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NFL Week 13 • Previews, Articles, Info. • Sunday 12/6/15

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  • #17700
    admin
    Keymaster

    NFL Week 13 Essentials
    By Tony Mejia

    It’s time for December football. While a lot of teams fell on their face after Thanksgiving, others rose to the occasion as we come the final four weeks of action. Playoffs spots are up for grabs and there’s a lot to be determined, so let’s get right into Week 13:

    San Francisco at Chicago: The 49ers have been playing ugly football all season, riding their defense to compensate for their lack of a competent quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is 1-2 as the starter in place of the ineffective Colin Kaepernick, but has faced three strong defensive units in Atlanta, Seattle and Arizona. He’s also been working without Carlos Hyde, who has missed four games with a stress fracture in his foot that will likely keep him out again. The Bears got Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery back on Thursday and are excited to get their full complement of weapons working with rookie RB Jeremy Langford and TEs Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller, who took advantage of additional opportunities in their absence. A win would get John Fox’s team to .500, unexpectedly into the playoff chase, albeit as a longshot. Chicago has won three of four outright and is 6-1-1 ATS over its past eight.

    Cincinnati at Cleveland: The Bengals snapped their two-game losing streak with an impressive 31-7 win over the Rams and are hoping to get back in the mix for a first-round bye in the AFC playoff picture. They travel to Denver on Dec. 28, so they’ll likely control their own destiny unless the beginning of the month goes horribly wrong. Once again, it looks like they might get a full game against a backup, since Josh McCown took a vicious hit that knocked him out Monday night and leaves his availability in question for this one. Johnny Manziel took all of the snaps in a 31-10 loss on Nov. 5, but he’s fallen out of favor for disciplinary reasons, which means Austin Davis may get the nod to try and end a six-game losing streak. He looked good in rallying the Browns to a potential game-winning field goal after hitting Travis Benjamin to tie the game, so he might give Cleveland a puncher’s chance to gain a series split with their in-state rival for the fourth straight season. The Bengals are worried about not having TE Tyler Eifert, who suffered a stringer against St. Louis and is questionable. He leads the NFL with 12 touchdowns.

    Jacksonville at Tennessee: With the Colts and Ravens both now over .500, the dreams these two had of unexpectedly contending down the stretch have been dashed, so this instead will be another learning opportunity for young QBs Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota, who each had spotty performances in last week’s losses as well as in their meeting two weeks ago, a 19-13 Jags win. Mariota had his receiving corps strengthened by Kendall Wright’s return, while Bortles lost Allen Hurns to scary-looking concussion after he was carted off on Sunday. Jacksonville is looking for its first series sweep of the Titans since 2005. The teams have split every year since ’08.

    Houston at Buffalo: The Bills blew a game they had dominated throughout most of the first half in Kansas City, so they’re looking at this one as a must-win at home. Rex Ryan’s defense is banged up considerably, as LB Nigel Bradham and DT Alex Harrington each left the Chiefs loss with injuries, further depleting a group already playing without key linemen Mario Williams and Kyle Williams. The Texans have won four straight to climb into a first-place tie with Indianapolis in the AFC South, surrendering just 6 points in three of those victories. The under is 3-1 during their streak as a result, while J.J. Watt has recorded 9.5 sacks over his last five contests, notching at least one each time out. He’ll be facing the most mobile starter in the NFL in Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor.

    Baltimore at Miami: The never-say-die Ravens head to South Florida for a date with a disappointing Dolphins team that has said die rather easily in recent weeks, losing four of five in disheartening fashion. The lack of growth Ryan Tannehill has made cost offensive coordinator Bill Lazor his job on Monday, as interim Miami head coach Dan Campbell will rely on QB coach Zac Taylor to take over the play-calling. WR Jarvis Landry set career-highs with 13 catches for 165 yards against the Jets, so expect him to be a focus of the Ravens defensive game plan. Baltimore moved to 4-7 by blocking a Cleveland field goal attempt and watching Will Hill run it back 64 yards for a 33-27 win, giving his team consecutive victories for the first time all season. Matt Schaub started for the first time since ’13 and had some good moments, but threw a pair of costly interceptions, the Achilles heel that cost him his job in Houston.

