We head into the final week of the season just a hair above .500, so I’m hoping to close out with a 3-0 smash week, and I have to say, I feel really good about this pack of dogs.
Giants +5 ½ vs. Eagles
I got paid by the G-men last week, and I think they’ll show up again in this one. They’re an entirely different team with Tyrod Taylor under center, and he faces an Eagles defense that has completely collapsed in the last month.
There is discord in the Eagles locker room as their season has spiraled. AJ Brown isn’t happy, Jalen Hurts isn’t healthy, and they’re pretty much locked into the fifth seed unless the Cowboys were to lose to the Commanders – and that ain’t happening.
These teams met on Christmas Day, with Taylor replacing the Tommy DeVito Experience halfway through and the Giants losing a one-score game. The Eagles could go into halftime, see the Cowboys’ lead over Washington, and realize their playoff fate is sealed. Wouldn’t be shocked to see them take their foot off the gas, allowing the Giants to hang around or even get the win.
Titans +3 ½ vs. Jaguars
I understand that the Jaguars have everything to play for and the Titans have nothing, but don’t get sucked into the obvious. Eliminated teams cover against motivated teams at a 60% rate in Week 18, and this Titans team looks like the latest to fall into line.
They always play hard for Mike Vrabel, and there are rumors swirling that their coach may be on the shortlist to replace Bill Belichick in New England. This team is going to look a lot different next season and this proud core figures to give it their all for each other and to derail the Jags’ season.
Trevor Lawrence’s availability is still in question, but the guess here is that he plays, along with Christian Kirk. They’re a different team away from home though, and I see them struggling against the physical Titans. The Jags also have a reasonable path to the seven-seed, so it’s not an elimination scenario for them. Titans keep it close.
Ravens +3 ½ vs. Steelers
What are we even doing here? Does anyone really believe that Mason Rudolph and the Steelers are going to play their bitter rivals and just walk all over them? Yes, I understand that Lamar Jackson is sitting, that a number of other starters will take the day off as well, and that the Steelers need this game desperately.
But it’s not as if they get to play an entire team of backups – rosters aren’t that deep. QB Tyler Huntley was a Pro Bowler last season (look it up) and will do everything he can to win. Despite the one-seed being locked up, the Ravens would like nothing more than to end the Steelers’ season and have the talented depth to do just that.
Home underdogs in this division are always a strong play, especially so in this rivalry, where the final score usually ends up within a field goal. To me, this game should be a pick ‘em, and if I were in a state where I could bet legally, I would hammer the Ravens on the money line. They’ll get revenge for their loss in Pittsburgh, even though most might think they’re looking forward to a two-week vacation.
Last week: 1-2