I’m back in Indiana and back to a normal schedule, so it’s time for some Sunday picks. Spending almost two weeks on a cruise ship can be discombobulating for your internal calendar (the elevators actually show what day it is to remind you while onboard), so it’s nice to get back to some sense of normalcy.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for how the NFL looks with the Omicron variant ravaging rosters. December is already a tough time to bet the NFL because of injuries and weather, and now we’ve got to deal with decimated rosters and figuring out which teams are still fighting and which no longer care. But we’ll give it a go anyway; here are my best picks for December 26.
CHARGERS -10, -110
The door is wide open for Los Angeles, who’s currently sitting sixth in the AFC and facing a Houston team that appears to have given up on the season and has no desire to blow its draft pick. The Chargers are on track to face New England or the AFC North champion in the first round, and that gives them a desirable road if they can hold their spot. They should be ready for this one.
BENGALS -7, -110
Taking a young team like Cincinnati in this spot is worrisome, but I’d much rather do that than back Josh Johnson as the Ravens’ only healthy quarterback. The line has jumped four points, but it honestly could have gone a lot higher given that the Bengals destroyed the Ravens in Baltimore earlier this season when the Ravens were actually healthy. Cincinnati is prone to head-scratchers, but I’ll back them here.
PATRIOTS -1, -110
One thing we saw in the Indianapolis-Arizona game is that while the Colts are a well-coached team, the Cardinals are not, and it made the difference in Indy’s win. I’m going to apply that same logic here and back New England to complete the sweep and salt away the AFC East. The Patriots have the master on the sidelines, and while Sean McDermott isn’t anywhere near as poor as Kliff Kingsbury, I’m not taking him in Foxboro with a hampered team against Bill Belichick.
EAGLES -11, -110
The Eagles have plenty to play for here, and the Giants have been just awful on the road. You might think this is a lot of points to lay with Philadelphia, but the Eagles are not the kind of team that wins close games. Philadelphia has seven wins on the season and six have come by double digits, so if you’re going to back the Birds, you might as well do it and lay the wood while expecting the Eagles to do the same. With Daniel Jones injured, I think Philly can put a faded New York to the sword.
RAIDERS -1, -110
Hate, hate, hate this option, but we don’t have a lot of choices here. Even though Vegas is a “do not bet” for me, this is a situation where the Broncos are planning to start Drew Lock, which is even less appealing than taking the Raiders. Both teams need this game if they’re going to have a chance at the playoffs, but the Raiders appear slightly less awful an option, so if you need to bet, back Vegas here.