Tag Archives: Week 12

NFL Week 12 Odds, Predictions and Picks against the spread

John Morgan
November 26, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

More than half of the remaining NFL Week 12 games have odds of seven or more points. On paper there are few competitive games, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Last week the Chiefs were double-digit favorites but lost to a one-win Giants club in disarray. Washington was an injury riddled 7½ point road dog up against a hot team on a seven game winning streak. The 4-5 Skins were up by 15 with less than two minutes to play and nearly upset the Saints before losing in overtime in one of the season’s most exciting games. On the other hand there are the Patriots, who have not lost since October 1st – and have covered the spread four weeks in a row.

Should the Patriots-Dolphins game turn into a blowout, there may be some competitive games in the early time slot. Buffalo is at KC in a battle between two fading teams. Tampa Bay at Atlanta could be interesting should the Falcons have a letdown after winning at Seattle. In the late time slot the Saints at Rams should be a great game. The night games are nothing special. Green Bay at Pittsburgh would have been a good game if Aaron Rodgers was the QB rather than Brett Hundley. Monday night it is Houston at Baltimore. The only reason to watch that is to witness a potential John Harbaugh meltdown and another Baltimore loss.

Unfortunately New England fans are once again saddled with Ian Eagle and the incompetent Dan Fouts as the broadcast crew for Sunday’s game. It boggles my mind that somebody at CBS considers this pair to be their second best set of announcers. How can anyone possibly consider those two to be better than Greg Gumbel and Trent Green, or Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon?

For a full list of announcers and to see what games are being broadcast in your are, please check JP Kirby’s 506 Sports.

Early Games on CBS

4-6 Miami Dolphins at 8-2 New England Patriots
Patriots favored by 16½; over/under 47½ points; money line -1900, +1000

The Patriots have often struggled against quarterbacks that they have little film to review for tendencies and weaknesses. Does that mean that Matt Moore will lead the Dolphins to an upset? Of course not. The offense is clicking despite several injuries, and the defense has made a 180 turn from the first month of the season.

Pick: Patriots 38, Dolphins 17
New England +16½, over 47½

 

0-10 Cleveland Browns at 4-6 Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals favored by 8; over/under 38 points; money line -410, +340

DeShone Kizer has thrown 14 interceptions, most in the NFL. Cleveland’s defense has been decent, but having to overcome all those turnovers is too much to ask for.

Pick: Bengals 24, Browns 13
Cincinnati -8, under 38

 

5-5 Buffalo Bills at 6-4 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs favored by 10; over/under 46½ points; money line -500, +400

Buffalo HC Sean McDermott may be in over his head. With a 5-4 record and the Bills holding onto a wild card spot, he inexplicably benched QB Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is not an elite quarterback by any means, but the replacement was a 5th round rookie going on the road to make his first NFL start. Nathan Peterman proceeded to throw an interception on four of the first five drives, and was mercifully yanked after his fifth pick. McDermott’s reasoning was that he wanted to see what Peterman had and how he could do. Isn’t that what a blowout game in the fourth quarter is for? Or preseason? Or games in December after you have been eliminated from the playoffs, as opposed to a midseason game when you have a winning record?

Pick: Chiefs 31, Bills 20
Kansas City -10, over 46½

 

Early Games on Fox

3-7 Chicago Bears at 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles favored by 14; over/under 44½ points; money line -1100, +700

Philly has won eight in a row and is coming off a huge win over division rival Dallas. The Eagles will be on the road for the next three games, playing the Rams, Seahawks and Giants. The Bears have already taken advantage of superior opponents in trap games twice, defeating the Steelers and Panthers. While an upset would be shocking, A close game would not be a surprise.

Pick: Eagles 24, Bears 20
Chicago +14, under 44½

 

4-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6-4 Atlanta Falcons
Falcons favored by 9½; over/under 48½ points; money line -475, +375

In their victory last week at Miami the Bucs allowed three pass plays of over 40 yards. That kind of pass defense is going to be in a world of hurt against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Atlanta offense.

Pick: Falcons 30, Bucs 21
Tampa Bay +9½, over 48½

 

7-3 Carolina Panthers at 4-6 New York Jets
Panthers favored by 5½; over/under 40 points; money line -250, +210

Will Carolina be well rested or rusty coming off the bye? If the Panthers are looking ahead to next week’s game at New Orleans, the fundamentally sound Jet defense could cause enough problems to pull off an upset.

Pick: Panthers 20, Jets 17
New York Jets +5½, under 40

 

6-4 Tennessee Titans at 3-7 Indianapolis Colts
Titans favored by 3; over/under 45½ points; money line -165, +145

The Titans bounce back from last Thursday’s loss to Pittsburgh by feasting on an inferior opponent.

Pick: Titans 24, Colts 17
Tennessee -3, under 45½

 

Late Afternoon Games

6-4 Seattle Seahawks at 1-9 San Francisco 49ers
4:05 ET on Fox
Seahawks favored by 6½; over/under 45½ points; money line -300, +250

The 49ers may be able to keep it close thanks to all the injuries on Seattle’s defense. The Niners just don’t have enough talent to beat the Seahawks though.

Pick: Seahawks 27, Niners 20
Seattle -6½, over 45½

 

8-2 New Orleans Saints at 7-3 Los Angeles Rams
4:25 ET on CBS
Rams favored by 2½; over/under 53½ points; money line -145, +125

By far the best game of the week. The Rams have beaten only one good team all season (Jacksonville), and were a bit disappointing in last week’s loss at Minnesota. I’m expecting them to bounce back at home against New Orleans. The Saints defense has been opportunistic (ten interceptions, 13 takeaways) but could be overpowered here. New Orleans gave up 31 points at home to the injury riddled Redskins last week, and haven’t faced an offense this good since their week two loss to the Patriots.

Pick: Rams 31, Saints 27
LA Rams -2½, over 53½

 

7-3 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-6 Arizona Cardinals
4:25 ET on CBS
Jaguars favored by 5½; over/under 38 points; money line -240, +200

The Jaguar defense is allowing just 14.1 points per game, by far the lowest in the NFL. Jacksonville should be able to feast on Blaine Gabbert and an anemic Arizona offense that has scored more than 21 points just twice all year.

Pick: Jaguars 20, Cardinals 13
Jacksonville -5½, under 38

 

3-7 Denver Broncos at 4-6 Oakland Raiders
4:25 ET on CBS
Raiders favored by 5; over/under 43 points; money line -240, +200

Remember when the experts declared the AFC West to be the best division in the NFL before the 2017 season began? Not much of that talk now, thanks to these two disappointing teams that failed to live up to the hype. Denver has lost six in a row, their worst losing streak since 1990. They could actually benefit from Tim Tebow at this point.

Pick: Raiders 24, Broncos 21
Denver +5, over 43

 

Prime Time Games

5-5 Green Bay Packers at 8-2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday night at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Steelers favored by 14; over/under 43½ points; money line -1000, +600

Last week Pittsburgh was able to stop Tennessee’s running game, force the Titans into predictable pass plays, and take advantage of poor down-and distance situations. That resulted in four Marcus Mariotta interceptions and a 40-17 victory. The same formula worked for Baltimore last week in their 23-0 rout over the Packers as Green Bay turned the ball over five times. No reason to believe this game won’t be more of the same.

Pick: Steelers 31, Packers 10
Pittsburgh -14, under 43½

 

4-6 Houston Texans at 5-5 Baltimore Ravens
Monday night at 8:30 pm ET on espn
Ravens favored by 7; over/under 38 points; money line -320, +260

Tom Savage has ten turnovers (3 picks, 7 fumbles) in just 125 pass attempts. He has been sacked 13 times and is averaging a league-worst 4.54 yards per dropback. This all plays right into the strength of Baltimore’s defense, to force turnovers (an NFL-best 23).

Pick: Ravens 24, Texans 13
Ravens -7, under 37

 

NFL Week 12 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats favored by 14.5 vs Miami

John Morgan
November 19, 2017 at 6:00 am ET

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including this past Thursday’s game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. Early lines offer a short opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.

The good news is that this the bye weeks are over, and that Thanksgiving Day gives us three games to feast on.

On paper the NFL Week 12 schedule does not offer many close games. Eleven games have a spread of 6½ or more and two games list odds of three points or less. The New England Patriots are the heaviest favorites, at -14½ at home versus Miami. Two other home teams are also double-digit favorites. Chicago is at Philadelphia (-11½) and Green Bay plays at Pittsburgh (-12½) next Sunday night.

Home favorites also have the narrowest odds. The Vikings are at Detroit (-1½) in an important NFC North game, and the Rams (-1½) host New Orleans in one of the late afternoon matchups. The only road favorites are Carolina (at the Jets), Tennessee at Indy, Seattle at San Francisco, and Jacksonville at Arizona.

