This article is part of our Beating the Book series.
This week, I especially like the Saints again, and if I had to pick a second-best bet, it would be the Chiefs. The Packers-Rams is close to a coin flip.
Rams +6.5 at Packers
I made this line seven, but the Rams – in theory – are a tough matchup because they have a shutdown corner to guard Davante Adams and a running game to bludgeon a soft interior defense and keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. But I've underestimated the Packers all year. They were the league's top offense in the regular season, they're at home, coming off a bye and they face a team with injured quarterbacks who will have to play in cold conditions. I could go either way here, but I'll take the Packers.
Packers 24 - 17
Ravens +2.5 at Bills
The Ravens seem like that team this year – last year's No. 1 seed that got bounced early, struggled to make the playoffs, but is peaking at the right time. But Lamar Jackson is too erratic, the Bills have been the better team for most of the year and this isn't quite enough points. Take Buffalo.
Bills 27 - 24
Browns +10 at Chiefs
The Browns are a nice story, but they're headed to Arrowhead for a game where Andy Reid has had an extra week of prep, and the Chiefs are less likely to roll out the vanilla schemes they reserve for bad teams during the regular season. The Browns pass defense is poor, and while they can control the line of scrimmage on offense, they'll be in trouble if and when they get behind. Lay the wood.
Chiefs 37 - 23
Buccaneers +3 at Saints
The Saints swept the Buccaneers during the regular season, and in general the Bucs fared poorly against contending teams (with the exception of the Packers.) In fact, (h/t Rufus Peabody) Bruce Arians has underperformed against good teams throughout his coaching career. The Saints are strong on both sides of the ball, Michael Thomas and Drew Brees finally seem healthy and I expect the Saints to take advantage of an exploitable Bucs' pass defense. Lay the wood.
Saints 31 - 23
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I went 4-2 last week during the Wild Card round and won my best bet, the Saints. My season-long record was 118-130-8, my best bet record was 5-12 and I finished the Supercontest 35-48-2. Last year, I finished 127-123-6 on the regular season, 8-9 on best bets and 43-40-2 in the Super Contest. In 2018, I went 141-106-9 on the season, 10-7 on best bets, 48-36-1 in the Super Contest. From 1999-2020, I've gone 2,808-2,626 (51.7%), not including ties.