6 or more since 2011.
OAKLAND OFFENSE: Last week's Raiders-Jaguars game was so frustrating that I blocked it out of my mind when I wrote up Falcons-Jaguars on the previous page (I've since made one adjustment.) The Raiders took 10 trips inside Jacksonville territory, yet scored only 16 points. The thing is, they had 16 forever, yet couldn't generate anything after that.
Derek Carr took some bad sacks in that game, and that could once again occur if the Raiders don't get Trent Brown back from injury. It's unclear if Brown will be able to play, but the Raiders will need him to prevail. Otherwise, it'll be inept backup Brandon Parker trying to block Joey Bosa, while the mediocre Kolton Miller deals with Melvin Ingram.
Carr will be throwing into a secondary that has been bolstered by the return of Derwin James, so I don't see him having much success. Josh Jacobs will also find it difficult to run, as the Chargers have shored up their run defense with some other players returning from injury.
SAN ANGELES OFFENSE: The Chargers-Vikings game was almost as frustrating as Raiders-Jaguars. It appeared as though the Chargers would have a good chance of beating Minnesota when they had a 10-9 lead, but they committed five fumbles and also had a sloppy interception and a punt blocked. The Vikings turned all but one of these seven events into points, allowing them to establish a big lead.
The Chargers should have success moving the chains if they don't constantly shoot themselves in the foot once again. The Raiders have a mediocre pass rush, a poor secondary and an even worse linebacking corps, so Philip Rivers should be able to have success throwing to all of his weapons.
The Raiders are better against the run than the pass, so Melvin Gordon might be the one Charger who doesn't perform well. Gordon was guilty of multiple fumbles anyway, so he doesn't deserve it. Conversely, Austin Ekeler figures to abuse Oakland's woeful linebackers.
RECAP: I'd like the Raiders enough to bet them under normal circumstances. There's a ton of money coming in on the Chargers, and this line is way too high. Giving zero points to the Chargers for their non-existent home-field advantage, I made this spread San Angeles -2. DVOA thinks this line should be -1.
Unfortunately, the Raiders were just effectively eliminated from the playoffs, all while losing their final game ever in Oakland. They could be a complete no-show, so I'm not going to bet this game.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Josh Jacobs is out, while Trent Brown was placed on injured reserve. This is obviously not good for the Raiders, but I still think this line is too high.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Uh oh. Russell Okung has yet to practice this week, which would be horrible news for the Chargers. Conversely, several Raider offensive linemen missed Thursday's practice. With so much uncertainty, I'm not going to bet this game.
SATURDAY NOTES: Ugh, I wish these teams weren't playing each other because they'd both make for a great fade. The Chargers will be missing Russell Okung, while the Raiders will be down two starting offensive linemen and Josh Jacobs.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: Ditto on my previous Sunday morning notes. Luckily, the 4:25 games are more appealing.
FINAL THUGHTS: Again, there are so many injuries on both sides. The Raiders have more injuries - they're missing several offensive linemen and Josh Jacobs - but wagering on the Chargers without their left tackle isn't appealing either.
The Motivation. Edge: Chargers.
The Raiders were just effectively eliminated from the playoffs, so motivation will be low. However, the stands could be packed with Raider fans.
The Spread. Edge: Raiders.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Chargers -2.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: No Line (not posted).
Computer Model: Chargers -10.
DVOA Spread: Chargers -1.5.
The Vegas. Edge: Raiders.
A good chunk of action on the Chargers early on, but the bets have evened.
Percentage of money on San Angeles: 57% (15,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Raiders.
History: Chargers have won 4 of the last 5 meetings.
Dallas Cowboys (7-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) Line: Cowboys by 2. Total: 48. Sunday, Dec. 22, 4:25 PM
The Matchup. Edge: None.
Emmitt on the Brink Season 12 continues. Emmitt may have defeated Thornin Yourside and the White Russians, but the true enemy is revealed. Will Emmitt get his revenge!?
DALLAS OFFENSE: People I respect seemed to love Dak Prescott's fantasy outlook last week, which is something I didn't understand at all. The Rams have one of the top secondaries in the NFL, and Prescott wasn't guaranteed to be 100 percent because he injured both of his hands in the preceding contest. Prescott turned out to be fine, but his receivers weren't, as Jalen Ramsey and company smothered Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
That won't be the case in this game. The Eagles have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. They had trouble stopping Eli Manning and Dwayne Haskins in recent weeks, so they won't stand a chance against Prescott. Philadelphia's horrible cornerbacks won't be able to keep pace with Cooper and Gallup, as both figure to bounce back from disappointing outings.