    Seattle at Minnesota: The Seahawks secondary may just have to lose that Legion of Boom moniker since teams are throwing on them at will. The defense surrendered their third 30-point game of the season in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh, something that hadn’t happened since 2011, Pete Carroll’s second season at the controls. Russell Wilson bailed the team out with a huge passing day, but no longer has top tight end Jimmy Graham as a target since he’s done with a patella tendon tear. Although Graham has had a down year, he still had to be accounted for, which will make life easier for a talented Vikings defense that won in Atlanta despite the absence of top tackler Harrison Smith (knee). The Vikings hope to get their star safety back on Sunday and have seen the under go 9-1-1 in their games this season. RB Adrian Peterson is coming off his second multi-TD game of ’15 and has ran for over 100 yards in four of the last five.

    Arizona at St. Louis: The Cardinals struggled with San Francisco, but moved to 9-2 and maintained a healthy three-game lead over victorious Seattle. They’ll be looking to avenge their lone home loss, a 24-22 setback on Oct. 2 way back in Week 4. Running backs Chris Johnson (knee) and Andre Ellington (toe) were each injured on Sunday, so Arizona should be shorthanded against a typically stingy Rams defense that was conquered at Cincinnati. Carson Palmer will definitely see that the Bengals attacked St. Louis’ corners with aggressive downfield passes, so he could be in for a big day. The Rams pass rush has definitely missed Robert Quinn, who is dealing with a hip injury. The under is 8-3 in games involving St. Louis, but its win in Glendale did surpass the posted total.

    Atlanta at Tampa Bay: The Falcons continued their implosion with a 20-10 home loss to Minnesota and have lost four consecutive games as they visit the Bucs, the team against who the streak of setbacks began. Turnovers in the red zone were the issue in that 23-20 loss and have continued to haunt Atlanta. Matt Ryan has thrown five interceptions in his last two outings, but did throw for a season-high 397 in the first meeting. His life will be made much easier if Devonta Freeman, who has scored 11 TDs in just 10 games, clears concussion protocol and returns to action. Jameis Winston and the Bucs are back at 5-6, so they’ll need to hold serve at home in order to realistically remain in the playoff hunt. They’re 5-2 ATS over the last seven but haven’t swept the Falcons since ’07, way back when Jon Gruden was still coaching. Tampa Bay is 2-12 in its last 14 home games.

    N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants: After snapping a two-game losing streak in emphatic fashion against rival Miami, the Jets face their Met Life Stadium co-tenants in a game both need badly. The Giants put together an embarrassing effort in a 20-14 loss at Washington where they couldn’t overcome an early 17-0 deficit due to three Eli Manning interceptions. Odell Beckham Jr. shined with nine catches for 142 yards and a score and will likely have to deal with Darrelle Revis, who missed the Dolphins win with concussion symptoms but should make it through protocol in order to play. Replacement Marcus Williams has five interceptions, so they’ll be well-stocked in the secondary if Revis and safety Dion Bailey return. These teams meet every year in the preseason, but they’ve only played three regular-season games since 2000, all Giants wins. The Jets carry a five-game losing streak in the series and haven’t won since 1993.

    Denver at San Diego: It appears Brock Osweiler will make his third straight start in place of Peyton Manning, having delivered tight victories at Chicago and home against New England on Sunday night, snapping the Patriots perfect run. He’ll go in search of his first divisional win against the Chargers, who snapped a string of six consecutive losses with a 31-25 win at Jacksonville. Philip Rivers continues to work behind a makeshift offensive line and without top target Keenan Allen, but managed to throw for 300 yards and four touchdown on the Jaguars. The Broncos defense missed numerous tackles against New England, but it should help them to not be playing in a snowstorm. They’re unlikely to get pass rusher DeMarcus Ware (6.5 sacks in seven games) in the lineup since he’s still struggling with a back injury. These teams also meet on the final week of the regular season.

