Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 9 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
It seems a bit silly to talk about smashmouth football anymore – these days, your mouth and every other part of your body gets smashed in every single game. But some NFL games are still more violent than others. Take last week’s bitter matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. These guys went at it like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots; in the end, Red Rocker beat Blue Bomber 19-17, but Seattle left with the cash as a 2.5-point road dog.
The Seahawks (11-2 SU, 9-4 ATS) also added to their collection of injuries. LB K.J. Wright suffered a broken foot against the 49ers, and is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on Tuesday. Wright (80 tackles, four passes defended) is one of the best linebackers out there. He’ll be missed when Seattle flies east to take on the New York Giants (5-8 SU and ATS), whom the Week 15 NFL odds are handing seven points at home.
Follow the latest line movement in our NFL Picks: Week 15 Betting Odds Report.
Malcolm in the Middle
Injuries have become old hat for the Seahawks defense. Injuries and suspensions, and even both in the case of CB Brandon Browner. But the ‘Hawks just keep on stuffing. They still had the most efficient defense in the league heading into Week 14, filling in those holes in the secondary with some of the same quality players from Seattle’s No. 2-ranked special teams – like CB Jeremy Lane, who had three passes defended and a pair of tackles against San Francisco.
Now it’s up to Malcolm Smith to do the same in relief of Wright. The third-year man from USC (head coach Pete Carroll’s former stomping grounds) started the first four games of the season in place of LB Bruce Irvin, who was serving a suspension. Then he started two games in place of injured LB Bobby Wagner. Smith did a fantastic job, and continued to excel in spot duty when Wagner returned to action. This is the kind of depth you need if you’re going to win a Super Bowl or two.
Black and Big Blue
On the other side of Sunday’s matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), you have the Giants, who were third in the league in man games lost through Week 13, according to the folks at the appropriately named Man Games Lost. New York’s No. 7-ranked defense is just about the only thing that’s working right this year, and even that appears to be on the fritz now that Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) is missing football games. Pierre-Paul was scratched from last week’s 37-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers (–4 at home). His availability for this week is unknown at press time.
As for the Giants offense, it comes to a crashing halt before Eli Manning (74.2 passer rating) even gets the ball. The offensive line in front of Manning is a mess, especially down the middle, where centers David Bass and Jim Cordle are both injured. Through Week 13, New York’s offensive line was ranked No. 27 in run blocking efficiency and No. 24 in pass protection. Hashtag Manningface.
So you take those guys, and you put them out in near-freezing conditions with a 20 percent chance of snow against the top-ranked defense in the league… no sir, I don’t like it if I’m a Giants supporter. I might like the UNDER if that snow turns to rain, though. As always, keep an eye on the weather reports, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks –6.5 at Heritage