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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


Sad Mitch Trubisky after a 26-23 defeat to the Saints in Week 8 David Banks/Getty Images


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.


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shown in 2019 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.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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