Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Super Bowl 55

super bowl 55

It’s been seven long months since the beginning of the most challenging NFL season in recent memory, and we’re finally at the moment of the big game. 32 teams started the season with Super Bowl hopes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s now down to two.

I’m Mike James and welcome to the final edition of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for the 20-21 season.

All odds are courtesy of oddsshark.com

Sunday February 7
Super Bowl 55
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida
Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 3

Here are our selections on who we think has the most advantages starting with quarterbacks.

522830123

QB – For the Bucs, all you need to know is the name Tom Brady, and you have greatness. In the last 21 seasons, Brady has made it to the big game 10 times, and his record is currently 6 wins and 3 defeats, one against Philadelphia, the other two against the New York Football Giants. Brady gets his crack at another ring with a new team in Tampa Bay. This season has been solid for Brady, over 4,600 passing yards with 40 TD’s on the year. Not bad for a 43-year-old quarterback. For the Chiefs, the future is now with QB Patrick Mahomes. Four years into his career, Mahomes has already become the youngest quarterback to lead his team to a Super Bowl at the age of 25. His numbers were impressive. In 15 games, he’s thrown for over 4,700 yards and 38 TD’s. He’s already got the taste for a championship having won last year, and no doubt want another one. The NFL is a young man’s game, but seeing the ageless wonder in Brady, these two teams are at even.

Advantage: Even

———————————————————

3100832702

RB – Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the main back for the Chiefs. In his first season, he’s run for 803 yards out of the backfield and scored 4 TD’s on the year. He also has 1,100 total yards on the year. Le’Veon Bell was a nice pick up after being dropped by the Jets. He’s a stop-gap measure in case Edwards-Helaire is injured. Other RB’s are Anthony Sherman at Fullback, Darwin Thompson and Darrel Williams. For the Bucs, Ronald Jones II got most of the snaps for the year. He rushed for 978 yards and seven TD’s. Leonard Fournette was acquired early this season after being waived by Jacksonville. He’s come on during the playoffs, gaining 70.3 yards per game and scoring 2 TD’s. LeSean McCoy was a free agent pick up from Buffalo as the third back. CJ Prosise and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn round out the rushing corps. Kansas City leads Tampa Bay in rushing, 112.4 to 94.9 yards per game. Give the edge to the Chiefs.

Advantage: chiefs

———————————————————

2668624017

Receivers – KC has two big targets in the air. One is TE Travis Kelce, who leads the team in receiving yards with over 1,400 and 11 TD’s on the year. WR Tyreek Hill is not too far with 1,276 yards and 15 TD’s, he leads the team in that category. Sammy Watkins is still a deep threat despite the lower numbers, and Mecole Hardman put in 560 yards and 4 TD’s on the year. The Bucs have their best receiver threat with Mike Evans. This year, he put in a little over 1,000 yards and led the team with 13 TD’s on the season. Tom Brady convinced Bucs management to sign troubled receiver Antonio Brown, and he managed to keep the pressure off Evans to make it much tougher for defenders. TE Rob Gronkowski was also convinced by Brady to come out of retirement and play for the Bucs. It was the right move, as he connected with Brady seven times for TD’s on the year. Chris Godwin, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller are also deep threats for Brady. The Chiefs have the number one passing unit in the league, with the Bucs close by in 4th place. Give the edge, slightly to Kansas City.

Advantage: chiefs

———————————————————

2682628610

Offensive Line – Taking a look at the Chiefs offensive line, they are the main reason Mahomes has had so much time throwing, and why they are number one overall in the league in total yards with 425.3. Mahomes has only been sacked 22 times this season. As for the Bucs, their unit was ranked 11th in the league with 393.4 total yards. Brady has only been sacked 21 times on the year. Based on youth over experience, and Mahomes mobile ability to move the ball much more often, I give the edge to Kansas City.

Advantage: chiefs

———————————————————

2397728451

Defensive Line – Moving to defense, the Bucs have the number one rushing defense in the league giving up only 80 yards a game during the year. They run a 3-4 defensive scheme led on the defensive line by 11-year vet Ndamukong Suh. He had 6 sacks on the year. William Gholston is the other DE with Steve McLendon starting at DT. The Chiefs run a 4-3 defensive scheme, led by Chris Jones who leads the team in sacks with 7½. DE Frank Clark is second in sacks with 6. Rounding out the defensive line is DE Tan-oh
K-pas-sag-non and DT Derrick Nnadi. The Chiefs were ranked 21st against the run, giving the Bucs the edge in this category.

Advantage: bucs

———————————————————

2399027647

Linebackers – For the Bucs, the initials JPP are familiar with longtime NY Giants fans. Jason-Pierre Paul worked hard to get back to Pro Bowl status after years of injuries. The 11-year vet led the team with 9½ sacks and made 55 tackles on the year. Devon White was right behind him with 9 sacks, along with Shaquil Barrett with 8 and Lavonte David with 117 tackles on the year. For the Chiefs, Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens and Willie Gay, Jr. are the defenders at linebacker. Hitchens had 78 tackles, Wilson not too far behind with 70. The Bucs were ranked 6th overall in total yards, while the Chiefs were ranked 16th. Once again, give the advantage to the Bucs.

Advantage: bucs

———————————————————

3103326692

Secondary – The Chiefs are led by “The Honey Badger”. Safety Tyrann Mathieu led the team in interceptions with 6 on the season. The other safety Daniel Sorensen led the team in tackles with 91. The corners are patrolled by Chavarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland. For the Bucs, CB Carlton Davis III led the team in picks with four on the year. Safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. & Jordan Whitehead and CB Sean Murphy-Bunting have four INT’s total between them. On passing yards allowed, the Bucs were ranked 21st, while the Chiefs were ranked 14th, giving Kansas City the edge.

Advantage: chiefs

———————————————————

952030346

Special Teams – Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is 4-4 from 50+ yards on the season. His long is 58 yards. Overall, he is 25-27 on the year. However, on extra points, he’s 38-54. Punter Tommy Townsend has had 13 of his punts inside the 20 or less this season. Mecole Hardman has taken over duties as punt returner and does have a TD this season. Tyreek Hill also is used on kick returns. The Bucs have 12-year veteran kicker Ryan Succop. This year, he was 28-31 with only two attempts made from 50+ or more. His long was from 52 yards. Punter Bradley Pinion has averaged 45.2 yards per punt this season, with only 8 punts made inside 20 yards or less. Jaydon Mickensis is the punt and kick return specialist. His average was 21 yards per punt return on the year. Based on the better special teams play, give the edge to the Chiefs.

Advantage: chiefs

———————————————————

jvza2bumn2egjqmrevhgkhzpdwroubzinsqt38fx

Coaches – These are two veteran skippers with success where ever they’ve coached. For Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, the chance to lead a talented squad was too good to pass up. And when Tom Brady came calling, it all fell into place. The road his first Super Bowl wasn’t easy. There were question marks about the offense and whether Brady would have anything left in the tank, but it all worked out and now the Bucs have a chance to add another piece of hardware to the trophy case. For Andy Reid, years of success also meant years of heart break, having come close so many times with Philadelphia and in KC. But they finally made it to the top last season and in 2020, the Chiefs had their best season ever, going 14-2 on the year. Back-to-back Super Bowls would put Reid in position as a first ballot hall of famer in Canton. Call it even.

Advantage: Even

———————————————————

Intangibles – “There’s no place like home.” That was the line in the 1939 MGM classic, ‘The Wizard of Oz”;200and for the Bucs, home is where they will play on Sunday.  Tampa Bay became the first team to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium, and when you’re working at home, like so many people are doing in this pandemic, you’re much more comfortable. Ironically, the state of Kansas is also where Dorothy is from, and the Chiefs play right next door in the state of Missouri. I think we know who Dorothy would be rooting for…rooting for the comforts of home.  But unfortunately, that’s where the Bucs have the advantage and you don’t need to be wicked for that.

Advantage: bucs

———————————————————

Final Analysis – The line on this game from Vegas continues to hold steady at 3, with many analysts predicting a close battle with a last-second finish. Here’s some more numbers for you. Four of the Chiefs last nine victories have come by three points or less. A lot of people are picking the Bucs to win and that may well happen based on the way the defense has been playing. But here’s a wild card in all this, Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo. He’s beaten Tom Brady when he led the NY Giants defense in that massive upset verses the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl 42. I suspect he will use the same strategy against Brady in this game. That leaves it all up to Patrick Mahomes to handing the Bucs defense. We picked the Chiefs as our preseason pick to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles back in September. But that all depended on their opponent. Right now, the Bucs defense is running on all cylinders, and that’s all Brady will need to get himself another ring on his finger.

This is our upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (31-20)

bucs

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for another season of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Thank you for joining us during the 20-21 season. We’ll have a recap on Super Bowl 55 including post game comments from both sides of the football. That will take place Monday morning at 8:30am eastern time with repeat broadcasts all day. Check our website for the exact times (9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am and 3:30pm.).

If you miss out, you can always read our pick at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you later.

1 Comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Championship Weekend 2021

NFL-Conference-Championship-Experts-Pick-NFC-and-AFC

It’s championship Sunday, and the last four teams standing are going to fight it out to see who goes to the big game in two weeks. Before we get to our picks, wanna get with the latest hires in the NFL coaching ranks, starting with Jacksonville, who as expected hired Urban Meyer as their head coach. He won national championships with Ohio State and Florida and hopes to make the transition to the pro ranks.

staley-smith-meyer

Brandon Staley (left) was hired by the LA Chargers, Arthur Smith hired by the Falcons and Urban Meyer was named by Jacksonville this week.

