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The last team to shutout New England in Foxboro was the Buffalo Bills. You can be that this narrative will be a trinket that the Bills use for motivation this weekend in what is a game that they need to win. Whilst Buffalo’s playoff hopes remain afloat with a loss, a win gives them breathing room and you know they would love to have that with their season wrapping up at arch rival Miami. The bottom line is this, whenever you get New England at home you will pay to back the Pats. Takers have drank some sour juice several times this season when the Pats have hosted as a significant favorite. In fact, when the Patriots have been spotting eight points or more at Gillette Stadium, they are 1-3 ATS and lost two of those games outright. Undoubtedly New England is locked in and likely won’t let this game get away from them but don’t expect Buffalo to make it easy with what is at stake for them. Take the points.
For Baltimore, they “need” this game to continue onto the playoffs. This sense of motivation will also encourage takers to back Baltimore because they know what they are getting. However, the market is also likely inflicting a premium upon takers here because of this juxtaposition. Chances are the number here is inflated. Under any circumstance, this line would be a hard cover for any NFL team. Don’t get trapped paying extra points due to one time being incentivized.
Bengals HC Marvin Lewis won’t be back next year and the players have mostly packed it in. The Lions need some help but are still alive for a playoff berth. They are also 5-2 SU on the road in 2017, their most road wins in a season in many years. Stafford has played well despite the missing running game and I think he and the pass defense are enough to get another road win and keep their playoff hopes alive.
This is an elimination game for both teams. Dallas is trending up and gets their best player back and it isn’t from an injury. The Seahawks poise has disappeared over the past 2 weeks and while Wilson has put in a superhuman effort this year, his teammates haven’t. I look for the Cowboys to get a big win this week and set up a huge showdown with Philadelphia next week.
Los Angeles lost a big game last week and has to travel cross country for this contest. They are still in the playoff hunt and I expect a big performance from them against a lesser opponent. Rivers gives LA a huge edge over Petty and the defense’s ability to rush the passer will also have a big impact on the game. The line is a converted TD but I think LA will get an early lead and force NY to pass, not a winning strategy for the Jets this week.
Both of these teams need a win on Sunday to stay in the NFC playoff race, but right now Dallas is in a much better position to get one given its play over last three weeks as compared to Seattle’s form in its last two games. The Seahawks are just too banged up on defense to slow the Cowboys down, especially with Elliott back in the lineup so I am going to lay the points and take the home team both SU and ATS.
Minnesota has its sights set on home-field advantage right through Super Bowl LII with the title game coming to town in early February. The Packers will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and even playing for pride will be hard to muster in this heated NFC North rivalry. Without Rodgers under center on Saturday night, things could get ugly fast in what should be a lopsided victory for the most complete team in this conference. Laying nine points on the road in a division game always comes with a higher level of risk, but I am still going with the Vikings both SU and ATS on Saturday night as my ‘best bet’ pick.
The Eagles have been winning games lately by simply outscoring the other team and there is a good chance that this will be the case again on Monday night. The Raiders should have some life left in them playing in prime time on Christmas and while I do not expect to see Oakland come away with a SU win, it should be able to put enough points on the board to keep things competitive for all four quarters. My ‘best bet’ pick in this matchup is the OVER on the current 47-point total line.
This game opened with Atlanta favored by six points and that betting line has held firm as the week has worn on. I still see that spread widening a bit as we get closer to kickoff given the importance of this game to the Falcons’ postseason plans. Given what is on the line along with the current form between these two division rivals, I would have to believe that Atlanta wins this game by at least seven points.
Whether it be collegiate or professional sports, rivalry games produce the unexpected and the Eagles are especially vulnerable this week after losing the engine of their offense. For the Giants, New York has nothing to lose here but can restore some sense of pride with a quality win over a hated foe in front of a fervid fan base. The future remains mystery for Eli Manning after what has transpired in the past few weeks. One thing remains certain, a win here can be one to add to his legacy as the face of the Giants. Expect the G-Men to show up; Philadelphia may not only fail to cover but lose outright.
The loser of the game is pretty much out of the playoffs while the winner still needs quite a bit of help to get in. This kind of drama should work to keep things close right until the final gun. The Cowboys may have turned the corner with those last two wins, but I do not see that ride continuing past Sunday night with the Raiders playing to form in prime time in front of the rapid home-town crowd. I am going with Oakland SU in this one.
