Tag Archives: AFC North

NFL Playoff Picture for Week 17

John Morgan
December 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm ET

The 2017 NFL regular season wraps up on Sunday afternoon. There is not as much drama this year compared to the week 17 of many previous seasons. The 2017 NFL playoff picture is relatively settled. In the AFC there are four teams battling for two wild card spots. The NFC still has one division title up for grabs, but has just two teams competing for one final playoff slot.

For the sake of clarity and sanity, ties have been omitted from the scenarios below.

 

AFC Playoff Picture for Week 17

12-3 New England Patriots
15½ point home favorites vs Jets.
Have clinched AFC East and a first round bye.
Clinch the #1 seed with either a win, or a Pittsburgh loss.

12-3 Pittsburgh Steelers
7 point home favorites vs Browns.
Have clinched AFC North and a first round bye.
Need a win plus a Patriots loss for #1 seed.
Are the #2 seed in any other scenario.

10-5 Jacksonville Jaguars
3 point underdogs at Tennessee.
Have clinched AFC South and #3 seed.
Locked into the #3 slot.

9-6 Kansas City Chiefs
3½ point underdogs at Denver.
Have clinched AFC West and #4 seed.
Locked into the #4 slot.

9-6 Baltimore Ravens
9½ point home favorites vs Cincinnati.
Become #5 seed with either a win, or losses by both Buffalo and Tennessee.
Become #6 spot with loss, and either Buffalo or Tennessee loses.
Miss playoffs with a loss, plus both Buffalo and Tennessee win.

8-7 Tennessee Titans
3 point home favorites vs Jacksonville.
Become #5 seed with a win, plus Baltimore loses.
Become #6 seed with a win, plus Baltimore wins.
Can still become #6 seed despite a loss if both Bills and Chargers lose.
Eliminated with a loss, plus a win by either the Bills or Chargers.

8-7 Los Angeles Chargers
8 point home favorites vs Oakland.
Become #6 seed with a win, plus both Tennessee and Buffalo lose.
Become #6 seed with a win, plus both Tennessee and Baltimore lose.
Chargers are eliminated with a loss, or if Tennessee wins, or if Buffalo wins and Baltimore loses.

8-7 Buffalo Bills
2½ point favorites at Miami.
Clinch #5 seed with a win, plus losses by both Baltimore and Tennessee.
Become #6 seed with a win, plus Baltimore loses.
Become #6 seed with a win, plus both the Titans and the Chargers lose.
Eliminated with either a loss, or if the Titans and Ravens both win, or if the Chargers and Ravens both win.

 

NFC Playoff Picture for Week 17

13-2 Philadelphia Eagles
3 point home underdogs vs Dallas.
Have already clinched NFC East and #1 seed.

12-3 Minnesota Vikings
12 point home favorites vs Chicago.
Will be the #2 seed unless they lose, Carolina wins, plus the Saints and Rams both lose.

11-4 Los Angeles Rams
3½ point home underdogs vs San Francisco.
Clinch the #3 seed with a win, or with losses by both Carolina and New Orleans.
Drop to #4 seed with a loss, plus a win by either Carolina or New Orleans.

11-4 New Orleans Saints
7 point favorites at Tampa Bay.
Become #3 seed with a win, plus loss by Rams.
Win NFC South and #4 seed with either a win, or Carolina loss.
Become #5 seed with a loss, plus a Carolina win.

11-4 Carolina Panthers
3½ point underdogs at Atlanta.
Clinch #2 seed and first round bye with a win, plus losses by the Vikings, Saints and Rams.
Win NFC South and #3 seed with a win, plus losses by both the Saints and Rams.
Win NFC South and #4 seed with a win, plus loss by Saints.
Become #5 seed with either a loss, or a New Orleans win.

9-6 Atlanta Falcons
3½ point home favorites vs Carolina.
Make the playoffs as #6 seed with either a win, or a Seattle loss.
Miss the playoffs with a loss, plus Seattle wins.

9-6 Seattle Seahawks
9½ point home favorites vs Arizona.
Make the playoffs as #6 seed with both a win, plus Atlanta loss.
Miss the playoffs with either a loss, or an Atlanta win.

 

NFL Playoff Picture Entering Week 16

John Morgan
December 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm ET

Entering Week 16 five teams have clinched a playoff spot. The Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars, Eagles and Vikings have all punched a ticket for the post season. Philadelphia is the only team thus far to earn a first round bye.

In the AFC six teams have been eliminated: the Browns, Colts, Texans, Broncos, Bengals and Jets. The Dolphins and Raiders are technically alive, but comatose and on life support. The Chargers are not in much better shape, even though they are only one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Most likely it is Ravens, Titans and Bills battling for two wild card spots.

The Giants, Bears, Forty Niners, Bucs, Cardinals, Skins and Packers are all officially eliminated. Dallas, Seattle and Detroit face tall odds to get in. Philadelphia and Minnesota have won their divisions and will host at least one playoff game. The only way the Rams don’t win the NFC West is to lose twice while Seattle wins twice. The NFC South is probably going to send three teams to the playoffs. Games involving the Saints, Panthers and Falcons are the most intriguing over the next two weeks. Atlanta is at New Orleans this week, and then the Falcons host Carolina next week.

For the sake of clarity (and sanity), I will not consider ties in the following playoff scenarios. Yes, I know they can happen: just ask Donovan McNabb.

 

AFC Playoff Picture

#1 (11-3) New England Patriots
Home vs 8-6 Bills, home vs 5-9 Jets.
Have clinched AFC East and at least #3 seed.
Clinch #2 seed with win, plus a loss by either Jacksonville or Pittsburgh.
Clinch #1 seed with win, plus losses by both Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.
Clinch #1 seed with two wins regardless of what else happens.

#2 (11-3) Pittsburgh Steelers
At 4-10 Texans, home vs 0-14 Browns.
Have clinched AFC North and at least #3 seed.
Clinch #2 seed with win, plus Jacksonville loss.

#3 (10-4) Jacksonville Jaguars
At 4-10 49ers, at 8-6 Titans.
Clinch AFC South and #3 seed with either a win, or a Tennessee loss.

#4 (8-6) Kansas City Chiefs
Home vs 6-8 Dolphins, at 5-9 Broncos.
Clinch AFC West and #4 seed with a win, plus a Chargers loss.

#5 (8-6) Tennessee Titans
Home vs 10-4 Rams, home vs 10-4 Jaguars.
Clinch playoff spot with a win, plus losses by both the Bills and Ravens.

#6 (8-6) Baltimore Ravens
Home vs 3-11 Colts, home vs 5-9 Bengals.
Clinch playoff spot with two wins.

#7 (8-6) Buffalo Bills
At 11-3 Patriots, at 6-8 Dolphins.

#8 (7-7) Los Angeles Chargers
At 5-9 Jets, home vs 6-8 Raiders.
Eliminated with a loss.
Can win AFC West and #4 seed with two wins, plus two losses by Kansas City.
Scenario #1 as a wild card: win twice, Titans lose twice, Ravens win or lose out (don’t go 1-1), and Bills lose at least once.
Scenario #2 as a wild card: win twice, Ravens lose twice Titans win or lose out (don’t go 1-1), and Bills lose at least once.

#9 (6-8) Oakland Raiders
At 12-2 Eagles, at 7-7 Chargers.
Can only be a #6 seed, or miss playoffs.
Eliminated with a loss.
To make the playoffs the Raiders need to win twice while Buffalo and Tennessee both lose twice, Miami wins twice, and Baltimore wins at least once.

#10 (6-8) Miami Dolphins
At 8-6 Chiefs, home vs 8-6 Bills.
Eliminated with a loss.
Scenario #1 as a wild card: win twice, Titans lose twice, Bills lose to Pats, Chiefs lose to Broncos, and Raiders lose at least once.
Scenario #2 as a wild card: win twice, Ravens lose twice, Bills lose to Pats, Chiefs lose to Broncos, and Raiders lose to Chargers.

 

NFC Playoff Picture

#1 (12-2) Philadelphia Eagles
Home vs 6-8 Raiders, home vs 8-6 Cowboys.
Have clinched NFC East and at least #2 seed.
Clinch #1 seed with either a win, or a Vikings loss.

#2 (11-3) Minnesota Vikings
At 7-7 Packers, home vs 4-10 Bears.
Have clinched NFC North.
Clinch #3 seed with either a win, or a Rams loss.
Clinch #2 seed with both a win, plus a Panthers loss.

#3 (10-4) Los Angeles Rams
At 8-6 Titans, home vs 4-10 49ers.
Clinch a playoff spot with losses by the Falcons, Panthers and Lions.
Clinch the NFC West and #3 seed with either a win, or a Seahawks loss.

#4 (10-4) New Orleans Saints
Home vs 9-5 Falcons, at 4-10 Bucs.
Clinch at least #5 seed with a win over Atlanta.
Clinch NFC West and at least #4 seed with win over Falcons, plus Panthers loss.

#5 (10-4) Carolina Panthers
Home vs 4-10 Bucs, at 9-5 Falcons.
Clinch playoff spot with a win.
Clinch at least #5 seed with a win, plus Saints loss to Falcons.

#6 (9-5) Atlanta Falcons
At 10-4 Saints, home vs 10-4 Panthers.
Clinch playoff spot with a win.

#7 (8-6) Detroit Lions
At 5-9 Bengals, home vs 7-7 Packers.
Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
Scenario #1 as wild card: win twice while Falcons lose twice.
Scenario #2: win twice, and either Saints or Panthers lose twice, and either Seahawks or Cowboys win twice.

#8 (8-6) Seattle Seahawks
At 8-6 Cowboys, home vs 6-8 Cardinals.
Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
Must win twice plus Rams lose twice to win NFC West and #4 seed.
Scenario #1 as wild card: win twice, Panthers lose twice, and Saints lose twice.
Scenario #2: win twice, Lions lose at least once, and one of Panthers, Saints or Falcons lose twice.

