Everything was going well. Too well. Eerily well. The kind of well that doesn’t typically happen in NFL cities outside of New England this time of year.
It was, I thought, time for the Vikings to lose last week. They had won seven straight and were facing a good – not better — team on the road. They’d still be a very good team, but, sorry, time to lose.
And then they played a defensive masterpiece while Case Keenum and the offense protected the ball and scored touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone. They scored 14 points. And won. In Atlanta.
A week later, here we are again. Everything is going well. Too well. Eerily well. The kind of well … well, you get the idea.
It feels like it’s time for the Vikings to lose a game. They’ve won eight straight and are facing a good – not better — team on the road.
This time, I think I’ll just take the better team and see what happens. The Vikings are 2 ½-point favorites. Take the Vikings.
The picks went 11-5 straight up last week and 8-8 against the spread. They’re at 124-66 SU and 92-99 ATS on the year. My Vikings’ picks fell to 8-4 and that Upset Not-So-Special, well, I had a bad feeling about that one when the Lions fell behind 20-0 at Baltimore.
There were five upsets last week, including the Vikings and 49ers on the road. Seattle “upset” the Eagles, but is it really an upset when Russell Wilson and the Seahawks win a December home game?
This week, nine road teams are favored, including, of course, the Patriots, who are 11 ½-point favorites in Miami. I’ll take New England by 21. Last week, I underestimated them against Buffalo. I said they’d win by 14. They won by 20.
Other road teams favored this week are the Vikings, Saints in Atlanta, Lions in Tampa, Cowboys at the Giants, Titans in Arizona, Jets in Denver, Seahawks in Jacksonville and Packers in Cleveland. I like the Vikings, Saints, Cowboys, Jets, Seahawks and Packers to win.
The urge is to take the Browns as an upset special. But it seems fitting that they lose so they can become the first team in league history to start 0-13 in back-to-back seasons. #clevelandnotsostrong.
Here are this week’s picks …
Vikings minus-2 1/2 at Panthers: Vikings by 7
If the Vikings win this game, they’ll post six straight road wins in a single season for the first time in franchise history. If Keenum records a passer rating of 100 or more, it will be the fifth straight game he has done that. That will break the team record he now shares with Brett Favre (2009) and Daunte Culpepper (2004).
Saints minus-1 ½ at Falcons: Saints by 3
49ers plus-2 1/2 at Texans: 49ers by 3
Colts plus-6 1/2 at Bills: Bills by 7
Bears plus-6 1/2 at Bengals: Bengals by 10
Lions minus-1/2 at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 3
Packers minus-3 1/2 at Browns: Packers by 10
Cowboys minus-4 1/2 at Giants: Cowboys by 7
Redskins plus-6 1/2 at Chargers: Chargers by 7
Titans minus-2 1/2 at Cardinals: Cardinals by 3
Jets minus-1/2 at Broncos: Jets by 7
Seahawks minus-2 1/2 at Jaguars: Seahawks by 7
Eagles plus-2 1/2 at Rams: Eagles by 3
Ravens plus-5 1/2 at Steelers: Steelers by 10
Patriots minus-11 1/2 at Dolphins: Patriots by 21
Raiders plus-4 1/2 at Chiefs: Raiders by 7
From 5-0 to 6-6, there’s no longer any reason to think the Chiefs are anything but completely spent.
Last week straight up; versus spread: 11-5; 8-8
Year to date: 124-66; 92-99
Upset specials: 3-10
Record picking Vikings games: 8-4