We’ve finally made it!! No more bye weeks!! Hallelujah. We’re really into the home straight of the season now, as the playoff picture gets ever clearer… except in the NFC East perhaps. The Rams strengthened their hold on the NFC West last night, and in doing so may have ended the dream for the Cam Newton-led Patriots team. It looks like Bill Belichick will be missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, and the first time they won’t have a 10 win season since 2002. You really have to feel sorry for them right? (Spoiler – No, you really really don’t)… Anyway, after the Steelers’ inexplicable defeat to Washington (I still hate them) last week, the #1 seeds in both conferences are still in play, and only really the Packers, Saints and Chiefs appear to have their divisions all wrapped up. So much could change this week, and we’ve got a couple of GREAT PrimeTime games that we’ll discuss later. Here we go!
1st and Goal from the 1yd Line
This is my nailed on – has to happen – pick of the week.
Last week, I wrote this about the Las Vegas Raiders: “What do you want when you’ve had a horrible loss the previous week? To face the New York Jets this week. That’s the right answer.”
Now ADMITTEDLY it was a lot closer than it should have been, and were it not for Gregg Williams being either desperate to get fired or desperate to secure Trevor Lawrence for the Jets, the Raiders should have lost. However, now that the Jets have failed to successfully use their “almost win a game card,” you have to believe they’ll be fully committed to the tank.
So THIS WEEK we have to ride with Seattle. The Giants shut them down for some reason, and long gone are the “Russ for MVP” takes that everyone – myself included – were peddling in early October. However, I think they get back on the right track this week. Jamal Adams is going to be out for blood, and I think all things considered we get a pretty pissed off Seahawks team coming out here. Chris Carson running angry, DK Metcalf catching angry, Pete Carroll coaching angry… I see no chance the Seahawks don’t retaliate fiercely this week. And the Jets won’t mind a bit.
Seahawks to win.
45yd Field Goal
So the Seahawks just decided to forget how to play offense against the Giants last week sadly… this week, we’ve got a double, two slight underdogs, built around one team I believe in, and one team I’m just not buying.
Browns +2.0 & Raiders +3.0
Cleveland – in my opinion – are for real. No OBJ and still putting up 38 points in the first half against the Titans. Baker looked GREAT last weekend and their defense largely held Derrick Henry in check. If you can stop the run, you can have success against the Ravens. The Cowboys couldn’t do it… but the Browns can. Myles Garrett is ready for battle. Lamar is not the same Lamar as last season. I think Cleveland wins this game outright to solidify it’s playoff status, but I’ll gladly take the +2.0 for some safety and leeway.
Equally, Indianapolis – in my opinion – are not for real. I think their defense is very very good, but Phil Rivers and the offense cannot be trusted. They should have lost to the Texans last week. I think Carr, Waller and the speed merchants on the outside for Vegas can cause them problems down the field. I like Vegas +3.0 for sure. I think the Colts fall behind the Titans in the race for the AFC South again, as the Raiders keep their playoff hopes alive with a win here.
We went 2-1 last week, with Gesicki and Carson getting their scores but sadly TJ Hockenson failing to find the EndZone… This week we’re leaning on one breakout star, and two established Vets.
CeeDee Lamb – Dallas’ star rookie had a quieter game last week, but has developed a nice connection with QB Andy Dalton. I think the Bengals will zone in on Amari Cooper, leaving CeeDee plenty of space to work. He could repeat that incredible catch he had against the Vikings a few weeks back. CeeDee is going to be a big player in this league for years and years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins – I’m backing the Cardinals to get back on track this weekend, so I have to back their star receiver to find the EndZone again too. DHop has been stifled a bit as Kyler has struggled over the past few weeks, but not this week. The Giants don’t have anyone who can cover Nuk. Hopkins to score.
Michael Thomas – Thomas’ injury ravaged season is finally starting to get going. Thomas has built a decent repertoire with Taysom Hill in his first few starts with the Saints. He’s so good at getting open, he has to have a good chance of scoring, even when he’ll likely draw shadow coverage from Darius Slay.
£10 on this treble pays about £160 depending on your bookmaker. At this price, I think this treble is well worth it.
If you don’t like the above options, I think Derrick Henry & Aaron Jones are equally good options, but with considerably shorter odds.
