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I now only have six weeks to make up the deficit and get back into the race for the picks competition, but first there is the minor matter of the trivia competition where once again I am losing…

In the 1996 season, quarterback Brett Favre set an NFC record when he threw 39 touchdown passes in regular season play. Who was the previous record holder?

I love this question, but I don’t just know the answer. However, my informed guess is that this is going to be one of the great pre-Farve passers, but it has to be from a relatively recent season as if you go back to say the seventies the game was just different and the ball simply wasn’t thrown that much. Under these parameters, you might be tempted by either Steve Young or Joe Montana in the eighties, but I am going to plump for the hall of famer who never won the Super Bowl, or even got back there after his second season and so my informed guess would be Dan Marino – possibly in that 1984 season.

‘Tough one this week and it’s going to need some figuring out. I know the record has been broken since then as I believe Mahomes got about 50-odd last year. If Favre broke the record in the 1996 season it’ll have been someone who played before then, so you’ve got people like Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway… I’ll go with Marino this week. If in doubt, stick with the Dolphins! (Make a note of that mantra, kids!)’

Buccaneers @ Falcons (-4.5)

This is a tricky game to pick as the Atlanta Falcons are on a two game win streak since their bye and look a team transformed, but whilst I expect them to win you just never know what you are going to get out of Jameis Winston. There is also the argument that divisional games are funny and this line is a point larger than I’m seeing as the consensus, which all point to me grabbing the points but I have been burnt several times by the Bucs and so I’m not leaning the other way this week.

Gee’s Pick:        Falcons
Dan’s Pick:        Falcons

Broncos @ Bills (-4.5)

The Denver Broncos took a big lead against the Vikings last week and beat the Cleveland Browns in week nine, but they are 3-7 for a reason and rank eighteenth overall by DVOA with only their defence being in the top ten. The reason this game is awkward to pick is that the Buffalo Bills may have the inverse 7-3 record but they actually rank twenty-fifth by DVOA and so whilst I think the Bills will win at home – this feels like a lot of points. However, that was what I said last week before the Bills convincingly beat the Dolphins. Having been proved wrong last week and not trusting the Broncos offence I’m going to take the Bills, but I am not convinced.

Gee’s Pick:        Bills
Dan’s Pick:        Bills

Giants @ Bears (-6.5)

The Chicago Bears are struggling on offence and all the talk at the moment is surrounding the problems that Mitchell Trubisky is having trying to run the offence in his third season. A game where they welcome the lowly New York Giants might be just the tonic they need, and whilst winning the game by a clear touchdown seems like a big ask, in three of their four wins the Bears have done just that whilst the Giants have only managed to win or be within seven four times this season. What does this mean? I don’t know and I am not sure that I actually want to do this, but I am going to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:        Giants
Dan’s Pick:        Giants

Steelers @ Bengals (+6.5)

The Cincinatti Bengals’ defence looked better last week, and the focus on running the ball now they are starting rookie quarterback Ryan Finley has increased the running production but this hasn’t got the Bengals a win. This week the Bengals will host a rested but possibly distracted Pittsburgh Steelers team who will be minus their starting centre after last week’s fight with the Browns. I think this will likely be a low scoring affair and for that reason only I’m going to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:        Bengals
Dan’s Pick:        Steelers

Dolphins @ Browns (-10.5)

The Miami Dolphins had been competitive for a number of weeks, but got beat badly last week. However, traveling to face the ill-disciplined Browns who will be missing Myles Garrett and so minus their best defensive player, I fancy the Dolphins to keep this game within eleven.

Gee’s Pick:        Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:        Dolphins

Lions @ Washington (+3.5)

The Detriot Lions might be playing with a backup quarterback and have only won two more games than Washingon, but I think there is a big difference between the teams and DVOA agrees so for me there’s only one way to go.

Gee’s Pick:        Lions
Dan’s Pick:        Lions

Raiders @ Jets (+2.5)

The New York Jets may have beaten Washington even more convincingly last week than they beat the Gaints in week ten, but that doesn’t mean they have magically turned things around. This week they face a team in the playoff hunt, who may have played a surprisingly tight game against the Bengals, but the Raiders won three games straight at home and I fancy them to win by at least a field goal in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Raiders
Dan’s Pick:        Raiders

Panthers @ Saints (-9.5)

The Carolina Panthers have only gone 1-4 since their bye and got beaten heavily by a rejuvenated Falcons team last week. It seems that Kyle Allen has struggled more since his opening four game win streak and this week they travel to New Orleans Saints team who made their own statement last week to get back to winning ways. This may be a divisional game, but I expect the Saints to win and with the 35.8% between these teams by DVOA a big win does not seem unlikely. Part of me wants to err on the side of caution but I need to pick some points up somewhere and so I’m going to back the Saints – very nervously…

Gee’s Pick:        Saints
Dan’s Pick:        Saints

Seahawks @ Eagles (-1.5)

The Philadelphia Eagles are really struggling, if not already out of the playoff hunt and so can ill afford to lose again. However, the Seattle Seahawks have if anything been better on the road this season and I fancy them to win this game given how well they are playing.

Gee’s Pick:        Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:        Seahawks

Jaguars @ Titans (-3.5)

This is an intriguing matchup for me as the Tennessee Titans have gone on a run since moving Ryan Tannehill into the starting lineup and he has won three out of  this four games he started. The Titans could still drag themselves into the division race but that will likely involve winning all four of their division games left. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars need to find out what the difference between quarterbaks Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew really is. The Jaguars have won and lost in pairs this season, but such patterns are curious anomalies rather than something you can actually account for. If it feels like I am stalling, it is because I am, there is not much between these two teams in DVOA and that extra half point makes me hesitate but I have more faith in what the Titans are doing right now so I am going to reluctantly back the Titans.

Gee’s Pick:        Titans
Dan’s Pick:        Jaguars

Cowboys @ Patriots (-6.5)

This is a trap game. The New England Patriots have been surviving their problems on offence thanks to stellar defensive play and opportunistic special teams and with Tom Brady surfacing with a elbow injury and this number of points I am tempted to pick against them. The problem with that is the Cowboys’ inconsistency and the pick relying on Jason Garrett to be competitive with Bill Belichick. Still, I said I needed big swings to get back into contention and with Brady already struggling before surfacing on the injury report lets see if the Cowboys can put a performance together and keep it within seven.

Gee’s Pick:        Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:        Patriots

Packers @ 49ers (-3.5)

This is one of the matchups of the week as the Green Bay Packers take their 8-2 record on the road to face the San Francisco 49ers. The problem for the Packers could be that whilst their defence has been better, their rush defence is only ranked twenty-eight in the league and going against the 49ers running game they could really struggle. The 49ers have only lost one game, and have established themselves as one of the teams to beat, but when you have Aaron Rodgers and a competent defence you always have a chance and so I’m gong to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:        Packers
Dan’s Pick:        Packers

Ravens @ Rams (+3.5)

The LA Rams really need this win, but I think they are in trouble on offence and so despite them having a top ten defence, they have been grinding out wins here and there. The Baltimore Ravens have me totally convinced now their defence is playing better and complementing their fearsome offence. This is a pretty big line to be giving up to last season’s NFC Super Bowl team, but I think the Ravens keep rolling in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Ravens
Dan’s Pick:        Ravens

 

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.