December, or as I call it, the month where I get to blissfully laugh at the New England Patriots, before strolling into work like Homer Simpsons warning of the rapture, declaring how there isn’t a hope in hell that New England are winning the Super Bowl this year.
The tradition almost supersedes the conviction at this point. It’s become a hobby, pastime and tradition all in one, and if I didn’t do it, it’s almost people would suspect that something is wrong.
But as I know well, I’ll be sat, drunk, in a bar at 4.30am come February as Tom Brady stands in front of me, in 4k definition, hoisting yet another Championship while I fall asleep into my pint.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to week 14.
Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) @ Chicago Bears (-118)
5th December 2019 8:20PM
I don’t care how bad you think the Cowboys are, the Bears are far, far worse. They were dragged into a game against a team who utilise man coverage on every snap, as well as one leaning on their third-choice quarterback.
The result was funny in that, the Bears won it with relative ease despite the late touchdown – and while the quarterback is question carved up a poor Bears defence, I would have concern about the offensive struggles even more.
What happens outside of checkdowns to Tarik Cohen and darts on a slant to Allen Robinson? Sooner or later an intelligent coordinator is going to figure out that they have four plays in their arsenal and it’s easy to counter.
Once Dallas keep out of third down-and-long situations, you can chalk this one up as a win for ‘America’s Team’ who are en route to an average season, with Jason Garrett still at the helm, missing playoffs, and a mid-pack draft pick.
San Francisco 49ers (+3.0) @ New Orleans Saints (+135)
8th December 2019 1PM
The 49ers offence revolves around George Kittle and the teams they do well against are the sides who don’t have an obvious counter for Kittle on their defensive side of the ball.
For example, the New Orleans Saints lack a linebacker with real speed or a safety with real size. And that’s only in man coverage situations. Zone doesn’t really work against the Niners because Kyle Shanahan has a counter for every single one of these coverages and he’ll change them pre-snap to suit the situation.
It took a freakish showing from Lamar Jackson to slow them down, and even then, it was a game they feel they could have won.
Coming into New Orleans with a three-point advantage? Thanks.
Kansas City Chiefs (+3.0) @ New England Patriots (+140)
8th December 2019 4:25PM
I would like you to go back to the intro of this piece and outline what you believe my thoughts on this matchup to be.
Have a good think.
Patrick Mahomes is going to put up 30 points in Foxboro whether you like it or not, so we can now witness just how this stagnating offence is going to try and keep pace.
The obvious answer is that they won’t, and sometimes the obvious answers are the right ones. Handing a visitor three points in Foxboro feels like such a reach for odds-setters and based purely on legacy and tradition rather than a true read of the matchup in question.