Ultimate Pick 6: Battle for The North Between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings
We have somehow done it.
We have somehow achieved the impossible and we somehow have gotten that season total close to the .500 mark again. Dare I say if I put together another trademarked 5-1 week we will officially be over .500 mark by this time next week. Let me just say that would make my year. Fingers crossed.
I’ve said it all year and I’ll say it again, my locks just don’t miss. We hit another layup last week when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers easily ran through the Detroit Lions, moving the season lock record to 10-3 on the year and 3-0 over this three-week run.
I won’t keep you guys waiting for your six winners any longer. Dive in headfirst to the breakdowns below if you like swimming in free money.
Houston Texans -3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite the Bucs impressive four-game win streak, only the Texans are still competing for a 2019 playoff spot in this one. The one thing that I have absolutely loved as of late has been the electric ride that Bucs’ quarterback James Winston has provided NFL fans with, as he has continued to throw for ridiculous numbers throughout the last half of this season. His turnovers have been a problem all year, but his ability to still convert drives into touchdowns has overplayed his all of his negatives.
Now as much as I credit Jameis for all of his success, the defenses, and teams overall for that matter, were not ones that you will see competing in the postseason this year. The Texans defense, although statistically poor against the pass and below average overall, is one that will have the opportunity to compete for the Lombardi.
I won’t go as far as to say that the Texans will totally suppress Winston and this Bruce Arians-led offense, but I do think this defense will come alive for this one as a win would clinch their second-consecutive AFC South title. Considering that Tampa Bay is already out of contention, I don’t anticipate playing on the road for Houston to be any sort of disadvantage.
Despite the hiccup the Texans had a few weeks back against the Broncos, a hiccup that I think people are still holding too much stock in, they have been playing some good ball as of late. I think in the Buccaneers wrap up the division this week and claim their spot in the post season while covering the -3 in the process.
**The Texans are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games. The Texans are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games.
Buffalo Bills +6.5 vs. New England Patriots
On paper, I love the Bills here not only to keep it close, but I think they have an opportunity to win this game straight up.
However, they’re playing the evil empire on their home planet this Saturday in Tom Brady and the Patriots, to which you can NEVER count out that team. A lot of people are saying that the Patriots “blew out” the Cincinnati Bengals last week which, sure you could say that as the second half was a slaughter, but this game was also tied at half time. Also, should we really credit the Patriots for blowing out a team that came into that game with one, single win so far this year? I don’t think so.
My biggest key in this one for the Bills entirely revolves around quarterback Josh Allen. I know I haven’t given the type of credit that most people have given to the Pats’ defense this year, but I do recognize that they are still above average. If Allen can find a way to just control the game, be productive by not turning the ball over and just simply getting the ball to his speedy receivers on the outside and his deep backfield, the Bills will win.
Buffalo’s defense is entirely too underrated and it's without a doubt one of the best ones New England has seen all year. Keep in mind that the Patriots only put up 16 points on them in their first contest. If Buffalo can control the clock and keep it simple on offense, while letting their talented defense do the heavy lifting, I think they cover the +6.5 without a problem.
**The Bills are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games. The Bills are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 7 road games
New Orleans Saints -3 vs. Tennessee Titans (LOCK)
I’ve been riding the Tennessee Titans train all season long and recently just got off last week as I picked the Texans to finally stop the surging Ryan Tannehill. Although I still view the Titans as a good team, I just don’t think the Titans have what it takes to stop the red hot Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints.
There was a period where I was worried about New Orleans as their offense seemed stagnant and their dominant defense started having issues stopping their opponents.
However, as we witnessed last week on Monday Night Football, the Saints are back.
People might not even realize that the Titans have all of the motivation in the world to show up in this one as they are still in the hunt for not only a wild card spot, but they are still have an opportunity to win the AFC South. However, I just don’t see the Titans’ best being even close to the level that the Saints are operating at right now.
I mean, in their last five games alone, the Saints have scored a combined total of 174 points which is good enough for a 34.8 points per game average. Oh, and not to mention that the Titans have the 25th best passing defense in the NFL, this should be a backyard shootout for Brees and the boys.
To me, the Saints only being a three-point favorite isn’t nearly enough to make me even think twice about taking the Titans, especially when New Orleans is still looking to secure that extremely valuable one seed in the NFC as well as home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Also, being that this game isn’t too far from their home state, I think the Saints will have as many fans in attendance as the Titans as that fan base prides themselves on traveling well. This is easy for me as I think the Saints smash the -3 line.
