(7-7) Bears -8.5 @ Jaguars (1-13): 46.5
The Bears travel down to sunny Florida with their playoff chances still in tact and the Cardinals loss last night gives them even more of a chance of making the post-season. A win here gives them an 84% of making the playoffs according to 538. The Cardinals would HAVE to beat the Rams in the final game of the season.
Mike Glennon is starting at QB for the Jags. James Robinson is out, but I’ve not got much interest in Dare Ogunbowale or Devine Ozigbo at shorter prices.
From the main lines I like the Over rather than the Bears covering this big of a spread. Bears team total might be preferable. They actually score points with Trubisky at QB.
(4-10) Falcons +11 @ Chiefs (13-1): 52.5
Not a huge amount to dig into here really. The Falcons looked all right without Julio last week, Calvin Ridley stepped in well as the 1 as he tends to do when required and they put up points in the first half against the Buccs before inevitably losing in horrible fashion, it’s what they do. They seem to have admitted defeat on Gurley and Ito Smith will be the RB1 here. Whether that means much i’m not sure, he led them with 6 carries last week. Great.
The Chiefs. I’ve alluded to it a few times, I think they’ll step up in the post-season, but they’ve sleep walked through this year. However they’re just so much better than everyone else. They’ve failed to cover the spread in the last 6 games but have never looked like they’re going to lose. It’s weird. Tyreek tweaked him hammy last week, Kelce was brilliant as ever. But they lost Clyde for at least this week, probably sensible to keep him out of next week too. So Lev takes over as the one with Williams and Thompson behind him. If Hill misses then probably more Watkins and Hardman.
Chiefs win, have to lean the Falcons getting 11 though.
(3-10-1) Bengals +7 @ Texans (4-10): 44.5
The Bengals BEAT THE TERRIBLE STEELERS on Monday night in “their Superbowl” they were definitely fired up for that one, I’m not sure a short week going into a nothing game against the Texans will provide the same sort of motivation though. They finally established the run, and Gio did well against one of the best run D’s in the league, this week he faces one of the worst in the league. If they concentrate on that again instead of the passing game then it should pay dividend at least. Tyler Boyd is ruled out with concussion after smashing his head on the ground last week. Tee Higgins has been brilliant this year.
The Texans are short at WR again, but Keke Coutee will be in and probably leading the WR group in receptions. Last week though it was David Johnson getting passes from Watson for the first time ever, he caught 11 of 11 for over 100 yards. It’s something they’ve never done before so it’s more a watching brief to see whether that continues or not really. CJ Prosise is back while Duke Johnson misses out, 8/1 for him is worth a shot. Buddy Howell was the other back last week, priced similarly to Prosise.
Texans should win, I lean to them covering, but the Bengals can keep games close. Fairly low total, lean over that too. Worry is that it’s got nothing on it, so could just be a lazy game
(10-4) Browns -7 @ Jets (1-13): 44
The Browns lost their WR corp late last night, all covid or close contact, so they’re without Jarvis Landry (who misses his first game in 7 years) Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Kha’darel Hodge all out. So they start Marvin Hall, and they’ve elevated Willies (Derrick) and Ja’Marcus Bradkley from their practise squad. So… more for Austin Hooper? Harrison Bryant and David Njoku I guess. The passing game is secondary to the run game anyway which is one of the best in the league with Chubb and Hunt providing a brilliant 1-2 option.
Baker has been playing better in recent weeks, mainly using the passing game once the run-game has been established, but it’s tough to figure out who will be the main man for them tonight, as above, probably the tight ends or even Kareem Hunt in the slot.
The Jets won a game last week to avoid being another 0-16 team, in the process they lost the #1 pick and the best QB coming out of college in a billion years. So they’ve got literally nothing to play for. They did well on the ground last week, Frank Gore doing most of it. Ty Johnson a little, and they should have La’Mical Perine back to muddle it even more. Their passing game is not great, but they should have Mims back after he missed last week with a personal issue. He’s promising. They are missing Quinnen Williams who’s been a bright spot on the DL for them.
Browns win, probably still cover, if you can get under the 7 then it’s probably a bet.
