We are double-dipping and getting another NFL picks column in this week.
Last week the column went a disappointing 2-3. But the last time this column had a losing record we responded with vengeance with a 5-1 week. On Thursday, we wrote a bonus NFL/college basketball article where we dominated the Thanksgiving holiday going 5-2, putting extra money in your pockets for Black Friday.
Now we are looking to keep the gravy flowing this Sunday. With college basketball rolling me and Torres will have college basketball plays throughout the season.
But for now, the focus is the NFL.
And a quick reminder, before we get started, if you are gambling this NFL Sunday, make sure to do so at MyBookie. Do it and use the promo code "TORRES" and MyBookie will double your first deposit. That's MyBookie, promo code "TORRES." It's the best deal going in sports betting.
Now the picks.
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings:
Line: Vikings (-3)
This is a perfect scenario of the public being influenced too heavily by last week's results while ignoring the context of each situation.
The Vikings lost to a fully healthy Cowboys team coming off a bye, while the Vikings were at a disadvantage playing on a short week. The Panthers had an impressive shutout victory over the lowly Lions. We kind of saw how shitty the Lions were on Thanksgiving, but believe it or not, last Sunday they were worse. The Panthers faced a Lions offense that had half a dozen Week 1 starters out with injuries. They were able to take advantage of it. The Vikings offense is a major step up in class.
In the bigger picture, last week's one sample size performance has insanely manipulated Carolina's defensive metrics. The Panthers have been a bottom five defense, especially against the run. On the season, the Panthers have surrendered over a 60 percent success rate on running plays. The Vikings offensive line has gotten rolling with Dalvin Cook ranking second overall in line yards since Cook was inserted in the lineup. The Panthers defensive line is short handed and ranks 21st in line yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cook rushed for 200 yards in this game. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense should also have success through the air as well.
I am worried a little bit about a Teddy Bridgewater revenge game. But the Minnesota defense has continued to improve over the last month.
This is a must win game for Minnesota.
Give me the Vikings to cover as they keep their slim playoff chances alive.
The pick: Vikings (-3)
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Spread: Dolphins (-6.5)
The Dolphins burned us last week against Denver, but they will make it up to us this week. The coaching matchup between Brian Flores and Adam Gase is as wide as the Grand Canyon. The Dolphins will find a way to bounce back. When you have an opportunity to bet against the Jets at less than a touchdown, you simply have to take it.
The headlines surrounding this game will be centered on the potential return of Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, and the uncertainty looming around Tua Tagovailoa . The Dolphins will most likely have Myles Gaskin returning back to the lineup. Defensively, Miami has been continuously great on the defensive end. Their defensive backs have an overwhelmingly favorable matchup against the Jets receivers. I don’t think Denzel Mims is going to get open very often on Bryon Jones.
With a tight playoff race in the AFC, the Dolphins will take care of business against the Jets.
I normally don’t take six-point road favorites in the NFL, but this one is justified.
The pick: Dolphins (-6.5)
Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Line: Chiefs (-3.5)
I always promise to break down the biggest games of the slate, and there isn’t a game bigger than this one. It’s the fourth career matchup between the 43-year-old GOAT Tom Brady, against the young 25-year-old miracle working football Jesus, Patrick Mahomes. The last three matchups have been riveting, all decided by one score and Brady holds a slight 2-1 edge.
But now the matchup enters a new era with Brady as the new face for Buccaneers. Unlike the previous two matchups, Brady and Mahomes are in way different positions. The Chiefs are on top of the football world sitting at 8-1, while the Buccaneers are holding onto a Wild Card spot. A loss Sunday would put them on the edge.
Put simply, this is a game where Brady is a 3.5 point underdog at home in essentially what is a must win game. I don’t care how good the Chiefs have been, we are backing the Buccaneers based on the situational principle alone. The public will flock to the Chiefs after seeing Mahomes' heroic performance on Sunday Night Football, in comparison to the Bucs' loss against the Rams on Monday Night Football. The difference is, the Rams are a legit Super Bowl caliber team that deserved to win, while the Chiefs were thoroughly outplayed against an inferior Raiders team, who needed Mahomes to pull off a last minute drive to escape Vegas with a victory.
