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Let’s take a look at all 12 NFL contests slated for Sunday’s DraftKings Sportsbook Pro Football Week 13 Spreads Pool, including my five personal favorites.
Las Vegas Raiders (-7.5) @ New York Jets
The Pick: Raiders -7.5
Both of these teams were embarrassments last week, albeit for different reasons. The Raiders no-showed vs. the Falcons a week after nearly pulling off their second-straight upset over the Chiefs. That was clearly a let-down spot coming off such an emotional loss, but I expect them to rebound vs. the Jets.
Meanwhile, the Jets have become a laughingstock thanks to head coach Adam Gase. Not only is the team playing terribly on the field, but Gase gave one of the most bizarre press conferences you’ll ever see following last week’s loss to the Dolphins. He basically claimed that designating one specific play caller was a “competitive disadvantage” even though every other team in the league does it. I’m not expecting any improvement from them until this clown is gone.
It’s also clearly time for Sam Darnold to move on to greener pastures. He entered the league with a lot of promise, but his play has plummeted this season. The Jets have been significantly worse with Darnold under center than Joe Flacco, averaging just 12.4 points per game in his seven starts. Maybe Darnold can revitalize his career with a new franchise – although I have my doubts – but it’s clearly not going to work with the Jets.
I’m looking to fade this franchise any time the point spread is reasonable, and I think the Raiders qualify. They’re still in the playoff hunt in the AFC, so they should bring their best effort this week.
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) @ Houston Texans
The Pick: Colts -3.5
There has been some growing optimism surrounding the Texans recently. They’ve played much better recently after starting the season 0-4 and they’ve recorded victories in three of their past four games. Those wins haven’t come against elite competition – they’ve beaten the Jaguars, Patriots and Lions – but they are still trending in the right direction.
Those wins have come on the back of their elite offense, but they’ll have to find success this week without their top playmaker. Will Fuller has been suspended for the rest of the season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, which means DeShaun Watson will not have his favorite target available. The team also lost Randall Cobb to an injury and released Kenny Stills, which leaves the cupboard pretty empty at the WR position.
The Colts showed some of their flaws last week vs. the Titans, but they are still an excellent football team. They rank seventh in Football Outsiders’ total DVOA, including eighth on the defensive side of the ball. They should be able to stifle the Texans’ offense without Fuller, which is a good formula for beating them.
Cleveland Browns @ Tennessee Titans (-5.5)
The Pick: Titans -5.5
The Browns and the Titans both sit at 8-3, but that’s basically all that these teams have in common. Tennessee is coming off a resounding win last week vs. the Colts, while the Browns limped to a two-point win over Mike Glennon and the Jaguars.
This is nothing new for Cleveland, which is one of the worst 8-3 teams in recent memory. They’ve actually been outscored by 31 points this season, giving them a Pythagorean win expectation of just 5-6. That means they’ve outperformed their expected record by a full three wins through just 11 games. That’s ridiculous.
The Browns also rank just 22nd in overall DVOA this season, which puts them well behind the Titans’ mark of 12th. In fact, it puts the Browns behind noted “juggernauts” like Washington, Atlanta and Chicago.
I have no problem fading the Browns in almost any contest at this point, but the Titans do match up with them well. They have been much better defensively against the run than against the pass and Cleveland’s offense is based around their run game. If Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can’t get going in this matchup, I doubt Baker Mayfield can pick up the slack.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears (-3.5)
The Pick: Bears -3.5
Both of these teams are coming off of dismal performances last week. The Lions were run out of the building by the Texans on Thanksgiving, while the Bears were thoroughly embarrassed by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Sunday Night Football. That said, it feels like everyone forgot about the Lions’ performance because it came so much earlier in the week.
The Bears struggled on both ends of the field last week, but there’s no shame in losing to the Packers at the moment. The Packers have been one of the best teams in football this season, so I’m expecting the Bears to bounce back in a much easier matchup.
The Lions have already ruled out Kenny Golladay for this matchup, which is going to leave them without their top offensive playmaker. The Lions have averaged 26.6 points and posted a 3-2 record with Golladay in the lineup this season, but they’ve averaged 19.8 points and stumbled to a 1-5 record without him. D’Andre Swift officially cleared concussion protocol, but he still missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is questionable.
The Lions should struggle to move the ball vs. the Bears, who remain one of the better defensive teams in football. Mitch Trubisky is not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, but he has thrown three touchdown passes in each of his past four meetings vs. Detroit. That should be more than enough to lead them to victory this week.
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New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks (-8.5)
The Pick: Seahawks -8.5
The Seahawks’ offense is in flux at the moment. They started the year by employing a pass-heavy attack and Russell Wilson was able to thrive. He racked up 16 touchdown passes through his first four games and was leading the MVP race early in the season.
However, the pace of Seattle’s offense had a negative effect on their defense. They were giving up yards in bunches and were on pace to allow 1,000 more passing yards than any other team in league history at one point in the year. They’ve reverted to a more run-heavy approach recently, which has made life a bit easier for their defense.
I’m not sure if the change in their offensive philosophy is good in the long run, but it shouldn’t matter this week vs. the Giants. Daniel Jones is not expected to suit up, which means Colt McCoy will likely draw the start at QB. McCoy has been dreadful as a starter throughout his career, posting a record of 7-21 straight up and 8-19-1 against the spread. That makes him the seventh-least profitable QB in football since 2004.
McCoy was dreadful in relief of Jones last week, finishing with an adjusted yards per attempt of just 3.1 vs. the Bengals. As long as he’s at QB, I have no problem backing the Seahawks in this contest.
Here are the teams I’m targeting for the rest of the Sunday games. Remember, we’re looking to beat the competition and climb up the leaderboard, so I’ll be looking to gain leverage on the field and fade the public in situations where I don’t see a huge edge on the spread.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) @ Atlanta Falcons
Pick: Falcons +3.5
Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins (-11.5)
Pick: Bengals +11.5
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings (-9.5)
Pick: Jaguars +9.5
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals
Pick: Rams -2.5
New England Patriots @ Los Angeles Chargers (-0.5)
Pick: Patriots +0.5
Philadelphia Eagles @ Green Bay Packers (-9.5)
Pick: Packers -9.5
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs (-14.5)
Pick: Chiefs -14.5
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