The Jets hire Robert Saleh as their new head coach, he was the offensive coordinator with San Francisco. Brandon Staley goes from the Rams defensive coordinator to become the Chargers head coach. Detroit has hired Dan Campbell as their head coach, and Arthur Smith becomes Atlanta’s head coach after two years as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. Philadelphia who fired their head coach Doug Pederson two weeks ago is still looking, along with Houston searching for a skipper for their club. Look for Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy to grab one of those jobs, that’s only if the Chiefs lose this weekend.

One other note. Philip Rivers has called it a career. He had a successful 17 year run with the Chargers and the philip-rivers-111120-getty-ftr_47xwwgml0kds13qvrfhjt67bzColts. He was drafted by the NY Football Giants 3rd overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, but was traded to the Bolts for Eli Manning, who couldn’t come to an agreement to play for the Bolts. The careers of these two future Hall of Famers are forever intertwined. What would have happened if Eli Manning stayed with the Chargers and Philip Rivers stayed with the Giants? Would Big Blue have won those two Super Bowls with Rivers under center? Or would Eli have been as successful with the Bolts? We’ll never know the answer to that question.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-head: 2-2
Against the Spread: 2-2

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Sunday, January 24

bucs Packers

NFC Championship
Tampa Bay at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 3½

It’s the battle of the bays, as the Packers face off against the Bucs. These two teams used to face each other twice a year when they were in the NFC Central from 1976 to 2001. Green Bay leads the regular season series, they’ve only met once in the playoffs. That was in 1998, where the Packers beat the Bucs in the divisional playoff game. But this this is their first time battling in the NFC Championship game. Aaron Rodgers picked apart the injury afflicted Rams throwing for 296 yards and 2 TD’s. The Packers defense got to QB Jared Goff four times, as they won, 32-18. For Tampa Bay, their battle with New Orleans was much tougher. Tied at 20-20 in the third quarter, the Bucs secondary would pick off Drew Brees twice, three total in the game. Tom Brady would score the go-ahead rushing TD, along with throwing for 199 yards and two passing TD’s. Bucs win it, 30-20 and Brady goes to his 14th conference championship game, his first in the NFC. Looking at this game, I see Aaron Rodgers getting some numbers, but not the amount he’s used to. Look for Brady to put up some numbers as well. We picked the Bucs to get to this point in our pre-season picks back in September, but losing in the Conference final to Seattle. This Bucs defense has been showing its toughness, and they’re coming thru at the right time after a couple of questionable games. I think that will be the difference maker, as this will be a fight to the finish.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (27-23)

Bills Chiefs

AFC Championship
Buffalo at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 3

These two teams played each other for a championship before. You have to go all the way back to 1966, when the Chiefs beat the Bills to win the AFL Championship to get to Super Bowl I, where they lost to Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. Fast forward to 2021, and the Chiefs will host their 3rd AFC Championship game in a row. They got there by beating Cleveland. The Chiefs were cruising along, 22-10, when Patrick Mahomes got knocked out of the game because of a concussion. Chad Hennie would come in. The Browns would make it close with an INT off Hennie and a 3-yard TD run by former Chief, Kareem Hunt. But KC would hold on to win it, 22-17. As for the Bills, they would go into halftime with Baltimore tied 3-3, when Josh Allen would hook up with Stefan Diggs for a score, and CB Taron Johnson would intercept Lamar Jackson in the end zone and return it 101 yards for a pick-6. Jackson would leave the game because of a concussion. Bills go to their first AFC Championship game since 1994, winning 17-3 over the Ravens. The question mark in this game is the status of Patrick Mahomes. As of this broadcast, he has not cleared the concussion protocol, and in order to pass, he would need at least a
week before he’s allowed to play. This is a serious problem, because without the mobile Mahomes, the Chiefs offense will be completely different. Hennie did not look good out there where he was under center, and when faced against the Bills run defense, the chances of getting a sustained offense is very tough. Still, the Chiefs are the defending champions and will put up a fight, but unless Mahomes starts or plays halfway in this game, its uncertain if they can return to the big game. This will be a tough fight.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (24-13)

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for Championship Weekend on Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us in two weeks for our final selection. It will be for the Vince Lombardi Trophy to given out at Super Bowl 55 at Ramyond James stadium in Tampa, Florida. We’ll have a full report of both teams and finish it off with our pick on who will win the big game on Sunday, February 7. Our pick premieres on Thursday February 4 at 8:30am eastern time, with repeats all weekend long including a special broadcast 30 minutes before the start of the NFC Championship. Check our website for dates and times. If you miss out on our broadcast, you can always read our pick at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you later.

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Divisional Playoffs 2021

nfl-divisional

It’s the Divisional Playoffs, and there were a few surprises from last weekend, but most of the teams we predicted would win did. Now it’s on to the next round of the playoffs and more high stakes will take place this weekend.

Last week’s results

Head-to-head: 4-2
Against the Spread: 1-2-3 (with Buffalo, Baltimore and Tampa Bay each winning their games, but failing to cover the spread.)

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Saturday January 16

rams packers

LA Rams at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 7

The Rams started QB John Wolford in their wildcard matchup against Seattle and suited Jared Goff as a backup just in case. Well, there was an emergency, as Wolford was knocked out of the game in the 2nd quarter due to a neck injury. Goff, who had surgery on his thumb just two weeks ago came into the game and did what he had to do to keep the Rams in contention, only 155 yards passing and a TD, and the defense went to work. LA frustrated Russell Wilson all day sacking him five times, and it all led to a pick-6 by defensive back Darius Williams 42 yards for the TD. The Rams would not look back, as win it 30-20 over the Seahawks. Cam Akers with 131 yards rushing and a TD. They head to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers, who finished the season at 13-3 and secured the #1 overall seed in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers led all QB’s the league with 48 TD’s this season and he’s only been intercepted five times. His top receiver Devante Adams set a Packers single-season record with 115 catches and led the NFL in touchdown receptions with 18. What’s more impressive is their defense. Green Bay held four of its last five opponents to 16 points or less and finished the season ninth in total yards allowed and seventh against the pass. If the Rams have any chance in this game, it will have to be putting some pressure on Rodgers. Right now, their top pass rusher Aaron Donald is nursing a rib injury suffered in the win over Seattle last week. They’re also concerns about WR Cooper Kupp, who suffered a knee injury in the same game. With all the problems, it might be just too much to overcome for LA. I expect the Pack to steamroll over the wounded Rams.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (30-13)

ravens bills

Baltimore at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 2

This will be the matchup of the weekend, as two of the NFL’s rising star QB’s face off. The Ravens got a measure of revenge against Tennessee from last year’s Divisional matchup. Lamar Jackson made sure of it, as he joined Colin Kaepernick as the only QB’s to gain over 100 yards and score a TD in a playoff game. 136 yards rushing and a score to be exact. Overall, 315 total yards, as Baltimore beat the Titans, 20-13. Lost in the shuffle was Derrick Henry. The RB was stymied by the Ravens defense, rushing for only 40 yards in the game. Baltimore heads to Western New York, where the Bills won their first playoff game since 1994, beating the Indianapolis, 27-24. Philip Rivers, in what could be his final professional football game threw for 309 yards and 2 TD’s. The Colts led the time of possession wars, but it was the Bills who would make the best when they did get the ball. Josh Allen throwing for 324 yards and two TD in the game. Stefon Diggs with another big game, 6 catches for 128 yards and a TD. But Diggs could have his hands full with Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey. If he is neutralized, Allen will have to find alternate means, such as WR Cole Beasley. The Bills may also be without rookie running back Zach Moss. He was carted off the field last Saturday with an ankle injury. That being said, as much as I like the Bills as the favorite in this matchup, I like the Ravens chances with Lamar Jackson under center. It may go down to the wire, and it will come down to a field goal.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (23-21)

Sunday January 17

browns chiefs

Cleveland at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 10

The shocker of Super Wildcard Weekend was the pummeling of the Pittsburgh Steelers by the Browns at home. Cleveland scored their first TD within :14 second on a bad snap to Ben Rothlisberger. The ball sailed into the end zone where the Browns recovered for the score. In all, Cleveland scored 28 points in the first half. That included two rushing TD’s by Kareem Hunt. Baker Mayfield 263 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Rothlisberger was also intercepted four times in the game. He would recover to throw for over 500 yards and 4 TD’s to try to get back into it. But it was too much to overcome, as Cleveland wins their first playoff game since 1994, 48-37 was the final. They head to Arrowhead Stadium to face the well-rested Chiefs and MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes. He was second in passing with over 4,700 yards and 38 TD’s on the year. Most of those scores were thrown to TE Travis Kelce, who caught 105 receptions for over 1,400 yards and 11 TD’s. The defending champions also led the league in passing with 303.4 yards per game. Don’t let the point spread fool you. The Chiefs have failed to cover the spread of their games over 10 points for the last 5 games. They’re 1-4 against the spread, to be exact. But what should be clear is the uncertainty of the Browns in games when it mattered. They did get a number of breaks last Sunday night against Pittsburgh. A better disciplined team like the Chiefs will be harder to come by. This will be close, but expect the Chiefs to come out on top.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (33-27)

bucs saints

Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 3

The Bucs led the whole way against Washington last Saturday night. Brady threw for 381 yards and 2 TD’s. Leonard Fournette with 19 carries and 93 yards rushing and a TD. The Tampa Bay defense got to DC QB Taylor Heinicke twice and got an interception off him. Still, Heinicke had 352 total yards and 2 TD’s in the losing effort. The Bucs win it, 31-23. They head to the “big easy” to take on the Saints. New Orleans was taken to the limit by Chicago. Drew Brees with 265 yards passing and 2 TD’s. Alvin Kamara just misses the century mark in rushing with 99 on the day and a score. For the Bears, they just couldn’t get any offense going, as it’s been most of the season. Mitch Trubisky, 199 yards passing and a TD in the late stages of the game. 21-9 was the final. This is a rematch of week 10, when the Saints ripped Tom Brady and the Bucs at home. This weekend stands to be much different and more competitive. The Bucs defense has been stellar at times, but it will be tough on the road against the Saints. New Orleans finally has a healthy set of starters and the defensive secondary was impressive against Chicago. If you’re a betting man, stay far away from this game or at least don’t bet the farm, as it’s not a sure thing.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (29-27)

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for our Divisional Weekend edition of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us next Thursday for our Championship Weekend picks. That premieres at 8:30am eastern time. If you miss out, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you later.