#9 (8-6) Dallas Cowboys
Home vs 8-6 Cowboys, at 12-2 Eagles.
Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
Scenario #1 as wild card: win twice, Panthers lose twice, and Saints lose twice.
Scenario #2: win twice, Lions lose at least once, and of Panthers, Saints or Falcons lose twice.

 

NFL Week 16 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

 

2017 Colts: Suck for Chuck

John Morgan
August 22, 2017 at 8:00 pm ET

While we anxiously await the start of the 2017 NFL season, here is a peek behind enemy lines. For Pats fans, a bit of schadenfreude for one of the co-conspirators in the scheme to frame the Patriots by those that never learned the Ideal Gas Law.

Although it is only two games in to the preseason, the 2017 Indianapolis Colts appear to be closer to their ‘Suck for Luck’ 2011 team than the club that won 33 games from 2012 to 2014 and made it to the AFC championship game. The Colts have not had a winning season since then.

Time is running out for Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts | Indy Star

If Luck doesn’t practice by the end of this week – and there’s certainly no indication he will – the Colts will be down to just a handful of workouts before their opener. Because next week’s preseason finale will be a mid-week game (Thursday, Aug. 31), the Colts likely will have just two light practices on Monday and Tuesday (Wednesday, Aug. 30 would likely be limited to a walkthrough).

If Pagano’s past habits hold, the Colts then would have a three-day weekend heading into Week 1. Taking into account players’ one mandated day off during that week, the Colts would be down to roughly six more practices after this week.

Among the questions posed to Pagano on Tuesday was how many practices would Luck need before returning to game action. Remember, he’s been out for seven months.

Part of the angst in Indy is due to what the offense and backup quarterbacks have done thus far. With Scott Tolzien under center, the Colts have achieved exactly one first down in the first quarters of their two preseason games. One first down! Tolzein is averaging less than five yards per pass thus far. With 19 days until their week one game, Pagano is just now considering making a change at QB to Stephen Morris. He has spent three years on Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Indy’s practice squads, and had been listed fourth on the depth chart behind undrafted rookie Phillip Walker. That speaks volumes about Tolzein’s performance.

Quarterback is not the only offensive position in flux. An NFL offensive line depends on continuity to be effective, but there is neither cohesiveness nor productivity from this unit.

The Colts aren’t working. Time to shake something up | USA Today

We’re already starting to see some willingness by Pagano to think unconventionally. The Colts started Jeremy Vujnovich over Le’Raven Clark at right tackle in Saturday’s 24-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. When asked about the move, Pagano responded, “We’re just trying to find the best five (linemen)”.

Unconventional thinking or desperation? I can understand giving a new player reps to see what he can do, or to let a veteran or injured player sit. This sounds like neither. To make matters worse starting center Ryan Kelly will be out for six to eight weeks due to surgery after injuring his foot two weeks ago in a joint practice with the Lions.

Can Stephen Morris supplant Scott Tolzien as the Colts’ starter? | Indy Star

The Colts’ offense has been abysmal during the preseason – or, to borrow Pagano’s word from Saturday night, “pitiful.” Indianapolis ranks 26th among 32 teams in offense thus far. The Colts have been outgained in passing yards by their opponents 556 to 384. They’ve been outgained altogether 812 to 495. They’re 5-for-30 on first downs. Ouch.

Pagano making changes to Colts’ offense after dismal preseason start | Fox Sports

Without Luck, Indy has scored 29 points in eight quarters and the offense has produced only one more touchdown (two) than the defense. Both offensive TDs came in the final minute of the games, and the starters still haven’t had a scoring drive.

Even worse: After going 4 of 18 on third-down chances in the preseason opener against Detroit, the Colts were an even more dismal 1 of 12 at Dallas.

Against the Cowboys the Colts did not record a first down until the second quarter. Their only touchdown before halftime came on a fumble return by the Dallas backup quarterback.

 

Colt Defense Is Even More Of An Issue Than The Defense

Now consider this: the Colt offense usually makes up for the shortcomings of their defense. Last year Indy ranked 8th in points scored versus 22nd in points allowed; the offense was 10th in yardage but 30th (3rd worst) in yards allowed.

Colts’ issues on defense may be bigger concern than QB situation | Fox59

Dallas’ first two possessions netted 166 yards, nine first downs and an 18-yard Dak Prescott-to-Dez Bryant touchdown pass. Only Darren McFadden’s red-zone fumble on the second drive kept the Cowboys from tacking up back-to-back TDs. The Prescott-led Cowboys averaged 9.2 yards per play and faced just one third-down situation, which they converted.

It is not as if that was due to there being a bunch of scrubs on the field either.

Most of the starters were on the field for approximately 30 percent of the game, including cornerback Vontae Davis, safeties Darius Butler and Matthias Farley, outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, and linemen Al Woods, (Henry) Anderson and (Jonathan) Hankins.

At halftime, Dallas had amassed 281 total yards and 16 first downs. Only a pair of Colts’ takeaways, including Lavar Edwards’ returning a fumble for a touchdown, kept things from getting out of hand.

Now the Colts are bringing in street free agents, hoping they will represent an improvement over their current sad state of affairs.

Corner Chris Culliver was a free agent bust for Miami, washing out after two knee surgeries. CB Corey White is now on his sixth team since 2012 and has started just five games over the last two seasons. I wouldn’t place too much faith on a player that was just waived by the Jets.

 

This is shaping up to be a long season for the Indianapolis Colts; one that could push Jim Irsay over the edge and into the abyss.

Steelers owner Dan Rooney dies at age 84

John Morgan
April 13, 2017 at 7:00 pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers owner and chairman Dan Rooney passed away today. He was 84.

Consider this: from their inception in 1933 through 1971 the Steelers made the playoffs only once. Pittsburgh had a total of only seven winning seasons, and managed only four years where they were two or more games above .500.

Then Dan Rooney took a bigger role in the organization, running the football operations in 1969 and finally formally being announced team president in 1975. He hired Chuck Noll and the team quickly went from annual cellar dwellers to perennial contenders. For those that lament the dark days of the Patriots, where the Steelers were prior to Dan Rooney taking on his role was was far worse. They went 25 years between playoff appearances. 25 years! From 1965-69 Pittsburgh’s record was 14-53-3, finishing in last place in four out of five of those seasons.

Chuck Noll, Dan Rooney, Pete Rozelle

A quote from a 1979 Sports Illustrated article shares words of Rooney’s wisdom that certain high profile owners would be wise to heed today.

The Steelers’ chief executive is 46-year-old President Dan Rooney, the oldest son of the team’s founder, 77-year-old Art Rooney. There is no biographical sketch for Dan Rooney in the club’s media guide. “I stay in the background,” he says. “A lot of owners in football think they have to say something profound, particularly to explain a win or a loss. I think the less you say, the better off you are. My job here is to make everyone else’s job easier. The Steeler players get the recognition, and that’s the way it should be. That’s better than having Chuck Noll or Dan Rooney get it. The players are the characters, if you look at football in the entertainment sense.”

While he was growing into his current job in the ’60s, Dan and his brother Art Rooney Jr., who is in charge of the team’s personnel department, determined that the Steelers, who had a history of trading away draft choices, should build through the draft. Only three of the Steelers on the roster for last Sunday’s game—placekicker Gerela, reserve Defensive Back Ray Oldham and reserve Tight End Jim Mandich—started their careers with other franchises.

In 1975 Pittsburgh went 12-2 and won their second consecutive Super Bowl. Rooney remained team president until 2002; during those years the Steelers were the class of the AFC and the best franchise in pro football over the last three decades of the 20th century.

More than anyone else, Dan Rooney was the reason for that turnaround. The Steelers’ long term success was due to the leadership at the top of the organization. Rooney earned his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Rest in peace. Condolences to the Rooney family and Steelers Nation.

NFL Week 16 Odds, TV Coverage and Broadcast Distribution

John Morgan
December 21, 2016 at 8:45 pm ET

With the NFL now playing games on Saturday, Week 16 features five nationally televised games. The week kicks off Thursday night with another NFC East prime time game, this time between the Giants and Eagles. Then with Christmas on Sunday the standard slate of games is moved back a day to take place on Saturday. On Saturday night Cincinnati is at Houston on the NFL Network. Then on Sunday there are two unopposed matchups. Late afternoon it’s Baltimore at Pittsburgh, also on NFLN. Then NBC has their normal marquee Sunday night game, with Denver at Kansas City. The week wraps up with Detroit at Dallas on Monday Night Football.

For out of town Patriot fans their is some good news. The Patriots-Jets game receives some fairly extensive broadcast distribution. That game will be available from most of the eastern seaboard, across the gulf states to Texas. It will also be shown in most of the northwest, from South Dakota to Washington as well as in Alaska.

The bad news is that Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will again be calling the game. If you have surround sound set up as part of your entertainment system just mute (or unplug) the front center speaker. Voila! No more insane commentary from the Bird and the Beard.

The Patriots are listed as 16½ point favorites, which is the largest spread of the week. If you want to win $100 taking the Pats straight up without any points then you would have to risk $2500 to do so.

CBS has the single game this week and most of the western states will receive Indianapolis at Oakland in the late time slot. On Fox Minnesota at Green Bay will be televised almost everywhere in the early time frame. After that the eastern United States gets Tampa Bay at New Orleans, while most of the west receives Arizona at Seattle. Unfortunately fans in California are stuck with the 49ers at Rams dumpster fire.

 

NFL Week 16 Schedule and Odds

10-4 New York Giants at 5-9 Philadelphia Eagles
Thursday Dec 22 at 8:25 pm ET on NBC, NFLN and Twitter; Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox.
Giants -2½ . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . NYG -150, PHI +130
Broadcast in all US television markets.

7-6-1 Washington Redskins at 3-11 Chicago Bears
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, David Diehl, Kristina Pink.
Redskins -3 . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . WAS -175, CHI +155
Broadcast in DC, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Harrisburg PA, Virginia and West Virginia.

9-5 Miami Dolphins at 7-7 Buffalo Bills
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.
Bills -3½ . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . BUF -185, MIA +165
Broadcast in Ft Smith AR, Florida (except Jacksonville), Albany GA, western New York, Erie PA and Spokane WA.