NFL Week 12 Early Odds

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov 24
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-1½) 12:30 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (-4), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-8½), 8:30 pm ET on NBC

Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-14½)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-7½)

Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-11½)
Tampa Bay Bucs at Atlanta Falcons (-9)
Carolina Panthers (-4) at New York Jets
Tennessee Titans (-6½) at Indianapolis Colts

Sunday Nov 26 late afternoon games
Seattle Seahawks (-8½) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 pm ET on Fox
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-1½), 4:30 pm on CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3½) at Arizona Cardinals, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-6½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12½), Sunday November 26 on NBC
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7½), Monday November 27 on espn

 

At first glance I like the Vikings (+1½), Rams (-1½), Washington (-8½), Bucs +9 and Packers +12½.

 

Tom Brady’s TB Times: “Wait… Voldemort is a Jets Fan?”

John Morgan
November 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm ET

After every New England Patriots game the TB Times publishes a front page story on Tom Brady’s facebook page. The latest includes a picture of well, a not untypical Jets fan I suppose.

 

The Patriots are now 9-2; the Jets are 3-8.

 

And in case you missed it, be sure to check out the video of Brady as a lead blocker for LeGarrette Blount on Sunday.

 

After two weeks on the road the Pats return home to Foxborough to take on the Los Angeles Rams. For those of you that will not be at Gillette Stadium the game will be on FOX rather than CBS, announced by Kevin Burhardt and John Lynch. For Pats fans enduring far too many games listening to Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts this will be a treat. We rarely hear Lynch since he works for FOX and does NFC games. In my opinion the former safety – who ended his pro football career as a Patriot in the 2008 preseason – is now the best commentator/analyst for the four networks broadcasting NFL games live.

 

For those that may have forgotten or not known about Lynch as a football player, here you go. It’s too bad the Patriots couldn’t have signed him a few years earlier.

 

NFL Week 12 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
November 27, 2016 at 7:30 am ET

NFL Week 12 kicked off with three good games on Thanksgiving Day. Home teams are underdogs in five of the twelve games being played Sunday, which could lead to some interesting results. The best matchup this week takes place on Sunday Night. The Chiefs are at Denver in a battle of 7-3 AFC West clubs. The other prime time game isn’t bad at all either, with the Eagles hosting the Packers on Monday night.

Two days after the fourth anniversary of the Butt Fumble, the Patriots and Jets meet again. Gang Green has already lost more games this season than they did in all of 2015, and are listed as 7½-point underdogs even though they are at home in New Jersey. That spread is tied as the highest of all games being played Sunday; the other is Buffalo at home over the stumbling Jacksonville Jaguars.

And of course, some mediot had to ask Bill Belichick about that play – and receive a classic response.

In terms of television coverage the Pats-Jets game will be televised by CBS in the northeast, from New England as far west as Indiana and Kentucky, and along the Atlantic seaboard to DC and Norfolk, Virginia. It will also air in Florida with the exception of Tampa (blacked out because the Bucs are at home at the same time) and the panhandle. In that late afternoon slot the rest of the country will receive Carolina at Oakland; admittedly a more compelling game for neutral fans.

For the early time slot on CBS most of the nation, including New England will get the Cincinnati at Baltimore game. FOX has the single game in Week 12. Giants-Browns will air in the northeast, Arizona at Atlanta in most of the southeast, and Seattle at Tampa Bay in the late time slot will be broadcast on most stations west of the Mississippi.

 

NFL Week 12 Early Games on CBS

★★★★ 4-6 San Diego Chargers at 6-4 Houston Texans
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Chargers -2½ . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . SDG -135, HOU +115
Broadcast in Yuma AZ, California, Colorado, Wichita KS, Shreveport LA, Reno NV, Oklahoma, Portland OR, Texas and Spokane WA.

Granted there was questionable officiating, but Houston blew two seven-point second half leads to lose to the Raiders. The Texans have now been outscored 41-9 in the fourth quarter over the last four weeks, and are in a battle for the division lead while playing on a short week. Houston’s defense is not bad: 5th in yards, 13th in points, 8th on third down, 10th in yards per play. The offense stinks though, especially the passing game. The Texans rank last in yards per play and are 28th in both yardage and scoring. Brock Osweiler is completing less than 60 percent of his passes and ranks 31st with a 74.9 passer rating. Osweiler has thrown 12 touchdowns and 10 picks; the only starters with a worse TD:INT differential are Blaine Gabbert, Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

That being said, Houston is 5-0 at home this year and will likely have a bit of extra adrenaline after those bad calls in Mexico City. Although I would take Philip Rivers over Osweiler, I would also take Bill O’Brien over Mike McCoy as head coach seven days a week.

Prediction: Texans 27, Chargers 21
Texans +2½ (one unit) . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Houston +115

Final Score: Chargers 21, Texans 13 x
Texans +2½ x . . . . . over 46½ x . . . . . Texans +115 x

 

★★ 5-6 Tennessee Titans at 2-8 Chicago Bears
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots
Titans -5½ . . . . over/under 42 . . . . TEN -240, CHI +200
Broadcast in Huntsville AL, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, western Kentucky, southwestern and upper peninsula Michigan, northern Mississippi, eastern Missouri, Omaha NE, Fargo ND, Eugene OR, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Jay Cutler is doubtful with a shoulder injury after taking a big hit from Olivier Vernon on the second snap of last week’s game against the Giants. Matt Barkley will get his first NFL start and first meaningful playing time since relieving first Nick Foles and then Michael Vick with the Eagles mid-season in 2013. The Bears have 14 players on injured reserve and don’t have the quality depth to overcome that setback. All Tennessee has to do is avoid complacency and dumb mistakes to win this game easily.

Prediction: Titans 23, Bears 13
Titans -5½ (two units) . . . . . under 42 . . . . . Tennessee -240

Final Score: Titans 27, Bears 21 ✓
Titans -5½ ✓✓ . . . . . under 42 x . . . . . Titans -240 ✓

 

★★ 2-8 Jacksonville Jaguars at 5-5 Buffalo Bills
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker
Bills -7½ . . . . over/under 45 . . . . BUF -330, JAC +270
Broadcast in northern Florida, southern Georgia and New York (except for New York City).

Rex Ryan has stated that WR Sammy Watkins and RB LeSean McCoy will play Sunday. That would mark the first time those two are on the field together since week two. That is bad news for a Jacksonville defense that is giving up 26.5 points per game (25th) and doesn’t force turnovers (last in the NFL with seven). Even worse news for the Jags is that their D is performing better than their offense.

Prediction: Bills 27, Jaguars 13
Bills -7½ (one unit) . . . . . under 45 . . . . . Buffalo -330

Final Score: Bills 28, Jaguars 21 ✓
Bills -7½ x . . . . . under 45 x . . . . . Bills -330 ✓

 

★★★ 3-6-1 Cincinnati Bengals at 5-5 Baltimore Ravens
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
Ravens -4 . . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . BAL -200, CIN +175
Broadcast in New England and all markets not listed in the three other early CBS games above. Also not broadcast in Atlanta, Cleveland, Miami and New Orleans due to NFL broadcast rules that prohibit a game being televised on another network when the local team is playing at home and being broadcast.

The Bengals have won only one game since September and are now without AJ Green and Gio Bernard, so they have no chance here, right? However, looking closer you see Cincy started that streak with losses at Dallas and New England; no shame there. After a 14-point win the Bengals tied Washington, lost to the Giants by one, and lost to Buffalo by four without their star WR and third down back. Cincy might pack it in at some point, but I would not expect for that to happen against a bitter division rival.

Prediction: Ravens 20, Bengals 16
Bengals +4½ . . . . . under 40½ . . . . . Baltimore -200

Final Score: Ravens 19, Bengals 14 ✓
Bengals +4½ ✓ . . . . . under 40½ ✓ . . . . . Ravens -200 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Early Games on FOX

★★★★ 4-5-1 Arizona Cardinals at 6-4 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
Falcons -6 . . . . . over/under 51 . . . . ATL -240, ARI +200
Broadcast in Alabama, Arizona, Grand Junction CO, Springfield IL, Indiana (except South Bend), Iowa, Louisville KY, Flint MI, Grand Rapids MI, Minnesota, southern Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota and eastern Tennessee.

Expect a high scoring game. The Falcons are averaging 34 points at home, but opponents have scored at least 31 points in each of those games. Arizona needed two returns of 100+ yards to beat the Vikings a week ago; that won’t happen again. But after watching Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood of all people rush for 200+ yards against Atlanta in their last game, I wonder how badly David Johnson will torch the Falcon defense.

Prediction: Falcons 34, Cardinals 31
Cardinals +6 . . . . . over 51 (four units) . . . . . Atlanta -240

Final Score: Falcons 38, Cardinals 19 ✓
Cardinals +6 x . . . . . over 51 ✓✓✓✓ . . . . . Falcons -240 ✓

 

★★ 1-9 San Francisco 49ers at 6-4 Miami Dolphins
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, Holly Sonders
Dolphins -7½ . . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . MIA -330, SFO +270
Broadcast in northern California, Miami FL, West Palm Beach FL and Reno NV.

