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- American football coach
Five picks against the NFL number, what’s what we do here. Share your best picks in the comments, or ping me at @scott_pianowski.
Dolphins -6 versus Giants
Although it can be challenging to fairly evaluate coaching — we’re not in the locker room and the meeting room, we know this — when a team notably improves as a season goes along, the coaching staff deserves props. Brian Flores has kept this ship from sinking, and it’s possible Miami could even sneak into the AFC playoff hunt, especially if the Patriots wind up not needing the Week 18 rematch.
I dare you to say one positive thing about the 2021 New York Giants.
Broncos +10 at Chiefs
Kansas City has circled its wagons nicely, but it’s mostly been about the defensive improvement. Home field means less around the NFL these days, and that certainly includes Arrowhead Stadium, where KC has been a 2-10 ATS drain over the past 12 starts. The design of the Broncos is unorthodox for the franchise’s recent history — the team probably has more talent on offense than defense — but Denver can hang around.
Rams -13 versus Jaguars
Generally, I’m allergic to spotting double-digit points with an NFL game, but the 2021 Rams are the type of team you might do it with. The Rams have turned into one of those bully teams — a club that doesn’t always measure up in the critical games, but generally smashes when it’s up against a clearly inferior opponent. And you have to wonder at what point the Jaguars might check out on this one-and-done coaching staff.
Eagles -6.5 at Jets
Philadelphia had a clear offensive edge against the Giants last week, but gave the game away with four turnovers. Protect the ball and a win and cover is likely against a Jets team that is forced to start its fourth-best quarterback — confused rookie Zach Wilson.
Patriots +3 at Bills
New England is a team well-built for the December weather we’ll see Monday night — a power running team. And Bill Belichick finally has the defense he wants, a unit that is versatile and has playmakers on all three levels. This is a 50-50 game; starting with any kind of points feels generous.