Merriman: Dolphins Might Be Most Confident Team in the NFL
Former NFL Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman returns to give his thoughts on the NFL and his picks for Week 17, to help you with your NFL betting.
We discussed the Los Angeles Chargers' loss to the Houston Texans, the New Orleans Saints' mistake addressing its quarterback situation and the surging Miami Dolphins.
Chargers Losing Power
Gambling.com: The Chargers were 13-point favorites against the Houston Texans and were upset. What was your reaction to your former team losing?
Shawne Merriman: They need to play with a sense of urgency. I get it, you’re missing a bunch of guys and all that stuff, but there was a lot of people missing on both sides. They didn’t play like they had playoff implications on the line. They need a sense of urgency. That’s the No. 1 thing from just watching the game. Right now, I just don’t see that sense of urgency that they need.
GDC: What’s your confidence in the Chargers that they can turn it around?
SM: The thing is, if you look at three of the games they lost this year, whether it was close calls or penalties, if you win those three games, and I know it’s cliché to say that, but we’re not having the same conversation then. When you have games like you had and start hearing things like the “same old Chargers,” it’s bullshit because it’s not the same team. But how can you argue with someone when you lose games like they did.
It’s not the same Chargers. Trust me, it’s not. Two or three years ago, with the season they had, they wouldn’t even be in this position right now. They would not. It’s not the same old Chargers, but it’s hard as hell to argue with anyone when you have a game like they did against the Texans.
During my career, I remember during the game, sitting and looking at the scoreboard of other games on our commercial breaks and you sometimes know if you’re going or not right there on the spot. It’s not a great feeling, man. It can be a great feeling but when you know you’re out of it and you got more season left, it’s not a great feeling.
Dolphins Trending Up
GDC: The Dolphins have now won seven in a row. What do you make of their resurgence and recent success?
SM: We talked last week about teams that are trending up going to playoff time and teams that are trending down. Right now, the Dolphins are trending up and this is the momentum you need walking into the playoffs with a team filled with confidence. They’re probably the most confident team right now in the NFL.
GDC: From your experience, what’s it like being on a team that’s on a winning streak and has everything going right?
SM: For one, you got to make sure guys aren’t riding the high horse. I remember in 2009 starting off 2-3 with the Chargers, but we finished 13-3 that year. When you got that confidence and things are clicking, it’s scary playing teams like that because they’re full of confidence and they feel like they can beat anybody.
Aaron Rodgers for NFL MVP?
GDC: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is now the betting favorite to win MVP. Do you see him leading that awards race?
SM: Yeah, I’ve been saying this for the last few weeks. If it’s not him, then they have to start looking at the defensive side of the ball with (Dallas cornerback) Trevon Diggs.
Cardinals On a Nose Dive
GDC: The Arizona Cardinals have now lost three in a row as the offense continues to struggle. Do you think they can turn it around?
SM: I’ll go right back to what I said. Teams that are trending down are who I’m most worried about. These last four to six games are what I look for with playoff teams. You don’t just turn it around for the playoffs. They don’t just become a different team after losing three straight. Teams that are going to go far in the playoffs are trending up right now.
Who You Gonna Call: Philip Rivers?
GDC: Reports came out that the New Orleans Saints called Philip Rivers about joining the team, similar to what you predicted earlier this season. Are you surprised he declined to come back?
SM: In my opinion, I know Philip wanted to play, but don’t call someone when you absolutely need them and your back is against the wall. The second (Jameis) Winston went down, they should have been on the phone with Philip. That was their fault; that was their mistake.
They should have called Philip as soon as Jameis Winston went down. You already know what you have on that roster. Don’t experiment and try something out for a couple of weeks. You know, in that division, you don’t have a couple of weeks to try it out. You know who’s strong in that division. The mistake they made was not giving Philip Rivers a call as soon as Jameis Winston went down.
Week 17 NFL Picks
Here are Shawne’s picks for Week 17. All moneyline odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.
New York Giants (+210) at Chicago Bears (-260)
I’m going with the Bears. (Nick Foles) didn’t surprise me last week; he’s always good for that. He’s a sparkplug. I just don’t think he’s a starter and can lead a team, but I do think he can step in and provide a spark for you when the pressure is not on him.
Atlanta Falcons (+600) at Buffalo Bills (-900)
I’m going Bills.
Kansas City Chiefs (-225) at Cincinnati Bengals (+185)
I like the Chiefs. I just think the Chiefs are one of the most explosive teams in football right now.
Miami Dolphins (+155) at Tennessee Titans (-180)
I like the Dolphins to continue their streak. I believe they’re the most confident team in the NFL right now with how they’ve been playing.
Las Vegas Raiders (+215) at Indianapolis Colts (-265)
I’m taking the Colts. With (Indianapolis linebacker) Darius Leonard, I hate to crown people early, but every indication is that he’s gonna go down as one of the best players to play the game. His attitude and his play is so infectious to not only the defense, but the rest of the team. He makes everybody around him better.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+700) at New England Patriots (-1125)
Yeah, Patriots in a rout.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-720) at New York Jets (+500)
Going with the Buccaneers.
Philadelphia Eagles (-180) at Washington Football Team (+155)
Taking the Eagles. (Quarterback Jalen Hurts) has gotten better. That’s what it’s going to be. He’s gotten better, and it’s expected.
Los Angeles Rams (-180) at Baltimore Ravens (+155)
I’m taking the Rams.
Denver Broncos (+180) at Los Angeles Chargers (-220)
I’ll take my Chargers, man. I think they get redemption from last time and I think that the sense of urgency is going to have to be there in order for them to have any chance for where they’re trying to go.
Houston Texans (+500) at San Francisco 49ers (-720)
I’m going with the 49ers.
Arizona Cardinals (+190) at Dallas Cowboys (-235)
Cowboys, but it just depends on who shows up. Yeah, they’re going to beat up on a team like the Washington Football Team, but doing it against a team of stature is what it really comes down to.
The Cowboys in the regular season, we know what we’re going to get out of them. They’re going to play well. With them, for the last half decade, it’s been about what they’ll do in the playoffs. We already know they’ll look good in the regular season. It’s the playoffs that count. I really don’t even start to talk Cowboys until playoff time.
Carolina Panthers (+225) at New Orleans Saints (-280)
Detroit Lions (+240) at Seattle Seahawks (-305)
I’m going to go with the Lions. I think the Lions are still fighting.
Minnesota Vikings (+210) at Green Bay Packers (-260)
I see the Packers getting the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and health is everything. With that No. 1 seed, you get that bye, so that is a week off against anybody that is coming in there with a bruised rib, rolled ankle, hurt finger or lower back, but now they get an extra week to heal up. I always say that the best teams in the playoffs are the healthiest teams.
Cleveland Browns (-170) at Pittsburgh Steelers (+150)
I’m taking the Steelers. I think the main reason will be them keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Be first to get our exclusive sports offers!
Join today to stay up to date on your states gambling news and offers.