Usually one of the most difficult factors in composing this weekly column is choosing which 5 games to feature. The NFL has made this task incredibly easy this week by only scheduling 5 games with two professional franchises. Eliminating ho-hum (at best) games in Cleveland, Miami, Green Bay, Chicago, Houston, New York, Los Angeles and Denver has left us with 5 intriguing match-ups.
Los Angeles Rams vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-2.5)
This is probably the most intriguing match-up of the weekend. Nobody was circling this on their calendar a few months ago, but both teams come in with a ton of momentum at 7-2. The Rams are 5-1 both straight up and against the spread in their last six, and the Vikings have won five straight and are 6-1 against the spread at home in their last seven. The Rams are going to have to win this game on the road to make me a true believer and I do not think that happens. Former Rams starter Case Keenum gets the job done and Jared Goff struggles against one of the NFL’s best defenses.
Prediction: 31-16 Vikings
Washington Redskins vs. New Orleans Saints OVER 51 points
People cannot stop talking about how great the New Orleans Saints are playing defense. They note the Saints are winning by running the ball, controlling the clock and not needing Drew Brees to light up the scoreboard. Well, that all changes Sunday. Trends are shouting for a high scoring game here. We could look at Washington’s 5-0 record against the spread versus New Orleans or the Saints’ five straight wins, but let’s focus on the fact that eight of the last nine times these teams have met, the game has gone over. Here they make it nine of ten.
Prediction: 38-31 someone
New England Patriots vs. OAKLAND RAIDERS (+6.5)
Derek Carr and Tom Brady lead incredibly talented offenses onto the field in Mexico City. The Patriots have won five straight and hung a very impressive 41 on the talented Broncos defense last week. The Raiders enjoyed their bye week and had plenty of time to get ready for the Patriots. While that will not help them in any way, New England’s excessive travel will. The Patriots fall behind early but figure out a way to pull out a close win.
Prediction: 27-23 Patriots
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-4.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys
What should have been a very competitive divisional game between two rivals, usually separated by a field goal, may turn into a route. With Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott sitting for week two of six, the Cowboys’ offense will continue to struggle against a premier defensive unit. The Eagles are the class of the NFC and Dallas runs into the juggernaut without all of its weapons. The Eagles are 5-0 both straight up and against the spread in their last five. They make it 6-0 and six in a row against the spread on national television.
Prediction: 38-17 Eagles
Atlanta Falcons vs. Seattle Seahawks OVER 45 points
Let me start by apologizing for another total, but eight of the last nine games between these teams have gone over. The Falcons seemed to find their offense against the Cowboys in Week 10, and the Falcons defense will not put a scare in anyone (sans Dallas). With the injury to Richard Sherman this week, replacements will continue to introduce themselves to their teammates in the secondary. Matt Ryan should have Julio Jones open all night, and if we escape a barrage of field goals, this game is clearly going over.
Prediction: 31-27 Seahawks
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