We’re almost to the end of the 2022 NFL season and what a wild ride it has been. It’s made it hard to predict, that’s for sure. I’m basically sitting at .500 on the year for my picks, so I need a good performance these last two weeks are important for me if I want to end up in the positive. I’ve got 32 games left to do so, so let’s get after it. Here are my picks against the spread for every game this week, the last week before we get 16 divisional matchups to cap off the season.
Dallas Cowboys over Tennessee Titans (+14)
We’re kicking the week off with a game that is almost impossible to pick. Both Derrick Henry and Tony Pollard will be inactive for this game and the Titans will be down to Joshua Dobbs as their quarterback. I don’t have a ton of faith that the Titans will be able to score, but I do trust their defense. the Titans have a very solid group on that side of the ball and should be able to keep this game within 14. A timely turnover or two and a big stop may be all they need to keep the lead to two scores, and I think Jeffery Simmons, Kevin Byard, and the rest of the Titans’ defense are more than capable of doing that.
Carolina Panthers (+3) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is another game that is tough to predict because both of these teams have shown two vastly different versions of themselves. The Panthers have been able to dominate on the ground recently but have also had games where they can’t get anything going on offense. The Bucs have looked like an actual playoff team at times but more often have looked like a team just struggling to keep things together. I do think the Panthers’ rushing attack against the Bucs’ defense will be an interesting matchup because those areas are the strengths of their respective teams. I’m picking the Panthers because I believe they do have a shot to win and since they’re the underdogs, I’m also covered if they lose a close game.
Washington Commanders (-1.5) over Cleveland Browns
This game comes down to one thing, mainly. The Commanders are still playing for their postseason lives. If they win out these next two games then they make the playoffs. The Browns have nothing to play for anymore, they don’t even have their first-round pick because of the Deshaun Watson trade. So, I’m expecting Washington to be far more motivated for this game. It also helps that they got Chase Young back last week. But Carson Wentz will be back under center for them, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing at this point. Regardless, I still have faith in the Commanders, who are playing for their playoff lives.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) over New Orleans Saints
The Eagles have plenty of reasons to try to win this game. For one, they’ll wrap up the division with their next win (or Dallas loss). They’ll also lock up the first seed with a win and secure a bye and home-field advantage. Lastly, a win this week will make the Saints’ first-round pick worse, which the Eagles own after last year’s draft-day trade. Add in the fact that Philly is coming off only its second loss of the season last week and you have a team that is primed for a big win against a struggling Saints team.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) over Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have reached the level where I just pick against them no matter what. They’ll have Colt McCoy back under center this week, but I doubt that will matter too much. The Falcons will be able to run the ball down the Cardinals’ throat and should be able to stop a very lackluster Cardinals’ offense. Things are just going disastrously for the Cardinals this season and that should continue with a defeat at the hands of the Falcons.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) over Houston Texans
This game technically doesn’t mean anything for the Jaguars’ playoff chances because the division will be up for grabs when they play the Titans next week. But they will still be looking to keep things rolling and grab another win on their way to a potential postseason berth. The Texans beat the Titans last week and it would be a miracle if they were able to pull off back-to-back wins this year. Jacksonville is playing very well at the moment with Trevor Lawrence finally living up to his gargantuan hype. This is a game the Jaguars have to win if they want to be taken seriously at all, and I think that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Chicago Bears (+6) over Detroit Lions
Something has turned me into a Bears believer recently, and I’m pretty sure it’s having Justin Fields on my fantasy team (even though I was eliminated from the playoffs two weeks ago). I just think this team is better than a three-win team since they have played a handful of close games against good teams. I think this is the perfect chance for them to add another win and gain some momentum heading into next season. Also, the Lions just got gashed on the ground by the Panthers last week and the last time I checked, Fields is a bit more dangerous as a runner than Sam Darnold. If the Bears follow the script of pounding the rock and can hold up adequately on defense, they can absolutely win this game.
Miami Dolphins (+3) over New England Patriots
This line doesn’t make a ton of sense, but I guess with both teams struggling it’s logical to make the home team the favorite. With that being said, I feel like the Dolphins are still the better team. Even with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, I’m still picking Miami in this one. The Patriots have been losing heartbreakers recently, so they may be able to keep this one close, but I doubt they can pull this off. Maybe New England just comes out on fire for this one and earns a big win that keeps them alive for the playoffs, but my bet is that the Dolphins play like the better team that they are and get this victory.
Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5) over Denver Broncos
After what the Broncos displayed last week, I’d take the Chiefs at -30. There is no reason to be confident in Denver at all, meanwhile, the Chiefs are rounding into form as a Super Bowl favorite. When you put those two things together you get a blowout victory for Kansas City, it’s as simple as that.
New York Giants (-5.5) over Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are just one of those teams that fall completely apart at the end of the season. Between losing Jonathan Taylor to injury to playing Nick Foles at quarterback, nothing is going right for them. On the other hand, the Giants somehow control their destiny for the playoffs, so a win here is incredibly important for them. There is no reason they should lose this game so unless they turn into the disastrous Giants of the past five years, this should be an easy win for them as they continue their miraculous run to the postseason.
New York Jets (-1.5) over Seattle Seahawks
Things are just not trending in the right direction for the Seahawks. The offense is starting to stall while the defense has not improved enough to make up for the offensive struggles. The Jets, meanwhile, are having a shocking season that still has them in the playoff hunt, and they’re getting Mike White back this week. He should be able to elevate the offense enough to score a handful of points and let the Jet’’ stellar defense do the rest to earn the victory. Maybe Geno Smith has the game of his life in his revenge game against the team that drafted him, but if that doesn’t happen, the Jets will probably win.
San Francisco 49ers (-10) over Las Vegas Raiders
This might be the easiest decision of the week for me. We’ve got the unquestioned best defense in the league going up against an inexperienced quarterback making his first-ever start in Jarrett Stidham. I don’t see any scenario in which Stidham succeeds, even with some talented weapons around him. And then you’ve got a 49ers offense that has been playing exceptionally well with Brock Purdy at the helm going up against a Raiders’ defense that would not be described as stout. This all adds up to be a pretty easy win for the Niners, and I would be shocked if anything else happened.
Green Bay Packers (-3) over Minnesota Vikings
On the surface, this seems like an odd pick. The Vikings have one of the best records in the league and the Packers have been incredibly disappointing this year. But, the Packers may just be heating up at the right time and have been pretty good in December in recent years, the Vikings also have played in a close game pretty much every week and eventually, that luck is going to run out. Additionally, the Vikings’ defense has proven to be vulnerable, so the Packers may be able to take advantage of that. And the Packers’ defense just played well against the Dolphins, so they may be able to at least get in the way of Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. The Packers also need this win in order to keep their slim playoff chances alive, so I’m in on the Packers this year.
Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) over Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had their moment last week when they got a big win over the Broncos on Christmas. But now they have to play a team that is actually good, and I suspect their luck will run out. They may be able to do something on the ground since the Chargers’ defense is susceptible to the run, but it won’t be enough to win. The Chargers are hot right now, winning games at the right time, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon. The Rams would have to revert to last year’s defense in order to stop Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Keenan Allen, and that definitely isn’t happening. Unless Baker Mayfield truly is the savior of the Rams’ franchise, this will be a Chargers win.
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers got their big win last week, beating the Raiders on Sunday Night Football while honoring the late Franco Harris. I could see them experiencing a drop-off this week without all the emotions surrounding the game this time. The Ravens also need this win if they want to stay alive for the AFC North crown, so this rivalry game is that much more important. Even without Lamar Jackson, which looks to be the case, the Ravens should be able to win. Their defense has been playing out of their minds lately and the Steelers don’t necessarily have the offense to test them. This will probably be a close game for several reasons (weather, familiarity, quarterback play), but I think the Ravens will emerge victorious.
Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5) over Buffalo Bills
This is an incredible game and the fact that it will be on Monday Night Football makes it even better. Two of the best quarterbacks and the best teams going at it is always a fun time. I think the Bengals take this one, though, and really assert themselves as a threat in the AFC. Both teams have plenty of star power and firepower on both sides of the ball, but I’m giving the upper hand to Cincy. The Bengals are at home and have more to prove since everybody already knows the Bills are a Super Bowl contender. A win here would go a long way toward the Bengals’ chances at repeat Super Bowl appearances.