Because of it, I trust this elite Buccaneers defense to get the key stops the Raiders could not get. People forget this Bucs defense is really good. Even without star tackle Vita Vea, the Bucs rank second in overall team defensive DVOA and they are number two against the pass. The Chiefs have faced only one top 10 DVOA defense all year.
Offensively, the Bucs have a potential to put up a big number against an average Kansas City defense. Last week we saw Derek Carr completely dice this Chiefs' defense up. Now imagine what Tom Brady will do. The Bucs offense has been efficient at times, but it hasn’t been because of Tom Brady. Brady is currently rated as the fifth highest graded passer according to PFF, and he has the most clutch throws in the NFL- passes completed in tight windows in high leverage passing situations - third down, red zone etc. The Bucs have an army base arsenal of weapons with Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Ronald Jones. They are more than capable of keeping up with a shootout against the Chiefs.
Give me the greatest quarterback of all time with the points.
And I'm playing the over in a matchup featuring the two best quarterbacks to ever play football. Don’t overthink it.
The pick: Tampa Bay +3.5 and over 56
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Line: Packers (-9.5)
I love a great redemption story, and we have a potential award winning storyline with Mitch Trubisky returning to be the Bears starting quarterback. Trubisky will have a tall task, lifting this atrocious, anemic, and high school level Chicago Bears' offense back to a respectable. While Trubisky has received all sorts of public hate as a draft bust, he’s been the best quarterback on this roster this entire time, and now circumstances have forced the dumb Matt Nagy to reinsert him back into the lineup. He will get the opportunity to face a below average Packers defense on Sunday and Trubisky's running agility against the league's worst running defense gives the Bears offense a path to success.
Beyond that, the reason why I love the Bears in this spot is their defense. The Packers are a finesse team, that struggles with physical teams. The Bears are the pure definition of physical brawlers. The Bears rank fourth in overall defensive DVOA, 10th in run stuff rate, sixth in scoring defense, and they are the No. 1 defense in the red zone. I think this Bears group has the opportunity to keep this game close on its own.
I also think the weather in Lambeau is not going to the Packers any favors with 41 degree temperature and 15-20 mile an hour winds. The total has already been bet down to a low point, but I love the Bears with the points.
This is huge game for both teams, and the Bears still have a chance to win the division if they win Sunday night. Nearly a 10 point margin with a 43.5 total gives the Packers to slim of a margin to cover.
I’m ready for Mitch Trubisky's redemption night. Give me the Bears and the points with a moneyline sprinkle on the side.
The pick: Bears +9.5
Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Seattle (-5.5)
I normally back primetime home underdogs seemingly 99 percent of the time. But after watching every snap of the Eagles and Browns game, I can’t find justification for backing the Eagles at any point.
Carson Wentz has looked like the worst quarterback in the NFL this season and the advanced metrics back it up. Wentz leads the NFL in turnover worthy throws and he is graded as the 30th graded quarterback according to PFF. For reference, Nick Foles, Gardiner Minshew, Baker Mayfield, and Alex Smith are graded significantly higher than him and Taysom Hill is a hair below him. But by the end of this week, Taysom Hill could have a higher grade than Carson Wentz. Simply, this Eagles offense is complete mess. The offensive line has been a revolving door and left tackle Lane Johnson is now out for the season. Doug Pederson has forgotten how to coach since winning the Super Bowl. Now you expect this Eagles team to compete with Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll? Ya that’s not happening.
While all the early hype may have been a bit too much, the Seahawks have been one of the contending teams that have been steadily improving the last few weeks. In the column, we have continuously talked about Seattle’s lack of a pass rush. Over the last three weeks the Seahawks have recorded 13 sacks, and after being ranked dead last in the NFL in pressure rate, the Seahawks are now slightly below average ranked 21st. The addition of Carlos Dunlap and the improved play of former first pick LJ Collier has boosted the results.
The Seahawks just held the explosive Cardinals offense to season low 21 points, and Seattle will sell out and shut down the Eagles running game. Which means Carson Wentz, will continuously have to throw the ball for the Eagles to be competitive. That is a horrible spot for the Eagles to be in. Then add to the fact Russell Wilson will be facing an Eagles secondary that ranks 20th in pass defense DVOA, and this has the recipe of Seahawks blow out.
The Doug Pederson honeymoon in Philly will start to get cold after an underwhelming primetime showing.
Give me the Seahawks to win by a touchdown.
The pick: Seattle -5.5
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