I don’t expect much from Petty and feel New Orleans can contain this offense at home. On the flip side, the Jets defense has held 8 of their last 11 opponents to 25 points or less. They don’t have a lot of stars on that side of the ball but they have exceeded expectations with their hard work and desire. While I look for the Saints to be able to move the ball, I don’t see a scorefest in the offing. Therefore, I think the Under is the way to go in this one.
This game will go a long way in determining who has home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If Pittsburgh wins, they clinch the No.1 seed. They got a big emotional boost from injured LB Ryan Shazier’s absence last week and expect that to carry over this week. Of course this game comes down to the Steelers defending Brady. In the recent past, they have played a soft zone and Brady has carved them up. Last week, the Dolphins played aggressive man defense and harassed Brady into several bad throws. Playing man defense isn’t what Pittsburgh usually employs but DC Keith Butler has to do something different to stop NE’s offense. I feel Brown, Bell and Big Ben (all healthy) can do enough on offense to get the Steelers a huge win and a smoother ride in the playoffs.
The Vikings know they blew a game last week they shouldn’t have lost while Cincinnati appears to be playing out the string. They competed against Pittsburgh but clearly had no interest last week. The loss of LB Vontaze Burfict hurts the defense and the absence of Mixon makes them too one dimensional on offense. Minnesota has the division title in their grasp and is still alive for a Top 2 seed in the playoffs. This is a big number but the Vikings have 5 10+ wins on their resume and I don’t see a letdown this week before a trip to Green Bay next week.
Teams with a combined seven SU wins this time of year are either playing for their jobs or riding things out in hopes of securing a better position in next year’s draft. I think both of these teams are still putting forth an effort to win which should keep things close for all four quarters. Something tells me that the final score will be high enough to take the total OVER the current 41-point line, but my ‘best bet’ pick is Indianapolis picking up the SU win as a home underdog.
Giving up 11 points on the road in any division matchup comes with some added risk no matter how wide the gap is between these two teams. However, it is also hard to bet against a team that has covered in its last six games while outscoring its opponents by a combined 112 points. I would lay the points and take New England to cover on its current form alone. Even with its All Pro tight end on the sidelines, the Patriots are clearly on a mission in defense of last year’s Super Bowl title.
The stock on the Seahawks is quite high after orchestrating the dominant win against Philadelphia. As we have championed all season, teams that win big in nationally-televised primetime matches are a great fade target in their follow-up. This target is only bigger on Seattle’s back given who they beat and how they beat them. However, the team Seattle is facing is a very dangerous football team. The fact remains the Jags do not draw as much attention as Seattle on the national scale and in their own hometown they are a ghost to many locals. This does not change the fact that Jacksonville defense is so prolific that it has single handedly powered this team to prominence in 2017. Seattle relies heavily on home field advantage. In this situation they will not have their faithful there to support them. This can be a rather perilous notion as Russell Wilson will certainly be under duress from the Jaguar defensive line. Furthermore, the opening figure of -3.5 is a favorite friendly number which is designed to entice action on the dog. The public has done just that. Swallow the points here.
There is no team in the NFL with a higher stock at the moment than the Minnesota Vikings. This proclamation is an appropriate superlative as this team wins at will and covers whilst doing so. In spite of this, the Vikings came into this contest with a very friendly price considering their opponent was beaten convincingly last week. The figure in itself speaks volumes and given the fact it has parked on a notorious underdog-friendly number, there is a good chance that Minnesota’s win streak will be coming to an end in this affair. Whilst you can grab the points on Carolina, it would by no means be overzealous to play them outright on the Money Line in this contest.
The Cowboys saved their season last week and likely need to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. They should be able to run the ball this week allowing Prescott to make plays downfield off of play action. The home crowd is likely to give Manning a standing ovation but they can’t run the ball, pass protect or anything else that could help Manning be successful. There just aren’t many weapons on offense for New York and I look for Dallas’ d-line to be in his face most of the game. The number is low for a divisional road favorite and I expect the visitor to get the win without too much trouble.
The Packers’ playoff hopes may be slim but QB Aaron Rodgers is eligible to be activated next week. Whether he returns is another question but Green Bay needs to win this week first. The Browns have averaged only 13.3 ppg over the last 9 weeks and even the return of Gordon isn’t going to change the fact that this is a bad offense. Hundley has been very up and down this year but he should be able to make some big plays in the passing game and his scrambling ability should help also. The number is only a FG and I expect the Packers to keep their faint hopes alive with another win this week.