(10-4) Colts +1.5 @ Steelers (11-3): 43
The biggest game of the early slate with two teams looking to make the playoffs. The Colts currently sit second in the AFC South, joint on wins with the Titans who face the Packers in SNF. While the Steelers LOST TO THE BENGALS on Monday night as they stumble through the back-end of the season, they will still win the AFC North with a victory here, a loss would mean it gets decided in Week 17 against the Browns (assuming the Browns take care of business vs. the Jets)
The Colts have been fine all year, they’ve beaten the Texans twice in the last three weeks, could have lost both games, they put up a ton of points on the Raiders between those loses as well. They’re one I struggle with, they don’t seem to do a whole lot, but seem to get the job done. The worry on their side of the ball, for me, is Philip Rivers getting pressured. They’re missing Costanzo at LT, and that’s a big loss against Watt and Co. in the pass-rush. The Bengals did OK because Finley is mobile. Mr. Rivers is definitely not. They will have to try and get the run game going and Jonathan Taylor has been great in recent weeks. He’s had at least 95 scrimmage yards and scored a TD in their last 3 games, while Nyheim Hines has been doing well too, he’s got a TD in 3 of their last 4 road games.
The pass-catching group has been decent since TY Hilton remembered he was getting paid to be a receiver. He’s had at least 70 yards in 3 in a row now, but this is a tough defense. Michael Pittman has looked good in his first year, and Zach Pascal stepped up with a big game last week for them. The tight ends should get a lot of work, the middle of the field against backup LBs seems the most sensible place to target, so that’s pass-catching backs and tight ends in general. I can’t see anything saying any of them are out, so Burton, Doyle and Big Mo should get some action.
They need Darius Leonard playing on defense, and he seems to be available for this, he’s so important to them. DeForest Buckner played limited snaps last week, but was very good in the action he got, he’s been on the report all week but I’d imagine he’ll have a similar role this week and do his job.
The Steelers… where to start. I don’t trust their offense. It’s been poor for a month now, and it seemed like a perfect bounce-back spot for them against the Bengals on Monday. I don’t think Big Ben has the arm any more, their fans will blame the play-calling, I think it’s Ben, but could be a bit of both. He throws some terrible passes when completely protected, but his deep balls have been poor over the last month. They play a lot of dink and dunk, short passes and when it doesn’t go well it is ineffective.
The pass-catchers finally had a game without many drops on Monday though, Diontae Johnson seems the main target as he should be, he gets open quickly and if he can catch he’s decent, Chase Claypool was the downfield threat early in the season when Ben hadn’t played 15 weeks, and it worked well, he still gets open and targeted, but it’s just not been there recently, he can take a screen to the house on any given play, and Juju Smith-Schuster got his so hard on Monday night he’s now just Ju (Louis…), he fully deserved a smack in the mouth on Monday and he got it. He only gets targets 5 yards down the field, which is fine if they get to the redzone, but it’s tough to trust him to do much in the game. Ebron looks like he’ll play after leaving the game with injury in the week.
The run-game has been terrible all year. They’ve been without James Conner for the month and Benny Snell has shown he’s not very good. I don’t think Conner is a huge upgrade, but he is better and returns for this game. Colts run D is decent.
Defensively they’re still a very good unit, TJ Watt is looking to win DPOY, while the secondary is good. They’ve been hit by cluster injuries at LB though (as mentioned above) and it’s allowing teams easy yards where they’re used to teams being forced to try big passes and they prey on that.
I’ve no idea who wins this one to be honest. The Steelers have been terrible recently. Historically they play down to their opponent, but I’m not sure that’s been the case, I think it’s just that they’ve been bad. They know they’re under pressure now and the national eye will be on them here, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them bounce-back. They should get pressure on Rivers and I think that’s the key to this game. – The Colts just get the job done on a weekly basis and they’re very well coached. The loss of LT and RT is big though.
Obviously I want the Colts to win, but I won’t be backing anything in this game.
