So here we are, on the 2016 side of the football gambling year, and thanks to a mostly wretched second half of the season, we sit 11 games below .500. Conveniently enough, there are 11 NFL playoff games and the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night. What I'm saying is there is still a mathematical possibility for all of us to get back over .500 on the season. (Do you like how I just assume you've been playing my picks? Hell, I'd have been fading me the entire month of December.)
Four games this weekend, including the Texans game kicking things off on Saturday afternoon, and the odd thing is that we are a couple sharp bets on the Packers away from all four road teams being favored. Right now, at +1, the Packers are the only road underdog. Yes, we live in a world where Kirk Cousins is favored over Aaron Rodgers. Deal with it.
So let's get to the plays....
TEXANS +3.5 over Chiefs
This game is a rematch of the Chiefs' 27-20 win at NRG Stadium in Week 1. These two teams started their seasons a combined 3-10 (Chiefs 1-5, Texans 2-5), and both finished with a flourish, a combined 17-2. The Chiefs have won 10 in a row, but haven't won a playoff game in over 20 years, so something's gotta give. The Texans have the single best offensive and defensive individual players on the field in this game, and the Chiefs have like the next five on each side of the ball. The Texans will need monster games from J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins. This feels like a field goal game, which means give me the 3.5 all day long.
Steelers -2.5 over BENGALS
Right now, the way the Steelers have played offensively during the second half of the season (the clunker against the Ravens two weeks ago notwithstanding), I have to find reasons not to bet on them if the spread is under a field goal. I suppose their defense concerns me, but A.J. McCarron is still the Bengals' quarterback, making his first playoff start. I suppose there's a decent chance Mike Tomlin could commit a clock management gaffe, but still, he's better than Marvin Lewis. Cincinnati is at home, but the Steelers have played there and won within the last month. Nope, can't find good reasons to back Cincy. Steelers, it is!
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VIKINGS +5.5 over Seahawks
These are actually two of the hotter teams down the stretch, and oddly enough, it all stems back to an asskicking handed to the Vikings by the Seahawks, 38-7 five weeks ago. Since then, the Vikings have gone 3-1 with their only loss a 3 point loss in the waning moments in Arizona. The weather is supposed to be stupid cold, like negative something, and Adrian Peterson has a wonky back (missed practice this week). But the book says on home dogs of more than a field goal, take them in the post season. So I will.
Packers +1 over REDSKINS
I'll go down swinging with Aaron Rodgers against Kirk Cousins, even though it flies in the face of recent performance. I just can't bring myself to go Cousins.
Last Week: 3-3
Season Record: 48-59-1
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.