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Wild Card Weekend 2021

nfl_playoffs_wildcard_logo_dl_1

Wildcard Weekend is upon us, and this year we have the unprecedented addition of three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday. As we mentioned previously, only one team in each conference will get a bye, the rest will have to fight it out this weekend. Before we get to our picks, we wanted to talk about Black Monday where the ax came down on a number of head coaching jobs.

marrone_lynn-832x447-1

The Jets didn’t wait for Monday to come around. After their loss to New England, the team fired head coach Adam Gase after a 2-13 record this season. Doug Marrone (left) is out at Jacksonville; he was 1-14 this season. There are rumors that former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer may be taking over in North Florida. He was also head coach just down I-10 in Gainesville at the University of Florida. Anthony Lynn (right) was given his walking papers after four years with the Chargers. The Bolts were 7-9 this season.

Coaching vacancies around the NFL include Detroit, Atlanta and Houston. Look for some names to come out from highly touted coordination positions, including Eric Bienemy in Kansas City, and Brian Daboll in Buffalo and Robert Saleh in San Francisco.

Final Week’s Results

Head-to-head: 12-4
Against the Spread: 9-4-3

Final Season Results

Head-to-head: 159-87-1
Against the Spread: 107-87-60

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Bye Week Teams: Kansas City and Green Bay

Saturday, January 9

Colts Bills

Indianapolis at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 6½

Only 6,700 fans will be in attendance in Buffalo after the team got the go-ahead from New York state and Erie county health officials for fans to watch in person. This might be Philip Rivers final chance at winning a Super Bowl. In his 16 years between the Colts and the Chargers, the closest he’s come has been in 2007, when he lost to New England in the NFC Championship. This year, he put in another 4,000 yards passing season, putting him at over 63,000 in his career. The Colts have been solid all year round, but they’re going to have their hands full in Western New York as they face the Bills, who won their first AFC East title since 1995. Josh Allen has made his case for MVP with spectacular season throwing for over 4,500 yards and 37 TD’s. Most of those were to WR Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards. The story in this game will be the defense. The Colts were ranked in the top 10, mostly due to their rushing. But their secondary defense was in the middle of the pack, making this an intriguing matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (31-24)

Rams Seahawks

LA Rams at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 4½

Seattle secured the #3 seed with a four-game win streak to end the season. But it wasn’t easy, as QB Russell Wilson averaged less than 185 passing yards per game during that stretch. The strength was their defense, which hasn’t allowed more than 23 points in eight straight games. They may have a problem this weekend, as safety Jamal Adams was taken out of the game because of an injured shoulder. He leads the team with 9½ sacks. For the Rams, it’s been rough ride back to the playoffs after a one year layoff. Two years ago, their offense took the team to the Super Bowl. This year, it could be their defense. LA led the league in both total defense and points allowed this season. The Rams may be without Jared Goff for the second straight game due to a thumb injury. John Wolford would get the start if that happens. In their two matchups, both teams split the series winning on the road. Looking at a low scoring struggle between these two teams, giving Wilson and company the slight edge.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (19-14)

Bucs DC

Tampa Bay at Washington
Line: Bucs by 8½

Tom Brady continues his quest for another Super Bowl ring as he plays in the first wild card game of his career. He also made history becoming the first player over the age of 40 to throw 40 TD passes. The Bucs path to the playoff was not smooth. They’ve struggled against powerhouse teams like New Orleans and Kansas City, but did enough winning the last four games to secure a wildcard spot for the postseason. As for the Washington Football Team, they can thank Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson for tanking in the 4th quarter for their NFC East division crown. At 7-9, they’re the worst team to make the playoffs since the 2014 Carolina Panthers went 7-8-1. In fact, the whole division was atrocious. DC made it to the postseason on the back of their defense, which grabbed 46 sacks on the season. Their offense was another story. They turned to Alex Smith for stability after jettisoning troubled QB Dwayne Haskins for his poor performance this season. DC’s defense is going to need to do everything they can to aggravate Tom Brady to pull off the upset. Probably not in the cards, as I see the Bucs taking this game.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (23-13)

Sunday January 10

Ravens Titans

Baltimore at Tennessee
Line: Ravens by 3½

Baltimore’s post-season was very much in doubt two weeks ago, needing two wins and a little bit of help to make it to this point. But they manage to scrape together the games they needed for a wildcard spot. The Ravens got to this week’s game relying on their rushing attack, having amassed more than 150 yards in five straight games. As for the Titans, you can look to RB Derrick Henry for the bulk of their offense, he became the 8th running back to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. He’s rushed for over 200 yards three times and led the league in TD’s with 17 this season. If there is a weakness on this Titans squad, it’s on their defense. The Titans were ranked 29th against the pass, but 19th against the run. The Ravens would be hard pressed to go after Tennessee’s weakness. This game looks to be a high scoring affair, with the last team standing moving on. Last year, the Titans shocked Baltimore in the #1 seed. This year, the favor could be returned.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (34-28)

bears saints

Chicago at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 9½

The Bears looked like a wounded animal three weeks ago with a lackluster offense and a 5-7 record during week 13. But three straight wins and a collapse by the Arizona Cardinals backed Chicago into the playoffs. QB Mitch Trubisky managed to put together enough offense to get the team to the post season. He did have WR Allen Robinson as an effective weapon. He led the team with 102 receptions for over 1,200 yards and six touchdowns. As for the Saints, they have a COVID-19 problem, as their top running back Alvin Kamara tested positive during week 17. He would be eligible to play if he can get medical clearance this week which would have be 10 days after the positive test. The Saints also hope to get WR Michael Thomas back from IR. With Drew Brees still adjusting after coming off IR a few weeks ago, the Saints defense continues to be the true backbone of the team. They’re ranked fifth against the pass and fourth against the run while forcing the third-most turnovers in the league. The point spread continues to creep up because of that, leading me to think that the Saints have the upper hand in this matchup. How Trubisky plays will also seal his career fate moving forward.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (26-17)

browns steelers

Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 3½

The Browns finally made it back to the post season after 18 years, and it couldn’t have come at the right time. They beat Pittsburgh in the week 17 season finale, 24-22 to secure a wildcard spot. It was also their first winning season since 2007. Baker Mayfield with over 3,500 yards passing and 26 TD’s, a solid year since being drafted #1 overall in 2018. The Browns’ scoring offense is ranked 14th in the league putting up 25 points per game. The defense is also in the middle overall, ranked 21st allowing 26 points. This poses a problem against the Steelers, who started off strong winning 13 in a row, before a late season swoon had them drop four of their last 5 games. Much of the problem stemmed from the lack of scoring, averaging only 16 points during that five-game stretch. Thankfully, it was the defense that saved them from further damage, as Pittsburgh is 3rd overall in the league allowing only 19 points this season. It will be tough for the Browns to replicate the same effort against the same team two weeks in a row. That’s because most of the starters for Pittsburgh were being rested. Cleveland’s loss to the Jets during Week 16 also left their chances rather suspect. With the Steelers 1st stringers fresh, the should get the job done at home.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (23-18)

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for our Wildcard Weekend edition of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us next Thursday for Divisional Weekend picks. That premieres at 8:30am eastern time. If you miss out, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you later.

Leave a comment

College Football Picks – 2021 National Championship

It’s College Football’s National Championship Game, and we’re making out pick on who will win it all.

Last week’s results

Head-to-head: 1-1
Against the spread 0-1-1.

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Monday, January 11
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami, Florida

#3 Ohio State vs #1 Alabama
Line: Crimson Tide by 8

EQVIGRSKCZFJNEBW2WCXBGL44I
Ohio State’s Justin Fields takes a nasty hit from Clemson linebacker James Skalski that left the Buckeyes’ star on his back in obvious pain. Skalski would be disqualified for a helmet hit. Fields would return to lead his team to victory in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. (Photo by Butch Dill)

Ohio State took the disrespect shown by Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney and gave them a whooping they won’t soon forget. Junior QB Justin Fields threw 6 TD’s as the Buckeyes disposed of the Tigers 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl. He also threw for 385 passing yards. This happened after a big hit to the ribs, which took him out for a play. But he would come back and continue to inflict damage to the Clemson secondary. Senior wide receiver Chris Olave was the beneficiary of Fields’ arial magic with six catches and 132 yard receiving along with two TD’s. For Clemson junior QB Trevor Lawrence, it was not the way he wanted his college career to end if it was his final game for the Tigers. In addition to his fourth-quarter interception, Lawrence fumbled multiple times, lost one of them and was held to minus -8 yards rushing. He did throw for 400 yards and two TD’s in the loss. Defensively, Ohio State held the Clemson rushing attack to only 44 yards on the day, and sacked Trevor Lawrence twice. They’ll have a tougher time against a very accomplished Alabama squad.

gettyimages-1294055170-775x465-1
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 01: Wide receiver DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown over the defense of Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second quarter of the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal Game at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One at AT&T Stadium on January 01, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Crimson Tide made it look easy against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl, beating them 31-14. Senior quarterback Mac Jones and junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith (shown above) hooked up all day. Jones was 25 for 30 for 297 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Smith showed why he’s the odds-on favorite for the Heisman, 130 yards and three touchdowns on seven receptions. Smith was also named the Offensive MVP of the Rose Bowl. Najee Harris was also in the mix, with a spectacular leap frog on a 53-yard run. He would finish with 125 yards on 15 carries. For the Fighting Irish, they were able to make it 14-7 late in the 2nd quarter on an 8-and-a-half-minute drive. But the Alabama defense stymied senior QB Ian Book all day. He was 27 of 39 for 229 yards with an interception, but also compiled 55 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. This will be Alabama’s fifth appearance in the National Championship game in six years, and Ohio State could be their most difficult matchup going for their 19th national championship overall.

