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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.
Right off the bat, you have a matchup between two teams that genuinely do not like one another so you already know this is going to be a tough, physical battle. You also have a matchup between two of the stingiest defenses in the league, so points could be hard to come by for both teams. The Steelers have a knack for winning close games this season giving them the SU edge at home, but my ‘best bet’ pick in this one is the UNDER on the 43.5-point total line.
Los Angeles is tied for the division lead and still plays Oakland and Kansas City in the next few weeks. They have to win this game and I see them doing it. The Redskins have been eliminated from the NFC playoff race and with 15 players on IR are struggling to put a competitive team on the field. Cousins has had some big games this year but I think he will be harassed by the pass rush and have trouble with a secondary that has more picks (15) than TD passes (13) allowed. The number is less than a converted TD and I think the Chargers can handle a beleaguered Washington squad with little to play for.
Thursday night’s matchup should be a good one with so much on the line for both teams. This division race looks like it is going right down to the wire between the top three teams in the NFC South so my automatic lean in this one is towards the home team. Atlanta needs this one just a little bit more and I think that will be reflected in the final score with a SU win that covers the tight 1.5-point spread.
Cincinnati is not going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh on the offensive side of the ball, so its only hope in this must-win game is to dial up its defense. This unit has played better in recent weeks and it might be able to contain the Steelers just enough to keep things respectable heading into the final quarter.
This is still a division game between two teams that know each other rather well. While I do not see Pittsburgh losing on Monday night, I do think that the Bengals can keep the scoring low enough on their own home field to set up a winning play on the UNDER 43.5 points.
Anytime we see the public gravitate toward the dog in the manner we are seeing them attack Detroit, the favorite sets up to be a quality play. Some will argue that Detroit is the better rested of the two teams. After all, the Lions have nearly a half of a week difference in terms of furlow when compared to Baltimore. However, targeting a team such as Detroit after a hard-fought loss and an extended period of time to marinade in the defeat makes them a prime let-down candidate. This is even more of a possibility given the fact this affair is in a place that is very hostile to visitors.
There was a reason many pundits like Baltimore to sneak into the post-season: their defense. Quite frankly, the Baltimore defense is playing at an exceptional level. The Lions won’t have answers for what will be thrown at them despite having some premium playmakers in their skill personnel. Baltimore is positioned to win big here.
Both of these teams have been extremely profitable as of late. The Vikings in particular have been continuously exceeding expectations on a weekly basis. The talk of the town is the play of quarterback Case Keenum. However, Minnesota is going into an environment conducive for the reigning MVP Matt Ryan to show why he earned such credentials. With all the hype and hyperbole surrounding Minnesota, we actually have a chance here to take back The Dirty Birds at a reduced price. Typically, you can expect to pay a premium to back the Falcons in ATL but in this rare instance, the books are begging for action on Atlanta. Take it while the odds are favorable. The Falcons spotting the points get our call.
The spread in this game opened at four points and it continues to climb with all the early money coming in on the red-hot Eagles. Most bettors would agree that you should always ride a hot hand until it cools and Philly is clearly the hottest hand in the league. On the other side of the equation, you have a desperate Seahawks team playing at home, where road wins do not come easy for opposing teams under any circumstances.
I still think that Philadelphia wins this game SU, but it is going to have to work for this one with Seattle covering with the 5.5 points.
While I certainly expect Los Angeles to win this game, the number is a little high for my liking. As such, I do think the Under in this contest is the way to go. Cleveland should be able to sustain some drives with their running attack, chewing up the clock in the process. I think the Chargers will have a tough time (again) getting their ground game going meaning Rivers will be asked to do all the heavy lifting. He has been up to the task lately (5 wins last 7 games) but this is a defense that has played very well in 2017 despite little to no help from the offense. The Browns have averaged less than 14 ppg over their last 8 contests and I don’t see them eclipsing that total this week. Both teams have played 7 of their 11 games under this number and I expect them to make that No. 8 this week.
The Cardinals got a big win last week but they face a much better offense this Sunday. Goff is much better than the Jags QB Blake Bortles and his blossoming chemistry with Watkins makes the offense even better. If Woods returns, that gives the Rams 3 dependable targets for Goff against a secondary that has been vulnerable in most weeks. The earlier whitewash might not be a true reflection of the caliber of both teams but maybe it is. I like Los Angeles to get a lead and not only hold it, but build on it. Outside of the Minnesota loss, they have scored 26+ points in their last 5 wins. I look for them to make it 6 games with another big win.
The Giants season ended long ago but they still can be a worrisome opponent (ask KC). Manning and Carr will both be limited by the absences of their leading receivers and neither team runs the ball particularly well. As well, both teams did a great job rushing the QB in their last outings and while neither team is the ’85 Bears on defense, I see both defenses controlling this game. Therefore, I am inclined to lean to the Under in this matchup.
Both of these teams are fighting for their lives in the NFC playoff race just to remain in contention for a wild card spot. The Redskins have the slight edge in momentum coming off last Thursday’s win in light of the Cowboys’ three-game slide, but neither team instills all that much confidence when it comes to picking a SU winner in Thursday night’s matchup.
I do believe that this game will remain close for all four quarters with both offenses having some success at putting points on the board. The lean is towards Dallas at home, but my ‘best bet’ pick is the OVER on the current 44-point total line.
I’m tempted to take the Rams in this spot with the Saints secondary injuries, but believe the total is the way to go here. The Rams couldn’t solve the Vikings defense last week, but they should get their share of points this week against the Saints who last week gave up 31 to the Skins. The Saints offense has put up 30 plus in three straight which is what they should be able to do again today.