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The NFL have really stretched out their weekend of games by moving the majority of the slate to today, but also having a single game in the usual slots across Christmas day and Boxing day.

Saturday Early Games:

The early slate of games looks pretty weird to me. The Vikings have a record better than their DVOA ranking would suggest and so that -3.5 line looks a stretch, particularly with the Giants coming off a win.  The only other line close to a default -3 to the home team is the Saints visiting the Browns and neither team exactly inspires confidence there. I feel remiss in not seeing the late surging Lions whose offensive success is behind them winning six of their last seven games and now genuinely looking at getting into the playoffs. I will be watching Bengals at Patriots with less dread than usual although I also am aware that the injuries keep mounting up and the Bengals are unlikely to go unbeaten to a consecutive Super Bowl.

Bills @ Bears (+8.5)

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

Saints @ Browns (-3.5)

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

Texans @ Titans (-7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Texans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Seahawks @ Chiefs (-9.5)

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

Giants @ Vikings (-3.5)

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

Bengals @ Patriots (+3.5)

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

Lions @ Panthers (+3.5)

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

Falcons @ Ravens (-7.5)

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

Saturday Late Games:

There’s only two games in the late slate tonight, and the injury to quarterback Jalen Hurts makes the Eagles visit to the Cowboys a tricky one to predict, whilst the Washington team are hard to rely on but this is a big line for the 49ers to cover given how many quarterbacks they have lost this season, even if they are the top ranked team by weighted DVOA.

Washington @ 49ers (-7.5)

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

Eagles @ Cowboys (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Saturday Night Football:

Raiders @ Steelers (-2.5)

The Raiders were the beneficiary of a memorable sequence of failure by the Patriots last week, but while the Steelers may still be adjusting to life without Ben Roethlisberger, they are 4-2 since their week nine bye and were competitive with both the Ravens and Bengals despite losing those games.

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

Early Christmas Game

Packers @ Dolphins (-4.5)

This is a strange game given the Packers problems this season, and that the Dolphins have now lost three games straight in a rough sequence of road games. I’ve heard plenty of talk that NFL defences have worked out how to squeeze the middle and stop Tua Tagovailoa from completing passes in his preferred areas and whilst I can see the Dolphins eking this one out, a five-point win is a bit rich for me. For Dan’s sake I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

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

Late Christmas Game

Broncos @ Rams (+0.5)

I can see with the off-season move of Russel Wilson to the Broncos and the lure of the Super Bowl champions how this would have been seen as a sure fire prime time game before the season. However, both teams have an injury score below 70% at sicscore.com and are struggling. The Rams were the only team to put a claim in for quarterback Baker Mayfield after he was cut by the Panthers, but there are too many injuries and problems for him to put things right on his own for the Rams given he couldn’t own the Panthers’ starting QB job. Meanwhile, the Broncos have been awful on offence this season with the blame sitting between Russel Wilson and rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett. With the contracts involved it is much more likely that Hackett will be gone come the off-season than Wilson, but for this game it is hard to know which bad team will overcome, particularly as the Broncos have the only top ten ranked unit by DVOA thanks to their defence, but it’s hard to see Hackett beating a Super Bowl winning coach even if it has been a horrible season for the Rams.

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

Christmas Night Football

Buccaneers @ Cardinals (+4.5)

The Buccaneers are struggling, as good as Todd Bowles has been as a defensive coordinator, I think this year has proved that it wasn’t just the Jets dragging him down as a head coach, whilst Tom Brady finally looks mortal. However, the Bucs are visiting the Cardinals who are struggling again and have an awful lot in flux both off and on the field. The line worries me as this is a lot of points to trust the Buccaneers in laying, but without Kyler Murrary and on a four game losing streak it’s equally hard to see the Cardinals doing much…

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

Boxing Day Football

Chargers @ Colts (+3.5)

It turns out that experience as a head coach is useful, but there were already problems with Colts before they hired Jeff Saturday mid-season. The thing is though, the Chargers are not a good team either despite having a really good young quarterback. Head coach Brandon Staley hasn’t been able to build a defence to complement the offence despite that being his side of the ball, and even as the staff changes  – the Chargers still have the same losses and injury problems. I do like the Chargers to win the game, but the extra half point does seem picking the Colts to cover.

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

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.