    Kansas City at Oakland: Continuing the AFC West theme, the Chiefs and Raiders square off in one of the most meaningful games they’ve played in years since the Raiders haven’t been in contention in a while. Both are in the Wild Card hunt at this late stage and coming off comeback victories in Week 12. Alex Smith threw for a pair of scores against Buffalo and hasn’t been intercepted in eight straight games, the last five of which have been K.C. wins. There’s concern over the availability of top pass rusher Justin Houston, who sprained a knee in Sunday’s win. Oakland improved to 3-3 and on the road as Derek Carr hit Seth Roberts with 1:21 left to come up with a 24-21 win in Tennessee, part of a 330-yard, 3-touchdown performance. Rookie WR Amari Cooper shook off his worst outing of the season and caught seven passes for 115 yards against the Titans. The over is 6-3-2 in Oakland games.

    Carolina at New Orleans: The NFL’s lone undefeated team will look to stay perfect at the Superdome, where they’ve had success where most haven’t over the years. Last season’s game there ended up 41-10, but Drew Brees has been formidable at home this season, throwing 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The Panthers will be the more rested team, having rolled over Dallas last Thursday, but have injury concerns since defensive linemen Star Lotulelei and Mario Addison were each hurt against the Cowboys and corner Peanut Tillman sat out with a nagging knee ailment. Cam Newton gets another look at the league’s worst defense, who he torched for a season-high 315 yards in a 27-22 win back on Sept. 27. Despite not throwing for a touchdown on Thanksgiving, he ran for one and has now accounted for 27 on the season. New defensive coordinator Dennis Allen didn’t have much success in his first game as Rob Ryan’s replacement as the Texans scored 24 points in three quarters before concentrating on running out the clock. Brees failed to throw a TD for the first time in 46 games and the Saints failed to find the end zone for the first time in 156 games, a decade-long span.

    Philadelphia at New England: In spite of a woeful run that has seen them outscored 110-50 in losses to sub-.500 teams Miami, Tampa Bay and Detroit, the Eagles remain just one game behind the NFC East leaders. Head coach Chip Kelly has been rightfully getting crushed over as his Eagles appear to be quitting on the field. The offense has been missing QB Sam Bradford, RB Ryan Mathews and TE Zach Ertz due to concussions and added WR Josh Huff to that list of head injuries against the Lions. The Patriots will be coming off their first loss of the season and may be without TE Rob Gronkowski, who escaped a significant knee injury on Sunday night but will not be ready to play here. WR Danny Amendola may return to aid the offense, but Julian Edelman remains out indefinitely. New England’s defense has been without LB Jamie Collins and saw LB Dont’a Hightower also leave the Broncos loss with a sprained MCL. The Pats have won 24 of 25 home games including the playoffs over the last three years and haven’t lost to Philly since ’99, winning the last three meetings.

    Indianapolis at Pittsburgh: Andrew Luck won’t be ready to return yet, but 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck moved to 4-0 as the Colts starter with another efficient performance in a home win over Tampa Bay. Indy has been better as a result of his quick decision-making, but he’ll likely have to bring his most productive game to the table to keep up with the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger self-reported concussion symptoms late in the loss to Seattle, so he’ll have to get through protocol to try and continue a run of three consecutive 300-yard passing games that raises his tally to five in his seven starts. He threw for 456 yards on a season-high 36 completions, so count on him doing whatever it takes to get back out there in a crucial Sunday night date for both of these 6-5 teams. The Steelers won last year’s meeting – also at Heinz Field – 51-34, as Roethlisberger shattered team records with completions (40), yards (522) and TD passes (6).

