As the season winds down, the NFL becomes harder to pick. Which teams have clinched and will rest players? Which teams can fight their way into the playoffs in these final weeks? It’s been tough sledding for both Dan Tomaso and I as we try and determine which factors would make a winning pick. There will be weather this week, no doubt. A major storm will affect the east coast Thursday and Friday followed by frigid conditions across the Great Lakes and Northeast for Christmas weekend. The NFL moved most games to Saturday this week with Christmas Day being on a Sunday, but Christmas does feature a triple header. We have picked some games where weather could play a role and also a few that seem exciting on paper. No matter what, these picks aren’t getting easier even as we start to get a clearer picture of who will be playing in January and beyond. Let’s get to the games this week:

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Baylor, Thursday @ 7:30pm, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX, Baylor -4, O/U 43.5

This is a virtual home game for Baylor even though they will play as the road team in this one. Both teams have a decent rushing attack and Air Force actually has a pretty stingy defense. Given the fact that these bowl games are so hard to pick, and I actually think Air Force could pull the upset here, I think I’ll pick the over/under. Air Force hasn’t been the underdog in a game this season, by the way. I think given the style of both teams wanting to rush the ball and then stuff the run on the other side, I’ll play a low score here. It’s tempting to take the over, but I think the defenses show up. I’ll take the UNDER 43.5.

Seahawks at Chiefs, Saturday @ 1:00pm, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO, Chiefs -9.5, O/U 49

Every fiber of my being wants to pick the Chiefs to cover this week, especially playing at a frigid and windy Arrowhead. But, after some recent defensive meltdowns and letting the lowly Texans hang around last week, I just can’t. Seattle has its own issues, however, as they have dropped three of their last four and are currently not in the playoff bracket. Tyler Lockett is also out and that won’t help their cause. But I just stare at the number and can’t help thinking it’s too big. Seattle needs this game while the Chiefs don’t. While Mahomes is always dangerous, especially at home, I just sense nagging defensive issues that keep the Seahawks in this one and potentially even a straight out upset. I’ll take the points with Pete. Seahawks +9.5.

Giants @ Vikings, Saturday @ 1:00pm, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN, Vikings -3, O/U 47.5

The Vikings may be the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the league this season. They got trounced by the Cowboys, beat the Bills, and played two completely different halves last week against the Colts. Which team will show up this week, especially now that they clinched the NFC North? This is what makes picking these games so difficult. What about the Giants? This is tough contest for another hot and cold squad. The Giants need this game to make the playoffs while the Vikings don’t. Minnesota also has a tendency to not show up when you think they will. I like the Giants here to keep their playoff hopes alive. They have a difficult final stretch but could help seal their fate with a win here. I’ll take the Giants to win outright in a moneyline upset…and hold my breath with Barkley and the boys. Giants ML.

Bengals @ Patriots, Saturday @ 1:00pm, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA, Bengals -3.5, O/U 39.5

Joey Burrow and the Bengals are on fire and take a winning streak into Foxboro this weekend in what will be a cold and windy Gillette Stadium. They have won their last six games and the Patriots are heading in the opposite direction. They have a decent defense but can’t seem to find rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. I guess that’s what happens when you let Matt Patricia run things. Given the windy conditions and the brutal cold, I expect to see a memorable image of Bill Belichick on the sideline bundled up in his hoodie. While I fully expect the Bengals to get out with a win, I’ll take the under. The whole point of this podcast is to try and sniff out when the weather will be a factor in games. It it’s not a factor here, I don’t know when it would be. Give me a low scoring and ugly game. UNDER 39.5.

Eagles @ Cowboys, Saturday @ 4:25pm, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, Cowboys -6, O/U 46.5

Will Jalen Hurts play or not? It doesn’t seem so. But will it matter? I think it will. The Cowboys are at home and need to bounce back after losing to the Jags last week. What better way to do it than to avenge their earlier loss to their most hated rival? The Eagles are in folks. I like Minshew and he could probably beat the Cowboys on a given day, but not this day. Dallas needs this more and I think they show up. Micah Parsons will be a beast and Dak throws a ton and scores. I think the Cowboys show up in front of their fans and cover. Big. Cowboys -6.

Jaguars @ Jets, Thursday @ 8:15pm, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, PICK, O/U 38.5

This is a sneaky good game. Both teams have shown some life this season and the Jets are still in the playoff hunt. While it’s highly unlikely they make it in, this team has provided us with some fun moments this year. It hasn’t been since the Rex Ryan era that the Jets have been this entertaining. Weather is going to be a huge factor here as an east coast rainstorm moves over MetLife Thursday night. Rain and wind will be present throughout the game and it will be ugly. Having said that, is the over/under number almost too low? Can we beat Vegas on this one? Do I get cute and think the elements can be overcome and hope it’s a high scoring affair? Nah. I’ll try and play the odds right here and go down with the ship if I’m wrong. Given the conditions, give me the under all day. UNDER 38.5.