(5-9) Giants +10 @ Ravens (9-5): 44.5
The Giants are starting Daniel Jones in this one. They rushed him back two weeks ago and it backfired as he was shit vs. the Cardinals, Colt McCoy was in last week. He was shit. Jones plays here, the issue is, if he’s not mobile he’s a hindrance to the team. It’s been a month since his hammy went, so it’s a wait and see on how his leg is. I’m not optimistic against a good Ravens pass rush. Wayne Gallman was good for a few weeks, but the QB turmoil has hurt him, not really worth a mention of the pass-catchers with the unknowns at QB. Evan Engram somehow made the pro-bowl which shows how stupid the voting is there.
The Ravens have made Mark Ingram a healthy scratch two weeks in a row now going with JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards at RB. It’s worked well, although Gus not finding the endzone last week was annoying. I’m still going to take 2/1 and above on Gus though. Lamar usually gets involved as well. The passing game? Blah, tough to predict on a weekly basis, so I tend not to bother trying now, could be Brown, Andrews, even Dez Bryant scored last week.
The Ravens DESTROY poor teams and may well do the same here. Ravens win and cover.
(4-10) Panthers +1 @ Washington (6-8): 41.5
Looks like Washington should have Antonio Gibson back, but Terry McLaurin is out. The WR group will be Sims, Sims Jnr. and it looks like rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden who’s been activated this week.
Washington can clinch the division with a win, I don’t think they get it though.
(5-9) Broncos +3 @ Chargers (5-9): 48
Nothing on this game barring division bragging rights, the Broncos got killed by the Bills last week and haven’t had any reinforcements in their secondary so I can see something similar happening here. Offensively Philip Lindsay has been put on IR so Royce Freeman may get a little more of the ball in relief of Melvin Gordon who scored last week. Jerry Juedy hasn’t been working with Lock, Tim Patrick basically leads the team at WR. Noah Fant got a lot of the ball last week too.
The Chargers have injuries at pass-catcher, Keenan Allen is questionable again, he was limited last week, Mike Williams should play (I think) but they’re without Hunter Henry, Donald Parham is the only TE they’ve really got this week. Austin Ekeler isn’t fully fit at all but has played well.
Weakness vs Weakness really, Broncos injured D vs. Chargers injured O. I think Herbert gets it done for the Chargers though, lean over as both teams can put up points.
(9-5) Rams +1.5 @ Seahawks (10-4): 47.5
Huge game in the NFC West with the Rams knowing a win puts them in pole position for the division, while a Seahawks win seals it for them. Rams have won 5 of the last 6, and Sean McVay is 5-2 against Pete Carroll (4-3 ATS) and they won the match between the two earlier in the season.
The Rams suffered the worst defeat of the season last week and it was mainly on their offense which couldn’t get going against a winless Jets side. There’s always talk of whether Jared Goff is actually any good or not, and it depends on the week. If he’s on, he’s really good, if not, he’s pretty poor. He does well against the Seahawks, probably due to lack of pressure, so it will be interesting to see which Goff turns up.
Woods and Kupp are great, but obviously rely on the QB doing well. It was actually Tyler Higbee leading the team in yards last week. Woods has actually played better on the road with 7 TDs in 7 road games this year, he’s had 5+ receptions in 7 of his 8 games against these Seahawks, it’s mainly them three. But Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett get involved too, Reynolds has his best game of the season vs. the Seahawks.
Cam Akers had taken over the run-game over the last month, but he misses this week, and probably next with a high ankle sprain, so I’d imagine they give Darrell Henderson most of the load again this week, he had scored even as second fiddle, and has shown he can do it on his day, while Malcolm Brown scored twice (from 6 carries) in week 10 against this team and usually if he gets in once, he’ll go in again.
The Rams defense has been very good this year, Ramsey will be on DK, Aaron Donald is superb. They rank 4th vs. the pass, 7th vs. the run.
The Seahawks have underwhelmed in recent weeks and seem to have gone back to a more run-heavy system rather than letting Russ cook as we saw earlier in the year. It’s disappointing for fans of offensive football, but they seem to think it works, and they do grind out wins even if they don’t cover spreads. Russ had 28 TD throws in the first half of the season, he’s had 9 since then, still ranks 2nd in TD passes this year.
