As we approach the end of the season, it's easy to forget that NFL teams aren't the only ones scrambling to make up for early season losses.
If you bet on the NFL and took some bad beats early in the year, this column should help make up for past mistakes and turn you into a late season contender. Let's take a tour through some of the juiciest lines from Week 14.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
Pick: Rams (-5.5)
Belichick finds a way. Belichick has always done a lot with a little. It's kind of his thing. But this year it's just ridiculous. This 2020 Patriots team is so bereft of talent, their skill level is comparable to an American Idol worst of compilation video. As the forgotten Randy Jackson may have once said: they're just not any good dawg.
Yet this team is 4-1 in the last five weeks. But evening great coaching has its limitations and you have to believe those limitations will be met this week when the Patriots take on the Rams in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The Rams are one of the more balanced teams in the NFL. They can run, pass, defend, and have a great coach of their own. Maybe Sean McVay will finally get revenge for Super Bowl LIII. Look for Aaron Donald to take over this game.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Titans (-7.5)
No one is taking this Jaguars team seriously. Every week they are predicted to get smoked by their opponent, and yet 3 out of the last 4 weeks they lost by 4 or fewer points and beat the point spread. But I just can't see that happening this week against the Titans.
The Titans will be seeing red after falling to a 31-7 deficit in the first half of last week's game. The Titans climbed back into the game showing what they are capable of but it was too little, too late. The Titans were defeated 41-35. I'm looking forward to seeing how this Titans team will respond. If I'm the Jaguars I'm thinking: "Is there anyone you would want to piss off less than Derrick Henry and AJ Brown?" The answer is a resounding no. Look for these Jaguars to get slapped up. My money's on the Titans.
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
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Pick: Texans (-1)
I did a double take when I saw the line for this game, then quickly placed my bet before the line had a chance to change. What a bargain. Now I know the Texans have a depleted passing game- and running game- and defense- and they have an interim head coach. But they still have Deshaun Watson. When you say that out loud or type it to yourself in your living room next to an obscenely, loud, snoring dog it really begins to wash over you just how good Deshaun Watson is. Then it begins to wash over you how sad it is he's got no talent around him and this season will be lost to the sands of time. What was Bill O'Brien thinking?
Anyway, where was I? Oh right: Watson can dismantle this Bears team by himself because that's what Watson does. And Mitch Trubisky won't be able to keep up, because not being able to keep up is what Trubisky does. The Bears embarrassed themselves when they traded up to draft Trubisky over Watson, look for the Bears to embarrass themselves further this Sunday verse the Texans.
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Bucs (-6.5)
Remember the "And 1 Basketball Live Tour?" If you missed it just envision a new age version of the Harlem Globe Trotters and you'd be envisioning exactly the right thing. Players nicknamed things like "The Main Event," "Spyda," and "Hotsauce" would travel around the country and dominate local talent with their brilliant ball skills and creative dunks. But pair that And 1 squad verse legitimate NBA players and the Street Hoop stars are quickly exposed.
That kind of reminds me of what this Vikings offense is this year. When they compete against the dregs of the league they have the ability to dice you up. But pair them verse a legitimate defense and they are exposed. Well expect exposing this week. This Vikings offense runs through Dalvin Cook, too bad this Bucs defense is the number one rushing defense in the league. If the Bucs defense can put the clamps on Dalvin Cook, I don't see Kirk Cousins keeping pace with Tom Brady and company. I see the Bucs rolling over the Vikings at home.
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Jets (+13.5)
The Jets have gone from a dumpster fire to just a dumpster. The team is still no good. Adam Gase is still going to get fired. And Darnold is still going to be replaced. But at least Gregg Williams is gone. I'm looking for that release to fire up this Jets team SO MUCH that the Jets lose by less than two touchdowns.
Getty | TNS
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Pick: Packers (-7.5)
Aaron Rodgers is playing like an MVP candidate. He has Davante Adams and Aaron Jones back in the lineup which means only one thing: they're going to destroy the Lions. Look for the Packers to lay a smackdown upon their division "rival."
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: Falcons (-2.5)
Here we have two teams who seem to have no concept of how to win. Both teams have looked brilliant in some moments and dreadful in others. And both teams have managed to lose games they should have won. So for me, it really comes down to which team is more mentally tough. And by that measure I'll give the slight edge to the Falcons.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Saints (-7)
This will likely be Taysom Hill's last opportunity to showcase his talents as a quarterback for the season. Drew Brees aims to return in week 15 so you know Hill will be eager to make his case as a viable starting quarterback in the NFL. And he'll have a good opportunity to do just that. The Eagles allowed 437 yards last week against the Packers. Couple that with the fact that this Saints defense is the number one defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game and you really begin to see a path for the Saints to rout this defunct Eagles team. I like the Saints chances at pulling ahead by more than a touchdown.
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Sunday's NFL Playoff action featured six teams who don't like each other at all.
All these games were played between teams who had played each other at least once during the regular season. If you thought those games in the regular season were intense, Sunday's playoff matchups upped the stakes even more.
The Chicago Bears even replicated a dubious feat from their regular season matchup, as one of their wide receiver Anthony Miller was ejected after throwing a punch at C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The New Orleans cornerback also got into the head of Chicago wide receiver Javon Wims in the November matchup, causing Wims to get ejected in that game after he threw a punch at Gardner-Johnson.
The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs has passed, and we're now down to the remaining four teams that are vying for a Super Bowl championship this season.
HOW ‘BOUT THOSE CHIEEEEFS?!?!? https://t.co/rWt2MIdoP2— Kansas City Chiefs (@Kansas City Chiefs)1610995798.0
As the NFL postseason got underway last week, it became clear we need to make some halftime adjustments with our picks this week.
The Ravens were an easy cover for us, especially once Lamer found his groove and the grooves in Tennessee's D. Throw in a few head scratching punts by Mike Vrabel and that does the trick.
Meanwhile, Stefon Diggs came up two catches short for us with three targets left on the table. It was always going to be tough to get that many grabs, but it was worth a few bucks just to see what would happen.
Please, please, please remind me never to bet unders. I haven't hit one all year and yet the siren's song calls me to shore. I maintain this is the best one I bet all year. The pick 6 and DK Metcalf bomb in the second quarter killed after the best start imaginable. After 15 minutes, we had a combined score of 3, 15 minutes of game time later? 30. Bananas.
Then I don't really know what else to say about Pittsburgh losing to Baker Mayfield and co. that hasn't already been said. I just have to edit my list of completely impossible things to put, "Snowing in the Sahara desert," and "Taylor Swift ever getting back together with Jake Gyllenhaal" above "The Browns beating the Steelers in the playoffs."