Packers @ Dolphins, Sunday @ 1:00pm, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, Dolphins -5.5, O/U 46.5

This is one of these matchups that looks too easy to pick on paper. Similar to my Chiefs dud against the Texans last week, I’ll never learn. But the Dolphins are right in the mix and the Packers are continuing to flail. Travelling to the south and taking on a Dolphins team that has a good offense isn’t the recipe for an upset here. Defensively, the Packers continue to struggle against the run. Meanwhile, Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t been “on” as much lately either. Where does that leave me? Well, I think even though the Packers are technically still in the hunt, the Dolphins should be able to eat here and torch this less than stellar defense at home. Even though Miami hasn’t played their best recently, sometimes all it takes is getting back in familiar confines, and playing a team that has lots of issues. I’ll lay the points with the fish. Dolphins -5.5.

Here’s a summary of my picks for the week:

Games of the Week

Baylor vs. Air Force: UNDER 43.5

Seahawks +9.5

Giants ML

Bengals @ Patriots: UNDER 39.5

Cowboys -6

Under the Radar Game

Jaguars @ Jets: UNDER 38.5

Brett’s Best Bets

Dolphins -5.5

I’m no expert in picking games, but even the experts blow it. Let’s try and get some wins this week using the weather to our advantage. I did horribly last week, but did win the side wager with my partner, Dan Tomaso. Watch the podcast to see him dress like a pirate in honor of the late Mike Leach. Thanks to all of you for listening, watching, and consuming our content. Some ugly weather games to enjoy this week. Have at it!

-Brett Thackara

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. Baylor, Thursday @ 7:30pm, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX, Baylor -4, O/U 43.5

Baylor had some excitement this year in the Big 12 and Air Force put together a decent season with big offensive numbers. Offense may be a tough go in this game due to the weather. Very cold and windy weather is likely during the game- and let’s face it neither team is accustomed to playing in such weather (at least this season based on the historic nature of this air mass). This is nearly a home game for Baylor too with the location of Fort Worth. I’ll take the favored Baylor Bears at -4 with not much confidence.

Seahawks at Chiefs, Saturday @ 1:00pm, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO, Chiefs -9.5, O/U 49

The Chiefs have had some recent defensive let downs, but the Seahawks have been slowed on offense. Despite temperatures in the single digits and strong winds, I am not sure the Chiefs will be slowed much. The Seahawks really need this game to stay in the playoff hunt, so that does give me some pause. However, I think the Chiefs knock off the Seahawks easily and I will take the -9.5.

Giants @ Vikings, Saturday @ 1:00pm, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN, Vikings -3, O/U 47.5

This is the game of playoff pretenders facing off! The Vikings survived a record deficit in the first half to beat the Colts last week, and now they can pretty much cruise into the playoffs. The Giants need this game, but the pattern seems to be low scoring performances when they can’t get a running game going. To me the Giants are way too one dimensional. Even with little to gain, the Vikings win at home Saturday (it may be ugly): Vikings -3.

Bengals @ Patriots, Saturday @ 1:00pm, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA, Bengals -3.5, O/U 39.5

The Patriots may have had their season end on that lateral last week that fell into the Raiders lap for victory. The Bengals are playing winning football and look primed for a deep playoff run. They are a scary threat in the AFC playoff picture. Wind and cold is again a big factor in this game, but I think the Bengals are just too tough to beat. I am going out on a limb and picking the Bengals to beat the Patriots on the road. Cincinnati -3.5!

Eagles @ Cowboys, Saturday @ 4:25pm, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, Cowboys -6, O/U 46.5

This game does not mean much in the NFC playoff standings given the Eagles lead overall and the loss Dallas suffered surprisingly to the Jaguars. Jalen Hurts also has a strained shoulder, and at the time of this writing it is unknown if the Eagles will send him out to take more hits. At this point the Eagles may slow things down a bit to prepare for the playoffs. Even with Gardner Minshew, I think the Eagles have too many weapons for the Cowboys to stop. Plus, Dak Prescott has not played his best football since coming back from injury. I take the underdog Eagles at +6 to shock the Cowboys on Christmas Eve 🙂

Games of the Week

Baylor -4

Chiefs -9.5

Vikings -3

Bengals -3.5

Eagles +6

Under the Radar Game

Jaguars ML

Doppler Dandies

Lions ML

-Dan Tomaso

**All odds from Caesars Sportsbook as 12/20/22**