By IAN WUKITSCH
Happy late Thanksgiving football fans! I hope everybody enjoyed a safe and food filled holiday. If you didn’t lose too much money Thursday – like I did – then I’m sure you’re ready for some more action come this Sunday. So shake off that food coma, get your bookie’s number at the ready, and start betting.
HOME team in CAPS
HOUSTON TEXANS (-7) over Tennessee Titans
The Titans are week in and week out a sure bet to lose. They have a terrible defense and their offense is stagnant at best. Most of Zach Mettenberger’s passing numbers are inflated due to garbage time scoring, and they just do not have a consistent running game. I don’t think that Ryan Mallet’s injury is going to affect this Texans team too much, especially because Arian Foster will be back in the lineup, and facing a team that allows almost 150 ypg on the ground. Look for Foster to tear it up, and for veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to make smart decisions with the football and keep turnovers to a minimum. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about JJ Watt. He’s really f-ing good and will put Mettenberger on his back numerous times this weekend. Lock of the week here, take the Texans to cover.
Miami Dolphins (-7) over NEW YORK JETS
This is every gamblers dream: the return of Geno Smith. Smith may be one of the worst QBs I have ever seen, and is more suited for a desk job next to Tim Tebow than being the starting QB for a professional football team. This Jets team really can’t do anything right. Their defense is bad, their offense is bad, and their coach is bad. Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace are going to have an easy Monday night, and look for the Dolphins to put up BIG numbers against a team allowing close to 28 points per game. The Jets really do not stand much of a chance until they can find a reliable QB. Their running game is on and off, and with no passing game, it makes it that much easier for teams to stack the box and limit the production of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory. Take the Dolphins to cover on Monday night at MetLife.
Not So Fast My Friend
The following games are ones I’d try and stay away from this weekend — unless you’re a complete degenerate gambler and are feeling lucky. In that case, good luck.
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
I am high on this young Buccaneers team. The talent is there, and the receiving combo of Vincent Jackson and the emerging stud Mike Evans can cause a lot of problems for secondaries. This could spell trouble for the Bengals, who don’t have a great pass defense and are facing a QB in Josh McCown that has averaged nearly 300 yards through the air in his past three games. Games like these are tough for a first place team like the Bengals to come out and win. The season is winding down and players are getting fatigued and complacent against a basement dweller like the Buccaneers. I think this game will be a close one — the Buccaneers potentially even winning it. This one could go either way; I’d stay away from this trap game.
New Orleans Saints (+5) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Saints enter this matchup having lost their last three games, the Steelers are coming off of a bye, and I could see this one going either way. The Saints are going to come out with some fire, especially because their playoff lives depend on it. If there’s one sure bet about this game, it’s that there will be a lot of freaking scoring. Both QBs ,—Brees and Roethlisberger—are known to air it out and average over 300 yards per. With two high octane offenses and mediocre defenses, get your popcorn ready and enjoy a good-ole-fashioned shootout. This game is going to come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes, and which defense can come up with a key stop. That’s why I suggest you stay away from this one. It could easily be 60-50 in the Saints favor with Brees going bonkers, or 35-7 in the Steelers favor, with Brees making poor decisions and throwing lots of INTs —something he has done 11 times already this season. Not sure which way this one is gonna go, but take the over of 54.
San Diego Chargers (+6.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
Both of these teams enter Week 13 with a record of 7-4, and are winners of their last two. I see this Chargers team is going into Baltimore and upsetting the Ravens this Sunday. Philip Rivers is coming off of some poor passing performances, and will end the cold streak this week. He benefits this weekend from a weak Ravens secondary, which allows roughly 265 ypg by way of the pass. Joe Flacco of the Ravens is also coming off of some poor passing performances and is facing a stiff San Diego pass D that allows only 220 ypg through the air. Take the Chargers to upset the Ravens in Baltimore.
That’s all for this week folks. Safe travels if you happen to be returning from a relative’s house this weekend, and I hope everyone had a safe, enjoyable holiday!