It’s been a rough couple of weeks, as the law of averages seems to have caught up to me, after a blistering run through most of the season. Week 18 can be tricky, with team motivation and resting players causing a lot of havoc, but I’m hoping to finish strong with these three puppies:
Rams +6 at Seahawks
This is my favorite pick of the weekend. First of all, history shows us that teams with nothing to play for against teams with their playoff lives on the line hit at a 60% clip since 1990. The defending Super Bowl champs have been cooked for weeks, but they’ll play their hearts out to ruin their rivals’ season. Former Seahawk Bobby Wagner is still very bitter at his former teammates and will lead the charge. Coach Sean McVay may decide to put his coaching career on pause. Baker Mayfield gets one more chance to audition for a starting job. The Seahawks won the first meeting, but that was against John Wolford, and he still threw for 300 yards. I think the Rams win this one outright, making NBC’s controversial prime-time pick look brilliant.
Browns +2½ at Steelers
I’m breaking my three-point rule here, but it’s a tough week with all of the meaningless games, so I’m bending my rules by half a point. Besides, shouldn’t this line be three or four, anyway? Of course it should. This line stinks: The oddsmakers are begging you to take the Steelers. But I’m not biting. Deshaun Watson finally woke up in the second half last week and started to look like Deshaun Watson again. The Steelers have outperformed all expectations and may have found something in Kenny Pickett. But the Browns match up well and crushed them back in Week 3. I think they burst Pittsburgh’s longshot playoff bubble.
Lions +5 at Packers
What? Sacrilege! Look, I’d be happy to look like a fool here, but I think the Lions keep this within a field goal, whether they’re battling for the final playoff spot or just playing the role of spoiler. I’m just going to assume they’re smarter than the Vikings and will wear the right cleats. The return of safety DeShon Elliott, will shore up the run defense (he missed the Panthers debacle), and I think Dan Campbell will stay committed to the run, trying to shorten the game. The Pack has feasted off turnovers of late and the Lions don’t give too many away. Feels like a 27-23 kind of game to me.
Last Week: 0-3