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These teams played two tight, tough, low-scoring games last season, and while this one might not play low-scoring, we do believe it will be close. Also, following a big win last week, Seattle may be susceptible to a letdown. They ain't exactly playing great ball as of late, or this season, but we'll take the Eagles and the points here.
For those going with Chicago, I get it. Their tough defense will keep this a grind, and maybe the Packers have slipped almost imperceptibly to make this the kind of game where having the points is a good thing. That could very well play out, but I see the other perspective having more possibilities and upside. In the end, the avenue to a cover is just so much narrower when the offense you're backing is almost guaranteed to be facing an uphill battle. I see the Bears struggling to put up points, as the Packers pull away for the win and cover at home this week.
The Lions haven't been horrible in every game, and for them to deliver at home against a three-win team would hardly be earth-shattering. The Texans are out of their element and hardly reliable in this context. It's hard to shake the image of Detroit looking as awful as it gets last week. On the one hand, you don't want to get carried away with the Lions losing that way to a team that had lost five straight and was working with a first-time starting QB. But I think it is, in fact representative of something bad. I see the Texans passing-game resonating with good effect here, as the Texans get the win and cover in Detroit on Thanksgiving.
I don't question the character or even the quality of the Ravens. In fact, this is a high-urgency spot against a team they were unfortunate to lose to earlier this month. I just think if one were to anticipate a letdown spot for the Steelers, the following game against Washington would be a better candidate for that. Against the Ravens, I see a hard-fought contest where their greater efficiency on offense, along with their superior defense, is enough to ride them to the win and the cover. At root, I think at a time where the Ravens need to be getting better, they're getting a little worse..
This should be a good one, with Brady and Goff going against two pretty good defenses. We can easily see this game coming down to a late field goal, and if that's the case, four points will come in very handy. Ultimately we like the Rams running game to make the difference here. We'll take LA and the points.
Minnesota's playing the better ball as of late, it's got the better running game, and while the defense is a bit iffy, Chicago doesn't have the ability to take advantage. We don't usually like going along with the betting flow, but we like the Vikes here, minus the points.
I'm not certain that everyone is willing to see the writing on the wall, but that pertains to both teams. Unlike last season, there isn't much suggesting the Ravens will crack the elite of the AFC this year. But the Patriots might have actually sunk to levels lower than what people are thinking. And at this level, the inadequacies of the Ravens manifest to a lower degree. I see their defense and run-game being enough to get some separation on the Pats, as they get out of Foxborough with the cover and win. I'll take the Ravens.
The best value in this game revolves around the total, which is currently posted at 48 points. The Chargers' defensive issues and the emergence of Herbert have pushed their games towards a higher pace than many expected. As a result, the Chargers have hit the "over" in 5 of the last five games. Meanwhile, Miami is averaging 30 points per game over their past four contests as well. Miami's defense deserves some credit for the winning streak as they have played really well. With that said, I still expect the Chargers to find scoring opportunities based on the match-up. As long as Miami keeps their offensive momentum rolling, the total for this game seems off. This total should be in the 52-54 range, and I think we can find legitimate probabilistic value in siding with the over 48.
As bad as New England's been this season, it's still easily the better team in this match-up. The Patriots own the better running game, the better quarterback, the better defense, and the better coach. They probably should have beat Buffalo last week. New York, on the other hand, looks like a totally lost cause. We're giving the points with New England here.
It's a tough pick to make with so much contrasting data, along with two teams that have a lot in common—division rivals whose fortunes rest with 40+-year old quarterbacks. Which team can have more aerial success with the status of key guys so up in the air? Without really knowing Godwin or Thomas' status, as well as how fast Antonio Brown can hit the ground running, we're a little in the dark. I just see more scenarios shaking out favorably for the Bucs and that between their more-bankable defense and possible help being on the way aerially, they can notch the win and cover at home. I'm taking Tampa.
I don't have the greatest confidence in Phillip Rivers, but I do believe the Colts have the most realistic paths to victory in this game. I have said all season the Colts defense is underrated, and this is the perfect match-up to prove their strength along the defensive front. I expect the Ravens to have trouble running the football and to struggle on offense in this match-up. When the curtain falls, I expect the Colts to be victorious
Tampa Bay looks like it's beginning to click with Brady and his bunch offensively, and the Bucs' defense ranks No. 3 in the League. Also, Tampa just hung one on Las Vegas last week, and the Raiders are better than the Giants. New York's played some close games lately, but those came against their fellow incompetents in the NFC East, Philly, Washington, and Dallas. Plus, the G-Men are banged up. We'll give the points here with the Buccaneers.
When a team is fancied in some circles as a Super Bowl candidate, and they end up bottomed-out after seven games, there's a certain deflation level that you won't see with other teams who just stink, knew they stink, continue to stink, and are more or less at terms with it. Dallas does have some horses, and in their heads, they could figure, "Hey, why the long faces? We're still in this thing!" But what changed from last week when Dallas put forth one of their most-inept performances in years? Granted, things aren't always as bad as they look at their worst, and Philadelphia is far from solid, particularly as a betting favorite, but I'm more inclined to back the Eagles in this one.
Los Angeles got out-played by San Francisco last week, but we expect a bounce-back effort this week. Meanwhile, Chicago won a game on the East Coast last week but now heads out to the opposite coast for this one. Also, while the Rams are out-rushing opponents by 26 yards per game this season, the Bears are getting out-rushed by 23 YPG. We'll play LA for our free pick for Monday night, minus the points.
It's understandable why the Raiders would be appealing in this spot, getting points in a foreign road-spot for Tampa, while rested after a pretty thorough win over the defending champs. Maybe I just smell a rat and think that on a very basic level, the Raiders haven't been able to equal Tampa's rate of improvement on both sides of the ball. And if Tampa's recent run and this setting somehow render them a bit deflated, it's going to be an uphill battle. I just don't sense that come down this week. I'll take Tampa.