Eagles (-3) over Redskins: The Redskins can win the division with a win but I think the NFC East will be decided in Week 17. I was dead wrong about the Eagles last week but think they bounce back here.
Buccaneers (-3) over Bears: This is a revenge game for Lovie Smith against his former employers. The Bears are already thinking about the offseason and the Buccaneers have pride to play for.
Broncos (-3) over Bengals: Can’t see AJ McCarron doing well in a primetime environment against a great defense. The Broncos need this game more and I think they win by over a field goal.
Here are the bowl picks I have made so far. I will tweet any additional picks I make throughout the bowl season.
Temple (-1.5) over Toledo
Washington State (-2.5) over Miami
North Carolina (+1.5) over Baylor
Houston (+7) over Florida State
Notre Dame (+6.5) Ohio State
Stanford (-6.5) over Iowa
Giants (+5) over Panthers: I think this is the week the Panthers lose. The Giants are getting way too many points at home and the Panthers are on the verge of locking up home field advantage in the NFC. Finishing 16-0 would be nice for the team but success in the playoffs is more important.
Packers (-3) over Raiders: I think this will be a high-scoring game as well so I have no problem with taking a road favorite at a field goal. The Raiders are coming off a big win over the Broncos last week and think they have a letdown especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders offense will move the ball but think they lose by a touchdown.
Eagles (+4) over Cardinals: I think this is a field goal game either way and the Eagles are a much improved team with Sam Bradford at quarterback.
Tough week in the NFL to find games to pick. A lot of big lines and it’s hard to trust a lot of the teams that have nothing to play for. The one game I like is an early one on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles were written off after allowing five touchdowns each in games against Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford. Philadelphia showed life last week with a shocking defeat of the Patriots. The win puts the Eagles back in the NFC East race. However, they needed three return touchdowns to beat an injury-riddled Patriots squad. The Eagles could even lose this upcoming game and still be right in the division race.
The Bills travel to the Eagles in a game Buffalo needs to win to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. I think this game means more to the Bills and I won’t get fooled by the Eagles win over the Patriots last week.
Pick: Bills (pick) over Eagles
Stanford (-4.5) over USC: A lot has changed since these two teams met on September 19 in Week 3. Stanford entered the game 1-1 and beat USC straight up as a 10-point underdog. Since then Stanford flirted with a spot in the College Football Playoff but a loss to Oregon gives the Cardinal a slim chance to get a top four spot. USC has fired a coach and just permanently hired one since the Week 3 contest against Stanford. After beating UCLA, the Trojans took the interim label off Clay Helton’s title and he signed a five-year deal to be the school’s head coach. With Stanford having more to play for, I think they cover this number. Helton and USC will have one eye looking towards recruiting and might not be well prepared for this game.
Saints (+7) over Panthers: I made the point spread for this game Panthers -4. So I think there is some value in this line. New Orleans is a much better team at home and their defense has to be slightly better since Rob Ryan got fired. The Saints played the Panthers tough when the two teams met earlier this season and I think this will be another close one.
Rams (+6) over Cardinals: This is the classic take the Jeff Fisher team as an underdog in a division game. The Cardinals might be looking ahead to a Thursday night game at home against the Vikings. I think the Rams will be able to have success on the ground with Todd Gurley and cover this spread at home.
Giants (+2.5) over Jets: The Giants are technically the home team but you can throw out home field advantage here since the Jets play in the same stadium. I still don’t think the Jets are a better team than the Giants and not sure why they are favorites especially without Darrelle Revis. I think the Giants win straight up and put themselves in a strong position to win the NFC East.
Chiefs (-3) over Raiders: I usually don’t like taking away favorites but I think the red-hot Chiefs aren’t getting the respect they deserve in this line. Oakland has won five game but I don’t spot an impressive win on their schedule. The Chiefs are on a great winning and covering streak, and I’m going to take a shot at them doing it again.