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Three games left and all the marbles still at stake. Of course, we’re talking about Sportsnaut’s NFL pick’em competition. Vincent Frank is two games back of yours truly for the top spot — the magic number is only one to clinch. Here are our NFL experts’ picks this weekend.

Michael Dixon

Patriots -7.5 over Jaguars



The Jacksonville defense should keep this one respectable. But Tom Brady and the New England offense is not getting completely shut down. On the other side, if Bill Belichick uses his normal strategy of taking the opposing offense’s best weapon (a banged-up Leonard Fournette) away, can Blake Bortles make the passes needed to prevail? Don’t expect this to be a complete blowout. But expect the Pats to make the plays needed to win the game, and even cover the fairly large spread.

Eagles +3 over Vikings

Minnesota is the healthier team. It has a defense that will not let Nick Foles get away with anything and a talented set of playmakers on offense. There’s no point in denying any of that. But something about this just doesn’t feel right. The Vikings not only going on the road, but are a domed team going outdoors. Additionally, they’re a domed team going outdoors to a cold weather city. It doesn’t feel right that they’re giving points. I’ll take the home underdog to at least keep it under the number.

Rachel Wold



Patriots -7.5 over Jaguars

The New England Patriots win and cover the spread just barely. I expect Leonard Fournette to paint it on thick with a multiple-touchdown game as well, but at the end of the day, the Patriots’ veteran experience prevails against those young trash-talking Jags.

Vikings -3 over Eagles

Sorry underdog Eagles. The Vikings will win and cover the spread. After watching the Minnesota Miracle last week, I am a believer. This team is so dominant and the Vikings’ defense will make mincemeat out of Nick Foles and his offense. A nearly all field goal game for the Eagles is not going to cut it again this week.

David Kenyon



Jaguars +7.5 over Patriots

Eagles +3 over Vikings

Jesse Reed

Jaguars +7.5 over Patriots



Jacksonville’s defensive front will give the Patriots problems. We saw Tom Brady taking some big hits in the last game, and now he’s dealing with an injury to his hand that may or may not impact his ability to deliver the ball downfield. Provided Blake Bortles doesn’t throw the game away, Brock Osweiler style, the Jaguars will not only beat the spread but will have a legitimate chance to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Vikings -3 over Eagles

I don’t trust Nick Foles…still. He did okay last weekend and came through with some big plays in the second half. However, Minnesota’s defense is on another level. The Vikings have the corners to keep Philly’s receivers in check, and their front seven has the pass rushers to put serious heat on Foles. On the other side, I just trust Case Keenum a bit more to make the throws when it matters and move the chains. It’s going to be an ugly game, but the Vikings should win by a touchdown or more.

Vincent Frank



Jags +7.5 over Patriots

We don’t yet know if Tom Brady will be anywhere near 100 percent for Sunday’s game. It’s hard to take that into account when determining a final outcome. What we can take into account is a Jags pass rush that won’t allow Brady to remain comfortable when it comes to his quick release. And with All-Pro performers at corner in A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, this is where Jacksonville has a huge advantage.

It’s hard banking on Blake Bortles going into Gillette under the lights in the AFC’s grandest stage and coming out on top. But I’m going to do just that. Look for Jacksonville to rely on its ground attack and a dominant defense to pull off the monumental upset. Jaguars 23, Patriots 20

Vikings -3 over Eagles

Philadelphia is averaging less than 300 total yards per game in Nick Foles’ starts this season. Over the course of the season, that would have ranked the Eagles’ defense dead last in the NFL. Now set to take on the league’s top statistical defense from the regular season, we’re not too sure Philly will even be able to put a touchdown on the board.

Sure the Vikings might struggle outdoors against an Eagles defense that yielded 10 points to Atlanta last week. But this is the same Philadelphia D that yielded an average of north of 400 yards in its final three regular season games. Look for the Vikes to do just enough on offense. Vikings 20, Eagles 9

Ethan Sears

Patriots -7.5 over Jaguars

The Tom Brady hand story seems so overblown. I’ve been a Jaguars believer — I predicted they’d get this far all the way back in early December — but the line ends here. New England has the personnel to beat Jacksonville’s defense — the Jags are equipped to stop receivers, not running backs and tight ends. Bortles is shaky. Belichick and Brady are not.

Eagles +3 over Vikings

A good rule about games like this: the most uncomfortable bet is usually the best one. And nothing is more uncomfortable than taking Nick Foles in a playoff game against a great defensive team that had its franchise’s a week ago. But the Eagles can win this outright. Philly is capable of stopping the run and forcing Keenum to throw it in cold weather. Keenunm has played just one cold-weather game this year — Week 16 at a Green Bay team that was already out of it — and he averaged 5.56 yards per attempt. The Eagles can make the Vikings play this game on their terms and, with the added bonus of home-field, they can add to the collection of heartbreaking moments for Minnesota.


Ethan Sears
Ethan Sears is currently a freshman at the University of Michigan. He is from Rye, New York and started writing at EthanSears.com, a self-published website. He has loved sports from an early age and intends to have a long career in journalism. Ethan has interned at the New York Post for three straight summers. He is a Michigan women's basketball beat writer for the Michigan Daily and a Michigan me's basketball writer for UMHoops.com. You can follow him on Twitter @ethan_sears.