San Francisco is allowing an astounding 180 yards rushing per game, at 5.2 yards per carry. Now they travel cross country for an early start to face the Dolphins. Miami RB Jay Ajayi has rushed for 685 yards and four touchdowns in the last five games, and leads the league with 5.6 yards per rush. The Dolphins are without three starters on their offensive line, but it still won’t matter.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Niners 20
Niners +7½ . . . . . over 44½ . . . . . Miami -330

Final Score: Dolphins 31, Niners 24 ✓
Niners +7½ ✓ . . . . . over 44½ ✓ . . . . . Dolphins -330 ✓

 

★★★ 4-6 Los Angeles Rams at 4-6 New Orleans Saints
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
Saints -7 . . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . NOR -335, LAR +275
Broadcast in Mobile AL, Arkansas, Los Angeles CA, Palm Springs CA, Louisiana and Mississippi.

New Orleans possesses a potent offense, scoring 28.5 points per game (4th) and averaging 422 yards of offense (2nd). Conversely the Saints have shot themselves in the foot recently, turning the ball over an alarming six times in the last two games. As a result the Saints dropped two close games and now stand at 4-6 rather than 6-4 and sharing the division lead. The Saints have run the ball well over their last five games, and need to continue to do so. If New Orleans becomes one-dimensional then Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers will be able to generate enough of a pass rush to neutralize Drew Brees. The challenge for the Rams will be for their excellent defense to overcome Jeff Fisher’s coaching decisions and game plan, and rookie quarterback Jared Goff in the raucous Superdome.

Prediction: Saints 27, Rams 17
Saints -7 (two units) . . . . . under 45½ . . . . . New Orleans -335

Final Score: Saints 49, Rams 21 ✓
Saints -7 ✓✓ . . . . . under 45½ x . . . . . Saints -335 ✓

 

★★ 7-3 New York Giants at 0-11 Cleveland Browns
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, Matt Millen, Peter Schrager
Giants -7½ . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . NYG -320, CLE +260
Broadcast in New England, DC, Salisbury MD, New York (except Buffalo), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Memphis TN, Brownsville TX, Virginia (except Richmond) and West Virginia.

Josh McCown hasn’t played badly in his time with the Browns, but Cleveland’s offensive line makes any quarterback an injury waiting to happen. New York’s defense has vastly improved from a year ago, resulting in close wins rather than narrow losses. I think the spread may be a bit too high, but I have no faith in placing any of my hard earned money on this train wreck of a team.

Prediction: Giants 24, Browns 20
Browns +7½ . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . New York -320

Final Score: Giants 27, Browns 13 ✓
Browns +7½ x . . . . . under 44½ ✓ . . . . . Giants -320 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Late Game on FOX

★★★★ 7-2-1 Seattle Seahawks at 5-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday November 27 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX;
Seahawks -6 . . . . over/under 45 . . . . SEA -260, TAM +220
Broadcast in Alaska, San Diego CA, Colorado, Florida (except Miami and West Palm Beach), Hawaii, Idaho, northern Illinois, South Bend IN, Kansas, Kentucky (except Louisville), Baltimore MD, Michigan (except Flint and Grand Rapids), northern Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Las Vegas NV, New Mexico, Buffalo NY, Cincinnati OH, Oklahoma, Oregon, Nashville TN, Texas (except Brownsville), Utah, Richmond VA, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

With Doug Martin back on the field, Tampa Bay has improved in both running the ball as well as in pass protection. That is good news for Mike Evans, who has 65 receptions for 916 yards and eight touchdowns. However, the Tampa Bay defense is no more than average and their secondary is one of the league’s worst. Raymond James Stadium does not offer much of a home field advantage, with many transplants buying up tickets at less than face value to see their favorite out of town team visit. As a result this road game should not be a problem, even though Seattle is traveling as far as a team can and stay within the United States.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Buccaneers 20
Seahawks -6 (two units) . . . . . over 45 (one unit) . . . . . Seattle -260

Final Score: Buccaneers 14, Seahawks 5 x
Seahawks -6 xx . . . . . over 45 x . . . . . Seahawks -260 x

 

NFL Week 12 Late Games on CBS

★★★★ 4-6 Carolina Panthers at 8-2 Oakland Raiders
Sunday November 27 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Raiders -3 . . . . over/under 49½ . . . . OAK -170, CAR +150
Broadcast in all markets not airing the Pats-Jets game (below); also not broadcast in Tampa due to NFL rules that forbid another game being televised when the local team is at home.

Josh Norman may not have helped Washington as much as the Redskins hoped he would, but his departure sure has impacted the Panthers. Carolina’s pass defense ranks 29th in completion percentage (67.1%), 26th in passing yards per game (272) and 23rd in yards per pass (7.2). Derek Carr has thrown 20 touchdown passes with only four interceptions this season, and the Raiders rank fourth in passing yards per game (276). In other words this is going to be a long day for the Carolina defense, who will be without their best defensive player, LB Luke Kuechly (concussion), and leading pass rusher, DE Mario Addison (foot).

Prediction: Raiders 31, Panthers 23
Raiders -3 (two units) . . . . . over 49½ (one unit) . . . . . Oakland -170

Final Score: Raiders 35, Panthers 32 ✓
Raiders -3 -push- . . . . . over 49½ . . . . . Raiders -170 ✓

 

★★★★ 8-2 New England Patriots at 3-7 New York Jets
Sunday November 27 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl
Patriots -7½ . . . . over/under 46 . . . . NWE -360, NYJ +300
Broadcast in New England, DC, Florida (except Tampa, Gainesville and Panama City), Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Norfolk VA and West Virginia.

A year ago the Jets when 10-6 thanks to a productive defense. Early this season that unit took a step back when it became obvious that their secondary was no longer elite in pass coverage. The Jet D has further regressed recently with the pass rush no longer being a force. At this point the only positive on the entire team is their run defense; that alone is not going to win many games. The players feel that Ryan Fitzpatrick gives the Jets the best chance at winning, but with seven losses their season is over. Head Coach Todd Bowles succumbed, fearing he would lose the locker room. That short-sighted view is a great example of why the Jets have not been a championship team since before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 17
Patriots -7½ (two units) . . . . . over 46 . . . . . New England -360

Final Score: Patriots 22, Jets 17 ✓
Patriots -7½ xx . . . . . over 46 x . . . . . Patriots -360 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Sunday Night Football

★★★★★ 7-3 Kansas City Chiefs at 7-3 Denver Broncos
Sunday November 27 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Broncos -3½ . . . . over/under 39 . . . . DEN -185, KAN +165
Broadcast in all markets.

The Broncos are healthy and playing at home. Kansas City’s injuries are becoming a problem. Without CB Marcus Peters KC had nobody to cover Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans last week. Peters and DT Dontari Poe are questionable, but LB Dee Ford, DE Jaye Howard and WR Jeremy Maclin are all out. Early on this year KC feasted on victories against the Jets, Saints, Colts, Jaguars and Panthers. This game opens up a brutal schedule to finish the season: at Denver, at Atlanta, Oakland, Tennessee, Denver again and then at San Diego.

Prediction: Broncos 23, Chiefs 20
Chiefs +3½ . . . . . over 39 (one unit) . . . . . Kansas City +165

Final Score: Chiefs 30, Broncos 27 (OT) x
Chiefs +3½ ✓ . . . . . over 39 . . . . . Chiefs +165 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Monday Night Football

★★★★ 4-6 Green Bay Packers at 5-5 Philadelphia Eagles
Monday November 28 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Eagles -4 . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . PHI -200, GNB +170
Broadcast in all markets.

Green Bay’s defense has been absolutely ravaged by injuries and has struggled mightily. On the other hand the Packers know their season is on the line, would like to make up for last week’s embarrassment on national television, and Philadelphia’s offensive line and passing game do not compare to Washington’s. The Packers desperately need a win, and still have a solid shot at the division title in the mediocre NFC North. That being said, is it possible to have faith in a team on a four-game losing streak? With a defense that has allowed 38 points per game in that stretch, including 89 points in the last two?

