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I am still annoyed about Thursday Night’s pick because if Dan and I have learnt anything about picking games in the last five years, it is that your first instinct is always better than changing your mind. Now, that is totally un-scientific and could even be wrong and some kind of confirmation bias, but it is yet another thing to account for when picking games. Yes we’re getting to the end of the regular season and yes, I am pretty competitive so first the trivia question and then the picks as I’m running out of time to catch up.

‘Prior to moving to Indianapolis in 1984, what city did the Colts call home?’

I know this one as the Baltimore Colts were famously taken to Indianapolis, but the Colts’ marching band stayed together and played on until the original Cleveland Browns franchise was moved to Baltimore to became the Ravens.

‘Not happy at dropping 2 points last week, and I think Gee will know this one too as it’s quite an easy one. Instantly knew the answer this week – the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, and were replaced by the Ravens in the mid 90s and impressively won the super bowl within about 4 or 5 years! I look forward to receiving my bonus points for all of that!’
Panthers @ Falcons (-2.5)

The Carolina Panthers let go of head coach Ron Rivera this week and there is often a new coach bounce, but not as pronounced as in other sports as you can’t overhaul an American football team in the same way you can a football team as to a large extent you are tied to your playbook and personnel. Why do I mention this, because I don’t know what to do with this game. The Atlanta Falcons had a brief two week recovery but have lost two further games to fall to 3-9 but the Panthers’ current four game losing streak that includes last week’s loss to Washington was the last straw for David Tepper and why Rivera list his job. One of these losing streaks is likely to give and the Falcons are actually the better ranked team by DVOA, the points make me nervous but in a divisional game I’m going to reluctantly grab the home team but who knows…

Gee’s Pick: Falcons
Dan’s Pick: Falcons
Ravens @ Bills (+5.5)

This is my matchup of the week as the Buffalo Bills and their sixth ranked defence by DVOA welcomes the Baltimore Ravens who currently head up the DVOA rankings and look like the best team in the NFL. I am really looking forward to this game and the Ravens can put up points against anyone but the Bills are 9-3 for a reason and whilst I think the Ravens are more likely to win, I like getting this many points at home as the Bills defence is really good.

Gee’s Pick: Bills
Dan’s Pick: Ravens
Bengals @ Browns (-8.5)

I’m not getting carried away by last week’s win for the Cincinnati Bengals, and this week they are on the road taking on the Cleveland Browns, but this is a lot of points for a 5-7 team to be laying when possibly the only thing we know about the Browns is they can’t be trusted. The Browns absolutely have the talent to cover this line and may well do so but I’m not picking it.

Gee’s Pick: Bengals
Dan’s Pick: Bengals
Broncos @ Texans (-9.5)

The Denver Broncos were a little lucky to beat the Chargers last week and now travel to face the Houston Texans coming off a win against the Patriots. I like the Texans to win this game as they are the better team by eye test and DVOA but this line makes me nervous. The Texans have a top ten offence by DVOA but their defence ranks twenty-fifth, whilst the Broncos have damn near the reverse offensive/defensive rankings and have lost four games by ten points. I’m going to grab the points and hope.

Gee’s Pick: Broncos
Dan’s Pick: Texans
Lions @ Vikings (-13.5)

The Detroit Lions have lost five straight and may have extra rest having played on Thanksgiving, but a road trip to the Minnesota Vikings is not the kind of game to get right when you’re starting quarterback is still recovering from an injury. This is a lot of points, but the Vikings still have a good home field advantage and even missing Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook hurting his shoulder last week, I’m going to back them in this one and hope I’m not misjudging these teams.

Gee’s Pick: Vikings
Dan’s Pick: Lions
Washington @ Packers (-12.5)

I imagine this line is based in part on the Green Bay Packers big win against the Giants last week, but whilst the franchise is still a mess, Washington come into this game on a two-game winning streak. I’m not expecting an upset but the Packers have only covered this size line twice this season and I think Washington can keep the game close.

Gee’s Pick: Washington
Dan’s Pick: Washington
Colts @ Buccaneers (-2.5)

I hate this line and game from a picks perspective as these two teams are next to each other in the DVOA rankings with the Indianapolis Colts struggling the last few weeks thanks to injury and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing inconsistently all season but have won three of their last four games. I don’t have a strong read on this game at all and so I’m going to grab the team I trust a little more, but I have no idea if this is a good idea.