The Eagles are much stronger against the run than the pass, so Ezekiel Elliott won't have as great of a performance as he enjoyed this past Sunday. However, his presence will at least keep the Eagles honest when defending the pass, and Elliott will be a threat as a receiver out of the backfield as well.
PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Greg Ward had a heroic performance last week on a game-winning drive. This was very significant, as Carson Wentz didn't have any viable options to throw to outside of his running backs and tight ends entering the contest. Ward isn't a great player by any means, but at least he can serve as a reliable pass-catcher for Wentz, who needs one in the wake of the Alshon Jeffery injury.
Jeffery won't play in this game, but at least there's a chance Lane Johnson will suit up. Johnson is one of the tackles in the NFL, so it's no coincidence that Wentz performs on a much higher level when Johnson is on the field. Johnson will desperately be needed against elite edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. If he can't play, Wentz will see tons of pressure from that side.
Things seem bleak for the Eagles thus far, but they do have some advantages on this side of the ball. The Cowboys struggle to defend the middle of the field, as opposing pass-catching backs and tight ends have beaten them this year. That happens to be where the Eagles are strong, as they have two elite talents at tight end, while Miles Sanders is quickly developing into a great threat.
RECAP: It's amazing how much a popular opinion can change in just one week. Prior to this past Sunday, everyone was so down on the Cowboys that they were home dogs to Jared Goff and the Rams. The advance spread on this game was a pick' em.
However, everything has changed because of one game. That game saw Goff bash his thumb on a lineman's helmet in a close battle that quickly turned into a blowout because Goff couldn't throw whatsoever. People suddenly forgot that the Cowboys suffered blowout defeats to the Bears and Bills in the previous two weeks. Because they dismantled a Los Angeles team and its injured quarterback, the Cowboys are regarded as a lock to win this contest.
This spread has shot up a trio of points from the advance line, moving to the key number of three. Despite this huge movement, more than 80 percent of the action is on the Cowboys. The overreaction to one game is unbelievable.
Meanwhile, the Eagles aren't in bad shape. Ward gives the Wentz a viable receiver to throw to, while Johnson's possible return will really strengthen the offense. Every single metric says the Eagles should either be favored or an underdog of a point.
I love the Eagles, and this will be a five-unit pick at +3 if Johnson can play. I'll downgrade this selection a bit if Johnson is out, but I'll still have several units on Philadelphia getting three points.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have pounced on the Eagles, which is why this line moved to +2 (or lower). With Dak Prescott showing up on the injury report, it's easy to see why the pros have bet Philadelphia. I was going to lock this in after seeing the injury report, but there's no reason to do that now with all of the +3s gone.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Lane Johnson has yet to practice, but the big injury news is that Dak Prescott won't be able to throw a football until Saturday. That would explain why there's been so much sharp money on the Eagles.
SATURDAY NOTES: There was some hope Lane Johnson would play, but he won't be on the field. However, there' still cause for optimism for the Eagles, as there is a report circulating that Dak Prescott was telling his teammates in the huddle last week that he couldn't throw the ball. Unfortunately, +3 is no longer available because the sharps bet the Eagles heavily. I'm going to bet the Eagles at three units below +3, but if we can get a reasonable +3, I'll have five units on this game again.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: I'm holding out hope for a good +3. If one appears, it'll probably be at Bovada. I'll have an update around 3:45 Eastern.
FINAL THUGHTS: My hunt for the best +3 unearthed the following: Bovada has +3 -125, while Bookmaker is next best at +3 -128. I'm going to put four units on the Eagles at +3 -125.
The Motivation. Edge: None.
No edge found.
The Spread. Edge: Eagles.
WalterFootball.com Calculated Spread: Eagles -2.
Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Pick.
Computer Model: Cowboys -1.
DVOA Spread: Eagles -1.5.
The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
Tons of action on the Cowboys.
Percentage of money on Dallas: 75% (33,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
History: Road Team has won 13 of the last 19 meetings.
Cowboys are 19-30 ATS when favored after a win since 2010.