    #17702
    admin
    Keymaster

    NFL oddsmakers give red-hot Lions plenty of respect versus Packers
    By Colin Kelly

    A month ago, the Green Bay Packers were the toast of the NFC, and the talent-laden Detroit Lions were a mess.

    Detroit got shellacked at Kansas City 45-10 as a 3-point pup on November 1. But on that same day, in the Sunday night game, Green Bay was dealt its first loss of the year, a 29-10 setback at Denver as a 2.5-point favorite.

    Since then, the Packers have lost three of four games SU and ATS, while the Lions have won all three of their outings SU and ATS, including a stunning 18-16 win catching 10.5 points at Green Bay on November 15. On Thanksgiving Day, both teams played, with Detroit ripping Philadelphia 45-14 as a 3-point home fave and the Pack continuing to slide in a 17-13 home loss giving 7.5 points to Chicago.

    Now, struggling Green Bay (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) heads to surging Detroit (4-7 SU and ATS) Thursday to kick off Week 13. John Lester, senior lines manager for Bookmaker, opened the Packers as 3-point chalk.

    “Through the first two months of the season, we’d be looking to make the Packers double-digit chalk here, but things have changed drastically,” Lester said. “We’ll obviously see a ton of Green Bay money from the betting public, but I’m interested to see where the sharps stand. The Lions have looked more in sync and confident of late, but this will be a hungry Packers bunch.”

    Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports for Wynn Las Vegas, gave Green Bay a little bit more of an edge.

    “The Packers are struggling, and the Lions seem to have found their best stride,” Avello said. “I opened the Packers a 3.5-point favorite, and a lot of it was my gut telling me that both teams need to come back to reality.

    New York Jets at New York Giants (Pick)

    It’s a battle for Big Apple bragging rights, between two teams trying to find some playoff footing.

    The Jets (6-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) rolled past Miami 38-20 Sunday as 4.5-point chalk, ending a two-game SU skid and a four-game ATS slide. The Giants (5-6 SU, 6-4-1 ATS) continued to allow the rest of the NFC to have some semblance of hope, losing to Washington 20-14 giving one point on the road Sunday.

    “The Battle of New York may very well be the demise for one of these teams,” Avello said. “The Giants can afford the loss more, as they’d still only be one win away from claiming the top spot in the NFC East. Eli Manning is so Jekyll and Hyde, it’s difficult for both linemakers and bettors to figure this team out.”

    Lester said the Jets have drawn the early sharp bettors.

    “We’ll see no shortage of action for this huge Week 13 matchup at East Rutherford. It’s a classic tossup game,” he said. “The Jets have a slight edge as far as the power ratings, but we know we’ll be seeing a ton of support from the Giants’ faithful. The early, sharper action has come in on the J-E-T-S.”

    Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (Pick)

    The Vikings continue to surprise the league, cashing for bettors and taking advantage of NFC North rival Green Bay’s slide. Minnesota (8-3 SU, 9-2 ATS) dropped Atlanta 20-10 Sunday as a 2-point road pup, moving to 6-1 SU in its last seven and 9-1 ATS in its last 10.

    The Seahawks (6-5 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) kept themselves afloat in the playoff race by outlasting Pittsburgh 39-30 Sunday, covering as a 3-point home favorite. The two-time defending NFC champs have won four of their last five SU, but got some bad news in Sunday’s win, losing tight end Jimmy Graham for the season with a knee injury.

    “Another game where it will be interesting to see where the bettors take this number,” Lester said. “Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense seem to be coming together at the right time. The Vikings will look to ride Adrian Peterson, but it’s likely that the Seahawks will stack the box and look to force Teddy Bridgewater into more throws than he’s accustomed to making.”

    Avello moved slightly off the pick ‘em line.

    “I opened Seattle a very small road favorite. Not because of their defense that we’ve all been believers in over the past few years, but because of their offensive production and overall experience against a young and still learning Teddy Bridgewater,” he said.

    Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (N/A)

    Indianapolis has managed to stay with Houston atop the AFC North, despite having to start 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck in place of injured Andrew Luck. On Sunday, the Colts (6-5 SU and ATS) topped Tampa Bay 25-12 laying three points at home.

