With a 4-7-1 ATS record the last two weeks, my performance has been nothing short of deplorable this holiday season. My 71 percent ATS two-month run during October and November sucked all of you in, and now I am emptying your pockets at the worst possible time, when you need that gift-giving money.
I won't apologize, because that doesn't help. All I can do is go find you six winners to try to mitigate the bills on those high-interest credit cards y'all are using out on those shopping trips. So let's go get it...Week 16 NFL action, here we go!
Jets +16.5 over PATRIOTS
Okay, off the top, let me just say that I don't even need to look at your faces, all however many thousand of you who are reading this post...I know exactly what you're thinking... so you want us to back the Jets against Tom Brady and the Patriots? BRYCE F-ING PETTY?!? REALLY?!? THIS is how you get our shopping money back?! Hey, I get it. But before you go clicking the X in the upper corner of this tab, just know that in the last 20 times, there has been a spread of 16 or more on an NFL game, the underdog has covered 75 percent of the time. Also, while we all know the Patriots are the Patriots, and that Bill Belichick would most certainly construct a Death Star to blow up other planets if he had the time (and I'm not saying he hasn't outsourced that construction and that it isn't ongoing, by the way), the Patriots are just 3-6 ATS when favored by 16 or more points under Belichick. So we will take the points and hope it's a case of two teams just wanting to get home for their Christmas ham at a reasonable hour.
BEARS +4 over Redskins
Every season, there is a random quarterback who makes enough of a statement to where there will be intrigue in securing his services that offseason. Sometimes that intrigue turns into a decent, serviceable, back-up-level contract, and sometimes that intrigue turns into a $72 million deal and a slew of H-E-B commercials! This season, that QB is Chicago's Matt Barkley, who the Bears have stumbled into after season-ending injuries to Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer. While it hasn't translated into wins for the Bears necessarily, it has translated into a spunkiness that has helped gamblers win, with the Bears going 3-0 ATS in Barkley's three starts. The Redskins are having to hit the road on a weird version of a short week, Monday night to Saturday afternoon, and their playoff hopes are fading. We will take the home dog here, and speculate that Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden continue to show their true selves.
Giants -2.5 over EAGLES
Despite being a two-time Super Bowl winner during the Eli Manning era, these 10-4 Giants are in a bit of a strange place, insomuch as they are becoming a chic "dark horse" Super Bowl contender, something that neither of the two teams that went all the way with Eli at quarterback could say heading into the playoffs. Both of those teams were 9-7 afterthoughts. This Giants team plays great defense, and makes big plays on both sides of the ball (Landon Collins and Odell Beckham, yo). They are one of the hottest teams in football, and they've beaten the Cowboys twice. The Eagles are 5-9, but may as well be one of the worst teams in the league, having gone 2-9 SU off of a 3-0 start. Since 2015, the Eagles are 3-7 ATS in the division. The Giants are playing for playoff seeding and keeping faint hopes at a division title flickering. The Eagles are playing to mark time off the calendar and go home.
Colts/RAIDERS OVER 53
This is simply a play based on what I've seen recently from both of these teams up close, against the Houston Texans, performances that were validators based on their play all season long. The Texans moved the ball fairly well against both of these teams this season, when measured on the Osweiler Scale, which converts all points generated by Brock Osweiler to points that would be generated by a competent QB — basically, just multiply everything by two. Brock generated an average of 23 points per game against these two teams, which converts to 46 points generated by decent quarterbacks, which means FIREWORKS BETWEEN ANDREW LUCK AND DEREK CARR! It ain't super-scientific, I get it. But it's my method, and it's gotten us this far!
TEXANS -2.5 over Bengals
I will have a lot more analysis on this game on Friday, but all you need to know is that we are living in the AGE OF SAVAGE. These are two ice cold teams against the spread right now (Houston 1-4 ATS in their last five games, Cincy 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games), so something's gotta give. We will go with the home team, with the peppy new QB and with the hex over the road team (Texans 4-1 SU, including playoffs, versus the Bengals in the Andy Dalton era).
CHIEFS -4 over Broncos
So the story out of Denver this week was that there is essentially a civil war brewing in the locker room between the Bronco offense, which is anemic, and the Bronco defense, which employs noted psychopath Aqib Talib. That, my friends, is a recipe for a fight. And that's exactly what reportedly happened this past weekend, when left tackle Russell Okung and Talib squared off over who would address the team to try to inspire their way out of a 1-3 SU stretch. Is there an NFL head coach less equipped to handle a mutiny than the über-folksy Gary Kubiak? No. The answer is no. Now, the Broncos travel to KC to play the Chiefs, who are 3-0 SU and ATS after losses this season. The Chiefs are coming off a soul-crushing loss to the Titans at home last weekend. The Broncos will get put out of their misery this weekend, and we will have both Super Bowl teams watching the playoffs from home for the first time since 2003.
Last Week: 2-4
Season Record: 58-36-2
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.