9-5 Atlanta Falcons at 6-8 Carolina Panthers
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager.
Falcons -2½ . . . . over/under 52 . . . . ATL -140, CAR +120
Broadcast in Alabama, parts of Florida (Ocala, Panama City, Tallahassee, Tampa), Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

7-7 Minnesota Vikings at 8-6 Green Bay Packers
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.
Packers -6½ . . . . over/under 43 . . . . GNB -320, MIN +260
Broadcast in all markets with the exceptions of Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Harrisburg PA, Washington DC, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Also broadcast in parts of southern Florida (Orlando, Miami, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers).

4-10 New York Jets at 12-2 New England Patriots
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.
Patriots -16½ . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . NWE -2500, NYJ +1100
Broadcast in New England, Alabama (except Mobile), Alaska, Arkansas (except Ft Smith), some of Georgia (Augusta, Columbus, Savannah), Idaho, Louisiana, Maryland, Cape Girardeau MO, Mississippi (except Tupelo), Montana, eastern New York, North Carolina (except Charlotte), Cincinnati OH, Oklahoma, Oregon (except Eugene), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas (except Beaumont, Houston and Tyler), western Virginia and West Virginia.

8-6 Tennessee Titans at 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker.
Titans -5 . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . TEN -220, JAC +190
Broadcast in Mobile AL, Gainesville FL, Jacksonville FL, Hawaii, Bowling Green KY, Tupelo MS, Tennessee and southeastern Texas (Beaumont, Houston, Tyler).

5-9 San Diego Chargers at 0-14 Cleveland Browns
Saturday Dec 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.
Chargers -6 . . . . over/under 44 . . . . SDG -260, CLE +220
Broadcast in Yuma AZ, southern California and Ohio (except Cincinnati).

 

7-7 Indianapolis Colts at 11-3 Oakland Raiders
Saturday Dec 24 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson.
Raiders -3½ . . . . over/under 53 . . . . OAK -180, IND +160
Broadcast in DC, northern California, Colorado, northern Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky (except Bowling Green), Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri (except Cape Girardeau), Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, southern Oregon, Utah, eastern Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

8-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-8 New Orleans Saints
Saturday Dec 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.
Saints -3 . . . . over/under 52½ . . . . NOR -150, TAM +130
Broadcast in all markets east of the Mississippi River. Also broadcast in Iowa, Topeka KS, Louisiana, Minnesota, northern Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

1-13 San Francisco 49ers at 4-10 Los Angeles Rams
Saturday Dec 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.
Rams -3½ . . . . over/under 40 . . . . LAR -180, SFO +160
Broadcast in California (except San Diego) and Reno NV.

5-8-1 Arizona Cardinals at 9-4-1 Seattle Seahawks
Saturday Dec 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
Seahawks -8½ . . . . over/under 43 . . . . SEA -360, ARI +300
Broadcast in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Wichita KS, southern Missouri, Montana, Las Vegas NV, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

5-8-1 Cincinnati Bengals at 8-6 Houston Texans
Saturday Dec 24 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Stacey Dales.
Texans -1 . . . . over/under 41 . . . . HOU -120, CIN +100
Broadcast in all television markets.

8-6 Baltimore Ravens at 9-5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday Dec 25 at 4:30 pm ET on NFLN; Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Heather Cox.
Steelers -5 . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . PIT -230, BAL +190
Broadcast in all television markets.

8-6 Denver Broncos at 10-4 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday Dec 25 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsowrth, Michele Tafoya.
Chiefs -3½ . . . . over/under 37½ . . . . KAN -175, DEN +155
Broadcast in all television markets.

9-5 Detroit Lions at 12-2 Dallas Cowboys
Monday Dec 26 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters.
Cowboys -7 . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . DAL -340, DET +280
Broadcast in all television markets.

 

NFL Week 15 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
December 17, 2016 at 1:00 pm ET

It is mid-December and we are in the final stretch of the 2016 NFL season. In recent weeks weather has played a role and that could be the case again this weekend. With only bowl games remaining for college football the NFL can now play on Saturdays. As a result the work crew at the Meadowlands will be busy, with a Jets game Saturday night and then a Giants game Sunday afternoon.

Rain and cold temperature is expected in northern New Jersey which will be a challenge for the visiting teams. Miami (vs Jets, Saturday) is used to much warmer weather in south Florida. Detroit (vs Giants, Sunday) is a cold weather city but the Lions play in a dome. Also on Sunday Green Bay is at Chicago where the wind chill is expected to be minus-18.

For all you need to know about clinching and elimination scenarios, check out Week 15 Playoff Picture: Six Teams Can Clinch Playoff Spots.

 

NFL Week 15 Television Broadcast Information

CBS has the doubleheader this week. In the early time slot Pittsburgh at Cincinnati will receive most of the broadcast distribution. For the late game the Patriots at Broncos will air across almost all of the United States. CBS will send Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and their top production team to work that game. The Lions at Giants will be televised on most Fox affiliates, in the early time frame. To see what is being televised where you will be on Sunday please check out Patriot fan JP Kirby’s 506 Sports Week 15 NFL Maps.

 

AFC East Participation Trophy Game

★★★ 8-5 Miami Dolphins at 4-9 New York Jets
Saturday December 17 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN; Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Heather Cox.
Dolphins -2½ . . . . over/under 37½ . . . . MIA -140, NYJ +120

Why has New York had such a large drop from their 10-6 2015 record? The Jets rank 31st in giveaways and 30th in takeaways. Their minus-16 turnover differential is 31st (two-win Jacksonville is minus-17). I doubt that will improve any in tonight’s cold and wet weather, even against a rusty backup quarterback.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Jets 17
Dolphins -2½ . . . . . under 37½ . . . . . Miami -140

 

NFL Week 15 Early Games on FOX

★★★★★ 9-4 Detroit Lions at 9-4 New York Giants
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.
Giants -4 . . . . over/under 41 . . . . NYG -190, DET +170

The Lions have won five straight and eight of their last nine games. Over the last seven games Detroit is allowing just 16.4 points per game. However center Travis Swanson is out with a concussion. The Giants have a very solid pass rush and could take advantage with pressure up the middle. Matthew Stafford is dealing with a dislocated finger. After suffering the injury last week most of Stafford’s throws were fine, though he was off on a couple of passes.

The Giants were fortunate to win last week, with Dallas dropping what should have been three Eli Manning interceptions. New York’s offensive line did not look very good, unable to figure out what to do whenever confronted with a Dallas pass rush stunt. The Detroit defense is superior up front than Dallas and capable of forcing many three-and-outs. With Darius Slay at corner the Lions are also better equipped to cover Odell Beckham.

The Lions and Giants have made a habit of winning close games. Both teams have won eight games by seven points or less. Expect another close battle here. I liked the Lions a lot when the spread opened at -5½, but I’ll still take Detroit at four points – despite the injuries to Swanson and Stafford.

Prediction: Lions 17, Giants 16
Lions +4 (two units) . . . . . under 41 (one unit) . . . . . Detroit +170

 

★★★ 5-8 Philadelphia Eagles at 7-6 Baltimore Ravens
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.
Ravens -6 . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . BAL -250, PHI +210

After a 3-0 start the Eagles have not looked good. Since that time Philly has had only two victories, home upsets versus Minnesota and Atlanta. In those eight other games Philadelphia is giving up an average of 27.5 points per game. The Eagles will be without Darren Sproles Sunday. That doesn’t help an offense that is scoring only 16 points per game during their current four game losing streak.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Eagles 17
Ravens -6 . . . . . over 40½ . . . . . Baltimore -250

 

★★★ 7-6 Green Bay Packers at 3-10 Chicago Bears
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver.
Packers -5½ . . . . over/under 38½ . . . . GNB -250, CHI +210

Cold weather and gusty winds are expected to make this the coldest game in Chicago Bears’ history. Aaron Rodgers suffered a calf injury last week so that weather won’t help his situation. Green Bay is down to a third option of Ty Montgomery at running back. Eddie Lacy is on IR with an ankle injury and James Starks is doubtful after suffering a concussion in a car accident Monday. With Jordan Howard running the ball Chicago should be able to keep this game close.

Prediction: Packers 20, Bears 16
Bears +5½ (one unit) . . . . . under 38½ . . . . . Green Bay -250

 

NFL Week 15 Early Games on CBS

★★★ 6-7 Indianapolis Colts at 7-6 Minnesota Vikings
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon.
Vikings -5 . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . MIN -240, IND +200

Running back Adrian Peterson has been activated, though it remains to be seen how much he will play. The Colts are giving up 4.5 yards per rush; Peterson would be a huge boost to Minnesota’s anemic offense. Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players. Indy LG Jack Mewhort’s season ended with a knee injury last week and his backup, Denzelle Good, is out with a concussion. Free safety Harrison Smith (ankle) and RG Brandon Fusco (concussion) are both out for the Vikings.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Colts 17
Colts +5 (one unit) . . . . . under 45½ (one unit) . . . . . Indianapolis +200

 

★★ 0-13 Cleveland Browns at 6-7 Buffalo Bills
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta.
Bills -10 . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . BUF -500, CLE +400

Cleveland’s defense ranks 31st in points (28.8 ppg), yardage (397 ypg) and rushing (146 ypg). The Browns are also allowing 4.6 yards per rush (29th) and are last in the NFL on third down (48.2%). Expect a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy, who now has eight games with over 100 yards from scrimmage. While the Bills have almost zero chance of making the playoffs, they don’t want to be the team that lost to the Browns.

Prediction: Bills 27, Browns 13
Bills -10 . . . . . under 41½ . . . . . Buffalo -500

 

★★★★ 7-6 Tennessee Titans at 10-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.
Chiefs -5½ . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . KAN -230, TEN +190

The big question is how Kansas City will perform without Derrick Johnson, who was lost last week with a torn Achilles. Tennessee ran for 180 yards last week against Denver, who has a comparable run defense to Kansas City. The Chiefs have had extra time to prepare after playing last Thursday, but this could be a trap game. Last week KC played Oakland, and they could be caught looking ahead to next week’s game against Denver. However Arrowhead offers one of the best home field advantages in the league and the crowd noise could lead to mistakes by the Titans. This Tennessee team is not used to playing in big games. KC has made a habit of capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes, resulting in an NFL-best 25 takeaways.