    Pittsburgh (6-5 SU, 6-4-1 ATS), getting three points at Seattle, lost a shootout 39-30. Perhaps worse though, as the Steelers try to stay in the playoff picture, QB Ben Roethlisberger left late in the game with a possible concussion. With his status uncertain, the opening line on this game will have to wait.

    “Ben Roethlisberger was so good this week at Seattle, it will be a shame if he doesn’t play against the Colts on Sunday,” Avello said. “I haven’t seen him that sharp in quite some time.”

    Lester added that it’s almost old hat for the consistently banged-up Roethlisberger this year.

    “It feels like every week, we’re waiting to hear about the status of Ben Roethlisberger, and this week will be no different as he goes through the concussion protocol,” he said. “Big Ben is worth at least a touchdown to the line, so if he isn’t available, it will greatly impact where we set this game. The Colts have come together a bit, but Matt Hasselbeck is going to lose at some point.

    #17704
    admin
    Keymaster

    Football bettors must react quickly to these NFL Week 13 odds
    By AAA SPORTS

    Each week during the pro football season, Art Aronson of AAA Sports looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later and and which total to watch as the week plays out.

    Spread to wait on

    Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills (-3)

    The worm has turned in Houston, where the buzzards had been circling the Texans. Four straight victories, including a signature win at (previously undefeated) Cincinnati, has raised both hope and expectations. But be careful here. Most of Houston’s damage of late has been done at home, and now the Texans are embarking on a road-centric home stretch.

    After this one, the Texans have a home game against the Patriots, who will no doubt be in a foul mood. Then comes a game at Indianapolis that could determine whether this recent run has been a mirage. This line has already moved down half a point, and it might be worthwhile to see if it changes anymore in what figures to be a low-scoring game.

    Total to watch

    New York Jets at New York Giants (45)

    It’s not often that these teams play a game that matters to both, but here we are. The Jets could go to 7-5 and remain in the thick of the AFC wild card scrum with a win, and the Giants need a victory to stay at the top of the NFC East as they hope to launch another improbable Super Bowl march.

    Forty-five is attainable in any game in today’s flag-happy NFL, but both teams should be emphasizing ball control in this one in an attempt to avoid any mistake that might cost a playoff spot. Under has a good chance of cashing Sunday in East Rutherford.

    #17705
    admin
    Keymaster

    Bad calls and terrible games won’t stop you from betting on the NFL
    By Marc Meltzer

    Last year the NFL started to lose its luster for me. The refs, announcers, players, gamblers and people who are just fans started to have no idea what the rules were. It started to become difficult to find the fun watching the games, let alone wager on the games. That trend continues this year as there seems to be more confusion on the rules.

    I started wagering on 5-inning baseball games, in part, because it’s easier and quicker to handicap a game without spending time researching relief bullpens. The volatility in relief pitching is annoying but it’s just bad players that have data to quantify their actual skills. I’d rather not spend my time handicapping bullpens but it’s possible.

    Back to football. It’s not quite as easy to handicap football officials and officiating teams but that might be something to keep in mind for next year. Not allowing obvious catches and touchdowns effects just about every type of wager that’s legal in Las Vegas.

    Following NFL action on Twitter makes more of an impact than ever because everyone is noticing this deficiency. This can be a bit repetitive on a Sunday morning (10 a.m. PT) when there are multiple games on at once. It’s only worse on Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights as there’s only one game on at a time. The bad calls are amplified with no other football on to distract social media.

    The NFL is still growing in popularity despite the poor officiating. More people are watching the games than ever. There’s more money being wagered on the games as well. Daily fantasy sports may be having legal issues but there are more people playing than ever before thanks to football. We’re all sort of addicted to football in some form or another.

