Game picks with spread for all matchups


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The Black Friday Jets-Dolphins game was a great example of how reducing stress can help improve your health. The game was less traumatizing when the intercepting team gave points as the Lock of the Week. It took 30 years to figure out that most of the Jets betting angst could have been avoided. The upcoming matchup on Sunday at MetLife Stadium between the Falcons and Jets is an interesting one. Atlanta is a two-point road favorite with Desmond Ridder at quarterback. Ridder was benched for two games as Arthur Smith turned to Taylor Heinicke. He has seven touchdown passes versus eight interceptions on an offense with a lot of weapons. The Jets’ defense has been undeterred by an offense that’s been bad and has been getting worse rapidly. They’re not the ’85 Bears, and their overall point and yardage stats aren’t even that impressive, but no quarterback wants to face them. Guys like Quinnen Williams and Quincy Williams, Bryce Huff, Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed are still going at it hard. Though the Falcons have a marginally better team, this feels like a game where the Jets’ defense can cause a lot of problems for Ridder and set up Tim Boyle with some short fields. In and around seven Dolphins sacks, Boyle completed 27 of 38 passes so at least there’s some function, and he did hit Garrett Wilson for a touchdown, which is cause for a parade. The pick: Jets +2. Bill Belichick’s lifeless squad is on a four-game skid and has scored just 47 points in those games. A surprise win over the Bills on Oct. 22 and some earlier competitive losses to the Eagles and Dolphins are ancient history. The Chargers are one of the great NFL mysteries. It’s incredible this stacked team doesn’t win more games and by wider margins. The Lions have been lagging of late, but I’m figuring the Thanksgiving loss to the Packers will serve as a wake-up call for a team that’s still in great shape in the NFC at 8-3. They’re 4-1 on the road with wins at the Chiefs, Packers, Bucs and Chargers — averaging 29 ppg in those games. Visiting Cardinals get a break with the weather. It may be dingy and wet but upper 50s temperatures are a lot better than the alternative in Pittsburgh in early December. Hoping Kyler Murray can do enough against a Steelers team whose past four games have been decided by four, four, three and six points. It’s not quite as cut and dried as saying Derrick Henry is healthy for the Titans, and Jonathan Taylor is out for the Colts. That’s because the last time these teams met, a 23-16 Colts win, Zack Moss ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Moss is rarin’ to go. Not sure what to make of a midweek Dolphins injury report which lists eight offensive players as questionable — including Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert and 80 percent of the offensive line. Commanders are maddening but did have the two close losses to the Eagles. Willing to give Sam Howell and Terry McLaurin a shot to stay under a huge number at home. Broncos have won five in a row, going 4-1 ATS. Little concerned about them offensively with WRs Jerry Jeudy and Marvin Mims Jr. on the injury report, but I’m thinking this will be a typical Texans game — close with a good chance of the margin landing at three or less. A Denver defense that once gave up 70 points in a single game to the Dolphins has yielded a total of 80 over the past five games. Quite a turnaround for Patrick Surtain II, Justin Simmons & Co. Will the Panthers get the same dead-cat bounce after firing Frank Reich that the Colts got last year when they plucked Jeff Saturday off the couch, put him on the sidelines and beat the Raiders? Reich was a bad fit in Charlotte, but I doubt there will be a serious rally ’round the new guy, Chris Tabor. Carolina’s cupboard is pretty bare, and the Bucs should be smelling blood. Hard to pass up a 7-4 team with a good defense plus more than a field goal against a 5-6 team in a stadium that holds very little home-field advantage. But with Joe Flacco likely to start, and both Amari Cooper and Myles Garrett listed as questionable, this version of the Browns could be a far cry from what they were earlier in the season. Revenge game for last season’s NFC Championship when the 49ers lost Brock Purdy then Josh Johnson got hurt and Purdy had to go back in the game with a torn UCL. Now the Niners are healthy, loaded and on a three-game win streak with an average margin of 17 ppg. It’s Patrick Mahomes’ first visit to Lambeau Field, and he will get a real taste of it with 29-degree temperatures and a coating of snow. The Pack showed a lot of life on Thanksgiving in Detroit but have a lot of defensive players listed on the injury report. Should be a fun Sunday nighter. No disrespect to the Jaguars, who have won by double digits in five of their eight victories. Just think we’ll see some improvement from Jake Browning and that this is a lot of points to be giving a team that’s got quite a few guys who played in championship games and the Super Bowl, even if Joe Burrow’s not one of them. Best bets: Broncos, Commanders, Bengals Lock of the week: Broncos (Locks 4-8 in 2023) Last week: 9-6-1 overall, 3-0 Best Bets Thursday: Cowboys

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