Prediction: Chiefs 23, Titans 20
Titans +5½ (one unit) . . . . . over 41½ . . . . . Kansas City -260

 

★★ 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars at 7-6 Houston Texans
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker.
Texans -5½ . . . . over/under 39½ . . . . HOU -220, JAC +190

Houston has not won by six or more points since Week 8, but this is the Jaguars they are playing. The Jaguars have lost eight straight and just want the season to hurry up and be over. Jacksonville doesn’t force turnovers (a league-low eight takeaways) while giving the ball away 25 times. Houston should win easily despite their stagnant offense.

Prediction: Texans 24, Jaguars 13
Texans -5½ . . . . . under 39½ . . . . . Houston -220

 

★★★ 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday December 11 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.
Steelers -3 . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . PIT -170, CIN +150

Cincinnati is allowing 4.5 yards per run (27th) and 119 rushing yards per game (25th). The Steelers ran for 240 yards on the road last week against what was supposedly a decent Buffalo defense. If Cincy sells out to stop Le’Veon Bell then Ben Roethlisberger will be more than happy to throw passes to Antonio Brown. The big concern is Pittsburgh’s penchant for playing down to the level of their competition. Pittsburgh struggled mightily on the road early this season with losses at Philadelphia, Miami and Baltimore. Is that a thing of the past after victories at Indianapolis and Buffalo?

Prediction: Steelers 24, Bengals 20
Steelers -3 . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Pittsburgh -170

 

NFL Week 15 Late Games on FOX

★★★ 5-8 New Orleans Saints at 5-7-1 Arizona Cardinals
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.
Cardinals -3 . . . . over/under 50½ . . . . ARI -150, NOR +130

Carson Palmer has not played well all season. The Arizona offensive line is incapable of either pass protection or run blocking. Now the Cardinal defense is being decimated with injuries. However, center Max Unger missed last week’s game and is questionable for Sunday with a foot injury. Without Unger opponents are able to collapse the pocket and apply pressure up the middle on Drew Brees. Look for Calais Campbell to be tormenting Brees all afternoon.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Saints 23
Saints +3 . . . . . under 50½ . . . . . New Orleans +130

 

★★ 1-12 San Francisco 49ers at 8-5 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager.
Falcons -13½ . . . . over/under 50½ . . . . ATL -900, SFO +600

Even without Julio Jones the Falcons should win easily. The Niners have had no defense all year, and now the offense has been weakened. LT Joe Staley is doubtful with a hamstring injury. On top of that C Daniel Kilgore and TE Vance McDonald were placed on IR this week.

Prediction: Falcons 31, Niners 13
Falcons -13½ . . . . . under 50½ . . . . . Atlanta

 

NFL Week 15 Late Games on CBS

★★★★★ 11-2 New England Patriots at 8-5 Denver Broncos
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Patriots -3 . . . . over/under 44 . . . . NWE -170, DEN +150

Denver’s run defense has taken a hit in comparison to recent seasons. The Broncos are allowing 127 yards rushing (29th) and 6.2 rushing first downs (28th) per game. The Patriots will try to run the ball with LeGarrette Blount, and utilize running backs Dion Lewis and James White as well. That would open things up for play action passes, and keep Denver pass rushers honest. The Broncos have been unable to run the ball, and neither Denver quarterback is capable of generating much offense.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Broncos 20
Patriots -3 (two units) . . . . . over 44 . . . . . New England -170

 

★★★★ 10-3 Oakland Raiders at 5-8 San Diego Chargers
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.
Raiders -3 . . . . over/under 49½ . . . . OAK -140, SDG +120

Oakland cannot stop the run. The Raiders are giving up 4.7 yards per carry (30th) and 120 yards rushing per game (26th). Unfortunately for San Diego Melvin Gordon is out with a hip injury and Danny Woodhead blew out his knee in September.

Prediction: Raiders 31, Chargers 27
Raiders -3 . . . . . over 49½ . . . . . Oakland -140

 

NFL Week 15 Prime Time Games

★★★★★ 8-5 Tampa Bay Bucs at 11-2 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday December 18 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.
Cowboys -7 . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . DAL -300, TAM +250

After looking atrocious early in the season, the Buccaneer defense has taken great strides. Over the last five games the Bucs have allowed an NFL-best 13.0 points per game. Much of that has to do with Keith Tandy replacing an ineffective Chris Conte at safety, but other players have stepped up their game as well. OLB Lavonte David and DT Gerald McCoy have been studs for a while. Now thy’re getting help from MLB Kwon Alexander and defensive ends Robert Ayers and Noah Spence. Wouldn’t an upset be fun, just to watch Jerrah’s reaction?

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 23
Buccaneers +7 (one unit) . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Tampa Bay +250

 

★★★ 5-8 Carolina Panthers at 7-5-1 Washington Redskins
Monday December 19 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters.
Redskins -6½ . . . . over/under 51½ . . . . WAS -270, CAR +230

The Carolina offensive line is a mess. As a result Cam Newton cannot complete even fifty percent of his passes. On defense the post-Josh Norman era has not worked out well for the Panthers. Injuries to Luke Kuechly and Charles Johnson have exacerbated the situation.

Prediction: Redskins 31, Panthers 24
Redskins -6½ . . . . . over 43½ . . . . . Washington -270

 

Thursday: Rams at Seahawks.

My advice was to take the Seahawks, despite the huge spread.

I just don’t understand why Pete Carroll decided to go for a fake punt with a big lead in the fourth quarter. Wouldn’t he have been better off saving that play for a critical time in a meaningful game?

Prediction: Seahawks 34, Rams 9
Seahawks -15 (two units) . . . . . over 39½ . . . . . Seattle -1600

Final Score: Seahawks 24, Rams 3 ✓
Seahawks -15 ✓✓ . . . . . over 39½ x . . . . . Seahawks -1600 ✓

 

NFL Week 14 Parlays and Teasers

3-Game Parlay (one unit):
Giants vs Lions +4
Broncos vs Patriots +3
Colts at Vikings under 45½

5-Team 6-Point Teaser (one unit):
Cowboys vs Buccaneers +13
Giants vs Lions +10
Colts at Vikings under 51½
Niners vs Falcons -7½
Cardinals vs Saints +9
Chiefs vs Titans +11½

 

Tale of the Tape

Week 14 wasn’t bad at all, considering the fact that there were not many games that jumped out at me that were particularly advantageous.

Week 14 Results:
11-5 Straight Up
8-7-1 Against the Spread
6-10 Over/Under
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 2-3, -130
3-Game Parlay: 1u, -110
5-Game Teaser: 2u, -220
16 units invested
6-5, +240 on $1760 risk.
+13.6% ROI

Year to Date Results:
125-81-2 Straight Up
110-92-6 Against the Spread
112-96 Over/Under
5-unit plays: 1-0, +500
4-unit plays: 1-0, +400
3-unit plays: 6-5-1, +120
2-unit plays: 39-19-1, +3600
1-unit plays: 41-29-1, +900
Parlays: 3-9, +1300
Teasers: 6-6, +2390
97-68-3, +9110 on original $2310 risk.
394.4% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
30.4% ROI on $29,920 (272 units) of total weekly investments.

6-5, +240 on 16 units (+13.6%) in Week 14.
6-5, -90 on 18 units (-4.5%) in Week 13.
6-9-1, -360 on 28 units (-11.7%) in Week 12.
9-2, +2380 on 16 units (+135.2%) in Week 11.
4-9, -510 on 18 units (-25.8%) in Week 10.
7-4, +850 on 17 units (+45.5%) in Week 9.
11-2, +3470 on 27 units (+116.8%) in Week 8.
3-6, -480 on 12 units (-36.4%) in Week 7.
9-3-1, +1300 on 17 units (+69.5%) in Week 6.
7-7, +50 on 22 units (+2.1%) in Week 5.
9-2, +1910 on 18 units (+96.5%) in Week 4.
3-9-1, -1280 on 22 units (-58.2%) in Week 3.
9-3, +950 on 20 units (+43.2%) in Week 2.
9-2, +840 on 21 units (+36.4%) in Week 1.

 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publisher of this website. Neither the author nor this website promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1-888-ADMIT-IT or 1-888-GA-HELPS.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

NFL Week 16 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats 13.5 point favorites

John Morgan
December 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm ET

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has published their Advanced Lines for NFL Week 16. These early odds look ahead to the following week’s games for those willing to roll the dice. When visiting Sin City you can wager up to 3,000 clams on one of the games – prior to Sunday’s week 15 action occurring. While subsequent injuries can dramatically change the prognosis of future games, over reaction from the most recent result can also be minimized.

Once again the New England Patriots are listed as the heaviest favorite in Week 16. Two weeks ago the Pats defeated the Jets by only five points, but that result apparently did not sway the professional handicappers. The Patriots are at home this time, and the Jets already had their annual Super Bowl in that November 27 loss. New England has (with Dallas) the best record in the NFL, and is 10-3 against the spread. By Christmas Eve Gang Green could be in even more disarray than they already are now. The seven-game delta in season wins between the Patriots and Jets is the largest of the sixteen games on schedule for Week 16.

Only two games will be played on Sunday since that is Christmas, but they are both good ones. At 4:30 pm eastern time Baltimore is at Pittsburgh. These contests are always very physical and the last three games between these two have been decided by an average of just four points. To add further intrigue the winner will likely win the NFC North while the loser will be left scrambling for a playoff spot.

The Sunday night game is just as compelling. Denver travels to Kansas City in a battle of AFC West rivals. The Broncos are in a difficult situation, finishing the season with games against the Patriots, KC and Oakland. Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking and the Chiefs would love to be able to hammer a nail in the coffin on Denver’s season.