Prediction: Eagles 34, Packers 31
Packers +4 . . . . . over 47½ (two units) . . . . . Green Bay +170

Final Score: Packers 27, Eagles 13 x
Packers +4 ✓ . . . . . over 47½ xx . . . . . Packers +170 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Thursday Games

Prediction: Vikings 20, Lions 17
Vikings +2 . . . . under 42 . . . . . Minnesota +115
Final Score: Lions 16, Vikings 13 x
Vikings +2 x . . . . under 42 ✓ . . . . . Vikings +115 x

Prediction: Cowboys 34, Redskins 24
Cowboys -6 . . . . over 52½ . . . . . Dallas -260
Final Score: Cowboys 31, Redskins 26 ✓
Cowboys -6 x . . . . over 52½ ✓ . . . . . Cowboys -260 ✓

Prediction: Steelers 27, Colts 13
Steelers -8 (two units) . . . . under 49½ (one unit) . . . . . Pittsburgh -360
Final Score: Steelers 28, Colts 7 ✓
Steelers -8 ✓✓ . . . . over 49½ x . . . . . Steelers -360 ✓

 

NFL Week 12 Parlays and Teasers

3-Team Parlay (two units): xx
Cardinals at Falcons over 51 ✓
Packers at Eagles over 47½ x
Panthers at Raiders (-3) [-push-]

5-Team 6-Point Teaser (two units): xx
Cardinals at Falcons over 45 ✓
Packers at Eagles over 41½ x
Chiefs at Broncos over 33 ✓
Jets vs Patriots -1½ ✓
Jaguars at Bills -1½ ✓

 

Tale of the Tape

Last week I hit on both a parlay (Lions -6 vs Jaguars, Patriots -11½ at 49ers and Raiders -6 vs Texans) as well as a 5-team teaser (Lions, Pats, Bills at Cincy, Bucs at KC and Ravens at Dallas). Those two multi-game payoffs led to one of the better weeks of the season.

Week 11 Results:
11-3 Straight Up
9-4 Against the Spread
6-7 Over/Under
2-unit plays: 5-0, +1000
1-unit plays: 1-2, -120
3-Game Parlay: 1u, +600
5-Game Teaser: 2u, +900
16 units invested
9-2, +2380 on $1760 risk.
135.2% ROI

Year to Date Results:
93-66-2 Straight Up
87-69-4 Against the Spread
88-72 Over/Under
5-unit plays: 1-0, +500
3-unit plays: 6-5-1, +120
2-unit plays: 29-13, +2990
1-unit plays: 34-22-1, +970
Parlays: 3-6, +1740
Teasers: 6-3, +3050
80-49-2, +9480 on original $2310 risk.
410.4% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
41.0% ROI on $23,100 (210 units) of total weekly investments.

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 Thanksgiving Day Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
November 24, 2016 at 10:30 am ET

Happy Turkey Day everyone! NFL fans will be treated to what looks like three interesting and competitive games today. None of the six teams playing Thursday enter the day with a losing record; I can’t recall that ever being the case in previous years. Sit back, drink, feast and enjoy the company of your family and friends everyone.

 

★★★★ 6-4 Minnesota Vikings at 6-4 Detroit Lions

Thursday November 24 at 12:30 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson.
Lions -2 . . . . over/under 42 . . . . DET -135, MIN +115

Detroit won the last meeting between these two in Week 9 in overtime, 22-16. The winning score came on a Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate 28 yard pass on the first possession of OT. The Vikings had completed a 79-yard drive for a TD to take the lead with just 23 seconds remaining. Stafford completed two passes against a soft zone prevent defense to move the ball to the 40, and inside the dome Matt Prater connected on a 58-yard field goal to force overtime. A defensive pass interference penalty against Xavier Rhodes on 3rd and 10 kept the drive alive with a new set of downs. After two rushes went nowhere Stafford hit Tate on the left sideline to complete the come from behind victory.

The two teams now share the lead in the NFC North. For Detroit a victory would be significant, as they would own the tiebreaker for the division title over Minnesota based on a season sweep between the two clubs. Earlier this year Minnesota was the last team to remain undefeated at 5-0 and was considered to be a strong contender for the NFC title. Four straight losses after their bye ended that talk, but after last week’s win against Arizona the Vikings are still in a great position to make the playoffs thanks to their hot start.

Minnesota’s pass rush seemed to be rejuvenated last week, but much of that can be attributed to Arizona’s inferior offensive line. Xavier Rhodes is one of, if not the best corner in the NFL right now. Neither team can run the ball, so the pass rush and pass coverage become vital Thursday. A key matchup to watch will be Lion CB Darius Clay versus Viking WR Stefon Diggs. In two games against the Lions Diggs has 19 receptions for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

With a betting line this low you can ignore the point spread, since so few games are determined by one or two points. Detroit has found ways to win close games this year, a mark of a good team; all six of their wins have been fourth quarter comeback victories. On the other hand I like Minnesota’s defense better, and it is always extremely difficult to sweep a division rival of comparable quality.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Lions 17
Vikings +2 . . . . under 42 . . . . . Minnesota +115

Final Score: Lions 16, Vikings 13 x
Vikings +2 x . . . . under 42 ✓ . . . . . Vikings +115 x

 

★★★★★ 6-3-1 Washington Redskins at 9-1 Dallas Cowboys

Thursday November 24 at 4:30 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Erin Andrews.
Cowboys -6 . . . . over/under 52½ . . . . DAL -260, WAS +220

Dallas receives plenty of publicity, in large part because Jerry Jones is a camera and microphone magnet. The reality is that the Cowboys own the best record in the NFL, so they deserve a tip of the hat. As hard as Jones attempted to create a quarterback controversy this season, there was none to be had thanks to Tony Romo taking the high road. Since he is the quarterback Dak Prescott is the center of attention for sports talk show mediots, but the rookie QB is not the biggest reason for the Cowboys’ success. The Dallas offensive line wins the battle in the trenches play after play, keeping Prescott’s jersey clean and giving him plenty of time to throw. Couple that with the openings that unit provides running back Ezekiel Elliott, and even the best opposing defenses are in trouble.

Thanks to that superior offensive line Dallas is able to run the ball on more than 50% of their offensive plays, most in the league. The physical dominance wears down opponents; the Cowboys have the highest time of possession in the NFL at 33:08 per game, a positive differential of more than six minutes per game. Dallas ranks third in scoring (28.5 ppg), fourth in yardage (413), third in yards per play (6.2) and third on 3rd down 48.4%). The defense isn’t to shabby either, allowing just 18.7 points per game.

The one area that Dallas can be exploited is their pass defense. The Cowboys allow opponents to complete 69.3% of their passes, which is the second most in the league. Safety Barry Church (forearm) and corner Morris Claiborne (groin) have been ruled out. Washington QB Kirk Cousins should be able to pick the Dallas secondary apart with passes to tight end Jordan Reed (49 receptions, 67 yards per game, 30 first downs) and wide receivers Jamison Crowder (47 receptions, 64 yards per game, 6 touchdowns), Pierre Garcon (48 catches, 32 first downs) and DeSean Jackson (34 receptions, 13.7 yards per catch).

There is a hidden x-factor in this game. Washington not only travels on a short week, they just played on Sunday night. That is a difficult turnaround in any circumstance, even more so when playing a brutally physical offensive juggernaut. Washington has enough offensive firepower to keep it close, but I can’t see them being able to pull off a win in this scenario.

Prediction: Cowboys 34, Redskins 24
Cowboys -6 . . . . over 52½ . . . . . Dallas -260

Final Score: Cowboys 31, Redskins 26 ✓
Cowboys -6 x . . . . over 52½ ✓ . . . . . Cowboys -260 ✓

 

★★★★ 5-5 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-5 Indianapolis Colts

Thursday November 24 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.
Steelers -8 . . . . over/under 49½ . . . . PIT -360, IND +300

The Colts will be without quarterback Andrew Luck, who suffered a concussion last week. A backup being asked to take over is always a difficult task, but being thrown into the fray with just three days to prepare is problematic for both the quarterback and offensive coordinator. To make this situation even more challenging the Indy offensive line has been a sieve (see: concussion, Luck).

Indianapolis will need to get their running game in gear or this could be a blowout. The ageless Frank Gore is averaging 84.3 yards from scrimmage this season. That kind of productivity can alleviate some of the burden from QB Scott Tolzien. Last week the Steelers were able to bottle up the Cleveland running game. Once that happened the Browns were forced to throw the ball, and Pittsburgh racked up eight sacks for a loss of 70 yards. The Steelers would love to see something close to that again; their defense had only 78 yards lost on sacks in the previous nine games combined.

I would be all in on Pittsburgh, but they have been terrible on the road. Philadelphia crushed the Steelers 34-3 and they looked putrid at Miami in a 30-15 loss to the then 1-4 Dolphins. Three weeks ago Pittsburgh was held scoreless until the fourth quarter at Baltimore; a win at Cleveland doesn’t really say much.

Indianapolis has been maddeningly inconsistent as well, losing winnable games and then turning around and beating the Packers in Green Bay just when I figured they were toast. Against better judgement I will go ahead and take Pittsburgh and a sizable number of points, despite their road woes.

Prediction: Steelers 27, Colts 13
Steelers -8 (two units) . . . . under 49½ (one unit) . . . . . Pittsburgh -360

Final Score: Steelers 28, Colts 7 ✓
Steelers -8 ✓✓ . . . . over 49½ x . . . . . Steelers -360 ✓

 

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 12 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Patriots favored by 9 at Jets

John Morgan
November 18, 2016 at 7:00 am ET

Earlier this week the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook released their ‘look ahead’ betting lines for NFL Week 12. These odds are published in advance of any of the prior week’s games being played, including Carolina’s 23-20 Thursday night victory over New Orleans. Early lines give some clairvoyant risk takers an opportunity to roll the dice on games that will not take place for another week and a half. There are times when public reaction to the most recent game clouds reality, and for a moment one can exploit the betting lines on a team that may be overrated or underrated due to the most recent result – or be done in by an unforeseen injury.