But they’ve gone more to the run game with Chris Carson back, he’s a talented back and will probably be the main focus tonight as well, and he’s scored in 3 home games in a row now. Carlos Hyde has been breaking off big runs in his smaller action. Hyde somehow does well vs. the Rams too, he’s had a TD in his last 4 games against them with both the Seahawks and the 49ers.
DK Metcalf started the season on fire and is the #1 there, but the lack of passing game has compressed his numbers in recent weeks. He’s scored in every home game bar one this season, HOWEVER he’ll be facing Jalen Ramsey here who shut him down in their previous meeting, DK only had 2 receptions for 28 yards. That means Tyler Lockett needs to step up, he’s perfectly capable of it, but has had a down year (for him) despite nearing 1,000 yards and 8 TDs this year. His scores tend to come in bulk, so he’s hard to judge. David Moore will chip in a bit with big catches every now and then.
Defensively they’ve been better recently, but they’ve played nothing. Wentz, McCoy, Haskins and the Jets. Good job guys. They have looked better since Carlos Dunlap arrived an Jamal Adams plays a weird safety position where he leads the team in sacks with 9.5 this year.
I think the Rams win and cover. Probably over the total as these games have the potential to be huge.
(4-9-1) Eagles -3 @ Cowboys (5-9): 50
The NFC East isn’t good, but it’s interesting at least. Any of the 4 teams can win it still, so obviously both these need to get the job done tonight.
The Eagles have been sparked with Jalen Hurts coming into the team. He has 5 TDs and 1 INT in his 2.5 starts, a huge improvement on Wentz who looked broken. His mobility is key for them as the offensive line is still beaten up, he rushed for his first score last week against the Cardinals.
It looks like he’s got a good relationship with Greg Ward who finished last year strongly as well, he has 3 TDs in the three games Hurts has been involved so I guess we look to him again here. Goedert and Ertz have been highly targeted as Tight ends generally are when there’s rookie QBs, so their reception lines should be looked at and Jalen Reagor finally returned a couple of weeks back, led the team in targets last week and has the speed to put up big yards, they also activated Desean Jackson this week who may well have a big game if he doesn’t get injured after 3 snaps.
The run game has been better with Hurts in there, his mobility again opens it up as the threat of him scrambling keeps teams guessing, Sanders has 10,14 and 17 carries with Hurts in there and had a 115 yard 2 TD game against the Saints two weeks back.
They should have players back on defense but it’s still not going to be good.
The Cowboys have won a couple of games based on strong defensive performances recently, they produced multiple turnovers vs. the Bengals and the 49ers, albeit against backup QBs in both of them. It’s a change as the offense was the stronger unit earlier in the year.
Big news here is Zeke likely to start. It probably weakens them as he’s got no pop this year while Tony Pollard broke off a big one in his 2 TD game last week. I hope they keep Pollard getting carries, but Mike McCarthy seems like a poor coach.
Andy Dalton has been fine at QB, he’s got Cooper, Gallup and Lamb decent numbers in most games, Cooper is the obvious 1 still and has HUGE games against the Eagles, 161 yards per game in home games vs. them. Dalton Schultz gets involved as well as the Dalton connection works well in the redzone.
Really interesting game here. I’ve been terrible calling Cowboys games all season though. They’ve such a volatile team, if things go well they can win by a lot, if not it’s embarrassing. I don’t think the defense will keep up the turnovers an Hurts has sparked the Eagles. Eagles win and cover. Over on the total.
An Eagles win sets up a win an intriguing final week against Washington.
(10-4) Titans +3 @ Packers 11-3): 53.5
POINTS, POINTS, POINTS. It’s the highest total on the board this week and it’s probably still too low and two play-off probables face each other in chilly Lambeau. The strengths of both offenses matchup with the weaknesses of the opposing teams defense. Should be a cracker.
To my eye the AFC have been far better than the NFC this year, so I got a bit of research done. Before this weekend, the AFC were 34-24-1, and it’s more extreme for playoff teams, the AFC are 9-2 in terms of games vs. opposition currently in playoff positions in the other conference, while the NFC are 3-8 in the same position. It’s quite stark and backs up what I had thought for most of the year.
