Jaguars +9 over Chiefs
I despise backing teams that ruined my bets from the previous weekend, but I am taking the points with Jacksonville this weekend. Simply put, the Chiefs are not known for blowing their opponents out this season. In that case, I am going to side with the Jaguars who should be able to keep the game within reach for the majority of the contest.
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence did a remarkable job rebounding from an eye-popping four interception first half against the Chargers by leading his team to come back from a 27-0 deficit. He should be able to exploit a mediocre Chiefs defense, especially with his primary weapon TE Evan Engram. Expect RB Travis Etienne to have a heavy workload as well since the Chiefs tend to struggle against the run more than the pass.
Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid should have no issue securing a spot in yet another AFC Championship game, but Jacksonville has the personnel and the coaching to keep this contest close. Chiefs win, but Jaguars cover.
Giants +7.5 over Eagles
Everyone who reads this blog knows I am a diehard Giants fan, but I will approach my pick from an unbiased betting perspective. The Giants have been a covering machine in their first season under head coach Brian Daboll, posting a 14-4 record ATS. Fresh off their upset of the Vikings, there is no team right now playing with more confidence than the G-Men. Daniel Jones has emerged as a legitimate franchise QB and Saquon Barkley deservedly earned a Pro Bowl appearance.
The Eagles, on the other hand, had a rocky end to their season. Dropping two of their final three games, they head into this matchup with several injuries. RT Lane Johnson is questionable, though he is expected to play and they will be without top CB Avonte Maddox. Still, there is no question that Philadelphia remains one of the best teams in the league and the biggest news is that QB Jalen Hurts seems to be back to 100 percent after a shoulder injury forced him to miss two games.
I love my Giants in this game. For one, this is a different Giants squad than the one the Eagles blew out 48-22 back in November. Back then, the Giants offense had yet to reach its stride and the defense was without notable stars such as DE Leonard Williams, S Xavier McKinney, and CB Adoree’ Jackson. Second, the Giants right now have all the momentum and since this will be the first meaningful game Hurts has played in since mid December, New York may be able to strike early and take advantage. The fan in me is calling the upset, but the bettor in me says to stick with taking the points with the underdog.
Bills -5.5 over Bengals
The Bengals were my preseason pick to reach the Super Bowl and I’ve been riding with them all season. However, injuries can change everything and that is the case in this matchup Sunday. Unfortunately for the Bengals, there is a good chance they will be missing three offensive linemen. La’el Collins is already on IR and Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams are trending in the wrong direction. If they can’t play, Joe Burrow will have his hands full with the Bills pass rush. Burrow tends to take his time in the pocket and his immobility could prove costly.
For the Bills, forget their embarrassing performance against the Dolphins last week. There is reason to believe they overlooked a Miami team that was starting a third-string rookie QB and played sloppy football that resulted in multiple turnovers. Expect Josh Allen to be more polished in this showdown and avoid careless mistakes.
This is my best bet of the week. Bills cover the high number.
49ers -4 over Cowboys
I went back and forth over this game, but I am sticking with my initial feeling to back the 49ers. Since Brock Purdy took over at QB, the 49ers have only failed to cover on one occasion. With a plethora of weapons on offense with RB Christian McCaffrey, WRs Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and TE George Kittle, Purdy should be able to exploit the stringent Dallas defense with multiple schemes that net them points.
I’m not going to heap praise on Dallas for defeating the Bucs. Don’t forget, the Cowboys were road favorites in that game and the Bucs never belonged in the postseason. Dak Prescott leads the league in interceptions despite playing four less games and I expect him to hurl multiple picks against the top passing defense in the league.
49ers win this one easily.