The underdog is 91-62 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
Arizona Cardinals (4-9-1) at Seattle Seahawks (11-3) Line: Seahawks by 9. Total: 51.5. Sunday, Dec. 22, 4:25 PM
The Matchup. Edge: TBA.
A reminder that Jerks of the Week for this week is up, so just click the link. This week's jerks entry is called Mall Joker.
SEATTLE OFFENSE: It'll be shocking if the Seahawks can't move the chains on the Cardinals with ease. Arizona isn't particularly good at any aspect on this side of the ball. Defending the pass is a major problem, as the Cardinals have surrendered huge passing performances to nearly every quarterback they've battled this year. This even includes Russell Wilson, who went 22-of-28 for 240 yards and a touchdown in a Week 4 blowout victory in Arizona.
When it comes to stopping - or rather, not stopping - the pass, the Cardinals are especially horrible at defending tight ends. Ricky Seals-Jones even had a huge performance last week, so Arizona won't be able to stop Jacob Hollister.
The Cardinals are better versus the run than the pass, but only by default. Nick Chubb eclipsed the century mark last week, and he would've had an even greater performance had Freddie Kitchens not forgotten to run the ball. Pete Carroll won't be guilty of that, so Chris Carson figures to be a top weekly performer once again.
ARIZONA OFFENSE: Kyler Murray has struggled mightily when the opposing defense has put pressure on him, but he has thrived when he's had time in the pocket. We can see examples of this recently. The Rams and Steelers both overwhelmed his sub-par offensive line, but the Browns, missing Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon, couldn't get to Murray. Arizona was able to win as a result last week.
So, the question is, can the Seahawks dominate the trenches? That obviously depends on the health of Jadeveon Clowney and to a lesser extent, Ziggy Ansah. Both players were out last week, which allowed the Panthers to score 24 points (albeit in garbage time). If Clowney doesn't play, I could see Murray have some success against a sketchy secondary, but if Clowney and Ansah return, Murray will almost certainly struggle.
Meanwhile, Bobby Wagner is another Seahawk injury worth mentioning. Wagner got hurt in the second half of last week's victory at Carolina, so his status is uncertain for this contest. The Seahawks are a completely different defense without Wagner, one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Arizona will be able to run well with Kenyan Drake if Wagner misses this contest.
RECAP: The injury report for this game will have a huge impact on how I bet it. The Seahawks have a number of key injuries on the defensive side of the ball. If they're down both Clowney and Wagner, I'm going to have a huge play on the Cardinals, who will be getting far too many points against a skeleton-crew defense in a revenge spot.
Conversely, Clowney and Wagner being back on the field will make things far more difficult for the Cardinals. I think I would still be willing to pick Arizona in that scenario, even wagering on them for a unit. This spread is too high - DVOA says this should be Seattle -6! - and the Seahawks could be looking ahead to next week's battle against the 49ers.
Depending on the injury report, this could be one of my top plays of the week. Check back, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This will be another huge injury report update on Thursday, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Bobby Wagner, Jadeveon Clowney and Quandre Diggs have missed both practices this week. This bodes very well for the Cardinals, whom I like for four units.
SATURDAY NOTES: It broke my heart to see Bobby Wagner return to a full practice Friday. If he were out, along with Jadeveon Clowney and Quandree Diggs, this would be a five-unit play. I still like Arizona, but the matchup isn't quite as easy with Wagner on the field.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The sharps are pounding the Cardinals. I was holding out hope for a nice +10, but that's not happening now.
FINAL THUGHTS: The Seahawks are missing several key players, which is why the sharps are all over Arizona. The best line is now +8 -110 at BetUS.
The Motivation. Edge: Cardinals.
The Seahawks will be battling for the division next week.
Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) at Chicago Bears (7-7) Line: Chiefs by 6.5. Total: 44.5. Sunday, Dec. 22, 8:20 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Chiefs.
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CHICAGO OFFENSE: Mitchell Trubisky was a major disappointment this past week. Perhaps I should've expected this, but Trubisky played well against Dallas the preceding Thursday, as he was way more decisive. He was extremely tentative this past week, as he didn't scramble nearly as much as he needed to. Trubisky's decision not to use his best attribute is very foolish, and it'll cost him his career if he doesn't change his stance.
Trubisky will need to use his legs against the Chiefs, who actually play the pass very well. Their improved secondary has handled most receiving corps, while the pass rush figures to improve with Terrell Suggs rushing the passer for about 20 snaps per game. The Bears have a weak offensive line, so this is an area Kansas City can exploit.
