NFL December 11th

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NFL Week 13: 0-3, (0.00%) -3.3 Units 
NFL Season: 28-29-2, (49.12%) -3.9 Units 

After a nice start to the NFL season I’ve now slipped into the red and am going to need a strong finish to get out of there. I do feel good about what I’ve got this weekend though, will hop right into it…

Titans (-1.5): I know Denver is still a good team, and I know their defense is still elite. That said I just don’t think they have enough firepower to hang with the Titans on the road. I’m not going to lie it feels a bit weird typing out that the Broncos don’t have the firepower to hang with the Titans, but they truly don’t. On the year the Titans have the #7 offense in the NFL. Marcus Mariota is playing great, DeMarco Murray is playing great and on the whole that offense is pretty dangerous. In their last 4 home games the Titans are averaging 34.3 points per game including putting up a 47 spot in their last home game against Green Bay. The Broncos offense on the other hand has been shaky from jump street. They are ranked 27th in the league in yards per game and frankly it’s a unit that doesn’t scare anyone. Trevor Siemian is just a ho hum QB, as a team they only average 3.6 yards per rushing attempt, and grinding out scoring drives often times seems like pure hell for this squad. This one is simple for me, give me the home team with the big play capability and explosive offense.

Bills (+3): I’ll start off by admitting I think this Steelers team is a top 5 team in the NFL. Their offense is as explosive as any in the league and their defense is slowly starting to come around. That said, a road game in December against Buffalo is flat out hell. Temperatures will be in the 20’s and with the wind chill even lower than that. It’ll be snowing (or at least the weather reports say it should be) and those can of conditions play right into the Bills hands. The Steelers like to air it out and let Big Ben chuck it all over the yard, these conditions certainly won’t be conducive to that. The Bills on the other hand don’t really care much about passing, what they want to do is run. In fact they run the ball better than any team in the NFL at 162 rushing yards per game. Whether it’s LeSean McCoy or Tyrod Taylor this is a team that loves to run. Now I know the Steelers have LeVeon Bell who is one of the best backs in the game, but despite that it’s in the Steelers DNA the last few years to be a pass first team. They love to throw, throw, throw and if they can’t do that this game changes entirely. If this game is in Pittsburgh I don’t touch the Bills, if this game is on a neutral field I don’t touch the Bills. I’m almost banking on the weather slowing down the Steelers as much as Buffalo does. Feels like an ugly game that Bills find a way to win. 21-17 or so sounds about right.

Dolphins (+2.5): I’ll admit the Dolphins are a bit of a fools gold team. They’ve won a few coin flip type games against ho-hum teams and last week they were brought back to earth against the Ravens. For this line to have moved 5 points though seems a bit much to me. The Dolphins opened as 2.5 favorites and now they check in as 2.5 point dogs. Lets not forget the Cards had to travel nearly 3000 miles for this game and will have to deal with the early start as a west coast team.  I’ll also happily hitch my ride to Adam Gase who had the Dolphins more than ready to go the last time they were embarrassed in a bad loss. Back in early October the Dolphins suffered a home loss to what at the time most thought was a pretty poor Titans team. They were favored to win that game and frankly were dominated throughout. After that game Gase put the team through hell in practice, made cuts all over the roster, and basically challenged the teams manhood. The result was the Fish thrashing the Steelers 30-15 and Jay Ajayi rumbling for over 200 yards. Now I’m not saying he used that same approach this week, but my point is this young coach is proving he knows how to handle his team when things start to get ugly. This is one of those games where it seems sharps, squares, pros, joes, everyone is in agreement that the Cardinals should get a W. I’ll go the other way and put my faith in Gase and company.

Jaguars (+3): I know Blake Bortles is playing awful football right now, but I just can’t pass on a chance to take a home team plus points against Minnesota. If that means I have to do so with the Jags, so be it. Captain check down Sam Bradford and the big play challenged, dink and dunk Vikings offense just shouldn’t be laying points on the road against anyone. It’s really that simple. Seemingly all their passes are 10 yards or less, they have no threat’s at RB. No big play threats at WR, and don’t scare anyone at all. As far as the Jags go, I know, I know…. Bortles is awful. I’m not going to sit here and try to convince anyone otherwise. The guy sucks. I’ll double back to the Vikings pass game though and double down on why I think it’ll struggle. For all their warts the Jags are actually 2nd in the NFL allowing only 196 pass yards per game. So if the passing game isn’t there are the Vikings going to take care of business by going on the road and leaning on Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata? Come on now. Bortles is a clown but at least the guy throws the ball down the field and can stumble into some big plays here and there. In a game like this just a few of those big plays could be enough to beat the Vikes.

Buccaneers (-1.5): I think the Jameis Winston coming out party continues on Sunday as he faces the 2nd worst passing defense in the league. Winston has got the Bucs tied to first in their division and to me this line comes off as a bit of a slap in the face to Tampa Bay. I think they are a better team than New Orleans overall, so to see them only laying 1.5 at home feels a bit odd. This is a Bucs team that’s growing in confidence each and every week and the youngster from FSU has already emerged as the team leader. Tomorrow feels like the perfect time for him to lead by example and flat out carve up this swiss cheese Saints pass defense. It’s really just as simple as that for me. Mike Evans (despite his drops) is still a matchup nightmare. Winston is building up a nice relationship with TE Cameron Brate and I fully expect the Bucs to flirt with 30 points on Sunday.

Also have leans on the Seahawks, Giants, and Rams but 5 plays is already pushing it by my standards for the NFL so I’ll just hit the brakes right here. Good luck to you all

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