In the early time slot on Saturday the best game is Minnesota at Green Bay. Both teams are on the playoff bubble, currently two games behind the Lions in the NFC North. This week the Vikings are home against Indianapolis while the Packers travel to Chicago.

Tampa Bay plays the Saints for the second time in three weeks, this time in New Orleans. This game was flexed to the late afternoon time slot and will surely be the primary game for the doubleheader on Fox.

Week 16 wraps up with an unusual occurrence: a quality game on Monday Night Football. Detroit is at Dallas for what could possibly be a game for the number one seed, and a preview of the NFC conference finals. We will soon have a better idea of just how strong Detroit is. The 9-4 Lions finish the season at the Giants, at Dallas and home versus Green Bay.

The week kicks off on Thursday night with the Giants at Philadelphia. New York is one of five road teams to be favored in Week 16. That says more about the poor play of those home teams than anything else. The home dogs are Philly, the Bears, Panthers, Jaguars and Browns.

 

NFL Week 16 Early Advanced Look-Ahead Betting Lines

9-4 New York Giants (-3) at 5-8 Philadelphia Eagles
Thursday December 22 at 8:25 pm ET on NBC

7-5-1 Washington Redskins (-3½) at 3-10 Chicago Bears
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

8-5 Miami Dolphins at 6-7 Buffalo Bills (-3½)
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

8-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 5-8 New Orleans Saints (-3)
Saturday December 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

8-5 Atlanta Falcons (-2½) at 5-8 Carolina Panthers
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

7-6 Minnesota Vikings at 7-6 Green Bay Packers (-5)
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

4-9 New York Jets at 11-2 New England Patriots (-13½)
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

7-6 Tennessee Titans (-3½) at 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

5-8 San Diego Chargers (-4½) at 0-13 Cleveland Browns
Saturday December 24 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

6-7 Indianapolis Colts at 10-3 Oakland Raiders (-6)
Saturday December 24 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS

1-12 San Francisco 49ers at 4-9 Los Angeles Rams (-2½)
Saturday December 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

5-7-1 Arizona Cardinals at 8-4-1 Seattle Seahawks (-7½)
Saturday December 24 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX

5-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals at 7-5 Houston Texans (-2½)
Saturday December 24 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN

7-6 Baltimore Ravens at 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (-6½)
Sunday December 25 at 4:30 pm ET on NFLN

8-5 Denver Broncos at 10-3 Kansas City Chiefs (-4)
Sunday December 25 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

9-4 Detroit Lions at 11-2 Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Monday December 26 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN

 

 

NFL Week 15 Thursday Night Football

Back to this week’s games for a moment. Week fifteen kicks off tonight with a typical Thursday night game: a bad team being featured in prime time in a game that won’t be competitive. Yes Seattle lost last week to Green Bay. However the Seahawks have responded to their three losses this season with victories by an average of 19 points. And yes Seattle lost to the Rams in Week 2, but their offense – in particular their offensive line – is performing far better than they did in early September.

This is the leagues best offense facing the league’s worst offense. In a rebound situation. Back home in a stadium providing one of, if not the most favorable home field advantages in all pro sports. Against a rookie quarterback who did not play in a pro style offense in college, making just the fifth start of his career. Against a team that has given up after losing eight of their last nine games. A team averaging a mere 12 points per game since late October.

Take the Seahawks, despite the huge spread.

Prediction: Seahawks 34, Rams 9
Seahawks -15 (two units) . . . . . over 39½ . . . . . Seattle -1600

Final Score: Seahawks 24, Rams 3 ✓
Seahawks -15 ✓✓ . . . . . over 39½ x . . . . . Seahawks -1600 ✓

Week 15 NFL Playoff Picture: Six Teams Can Clinch Playoff Spots

John Morgan
at 7:00 am ET

Heading into Week 15 only the Dallas Cowboys have clinched a playoff spot. After this weekend that is bound to change. Six other teams, including the New England Patriots, can punch a ticket to the post-season this weekend.

In the AFC the Jets, Jaguars and Browns have been eliminated. San Diego and Cincinnati are all but done. And after last week’s losses the Colts and Bills are comatose and on life support. The Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders are going to be playing in January. That leaves the Steelers, Ravens, Broncos and Dolphins vying for two post-season positions while Houston and Tennessee battle for the AFC South title.

Over in the NFC Dallas has clinched a playoff spot while on the other end the Niners, Rams and Bears are looking ahead to the draft. Four other teams – the Eagles, Panthers, Saints and Cardinals – are all but mathematically eliminated. With Seattle virtually assured of winning the NFC West that leaves seven teams going for four playoff slots.

I know ties happen – as Donovan McNabb and Jay Gruden now realize – but for the sake of clarity (and sanity) I’ll avoid bringing those possibilities up.

 

AFC East

11-2 New England Patriots
Currently AFC #1 seed.
3-game division lead with three games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: at 8-5 Broncos; vs 4-9 Jets; at 8-5 Dolphins.
– Can clinch division title with either a win or a Miami loss.
– Can clinch a first round bye with a win.
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Miami loss, plus either (b) a Pittsburgh loss.
– Can clinch a first round bye with (a) a Miami loss, plus (b) a Kansas City win.
– 99% chance of winning the AFC East.
– 99.9% chance of making the playoffs.

8-5 Miami Dolphins
Currently AFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-18: at 4-9 Jets; at 6-7 Bills; vs 11-2 Patriots.
– Eliminated from division title with either a loss or a New England win.
– Eliminated from #5 slot with both (a) a loss, plus (b) a Kansas City win.
– 40% chance of making the playoffs.

6-7 Buffalo Bills
Currently AFC #11 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 0-13 Browns; vs 8-5 Dolphins; at 4-9 Jets.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) loss to Browns plus Miami wins; or (b) loss to Browns plus Baltimore wins; or (c) Broncos win.
– 2% chance of making the playoffs.

 

AFC West

10-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Currently AFC #2 seed.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: vs 7-6 Titans; vs 8-5 Broncos; at 5-8 Chargers.
– Clinch a playoff spot with a win.
– Clinch a playoff spot with (a) a Broncos loss, plus either (b) a Baltimore or Pittsburgh loss.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Miami loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a New England win.
– 74% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

10-3 Oakland Raiders
Currently AFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 5-8 Chargers; vs 6-7 Colts; at 8-5 Broncos.
– Clinch a playoff spot with a win.
– Clinch a playoff spot with (a) a Miami loss, plus (b) either a Pittsburgh or Baltimore loss, plus (c) either a Denver or Kansas City loss.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with (a) a win, plus (b) a Denver loss.
– 25% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

8-5 Denver Broncos
Currently AFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents 31-8: vs 11-2 Patriots; at 10-3 Chiefs; at 10-3 Raiders.
– Eliminated from division title with either (a) a loss to Patriots, or (b) a Kansas City win.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with both (a) a loss to Patriots, plus (b) an Oakland win.
– 1% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 38% chance of making the playoffs.

5-8 San Diego Chargers
Currently AFC #13 seed.
Remaining Opponents 20-19: vs 10-3 Raiders; at 0-13 Browns; vs 10-3 Chiefs.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with either (a) a Miami win, or (b) a Denver win, or (c) wins by both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
– cannot win the AFC West.
– less than 1% chance of making the playoffs.

 

AFC North

8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Currently AFC #3 seed.
Remaining Opponents 12-26-1: at 5-7-1 Bengals; vs 7-6 Ravens; vs 0-13 Browns.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either (a) a loss, or (b) a New England win.
– Eliminated from first round bye with (a) a loss, plus (b) either a Kansas City, Oakland or Denver win.
– 80% chance of winning AFC North.
– 87% chance of making the playoffs.

7-6 Baltimore Ravens
Currently AFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 18-20-1: vs 5-8 Eagles; at 8-5 Steelers; at 5-7-1 Bengals.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a loss.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a win by either Kansas City, Oakland or Denver.
– 20% chance of winning AFC North.
– 30% chance of making the playoffs.

5-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Currently AFC #12 seed.
Remaining Opponents 18-20-1: vs 8-5 Steelers; at 7-6 Texans; vs 7-6 Ravens.
– Eliminated from division title with a Baltimore win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss to Pittsburgh.
– Eliminated from playoffs with both (a) a Baltimore win, plus either (b) a Miami or Denver win.
– less than 1% chance of winning AFC North or making the playoffs.

 

AFC South

7-6 Houston Texans
Currently AFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 14-24-1: at vs 2-11 Jaguars; vs 5-7-1 Bengals; at 7-6 Titans.
– Eliminated from first round bye with a loss.
– Eliminated from number three seed with either a Kansas City, Oakland or Denver win.
– 78% chance of winning AFC South.
– 79% chance of making the playoffs.

7-6 Tennessee Titans
Currently AFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 10-3 Chiefs; at 2-11 Jaguars; vs 7-6 Texans.
– Eliminated from first round bye with either (a) a loss, or (b) an Oakland win, or (c) a Denver win.
– Eliminated from number three seed with both (a) a loss, and (b) a Pittsburgh win.
– 21% chance of winning AFC South.
– 23% chance of making the playoffs.

6-7 Indianapolis Colts
Currently AFC #10 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 7-6 Vikings; at 10-3 Raiders; vs 2-11 Jaguars.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss, plus either a Houston or Tennessee win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Miami win, plus (c) either a Houston or Tennessee win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Houston win, plus (c) either a Baltimore or Denver win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Tennessee win, plus (c) either a Baltimore or Denver win.
– 1% chance of winning AFC South.
– 2% chance of making the playoffs.

 

NFC East

11-1 Dallas Cowboys
Currently NFC #1 seed.
Remaining Opponents 22-17: vs 8-5 Buccaneers; vs 9-4 Lions; at 5-8 Eagles.
– Clinch division and first round bye with (a) a win, plus (b) Giants lose to Detroit.
– Clinch at least the #5 seed with either a win, or an Atlanta loss.
– 95% chance of winning the NFC East.
– Cowboys clinched a playoff spot in Week 13.