Once again the New England Patriots are the biggest favorite of the week despite playing on the road, this time by nine points over the stumbling Jets. Tennessee listed as a one point favorite over Chicago is the narrowest spread of the week. The Bears and Jets are two of five home underdogs in week twelve. Despite losing four in a row the Steelers are favored by three at Indy; the Giants are favored by 6½ at winless Cleveland; and Tampa Bay is a 6½ point home dog to the Seahawks.

Week 12 features five division games, two of which are part of the Thanksgiving Day triple header. NFC rivalries start Turkey Day, commencing with Minnesota at Detroit and then followed by Washington at Dallas. Sunday finishes with two AFC rivalry games that swapped places for Sunday Night Football. Originally the Patriots were scheduled to play the Jets on NBC. Thanks to Gang Green already totaling more losses in their first ten games than they compiled in all of 2015, the Pats-Jets game was removed from prime time. The Chiefs and Broncos both have seven victories already, tied for the most in the AFC with New England and Oakland. End result is that Kansas City at Denver will be the showcase game on Sunday night, and rightfully so.

The two other prime time games look interesting as well, which is a welcome sight after a season full of shoddy matchups on Thursday and Monday nights. On Thanksgiving night the Colts host Pittsburgh in a game that could have significant playoff implications once the regular season ends. And on Monday night the NFC’s version of the slumping Steelers – the Green Bay Packers – travel to Philadelphia to take on the 5-4 Eagles.

Other games of note in Week 12 include Cincinnati at Baltimore in the AFC North, San Diego at Houston, Arizona at Atlanta and Carolina at Oakland. Why so many decent games for a change? Perhaps it has something to do with not having a half dozen teams off with a bye. Sit back, feast and enjoy.

 

NFL Week 12 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines

5-4 Minnesota Vikings at 5-4 Detroit Lions (-3)
Thursday November 24 at 12:30 pm ET on CBS

5-3-1 Washington Redskins at 8-1 Dallas Cowboys (-6½)
Thursday November 24 at 4:30 pm ET on FOX

4-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at 4-5 Indianapolis Colts
Thursday November 24 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

4-6 San Diego Chargers at 6-3 Houston Texans (-2)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

5-5 Tennessee Titans (-1) at 2-7 Chicago Bears
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

2-7 Jacksonville Jaguars at 4-5 Buffalo Bills (-7)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

3-5-1 Cincinnati Bengals at 5-4 Baltimore Ravens (-1½)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

4-4-1 Arizona Cardinals at 6-4 Atlanta Falcons (-3)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

1-8 San Francisco 49ers at 5-4 Miami Dolphins (-8)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

4-5 Los Angeles Rams at 4-5 New Orleans Saints (-6)
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

6-3 New York Giants (-6½) at 0-10 Cleveland Browns
Sunday November 27 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

6-2-1 Seattle Seahawks (-6½) at 4-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday November 27 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

7-2 New England Patriots (-9) at 3-7 New York Jets
Sunday November 27 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

3-6 Carolina Panthers at 7-2 Oakland Raiders (-3½)
Sunday November 27 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

7-2 Kansas City Chiefs at 7-3 Denver Broncos (-3)
Sunday November 27 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

4-5 Green Bay Packers at 5-4 Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Monday November 28 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN

 

No animals were harmed in the publishing of this blog.

Patriots at Broncos – stats, odds and prediction

John Morgan
November 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm ET

The 10-0 New England Patriots are on the road this week to face the 8-2 Denver Broncos in a battle between the longtime original AFL rivals on Sunday night. A victory by the Patriots virtually assures New England of a first round bye, whereas a win by Denver closes the lead in the AFC to just one game over the Bengals and Broncos, with Denver holding the tiebreaker over the Pats.

 

When: Sunday, November 29 at 8:30 pm ET

Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver CO

Television: NBC; announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Weather: Forecast is for cloudy skies and temperature of about 26°; 70% chance of snow, about one inch expected; light winds of about 5 mph.

Odds: The Patriots opened as point favorites a week ago Thursday, prior to last week’s games. With the news that WR Danny Amendola would join Julian Edelman on the sideline with an injury, the line quickly dropped down to three points and eventually settled at points in most venues on Sunday. Likewise the point total dropped five points from 47½ to 42½, with a few venues at 42. Typical money lines have the Patriots -135 and the Broncos +115.

Head-to-Head Series Record: Denver is one of a handful of franchises to own a winning record against the Patriots: the Broncos are 25-20 in the regular season and 3-1 in the playoffs versus the Pats. The Patriots have won five of the last six meetings going back to 2011, and New England trounced Denver in the last matchup, 43-21 last November.

 

Here is a look at how the two teams compare statistically; the numbers reflect an average per game (or per play), rather than aggregate totals. Per-game and per-play stats are used rather than gross totals because that makes the rankings more meaningful, considering some NFL teams have played a different number of games, and because they provide a better context in regards to what to expect in any given game. Numbers in green indicate a top-ten ranking.

 

New England Patriots Offense versus Denver Broncos Defense

Scoring: Patriots 32.3 (2nd); Broncos 18.3 (2nd)

Yardage: Patriots 412 (3rd); Broncos 284 (1st)

First Downs: Patriots 24.2 (1st); Broncos 18.5 (6th)

Yards per Play: Patriots 6.2 (3rd); Broncos 4.4 (1st)

Yards per Drive: Patriots 39.2 (2nd); Broncos 26.8 (3rd)

Points per Drive: Patriots 3.14 (1st); Broncos 1.42 (2nd)

Drive Success Rate: Patriots .782 (1st); Broncos .647 (4th)

Points per Play: Patriots .484 (2nd); Broncos .285 (3rd)

Touchdowns: Patriots 3.6 (2nd); Broncos 1.9 (3rd)

Red Zone Touchdowns: Patriots 2.9 (1st); Broncos 1.3 (7th)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Patriots 64.4% (6th); Broncos 48.2% (6th)

Plays per Game: Patriots 66.7 (8th); Broncos 64.3 (16th)

Third Down Conversions: Patriots 6.0 (5th); Broncos 4.7 (11th)

Third Down Percentage: Patriots 46.5% (2nd); Broncos 34.8% (7th)

Punts per Score: Patriots 0.6 (1st); Broncos 1.4 (10th)

Rushing Yards: Patriots 92.0 (28th); Broncos 93.7 (8th)

Yards per Rush: Patriots 3.90 (23rd); Broncos 3.51 (2nd)

Passing Yards: Patriots 320 (1st); Broncos 191 (1st)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Patriots 8.1 (4th); Broncos 6.2 (2nd)

Completion Percentage: Patriots 66.3% (7th); Broncos 60.8% (9th)

Passer Rating: Patriots 107.4 (2nd); Broncos 74.2 (2nd)

TD Passes/Picks: Patriots +21 (1st), 25/4; Broncos +2 (2nd), 8/10

Complete Passes: Patriots 27.1 (3rd); Broncos 20.8 (8th)

Incomplete Passes: Patriots 13.8 (21st); Broncos 13.4 (15th)

Quarterback Sacks: Patriots 2.2 (15th); Broncos 3.4 (1st)

Sack Yardage Lost: Patriots 11.6 (11th); Broncos 21.3 (2nd)

 

Denver Broncos Offense versus New England Patriots Defense

Scoring: Broncos 22.2 (18th); Patriots 18.2 (1st)

Yardage: Broncos 337 (24th); Patriots 341 (14th)

First Downs: Broncos 18.9 (28th); Patriots 19.9 (15th)

Yards per Play: Broncos 5.3 (23rd); Patriots 5.2 (9th)

Yards per Drive: Broncos 29.4 (23rd); Patriots 30.4 (10th)

Points per Drive: Broncos 1.64 (26th); Patriots 1.60 (5th)

Drive Success Rate: Broncos .659 (29th); Patriots .684 (12th)

Points per Play: Broncos .349 (17th); Patriots .279 (1st)

Touchdowns: Broncos 2.3 (22nd); Patriots 2.0 (5th)

Red Zone Touchdowns: Broncos 1.2 (26th); Patriots 1.4 (8th)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Broncos 44.4% (25th); Patriots 51.9% (13th)

Plays per Game: Broncos 63.7 (20th); Patriots 65.3 (20th)

Third Down Conversions: Broncos 4.7 (23rd); Patriots 5.5 (18th)

Third Down Percentage: Broncos 34.1% (28th); Patriots 39.6% (19th)

Punts per Score: Broncos 1.3 (21st); Patriots 1.4 (6th)

Rushing Yards: Broncos 94.4 (27th); Patriots 88.8 (3rd)

Yards per Rush: Broncos 3.92 (19th); Patriots 3.89 (12th)

