Previous Week’s Record: 2-1
Overall Season Record: 26-18
As we finish this first year of NFL Best Bets, we are glad to do so with a guaranteed winning record and having provided a little respite from the sheer awfulness that was 2020.
Now we begin 2021 with an injection of optimism and perhaps facing the biggest challenge of the season thus far, because Week 17 is perhaps the riskiest of the past 20 years to gamble in.
Think about it: As of Thursday, the Cleveland Browns were facing a potential win-or-go-home game unable to practice because of COVID-19 cases on the team, the Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting their most important starters but the Buffalo Bills may or may not pull theirs. Add the fact that the Los Angeles Rams will place their own playoff hopes in the hands of a backup quarterback who has never thrown a pass in the NFL and you have a recipe for craziness in the making.
Alas, we go forth and place our bets because we are bold with Mahomian confidence and a healthy dose of Fitzmagic.
You can find all odds for this weekend here, via Yahoo! Sports.
BUFFALO BILLS (12-3) vs. MIAMI DOLPHINS (10-5)
The Bills are just 1.5-point favorites at home. Hosts usually are at least a +3, so that means Vegas is thinking that the Bills will A) rest their starters or B) play at least a healthy portion of the game with Matt Barkley as their QB.
This will be Tua’s first start against the Bills, who defeated the Fitzpatrick-led Dolphins 31-28 in a game that had the Fins leading 20-17 with six minutes left in the game before consecutive passing touchdowns by Josh Allen.
If Tua can clear the cobwebs in his mind and play with confidence while the Dolphins defense plays with much more zeal and desperation than a Bills offense looking to stay healthy, I like Miami to win and finish fifth in the AFC.
My pick: Bills 24-27 Dolphins (+1.5)
NEW YORK GIANTS (5-10) vs. DALLAS COWBOYS (6-9)
The most meaningful game for two teams that hope to drunkenly stumble into a playoff game at home. The Indianapolis Colts may miss the playoffs with a 11-5 record in the AFC, but the NFC East might gift the 6-10 Giants a divisional title.
The Cowboys have won three games in a row averaging 36.0 points per game during that streak, while the Giants lost all the swagger they had after beating the Seahawks in Seattle and have averaged 8.6 points per game during their latest three-game slide. In fact, they haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dalton is hot, New York is not.
My pick: Giants 17-20 Cowboys (-2)
GREEN BAY PACKERS (12-3) vs. CHICAGO BEARS (8-7)
The Bears have lost eight of their last nine against the Packers and haven’t prevailed in Green Bay since 2015, when Jay Cutler was their quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers was the Packers QB back then and he still is now, with the NFC’s number one seed and consequent bye week in his sights and the fresh memories of putting up 41 points and four touchdowns on the Bears in Chicago during a 41-25 spanking that was 41-10 after three quarters in Week 12.
A motivated Rodgers is a lethal Rodgers, and I’m afraid that the Bears will be glued to the TV in the locker room hoping for a Rams win over the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.
My pick: Packers (-5.5) 31-20 Bears