Last week was another strong one for my predictions as I have now worked my way up to .500 on the year against the spread. Hopefully that is a mark that will continue to progress in the final few weeks of the regular season. Entering this weekend, two playoff spots have been clinched meaning that ten remain up for grabs. Fortunately, this weekend slate features a bunch of intriguing games between teams fighting for their playoff lives. Some of the teams in those matchups we still have questions about, so it will be interesting to see if we have any more clarity as the action unfolds.
Last week: 11-5, Season: 127-81
Last week against the spread: 10-6, Season: 104-104
Game of the weak: Browns vs Bills: One of the few games not featuring a team in playoff contention, there might not be a whole lot to watch in this one unless there are fantasy football related implications. My main questions surrounding this one are if Rex Ryan is now the closest head coach in the league to resembling the Jeff Fisher scenario (known for a few outlier seasons, nothing special as a head coach), and if the Browns do run the table, who is known as a worse team them or the 2008 Detroit Lions.
To me, the answer isn’t particularly close. Unlike the Lions, the Browns had a semblance of a plan entering the season to tear everything down, stockpile future assets and build in the draft. The Lions season however was a culmination of years of ineptitude that all led up to that point. In short, the Browns wouldn’t even win in the event of being the biggest loser. Browns 14 Bills (-10.5) 26
Game of the week: Buccaneers vs Cowboys: Oh, how much can change in a few weeks. The Cowboys looked like a clear cut option as the top team in the NFC, but after a close win which led to plenty thinking a blueprint was set to beat them, the Cowboys lost on the road to the Giants that next week. That plan includes having the ability to get pressure on Dak Prescott who has come down to earth in recent weeks.
Now, in come the Buccaneers who are riding a five game winning streak and certainly have the personnel to rush the passer. In just the second year of the Jameis Winston era, this is a fantastic test for a young Buccaneers team that has only recently started receiving some national attention. It seems crazy to say, but if they are able to pull out a road win, this game could be one that’s looked back on in terms of really setting the tone for the new era of Buccaneers football. Buccaneers 21 Cowboys (-7.5) 24
Dolphins 23 Jets (+2.5) 16
Packers 26 Bears (+5.5) 17
Jaguars 16 Texans (-6.5) 23
Eagles 17 Ravens (-6.5) 24
Titans 20 Chiefs (-5.5) 24
Lions 20 Giants (-4.5) 23
Colts 21 Vikings (-4.5) 26
Steelers 27 Bengals (+3.5) 20
Saints 23 Cardinals (-2.5) 28
49ers 17 Falcons (-13.5) 31
Patriots 23 Broncos (+3.5) 21
Raiders 26 Chargers (+3.5) 23
Panthers 20 Redskins (-6.5) 27