The Chiefs are weakest to the run, though that area has improved since the bye. David Montgomery failed to take advantage of a positive matchup last week, so I don't see why he suddenly would improve this Sunday night.
KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: Think Patrick Mahomes will be motivated in this game? The Chiefs famously passed on Mahomes - and also Deshaun Watson - in order to draft Trubisky, even opting to move up to do so. This might go down as one of the worst decisions in NFL Draft history. This will be the first chance for either Mahomes or Watson to make the Bears pay for their poor decision-making.
The Bears have a strong pass defense overall, but the same could've been said of the Broncos last week, and yet Mahomes torched them effectively. There's just no stopping the Chiefs when they're healthy and focused. Tyreek Hill can go the distance whenever he touches the ball, and it's impossible to defend him outside of double teams. Opting to double team would allow Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins to thrive, with the latter already haviing a nice advantage against the beleaguered Buster Skrine in the slot.
The Bears are weakest to the run, at least on paper. They played the rush better this past week when Akiem Hicks returned to the field, but Hicks injured his arm and had to leave the game twice. If Hicks isn't at 100 percent, perhaps Damien Williams can do well in a potential return from injury.
RECAP: It's impossible to handicap this game at the moment. That's because this contest may not mean anything to the Chiefs.
If the Patriots beat the Bills and the Texans lose to the Buccaneers, the Chiefs will have absolutely nothing to play for. They'll be stuck with the third seed, so they could be inclined to even sit some of their starters for a portion of this game.
If this contest ends up mattering, however, I imagine I'll bet at least a couple of units on Kansas City. Mahomes will want his revenge, while the Bears will likely quit after being eliminated from the playoffs.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has risen to Kansas City -6. More than 90 percent of the action remains on the Chiefs, so it'll be difficult to bet on them.
FRIDAY UPDATE: There's nothing worth noting on the injury report, but it's startling that 90 percent of the action is on the Chiefs this late in the week. That's insane. t.
SATURDAY NOTES: With the Patriots winning, the Chiefs don't have very much to play for because they'll be stuck at No. 3 or 4 unless New England loses to Miami, which is not happening. I'm not going to bet this game as a result.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: The Chiefs are now up to -7, thanks to sharp and public action on Kansas City. Literally everyone is betting the Chiefs, save for some contrarian "shraps."
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm going to bet a unit on the Chiefs. It sucks that there's so much action on them, but that's the lone concern I have. The Bears will be missing Akiem Hicks, so Kansas City's offense should be able to move the ball easily against a team that could quit. The best lines I found are -7 +107 at Heritage and -6.5 -115 at FanDuel. I'd prefer the latter.
The Motivation. Edge: Chiefs.
The Bears were eliminated from the playoffs, so motivation will be low.
Green Bay Packers (11-3) at Minnesota Vikings (10-4) Line: Vikings by 5.5. Total: 46. Monday, Dec. 23, 8:15 PM
The Matchup. Edge: Packers.
This week on ESPN, we're going to have awful announcers calling the shots instead the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Ron Wolfley and Don Tollefson, inept ESPN guys Emmitt, Herman Edwards, and aloof people like Dan Fouts and Jay Cutler. Here's what it would sound like if these seven dudes (and some special guests) were calling this game:
Reilly: Welcome to the city of Minnesota, where the Green Bay Fudge Packers will play the Minnesota Twins. Guys, I know there's football to be played, but we must continue impeaching Herm Edwards and Charles Davis. Nothing matters more than that. We have a solemn duty to protect the ears of football fans, so it's our duty to make sure football fans don't hear what they have to say on air.
Emmitt: Benny, this real surprise me. You say we on air, but the last time I check, we not on air-o-plane. Are we on air-o-plane, and I does not realizing it?
Reilly: Emmitt, it's time to be serious. We need to protect the TV networks from Herm and Charles Davis, even if we subvert the public's desire to hear them talk during NFL broadcasts instead of me.
Tollefson: Kevin, I think you're misguided, but you're on the right track. If you subvert the public's desire for anything, make sure you cheat them out of as much money in the process. For instance, when I mislead old people into thinking they're going to football games, I make sure to rob them of $350 a pop in the process. And not only that - I make sure to kidnap their hot granddaughters!
