This hasn't happened very often, a week in which I was under .500 giving you guys picks. Yeah, 2-3-1 last weekend wasn't a disaster, but it was a loser. I blame New England's special teams for turning a 23-3 laugher into a 23-17 nail biter within about 90 seconds on Monday night against Joe Flacco. IT'S THEIR FAULT.
Let's stay focused on the big picture — an overall 64 percent winning percentage, a 37-15-2 ATS run over the past nine weeks, and nine shopping days left! Let's get to the games...
SEAHAWKS -13.5 over Rams
Does any team have a stranger "last five games" footprint than the Seattle Seahawks? Five weeks ago, they beat the New England Patriots in prime time on the road. They then proceeded to beat the Eagles by 11 at home, which is normal, but then came that odd 14-5 loss in Tampa Bay (which looks less odd each week the way the Bucs are playing), a 40-7 crushing of the defending NFC champ Carolina, and then a 38-10 thumping at the hands of the still-outside-the-playoff-picture Packers. Wagering on Seattle is a tad treacherous these days, except in this situation — coming off a loss, playing at home, in prime time, against a horrible team that just fired its coach. In that situation, I'll take Pete Carroll's crew all day, every day. The Seahawks have four losses on the season, and in the week after the previous three, they are 3-0 SU and ATS. Make it 4-0 tonight.
Dolphins/JETS UNDER 38
If someone had told you before the season that this would be a matchup of one team on the fringe of the playoff hunt and another fighting to get to five wins, the roles most certainly would have been reversed. Instead, it's the Dolphins in the postseason mix, and the Jets are basically handing the baton to their opponents and letting them thump Todd Bowles like a piñata. The Dolphins will be without QB Ryan Tannehill, who sprained an ACL and MCL against Arizona last week, so Matt Moore (career record, 13-12) will get the start. I have no idea who wins this game, I just know Moore and Bryce Petty are the starting quarterbacks. I'm seeing a score of 14-13, one way or the other.
Buccaneers +7.5 over COWBOYS
Three weeks ago, the Cowboys were a 9-1 team, both SU and ATS. They are now 9-4 ATS and 11-2 SU. It's been a shaky couple of weeks, and the loss to the Giants on Sunday night has all the talking heads asking when Tony Romo might return, if rookie QB Dak Prescott falters. Even better, it has Jerry Jones openly discussing it as well, going so far as to describe a potential "this calls for Romo" situation as "I can't describe it, but you'll know it when you see it"...like porn. (And Jerry even alluded to the fact that his analogy was often used to describe "something negative." Sidebar — I don't believe for one second Jerry Jones thinks porn is "a negative.") The Bucs are one of the hottest teams in football, having won five in a row and averaging 13 points allowed over those five games. Those wins include victories over Kansas City and Seattle. Jameis Winston is a quarterback for whom this moment won't be too big. I'll happily take touchdown and change that Vegas is giving us.
VIKINGS -4 over Colts
We talk extensively about what the Texans' win over the Colts meant to the Texans, the upside of winning, and where they would have been had they lost. Make no mistake, the upside for the Texans' winning that game was not as pronounced as the downside for the Colts' losing it. With Tennessee beating Denver, whoever lost that game last week in Indy was going to have the simple math of having to beat two 7-6 teams in order to win the division. The Texans, though, at least would have still been sitting ahead in the division tiebreaker with a 3-1 division record and a home game this weekend against the wretched Jags. The Colts now sit with three division losses and are the victims of a head-to-head sweep by the Texans. Oh, also, they have road games in Minnesota and Oakland these next two weeks. We haven't talked enough about how crushing that was for the Colts last weekend. Their season is over. The Vikings are in a similar situation, at 7-6 after a 5-0 start and fighting for their lives, but I'll take Mike Zimmer at home in this spot over Chuck Pagano.
TEXANS -5.5 over Jaguars
I'll have more on this game tomorrow, but let me remind everybody that Vegas had the Texans as a three-point underdog just five weeks ago to the Jags in Jacksonville. I get it, the Texans aren't world beaters by any means, but one thing O'Brien has done well as the head coach here is beat up on the little sisters of the AFC South. Against Jacksonville, he is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS, with all of the ATS wins being fairly comfortable. The Texans will win this game by double digits.
Raiders/CHARGERS OVER 49.5
The OVER is 10-3 in Raiders games, the OVER is 8-4-1 in Chargers games. In the battle of "lame duck in their cities" AFC West teams, I'll take David Carr and Philip Rivers over the scoreboard operator.
Last Week: 2-3-1
Season Record: 56-32-2
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.
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