Week 14 was a solid one for predicting straight up, but I managed to tread at .500 against the spread. After starting the year very well, the last month or so worth of games have been rough against the spread so my seasonal splits probably aren’t pretty. With three games remaining for the majority of teams, nine playoff spots remain up for grabs. So chances are whatever game(s) you watch this weekend will have some implications.
Last week: 11-5, Season: 135-73
Last week against the spread: 8-8, Season: 107-101
Game of the weak: Dolphins vs Chargers: In a full slate, this is the only game in which both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. For the Dolphins, their struggles have been well documented. But once you get a certain point it just seems some of them are self inflicted. Take this past Monday night for example. Interim coach Dan Campbell has made it clear he wants to play physically and establish running the ball. Lamar Miller was thrashing the Giants defense on the ground as he recorded 89 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. However the Dolphins decided to use that indicator to only give him the ball just once in the 4th quarter. Anytime you can have Ryan Tannehill throw the ball 41 times you have to do it.
The Chargers on the other hand have just been decimated by injuries and all things considered Philip Rivers has had a fantastic season. Keenan Allen has been out for quite some time, Antonio Gates is banged up, and guys like Javontee Herndon and Dontrelle Inman have had to step up. Despite that mess Rivers is still on pace to throw for 4,500 plus yards. In short, Rivers is really, really good and doesn’t get nearly the credit that he deserves. Dolphins 17 Chargers (-1.5) 23
Game of the week: Panthers vs Giants: With the amount of late game leads they’ve had, the Giants should have a firm grasp of the NFC East. But here we are in mid December and they’re part of a three team tie at the top. Things don’t get any easier with the unbeaten Panthers coming to town. While this game should be close, it also features one of the best player matchups we could see all year in Odell Beckham going up against Josh Norman.
While Beckham has pretty much been a star since his first handful of games, Norman has fully blossomed into an elite cover corner in his fourth year. These two also have some great “mic’d up” potential as neither is going to back down from any opponent. It is going to be interesting to see what the Giants try and scheme up in order to try and get Beckham some space as there is a good chance the winner in this individual matchup will impact how the scoreboard looks at the end of the game. Panthers 26 Giants (+5.5) 20
Jets 26 Cowboys (+3.5) 20
Bears 21 Vikings (-5.5) 24
Texans 21 Colts (-0.5) 17
Falcons 20 Jaguars (-3.5) 28
Titans 17 Patriots (-14.5) 34
Bills 21 Redskins (+1.5) 20
Chiefs 24 Ravens (+7.5) 16
Browns 13 Seahawks (-14.5) 31
Packers 26 Raiders (+3.5) 23
Bengals 23 49ers (+4.5) 17
Broncos 20 Steelers (-6.5) 24
Cardinals 28 Eagles (+3.5) 21
Lions 24 Saints (-2.5) 28