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I am running out of chances to overhaul 3D in the picks competition and Dan in the trivia, and whilst I’m trying to stay true to my processes, I am feeling the pressure as I am competitive and I’d rather not be last in both competitions on my website, but here goes nothing.

‘In 2002 The Texans became only the 2nd expansion team to win its inaugural game. Against whom?

The only clue I will give is to do with matching time zones but I know that won’t help them at all’

I think Dan’s Dad underestimates my US geography, which is not entirely unfair but I have two hunches for teams this could be. The obvious choice is an AFC team and in particular from their division, which to my mind points to the Tennessee Titans who I believe are in the same time zone whilst both the Colts and Jags are in the Eastern time zone. However, I think I know how NFL schedulers work and I’m pretty sure this is right, although Texas is a big state, I’m going to say the Texans kicked off their existence against their in-state Dallas Cowboys. Fingers and toes very much crossed I haven’t out thought myself.

‘Right, it’s process of elimination time! So Houston’s division is made up of them, the titans, the Jags and the Colts, and I’d say there’s most chance that it’s one of those teams who they beat. Of those three, Tennessee is the only one in the same time zone as Houston, so I’ll go with the Titans this week (although it’s entirely possible that he could make the answer Indianapolis so that it ties into next weeks question…!!)’

Jets @ Bengals (+3.5)

I would just like to urgh, as the Bengals are going back to Andy Dalton as Zac Taylor tries to avoid going winless, whilst the New York Jets come to Cincinnati on a three-game winning streak. This may be an extra half point to the Bengals compared to the consensus number I’m seeing, but the Jets have scored thirty-four points for three games in a row (something of a statistical anomaly) whilst the Bengals have a high of twenty-three all season and so even with the return of Dalton I can’t pick them. Prove me wrong Bengals – please!

Gee’s Pick:        Jets
Dan’s Pick:        Jets

Browns @ Steelers (+1.5)

The Cleveland Browns proved me very wrong last week, and rank better by DVOA as well as finding their way on offence and so I should likely pick them, but I find it hard to believe the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to lose twice to the Browns this season in what is likely to be a fervent home atmosphere and I believe Mike Tomlin is the better coach so getting points for home team is something I’m not going to pass up.

Gee’s Pick:        Steelers
Dan’s Pick:        Browns

Packers @ Giants (+6.5)

Any team can have a bad game, but it is unusual to see Aaron Rodgers so subdued so the Green Bay Packers will be looking to get back on track after their bad loss to the 49ers last week. The New York Giants are without a win since week four and could be the perfect team for the Packers to bounce back against. This could be a trap but I’m going to back the Packers to get back to winning ways.

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

Titans @ Colts (-2.5)

This is a cracking divisional game that sees two teams ranked twelfth and thirteenth in DVOA go against each other, but the Indianapolis Colts are starting to show the strain whilst the Tennessee Titans have won four out of their last five having moved to start Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. I think that the Titans are probably the better team right now and so whilst the Colts only need to win by a field goal to cover, I’m going to grab the Titans.

Gee’s Pick:        Titans
Dan’s Pick:        Colts

Eagles @ Dolphins (+9.5)

The Philadelphia Eagles are really struggling on offence right now, and there are even whisperings around how good Carson Wentz actually is. This is just the kind of game they need to get back to winning ways and thanks to the Cowboys loss on Thanksgiving can get back a share of the NFC East lead. The Miami Dolphins have regressed after winning two games in a row in weeks nine and ten, but I’m willing to have belief in them being competitive for one more week in this kind of game unless they bite me again.

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

Buccaneers @ Jaguars (-1.5)

What do I do with this game? The Jacksonville Jaguars have not got much of a bump from the return of Nick Foles and look a team in need of a new direction, but the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the model of inconsistency thanks to Jameis Winston’s ability to make fabulous plays and then promptly give the ball away. I’m going to make a points based play in this one as I’m seeing a consensus of the Jaguars getting two and half point so if I’m getting them for the Buccaneers then that’s where I’m going but I have no confidence at all in this one.

Gee’s Pick:        Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:        Jaguars

Washington @ Panthers (-9.5)

Washington won their second game of the season last week, which is more a testament to the way the Lions are playing at the moment, but this week they travel to face a Carolina Panthers team desperate for a win. After a strong 4-2 start the Panthers have fallen to 5-6 and whilst I can see them getting back to winning ways in this one, this line feels too big for me except I just don’t trust Washington at all. Looking back at Washington’s record they have lost most of their games by ten or more I’m going to grab what is apparently a half point advantage to the consensus but I don’t feel great about it.

Gee’s Pick:        Panthers
Dan’s Pick:        Washington

49ers @ Ravens (-4.5)

This looks to be game of the week to me, and I was slightly surprised to see this line given how well both teams are playing. I can absolutely understand the Baltimore Ravens being favourites but I have been really impressed by the San Francisco 49ers’ defence and having got caught out underestimating the 49ers once I am reluctant to do it again. I can see that the Raven winning big is possible, but this screams tight game to me so I’m going to grab the points and hope that one of my favourite teams in the league right now doesn’t make me look foolish.

Gee’s Pick:        49ers
Dan’s Pick:        Ravens

Rams @ Cardinals (+3.5)

This is an interesting line to me as the LA Rams are really struggling whilst the Arizona Cardinals have been much more competitive than many expected with Kliff Kingsbury adjusting to the league and demonstrating that the combination of his offence and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray have a future in this league. I could be wrong about this, but I like the Cardinals chances and with an extra half point to the consensus line I will take the home team getting points.

Gee’s Pick:        Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:        Rams

Chargers @ Broncos (+2.5)

This game looks to pit two bad divisional rivals against each other and so I don’t have a particularly strong lean either way. I think the Chargers are the better team and DVOA agrees, but only by 4.7% so this feels like a big swing towards the Chargers. That said, this line is a full point lower than the consensus I am seeing so I will lay the points and hope.

Gee’s Pick:        Chargers
Dan’s Pick:        Broncos

Raiders @ Chiefs (-9.5)

If I’ve made several picks based on numbers in the last couple of games, this one I am playing a hunch. This is a huge divisional game with the Oakland Raiders being one game behind the Kansas City Chiefs for the lead of the AFC South. The Chiefs have been struggling for balance on offence a little and their defence is not good against the run. The Raiders have been competitive for a lot of the season and although they lost big in week two against the Chiefs, I don’t like this line so I’m ignoring the extra half point I’m losing to the consensus and taking the Raiders to keep this within ten.

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

Patriots @ Texans (+3.5)

This is another interesting game with the Houston Texans hosting the win ugly New England Patriots. The Patriots’ offence may only rank tenth by DVOA, but that’s still better than a lot of people might think given the coverage and their defence is outstanding. This is enough points to make me consider the Texans, in fact it’s half a point more than the three I’m seeing the Texans get in certain places but I have been bitten too many times going against the Patriots who have only failed to cover this number of points once so far this season against the now terrifying Ravens.

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

Vikings @ Seahawks (-2.5)

The final game of the week is a great looking NFC matchup that sees the Minnesota Vikings take on the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings are coming off the bye to find themselves level with the Packers, but they face a tough task in beating the Seahawks who haven’t lost since week seven. This is another matchup of teams ranked next to each other by DVOA and should prove a great contest but with apologies to 3D I think I give a slight edge to the Seahawks (despite them being the eight ranked team vs the seventh ranked Vikings) thanks to just how good Russell Wilson is. I have no problem with Mike Zimmer proving me wrong, but I’m going with my gut and a crucial half point line difference.

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


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.