Back-to-back winning weeks have me in a festive mood as we approach the holiday season, but it didn’t bring me a lot of joy securing a winning week by watching my Packers go down in flames. It did take a bit of the sting away, though.
Here are three frisky puppies that will have my attention on Sunday:
Jets +9 ½ vs. Dolphins
Jets-Dolphins was a complete mismatch a few weeks ago on Black Friday, but I think it’s a different story this time around. For one thing, the Dolphins are a MASH unit, particularly on offense. Miami’s O-line is missing several key pieces, and Tyreek Hill and De’Von Achane missed practice time this week.
The Jets showed signs of life on both sides of the ball last week, and they’ll have the weather in their favor on Sunday afternoon, with rain and wind gusting into the mid-teens expected. I don’t love fading the Dolphins as they look to rebound from their epic collapse on Monday night, but this is too many points to lay in a game that’s expected to land in the mid-30s in terms of points. It feels like a 20-13 kind of game.
Bears +3 at Browns
The line looks fishy, doesn’t it? It sat at 3½ all week before dropping to three. Dig deeper, and you’ll see how banged up the Browns are right now. They have critical injuries that have decimated their offensive line and secondary.
Meanwhile, Joe Flacco has resurrected the offense, but with a makeshift line trying to protect him, the statuesque, graying Flacco will be running for his life against Chicago’s resurgent pass rush. The running game won’t provide any respite, as the Bears have been a top-three unit in rush defense over the last eight weeks.
This is another spot where wind and rain are in the forecast, so both teams will struggle to move the ball through the air. The difference will be Justin Fields’ legs. He will take advantage of Cleveland’s aggressive pass rush and cook them on the ground. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them spring the upset here.
Jaguars +3 ½ vs. Ravens
Losers of two straight, the Jags are fading. But the bet here is that they look like the team that they were to start the season when they battled the Ravens on Sunday night. They’re getting some key offensive linemen healthy, including former Viking Ezra Cleveland, who may be asked to play left tackle. Trevor Lawrence showed his toughness battling through an ankle injury last week. He figures to be healthier for this one, which means much more to the Jags than it does to the Ravens.
Baltimore is coming off a tough overtime battle with the Rams. Now they hit the road for a pair of games against division leaders, they’re at San Francisco next week, and are due for a slight regression.
John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson are notoriously lousy at covering as favorites of three or more. I say they come up short against a team that’s just as talented and a lot more desperate.
Last Week: 2-1