Gee’s Pick: Colts
Dan’s Pick: Colts
Dolphins @ Jets (-5.5)

The New York Jets lost to the Bengals last week and looked bad doing it as the injuries finally became too much. I don’t entirely trust my gut on this, but Brian Flores is definitely a good coach having got three wins with a team that ranks dead last in DVOA and a fair way behind the Bengals in thirty-first place. I think this is too many points for a team who just lost to the Bengals to be laying and so I’m going to pick the Dolphins for another week.

Gee’s Pick: Dolphins
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins
49ers @ Saints (-2.5)

This is a cracking game that pits two of the best NFC teams together and it’s a tricky one to pick as the San Francisco 49ers have won with a ferocious defence and enough offence. The Saints have a really good, well coached team and have the better quarterback but I think the 49ers might be better and getting this many points I’m going to grab them and hope.

Gee’s Pick: 49ers
Dan’s Pick: Saints
Chargers @ Jaguars (+2.5)

I have no idea about this game as the LA Chargers continue to struggle and Philip Rivers look bad, but the Jacksonville Jaguars have no real identity and are going back to rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew as Nick Foles failed to give them a spark after coming back from injury. The Chargers are the experts in close losses and whilst I can definitely see them winning this one, I’m going to grab the home team getting points even if what I want to do is run a mile from picking this game.

Gee’s Pick: Jaguars
Dan’s Pick: Chargers
Titans @ Raiders (+2.5)

I might be overreacting to the two-game losing streak of the Oakland Raiders and the turn around of the Tennessee Titans since putting Ryan Tannehill in the starting lineup, but I think the Titans are the better team. The DVOA rankings agree with me and the this line is more advantageous than the ESPN one so I’m going to go with the Titans. Watch the Raiders win this one now…

Gee’s Pick: Titans
Dan’s Pick: Titans
Chiefs @ Patriots (-3.5)

The New England Patriots were fighting illness as well as playing the Texans last week, but one of the safer picks in the NFL is the Patriots coming off a loss. However, there are real problems with the Pats’ offence so I wonder how the Pats as a team keeps up with a Kansas City Chiefs team that has Patrick Mahomes back from injury and playing well. This could well be a big mistake as the Pats defence is playing really well too, and the Chiefs defence is only ranked fifteenth by DVOA but this is one where I’m going to trust my gut rather than second guess myself and I just hope that betting against Belichick and Brady isn’t going to look too foolish tomorrow.

Gee’s Pick: Chiefs
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
Steelers @ Cardinals (+2.5)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are winning with tough defence and rookie quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges. They travel to face an Arizona Cardinals team who have now lost five straight. I’m not sure if the Steelers can make the playoffs as barring a big fall off from the Bills there looks to be only one wildcard spot left open in the AFC but I think the Steelers believe they can get there and I think despite their offensive struggles they cover this line.

Gee’s Pick: Steelers
Dan’s Pick: Steelers
Seahawks @ Rams (+1.5)

The LA Rams got back to winning ways last week with a convincing performance against the Arizona Cardinals but I still don’t trust them. The defence may well be third in the league by DVOA, but the problems have not been solved on offence and the Seattle Seahawks have three more wins for a reason. Divisional games can be funny and so I’m not rulling out the Rams cover or win, but I think there is a real gap between these teams and it would take more points than this to make me pick the other way.

Gee’s Pick: Seahawks
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks
Giants @ Eagles (-8.5)

This used to be one of the marquee matchups in the NFL, but not this year. It has been a while since the New York Giants were anything but bad, and this week injury has forced them back into starting Eli Manning and whilst he has handled his benching with class, it has been a several seaons since he has been a good quarterback. That said, the Philadelphia Eagles have not been good this season either, but interestingly are ranked tenth by DVOA and so this line is actually causing me problems. I would be surprised if the Giants won, even if the Eagles have lost three straight and we have to go back to week eight for a convincing win for the Eagles. However, whilst the line is big, it is actually a full point less than I’m seeing online and I just can’t trust the Giants.

Gee’s Pick: Eagles
Dan’s Pick: Ealges

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.