Passing Yards: Broncos 243 (17th); Patriots 253 (21st)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Broncos 6.9 (22nd); Patriots 7.0 (11th)

Completion Percentage: Broncos 60.9% (23rd); Patriots 60.6% (8th)

Passer Rating: Broncos 72.2 (32nd); Patriots 83.9 (9th)

TD Passes/Picks: Broncos -6 (32nd), 12/18; Patriots -5 (8th), 14/9

Complete Passes: Broncos 22.7 (15th); Patriots 23.8 (24th)

Incomplete Passes: Broncos 14.6 (26th); Patriots 15.5 (4th)

Quarterback Sacks: Broncos 2.3 (17th); Patriots 3.2 (2nd)

Sack Yardage Lost: Broncos 14.6 (15th); Patriots 21.5 (1st)

 

Turnovers

Patriot Giveaways: 0.8 (2nd);  Bronco Takeaways: 1.9 (5th)

Bronco Giveaways: 1.9 (25th); Patriot Takeaways: 1.4 (17th)

 

Penalties

Penalties: Patriots 6.9 (15th); Broncos 7.9 (25th)

Penalty Yards: Patriots 65.4 (23rd); Broncos 77.0 (30th)

Opponent Penalties: Patriots 7.5 (9th); Broncos 5.9 (30th)

Opponent Penalty Yards: Patriots 67.3 (10th); Broncos 43.1 (30th)

 

Football Outsiders Statistics and Rankings

Team Efficiency: Weighted DVOA: Patriots 32.0% (1st); Broncos 12.3% (8th)

Team Efficiency: Offense DVOA: Patriots 20.8% (2nd); Broncos -16.0% (30th)

Team Efficiency: Defense DVOA: Patriots -4.3% (10th); Broncos -24.2% (1st)

Special Teams DVOA: Patriots 8.7% (1st); Broncos 4.4% (6th)

 

Prediction: Patriots 20, Broncos 19

Despite all the injuries and where the game is being played, I’ll still go with Bill Belichick over Gary Kubiak.

 

 

 

Patriots – Broncos: Which Team Is Hurt More By Injuries?

John Morgan
at 2:00 pm ET

For much of the last week the mainstream sports media has focused on Brock Osweiler replacing Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. The leadoff for the four-letter network’s NFL pregame show centered on ‘can Osweiler beat Brady’, as if the two were playing one-on-one hoops.

 

Manning is a surefire first ballot Hall of Fame player, but the reality is that the switch to Osweiler has minimal negative affect on Denver; in fact, it makes the Broncos better. Now if you want to hop in a DeLorean and insert a pre-2014 Manning as the option then that is different topic of discussion – but science is not there yet.

 

Both teams will be without arguably their best defensive player, both outside linebackers, so that is a wash. Jamie Collins did not make the trip for New England, still recovering from the flu, while DeMarcus Ware is out for the Broncos due to a lower back injury. After that the list of key players (and their backups) that are unavailable is extremely one-sided.

 

The Patriots are missing their most important running back (Dion Lewis), who was also a vital part of their passing game; Lewis went on season-ending injured reserve three weeks ago. New England’s top receiver, Julian Edelman, is out for the rest of the regular season. Next man up at the position was Danny Amendola, but he will not play Sunday due to a knee injury. At least Brandon LaFell is healthy after missing the first six weeks with a foot injury. Number four wide receiver Aaron Dobson was placed on IR three days ago. Next in line would have been Brian Tyms and Brandon Gibson, but they too are on IR, and Josh Boyce was released with an injury settlement at the end of training camp.

 

So for a crucial game on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses, Chris Harper and a hobbled Keshawn Martin (questionable with a hamstring injury) are elevated from what at one time were number eight and nine on the Pats depth chart to starters in a three-wideout formation. Let’s not forget that starting slot corner Tarrell Brown went on IR in mid-October, and his replacement, Justin Coleman, is out again with a hand injury. Then there is the revolving door known as the offensive line, punctuated by the loss of its most important player; the left tackle has to protect the quarterback’s blind side, but Nate Solder is also on IR.

 

This is not to say that Denver is not dealing with injuries, nor is it a pity party. Ryan Clady is on IR and Ware is out with the bad back. Left guard Evan Mathis is dealing with an ankle injury, but is expected to play. It just confounds me how there can be so much made of the switch from Manning to Osweiler – a move that helps rather than hurts Denver – while in comparison the injuries to New England are given a sub-heading, if not glossed over completely.

 

Would the Broncos be better off with Manning but without Ryan Harris, every receiver other than Emmanuel Sanders, and a few other key players, or with their current lineup?

 

We will find out if the battle of attrition has reached its tipping point for the Patriots later tonight.

 

NFL Week 12 Previews, Predictions, TV Info and Picks ATS

John Morgan
November 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm ET

While Sunday once again leaves NFL fans with a dearth of games between two quality teams, at least there are several competitive matchups involving a pair of clubs fighting for a playoff berth. Leading up to Sunday night’s highly anticipated game between the Patriots and Broncos, the only afternoon game between a pair of teams with winning records is Minnesota at Atlanta. However, with the exception of ESPN’s odious foistering of Baltimore at Cleveland Monday night, almost all of the of the other games should be competitive and entertaining; the Steelers-Seahawks, Bills-Chiefs and Bucs-Colts are among those that could be compelling games well worth watching.

 

4-6 New Orleans Saints at 5-5 Houston Texans, early game on FOX; Joe Davis, David Diehl

Broadcast in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and southeastern Texas

Texans -3 (opened at -3) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . Hou -155, NO +135

The reeling Saints make a short trip to Houston to face the resurgent Texans in an early inter-conference game Sunday. New Orleans has been on a roller coaster this season, winning three straight to climb back into playoff contention after a 1-4 start – and then allowing an abominable 81 points in back-to-back losses to lowly Tennessee and Washington. Meanwhile the Texans have regrouped after a 44-26 loss at Miami, winning three in a row while holding those opponents to a mere 29 points during the current streak.

I wouldn’t expect the defensive coordinator change from Rob Ryan to Dennis Allen to make a bit of a difference. The Saints don’t have the personnel to create pressure on the opposing quarterback, and bringing extra pass rushers could lead to a big game for WR DeAndre Hopkins. New Orleans will use CB Delvin Breaux on Hopkins, but this is a huge mismatch. Breaux didn’t fare well against Odell Beckham (8 catches, 130 yards, 3 TD) or T.Y. Hilton (4/150/2), and Hopkins burnt Darrelle Revis last week to the tune of five receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns; in his last eight games Hopkins has 62 catches for 894 yards and seven touchdowns. The New Orleans defense ranks dead last with 31.5 points allowed per game; CB Brandon Browner has blown coverage multiple times, slot corner Kyle Wilson is still the same draft bust he was with the Jets, and the tackling by defenders like Jairus Byrd has been sub-par. In the last three games the Saints have turned the ball over six times while forcing just two turnovers; meanwhile the Houston defense has seven takeaways in their last three games and 11 in the last five.

Prediction: Texans 30, Saints 21

Pick: Texans -3 (one unit) . . . . over 47½ . . . . Texans -155

 

7-3 Minnesota Vikings at 6-4 Atlanta Falcons, early game on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch

Broadcast in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, northern and eastern Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Chicago IL and Knoxville TN

Falcons -2 (opened at -3) . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . Atl -120, Min +100

After winning five in a row the Vikings were brought back to earth last week, losing 30-13 to Green Bay; Minnesota looks to rebound and take advantage of the Packers loss to the Bears Thursday when they travel to Atlanta to face the slumping Falcons. Atlanta won their first five games of the year but has lost four of the last five – none against a team with a winning record – losing close games that they were winning in September.

Devonta Freeman has been ruled out, which means Tevin Coleman will likely start at running back for Atlanta. Coleman disappointed last week, losing a fumble and averaging a mere 2.8 yards per carry against a below-average Colt run defense. Expect Falcon WR Julio Jones (NFL-best 8.9 catches and 118.9 receiving yards per game) to test CB Xavier Rhodes, who has been a disappointment this year. This game will hinge on how well Adrian Peterson (league-best 101 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry) fares against an Atlanta run defense that ranks third in the NFL, allowing just 3.55 yards per carry.

Prediction: Vikings 24, Falcons 21

Pick: Vikings +2 (one unit) . . . . under 45½ . . . . Vikings +100

 

4-6 St. Louis Rams at 8-2 Cincinnati Bengals, early game on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis

Broadcast in Colorado, Illinois (except Chicago), Kentucky, Missouri (except Kansas City), Ohio, West Virginia, Wyoming, Boston MA, Pittsburgh PA and Providence RI

Bengals -9 (opened at -7) . . . . over/under 42 . . . . Cin -450, StL +350

St. Louis has been schizophrenic this year, beating Arizona and Seattle but losing to three teams with losing records – including last week’s loss to injury-depleted Baltimore. The Bengals were the team du jour when they won their first eight games, but lost a WTF game to Houston before dropping a three-point thriller at Arizona last week. The dysfunctional St. Louis offense returns to Nick Foles at quarterback by default, as Case Keenum has not passed concussion protocol – something noticed by everyone watching the game last week except Jeff Fisher and the NFL officials.

