The Vikings and Packers went in opposite directions last week in terms of how they played and how people like us try to predict how they will play.
For the Vikings, I scrapped all the over-thinking, psycho-analysis, mumbo-jumbo logic that goes into the typical NFL guess. With the Vikings healthy, playing well and, oh yeah, good, I just went with a good team at home. And it won 24-7 with the help of one of the best crowds to occupy U.S. Bank Stadium to date.
As for the Packers, all that aforementioned stuff went into picking them to win as a 1 ½-point home underdog a week after scratching out a victory. They were nipped 23-donut.
Oh, well. Last week's picks went 8-6 straight-up and 7-7 against the spread for the second straight week. Still 11 games under .500 ATS (74-85), but, fortunately, momma didn't raise a fool, at least when it comes to gambling on pro sports.
Five underdogs won last week. The Bucs, Bengals and Falcons won on the road. The Texans and Giants won at home. The latter won as a 10 ½-point underdog against the disappearing Andy Reids.
Vegas probably had a tough time setting the line on the Chiefs-Bills game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. It's tough to see the Chiefs giving anybody 9 ½ points right now, but that's how badly the once-promising Bills are playing now.
Five teams are favored by more than nine points. And none of them is playing the Browns. The Dolphins are getting 16 ½ at New England. Seems low to me. Take the Pats.
The Packers are getting 13 ½ points at Pittsburgh. Seems low to me. Take the Steelers.
The Browns are getting 8 ½ at Cincinnati in the annual "Battle Pillow Fight of Ohio!" Seems low to me. But! I'm going to go out on a limb and say Hue Jackson finds a second nut before his second and final snowfall as Browns coach.
Happy Thanksgiving. Three games are on tap for today. The nation will really enjoy the first one, kind of like the second one and be watching something else when the Giants play at Washington.
Here are this week's games …
Vikings minus-2 ½ at Lions: Vikings by 10
The Lions have won three straight, but they've been mild efforts against the Rodgers-free Packers, Browns and Bears. They've beaten the Vikings three straight times, including 14-7 on Oct. 1, and five of seven times in the Mike Zimmer era. But the loss earlier this season came in Case Keenum's second start. It also featured the season-ending loss of Dalvin Cook and three lost fumbles by the Vikings. Keenum and the rest of the skill-position players have settled in behind a line that's 10,000 times (or more) better than it was a year ago. The line controls the game, allowing the defense to turn up the heat on Matthew Stafford. If the Vikings stop the run and avoid turnovers, they should handle the Lions. Should.
Chargers minus-1/2 at Cowboys: Chargers by 7
Giants plus-7 ½ at Redskins: Redskins by 14
Bears plus-13 ½ at Eagles: Eagles by 7
Buccaneers plus-9 ½ at Falcons: Falcons by 14
Panthers minus-4 ½ at Jets: Panthers by 6
Bills plus-9 ½ at Chiefs: Chiefs by 3
Titans minus-3 ½ at Colts: Titans by 7
Dolphins plus-16 ½ at Patriots: Patriots by 25
Seahawks minus-6 ½ at 49ers: Seahawks by 3
Jaguars minus-4 ½ at Cardinals: Jaguars by 7
Saints plus-2 ½ at Rams: Saints by 7
Broncos plus-5 ½ at Raiders: Raiders by 6
Packers plus-13 ½ at Steelers: Steelers by 14
Texans plus-7 ½ at Ravens: Ravens by 3
Browns plus-8 ½ at Bengals: Browns by 7
Betting that the Browns will trip over Jackson's second career coaching win at some point before he's fired. Plus, every drafnik worth his ability to search Google says 2018 will be one of the greatest QB drafts in the history of the universe. So you have to assume the Browns will somehow, some way end up winning just enough to lose the top pick. Or … I could be wrong. (See Week 11: Cowboys over Eagles).
Last week straight up; versus spread: 8-6; 7-7
Year to date: 101-57; 74-85
Upset specials: 3-8
Record picking Vikings games: 7-3