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Pick6: COVID Craziness

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

Just when we thought the NFL was marching toward another successful postseason run, COVID-19 comes reading its ugly head again. It’s been a chaotic week, with three games being rescheduled, and dozens of players and coaches testing positive for the virus, including New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Here’s hoping the league will be able to navigate these late-season rough waters, and that no games will have to be canceled. Talk about finding coal in your stocking…

Here are this week’s picks:

♦ NEW ENGLAND @ INDIANAPOLIS: The 9-4 Patriots have won seven straight and, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, are one of the league’s hottest teams. So why are the 7-6 Colts currently 2.5-point favorites. Well, they’re at home, and they’re also pretty darn good. Led by DT DeFOREST Buckner, the Indianapolis defense can make rough for opposing QBs. But something tells me rookie Mac Jones will be up for the challenge. Pick: PATRIOTS

♦ CAROLINA @ BUFFALO: Once regarded as Super Bowl contenders, the Bills are now hanging on to a playoff spot by a thread. Buffalo has lost four of their last six contests, including to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s almost become a guilty pleasure to see just how far this team can sink. Let’s face it: Buffalo needs this game. Carolina is simply playing out the string. Pick: BILLS

♦ DALLAS @ N.Y. GIANTS: At last count, the Giants have seven players on the COVOD list, including three in the secondary. That spells bad news for New York, which will face a healthy Dak Prescott and his full arsenal of weapons. I have both Zeke Elliott and CeeDee Lamb on my Fantasy Football team, so you know how I hope this will turn out. Dallas is an 11-point favorite, and the actual Martin may be even higher. Pick: COWBOYS

♦ CINCINNATI @ DENVER: Here’s a competitive game between two teams fighting for a playoff spot. Cincinnati features a Top 10 offense (27.2 points per game), but the Denver has the league’s second-best scoring defense (17.5 ppg). The key to this game will be the play of Bengals QB Joe Burrow and WR Ja’Marr Chase. When the two former LSU teammates are clicking, Cincinnati is dangerous. They haven’t been very productive lately, however. Pick: BRONCOS

♦ SEATTLE @ L.A. RAMS: COVID concerns forced the league to move this game from Sunday to Monday night. . RAMS

♦ LAS VEGAS @ CLEVELAND: As of right now, the Browns have 24 players, including 12 starters, in COVID protocol. In response, the NFL has moved the game (originally scheduled for tomorrow) to Monday. The Raiders were on the team bus ready to head to the airport when the league announced the move. Bad break for the Silver & Black? Yes, but it’s been that kind of season for them. If Cleveland gets enough players back, expect them to roll. Pick: BROWNS

Last Week: 6-0 | 2021 Record: 47-37 (.560)

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