Analysis: Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide was solid all day long with Notre Dame, but they may have their hands full with Ohio State. Both teams score well over 40 points per game, so scoring is not a problem. The issue will be on defense, where Alabama gives up 110.25 yards per game on the ground. By comparison, Ohio State is ranked 4th in the country in rushing. That’s a big opportunity for the Buckeyes to exploit. As for Alabama, it’s clear they have to get their passing game going, as Ohio State’s secondary is near the bottom in the college rankings. Look for a repeat of the Jones to Smith show this coming Monday. If that happens, it might be a quick rout. Overall, I’m looking at a shootout for the national championship, with a possible overtime thriller.

Smooth’s Pick: Alabama (47-43)

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for our College Football Playoff Pick for the national championship. Join us on Thursday at 8:30am eastern time for our playoff edition of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. If you miss out on either of our broadcasts, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you later.

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 17 (Down to the wire!)

1482732447-0510043001450205444_filepicker

Week 17 and it’s the final week of the regular season. A number of teams are still looking for spots to the post season. Some have already clinched division titles and will sit their starters. While, a few more teams are looking to win and get some help. Here’s where we’re at right now in the playoff picture.

In the AFC, Kansas City at 14-1 has clinched the #1 overall seed and will have home field thru-out the playoffs. They will also have a 1st round bye. Buffalo and Pittsburgh also clinched their divisions and a homefield game next weekend. The AFC South is still up for grabs along with wild card positions. Tennessee and Indianapolis are fighting it out for the division, while Miami, Baltimore and Cleveland are sitting as the wild card teams. For the Colts, they need to win outright. If they don’t, they’re on the outside looking in.

In the NFC, Green Bay currently holds the #1 seed, but it’s not guaranteed. They need to win to prevent New Orleans and Seattle from taking over that top spot. All three have clinched division titles, while Tampa Bay has guaranteed themselves one of the three wild card spots. The Rams and Chicago are in the other two slots, needing to win to clinch. A Bears loss and an Arizona win puts the Cardinals into the playoffs. Then there’s the NFC East, where Washington leads the division and needs only a win over Philadelphia to take the title. If they don’t win, it will be a one game playoff between Dallas and the Giants with the winner taking the division title and going to the playoffs.

Full playoff picture from NFL.com

We’ll tell you who we think will both games later on in the broadcast.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 12-4
Against the Spread: 7-4-5

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 147-83-1
Against the Spread: 98-83-57

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

All games take on place Sunday, January 3

NY Jets at New England
Line: Patriots by 3

The Cam Newton experiment will more than likely be over in Foxborough, while Adam Gase will probably on his way out the door on Monday despite Gang Green finishing the season strong.

Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (24-19)

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 6½

Tom Brady and his starters will likely be sitting this one out for the playoffs, while the “Dirty Birds” hope to finish strong after a disappointing season. Will this be the last we see of Matt Ryan in a Falcons uniform?

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (23-20)

Minnesota at Detroit
Line: Vikings by 7

A disappointing year for Minnesota with all that talent an early swoon doomed their playoff hopes, while the Lions will have to regroup for the second time in four years. Matthew Stafford’s days in the “motor city” are also in question.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (31-17)

Las Vegas at Denver
Line: Raiders by 2

The Silver and Black blew their chance at the playoff when their defense collapsed the last five games. For the Broncos, they still are missing a couple of pieces on offense. COVID also ruined their season, as well.

Smooth’s Pick: Las Vegas (21-14)

LA Chargers at Kansas City
Line: Bolts by 3½

Patrick Mahomes and company locked the top seed and head coach Andy Reid will sit some starters. That could be dangerous as they’ll have two weeks off. Still, this gives the Bolts a chance to finish strong, and put a blemish on the Chiefs outstanding season.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (35-21)

Now we get to the games that matter.

Seattle at San Francisco
Line: Seahawks by 5½

They’ve locked up at least a #3 seed and a home game. But they can get a #2 seed with a win and a Saints loss. For the Niners, they’re regrouping from a banged up, injury filled season. And all they can do is hope they can get back to the playoffs next season. What a better way to finish strong than to be a spoiler on their division rival.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (23-21)

New Orleans at Carolina
Line: Saints by 6½

New Orleans is still looking at an outside chance for the number one overall seed. But they have to win this matchup with the Panthers and get some help. The best they can do is a #2 or #3 seed. Carolina can finish strong and win six games this season, something to push for next year. Look for a battle to end the season.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (30-21)

Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Line: Browns by 10

The Steelers, who’ve already clinched the division and a home game will sit Ben Rothlisberger for next week. That a positive sign for the Browns, who need a win to make the playoffs. Look for Cleveland to do everything they can to make it happen.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (24-13)

Baltimore at Cincinnati
Line: Ravens by 13

Baltimore got a much-needed victory over the Giants last week, and the Jets upset win verses Cleveland catapulted them into a wildcard spot. A win seals their place in the playoffs. With an opponent like the luckless Bengals, that may be a cinch, but they still have to play the game.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (37-14)

Miami at Buffalo
Line: Pick ‘em

Regardless if the Dolphins make the playoffs or not, this was one of their most successful seasons in nearly 10 years. With the Bills sewing up the #2 seed and sitting their starters, that playoff dream might happen. The hard part will be heading to cold and snowy Western New York to win a game. Might be too much to handle.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (22-18)

Arizona at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 1

This is one match up to keep your eyes on. The Cardinals blew their opportunity to sew up the final wild card bid in their loss to San Francisco last weekend. Now they need to win in LA and then get some help. For the Rams, they missed out of the division in their loss to Seattle. Another loss sends them to the links. This will be a vicious battle in the trenches. But I think the LA defense can hold up and squeeze into the playoffs.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (19-17)

Green Bay at Chicago
Line: Packers by 5½

It’s simple for the Bears. “Win, and you are in.” They’ll be at home against the Packers, and they’ve seemed to finally get their groove back with three straight wins. The Packers still have a shot with the #1 overall seed, so they’ll be going all out to get home games throughout the playoffs. Right now, the Pack is firing on all four cylinders on offense, and this NFC North matchup will be a ‘battle royal’ for both teams.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (27-20)

Tennessee at Houston
Line: Titans by 7½

The Titans face a number of scenarios to make the playoffs, but the bottom line is they have to win in Houston against the Texans to capture the AFC South. If they don’t, they can still make the playoffs as a wild card with a little help. It was a shootout the last time these two teams met, but look for the Titans to control the tempo with the run game and time management.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (30-24)

Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 14

Since the Jags upset win over the Colts during week one, the wheels have fallen off the bus. 14 straight losses in a row, and it ends where it started, against Indy. With the Colts desperate for a win, look for them to get their revenge for the Jags opening day upset and help their chances for a playoff berth.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (41-12)

That leads us to the battle for the NFC East starting with,

Dallas at NY Giants
Line: Cowboys by 3

Dallas won three in a row to get themselves back into the division race and a pivotal matchup with “Big Blue” in the Meadowlands. Their offense has been solid during the stretch, but their defense is still shaky. That opens up the door for the G-men. But as of late, their offense has been lethargic, scoring only two TD in three games. A healthy Daniel Jones is crucial for the Giants to win this game. At this point, its questionable if that can happen. Still, look for a close and competitive finish to the season, and I’m going out on a limb on this one, even though we picked Dallas to the division in our preseason pick.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (20-18)

Washington at Philadelphia
Line: DC by 2

That line is because of who’s going to be under center this weekend for Washington. QB Dwayne Haskins has been let go by the team after his lackluster performance last weekend against Carolina and his post-game antics. That opens the door for Alex Smith to return and put together a possible feel-good story with a Hollywood ending. But Jalen Hurts has put together three strong outings as QB for the Eagles, despite going 1-2 during the stretch. While Philadelphia has nothing to gain from winning this matchup, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz might be coaching for his job, as changes will likely be coming this offseason even if head coach Doug Pederson stays. This game will be a battle.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (20-17)

Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for week 17. Join us next Thursday at 830am eastern time for our Wild Card Weekend Picks. Also join us on Wednesday, January 6 as we deliver our College Football Playoff Pick for the National Championship. That will premiere at 830am eastern. If you miss out on either of our broadcasts, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, for all of us at Smooth Jazz and More, we’d like to wish all of our listeners a safe a prosperous New Year in 2021. We’ll see you later!

Leave a comment

College Football Playoff Picks – Semi-final

2021-college-football-playoffs-bracket

The College Football Playoffs are under way after a season of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of schools have had numerous positive tests during the season and have had to postpone or cancel games altogether. The Big-10 and the Pac-12 initially cancelled their football seasons, but after agreeing to follow strict health protocols with state and local officials, they were able to start their seasons in mid-October. Ohio State was one of those teams affected, and as a result were able to make the playoffs after ending the season undefeated. Here’s who we’re picking to meet for the national championship on January 11.