9-4 New York Giants
Currently NFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 9-4 Lions; at 5-8 Eagles; at 7-5-1 Redskins.
– Clinch playoff spot with (a) win vs Detroit, plus (b) losses by Green Bay, Minnesota and Washington.
– Eliminated from first round bye with loss to Detroit.
– Eliminated from division title with both a loss, plus Dallas win.
– 5% chance of winning NFC East.
– 79% chance of making playoffs.

7-5-1 Washington Redskins
Currently NFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-22: vs 5-8 Panthers; at 3-10 Bears; vs 9-4 Giants.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with both a loss, plus a Detroit loss to Giants.
– Can not win NFC East.
– 49% chance of making playoffs as wild card.

5-8 Philadelphia Eagles
Currently NFC #13 seed.
Remaining Opponents : at 7-6 Ravens; vs 9-4 Giants; vs 11-2 Cowboys.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a win by either Washington, Atlanta, Green Bay or Minnesota.
– Can not win NFC East.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs as #6 seed.

 

NFC North

9-4 Detroit Lions
Currently NFC #2 seed.
Remaining Opponents 27-12: at 9-4 Giants; at 11-2 Cowboys; vs 7-6 Packers.
– Clinch NFC North with both a win, plus a Green Bay loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with both a loss, plus a Dallas win.
– 73% chance of winning NFC North.
– 80% chance of making playoffs.

7-6 Minnesota Vikings
Currently NFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 16-22: vs 6-7 Colts; at 7-6 Packers; vs 3-10 Bears.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss or a Detroit win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) Tampa Bay and Atlanta wins, plus (c) either a Washington or New York win.
– 5% chance of winning NFC North.
– 12% chance of making playoffs.

7-6 Green Bay Packers
Currently NFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-20: at 3-10 Bears; vs 7-6 Packers; at 9-4 Lions.
– Eliminated from division title with a loss or a Detroit win.
– Eliminated from first round bye with both a loss, plus a win by either Seattle, Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from #3 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) a Seattle win, plus (c) a win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) both Detroit and Washington wins.
– Eliminated from #5 seed with (a) a loss, plus (b) Detroit, Atlanta and Tampa Bay all win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with (a) a loss, plus (b) Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Washington all win.
– 22% chance of winning NFC North.
– 26% chance of making playoffs.

 

NFC West

8-4-1 Seattle Seahawks
Currently NFC #3 seed.
Remaining Opponents 10-28-1: vs 4-9 Rams; vs 5-7-1 Cardinals; at 1-12 49ers.
– Clinch NFC West with either a win, or an Arizona loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either a loss, or a Dallas win.
– 99% chance of winning NFC West.

5-7-1 Arizona Cardinals
Currently NFC #10 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-21-1: vs 5-8 Saints; at 8-4-1 Seahawks; at 4-9 Rams.
– Eliminated from division title with either a loss or a Seattle win.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by Seattle, Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
– 1% chance of making the playoffs.

 

NFC South

8-5 Atlanta Falcons
Currently NFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 11-28: vs 1-12 49ers; at 5-8 Panthers; vs 5-8 Saints.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either a loss, or a Dallas win.
– 75% chance of winning NFC South.
– 91% chance of making playoffs.

8-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Currently NFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-18: at 11-2 Cowboys; at 5-8 Saints; vs 5-8 Panthers.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a loss to Dallas.
– 25% chance of winning NFC South.
– 58% chance of making playoffs.

5-8 New Orleans Saints
Currently NFC #11 seed.
Remaining Opponents 21-17-1: at 5-7-1 Cardinals; vs 8-5 Buccaneers; at 8-5 Falcons.
– Eliminated from division title with win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by either (a) Atlanta and Tampa Bay, or (b) Atlanta and Washington, or (c) Tampa Bay and Washington.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by (a) Minnesota, plus (b) Green Bay, plus (c) either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs.

5-8 Carolina Panthers
Currently NFC #12 seed.
Remaining Opponents 23-15-1: at 7-5-1 Redskins; vs 8-5 Falcons; at 8-5 Buccaneers
– Eliminated from division title with win by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with a loss.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by both Atlanta and Tampa Bay.
– Eliminated from playoffs with wins by (a) Minnesota, plus (b) Green Bay, plus (c) either Atlanta or Tampa Bay.
– less than 1% chance of making playoffs.

 

Week 14 NFL Playoff Picture: Pats, Seahawks, Cowboys Can Clinch Division Titles

John Morgan
December 11, 2016 at 10:00 am ET

It is December and we are now in the fourth quarter of the 2016 NFL regular season.

That means it is now late enough in the year that we can talk about playoff races.

Heading into Week 14 there are four teams that have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs: the Browns, Jaguars, Jets and Forty Niners. After this weekend six others will most likely officially be out of it: the Bengals, Chargers, Bears, Rams, Panthers and Eagles. The Cardinals, Saints and Bills are already on life support and could be declared dead very soon.

That leaves nineteen teams with varying possibilities fighting for twelve playoff spots. Here is a look at the current status of those teams heading into Sunday’s games.

 

AFC East

10-2 New England Patriots
Currently AFC #1 seed.
3-game division lead with four games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 25-23: vs 7-5 Ravens; at 8-4 Broncos; vs 3-9 Jets; at 7-5 Dolphins.
– Can clinch division plus first round bye with (a) win vs Ravens, plus (b) Dolphins loss to Cardinals, plus (c) Steelers loss to Bills.
– Can clinch division and #3 seed with (a) win vs Ravens, plus (b) Dolphins loss to Cardinals.
– 98% chance of winning the AFC East.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

7-5 Miami Dolphins
Currently AFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 24-23-1: vs 5-6-1 Cardinals; at 3-9 Jets; at 6-6 Bills; vs 10-2 Patriots.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a loss.
– Eliminated from division title with (a) loss to Cardinals, plus (b) Patriots win vs Ravens.
– 2% chance of winning the AFC East.
– 24% chance of making the playoffs.
– 76% chance of missing the playoffs.

 

AFC West

10-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Currently AFC #2 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-17: vs 6-6 Titans; vs 8-4 Broncos; at 5-7 Chargers.
– 73% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

10-3 Oakland Raiders
Currently AFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents 19-17: at 5-7 Chargers; vs 6-6 Colts; at 8-4 Broncos.
– 23% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 99% chance of making the playoffs.

8-4 Denver Broncos
Currently AFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents 36-14: at 6-6 Titans; vs 10-2 Patriots; at 10-3 Chiefs; at 10-3 Raiders.
– 4% chance of winning the AFC West.
– 58% chance of making the playoffs.
– 42% chance of missing the playoffs.

 

AFC North

7-5 Baltimore Ravens
Currently AFC #3 seed.
Remaining Opponents 26-21-1: at 10-2 Patriots; vs 5-7 Eagles; at 7-5 Steelers; at 4-7-1 Bengals.
– 37% chance of winning AFC North.
– 42% chance of making the playoffs.
– 58% chance of missing the playoffs.

7-5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Currently AFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-30-1: at 6-6 Bills; at 4-7-1 Bengals; vs 7-5 Ravens; vs 0-12 Browns.
– 62% chance of winning AFC North.
– 68% chance of making the playoffs.
– 32% chance of missing the playoffs.

 

AFC South

6-6 Houston Texans
Currently AFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 18-29-1: at 6-6 Colts; vs 2-10 Jaguars; vs 4-7-1 Bengals; at 6-6 Titans.
– 59% chance of winning AFC South.
– 41% chance of missing the playoffs.

6-6 Indianapolis Colts
Currently AFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 6-6 Texans; at 6-6 Vikings; at 10-3 Raiders; vs 2-10 Jaguars.
– 28% chance of winning AFC South.
– 72% chance of missing the playoffs.

6-6 Tennessee Titans
Currently AFC #10 seed.
Remaining Opponents: vs 8-4 Broncos; at 10-3 Chiefs; at 2-10 Jaguars; vs 6-6 Texans.
– 13% chance of winning AFC South.
– 86% chance of missing the playoffs.

 

NFC East

11-1 Dallas Cowboys
Currently NFC #1 seed.
3-game division lead with four games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 28-20: at 8-4 Giants; vs 7-5 Buccaneers; vs 8-4 Lions; at 5-7 Eagles.
– Can clinch division plus number one seed with (a) win at Giants, plus (b) Seahawks loss to Packers, plus (c) Lions loss to Bears.
– Can clinch division and bye with (a) win at Giants, plus either (b)Seahawks loss to Packers, or (c) lions loss to Bears.
– Can clinch division and #3 seed with win at Giants.
– Can clinch a playoff spot and #5 seed despite a loss, with either (a) Bucs loss to Saints, or (b) Falcons loss to Rams.
– 98% chance of winning the NFC East.
– Cowboys clinched a playoff spot in Week 13.

8-4 New York Giants
Currently NFC #5 seed.
Remaining Opponents 30-17-1: vs 11-1 Cowboys; vs 8-4 Lions; at 5-7 Eagles; at 6-5-1 Redskins.
– 2% chance of winning NFC East.
– 66% chance of making playoffs.
– 34% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from division title with loss to Cowboys.

6-5-1 Washington Redskins
Currently NFC #7 seed.
Remaining Opponents 20-28: at 5-7 Eagles; vs 4-8 Panthers; at 3-9 Bears; vs 8-4 Giants.
– Cannot win NFC East.
– 47% chance of making playoffs as wild card.
– 53% chance of missing playoffs.

 

NFC West

8-3-1 Seattle Seahawks
Currently NFC #2 seed.
3-game division lead with four games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 16-31-1: at 6-6 Packers; vs 4-8 Rams; vs 5-6-1 Cardinals; at 1-11 49ers.
– 99% chance of winning NFC West.
– Can clinch division with a win, plus a Cardinals loss.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with a loss, plus a Cowboys win.

 

NFC North

8-4 Detroit Lions
Currently NFC #3 seed.
2-game division lead with four games remaining.
Remaining Opponents 28-20: vs 3-9 Bears; at 8-4 Giants; at 11-1 Cowboys; vs 6-6 Packers.
– 79% chance of winning NFC North.
– 85% chance of making playoffs.
– 15% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with (a) loss to Bears, and (b) Cowboys win vs Giants.

