The first winner of the week are the Los Angeles Chargers as they effectively hammered the final nail in the Raiders playoff coffin. As we approach the festive period there are games all over the place this week with 6 more to come on Sky. If your game isn’t listed in this piece then check out the TV preview piece here…..
We will be giving away a t-shirt of your team’s choice to the competition winner at season-end, along with a weekly prize to any entrant who manages to predict the outcome of all games correctly in any given week. If we get over 100 entrants, we will give away a jersey instead of a t-shirt as the overall prize, so get involved and sign up your mates.
Sunday Early Games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Atlanta Falcons – Spread / ATL+6.0
1 more win will probably seal the playoffs for Tom Brady and company in Tampa Bay. A game on the road against a Falcons team represents a decent opportunity for that to become a reality. The Falcons will be minus Julio Jones once again in this one and with injuries decimating his season you do have to start to wonder if we will see him again in Atlanta next year with a rebuild on the horizon. Russel Gage will look to be the main beneficiary once again alongside Calvin Ridley assuming the latter is deemed fit enough to go. Tampa have lost starting left tackle Donovan Smith to the COVID list so will have a shuffle in the protection of Tom Brady. Ronald Jones has also been missing practice time this week after surgery on his hand/fingers so expect Brady and the offence to take advantage of a suspect Falcons secondary.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – TAM
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts – Spread / IND -7.5
This time a year ago it was the Texans pushing for a divisional crown with the Colts floundering in behind. Roll reversal however in 2020 as the Colts look to ensure that the Titans have no room for error in the race for the South. The Colts have played well on defence throughout the season but their offence has really found its stride in recent weeks. Young playmakers Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman jr have stood up and shown everyone why they were taken in the 2nd round of the NFL draft this year. The Texans played this game close a fortnight ago but its difficult to see a path to victory for them. The season simply can not come soon enough, emphasised by shipping 36 points to the Chicago Bears last weekend. Poor off field management mean a rocky off season road ahead for a team that look a million miles away from where they were only 12 months ago.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – IND
San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys – Spread / MIA+1.5
This is the game that should have been Sunday Night Football. The fact that it isn’t is symbolic of the struggles both of these franchises have had this season. Both will be suiting up back up quarterbacks once more as Nick Mullens takes on Andy Dalton. The Cowboys got back to winning ways last time out against Cincinnati with a routine victory. Tony Pollard continues to outplay Zeke Elliot out of the backfield behind a patchwork offensive line. The receiving triplets haven’t blown anyone away in recent weeks but the potential still remains. The 49ers lost to Washington last weekend but should have much more joy against this Cowboys defensive front. Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert will power the run game with Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel the receiving threats.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – SF
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins – Spread / MIA-1.5
For the first time in forever the Dolphins open up in a game against the Patriots as favourites. They gave the Chiefs a scare a week ago despite playing a number of 2nd and 3rd stringers on offence. The defence picked off the potential league MVP 3 times as the team continues to appear well coached and plays hard. Tua and the offence will look to keep thing rolling against a man with so much success against rookie QB’s. The Patriots defence is certainly the strength of the side so a big game will be needed from the likes of Devin McCourty and JC Jackson to keep this one interesting. The offence is simply stuck in neutral with Cam Newton at the controls with the passing game in particular essentially an afterthought. Damien Harris has played well at the running back position but if the game script dictates it is likely that he will not see enough opportunities to make a difference.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – MIA
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings – Spread / MIN-3.0
We have somehow reached week 13 with both of these sides sporting 6-7 records. The pathway has certainly felt very different for both teams, and with playoffs still a possibility this is a big game from a wildcard view. The Bears ended a 5 game skid with a dominant performance over Houston a week ago. Mitch Trubisky was the better version of himself and in Allen Robinson the Bears have one of the premier receivers out there. Similar accolades could be thrown at Justin Jefferson on the opposing side in this one. The Vikings rookie continues to shine and he is certainly very much in contention for rookie of the year honours. Dalvin Cook has had a couple of down weeks but you feel he will need to be back to his best for the Vikings to slow down the Bears rushers in this one.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – MIN
Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans – Spread / TEN-11.0
Another week without Kenny Golladay for Detroit. A week potentially without Matthew Stafford, after he was only limited on Friday and is officially questionable for this one. Chase Daniel would be the replacement if the Lions starter does not go. Marvin Jones has played well in the absence of Golladay and with Mohammed Sanu becoming a decent contributor the absence of Golladay maybe isn’t hurting as much as would have been first feared. The defence is much more of a concern. Derrick Henry will be licking his lips at the prospect of another 200 yard, multiple touchdown type game. The Titans have no room for error, particulary with a big game against the Packers on the horizon. Ryan Tannehill has proven for long enough now that he can get the job done through the air also, so this should be a comfortable Titans win.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – TEN
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens – Spread / BAL-13.0
A huge win for the Ravens on Monday night against the Browns mean they are still right in the thick of the playoff hunt at 8-5. Lamar Jackson looked much more like last seasons MVP as the game plan on Monday, reverted to what worked so well in 2019. JK Dobbins took over the Mark Ingram role but the Ravens essentially ran the ball, ran it some more, and then ran it again. They will look to continue that formula against a Jags side that hasn’t now won a game in 13 weeks of trying. Gardner Minshew has now “won” back the starting QB role after coming in to relive Mike Glennon last weekend. The defence continues to haemorrhage points however and a spread of 13 points in the Ravens favour shows how much faith the bookies have in that defence all of a sudden improving.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – BAL
Sunday Late Games
Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals – Spread /ARI-6.5
A big upset win for the Eagles against the Saints last time out in the debut of Jalen Hurts. The run game was a big factor with both himself and Miles Sanders rushing for over 100 yards a piece. The passing game was not great but the dual threat of Hurts will have to be respected. Defensively the Eagles got a huge effort last weekend and were in the Saints backfield with regularity, can they do the same to disrupt Kyler Murray? The Cardinals got back to winning ways in comfortable fashion against the Giants but the explosive nature of the offence wasn’t necessarily on show. The explosion came from Hassan Reddick who had a monster game with 5 sacks for a defence that only surrendered 7 points. This is probably for me the toughest game to call on the weekend so on the spread I’ll take the Eagles with the points.
Shaun’s Spread Pick – PHI
New York Jets @ LA Rams – Spread / LAR-17.0
3 more games left for the Jets to reach infamy and a perfect losing season. They were absolutely trounced last time out against Seattle and a trip across country to another NFC West team will surely lead to a similar outcome. The Rams have looked like the class of the division in recent weeks. The reliance on Cam Akers to power the running game has proved fruitful as he has all of a usdden flashed after a slow start to his NFL life. Expect plenty of catches for Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods alongside plenty of sacks for Aaron Donald. 17 point spread, maybe even that is generous?
Shaun’s Spread Pick – LAR
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