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

New Year’s Day
Friday, January 1

Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California
#4 Notre Dame vs. #1 Alabama
Line: Crimson Tide by 20

The Fighting Irish got to the playoffs by dominating their opponents. But what sealed their spot was their upset victory over previously unbeaten Clemson. The Tigers would get their revenge in the ACC championship, but the selection committee rewarded Notre Dame with the chance to play for the national championship. Head coach Brian Kelly is in his now in his 11th season as head coach and has led them to bowl games in 10 of the 11 years at the helm. His last appearance at a national title bid was in 2012, when they lost to Alabama in what was known as the BCS. His crop of players are stellar. Senior QB Ian Book threw for over 2,600 yards, 15 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. Freshman RB Kyren Williams rushed for over a thousand yards and 4 TD’s, and senior receiver Javon McKinley was their playmaker with nearly 700 yards and 3 TD’s On defense, senior LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah leads the team in tackles with 74 and senior DL Adetokunbo Ogundeji leads the team with 6½ sacks.

The Crimson Tide has been in this position before. Six times in the last 10 years since the playoff format began. They go on a quest to capture their 18th national championship this Friday. This is their first Rose Bowl appearance since 2010. Head coach Nick Saban is in his 14th season at the helm, and he had to go into quarantine for a few weeks after a positive coronavirus test. Even though a number of great players have gone onto the NFL, his recruiting class continues to have 5-star talent. At the top of that list is senior QB Mac Jones. He was just recently named a finalist for the Heisman. That’s because of throwing for over 5,000 yards and 44 TD’s on the season. Senior WR DeVonta Smith is also a Heisman candidate, with over 1,500 yards receiving and 17 TD’s. Senior RB Najee Harris rushed for over 1,200 yards and 24 TD’s. On defense, senior LB Dylan Moses lead the team in tackles with 92. Freshman LB Will Anderson leads in sacks with 7, and freshman DB Malachi Moore leads the team with 3 INT’s on the year.

Analysis: This game looks like a miss-match on paper. Alabama’s offense is currently ranked 5th in the country, Notre Dame’s defense is ranked 14th. Which means the Fighting Irish has their work cut out for them. In order to win this game, they’ll have to score early and hope to get their defense can slow down Alabama’s powerful scoring machine. Still, the Crimson Tide continues to move along like a runaway freight train. Look for them to make short work on the Irish.

Smooth’s Pick: Alabama (44-25)

Ohio State Clemson

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, Louisiana
#3 Ohio State vs. #2 Clemson
Line: Tigers by 7½

The Buckeyes got a late start on the season, with the Big-10 having to begin in mid-October. Still, the school was able to get convincing wins in the conference to go undefeated at 6-0 and get the selection committee’s attention. Ryan Day is in his second full season as head coach of the Buckeyes. He enters the post-season with a career record of 16-1. His recruiting class is stellar. Junior QB Justin Fields threw for over 1,500 yards and 15 TD’s on the season, completing 72% percent of his passes. Senior RB Trey Sermon rushed for 675 yards, getting 112 yards per game. Overall the Buckeye’s are ranked 7th overall in rushing. In the air, sophomore WR Garrett Wilson is tied with junior WR Chris Olave with 5 TD receptions. On defense, senior LB Pete Werner led the team in tackles with 55, DT Tommy Togiai leads the team in sacks with three, and senior CB Shaun Wade has 2 of Ohio State’s six interceptions on the year.

Clemson’s track to the college football playoffs also meant dealing with a coronavirus outbreak on the team. Thankfully, the program had a strong recruiting year and were able to withstand any further damage on the field. Head coach Dabo Sweeney is in his 13th season, and looks to grab his 3rd national title in 6 years. Junior QB Trevor Lawrence was one of those players who was sidelined for two games. Still, he threw for over 2,700 yards and 25 TD’s on the year. He’s a Heisman candidate and is slated to be the #1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. That pick is owned by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s “if” Lawrence decides to turn pro. On the ground, senior RB Travis Etienne took the majority of carries, rushing for 882 yards and 13 TD’s. In the air, Clemson is ranked 8th in passing offense, with senior WR Amari Rodgers leading the team with 966 receiving yards and 7 TD’s. On defense, senior LB Baylon Spector leads the team with 92 tackles, freshman DE Myles Murphy and freshman LB Trenton Simpson are tied in sacks with 4, and senior safety Nolan Turner leads the team with three INT’s.

Analysis: Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney may have given Ohio State a chip on their shoulder when he placed the Buckeyes 11th in the last college coaches poll. Despite the touchdown point spread, the Buckeyes are more than capable of staying ahead of Clemson. Still, I give the edge to the Tigers in a closer than expected matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Clemson (33-28)

Now, with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

Join us next Wednesday, as we deliver our College Football Playoff Pick for the national championship. Find out who were picking on January 6th at 8:30am eastern time. If you miss out on either of our broadcasts, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 16 (Playoff Posturing)

NFL: Super Bowl LIII-New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams

Week 16 and the playoff brackets are beginning to take shape in the NFL. If the playoffs started this weekend, Kansas City and Green Bay would get the number one seeds in the AFC and NFC and get a first round bye.

In the AFC, Buffalo and Pittsburgh are currently #2 and #3 having already clinched a playoff birth. But Buffalo is the only one that currently has a lock on a home game having won the AFC East. Pittsburgh is still fighting it out with Cleveland who is a game out and Baltimore who is on the outside looking in.
Tennessee and Indianapolis are still fighting it out for the AFC South, while Miami, is fighting off Baltimore and Las Vegas for the final playoff spot.

In the NFC, all divisions with the exception of the NFC North are up for grabs. Right now, New Orleans and Seattle have qualified for the playoffs, with Washington fighting Dallas, Philadelphia and the Giants in the NFC East. It’s hard to believe that 6-10 may win the division, but it’s 2020, folks. Other teams in the hunt are the Rams, Tampa Bay and Arizona. On the bubble is Chicago and Minnesota. We should get more clarity at the end of Monday night.

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 11-5
Against the Spread: 9-5-2

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 135-79-1
Against the Spread: 91-79-52

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Christmas Day
Friday, December 25

Minnesota at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 7

The Vikings blew a chance to get back off the playoff bubble in their loss the Chicago, 33-27. Davin Cook and Justin Jefferson went over the century mark in rushing and receiving, but a late interception by Kurt Cousins ended their hopes for a win. They head to New Orleans to take on the Saints, who lost their second straight, this time to Kansas City, 32-29. Two 4th quarter TD’s by the returning Drew Brees was not enough, as they struggled in the first half. A win will keep the pressure on Tampa Bay, a loss and its could be a one game playoff for the NFC South crown. This will be a tough matchup on both sides for Christmas.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (30-27)

Boxing Day
Saturday, December 26

Tampa Bay at Detroit
Line: Bucs by 7

Tom Brady pulled off another comeback against Atlanta. They were down 17 points as the Bucs defeated the Falcons, 31-27. Brady with 2 TD passes and 390 yards in the air. They’re a game behind New Orleans in the NFC South. They head north to take on the Lions, who got walloped, 46-25 by Tennessee. The only bright spots, D’Andre Swift with two TD’s. and Marvin Jones 110 yards receiving and a TD on 10 catches. A win will end a 13-year playoff drought for the Bucs. Their defense will have trouble against the Lions, but they should get over the hump with a victory on Saturday and a possible must win game against Atlanta next week.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (31-24)

San Francisco at Arizona
Line: Cards by 3 ½

Injuries have decimated San Francisco all year long. Niners starter Nick Mullens will be out for the rest of the season after suffering an elbow injury in last week’s loss to Dallas, 41-33. C.J. Beathard will get the start against the Cardinals, who beat Philadelphia, 33-26. The Cardinals are currently in the final wild card spot, ahead of Chicago. Though the Niners are hurting, they can still give the Cards headaches. Still, my money is on Murray and company to close in on that final wild card position.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (24-19)

Miami at Las Vegas
Line: Dolphins by 2

The Dolphins are in the final wild card spot and could clinch this weekend with a victory against the Raiders. They sent New England to the golf links after winning 22-12. A career day for Salvon Ahmed, 122 rushing yards and a TD. The defense also got to Cam Newton three times. They take on the Raiders, who continue to slump, as they lost to the Chargers 30-27 in overtime. Marcus Mariota taking over for the injured Derek Carr, 314 total yards and two TD’s. But the defense let the Silver and Black down again in the overtime period, as they gave up a 53-yard pass to set up the game winning TD for the Bolts. Even though they’re 2-point underdogs, I’m not feelin’ this Raiders defense. A win by the fish will end their season. The only think going for them is whether they can rattle the rookie QB, Tua Tagovailoa.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (25-21)

Sunday, December 27

NY Giants at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 11

The G-Men lost their second straight, falling to Cleveland, 20-6. In both home losses, the offense just could not get anything done. Two 4th down stops in the 1st half were all Big Blue can do. Didn’t help their main play caller, OC Jason Garrett tested positive for Covid last week. They should have him back barring any health setbacks. They head to Baltimore, where the Ravens pounded Jacksonville 40-14. Lamar Jackson with another 4 TD’s day. Ravens defense with 5 sacks in the game. It’s not lookin’ good for the G-Men. Unless they can get some offense going, this is going to be a bloodbath. I anticipate the defense holding Jackson for a little bit. But without a solid offense, this game could be a disaster, especially with the Ravens fighting for their playoff lives. Can Big Blue fight for their playoff lives, as well?

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (31-17)

Cleveland at NY Jets
Line: Browns by 9½

As we mentioned, the Browns beat the Giants in the Meadowlands and put themselves to make the playoffs for the first time in many years. A near perfect day for Baker Mayfield, 297 yards passing and 2 TD’s. They stay in New Jersey to take on the Jets, who pulled off a massive upset, beating the Rams, 23-20. Gang Green’s defense responsible for most of effort, rattling Jared Goff for three sacks and an INT. That’s a good thing, right? Well, actually, they dropped from first to second overall in next year’s draft. They can make it worse by going two straight. But with the Browns firing on all four cylinders, a W is highly unlikely.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (24-10)

Cincinnati at Houston
Line: Texans by 9

The Bengals played on Monday night like it was their Super Bowl, as they upset Pittsburgh, 27-17. Two turnovers and an interception given up by the Steelers offense was the story in this game. The Bengals also won the time-of-possession war. They head to Houston, where the Texans fell to Indianapolis 27-20. A late TD by the Colts sealed the Texans’ fate. DeShaun Watson, 373 yards passing and 2 TD in the losing effort. The Bengals took advantage of an unstable Steelers team. I like the Texans to bring Cincinnati back down to earth.