Reilly: Tolly, I don't even know what I'd do with $350. That's way more than my allowance, which is $10 every two weeks. I have to save for months to get autographed Eagles bobble head dolls!
Jason Witten: Hello, my name is Jason Witten and I just came out of retirement. Guys, I just heard someone say they make $10 every two weeks. This is a math problem. Because, there's math involved. You see, when you have numbers, it usually means math. And when you have alphabets, it usually means books. Because, numbers and alphabets are different even though they're both on the keyboard. You see, you can have numbers and alphabets on the keyboard, but they're different because they're books and math when they're different.
Reilly: Genius. Pure genius. Let's focus instead on impeachment because that's what's most important. Because it's so important, I've decided to leak the phone records of Herm. How do you like that, Herm!?
Herm: NOT POSSIBLE! CAN'T HAPPEN! IMPOSSIBLE TO HAPPEN! WON'T HAPPEN! CAN'T BE HAPPENING! CAN'T BE POSSIBLE! HERM DOESN'T HAVE A PHONE! HERM DOESN'T TALK ON THE PHONE! HERM CAN'T TALK ON THE PHONE! HERM ONCE HAD A PHONE, BUT HIS PHONE BILL WAS TOO HIGH! COST HIM A FORTUNE! COST HIM EVERYTHING! SO HERM HAD TO STOP! HERM HAD TO GET HELP TO STOP! HERM'S NOW SEVEN YEARS OFF THE PHONE! JUST CELEBRATED SEVEN YEARS YESTERDAY! HERM HAS THIS TOKEN TO CELEBRATE SEVEN YEARS! LOOK AT THIS TOKEN! LOOK AT IT! LOOK- uhh... umm...
Fouts: And here's what he means by seven years. A year is 365 days. That's a lot of days. It's always 365 days unless we're talking about leap years. On a leap year, it's 365.25 days. That's the difference of .25 days, which is a half a day. It's weird to have half a day, but it happens sometimes.
Wolfley: DAN, WHERE I'M FROM, WE HAVE HALF DAYS ALL THE TIME. EVERY FRIDAY, IN FACT. WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES NOON ON FRIDAY, IT SUDDENLY BECOMES MIDNIGHT AGAIN.
Reilly: You idiots, shut up! What the hell happened? Whose phone records did we obtain if Herm doesn't have a phone? New Daddy, why didn't you get Herm's phone records like I instructed you to?
Cutler: I dunno, kid, I just took a paper named phone records and then I gave it to someone who asked for it. I forgot what you asked me to do, so I just guessed.
Reilly: New Daddy! Who did you give it to!?
Charles Davis: Kevin, looks like you're talking about your own phone records, Kevin, so let's review your own phone records, Kevin. Let's look, Kevin. First call, Kevin, looks like it's to 1-800-SEXY-EAGLES-FANS, Kevin. How interesting, Kevin. Second call looks like it went to 1-800-I-HAVE-NO-FRIENDS, Kevin. How sad, Kevin. Third call, Kevin, wow, Kevin, you really outdid yourself this time, Kevin. The third call, Kevin, was to 1-800-I-HAVE-SEXUAL-THOUGHTS-ABOUT-MY-QUARTERBACK, Kevin.
Reilly: STOP READING IT! JUST STOP! I'M GOING TO BE GROUNDED FOR USING THE PHONE AND NOT PAYING FOR THE PHONE BILL WITH MY ALLOWANCE! MOTHER'S NOT GOING TO GIVE ME MACARONI AND CHEESE ANYMORE FOR DINNER, WAHHHHH!!! We'll be back after this!
GREEN BAY OFFENSE: I expected the Chargers to abuse the Vikings' poor secondary this past week. What I didn't account for was the team being guilty of five fumbles and a punt getting blocked.
Unless the Packers suffer similar misfortune, Aaron Rodgers will be able to do what I expected Philip Rivers to accomplish. The Vikings have plenty of liabilities for Rodgers to exploit, and if last week's game is any indication, Rodgers should have the pass protection to have great success. The Packers weren't blocking very well in recent weeks, but the offensive line was suddenly sound against Chicago's talented pass rush.
The Packers won't run the ball very well, as Minnesota is stout in that regard. However, Aaron Jones could be an effective weapon out of the backfield, as the Vikings aren't very effective at covering in space.
MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The heart of the Vikings' scoring unit is Dalvin Cook, but there's some doubt he'll play in this game. He re-injured his shoulder this past week. While Mike Zimmer expressed optimism, there's a chance Cook could miss this contest. Even if he plays, he could be limited. There's also a chance Alexander Mattison could be out.
However, the Vikings have a solid third option in Mike Boone. A preseason all-star, Boone has a chance to succeed, especially against a suspect Green Bay run defense. He won't be as good as Cook, of course, but Boone is a talented runner who could shine in this matchup.
The Packers will have to respect the run - or at least they'll learn that they will have to - which will make covering the Vikings' talented receivers more difficult. Adam Thielen returned to action last week, but didn't seem like quite himself. Having another seven days to recover should help him return to form.
RECAP: If I can get more than a field goal with an elite quarterback playing against a non-elite quarterback, I'll take it every time. Rodgers is still one of the best players at his position, so getting 4.5 points with him seems like a steal.
Conversely, Cousins is in a great position to choke in the clutch. Didn't a recent narrative say that Cousins doesn't perform well on nationally televised night games? What happened to that? The Vikings have recently gotten blown out against the Seahawks and nearly lost to the Broncos at home. Sure, they destroyed the Chargers, but that was the result of seven turnovers in what appeared to be a close game before the home team capsized.
This has to be a big play. It's not often we're able to bet Rodgers while getting more than four points, so let's take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
THURSDAY THOUGHTS: This spread has risen to -5.5. This is sharp action, but it could be phantom movement to get a +6. If I see a +6, I may lock this in.
FRIDAY UPDATE: This spread has yet to hit -6, which makes me wonder if this was phantom movement after all.
SATURDAY NOTES: This spread has moved down to +5, so phantom movement confirmed. I may lock this in at some point on Sunday to avoid the line dropping to +4.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTES: With the Rams losing, this game means very little to the Vikings if they assume the Packers will beat the Lions next week. Either way, I still love Green Bay.
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: This spread has dropped to +4.5 in many places, but it has fallen to +4 at some of the sharper books. I'm worried about this line falling to +4 everywhere, so I'm going to lock in the Packers at +4.5 for four units. Aaron Rodgers is getting far too many points, while this game doesn't mean much to the Vikings unless Green Bay loses to Detroit next week.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This line has dropped to +4 across the board, as expected. This is late sharp action on the Packers. I'd still like Green Bay for four units at +4.
week 16 NFL Picks - Early Games
Bills at Patriots, Rams at 49ers, Texans at Buccaneers, Jaguars at Falcons, Ravens at Browns, Saints at Titans, Panthers at Colts, Bengals at Dolphins, Steelers at Jets, Giants at Redskins
A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 18, 2020): 1-5 (-$1,430)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$575)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 18, 2020): 0-2 (-$855)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 18, 2020): 2-3-1 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 18, 2020): $0
2020 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-2, 50.0% (-$135)
2020 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 132-123-6, 52.6% (+$3,280) 2020 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 43-42-3, 50.6% (-$2,650) 2020 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-22-1, 62.7% (+$5,515) 2020 Season Over-Under: 137-119-6, 53.5% ($0) 2020 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$375
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$3,585) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$6,105) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$4,235) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,880) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,335) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$7,445) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$7,825) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$3,215) 2016 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-127-10, 53.8% (+$780) 2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$4,300) 2018 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 140-134-14, 51.3% (+$845) 2019 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 149-128-9, 53.6% (+$1,200)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2016 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 42-35-3, 54.5% (+$475) 2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395) 2018 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-41-2, 55.9% (+$2,670) 2019 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-36-2, 55.0% (+$655)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465) 2017 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 20-22-1, 47.6% (-$1,595) 2018 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 27-32-1, 45.8% (-$4,735) 2019 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 37-27-2, 57.8% (+$2,185)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95) 2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640) 2018 Season Over-Under: 118-128-3, 48.0% (-$225) 2019 Season Over-Under: 126-133-4, 48.6% (-$50)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855 2016 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$275 2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510 2018 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,495 2019 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,715
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100) 2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-1, 83.3% (+$2,780) 2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040) 2018 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-3, 57.1% (-$640) 2019 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3-1, 50.0% (-$625)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,989-2,760-179, 52.0% (+$13,585) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 953-858-49 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 452-396-23 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 2,459-2,413-66 (50.5%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 44-29-1 (60.3%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.