We got back to our winning ways last week going 4-2 on the slate. Then on Saturday we got a bonus article where we went 1-1 in the NFL and 3-0 college football.
Now it’s back to the NFL grind.
I know some of you need to make back the money you spent on Christmas presents. Let me do my best to give you some winners to make your wallet feel heavy again going into the holiday season.
As always, the picks are presented by Betfred Sportsbook - bet $50 on any game Sunday and get $250 in free bets, courtesy of Betfred.
Without further ado, here are the picks.
Atlanta at New Orleans
Spread: New Orleans (-4.5)
Longtime readers may have picked up on the propensity to backing unknown commodities at quarterback. We have a case to do that here. Desmond Ridder takes over for Marcus Mariota at QB for Atlanta. Ridder was a four year starter at Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to last year's College Football Playoff. Atlanta won’t have to change their style with Ridder being a mobile QB.
Because of it, you have to upgrade Atlanta here. Mariota is ranked as a bottom 28 QB according to PFF. Yet Atlanta’s offense ranks 12th overall in DVOA. They rank in the top 5 in early down success rate at 45%. There is no NFL tape Ridder for New Orleans to study. On the New Orleans side they rank 22nd in overall DVOA. They have struggled all year and this simply too many points for them to give.
I’ll take the Falcons here.
The Pick: Atlanta (+4.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago
Spread: Philadelphia (-8.5)
The Eagles are coming off back to back offensive explosions. Jalen Hurts is the MVP hunt. They can solidify their lead in the NFC.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s offense is coming off the flu. Justin Fields and David Montgomery missed multiple practices. The game is going to be in freezing temperatures. While Chicago’s offense has also had explosive moments, I think the two young quarterbacks are going to shiver here.
The Eagles have a big matchup with Dallas next week. The Eagles rank seventh in defensive DVOA. Chicago’s defense ranks dead last. But they are better against the run than the pass- they should be familiar playing an offensive style they see everyday at practice.
When the Eagles are leading in the second half they play at the slowest tempo in the NFL. I think Philly gets out to a lead, they play conservative and run the clock.
The public is on the over, but I’ll take the under here.
The pick: Under 48.5
Pittsburgh at Carolina
Spread: Carolina -3
This is a matchup of two former top picks battling to gain relevance in the NFL. Mitch Trubisky against Sam Darnold. I think the mediocre QB play cancels each other out. I’m going to back the Pittsburgh defense that ranks 9th in defensive DVOA. Carolina has won its few games by leaning on the run game- that’s not going to be sustainable against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have a better supporting cast to help their quarterback. Mike Tomlin is a great coach to back as an underdog. So let’s back him here.
The pick: Pittsburgh +3
Detroit at New York Jets
Spread: New York (-1)
Call me square, but I’m not overthinking this one. Zac WIlson is back at starting quarterback for the Jets. This is essentially a playoff game for both teams. Detroit hasn’t been good on the road, and Jared Goff normally struggles under pressure, but has been better of late. Goff has been hot, look at his past five games- Detroit has scored 32.2 points per game, and Goff’s is 117-of-169 (69.2%), 1,311 yards (7.8 Y/A), 8 TDs, 0 INTs, 107.9 passer rating. Goff struggled against the two of the three elite defenses he has faced this season. But the Lions weren’t 100 percent healthy at the time.
The Jets have struggled to move the ball against everybody, with the exception of the Bears game. Dan Campbell has the Lion's roaring. That continues on Sunday.
The pick: Detroit (+1)
New England at Las Vegas
Spread: Las Vegas -1
The Raiders suffered an embarrassing loss last Thursday to the depleted Rams, and now Josh McDaniels has to beat his mentor to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Bill Belichick typically owns former assistants, but I think Vegas can change the narrative here. I like teams coming off extra rest after an embarrassing performance on live TV. Look for Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams to carry the offensive production. The Patriots offense is very limited.
There is more pressure on the Pats than Vegas. The Raiders defense ranks 10th against the run. Mac Jones is going to have to make plays on the road. I don’t see that happening. I’ll take Vegas here.
The pick: Las Vegas ML
New York Giants at Washington
Spread: Washington (-4.5)
We have a possible NFC playoff slot at stake for Sunday Night Football. These teams met two weeks ago in the Meadowlands resulting in a 20-20 tie. I think this game features a similar defensive struggle. Each team plays extremely slow on offense, 31 and 20 in neutral game conditions. The Commanders haven’t had a total go over 40 in their last six. Then you got the trend of betting divisional unders as being positive over the last few years. I think it hits once again in this matchup.
The pick: Under 40.5
Follow Austin on Twitter - @AMontgomeryLive