Welcome back to The Degenerates Gambit! Once again, please remember that these articles are for fun, and while I love writing them and gambling on football, if you or someone you know is addicted and needs help, please get help or get help for them. The national helpline number is 1-800-522-4700.
What? The season is over? I forgot to do a Week 18 show? I’ve become Jeffrey Lebowski when his landlord reminds him that tomorrow is already the 10th. “Far out, man.” So, to make up for it, and to throw one last hail mary at my record, I’ll be picking something for EVERY SINGLE WILDCARD GAME! LETS GOOOOOO
Cleveland Browns -2.5 (-105)
I hate to even write this, as chairman of my local CJ Stroud Fanclub (well, I’m actually just the street team coordinator, but don’t tell anyone else). The Browns are just too good on defense right now, and with the way Joe Flacco is playing, they can play with a lead which makes their pass rush even more deadly. I believe Stroud will play a great game, but will end up taking the loss in a close game. There’s a strong chance this is the best game of the weekend.
Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 (-200)
I had to take an adjusted line here, because while I think Kansas City will win this game on the ground, the total points were too low for me to risk (43.5), and I didn’t want to play for the push with the spread currently sitting at -3. The 2024 Ice Bowl is here, and I believe it benefits the cold weather team with the bruising lead back over the Florida guys who rely on speed to get their offense working. Add in the fact that Mike McDaniel traded the Elder Gods the injury health of his other 44 gameday actives to keep Tua upright for a season, and this game could be a mess. I like KC, but the line being an even 3 scared me in a game projected to be this cold, and I’d rather take the -200 here than the -240 Kansas City Moneyline.
Pittsburgh Steelers +9.5 (-105)
The piece on Sean McDermott’s 9/11 comments did more to galvanize an organization than the 9/11 Commission’s report did to get American foreign policymakers to stop blaming Iraqis for an attack they had no part of. HOWEVER, Buffalo’s hot streak has only featured one win of more than 10 points, and this is still a team that people had buried just a short month and a half ago. Mason Rudolph fucking sucks, but it’s a testament to how good the rest of the team is that he has improved their play so drastically just by being simply average. There’s always a chance that Himbo Josh Allen shows up and throws a couple of key picks just for fun to keep this game closer than it should be. The Bills will win, but a Mike Tomlin team should keep it competitive.
Dallas Cowboys -6.5 (-130)
Here’s another game where I had to take lower odds on an adjusted spread because I feel like there’s a chance the Packers come back and force a push in the 4th quarter and only lose by 7. Jordan Love’s 2023 has been full of ups and downs, and the narrative on him changes based on whatever he did most recently. Right now, everyone loves him because he torched a hapless Bears pass rush for over 300 yards. The problem is, the Bears don’t have Micah Parsons, and Dallas does. CeeDee Lamb is a threat against both Jaire Alexander and Keisean Nixon and should outshine Jayden Reed, who also has a great matchup. I took a little bit less to feel more confident, but there’s always room for concern when we’re talking about a Mike McCarthy-coached team.
Detroit Lions -3 (-118)
This is the only game that EVERYONE wants to watch this weekend, right? Detroit is everyone’s favorite playoff team (save their own), and the Rams have been a great story this year as well. Puka and Amon-Ra are two of the most fun young wideouts in the game, Jahmyr Gibbs and Kyren Williams have been outstanding this year, and there’s the obvious QB return/reunion dynamic going on. I’m glad to not be a fan of either of these teams since this one should be simply fun to watch. I think Detroit is the move here, but with these teams, if I’m wrong I won’t be surprised.
Philadelphia Eagles Moneyline (-158)
I’m writing this at 12 pm on Friday, and I have no clue if Jalen Hurts or AJ Brown are playing on Monday. My gut says at least one of them will. [Editor’s Note: It’s not gonna be A.J. Brown] Philly has looked terrible, and the Bucs have been a surprising story, but Philly has the better team and suddenly it seems like Nick Sirianni is coaching for his job. I believe the Eagles rally around their coach and pull this one off before getting absolutely mollywhopped in the second round. A lot of the “sharps” are taking Tampa Bay, so you might even get better odds by the time this comes out. I’ll take Philly where it’s at right now with confidence.
Week 17: 2-2
Year Total: 37-30-1