The Titans have been brilliant on offense in recent weeks, at least 30 points in their last 5 games with 3 of those going over 40. It’s hugely entertaining and while Derrick Henry gets a lot of the credit, rightly so, Ryan Tannehill has been brilliant for the majority of his time starting for the team. He’s had 10 games this year with a passer rating over 100, while QBR has him ranked 4th in the league with 31 TDs and just 5 INTs. He’s ran in a 4 scores as well with a double last week as teams concentrate on Henry at the goal-line. His deep-ball is great, and he makes sensible decisions.
Derrick Henry rested for the 4th quarter last week. It was infuriating if you’d bet on him, but he’s had a TON of carries over the last 2 years and they have to try and manage him somehow, he still had nearly 150 scrimmage yards and a TD as he had his 9th game this year with over 100 rush yards. He’s just a phenom, he’s bigger and stronger than pretty much everyone he faces and is so much fun to watch as he gets up to speed in two strides, it’s rare that he’s stopped by the first guy. They used Darrington Evans in relief last week who had 10 touches for 74 yards and a TD at the end of the game, Jeremy McNichols had been the more used backup before that though.
AJ Brown is the Derrick Henry of the passing game, if hes gets up to speed on a slant you’re not going to stop him, he’s on 10 TDs this year, good for 5th in the league while the laughed at Corey Davis is having the best season of his career as well just a few yards away from 1,000 on the season for him. He had 110 on 4 catches last week. It’s basically those two and their tight ends. Cameron Batson adds a bit and Kalif Raymond gets the odd big reception. Jonnu Smith is a large gentleman, and Anthony Firkser gets a few catches over the middle per game as well. Smith gets the redzone targets in general though 14 RZ targets for he and AJ.
They’re not great defensively, they don’t get pressure, at all, and the secondary isn’t good enough to cope with that. They may well get torn apart there tonight.
Aaron Rodgers. He’s been rather good this year. I apologise for the slander earlier in the season, and admit I was wrong. Leads the league in QBR and TDs thrown this season despite only really having one legit target, he’s been brilliant, until last week were they didn’t play in the second half, but he shows up on SNF with 17 TDs and 0 INTs in 7 starts in this slot. Under very little pressure he should be able to cut the Titans to pieces in the passing game tonight (Titans 30th vs the pass).
Davante Adams is his man, and he’s proven himself the best in the league this year, he’s 2nd in TD catches this year despite missing a few games and has 7 in his last 5 home games, he leads the league in redzone targets with 10 of his 14 TDs in that area. He’s just rather good, and this all comes against teams knowing they’re likely to throw the ball his way. Allen Lazard is fine as a 2 and as I seem to say every week, but remains true, MVS will have a couple of deep shots thrown his way, probably catch one for a 75 yard TD then drop everything else. Robert Tonyan has stepped up at TE and has 10 TDs this season for them.
Aaron Jones returned a few games ago and has broken off a couple of big runs but doesn’t seem quite right, he’ll get more of the ball tonight with Jamaal Williams likely to miss out, could mean a few carries for rookie AJ Dillon as well.
Defensively they’re poor against the run, although DVOA has them ranked 18th vs the pass, 21st vs the run game.
This should be a brilliant game, and one I hope to remain sober enough to watch late tonight. It’s very tough to call given the matchups. However. I honestly think the AFC is stronger than the NFC, so if I’m getting top teams in each conference I’m going to take the AFC team. The Packers have also had the easiest strength of schedule this year which inflates their wins a little. Although they have been very impressive again this year.
- Falcons +11
- Titans +3
- Chargers -3
- Hunt – 5/4 (Hills)
- Gus Edwards – 12/5 (Skybet)
- Double them and take 2+ on each if possible
I’ll leave it at that, I’ll personally have some bigger priced, but I’ll stick to them for now, haven’t had time to look at props properly so won’t be tipping anything.
Oh yeah, both teams to score a rushing TD. I like the Texans, Packers, Rams and Cowboys games.
Good Luck tonight, it’s been a busy weekend of NFL.
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