6-6 Minnesota Vikings
Currently NFC #8 seed.
Remaining Opponents 17-31: at 2-10 Jaguars; vs 6-6 Colts; at 6-6 Packers; vs 3-9 Bears.
– 5% chance of winning NFC North.
– 23% chance of making playoffs.
– 77% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from first round bye with (a) loss to Jaguars, and (b) Seahawks win at Packers.
– Eliminated from division title with (a) loss to Jaguars, and (b) Lions win vs Bears.

6-6 Green Bay Packers
Currently NFC #9 seed.
Remaining Opponents 25-22-1: vs 8-3-1 Seahawks; at 3-9 Bears; vs 6-6 Packers; at 8-4 Lions.
– 16% chance of winning NFC North.
– 22% chance of making playoffs.
– 78% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from first round bye with loss to Seahawks.

 

NFC South

7-5 Atlanta Falcons
Currently NFC #4 seed.
Remaining Opponents 14-34: at 4-8 Rams; vs 1-11 49ers; at 4-8 Panthers; vs 5-7 Saints.
– 71% chance of winning NFC South.
– 87% chance of making playoffs.
– 13% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either (a) loss to Rams, or (b) Cowboys win at Giants.

7-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Currently NFC #6 seed.
Remaining Opponents : vs 5-7 Saints; at 11-1 Cowboys; at 5-7 Saints; vs 4-8 Panthers.
– 26% chance of winning NFC South.
– 60% chance of making playoffs.
– 40% chance of missing playoffs.
– Eliminated from #1 seed with either (a) loss to Saints, or (b) Cowboys win at Giants.

 

NFL Week 13 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
December 4, 2016 at 7:00 am ET

Despite the supposedly foolproof plan to avoid controversy in determining a champion, college football is in the midst of doing just that once again.

When it comes to football the reality is that our nations universities sold their souls in a quest for the almighty dollar long ago. The idea that it is all about kids getting an education is an insult to our intelligence. And that is before the absurd topic of player safety.

Colleges wanted to get away from six and eight team leagues, and form 12 and 14 team mega conferences. One of the benefits to doing so was a huge influx of cash for a championship game. This was made possible by having enough teams in a conference to create two divisions. The two division winners meet after the season is over and voilà, another big pay day for everyone except for those actually playing the game.

If that is the way you want to set this sport up, then fine. Have your mega-conference championship games, and then the winners of those games can meet in a mini-playoff series to determine the nation’s number one team. But thanks to our everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality, that’s not good enough. Gee whiz, what if a good team gets excluded?

Colleges and their boosters want it both ways. They want to financially benefit from conference championship games. But then they want to be able to send whatever team is actually the best one from their group to a national championship game – even if they did not win, or even play in their league’s title game.

Sorry it doesn’t – or at least should not work that way. How can anyone justify a team winning their conference and then tell them sorry, but another team that did not win your league is going to the playoffs for the national title? If you are going to do that then you need to eliminate conference championship games, because you just made them meaningless.

Want more happy thoughts? Consider this with Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now thankfully in the rear view mirror. More people in the United States shopped during that short time period than voted in the presidential election.

 

NFL Week 13 Early Games on CBS

★★ 7-4 Denver Broncos at 2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.
Broncos -3½ . . . . over/under 39½ . . . . DEN -180, JAC +160
Broadcast in Tucson AZ, San Diego CA, Colorado, Jacksonville FL, Idaho (except Boise), New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Denver has cooled off after beginning the season 4-0. Since then the Broncos are 3-4 with only one quality win, back in week seven against Houston. NFL teams have fared poorly the week after an overtime game, and Denver lost in OT last week. Now the Donkeys have to travel 1800 miles and leave the best home field advantage in the league behind – with a backup QB under center.

Normally that would be a recipe for disaster, but the Broncos are playing a moribund Jacksonville squad. The Jaguars own the league’s worst worst turnover differential at minus-15, which helps explain their record. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware pose a huge mismatch for Jag tackles Kelvin Beachum and Jermy Parnell. Denver has had trouble stopping the run (4.3 yards per carry; 120 yards per game) but the Jacksonville line can’t open up lanes, and their running backs are pedestrian. The dropoff from Siemian to Paxton Lynch is at quarterback is minimal for Denver and a non-issue.

Prediction: Broncos 24, Jaguars 17
Broncos -3½ (two units) . . . . . under 39½ . . . . . Denver -180

Final Score: Broncos 20, Jaguars 10 ✓
Broncos -3½ ✓✓ . . . . . under 39½ ✓ . . . . . Broncos -180 ✓

 

★★★★★ 8-3 Kansas City Chiefs at 7-4 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.
Falcons -5½ . . . . over/under 49 . . . . ATL -240, KAN +200
Broadcast in Alabama (except Mobile), Arkansas, Tallahassee FL, Tampa FL, Georgia, western Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana (except Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport), Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and western Virginia.

Similar to Denver, the Chiefs face the challenge of going on the road after playing five full quarters of football last week. Unlike the Broncos, KC has the polar opposite in strength of opposition. While Denver and now Oakland receive far more publicity, the Chiefs have quietly won 18 of their last 21 regular season games. An already good KC defense received a boost with the return of OLB Justin Houston from a knee injury.

The media has focused on Derek Carr’s injured finger, but Kansas City is another AFC West club with injury problems. NT Dontari Poe was unable to practice all week, so it is unlikely he’ll play. CB Marcus Peters will play, but even with a fully healthy hip he will have his hands full covering Julio Jones.

Prediction: Falcons 27, Chiefs 24
Chiefs +5½ . . . . . over 49 . . . . . Atlanta -240

Final Score: Chiefs 29, Falcons 28 x
Chiefs +5½ ✓ . . . . . over 49 ✓ . . . . . Falcons -240 x

 

★★★★ 6-5 Houston Texans at 5-6 Green Bay Packers
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson.
Green Bay -6½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . GNB -270, HOU +230
Broadcast in Alaska, Arizona (except Tucson), Connecticut, Hawaii, Boise ID, Illinois (except Chicago), Indiana, Kentucky, Shreveport LA, Michigan (except Detroit and Flint), Minnesota, Las Vegas NV, New York City, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas (except El Paso), Washington and Wisconsin.

Houston turned the ball over six times in the last two weeks, dropping to 6-5. Aaron Rodgers at home or Brock Osweiler on the road? Green Bay’s pass defense is poor, but they are very efficient against the run (3.8 yards per carry). Houston wants to run the ball behind Lamar Miller. If the Texans are unable to do so, Osweiler cannot keep pace with Rodgers in a shootout. There is a chance of snow, which would definitely benefit the Packers as well.

Prediction: Packers 24, Texans 13
Packers -6½ (two units) . . . . . under 44½ (one unit) . . . . . Green Bay -270

Final Score: Packers 21, Texans 13 ✓
Packers -6½ ✓✓ . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Packers -270 ✓

 

★★★★ 7-4 Miami Dolphins at 6-5 Baltimore Ravens
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Chris Fischer.
Ravens -3½ . . . . over/under 41 . . . . BAL -180, MIA +160
Broadcast in Mobile AL, DC, Florida (except Jacksonville, Panama City and Tampa), Maryland, Ohio (except Cincinnati), Pennsylvania (except Philadelphia), eastern Virginia and West Virginia.

Branden Albert and Laremy Tunsil return to the Miami offensive line this week, though Mike Pouncey is still out. Baltimore also gets some good news on the injury front with the return of guard Marshal Yanda. The Ravens have rebounded from a four game losing streak punctuated with a loss to the Jets, winning three of their last four. Miami is even hotter, winning six straight after a 1-4 start to the season. Ryan Tannehill and Jay Ajayi have played very well during that streak. Tannehill has thrown nine touchdown passes versus just one pick and Ajayi is averaging 122 rushing yards per game while finding the end zone five times in that winning span.

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Ravens 20
Dolphins +3½ . . . . . over 41 . . . . . Miami +160

Final Score: Ravens 38, Dolphins 6 x
Dolphins +3½ x . . . . . over 41 ✓ . . . . . Dolphins +160 x

 

NFL Week 13 Early Games on FOX

★★★ 5-6 Philadelphia Eagles at 3-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Peter Schrager.
Bengals -1½ . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . CIN -125, PHI +105
Broadcast in DC, Salisbury MD, eastern Kentucky, Ohio (except Toledo), North Dakota, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

After starting the season 3-0 Philly’s season has gone down the toilet with six losses in their last eight games. The Eagles cannot win the division and would need to leap frog five teams to make the playoffs as a six seed. Cincinnati is headed in the same direction. The Bengals have lost three in a row and are showing no signs of interest in the post-season. Philly has lost five straight road games, with their only victory away coming against the Bears. Even without AJ Green I’ll give a very slight edge to Cincinnati here.

Prediction: Bengals 17, Eagles 16
Eagles +1½ . . . . . under 41½ . . . . . Cincinnati -125

Final Score: Bengals 32, Eagles 14 ✓
Eagles +1½ x . . . . . under 41½ x . . . . . Bengals -125 ✓

 

★★★★ 7-4 Detroit Lions at 5-6 New Orleans Saints
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.
Saints -6 . . . . over/under 52½ . . . . NOR -260, DET +220
Broadcast in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida (except Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach), Georgia (except Atlanta), Wichita KS, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Toledo OH, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin (except Green Bay).

Matthew Stafford should have a field day against a New Orleans defense that is allowing 28 points per game. Other than last week’s blowout over the Rams, the Saints have not been rather average at home. Even if New Orleans wins it is more likely going to be by three or four points than by more than a touchdown.

Prediction: Lions 34, Saints 31
Lions +6 (two units) . . . . . over 52½ (two units) . . . . . Detroit +220

Final Score: Lions 28, Saints 13 ✓
Lions +6 ✓✓ . . . . . over 52½ xx . . . . . Lions +220 ✓

 

1-10 San Francisco 49ers at 2-9 Chicago Bears
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.
Niners -2 . . . . over/under 43 . . . . SFO -130, CHI +110
Broadcast in northern California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Reno NV and Medford OR.

