NFL FOOTBALL PICKS - FREE WEEKLY ATS PREDICTIONS
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The Chiefs' defense is playing at a high level right now and hasn't allowed any opponent to reach 23 points since Week 4. The return of Houston is bound to help the pass rush and Hoyer may need to throw the ball quicker than he would like. I think Kansas City can do enough offensively to get into the end zone and if they can take Hopkins away on defense, they'll force the Texans to try to make big plays with players who haven't done much on the season. It has been a good year for Houston but I'll take the Chiefs in this one as their offense and defense are both playing well at this stage.
Green Bay's recent form has raised some serious doubts about its ability to go deep in this year's playoffs. This sets the stage for the surprising Redskins to keep their current run going with the SU win on Sunday that covers the one-point spread.
There is little doubt that these two teams are very familiar with one another, which could give the slight edge to the home team. I still see Cincinnati ending its streak of playoff losses with the SU win, but I am not willing to bet on it. Instead, I am going with the OVER 47 on the total line as my "best bet" pick in this one.
The Chiefs got a 34-20 victory in their earlier match up, but the score doesn't accurately reflect the game. The Raiders held a 6-point lead going into the fourth quarter before the Chiefs got two offensive scores to take the lead and a late pick 6 for a TD. Oakland out yarded Kansas City 361-232 in this tight affair that could have easily gone the other way. The Chiefs have a shot to improve their playoff position and while I think that they will get the win the point spread is a different story. Kansas City has scored an adequate 23.75 points per game in their last four, but they have managed just 274 yards per game and have been fortunate to reach those scoring numbers. That gives the visitor some value here getting 7 from a team who has not moved the ball well for weeks.
You have to give credit to Minnesota for turning the NFC North into a legitimate race this season following Green Bay's fast start, but the rubber meets the road at Lambeau Field this Sunday night with the Packers coming out on top both SU and ATS.
Time and time this season, Jacksonville has proved it is never out of the game no matter how slow its starts out of the gate. While I would have to lean towards Houston in this matchup given what is on the line, my "best bet" pick in on BetOnline's 46-point total line with a play on the OVER.
The Bills would love to play the role of spoiler against their bitter rivals, but I do not see them getting the chance. New York is playing its best ball at the right time of the year, so I am laying the 2.5 points on the road with a "best bet" pick of the Jets covering.
This matchup should be a real grinder that is dictated by each team's defense. Scoring will be at a premium and despite the fact that the total is already set unusually low at 40.5, I am going to take BetOnline's bait with a "best bet" play on the UNDER.
Free Chicago at Tampa Bay ATS Pick Neither of these teams is playing well right now but the Colts still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Miami's season ended several weeks ago. In their last 6 losses the Dolphins are allowing an average of 32 ppg. Indy was routed by Pittsburgh and Jacksonville before last week's tough loss. If the Colts open up the offense, they should be able to make plays against a team that is just waiting for the season to end.
Neither of these teams is playing well right now but the Colts still have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Miami's season ended several weeks ago. In their last 6 losses the Dolphins are allowing an average of 32 ppg. Indy was routed by Pittsburgh and Jacksonville before last week's tough loss. If the Colts open up the offense, they should be able to make plays against a team that is just waiting for the season to end.
Six of the previous eight meetings between these heated rivals have been decided by 3 points or less including the earlier game this season. I don't see history repeating itself this week. Baltimore has been outscored 69-20 in the past two games as injuries have finally kept the team from fielding a competitive roster, especially on offense. HC John Harbaugh's teams always compete but the talent just isn't there. Pittsburgh is marching toward a playoff spot and can't afford a slipup here. Roethlisberger and the passing offense will be just too much for the Ravens to handle.
