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December football is upon us. 25% of the season remains, or four games. However you look at it. Before we get to the nuggets from Week 13, let's go through each division and see who's locked in, who has a shot, and no shot.

Locked in: Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars
Probably: Ravens, Titans, Chargers
Toss-up: Bills, Chiefs, Raiders
So you're saying there's a chance: Jets, Dolphins
See you next season: Browns, Bengals, Texans, Colts, Broncos

Locked in: Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Rams
Probably: Panthers, Seahawks
Toss-up: Falcons
So you're saying there's a chance: Cowboys, Packers, Lions
See you next season: Redskins, Giants, Bears, Bucs, Cardinals, 49ers

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Nuggets from Week 13

  • Robbie Gould was responsible for all the Niners points connecting on five field goals including the game winner against his former team.
  • The 49ers more than doubled the Bears total plays, 73 to 36.
  • The Bears had SEVEN drives the entire game, not including the last drive where they possessed the ball for one play. Compare that to the Broncos who had the ball seven separate times in the first half.
  • The Broncos have officially quit. This has been a nightmare of a season and unfortunately there are still four games to play.
  • The Titans continue to win close games against their cake schedule.
  • Congrats to the Ravens for scoring a shocking 44. And a bigger congrats to Fallin' Joe Flacco for his biggest passing game of the season, 269 yards.
  • Make it eight in a row for the Pats. They have held each opponent under 17 points during this win streak.
  • The Falcons were held without a touchdown for the first time since Week 17 of the 2014-5 season. Props to the Vikings.
  • The Rams had another 30-point week. They are tied with the Eagles for most 30+ points this season with seven.
  • San Diego  is the hottest team in football, but they will need to score touchdowns in the red zone to win the AFC West. They are 27th at 44% for the season, and over their last three are 28%, 28th in the league during that range.


Rant of the Week

Quarterback Rating may be the WORST stat ever. Charlie Batch had the best game ever, per QBR with a 99.9. Even though he threw for 186 yards and two interceptions. Of course, ESPN scrapped that from the all-time best games. You may be asking yourself why I'm talking about a dumb stat like QBR. When I went to ESPN to check Case Keenum's stats from Sunday, he posted a 57.3 QBR. Even though he was 25-30, for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks. He even made some big time throws on the final drive when it mattered most. This stat has got to go. It's flawed that shouldn't be taken into account for anything.


Survivor League Strategy

We are going to scrap the old format and go with a new one. Survivor leagues are mostly over, so let's make this a weekly preview with some top plays.

If your girlfriend or wife is asking you to do some holiday shopping this weekend, early on Sunday is a good time for that. The 1 p.m. games features ONE must watch game and a second that matters, but will be very sloppy. That's it. Minnesota at Carolina is the big one and Oakland at Kansas City is the sloppy one. So if you're busy early Sunday afternoon, you're good. Just get back in time for a blockbuster of a late slate. That includes, Redskins at Chargers, Titans at Cardinals, Seahawks at Jaguars, and the big one, Eagles at Rams. FINALLY! The NFL gave us a good late slate.  It only took about nine weeks though.

These lines are from  on Wednesday.


Top Picks for Week 14

These are my best bets:

CHIEFS -4 vs. Raiders

The Raiders have won six games this year, but don't get too caught up with them. Those wins have come against the Titans, Jets, Chiefs, Dolphins, Broncos, and Giants.

THE SKY IS FALLING IN KANSAS CITY! That's what everyone is saying and exactly why I like them this week to right the ship. Why do you think Vegas instilled KC as a four-point favorite? If these teams were so even, the line would be an even three.  The Chiefs have won four in a row at home against the Raiders and should make it five. Also, don't forget it's December and the Raiders are a warm-weather team. The temperature of Sunday's game projects to be a high of 41 and low of 31. Since 2014, in the months of December and January, Derek Carr has played in five cold weather games. His record is 1-4, averaging 165.2 passing yards, and the team has averaged 14.4 points. That's not going to work against a Chiefs team that can score a lot especially against a defense that is 28th in opponent third down conversion percentage.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 - Raiders 16

49ers +3 @ TEXANS 

I'm riding the Jimmy G bandwagon. He looked terrific in Chicago on Sunday and with each start, is only going to get better. The Texans are an injury ravaged team, who played beyond their capabilities against a vastly overrated Titans team. Since Deshaun Watson got injured, Houston is 1-4, only scoring more than 16 points once in that span.

Last week San Fran converted 10 of 18 in third downs, and controlled the clock for 38 minutes. Garoppolo averaged 7.91 yards per attempt. That's fantastic. Compare that to Tom Savage who is averaging 6.4 y/a this season. That's really bad. Houston's secondary is allowing the fourth worst opponent yards per attempt in the league at 7.4. Garoppolo will be in for a field day against the overrated Texans secondary. There's your daily fantasy snippet.

Prediction: 49ers 23 - Texans 14

CARDINALS +3 vs. Titans

The Titans a road favorite in Arizona? I love the Cardinals. Tennessee is awful. They are 15th in yards per play, and 24th in third down conversion percentage. Marcus Mariota has thrown an interception in seven of 12 games, and has eclipsed 300 yards just twice. Their offense is stagnant. Run, run, pass. Boring and ineffective. If it wasn't for two Derrick Henry long touchdown runs in the last minute of two games, the Titans would have beaten ONE team by more than one possession all season.

