Sorry, folks. Gamblor actually had a profitable week last week, but I’m on vacation this week so I don’t have access to the software I need to run a simulation for this week. I’ll update this post next week with Gamblor’s picks, for those who might be interested for academic purposes, but otherwise we’re flying blind this week. My thoughts on the games are below:
WAS @ PHI -8.5: This spread seems out of control to me for a divisional matchup between two teams who aren’t going anywhere. The Eagles did a nice job of keeping themselves in the hunt with victories in their last three games, but the jig is finally up. I don’t think they’ll bother to bring their A game to this one, which will give the Redskins a good chance to remain competitive.
SNF @ STL +10.5: St. Louis has a pretty good reason to put forth zero effort in this game (draft standing) while San Francisco has a very reason to put forth 100% effort (home-field advantages in the playoffs). So it seems like this should be a slam dunk victory for the 49ers. But it seems too much like easy money, and with Vegas involved, there is never any such thing.
CHI @ MIN -1.5: Yet another game where both teams have little motivation to exert themselves. I like Chicago here, because they’ve got a shot at getting back to .500, so they’ll put forth a little more effort than the hopeless Vikings.
DET @ GNB +3: I think this game will be treated much like a preseason contest between both teams, with each offense getting pulled from the field as soon as they’re looking sharp. But Green Bay’s got a lot more depth than the Lions so I expect their second unit to have a good bit more success at putting up points.
CAR @ NOS -8: This game is impossible to pick because it all depends on what’s happening in the San Francisco game. If the 49ers jump out to an early lead, the Saints will pack things in. Otherwise, Brees will run roughshod over Carolina’s pathetic defense. Based on my above pick of the Rams to keep things close, I think New Orleans will have good enough reason to leave their starters in an put up a large number of points in this one.
TEN @ HOU +2.5: Houston’s locked in as the #3 seed, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to want a win here. They limped their way into the playoffs, and they’re offense needs plenty of fine-tuning, unlike many of the other playoff-bound teams. They’re better than Tennessee, and they’ll show it here.
IND @ JAC -3.5: Another game with major draft implications, but I don’t think this one holds any surprises. The Colts will lay down for the Jaguars and make sure that Andrew Luck is available to them come draft day.
NYJ @ MIA -3: The Jets aren’t out of things yet, but the Dolphins would love to play spoiler here and dash their playoff hopes. This one seems like it could be very tight – even going to overtime – so getting the points is probably the safe move here.
BUF @ NEP -10: The Patriots can secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win here, and they’ll deliver. Their offense should score about twice as many points as the Bills here, so look for a final score of about 45-28 or thereabouts.
TAM @ ATL -11.5: Tampa just wants their season to be over. They won’t even bother showing up in this game. Atlanta should cover easily.
BAL @ CIN +2: Baltimore is going to bring their A game, while Cincinnati is simply not in the same class. A spread of a touchdown or more might be tempting, but this number of points simply isn’t worth it in a game that Baltimore will be trying very hard to win.
SND @ OAK -3: San Diego is out of the playoff hunt, and the Raiders will need some help from Denver, but that doesn’t mean that this won’t be a hard-fought game. These teams HATE each other and there’s nothing the Chargers would like more than to be responsible for ending the Raiders’ season. The Raiders’ defense has been doing their absolute best to give away games in the fourth quarter, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Rivers and company engineer a late drive to steal a victory here.
KAN @ DEN -3: I think that the wheels have come off for the Broncos. Kansas City will have the same attitude as San Diego – there’s no way they’ll like down for the Broncos here, and I think they might actually pull off the upset here.
SEA @ ARI -3: I tossed a coin here, and it came up Seattle. So, take the points, I guess.
DAL @ NYG -3: I can’t help but believe that the Cowboys will find a way to choke this one away. It’s in their DNA.