It has been a long, hard road to semi-respectability, but your boy is streaking toward the end of the season with a couple of pride markers in his eyesight. Specifically, I want to destroy Pete Prisco and Nick Kostos in our Pick Six Podcast standings -- we're all a part of #TeamOS for, Pete has a one-point Super Contest lead heading into Week 15 -- and the year-long NFL expert picks.

The former is primarily thanks to another hot week of best bets; only the silly Giants, who were waxed by the Cowboys at home, failed to cover in my five picks. Over the last four weeks, these picks are 16-4. Hopefully you stopped fading at the right time. 

Overall, I'm seven picks back of Jamey Eisenberg for the full slate of selections. That's still a doable number, even with just three weeks left (plus the playoffs). 

Panthers -3 vs. Packers

We were robbed in this game a little bit, because the line never took into account a ton of love for Aaron Rodgers. It opened as Panthers -2 or -3 and eventually had a quick spike up to Panthers -6 or -7 when there were reports about Green Bay potentially holding out Rodgers even though he'd be eligible to come off the IR by Week 15. This is a massive game for the Packers, because they probably need to win out in order to make the playoffs. But it's not like this game doesn't matter for Carolina -- they have the Packers, Buccaneers and Falcons left. Winning out doesn't guarantee them the NFC South but it would guarantee them a playoff berth and put them in a great spot to host a playoff game. Cam Newton has been up-and-down, but that's who Newton is. He's also starting to find some of his 2015 mojo down the stretch, and the Packers are not some kind of elite defense. The offensive line is a little banged up/thinner than they'd like, and the Panthers' defensive front will be looking to chase down a potentially tentative Rodgers. Carolina can salt away this game if it gets a lead and will cruise to a double-digit victory.

Chargers PK at Chiefs

Sometimes you bet with your heart instead of your head. It's not always the smartest move, largely because it can backfire in your face in a situation where you, hypothetically, picked the Chargers to win the AFC before the season and now they have a road game on a Saturday night with a chance to take down their division. What could go wrong with this fishy line?? Look, here's the bottom line: the Chargers are warm and they are a better team right now than the Chiefs. This implies the Chargers would be nearly a touchdown favorite at home against Kansas City, which feels high, but the Chiefs aren't good on defense. The Chargers have been dialed in recently on offense and Philip Rivers is a legitimate MVP candidate. This is his "Heisman Moment" -- if the Bolts can walk into Kansas City and win their fifth game in a row, move to 8-6 and take control of the division after an 0-4 start and with Rivers putting up big numbers (350 yards, three touchdowns?), he could absolutely put himself in the MVP mix with Tom Brady. All of that might be too much pressure, all of this might be too good a storyline and the Chiefs are still a dangerous team with a veteran coach in Andy Reid and a lot of offensive weapons. Marcus Peters is back and will provide a fascinating matchup against Keenan Allen. I think the Chargers could win but I'm worried about my blinders. 

49ers -2 vs. Titans

The Jimmy Garoppolo lovefest is so real that a 3-win 49ers team is FAVORED over a team that was the No. 3 seed in the AFC just a week ago. Of course, that team is the Titans, and the Titans might be terrible, so it makes a little sense. And I'm buying into the Jimmy G hype and the way it's changed this team. Marquise Goodwin and Jimmy G have an early connection and suddenly Garrett Celek is a dangerous weapon on the offensive end. Kyle Shanahan is sort of dialing up some fun plays and you can see how the future would be bright. This might be a comeback spot a little bit and there's some issues in terms of how this team will stop the Titans rushing attack ... except the Titans can't counter by doing anything in the passing game to make the 49ers not load the box. Tennessee is one of the worst passing teams in the league, and Marcus Mariota has 10 touchdowns to 14 interceptions on the season. He also has a banged-up knee and there are questions about whether he's battling hamstring and ankle injuries too. He's just not himself and it gives the 49ers a big advantage here. There's a little desperation for the Titans in terms of needing to win this game to stay alive in the AFC South hunt, but the 49ers are just playing better. 

Vikings -10.5 vs. Bengals

This is a big number, but I couldn't care less. Look at the circumstances surrounding these two teams and it is abundantly clear that Minnesota should hammer the Bengals by multiple touchdowns. Minnesota lost a close game to Carolina to finish 2-1 on a really difficult three-game road trip. They are heading home with the No. 1 seed in the NFC in their sights. Cincy laid down last week after losing to the Steelers on Monday night in Week 13 -- the Bengals looked like they didn't care against the Bears in Week 14, knowing full well that their season is over and big changes are coming. Maybe Marvin Lewis convinces this team to get up against his old defensive coordinator, but the injury report is not promising for Cincy. The Vikings are a team that can run the ball, put up some points early with Case Keenum in the passing game and then smother a bad offense with one of the best defenses in football. That's the formula for a 21- or 14-point victory.

Rams +2 at Seahawks

A late addendum here on a Friday and I apologize for that, but the injury report necessitates it. A couple of things are in play. First up is the Lions' injury report. They are missing a ton of offensive linemen (see: below) and it could mean not a lot of time for Matthew Stafford plus Detroit failing to be able to run out the clock. More importantly is the news that Bobby Wagner, the most important non Earl Thomas player to the Seahawks' defense at this point, did not practice all week. If he plays, it's an upset. And if he doesn't play, Todd Gurley is going to have a dance party against Seattle. This game means a ton to the Seahawks, and to both teams really. It basically involves control of the division and a playoff berth. Betting against Russell Wilson in that spot is not where you want to be, because he always finds a way to come up big. But I'm doing it anyway, because the Rams are the better team. Sean McVay can scheme up against this secondary for Jared Goff and Sammy Watkins. Aaron Donald will hunt down Russell. And, again, Gurley will have a field day running against a Seahawks team that I believe will be missing both Wagner and K.J. Wright. The Rams flip the division in a big spot here.

Note: I liked the Lions originally but there have been a lot of injuries to their offensive line. That's got me red flagging this game as something they might not run away with. Still, here's why I like the Lions this week as a bonus pick.

Bonus Pick: Lions -5.5 vs. Bears

This is more about value and people believing the Bears are better than they really are. Mitchell Trubisky is starting to look good in the passing game and Chicago fans should at least be interested in keeping up with a frisky Bears team that can make other teams nervous. At the same time, this is a Lions team facing possible playoff elimination if it doesn't manage to win this game. We talk about the Bears defense being better than we think, but Chicago is secretly 28th against the pass based on DVOA. The Lions are a better team with more to play for and they come out swinging at home here, put up some points and force Trubisky to try and come back against them. The result will be a couple of extra scores and the Lions winning a rare primetime game that doesn't involve a really close outcome. 

  • Last week best bets: 4-1
  • Best bets season: 33-36-1
  • Last week overall: 11-5
  • Season overall: 105-97-7