St. Louis will pound the rock with rookie RB phenom Todd Gurley (5.0 yards per carry, 96.9 yards rushing per game, 113 yards from scrimmage per game), but Cincinnati has vastly improved their run defense since LB Vontaze Burfict was activated from PUP four games ago. The Bengal defense is allowing opponents to rush for just 3.18 yards per carry over the last three games and have not allowed a rushing touchdown since October 18. Giovanni Bernard (146 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches last week) has flourished since replacing Jeremy Hill as the starting running back, and TE Tyler Eifert (43 receptions, 11 TD) takes pressure off WR AJ Green (84.8 yards receiving per game) in the passing game for Cincy. The Rams drop to 1-5 on the road and their playoff hopes dim.

Prediction: Bengals 24, Rams 16

Pick: Rams +9 . . . . under 42 (one unit) . . . . Rams +350

 

5-5 Tampa Bay Bucs at 5-5 Indianapolis Colts, early game on FOX; Dick Stockton, Matt Millen

Broadcast in Indiana and Florida (except Jacksonville, Miami and West Palm Beach)

Colts -3 (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . Ind -150, TB +130

The Bucs and Colts are both gunning for their third straight win to put them over.500 – though in Tampa Bay’s case they are doing much better than expected, while the Colts are one of the NFL’s biggest underachievers in 2015. Last week Doug Martin ran for 235 yards and Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns as Tampa Bay crushed the Eagles in Philly, while the Colts outscored the Falcons 24-7 over the final 32 minutes to come from behind and win at Atlanta.

In the last three games the Buc defense has allowed only four passing touchdowns while picking off six passes, allowing opponents to average just 6.0 yards per pass. Matt Hasselbeck is 3-0 as a starter this year, but LT Anthony Castonzo is out and RB Frank Gore (knee) is not 100%. Tampa Bay has had a big boost with the return of Vincent Jackson to the lineup; couple that with Colt injuries to safety Mike Adams (ankle, doubtful) and corner Greg Toler (questionable, groin), and there is an opportunity for Tampa Bay’s offense to have a big game. I just don’t know if this Bucs team can handle success, and it is extremely difficult for average teams to win consecutive road games.

Prediction: Bucs 24, Colts 20

Pick: Bucs +3 (one unit) . . . . under 46½ . . . . Bucs +130

 

5-5 New York Giants at 4-6 Washington Redskins, early game on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston

Broadcast in New England (except Boston and Providence), DC, Maryland, New Mexico, New York (except Buffalo), North Carolina (except Charlotte), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (except Pittsburgh), northern and western Texas, Virginia, Los Angeles CA, West Palm Beach FL, Las Vegas NV and Memphis TN

Giants -2½ (opened as pick’em) . . . . over/under 47½ . . . . NYG -145, Was +125

Does anybody want to win the NFC East? The Giants have had the division handed to them on a platter, but have not won consecutive games since week five; Washington has yet to win back-to-back games this year. Neither team has a good defense (the two are tied for 24th, allowing 25.3 points per game), but at least the G-Men can pass the ball. New York’s defense is improving somewhat, with DE Jason Pierre-Paul back for his third game of the year, CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) returning for his first game since October 11, and DE Robert Ayers and LB Devon Kennard healthy after having a bye week to heal hamstring injuries.

Washington CB Chris Culliver is out for the season and beyond with a torn ACL and MCL suffered in practice this week, meaning an over the hill DeAngelo Hall will have to start on the outside at corner. Odell Beckham and Reuben Randle should have no problem taking advantage of matchups against Hall and CB Bashaud Breeland, who is questionable after dealing with the flu.

Prediction: Giants 35, Skins 27

Pick: Giants -2½ (two units) . . . . over 47½ (two units) . . . . Giants -145

 

4-6 Oakland Raiders at 2-8 Tennessee Titans, early game on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Broadcast in Alaska, northern California, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Tucson AZ, Tupelo MS and Reno NV

Raiders -1 (opened at -1½) . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . Oak -120, Ten +100

Four weeks ago Oakland beat the Jets by 14 points to improve to 4-3, and folks started using the words ‘Raiders’ and ‘playoffs’ in the same sentence. Since then the Silver and Black have lost three straight and now find themselves tenth overall in the AFC, tied with the Jaguars and Dolphins at 4-6. Oakland has struggled all year on defense, and allowed Detroit to move the ball 80 yards in nine plays for the go-ahead score last week. The run defense in particular has been atrocious; in their last three games Oakland’s opponents have rushed for 567 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. The losses of DE Justin Tuck (pectoral), LB Neiron Ball (knee) and LB Aldon Smith have made an already mediocre defensive unit a complete sieve.

Tennessee may be figuring that if they could beat the defensively-challenged Saints, then they could repeat that result against the Raiders. The Titan defense hasn’t been bad – they have held opponents to 20 or fewer points five times this year – but their offense is just plain sad. Interim head coach Mike Mularkey has shuffled the offensive line in an attempt to give QB Marcus Mariota better protection, but the four sacks allowed last week upped Tennessee’s total to 33 on the season, fourth worst in the NFL.

Prediction: Raiders 27, Titans 24

Pick: Raiders -1 . . . . over 44½ . . . . Raiders -120

 

5-5 Buffalo Bills at 5-5 Kansas City Chiefs, early game on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Broadcast in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, western New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, Grand Rapids MI, Las Vegas NV, Richmond VA

Chiefs -5½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . KC -260, Buf +220

The Chiefs have rebounded from a brutal early schedule that resulted in a 1-5 start, winning four straight to even their record at 5-5. KC currently owns the final seed in the AFC playoff picture thanks to a tenacious defense and an offense that has been relatively effective despite the loss of RB Jamaal Charles. During their winning streak the Chiefs have not turned the ball over once while the defense has forced 12 takeaways, and over the last six games they have a plus-14 turnover differential (15:1).

The Buffalo defense suffered a setback as DT Kyle Williams is out for the season with a knee injury and DE Mario Williams will miss the game with a foot injury; no word yet on whether or not unbiased ESPN analyst Ray Lewis will deliver another motivational speech to the Bills. Meanwhile the NFL has wielded its heavy hand and ordered a Buffalo-area drive-in to stop showing Bills games for free. This was based on a rule that games cannot be shown on ‘television screens which are not commonly used at home‘ (though it is okay for the Bills’ owners to show games on a 38-foot screen at a bar they own), and because it could deprive the local affiliate of viewers (even though the drive-in was televising the local broadcast, with all their commercials). QB Tyrod Taylor has not been productive since returning from his early season knee injury but will play despite last week’s shoulder injury.

Prediction: Chiefs 27, Bills 17

Pick: Chiefs -5½ . . . . over 41½ . . . . Bills +220

 

4-6 Miami Dolphins at 5-5 New York Jets, early game on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Broadcast in New England, Alabama, Florida (except Jacksonville), Georgia (except Atlanta and Savannah), Illinois, Indiana (except Indianapolis), Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan (except Grand Rapids), Minnesota, Mississippi (except Tupelo), North Carolina, Ohio (except Tennessee), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas (except Houston), Virginia (except Richmond), West Virginia, Wisconsin, Albany NY and New York City

Jets -3½ (opened at -4½) . . . . over/under 42½ . . . . NYJ -190, Mia +170

The last time these two teams met it resulted in Miami head coach Joe Philbin being fired. Since then the Dolphins are 3-3 but have lost three of their last four; injuries have decimated the Jets and they are 2-4 since that game, losing four of their last five. Considering the slump, this sure seems like an odd time for the Fins to raise ticket prices and demand that their fans plunk down a financial commitment to the 2016 season, a week before Christmas.

RB Chris Ivory has not put up the numbers he did early in the season ever since the Patriots stuffed him in week seven, but he has been more productive of late. In the last two games Ivory has averaged 4.50 and 5.50 yards per carry, and the return of Bilal Powell as the third down back from an ankle injury should bolster the Jet offense. While New York’s 6’5″ WR Brandon Marshall should have a decided advantage over 5’9″ CB Brent Grimes, Miami QB Ryan Tannehill will not have to contend with Jet CB Darrelle Revis, who is out due to a concussion. The Jets will honor RB Emerson Boozer by finally inducting him to their Ring of Honor – though teammate Matt Snell will still have nothing to do with the Jets.