Over 49.5 – Falcons @ Chargers – This is THE ultimate Choke-Off. I don’t know what would be more perfect than this game ending in a tie. Who knows. All I do know is that neither of these defenses are good. Points everywhere, for everyone. The Chargers need to rediscover their mojo following the embarrassment against New England, and I expect them to do so. The Falcons won’t have Julio, but will have Gurley, who will lend some balance to their offense. They also have a kicker who can make any kick on the field. Younghoe Koo has to be the Falcons’ MVP this year. You see that video of him hitting a Field Goal whilst doing a backflip?! I like that. I also like points in this game.
Over 43.0 – Saints @ Eagles – This is a risky one, as the Saints D shut down our over bid against the Falcons last week, but Philly HAS to try and win this one to have any chance of sneaking into the playoffs. It’s Jalen Hurts’ first start in the NFL… so it could be AWFUL. BUT he looked good in relief of Wentz last week, and NEARLY brought them back into the game against the Packers. I still see the Saints winning this game, but I think Hurts is good enough to get the Eagles 20+ points… that should be enough to hit the over in this game.
Who felt like an idiot last Sunday after backing the Chargers? Yep, me. I did. Also, heartbreak for the Texans fumbling at the 1… madness. Let’s reload:
Cowboys -3.5 – No doubt in my mind about this one. Andy Dalton revenge game!!! Zeke looked a bit better against the Ravens on Monday… Cowboys NEED this (and a lot of other things to go their way… but… you never know).
Texans -1.0 – They really should have beaten the Colts last week. The Colts are MUCH better than the Bears. Therefore, the Texans are a no-brainer pick. Bears are dead.
Panthers -3.0 – Looks like no McCaffrey for another week sadly – the world is just a better place with RUN CMC doing ridiculous things in the NFL – but I still like the Panthers here. Teddy Bridge loves to cover, and Mike Davis has been a good fill in for the aforementioned McCaffrey. Robby Anderson has had a fantastic season since reconnecting with his college coach Matt Rhule, but I have no belief in the Broncos. Drew Lock just isn’t the guy. Sure they played the Chiefs close, but did you EVER seriously think Mahomes wasn’t winning that game!? Panthers please.
Titans -7.0 – Derrick Henry is going to run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run run all over the Jaguars. Tractorcito Szn.
49ers -3.0 – Washington are NOT a good team. They’re not. I do not believe in them. Don’t get me wrong – I’m DELIGHTED that Alex Smith has found his way back and found some success. But every single bounce that could go their way DID go their way against the Steelers. The Niners D just got worked by Josh Allen and will be out for vengeance.
£10 on this five-fold returns about £238 depending on your bookmaker.
The Full English (Season Record: 65-29)
9-6 last week; not the best, not the worst. Still keeping our winning record I’m getting progressively more and more proud of.
Cardinals @ Giants – Cardinals
Cowboys @ Bengals – Cowboys (It’s the Andy Dalton revenge game! If results go their way – like I think they will this weekend – then the Cowboys are somehow still alive…)
Broncos @ Panthers – Panthers
Texans @ Bears – Texans
Chiefs @ Dolphins – Chiefs (Maybe the most quietly interesting game of the weekend, as we might really learn if the Dolphins are at all for real. I think the Chiefs win, but I hope the Fins are able to keep it tight)
Vikings @ Buccaneers – Buccaneers
Titans @ Jaguars – Titans
Colts @ Raiders – Raiders (I don’t believe in the Colts. I’m sorry, I just don’t)
Jets @ Seahawks – Seahawks
Falcons @ Chargers – Chargers
Packers @ Lions – Packers (Rodgers wants that Bye. The Lions have no Golladay… think this is a straightforward Packers win)
Saints @ Eagles – Saints
Washington @ 49ers – 49ers
Steelers @ Bills – Bills (I think this is the day the Chiefs really start to sniff the #1 seed in the AFC, as Pittsburgh loses their second straight)
Ravens @ Browns – Browns
Next week, we get the lesser spotted Saturday night NFL game! Fine, it IS the Bills at the Broncos, but it’s still the NFL on Saturday!! Furthermore, the Dolphins seek to confirm the end of the Patriots AFC East dominance, and – perhaps the best game of the entire regular season slate – as the Chiefs face the Saints. It should be electric. As always, I’m @CallumJDSquires on Instagram and Twitter. Come say hey. Have a great week. Stay safe and healthy.
Callum Squires is a London based writer, Dolphins fan, and all around good guy.