Smooth’s Pick: Houston (33-16)

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 2½

The Colts got 228 yards passing and 2 TD’s from Philip Rivers to beat Houston last week. DE Denico Autry with 1½ sacks for Indy. They can do more damage to the slumping Steelers, who have scored less than 20 points in their last four games. Much of the blame could be pointed at Ben Rothlisberger, who has not delivered. Only 170 yards passing. He did score a TD, but he gave up an interception and had two fumbles, one for a turnover. Unless they can get hold of the ship, it could be a quick out for the Steel curtain. This will be tough game for them, but I think they can overcome their current issues.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (21-18)

Chicago at Jacksonville
Line: Bears by 7

The hot and cold Bears are suddenly hot again, winning their 2nd straight, this time over Minnesota. David Montgomery with 32 carries for 146 yards rushing and 2 TD’s. He was the work horse all day long for the Bears. They head to North Florida to take on the Jags, who lost their 13th straight after falling to Baltimore. Gardner Minshew was back under center and threw for 226 yards passing and TD’s, most in clean up to satisfy fantasy football playoff managers. Despite being at home, the Bears should be able to give Jacksonville another loss and put them closer to the number one overall pick for the 2021 NFL draft.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Chicago (32-17)

Carolina at Washington
Line: DC by 2 ½

DC is in the driver’s seat in the tough but dysfunctional NFC East. They could have made some headway and separated themselves from the pack, but they fell to Seattle, 20-15. Dwayne Haskins with some key mistakes in the game, including two INT’s. He was also sacked four times. They host the Panthers, who fell to Green Bay, 24-16. All kinds of problems getting into the end zone in this game for Carolina. Teddy Bridgewater with the only TD of the day, a 13-yard rushing score for the Panthers. This is not a guaranteed win for DC. It all depends on Haskins, and if he can avoid the mistakes like last weekend. This makes this game a potential upset in the making.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Carolina (21-17)

Atlanta at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 11 ½

The Falcons get another jolt of reality from Tom Brady, as he pulled off another comeback on the “dirty birds”. As we mentioned, they were up 24-7 in the 3rd quarter when the Atlanta defense gave up 17 points. They would regain the lead but would fall on a 46-yard pass from Brady to Antonio Brown to seal their fate. They head to KC, where the Chiefs survived a battle with New Orleans. Patrick Mahomes with 3 TD’s on the day. He also survived four sacks allowed by the KC O-line. The Chiefs are heavily favored, but the Falcons still have the ability to score points. Despite their troubles, look for KC to win going away.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (34-21)

Denver at LA Chargers
Line: Bolts by 3

The Broncos were brutalized by the Bills, 48-19. They were the victims of that Bills secondary. Only 115 passing yards in the air. They were also at 42% percent on 3rd downs, compare that with 62% percent for Buffalo. They head to LA to take on the Bolts, who pulled off a come from behind victory over Las Vegas. Justin Herbert with 314 passing yards and 2 TD’s, that included the game winner in overtime. Both teams are at 5-9, and this will be for who can avoid getting to 10 losses this season. Give the advantage to the Bolts.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Chargers (23-21)

LA Rams at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 2½

The Rams are coming off a humiliating loss to the lowly Jets at home. How could that have happened with this defense? Well, the Rams gave up 23 points in three quarters, and by the time they got back into the game, it was too late. A late turnover on downs sealed the loss. Now comes an important game against division rival Seattle, who won over Washington. Russell Wilson stayed out of trouble for most of the game. The Seahawks defense with two INT’s and four sacks on the day. The Rams have no choice but the shake off the bad loss. I expect them to play a tough meaningful game. But I think Russell Wilson and company can hold of their division rival.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (20-16)

Philadelphia at Dallas
Line: Pick’em

Mostly because both teams are on their second-string quarterbacks. Both teams have defensive issues and both teams can score. The Eagles are coming off a loss against Arizona. Jalen Hurts played well, 338 yards passing and three TD’s, but the late TD by Arizona ended their upset hopes. They take on the Cowboys, who all of the sudden have life after two straight wins, this time to San Francisco. Andy Dalton with 209 yards passing and 2 TD’s, Tony Pollard also with two rushing TD’s. The key to this game is the continued bleeding of the Dallas defense, they continue to give up 30+ points per game. If it happens again, it could doom their playoff hopes. That being said, I like Hurts and company to pull off the upset.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (34-26)

Tennessee at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 4

The Titans got a must win victory over Detroit in convincing fashion. Ryan Tannehill, 273 yards passing and 3 TD’s, Derrick Henry with 147 yards rushing. That puts him at one thousand six hundred and seventy nine yards on the season with two games to go, and only 321 from 2,000 yards. He’ll have a tough task against the Packers in Lambeau Field on Sunday night. Aaron Jones with 145 yards rushing and a TD in their win over Carolina. This game stands to be run heavy, which both teams are very much capable. But the advantage goes to the Pack, with Aaron Rodgers able to overcome the Titans defense.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (28-24)

Monday, December 28

Buffalo at New England
Line: Bills by 6½

The Bills were finally able to overcome the Patriots dynasty, and for the first time in 25 years, they won their first AFC East title with a win over Denver. Josh Allen with 359 yards passing and three TD’s for the Bills, Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley over the century mark in receiving. The Patriots loss to Miami makes this Monday night match meaningless for one team, and a chance to play spoiler for the other. A win by the Bills would lock up the #2 seed and a home playoff game. Look for Bill Belichek to put together a game plan to slow down Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense. This will still be a close matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (23-21)

Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for week 16.

2021-college-football-playoffs-bracket

Join us next Wednesday, as we deliver our College Football Playoff Picks. It will be Alabama taking on Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl and Clemson verses Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. The winner will go to the National Championship on January 11. Find out who were picking on December 30th at 8:30am eastern .

Our NFL Football Picks returns for the final week of the regular season next Thursday at 830am eastern time. If you miss out on either of our broadcasts, you can always read our picks at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Thanks for listening, we’d like to wish all of our listeners Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day and Happy Kwanzaa! We’ll see you later!

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 15 (No COVID-19 Bubble)

1208072288.jpg.0

Week 15 and NFL team owners’ meetings took place this week in a virtual setting, and the one significant story is, there will be no postseason bubbles for NFL teams in January.

The NFL informed league clubs on Tuesday night that teams cannot require players and staff members to stay at a hotel during the playoffs other than the night prior to a game. The choice to forego local bubbles was recommended by the league and NFL Players Association medical experts based on COVID-19 testing data. That’s according to a memo released by the league.

The league and NFLPA maintain confidence in their protocols, with the most recent week of COVID-19 testing showing a .09% positivity rate among players and a .11% rate among personnel.

For more on this story, CLICK HERE!

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 8-8
Against the Spread: 5-8-3

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 124-74-1
Against the Spread: 82-74-50

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Thursday, December 17

LA Chargers at Las Vegas
Line: Raiders by 3½

The Bolts snuck out of the ATL with a 20-17 victory over the Falcons. The defense was able to pick off Matt Ryan 3 times. Justin Herbert led a late drive to set up a 43-yard FG by Mike Badgley with :03 seconds in regulation to seal the victory. Herbert also had 243 yards passing, two TD’s and an INT on the day. They head to “sin city” to take on the Silver and Black, who’ve lost three out of their last four and are dangerously close to falling out of the playoff picture. They fell to Indianapolis, 44-27. Derrick Carr threw for 316 yards passing and two TD’s but also threw two picks in the loss. This stands to be an exciting AFC West divisional matchup. They beat the Bolts during week 9 in a close game. This one stands to be just as close, but with the Raiders having defensive struggles, the Bolts have a chance for the upset on a short week.

Smooth’s Pick: Las Vegas (38-33)

Saturday, December 19

Buffalo at Denver
Line: Bills by 6½

And the Bills dominated the once undefeated Steelers, 26-15. WR Stephon Diggs with a big night, 10 catches for 130 yards and a TD. The defense also terrorized Ben Rothlisberger for 2 INT’s and a sack. They head to the “Mile High” city to take on the Broncos, who snuck out of Charlotte with a 32-27 win over the Panthers. Drew Lock with his best day as a pro, 280 yards and 4 TD’s. K.J. Hamler, with two of those scores. This will be a much tougher task for the Broncos. A better defense and a much more effective offense from the Bills. The only thing stopping Buffalo is over-confidence. They hope to prevent a letdown. A low scoring game as I’m anticipating may do that.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (20-16)

Carolina at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 8½

Another 10-win season for Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, who got by Detroit 31-24. Rodgers with 290 yards passing and three TD’s. Another big game for Davante Adams, 7 catches for 115 yards and a TD. They host the Panthers, who are coming off a tough loss at home to Denver. Teddy Bridgewater with 283 yards passing and a rushing TD. Just not enough protection for Carolina as they gave up 4 sacks. Unless they get their o-line shaped up, they’re going to see more of that this weekend. Look for the Pack to secure their playoff spot this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (34-21)

Sunday, December 20

San Francisco at Dallas
Line: Niners by 3

The change in venues because of the coronavirus has affected Niners the most this season. They suffer another loss, this time to Washington, 23-15. Nick Mullens was sacked four times in the loss, which pretty much put them out of the race for the NFC West crown. They head to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. They easily dispatched Cincinnati, 30-7. The much-maligned defense held the Bengals to a lone touchdown. DT Tyrone Crawford with two sacks on the day. The Cowboys still with a chance for the NFC East title wit the victory, and with the limping Niners coming to town, they still have a shot.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (24-21)

Seattle at Washington
Line: Seahawks by 5½

The Seahawks rebounded from that awful showing two weeks ago against the Giants to rip apart the Jets, 40-3. Russell Wilson back to his usual self with 4 TD’s on the day. Seattle defense also getting 3 sacks on the day. They take on DC, who take over the top spot in the NFC East with their win over San Francisco. It was all defense as they get a fumble recovery TD from rookie Chase Young and a pick-6 from DB Kameron Curl. This will be a tough task DC to continue for with the mobile Wilson and company looming. But it depends on if Alex Smith plays, as he’s nursing a calf injury. If Dwayne Haskins starts, then all bets are off.

