What a difference a week makes! We went from the outhouse to the penthouse – the smaller one with the semi-private balcony – as we sizzled in our Week 12 Confidence Pool picks, with our only losses coming down the totem pole with the Steelers (7), Jaguars (5), and Packers (1). It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty close and now we move on to Week 13 where we rate our most confident straight up pick from (16) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 12 Straight Up Record: 12-3 (107 of possible 120)
16. Chiefs: Chiefs (-15) at Raiders: It’s always difficult to lay double digits on the road, but this is a confidence pool where all you have to do is pick a team to win outright. This is the NFL’s version of Mike Tyson in his prime versus any fool who stepped in the ring with him for a fat payday. Knockout – Chiefs!
15. Seahawks: 49ers at Seahawks (-10): Nick Mullens, we hardly knew ye. The Niners are in disarray while the Seahawks are creeping up in the standings. The best online sportsbooks are hanging Seattle as 10-point favorites and it’s still not enough. Blowout in Sea-Town.
14. Packers: Cardinals at Packers (-14½): To illustrate just how bad Arizona is, consider that the team they are playing is 4-6-1 and yet they are still north of two-touchdown underdogs! Cards fans are thirsty in the desert for a win, but it won’t come this week.
13. Titans: Jets at Titans (-10): The Tennessee defense will shake, rattle, and roll rookie Sam Darnold/Josh McCown into a pair of picks and cause a few fumbles in the process. It could get ugly early for the Jets.
12. Rams: Rams (-10) at Lions: Goff and the Juggernauts should shred this Lions secondary, but the only reason they are not higher on our list is because Detroit’s Matthew Stafford can catch fire as well and LA’s secondary is middling at best, which could see plenty of crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
11. Saints: Saints (-7½) at Cowboys: The best online sportsbooks have installed the Saints as north of a touchdown favorite on the road Thursday against a team that could very well win their division. Dallas D is tough but not tough enough to contain Drew Brees and Co.
10. Patriots: Vikings at Patriots (-6): Pats may not be the tour de force of yesteryear, but they are still tough as nails at home as evidenced by their undefeated record at the Razor this season and a 21-4 straight up mark over the last three years.
9. Eagles: Redskins at Eagles (-6): We’ve heard of a Super Bowl hangover, but these Eagles are still drunk off last season’s spectacular success. Nevertheless, they are good enough to beat a Redskins team with a journeyman quarterback under center.
8. Broncos: Broncos (-4) at Bengals: The Denver offense may not shock and awe but the Bengals have the immortal Jeff Driskel in for the injured Andy Dalton (IR) and a dinged-up wideout in A.J. Green (toe), who may not dress either. Cincinnati is a rudderless ship cruising into a sea of desperation and despair.
7. Bears: Bears (-4) at Giants: The only way the Bears don’t defeat the lackluster Giants is if Mitchell Trubisky’s shoulder prevents him from suiting up. Otherwise, it’s another loss for Big Blue.
6. Texans: Browns at Texans (-5): The Browns are fun again, Baker Mayfield is the real deal and he even denied his ex-coach, Hue Jackson, the obligatory postgame hug. Kind of bratty but kinda cool too. Anyway, Texans are clicking on all cylinders and they will humble the rookie this week.
5. Colts: Colts (-4) at Jaguars: Could you imagine in your wildest dreams the Colts being favored in Jacksonville before the season commenced? Well, wake up, because the Jags offense is downright offensive and the Colts should roll with Andrew Luck pulling the trigger.
4. Bucs: Panthers at Bucs (+4): Although we will gladly take the points, we believe the oddsmakers have the wrong favorite here. Bucs’ defense actually showed up last week in their 27-9 win over the 49ers and should surprise against the Carolina Kitty Cats, having dropped their last three.
3. Falcons: Ravens at Falcons (+1): The Ravens picked up 14 of their 34 points last week against the Raiders off a punt return and fumble recovery. Baltimore doesn’t have the offensive weaponry to keep up with a Falcons offense when it’s clicking. The question is: Will it click on Sunday?
2. Steelers: Chargers at Steelers (-3½): Superstar Melvin Gordon is out for this one, which takes away a huge dimension to the Bolts’ attack. Big Ben’s weapons are now better than Philip Rivers’ so we will side with the home team in this one.
1. Dolphins: Bills at Dolphins (-5): The Bills are the kind of team that shocks from time to time but if they defeated the Fish this Sunday it wouldn’t exactly classify as a stunner. But they won’t.