Note: Resident Pointspreads.ca football handicapper "El Hombre" has been posting his NFL plays since Week #1 and he's racking up the profits. Now, three months into the season, he's hitting about 63 percent winners – wow, not bad for free analysis! Here's his latest opinions on this week's games and his three best bets.
Previous Week’s Record: 1-2
Overall Season Record: 22-13
Welcome to the month of December in the NFL, a time of year when you can easily become confused by “gimme” games that come back to bite you in the ass and “contenders” that turned out to only be pretenders by the time the clock struck midnight and their fairy tale ride through the season all of a sudden turns into a pumpkin (looking at you, Cleveland).
Let’s take a look at what Week 13 has to offer.
Tennessee Titans (8-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (8-3)
I am going to let you in on a little secret: I was tempted to pick the Jets over the Raiders to start out. The Raiders travel to the East Coast for the second time in two weeks and face a must-win situation on the road while their opponent is bound to stumble into a win…but then I remembered the sheer existence of Adam Gase and Sam Darnold and I soured on that pick. Instead, let me turn your attention to the “Throwback Bowl”. The two most potent teams in the NFL when it comes to rushing yards per game clash in a vital match-up for playoff positioning. Titans running back Derrick Henry and Browns RB Nick Chubb will both make stunning plays, but do I trust Cleveland’s “saviour” Baker Mayfield or Ryan “game manager” Tannehill more to make that one clutch pass and win the game? The answer is Tannehill. Titans win, but Browns get my money.
My pick: Titans win 31-28, but don't cover – take the Browns +6.
Arizona Cardinals (6-5) vs. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Showdown of two wounded teams clinging to wild card spots and the hope of catching the Seattle Seahawks atop the NFC West. The winner will hang on to that dream, the loser will enter a world of doubt and uncertainty. The Rams haven’t lost to Arizona since Week 17 of the 2016 season, and Cardinals QB Kyler
Murray didn’t fare well in either of his match-ups with them last year. He got sacked six times in a 34-7 Week 13 loss and then threw two picks in a 31-24 defeat in Week 17. Will this year be different? I believe it will. The Cardinals have only allowed 18 sacks through 12 weeks this season, a stark contrast to the 50 they allowed during all of 2019, and Murray’s running ability will allow him to escape pressure when needed. The key to it all will be for the Arizona defence to make Rams quarterback Jared Goff uncomfortable like the Dolphins and 49ers did. The Cardinals are in the top third of the league in sacks per game.
My pick: Cardinals (+3), who I predict will beat the Rams 28 – 21 outright
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL PICK
San Francisco 49ers (5-6) vs. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
Las Vegas is iffy about this game, almost calling it a toss-up. I think Buffalo is just a healthier, more complete team. Their advantage in the passing game is larger than San Francisco’s gains on the ground, while their defences are even. If Josh Allen doesn’t commit multiple turnovers, Bills go to 9-3. Simple as that.
My pick: Bills (-1) win, but it should be close. 20-17 final, won by the better team.
-- by El Hombre