Prediction: Jets 27, Dolphins 20

Pick: Jets -3½ (one unit) . . . . over 42½ . . . . Jets -190

 

2-8 San Diego at 4-6 Jacksonville Jaguars, early game on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

Broadcast in southern California, Savannah GA and Jacksonville FL

Jaguars -4½ (opened at -1½) . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . Jax -220, SD +180

Since suffering a pair of terrible early season losses – a 34-point blowout to the Patriots in week three, followed by a 3-point overtime loss at Indy thanks to two missed field goals – the Jaguars surprisingly have not thrown in the towel. Jacksonville has since then shown a trait of a good team, winning close games: the three wins in their last four games have been by 3, 2 and 6 points. RB T.J. Yeldon is averaging 4.0 yards per carry and 82 yards from scrimmage per game; he could be in for his third 100-yard rushing game of his rookie season. San Diego ranks 31st against the run, allowing 4.9 yards per carry, and NT Sean Lissemore is questionable.

Charger players have suffered an NFL-high twelve concussions this season, including ones by Lissemore, RG D.J. Fluker (his second this year) and safety Jahleel Addae last week. DT Corey Liuget is questionable (foot) and FS Eric Weddle is dealing with a groin injury; the San Diego defense is now giving the offensive line a run for their money with injuries. The Charger OL has dealt with injuries all year, and LT King Dunlap is expected to miss another game with an ankle injury. It’s amazing that QB Philip Rivers has been able to battle through all the hits he takes due to lack of protection, and still be highly productive. However, I’ll take the team on the rise playing at home over the team in decline traveling from the west coast to play an early game.

Prediction: Jaguars 28, Chargers 21

Pick: Jaguars -4½ . . . . over 46½ . . . . Chargers +180

 

8-2 Arizona Cardinals at 3-7 San Francisco 49ers, late game on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber

Broadcast in Arizona, California (except Los Angeles), Hawaii, Jacksonville FL, Miami FL, Kansas City MO, Reno NV, Buffalo NY and Nashville TN

Cardinals -10 (opened at -8) . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . Ari -550, SF +425

Division rivalry games are usually close, but in week three Arizona crushed the Niners 47-7, limiting San Fran to ten first downs and 156 total yards of offense while forcing four turnovers.

San Francisco ranks 32nd in the NFL with 13.9 points scored per game; Arizona is first with 33.6. Even though there may be a letdown after beating the Bengals and having to play on the road for the third time in their last four games, the Cardinals are not going to blow an easy opportunity to stay ahead of the Vikings for a bye in the NFC – though they may coast on auto-pilot in the second half.

Prediction: Cardinals 28, Niners 13

Pick: Cardinals -10 (two units) . . . . under 44½ . . . . 49ers +425

 

6-4 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-5 Seattle Seahawks, late game on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

Broadcast in all markets except SF/Oakland

Seahawks -3½ (opened at -3½) . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . Sea -185, Pit +165

If not for the Patriots playing Denver, this would appear to be the best game of the week. Seattle is one game behind Atlanta for the final wild card spot in the NFC, while Pittsburgh is clinging on to a one-game lead over four teams for the top wild card slot in the AFC.

This game should hinge on Seattle’s power rushing game versus Pittsburgh’s stout run defense, but there is a change in the name of the lead role. Marshawn Lynch is out after undergoing sports hernia surgery and may have played his last game as a Seahawk; undrafted rookie free agent Thomas Rawls has taken over and outperformed Beast Mode. The Central Michigan product is averaging 6.0 yards per carry and has rushed for over 100 yards three times this year, including 209 yards last week against the Niners.

Seattle’s run defense is still very good (3.7 ypc, 96 ypg), but their pass rush has regressed considerably. Even if Richard Sherman neutralizes Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger still has plenty of weapons to spread the ball around: WR Martavis Bryant, TE Heath Miller, RB DeAngelo Williams, WR Markus Wheaton and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. Sherman is still very good, but he can’t be everywhere.

Prediction: Steelers 24. Seahawks 20

Pick: Steelers +3½ . . . . under 45½ . . . . Steelers +165

 

10-0 New England Patriots at 8-2 Denver Broncos, Sunday night on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Broadcast in all markets

Patriots -2½ (opened at -5½) . . . . over/under 43½ . . . . NE -145, Den +125

Denver will start Brock Osweiler, which is actually a positive for the Broncos based on how bad Peyton Manning has been this year. The New England rush defense has come around after a slow start, and Denver has been ineffective all year running the ball. The Patriots are counting on putting Osweiler in difficult down and distance situations, which could lead to three-and-outs and turnovers.

On offense the Pats are in a very tough position, playing one of the NFL’s best defenses on the road without three of their top playmakers: Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. It is very difficult to run on the Broncos (3.5 yards per carry), and Denver will surely double or even triple up on Rob Gronkowski. The Pats will need for wide receivers Brandon Lafell, Keshawn Martin and Chris Harper to step up to have a chance – and for the defense to come up with key stops and some takeaways.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Broncos 19

Pick: Broncos +2½ . . . . under 43½ . . . . Patriots -145

 

2-8 Baltimore Ravens at 3-7 Cleveland Browns, Monday night on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden

Broadcast in all markets

Browns -3 (opened as pick’em) . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . Cle -160, Bal +140

The Ravens are without so many starters on offense it is easier to list who is still available rather than count how many are out. Johnny Manziel has drank and lied away his job as starting quarterback for Cleveland, so Josh McCown once again gets the start for the Browns. Cleveland’s defense is pretty bad (27.7 points per game, 407 yards per game, 4.6 yards per rush), but I don’t see anybody available on Baltimore’s roster that can exploit that deficiency.

Prediction: Browns 13, Ravens 9

Pick: Browns -3 . . . . under 41½ (three units) . . . . Ravens +140

 

As always, here is a comparison of the odds for the week 12 NFL games from back in April when the league’s schedule was released. Note the swing in the Packers-Cowboys, Chargers-Jaguars, Bucs-Colts and Dolphins-Jets games.

Panthers at Cowboys (-4½)
Eagles at Lions (-2)
Bears at Packers (-7½)
Vikings at Falcons (-1½)
Cardinals at 49ers (-2)
Steelers at Seahawks (-5½)
Saints at Texans (-2)
Buccaneers at Colts (-9½)
Chargers (-4½) at Jaguars
Raiders at Titans (-2)
Patriots at Broncos (-2½)
Bills at Chiefs (-2½)
Dolphins (-1½) at Jets
Rams at Bengals (-2½)
Giants (-1) at Redskins
Ravens (-3) at Browns

Thanksgiving NFL Game Previews and Predictions ATS

John Morgan
November 26, 2015 at 9:00 am ET

As is what seems to be the case every year, a Thanksgiving Day game involving the Detroit Lions is seemingly in place to simply make the following games look that much better.

 

4-6 Philadelphia Eagles at 3-7 Detroit Lions; 12:30 pm ET on FOX

Lions -2½ . . . . . over/under 46 . . . . . Lions -135, Eagles +115

After a terrible start to the season, Detroit has now screwed things up further by winning their last two games – and thus, for the time being, put themselves out of the top five for next year’s draft. Detroit’s defense is playing better and, while still very much a work in progress, the offensive line has improved as well. Philadelphia has problems on and off the field, culminating in last week’s debacle at home against a mediocre Tampa Bay team. So which college will Chip Kelly be coaching next year? Philly fans could not care less that he won 19 of his first 28 games as the head coach for the Eagles.

Prediction: Lions 24, Eagles 20

Pick: Lions -2½ . . . . under 46 . . . . Lions -135

 

10-0 Carolina Panthers at 3-7 Dallas Cowboys; 4:30 pm ET on CBS

Cowboys -1 . . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . . Panthers +100, Cowboys -120

This line baffles me; what, am I supposed to be impressed that Dallas beat an awful Miami team, but not impressed with Carolina’s dismantling of Washington last week? Of course the Cowboys are a better team with Tony Romo, but Carolina’s defense should dominate. The Panther D ranks first in takeaways (25), third in sacks (31), fourth in yardage (323 yards per game) and fifth in scoring (19.1 points per game). While much has been made of Cam Newton‘s completion percentage (57.0%, 28th) and passer rating (90.4, 17th), he has a better than 2:1 ratio of touchdown pass to picks (20:9) – and has rushed for six touchdowns on top of that. I wonder what Jerry Jones next ill-advised decision will be?

Prediction: Panthers 27, Cowboys 17

Pick: Panthers +1 (four units) . . . . under 45½ . . . . Panthers +100 (two units)

 

4-6 Chicago Bears at 7-3 Green Bay Packers; 8:30 pm on NBC

Packers -8½ . . . . . over/under 45 . . . . . Bears +350, Packers -450

It is Brett Favre Day at Lambeau Field, but the real story – and rightfully so – will be the honoring of Bart Starr during Favre’s ceremony. Starr won five NFL championships as the starting quarterback  for Green Bay, but instead is usually referred to as a ‘two-time Super Bowl champ’ – as if nothing prior to the first NFL-AFL championship game mattered, or even occurred. Chicago gets WR Alshon Jeffery and RB Matt Forte back on the field, but it will be difficult to take the cheeseheads out of the game.

Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 20

Pick: Bears +8½ (one unit) . . . . under 45 . . . . Bears +350

 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!