Big Ben loads up to throw in the face of pressure from the Ravens

Gene J. Puskar | Credit: AP

It wasn't exactly a banner week around here for the Picks, Parlays, and Props crew, but it could have been so much worse.

Week 12 Vibe Check (1-1-2)

First, Kareem Hunt, who saw only two targets, which would've been enough for us to scrape by on that over, ended the game with no catches. Then the Cardinals, even with a 10-0 lead, never quite looked in control and Kyler Murray never looked like himself. You can always count on Belichick to bamboozle a young QB by bluffing a blitz. Turns out that's exactly what baited the rising superstar into tossing a pick, leading to the go-ahead score for New England.



I'm still not quite sure how the Bucs clawed their way back into that Chiefs game. Tyreek Hill essentially called for a time of death in the first quarter. The Chiefs blew a couple more chances to truly blow their opponent off the field, and Brady putting up 14 in the final quarter just to force the push is classic. Of course, once KC went into kill-the-clock mode with about four minutes left, it was all over for us cashing an easy ticket.

Lastly, we missed out on an all-time bad beat with Seattle -5. It almost hurts to talk about, knowing how many others out there just got absolutely murdered by a truly truly truly pointless two point conversion. I snagged the 'Hawks early in the week when the line was a little lower and it's the only thing keeping me from going on a scorched earth mission to burn down Lumen Field (it's not CenturyLink anymore). I feel your pain, and this is a valuable lesson about how Pete Carroll only wants to win in the worst ways possible.

Washington +7 over Pittsburgh

The Football Team is fresh off feasting upon the lifeless Cowboys on Thanksgiving, and the Steelers are extra-fresh off playing the league's first ever midseason Wednesday game, meaning when these two face each other as the first half of a Monday double header that one will have 10 days of rest and game planning and the other will have four.

Washington's D, specifically against the pass, has morphed into a dominant unit. It's even more impressive considering last year's incompetence. Chase Young has brought an extra spark to an already star-studded unit. He leads rookie defenders in PFF grades, sacks, and brings a level of awareness to stopping runs and screens that most first year players simply do not possess.

If you want to stop the Steelers, you have to stop/slow down the passing game, which should be easier since the team will be without it's starting center, right tackle, and running back. Meanwhile, Alex Smith just needs to keep this one close for us, which should also be easier since Pittsburgh will be missing a starting outside linebacker, defensive end, and cornerback.

Tennessee -5.5 over Cleveland/Derrick Henry over 100.5 Yards vs Cleveland

Looking at the Browns schedule, it's hard to find an impressive win. Sure, they have eight to choose from, but how many did they seem to control the game against an opponent in the top half of the league? The Indianapolis game is the closest to qualifying, even if they replayed that same game this week, I think the Colts would be favored.

The rest are squeakers against the Bengals x 2, Eagles, Jaguars, and Texans or bigger wins against a Dak-less Cowboys or the Haskins-led Football Team. Don't even get me started on the losses. Yikes. Shellacking's by the Steelers and Ravens. The Titans D has seemingly coalesced at the right time, while the offensive has been equally efficient and dominant as they were last season. 5.5 points seem a little steep, but Tennessee has the ultimate weapon sitting in their stable...


Derrick Henry stiff arms a Colts defender in the open field. Derrick Henry swats away a smaller Colts player, like he's nothing more than a pesky fly.Michael Hickey | Credit: Getty Images


King Henry has only gone under 100.5 yards on four occasions this season, doubling that amount in games he went over the century mark. The Cleveland run D has been solid this season, ranking in the top 10 and allowing an average of 108.2 per game. However, that numbers have been creeping up recently and they just allowed the quietly-winning-fantasy-games James Robinson to put up 128 on them last week. If Henry racks up the yards, I'm very comfortable saying the Titans cruise to a cover.

Deebo Samuel over 5 Receptions

I've recommended a 49er receiver going over receptions before and I'm going to make a similar argument this time around. Instead of Brandon Aiyuk, it's Deebo Samuel, who was the focal point of last week's game in which he caught 11 balls for 133 yards. He's currently leading the league with 12.9 YAC (yards after catch), and is the only WR in the top five, demonstrating how the Niners deploy him. Lots of quick, short passes near the line of scrimmage, essentially an extension of the rushing attack, which happens to be Buffalo's biggest weakness. Little tap passes on end around's are still receptions and for that reason alone, this feels like a lock.

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