It was bound to happen at some point. Last week was my first losing week of the season. The Browns came out with a lot of desire to not finish the season 0-16 and the Cowboys really surprised me by lighting up the Lions in a meaningless game for them.
My first 0-2 week of the season brings my season record against the spread to 25-12-2. There is one more week before playoffs and week 17 is always one of the most difficult to predict for because the motivation level varies dramatically across the board. I will do my best to decipher what kind of lineups teams will be fielding on Sunday and what their motivation will be to perform in the last week of the season.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
- Dallas +4
- Philadelphia -4
The last I heard out of Dallas was that the Cowboys want to continue to give reps to Dak Prescott to give him as much experience as possible heading into the playoffs. This is also likely the case for Ezekiel Elliott who still ran the ball 12 times last week for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns. I think the Cowboys will use backups at some point in this game, but I do think the starters will get some reps here.
The Eagles did beat a Giants team with nothing to play for at home last week, but before that they had lost 5 straight. I’m just not convinced that the Eagles are the better team even if the Cowboys do rest starters.
Overall, this just seems like a spot where people want to target a team with nothing to play for, but let’s not forget that the game does still need to be played and whatever players are on the field for the Cowboys will be playing to win.
Play: Cowboys +4
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville +4.5
- Indianapolis -4.5
The Jags looked very solid last week against the Titans. This might be a case of the Jags turning into a solid team in garbage time of the season, similar to how Bortles turns into a superstar late in games when the Jags are clearly out of it. The coaching staff also utilized Allen Robinson much better last week, moving him around the field a lot more, which resulted in his best game of the season.
I think the Jags will be feeling good about themselves last week and look to end the season with another win. The Colts, on the other hand, were eliminated from the playoffs last week and I expect them to just be going through the motions to finish out a season in which they had playoff aspirations.
Play: Jaguars +4.5
That’s it for my NFL spread picks for the regular season. Check back next week for the wild card plays.