Smooth’s Pick: Washington (23-19)

Chicago at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 3

The Bears final got some offense going, as they beat Houston, 36-7. Big offensive games from Mitch Trubisky, RB David Montgomery and WR Allen Robinson. The Bears defense also got to DaShaun Watson seven times on the day. They head to Minneapolis, where the Vikings dropped a crucial game to Tampa Bay, 26-14. The o-line for Minnesota had major problems, giving up 6 sacks on the day. Whoever loses this game will probably see their hopes for the playoffs go up in smoke. More so for Chicago, who lost to the Vikings during week 10. They would lose the tiebreaker if they lose this weekend. Still, look for a tough battle between these two rivals.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (21-20)

New England at Miami
Line: Dolphins by 2½

It’s been a long time since the fish has been favored against New England, at least two decades. But this weekend they are slight favorites at home against the Pats. Miami blew an opportunity to upset Kansas City. They lost 33-27. The Miami defense picked off Patrick Mahomes twice on the day. Tua Tagovailoa was solid in the loss, 316 yards passing and two TD’s, but he also gave up an INT. The Pats fortunes went sour last Thursday night, as they lost to the Rams, 24-3. Virtually no offense for New England, as they only gained 3.8 yards per play on the night. Not a good sign for a once proud franchise. The fish can bury the Patriots dynasty for good this weekend.

Smooth’s Pick: Miami (27-16)

Jacksonville at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 13½

The Jags lose their 12-straight game, as they fall to Tennessee 31-10. The Jacksonville run defense was terrorized by Derrick Henry. More on his stats later on in the broadcast. The Mike Glennon experiment failed as Gardner Minshew took over in the 2nd half. Didn’t amount to much. They’ll take on the Ravens, where Lamar Jackson battled cramps, and the Browns at the same time. He led two scoring drives in two minutes to beat Cleveland in a shootout, 47-42. 287 total yards for Jackson and 3 TD on Monday night. Unless Jackson has a relapse with cramps, expect a bloodbath.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (40-13)

Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Line: Bucs by 6

Tom Brady with a bounce-back game in the win against Minnesota. 196 yards passing and two TD’s. Shaquil Barrett had two of the teams six sacks on the day. They head to the ATL to take on Falcons. Another sloppy game for Matt Ryan, who gave up three picks in the loss to the Chargers. He was also sacked twice on the day. The “dirty birds” can still play spoiler against their division rivals. But if their offense continues to struggle without their main player Julio Jones, it won’t matter. Look for the Bucs to continue to move on.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (27-20)

Detroit at Tennessee
Line: Titans by 10½

At this point, the Lions are just playing the season out. Only 51 rushing yards generated by Detroit, as they fell to Green Bay. They also gave up four sacks on the day. They head to Nashville, where Derrick Henry put up yet another 200-yard rushing game in the win against Jacksonville. 215 yards, to be exact and two TD’s. The run game will be in full force at home against the Lions. A victory on Sunday will make it a 10-win season for head coach Mike Vrabel and move closer to the AFC South crown.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (34-17)

Houston at Indianapolis
Line: Colts by 7

The Texans ran into a brick wall against Chicago. Lots of mistakes, giving up two fumbles for turnovers and seven sacks. DeShaun Watson, 218 yards passing and a TD in the loss. They head to Indianapolis, where the Colts beat down Las Vegas. Jonathan Taylor and T.Y. Hilton each with two TD’s. Philip Rivers also with two TD passes on the day. This is the second time in two weeks these to division rivals will meet. Watson threw for over 300 yards when the teams met two weeks ago in Houston. They would have won, if they didn’t lose the ball in the red zone. Despite the touchdown point spread, I think this will be much closer than expected.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (26-23)

Philadelphia at Arizona
Line: Cardinals by 6½

Jalen Hurts pro debut was a success, as the Eagles beat New Orleans, 24-21. 17/30 for 167 yards passing and a TD. Overall, he had 273 total yards on the day. He gets another test against a tough defense in the Cardinals, where LB Hasson Reddick had 5 sacks on the day in the 26-7 win against the Giants. In all, Arizona took advantage of 8 sacks on Giants QB’s. Unlike the G-Men, the Eagles have a much more mobile QB. But with Hurts in only his second NFL start, they might be able to rattle him.

Smooth’s Pick: Arizona (24-17)

NY Jets at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 17

The Jets lost big to Seattle last Sunday. For Gang Green, it’s been a dumpster fire all season. Injuries to many of the offensive starters, poor coaching and an overall lack of talent have the Jets in position to make the first overall selection in next year’s NFL draft. The Rams had a solid game in a convincing fashion over New England. Cam Akers with 171 yards rushing on the night. The story in this game is whether the Rams will be able to cover the more than two touchdown spread against the Jets. Given the beatdown last week on the Patriots, there no reason why they can’t do it. A loss this weekend to the winless Jets would be embarrassing.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (36-9)

Kansas City at New Orleans
Line: Chiefs by 3

KC went away lucky against Miami last weekend, especially with the bad game by Patrick Mahomes. Yeah, he did throw for nearly 400 yards passing again, and he did get two TD’s. But he also threw three bad interceptions on the day. Up to last Sunday, Mahomes only threw two picks this season. He was also sacked three times. They have to recover quickly, as they take on the Saints, who looked flat against Philadelphia. Not a good day for Taysom Hill, two turnovers in the loss. He was also sacked five times. With a high-powered offense like the Chiefs, and without Drew Brees, the Saints will struggle. But if they’re looking at last week’s game film, Miami may have given the Saints a blue print on how to beat Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (27-20)

Cleveland at NY Giants
Line: Browns by 4

The NFL used a flex schedule on this game, as no one expected the G-Men to be contending late in the season. But winning 4 of their last 5 games put Big Blue into the spotlight. The offense didn’t show up in the loss to Arizona last Sunday. That may have been because Daniel Jones wasn’t 100% percent. It was clear, as he wasn’t as mobile as he was before the injury. He’ll get another chance against the Browns, who lost in a shootout against Baltimore. Baker Mayfield with 343 yards passing and three TD’s. The Browns defense was able to get the Lamar Jackson four times in the loss. I don’t anticipate the G-Men to give up 42 points. They’ve been competitive in 11 of 13 games they’ve played in. But in order to win this game they have to get the offense going and play mistake-free football. Otherwise, it could be an embarrassing show on the national stage. Expect a close and competitive game.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (23-17)

Monday, December 21

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Line: Steelers by 13

And just like that, the Steelers have a two-game losing streak as they fell to Buffalo on Sunday night. Ben Rothlisberger had an off night, two interceptions and a lot of dropped passes by Steeler receivers. They may get a break with the Bengals, who are limping towards the end of the season. They were manhandled by Dallas in a game that was filled with mistakes. Three fumbles, two sacks and virtually no offense. Now would be a good time to end the two-game skid for the Steelers. Who better to do that than against a weaker division opponent?

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (27-10)

Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.

Leave a comment

Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Week 14 (Updated Power Rankings)

vl3aajtxwewyqdgx7rtf

Week 14 and taking a look at the latest Power Rankings, we have a big change at the top spot. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been dethroned by the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at number #1. This was after the Steelers upset loss against Washington on Monday. More on that game later on in the broadcast. Pittsburgh drops to #2, with the remaining three teams in the top 5 staying in place. New Orleans is at #3, Green Bay at #4 and Buffalo at #5. The largest climb was by the official NFL team of Smooth Jazz and More, the New York Football Giants, who climbed six spots from #26 to #20. That’s due to their four-game winning streak, a win over heavily favored Seattle last Sunday and 1st place in the NFC East over Washington due to their two previous wins over DC. The bottom five reads like a sad fairy tale. The Chargers at #28, Dallas at #29, Cincinnati at #30, Jacksonville at #31 and the Jets taking up the rear at #32. Philadelphia and the Bolts were tied with the biggest drops at four apiece.

More Power Rankings Here!