The Bills are beat up on the defensive line and at LB and it has shown allowing 130.75 yards per game. over their last four. They've now allowed eight of their last nine opponents to run for more than 100 yards after holding four of the first five to fewer than 100 and all five to 102 or fewer. That could be an issue this week facing one of the better offensive lines in the NFL and this running game seems to be getting on track running for 133 yards against the very good run defense of the Jets last week. They'll have Kellen Moore behind center making his first start of his career, but the Cowboys didn't hold back on the play calling with Moore throwing 25 passes, so I don't think that Dallas will have him playing conservative against the Bills if they stack the box. Buffalo will be going up against a defense that has proven that they can stop the run on the road allowing 99.4 yards per game and will likely be without their top RB LeSean McCoy. That will put a lot of pressure on their passing offense which is short handed with their No. 2 WR Robert Woods out TE Charles Clay iffy to play.
Some may figure that this is a good match up for the Bucs' offense with the Bears ranking 26th in run defense, but they've shown signs of turning it around holding their last two opponents to 3.6 or less yards per carry. Chicago has also gone under the radar with most with their past defense ranking third in the league allowing just 216 yards passing per game. The offense is an entirely different story for the Bears. They've scored a game high 21 points in their last five averaging 18 per game and on the season this unit has scored greater than 23 points just twice. They'll face a defense that has allowed 27 points per game at home, but they've improved on their scoring defense over their last four at Raymond James Stadium allowing 20.25 PPG. That number drops even more when you remove the 6 points scored by the Giants on fumble return on the last play of the game. Tampa Bay's problem has been with turnovers with 21 on the season and short fields and pick 6's skews their defensive scoring stats. That may not come into play with the Bears coming up with just 14 takeaways this season.
The Giants could be out of playoff contention by the time this game is played if Washington beats Philadelphia on Saturday night, but even if they are still alive in the NFC East title race it will be tough to come away with a SU road win against the Vikings. What I do like is New York's chances to cover with the six points even if Beckham remains out of the lineup. This team still has a way of keeping games close to the end and that should be the case again this Sunday night.
The Chargers lost the first meeting this season 37-29 as 3.5-point home favorites and I see them going down again on Thursday night against a division rival that is much hungrier for a win. Lay the five points in this one with a play on Oakland pulling off the season sweep both SU and ATS.
Kansas City, like the Jets, controls their own fate on the road to the playoffs. They host the Browns and Raiders in the next 2 weeks and can't afford to overlook the Ravens. Under HC John Harbaugh, Baltimore always plays hard but they are very limited right now. I expect the Chiefs to control the clock with their ground game and quick-passing attack. The Ravens are -12 in TOs while KC is +12 and I look for the Chiefs to convert some TOs into points and to get a tough cover on the road.
There is nothing on the line in this game for either team except for pride, which could actually set-up a pretty entertaining matchup. I look for both Stafford and Brees to light things up through the air in a game that goes OVER the current 50.5-point total line.
These teams are going in very opposite directions. The Cowboys had slim hopes when Romo returned and despite the mediocrity of their division, they haven't been able to make any strides. The Jets won't win the AFC East but are in control of their own destiny where the wild card is concerned. They host the Patriots next week but HC Todd Bowles will not allow this talented team to look ahead to that huge matchup. They have to take care of Dallas first and I expect their offense and defense to be too much for the Cowboys to handle. The small spread helps also.
There are the legitimate playoff teams in the NFC and the ones in the NFC East fighting to get into the playoffs. Arizona is still not in a position where it can takes its foot off the gas as one of the top two seeds in the NFC so look for the Cardinals to continue to roll in a road victory that easily covers the 3.5-point spread.
The offense has been a problem for Atlanta failing to reach 20 points in a game over their last three, but they played a couple of good units (Minnesota and Carolina) in that stretch and should find the going easier this week. The Jaguars have the 30th ranked scoring defense allowing 27.5 points per game while not facing the most daunting schedule. On the other side of the line the jaguar offense has been impressive in recent weeks raking up 380 or more yards in their last three points and with some help from the defense lighting up the scoreboard for 38 points per game over the three games. They'll face an Atlanta defense that has allowed 26.25 points per game in their last four and has looked tired and uninterested last week against Carolina who got out to a 28-0 lead in the first half and coasted in the second of a 38-0 spanking.