**The Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Saints are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins -1
The matchup this week against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins is your definition of the toilet bowl. You have two teams that have a combined four wins between them while at this point neither team is trotting out any big-name, star players either (neither team really has any on the roster at this point anyway).
With all that being said, I’m picking this game based on what I’ve felt from both teams during the last half of their seasons thus far.
To me, the Bengals look half asleep each week and it looks as if they’re playing just to keep the game close. I have yet to see this team get fired up for anything at any point this season. The Dolphins, on the other hand, have played in some battles over the last half of this season, winning 3 of their last 7 with one of those losses coming as an absolute last-second heartbreaker to the New York Jets.
There is something about these Dolphins that I just like.They have a fire, they have an edge.
Despite the fact that this was initially the "Tank for Tua" season (which has been renamed “Blow it for Burrow”) their players have seemed to play hard all season while giving each team they faced all they could handle for the full sixty minutes. Now where is that fire coming from you might ask? I think that fire is coming from rookie head coach and long-time Bill Belichick disciple, Brian Flores who truly only knows a winning nature from his days with the Patriots.
Honestly, this was an extremely hard breakdown to put together as both teams are pretty darn bad so I was grasping at straws here. I could be wrong here but, I just think the Dolphins just seem to care a lot more at this point and for some reason, I just have a feeling Miami is going to run through the Bengals at home here. Also, FitzMagic baby. Give me the Dolphins -1 all day.
**The Dolphins are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. The Bengals are 0-12 in their last 12 road games.
New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins -2.5
Although this game has a little bit more juice considering these two teams are combined for a MUCH better six total wins between the two of them. Also, let’s not forget that this game does in fact matter. Why does it matter might you ask? Well my friends, these two historic franchises are playing to win in this one in order not to finish this season in last place within their awful division...
That’s right, these once proud and storied franchises are fighting just to not be cellar dwellers for the 2019 season.
Although part of me wants to roll with the road Giants in this one, I just can't ignore the chemistry Dwayne Haskins and his other young receivers have been flashing over these last couple weeks. Over the last few games, the rookie receiver trio of Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims Jr. have looked quite impressive, giving opposing defenses a much tougher task than what they originally planned for.
Also, let’s not forget that the ageless wonder, Adrian Peterson has been quietly putting together a very productive season that currently has him sitting right around 800 yards rushing. Earlier in the season, I liked the Giants in this same matchup as they seemed to have more momentum heading into their first meeting that saw the Giants come out with a 24-3 victory.
However, I think the momentum has made a complete 180 over the last few weeks as it looks like the Redskins look to be less worried about their draft pick and more worried about finishing their season strong. As long as the offense continues to be productive, I think the Redskins win this one by a score or two, while easily covering the -2.5.
**The Giants are 0-5 in their last 5 road games. The Redskins are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the NFC
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings -4.5
I mentioned it a bit last week in my write up for the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers and that is that the Packers just aren’t that good. Don’t get me wrong, their running game has been very impressive for the first time since the Ahman Green days and you still have Aaron Rodgers behind center, but their wide receiving core has been anything but spectacular and aside from their pass rush, I think their defense is overrated.
Yes, I know they just beat the Bears last week and eliminated their fierce rivals from contention, but the Bears are an average team who played bad and still almost had a shot to tie it up on the last play of the game.
The Minnesota Vikings, on the other hand, are a sneaky team that nobody has been talking about. The narrative the last few years has been how overrated quarterback Kirk Cousins has been, but gosh darn it, he’s having arguably the best season out of any QB in the NFC.
The Minnesota defense has been elite for years now and that has not changed throughout 2019. In their last 10 games, the Vikings are 8-2 with those two losses coming to Super Bowl contenders in the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs by just a combined total margin of 10 measly points. Aside from the Baltimore Ravens, I think you could argue that the Vikings are the second hottest team in football.
Also, the fact that this game is in Minneapolis gives the Vikings a huge edge. If Minnesota can shut down Green Bay’s electric running game and force Rodgers to throw the ball, I don’t think the Packers stand a chance against the Vikings’ secondary. I like the Vikings -4.5 here in the primetime.
**The Vikings are 6-0 in their last 6 home games. The Vikings are 3-2 ATS in their last 5 games.
Original photo via Andy Kenutis/@vikingsphotog