I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately, with no losers over the last two weeks. This week’s holiday slate includes no shortage of playful puppies, so in the spirit of the holidays, I’m adding a bonus fourth underdog pick. I just couldn’t throw one out.
For the record, yes, I was tempted to include the Packers. But I can’t erase the image in my head of Raheem Mostert running up and down the field all day on Green Bay, and it seems like the whole world likes the Pack this week. Let’s see if they can surprise me. Here is my Week 16 Mount Rushmore of dogs:
Seahawks +10 at Chiefs
It’s been profitable to fade the Kansas City Chiefs when they are big favorites, and they’ve failed to cover against the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans the past two weeks. Yes, the Seattle Seahawks are looking much more like the team we expected to see the past few weeks, but they have enough firepower to stay within shouting distance on the scoreboard. No Tyler Lockett, but running back Kenneth Walker is back to full health, and Pro Bowl quarterback Geno Smith should find D.K. Metcalf early and often. Feels like a seven-point win for Kansas City.
Bears +9 ½ vs. Bills
Sure, the Buffalo Bills are familiar with the wintry weather in store at Soldier Field on Saturday. But it’s going to be bitterly cold, which takes some of the sting out of Buffalo’s passing attack. Not to mention, the Chicago Bears live on the running game, and the Bills are susceptible to good rushing attacks. For Buffalo, this game is sandwiched between big prime games against the Miami Dolphins last week and the Cincinnati Bengals next Monday night. Could be a let-down spot, especially against an unconventional quarterback like Justin Fields. Just like they did against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears keep this within one score.
Giants +4 at Vikings
The way the Minnesota Vikings’ season is going, any time they’re laying more than three, fading them should be an auto-play. The New York Giants stayed squarely in the playoff hunt with their impressive showing in Washington and have been the statistically more consistent offense all season. They should be able to move the ball all day against a Vikings defense that’s getting props for an improved showing against a dysfunctional Indianapolis Colts offense that lost Jonathan Taylor in the first series. Throw in the fact that Daniel Jones is 12-1 ATS as a road dog of less than eight points and the Giants under Brian Daboll are 6-3-1 straight up as a road underdog. Wouldn’t shock me if the Giants won, but there’s no way the Purple wins by more than a field goal.
Commanders +6 ½ at 49ers
This line sat at seven for most of the week and I would love the extra half point to get to that key number, but I don’t think I’ll need it. This is a classic buy low, sell high spot. Everyone is down on the Washington Commanders after their Sunday night clunker, and the San Francisco 49ers are everyone’s darling to come out of the NFC (especially if Jalen Hurts is banged up).
But Kyle Shanahan notoriously fails to cover as a big favorite and Washington matches up well against him, with a strong run defense and a pass rush that can get to the precocious rookie QB. Throw in the return of Chase Young and that D-line gets even more fearsome. San Fran has wrapped up the division and doesn’t have a ton of motivation to show a lot here, while Washington is playoff for its postseason life. Give me the more desperate team to keep it close in a low-scoring affair.
Last Week: 2-0-1