Who did Kenny Albert piss off to be assigned to cover this dumpster fire? The weather could play a factor in this game. With rain and/or snow in the forecast sloppy playing conditions could lead to turnovers and a low scoring game.

Prediction: Niners 20, Bears 14
Niners -2 . . . . . under 43 (one unit) . . . . . San Francisco -130

Final Score: Bears 26, Forty Niners 6 x
Niners -2 x . . . . . under 43 . . . . . Niners -130 x

 

★★★★ 4-7 Los Angeles Rams at 9-2 New England Patriots
Sunday December 4 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver.
Patriots -13½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . NWE -900, LAR +600
Broadcast in New England, Arizona, southern California, Colorado, south Florida (Fort Myers, Miami, West Palm Beach), Hawaii, Idaho, southern Illinois, Kansas (except Wichita), Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Las Vegas NV, Oregon (except Medford), Tennessee (except Memphis), Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Bill Belichick game plans to limit the opposition’s primary threat. That means stopping running back Todd Gurley. Opponents have been successful with that same tactic all season, resulting in the Rams averaging an NFL-worst 15.5 points per game.

Robert Quinn did not practice all week due to a concussion. He is listed as questionable, but I don’t see how he can play in this game. Center Tim Barnes and LG Rodger Saffold are also questionable for the Rams; the Patriots are not the only team here with an injury concern. Despite the most recent Belichick-Jeff Fisher games (45-7 and 59-0 Pats victories), I’m inclined to believe that the LA defense bounces back from last week’s debacle in New Orleans. The Patriots will win but this is not going to be an easy cakewalk.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Rams 17
Rams +13½ . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . New England -900

Final Score: Patriots 26, Rams 10 ✓
Rams +13½ x . . . . . under 44½ ✓ . . . . . Patriots -900 ✓

 

NFL Week 13 Late Games

★★★★ 6-5 Buffalo Bills at 9-2 Oakland Raiders
Sunday December 4 at 4:05 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.
Raiders -3 . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . OAK -165, BUF +145
Broadcast in New England (except Hartford), Yuma AZ, California (except San Diego), Chicago IL, Baton Rouge LA, New Orleans LA, Detroit MI, Flint MI, Reno NV, New York (except New York City), Cincinnati OH, Oregon, Philadelphia PA and El Paso TX.

Buffalo enters the game with the NFL’s best rushing attack. The Bills are averaging 5.3 yards per carry, 157 rushing yards per game and 20 rushing touchdowns – all best in the league. That is bad news for an Oakland defense allowing a 30th-ranked 4.6 yards per carry. With Derek Carr dealing with two dislocated fingers the Raiders could be in trouble here.

Prediction: Bills 27, Raiders 24
Bills +3 . . . . . over 48½ . . . . . Buffalo +145

Final Score: Raiders 38, Bills 24 x
Bills +3 x . . . . . over 48½ ✓ . . . . . Bills +145 x

 

★★★ 6-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 5-6 San Diego Chargers
Sunday December 4 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Sam Rosen, David Diehl, Holly Sonders.
Chargers -3½ . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . SDG -185, TAM +165
Broadcast in San Diego CA and Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach).

The Bucs have somehow worked their way into the playoff race. However their secondary is still bad, and Philip Rivers should be able to exploit that deficiency. Tampa Bay won’t be able to cover Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams. Melvin Gordon will be able to gain big chunks of yardage on the ground with the focus on the passing game, but Tampa will keep it close. The Chargers have no answer for WR Mike Evans, and Jameis Winston has been making good decisions with the ball.

Prediction: Chargers 28, Buccaneers 24
Chargers -3½ . . . . . over 48½ . . . . . San Diego -185

Final Score: Buccaneers 28, Chargers 21 x
Chargers -3½ x . . . . . over 48½ ✓ . . . . . Chargers -185 x

 

★★★ 6-4-1 Washington Redskins at 4-6-1 Arizona Cardinals
Sunday December 4 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman, Kristina Pink.
Cardinals -2½ . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . ARI -135, WAS +115
Broadcast in Arizona, DC, North Carolina and Virginia.

Running back David Johnson has not been utilized enough by Arizona. If Bruce Arians gets his head out of his butt and figures that out then the Cardinals should win. Washington is surrendering 4.7 yards per carry and doesn’t have the personnel to handle him on screen passes out of the backfield.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Redskins 23
Redskins +2½ . . . . . under 48½ . . . . . Arizona -135

Final Score: Cardinals 31, Redskins 23 ✓
Redskins +2½ x . . . . . under 48½ x . . . . . Cardinals -135 ✓

 

★★★★ 8-3 New York Giants at 6-5 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday December 4 at 4:25 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.
Steelers -6 . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . PIT -260, NYG +220
Broadcast in all markets except for those airing the Bucs-Chargers or Skins-Cardinals games above. Also not televised in San Francisco due to NFL broadcast rules, as the Raiders are playing at home at the same time.

The New York defense has received plenty of platitudes during their winning streak. However much of that can be attributed to facing inferior offenses led by mediocre quarterbacks. I like Pittsburgh here but a line of six points leaves me hesitant to place a wager on this game.

Prediction: Steelers 31, Giants 24
Steelers -6 . . . . . over 48½ . . . . . Pittsburgh -260

Final Score: Steelers 24, Giants 14 ✓
Steelers -6 ✓ . . . . . over 48½ x . . . . . Steelers -260 ✓

 

NFL Week 13 Prime Time Games

★★★★ 4-7 Carolina Panthers at 7-3-1 Seattle Seahawks
Sunday December 4 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.
Seahawks -7 . . . . over/under 44 . . . . SEA -350, CAR +290

Seattle was in a difficult spot last week, making a long road trip with injuries to key players. The Seahawks are back home and are also healthy again.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Panthers 13
Seahawks -7 (two units) . . . . . under 44 . . . . . Seattle -350

Final Score: Seahawks 40, Panthers 7 ✓
Seahawks -7 ✓✓ . . . . . under 44 x . . . . . Seahawks -350 ✓

 

★★ 5-6 Indianapolis Colts at 3-8 New York Jets
Monday December 5 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters.
Colts -1½ . . . . over/under 48½ . . . . IND -125, NYJ +105

The Jets had their Super Bowl last week. Expect that to be followed by the inevitable letdown, if that is possible for a three-win team.

Prediction: Colts 20, Jets 17
Colts -1½ (one unit) . . . . . under 48½ (two units) . . . . . Indianapolis -125

Final Score: Colts 41, Jets 10 ✓
Colts -1½ . . . . . under 48½ xx . . . . . Colts -125 ✓

 

★★★★ 10-1 Dallas Cowboys at 6-5 Minnesota Vikings
Thursday December 1 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.
Cowboys -3 . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . DAL -160, MIN +130

Along with most of the nation I did not expect this to be as close as it was. On one hand Dallas keeps finding ways to win, but on the other I can’t help but wonder if Ezekiel Elliott is hitting the rookie wall. Is it possible that the Cowboys peaked too soon and are running out of gas?

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Vikings 13
Cowboys -3 (two units) . . . . . under 43½ . . . . . Dallas -160

Final Score: Cowboys 17, Vikings 15 ✓
Cowboys -3 xx . . . . . under 43½ ✓ . . . . . Cowboys -160 ✓

 

NFL Week 13 Parlays and Teasers

3-Game Parlay (one unit): x
Lions at Saints over 52½ x
Panthers at Seahawks -7 ✓
Jets vs Colts -1½ ✓

5-Team 6-Point Teaser (two units): xx
Lions at Saints over 46½ x
Panthers at Seahawks -1 ✓
Jets vs Colts +4½ ✓
Ravens vs Dolphins +9½ x
Saints vs Lions +12 ✓

 

Tale of the Tape

Last week the total of the Packers at Eagles game killed me. The final score was 27-13 and I took over 47½ based primarily on Green Bay’s defense in recent weeks. I lost two units on the over, and also two units on a parlay and another two units on a teaser. That was a 5-game teaser that would have paid out 410 x 2. On paper the outcome cost me six units but in reality it was much more. Had the game gone over the delta between what I would have been up versus what I was down was a net 2450 (1790-660)! That one game wiped out the positive of hitting on my second largest play of the season, a four unit wager on Atlanta-Arizona.

Week 12 Results:
11-5 Straight Up
7-8-1 Against the Spread
8-8 Over/Under
4-unit plays: 1-0, +400
2-unit plays: 3-3-1, -80
1-unit plays: 2-4, -240
3-Game Parlay: 2u, -220
5-Game Teaser: 2u, -220
28 units invested
6-9-1, -360 on $3080 risk.
-11.7% ROI

Year to Date Results:
104-71-2 Straight Up
94-77-5 Against the Spread
96-80 Over/Under
5-unit plays: 1-0, +500
4-unit plays: 1-0, +400
3-unit plays: 6-5-1, +120
2-unit plays: 32-16-1, +2910
1-unit plays: 36-26-1, +730
Parlays: 3-7, +1520
Teasers: 6-4, +2830
85-58-3, +9010 on original $2310 risk.
390.0% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
34.4% ROI on $26,180 (238 units) of total weekly investments.

6-9-1, -360 on 28 units (-11.7%) in Week 11.
4-9, -510 on 18 units (-25.8%) in Week 10.
7-4, +850 on 17 units (+45.5%) in Week 9.
11-2, +3470 on 27 units (+116.8%) in Week 8.
3-6, -480 on 12 units (-36.4%) in Week 7.
9-3-1, +1300 on 17 units (+69.5%) in Week 6.
7-7, +50 on 22 units (+2.1%) in Week 5.
9-2, +1910 on 18 units (+96.5%) in Week 4.
3-9-1, -1280 on 22 units (-58.2%) in Week 3.
9-3, +950 on 20 units (+43.2%) in Week 2.
9-2, +840 on 21 units (+36.4%) in Week 1.

 

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