The Cards are a frisky team. Somehow with Blaine Gabbert, they're still competitive. This team put up 27 points on the Jaguars, the best defense in football two weeks ago. Over their last three, the defense is allowing the sixth fewest opponent yards per play, and are also sixth in opponent third down percentage. Bruce Arians always has his team ready to play.

Prediction: Cardinals 20 - Titans 17


Secondary Picks for Week 14

These are plays I like, a level below my best bets:

BROWNS +3.5 vs. Packers

This will be the first win of the Browns season. The fact that this line is only 3.5 says it all. Cleveland kept it close against the Chargers on Sunday and Josh Gordon actually looked good. Everyone keeps saying, 'When Aaron Rodgers returns...' Last time I checked he's not playing this week and Brett Hundley is. Hundley threw for 84 yards last week. 84 yards. Say what you want about the Browns, but according to DVOA, they are 16th in defense. The Packers are in trouble this week while they look ahead to Rodgers's return.

Prediction: Browns 19 - Packers 17

Redskins +6 @ CHARGERS

Everyone just LOVES the Chargers. The Redskins are out of the playoffs with nothing to play for, but many players will be playing for themselves. With Kirk Cousins set to become a free agent, unless he gets tagged again, he knows he needs to have a big last four games. The fact that the Chargers were letting the Browns hang around scares me. As mentioned in my nuggets, the Chargers are 27th in red zone touchdown percentage. I think the Chargers can squeak another one out, but it will be much closer than expected.

Prediction: Chargers 23 - Redskins 21

Patriots -11.5 @ DOLPHINS

No Gronk, No Problem. According to John Ewing, “In the 30 games that the tight end has missed since entering the league, New England is 23-7 straight-up and 19-10-1 (65.5%) against the spread."

The Pats are rolling and I don't think they will lose again this season.

Prediction: Patriots 34 - Dolphins 17

Bears +6 @ BENGALS

The Bengals are beat up and on a short week after Monday's night brutality. Cincy has won five games and only two of those have been by more than one possession. Those two games have been against, you guessed it, the Browns. The Bengals aren't rolling over Chicago this week.  The Bears rely on Jordan Howard and their ground game. Cincy is fifth worst in opponent rushing yards per game and have allowed 124 yards per game over their last three. And here's a cool stat, the Bears are 2-0 against the AFC North this year having beat the Steelers and Ravens. In those two games, Howard ran for 140 and 167 yards.

Prediction: Bears 20 - Bengals 13


The Rest of the Bunch

These are games that I am not certain about. In order of importance:

Vikings -3 @ PANTHERS

As mentioned above, this is the marquee early game. The Vikings have been so good and Cam Newton has been so erratic. It all depends how this first quarter goes. If the Vikings gets to Newton early, he will be in for a long day. I think they do and set the tone.

Prediction: Vikings 23 - Panthers 17

RAMS -2 vs. Eagles

This is a massive matchup for playoff tiebreaker purposes. The Eagles are currently in line for a bye, but if they lose to the Rams, both teams would have the same record and the Rams would own the head-to-head tiebreaker. This is the second-highest total of the week, 49.5, and these teams are tied for most points scored this season. Expect a shootout. The rule of thumb is to grab a home team laying less than three points so that's what I'll do here.

Prediction: Rams 37 - Eagles 31

Saints -1.5 @ FALCONS

Great Thursday night game. I have no idea what will happen, but I must pick.

Prediction: Saints 30 - Falcons 28

Seahawks +3 @ JAGUARS

Luckily for the Seahawks, they get the late start on the East Coast. They just played their best game of the season defeating the hottest team in football, the Eagles. Russell Wilson may literally be scrambling for his life against the best defense. But then you have Blake Bortles on the other side. Somehow he hasn't thrown a pick-six all season. This will be a defensive slugfest.

Prediction: Jaguars 16- Seahawks 14

Steelers -5.5 vs. Ravens

This is the Sunday night game. The Steelers are off a hard-hitting brutally physical game against the Bengals. The Ravens are the worst offense in football. I don't care what the stats say (the Ravens are averaging 23.3 points per game and the Steelers are averaging 24.4 points). Fallin' Joe Flacco has no chance to keep up with the Steelers offense. I'm a little scared Pittsburgh will be looking ahead to their tilt against the Patriots, but they should cover in this one.

Prediction: Steelers 30 - Ravens 21

GIANTS +4.5 vs. Cowboys

The rejuvenated Giants with Eli Manning back at the helm play to win this week. The crowd will be going wild, but I'm not sure how long the emotion will last. If the Cowboys get off to a good start, the fans will be out of it. That's New York for you. I'm from there so I can say that.

Prediction: Cowboys 24 - Giants 20

Jets -1 @ BRONCOS

Who would have thought the Jets would be favorites this late in the season in Denver? The Jets have been competitive in mostly every game this year. While the Broncos have been a disaster. I'm not sure if the Broncos have one more game in them or they just gave up and don't care. I can't believe I'm picking the Jets.

Prediction: Jets 19 - Broncos 17

BILLS vs. Colts

There is no line yet because of the Tyrod Taylor injury.

Lions @ BUCS

There is no line on this either.


Any questions? Feel free to ask me on Twitter @Seth_Fink.

Best of luck!


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