For the first time since Week 4, we have a week with no bye weeks. The last bye week was Week 12 so from here on out, every team in the league will be playing until the end of the season. That should give me more chances to improve my record after another 4-4 week. On the other hand, more games means more time doing research on these games, a luxury that I haven’t had for the better part of a month now. Why do you think I stick to picking just eight games per week? Anyway, Week 13 is shaping up to be an exciting week with a lot of marquee match-ups, none more exciting than Tom Brady versus Aaron Rodgers.
Thanksgiving Treat Part 1
The Detroit Lions opened at -6 against the Chicago Bears in the team’s annual Thanksgiving Day game. That number immediately went up half-a-point, which leads me to think that early money went to the Lions. Looks like the public isn’t buying Detroit’s two-game skid and the Bears’ two-game winning streak as much as I thought they would. I’d wait to see how the number moves before making my pick. With the game on Thursday night, it shouldn’t take too long to see where the action’s headed.
Thanksgiving Treat Part 2
The other team that has an annual presence on Thanksgiving plays at home against its division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas opened at -3 in a game that will likely determine who wins the NFC East. The stakes are high on this one but I suspect the Cowboys getting most of the action leading up to the game. The spread should go up to -3.5 but I’d wait to see if I can get a -4 in there. But even if it stays at -3.5, I wouldn’t mind putting money on the Eagles with that hook. Yup. I just said that knowing that Mark Sanchez will be Philly’s quarterback. God help me.
Thanksgiving Treat Part 3
The last game on Thursday is a doozy with the Seattle Seahawks traveling to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. This is going to be another huge game because the loser would likely be out of the division race. I’m a little surprised that San Francisco’s only a -1 favorite, which is short of saying that this game could very well be a pick ‘em by the time the game starts. This is arguably one of the toughest games to pick, but with both teams on a short week and Seattle coming off of an emotional win against NFC West division leader Arizona, I like the 49ers in this spot to avenge their loss in Seattle in the early part of the season. Forget the spread here because if it’s that short of a number, I’m going to go with the Niners on a money line bet.
RGIII vs Andrew Luck
This game would’ve had a lot more meaning during their rookie years, but since then, both quarterbacks have gone on opposite directions. Luck has established himself as one of the best QBs in the league whereas RGIII has become known more as a diva than an actual QB. Indy opened at -9 and while I don’t expect much action on this game that will move the number on either side, I’m silently praying that it moves down to at least -8.5, or better yet, -8. If it does, I’ll be all over the Colts to take this one convincingly. Maybe even post a double-digit win.
The homeless Bills
This game is still scheduled to take place in Buffalo but there are still questions on whether the city has recovered from the debilitating snowstorm that forced Buffalo to play its Week 12 game against the New York Jets in Detroit. Right now, the Bills are at -2 on the belief that it will be played in Ralph Wilson Stadium. But in the event that the Bills are forced to relocate for another week, that number will go down, probably to a pick ‘em. I like the Browns in this spot so while their still underdogs, I’m locking them up as soon as I can.
G-Men as rare road favorites.
It’s not often that a team with a 3-7 record is laying points on the road. But the New York Giants are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars, which partly explains why the G-Men are the short -2 road faves. I liked what I saw from Eli Manning in that Sunday Night game against the Dallas Cowboys. Even if they lost, Manning showed that he could still play well for stretches of a game. With the Jags next on their schedule, I think Eli manages to carry that performance against Big D to this game. This number will go up because the Giants are still a public team and everybody seems to have disregarded Jacksonville as a competent franchise. If you can lock in on New York as -2 favorites, all the better.
AFC West on the line
The Kansas City Chiefs are just one game behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West so expect this game to be tight and close until the end. That also explains why Denver’s just a -1.5 road favorite despite laying 13 points at home against the Chiefs earlier this season. The public will definitely see this line and immediately pound on the Broncos, driving up the spread and giving me even more reason to pick the home team. If KC ends up as +3 home dogs, the better I’ll feel in going against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Game of the year?
Oh, boy. This one is a beauty. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots traveling to Green Bay to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Right now, the Pack opened as -3 home favorites. Weird as it sounds, I think that number goes down to -1.5 later this week because everybody will be pounding the Patriots after the stretch of dominance it has had. New England’s won its last seven games and has covered six of those games, all in relatively easy fashion. If there’s one game where I think that’s going to end, it’s this one. So I’m going to wait and see if the number drops on Green Bay before putting my faith on Rodgers to outduel Brady.