Last Week’s Results

Head-to-Head: 10-5
Against the Spread: 7-5-3

Season to Date

Head-to-Head: 116-66-1
Against the Spread: 77-66-47

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Thursday, December 10

New England at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 5

LA got a much-needed boost in their hopes for the playoffs by beating Arizona, 38-28. Jared Goff with 351 yards passing and 2 TD’s. They retake the top spot in the NFC West over Seattle. They head home to take on the Patriots, who shutout the Chargers 45-0. This game was won by the defense and special teams for New England, two interceptions and three sacks on Justin Herbert and a 70-yard punt return for a TD by Gunner Ols-zew-ski to dominate the Bolts. They’ll need that same effort against the Rams, who have a tough defense. If anything, the Rams offense slightly better giving them the advantage in this matchup.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (26-21)

Sunday, December 13

Arizona at NY Giants
Line: Cardinals by 2

Arizona was outplayed by the Rams in their home loss. Kyler Murray did throw for 3 TD’s, but he was stymied by the Rams defense, throwing a pick, losing the ball on a fumble and getting sacked twice on the day. They head to the Meadowlands to take on the streaking G-Men who look to win their fifth in a row after upsetting Seattle 17-12. A big day for DT Leonard Williams, getting two and a half sacks on Russell Wilson and being named NFL Defensive player of the week. In all Big Blue got to Wilson five times on the day. Murray is like a younger version of Wilson. He’s just as agile and continues to improve. But this Giants defense is beginning to come alive at the right time, and I see them continuing to shine. The only hope for the Cards is to get at Colt McCoy or Daniel Jones if he’s not at 100% percent.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Giants (19-13)

Dallas at Cincinnati
Line: Cowboys by 3½

Dallas fell further behind in the NFC East race with a 34-17 loss to Baltimore on Tuesday night. The Cowboys defense gave up yet another 30+ plus points on the night. They also gave up 294 rushing yards. Just brutal. They may get some hope as they take on the Bengals, who have collapsed after losing Joe Burrow three weeks ago to injury. They lost to Miami 19-7. Their only score was a 72-yard TD pass from Brandon Allen to Tyler Boyd to lead the game in the first quarter, but it was all downhill from there. It may be too late for them this season, as they’ll give something for the Cowboys to cheer about.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (24-10)

Denver at Carolina
Line: Panthers by 3½

The Broncos were able to regroup after a disastrous COVID outbreak. Though they didn’t win, they were able to beat the spread against Kansas City, losing 22-16. Drew Lock with two TD passes but he did throw two picks on the night. Melvin Gordon with a big day on the ground, 15 carries for 131 yards rushing. Denver heads to Charlotte to take on the Panthers, who are coming off a bye week. They could be without nearly half their wide receiver core. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel were among eight players the team placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. The good news is they should be able to get Christian McCafferty back after missing nine games because of his ankle and shoulder injuries. He may be all the Panthers need to slow the Broncos down.

Smooth’s Pick: Carolina (29-15)

Houston at Chicago
Line: Pick ‘em

The Texans got a lot of offense from DeShaun Watson, and WR’s Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen. But it wasn’t enough as they fell to Indianapolis 26-20. Watson with 341 yards passing, Coutee and Hansen went over the century mark in receiving in the loss. They head to the Windy City, where the Bears lost their sixth in a row, falling to 34-30 in disastrous fashion. Mitch Trubisky fumbles the ball with 1:54 left in the game giving the Lions the ball and they would get a TD run from Adrian Peterson to clinch the victory. Head coach Matt Nagy’s job may be on the line the rest of the way. It won’t be easy for the Bears against the Texans, and they’re regretting not taking Watson or Mahomes in the 2017 draft. Look for Watson to make them pay for that mistake.

Smooth’s Pick: Houston (25-16)

Kansas City at Miami
Line: Chiefs by 7

TE Travis Kelce caught eight catches for 136 yards and a TD, as the Chiefs beat Denver. Patrick Mahomes, 318 yards passing and a TD. The Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu with two picks on the day. They head to South Beach to take on the Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa with 296 yards passing and a TD. Safety Kyle Van Noy of three of six sacks on Brandon Allen in their win over Cincinnati. The big test for the fish will be how they handle the Chiefs high-powered offense. If they can hold Mahomes, they have a chance. But with a young QB, it may be just too much to handle for the Dolphins to keep up.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (27-13)

Minnesota at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 6½

The Vikings had to go to OT to beat Jacksonville, 27-24. They held off a late charge by the Jags to get a 23-yard FG from Dan Bailey for the win. Kirk Cousins, 305 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Justin Jefferson with 121 yards receiving and a TD. Dalvin Cook with 120 yards rushing on the day. They head to Tampa to take on the Bucs, who are coming off a bye week. They are on a three-game losing streak and the time off should hopefully get them back on track. The Bucs defense have allowed an average of 28.8 points over the past four games. This game has the makings of an offensive struggle, leaving it to the last team standing on top.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (31-28)

Tennessee at Jacksonville
Line: Titans by 7½

The Titans got out scored by Cleveland, 41-35. Ryan Tannelhill 389 yards passing and three TD’s. WR Corey Davis got most of that yardage, 11 catches for 182 yards and a TD. They head to North Florida to take on the Jags, who put on a game fight against Minnesota. The Jags defense got to Kirk Cousins four times keeping them in the game to the very end. The loss was their 10th in a row. Their chances at an upset rest in their defense but look for Derrick Henry to have a bounce back game to get the Titans back on track.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (31-21)

Indianapolis at Las Vegas
Line: Colts by 3

Indy got 110 yards receiving and a TD from T.Y. Hilton, and the Colts beat Houston last Sunday. Justin Houston sacked DaShaun Watson three times, DeForest Buckner also had two sacks in the win. They head to sin city to take on the Raiders, who got a 46 yard TD pass from Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs with :15 seconds to go in regulation to shock the Jets, 31-28. Carr with 383 yards passing and three TD’s, Darren Waller with two of those scores and 200 yards receiving on the day. The Silver and Black have a lot of injuries on their end, leading to inconsistencies the last two games, but they should make the Colts work for their money. Should be a close one.

Smooth’s Pick: Las Vegas (30-26)

NY Jets at Seattle
Line: Seahawks by 13½

It’s unthinkable that any coach would call for an all-out blitz while you’re leading with :15 seconds to go, but that’s exactly what happened to Gang Green in their loss to Las Vegas. For his part, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired for running that play. They head to the Emerald city to take on Seattle, who ran into a buzz saw with the Giants. Sloppy game for Russell Wilson, one fumble turnover and an interception. He was also sacked 5 times. Now would be a great time to recover from that horrible game by the Seahawks. This is a chance to give the Jets their 13th loss in a row. Look for Wilson to get back on track.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (38-21)

Atlanta at LA Chargers
Line: Falcons by 2½

The Falcons offense struggled against New Orleans, falling to the saints 21-16. They did get a good day from Calvin Ridley, 5 catches for 108 yards. Matt Ryan 273 yards passing and a TD, but he was also sacked three times in the loss. They head to LA to take on the Bolts, who were shut out against New England. Another learning experience for rookie Justin Herbert, 209 passing yards, but he also threw for 2 INT’s and was sacked three times in the loss. He’ll have his hands full, as the “Dirty Birds” have the advantage on offense.

Smooth’s Pick: Atlanta (27-15)

Green Bay at Detroit
Line: Packers by 7½

The Pack picked apart Philadelphia, 30-16. Aaron Rogers with another solid day, 295 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Two of those to Davante Adams, who had 121 yards receiving. Aaron Jones with 130 yards and a score in the win. They take on the Lions, who caught a break on a last-minute win over Chicago. Matthew Stafford over 400 yards on the day and three TD’s. That included one to Marvin Jones who had 116 yards receiving. This sounds like an old-fashioned western shootout with both teams getting over 30 points last week. However, the Pack is in much better shape, and the Lions having trouble scoring at home. Still, look for something competitive from the NFC North foes.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (33-27)

Washington at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 3

DC did the unthinkable and stopped Pittsburgh’s hopes for an undefeated season on Monday night, 23-17. They did it by playing smashmouth football on defense, and frustrating Ben Rothlisberger in the second half. Don’t look now, but DC has a chance for its fourth straight win as they go against the Niners. The disruption of moving from their home in Santa Clara to Glendale, Arizona clearly affected their play in the loss to Buffalo, 34-24. There were 7 penalties on the night for the Niners, and even though Nick Mullens threw for over 300 and 3 TD’s, he also threw two picks on the night. In this matchup the Niners have more weapons on offense than DC. So, with both defenses equal, it will all depend on if Alex Smith can generate something against his former team.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (21-17)

New Orleans at Philadelphia
Line: Saints by 7

Taysom Hill threw his first career TD pass, as the Saints beat Atlanta and clinch its fourth straight playoff berth. 232 yards passing for Hill and two TD’s on the day. Michael Thomas going over the century mark in receiving yards. They head to Philly, where the Eagles have a tough decision after this season. Do you stay with Carson Wentz who signed a huge contract, but doesn’t equal what you’re paying him for, or do you go with rookie Jalen Hurts? Well, this weekend, head coach Doug Peterson will give the ball to Hurts on a short-term basis. This, after getting pummeled by Green Bay last Sunday. Look for the Saints to continue the hurtin’ on the Eagles.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (27-10)

Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 2½

The 1972 Miami Dolphins have nothing to worry about for another season. There were a few games in the 11 wins the Steelers had this season that almost didn’t happen. So, when Washington ended their undefeated season, it must have been a relief not to worry about it anymore. They still have an unbeaten streak on the road, but they’ll have a tough task against the Bills, who smoked San Francisco in Glendale, Arizona. Josh Allen put up numbers that put him in the MVP discussion, 375 yards passing and 4 TD’s. I would have thought this was the game for the Steelers to worry about. This Sunday night matchup will be a playoff preview for sure. Flip a coin on this one.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (31-29)

Monday, December 14

Baltimore at Cleveland
Line: Ravens by 1

Lamar Jackson returned from the COVID restriction list and proceeded to decimate Dallas in their Tuesday night matchup. Over 200 total yards, including 94 yards rushing and three TD’s. They head to the city they used to call home to take on the team that calls Cleveland home, the Browns. Baker Mayfield had his best game of the season, 334 yards passing and 4 TD’s in the win against Tennessee. Nick Chubb with over 100 total yards and a TD. The Browns are finally coming together after many years of futility, clinching their first winning season since 2008. This stands to be the game of the week, and could be a chance to knock off the Ravens from their division title hopes. This game, too will be tough to predict.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (24-21)

Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. For gambling issues, go to gamblers anonymous dot org.