    I’m focusing on pro football instead of college football because the situation in pro football will get worse before it gets better and it will be amplified even more in the future. The NFL is trying to add as many standalone games as they can. It wouldn’t be surprising to see four time slots (instead of three) dedicated to NFL games each Sunday in the near future. There will be more 6 a.m. games from Europe in addition to the traditional 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. games (Pacific time again since I live in Las Vegas).

    The NFL makes good money from TV companies by spreading their games out. Thursday night football is a steaming pile of crap and the league has multiple companies bidding for the right to show these games next year.

    It wouldn’t be surprising to see the NFL add another day or two of games in the next 20-30 years. Why not have Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and/or Saturday Night football if TV and internet companies are willing to pay to show them. Sports betting should be legalized nationwide in 20-30 years and we’re willing to watch and wager on NFL games no matter how bad they are.

    The league builds a nice buzz by keeping a handful of games for that early Sunday slot so that may not change. It’s not inconceivable that the league will continue to expand so that they have enough teams to fill more TV time slots while keeping that early Sunday slot buzzing. Maybe the NFL will have better officiating in 20-30 years but do we really care?

    #17829
    admin
    Keymaster

    Tech Trends – Week 13
    By Bruce Marshall

    SAN FRANCISCO at CHICAGO (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Bears are continuing their surge, now 5-1-2 vs. spread last eight on board this season. John Fox Broncos and Bears teams 35-22-1 vs. spread in regular season since 2012. 49ers just 0-5 SU and 1-4 vs. line away TY, now 1-6 vs. number last seven away. SF surprising “over” 4-1 on road this season though 17-10 “under” overall since 2014.

    ♦Tech Edge: Bears, based on recent trends.

    CINCINNATI at CLEVELAND (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    After last Monday vs. Ravens, Browns no covers last five or SU wins last six this season. Cleveland also “over” a surprising 5-1 this season as host. Marvin Lewis has lost and failed to cover 2 of last 3 at Brownies but Cincy is a sparkling 9-1-1 vs. line this season and 13-4-1 last 18 overall vs. spread in regular season.

    ♦Tech Edge: Bengals and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    JACKSONVILLE at TENNESSEE (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Titans have lost 11 straight at home, 3-3 ATS mark at Nissan Stadium this season. Jags a rather remarkable 8-1-1 ATS last 10 in series including recent 19-13 win on Nov. 19 at EverBank Field. Jags are 6-1 ATS their last 7 away from home and have covered four in a row this season. Last four “under” in series and Titans “under” 9-6 last 15 in Nashville.

    ♦Tech Edge: Jags and “under,” based on series and team and “totals” trends.

    HOUSTON at BUFFALO (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Texans have won & covered last four. Defense better lately but Texans still “over” 6-4-1 this season and 7-4-1 last 11 since late 2014. Houston has won and covered last 3 in series dating to 2009. Bills 2-3 vs. line at Ralph Wilson Stadium TY and 4-7 vs. number last 11 as host. Rex Ryan teams 10-15-1 vs. line since 2014.

    ♦Tech Edge: Texans and slight to “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    BALTIMORE at MIAMI (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Into December and the Dolphins have only played three games at Sun Life Stadium! Maybe that’s best because they’re just 1-5 vs. number last six as host. Also “over” 7-4 last 11 at home.

    ♦Tech Edge: Slight to “over,” based on “totals” trends.

    CAROLINA at NEW ORLEANS (FOX, 4:25 p.m. ET)
    Pan-thas 11-0 SU, 9-2 ATS and on 15-0, 11-3-1 ATS run since late 2014! They’ve also covered 7 straight on road. Saints, however, did inflict one of those 2 ATS losses this season and have actually covered two of last three. Carolina 12-2 ATS last 14 at Superdome, Saints 2-8 ATS last 10 as host. Saints “over” 17-10-1 last 27 games.

    ♦Tech Edge: Panthers and “over,” based on series and team and “totals” trends.

    SEATTLE at MINNESOTA (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Seahawks 1-3-1 vs. line away this season, only cover at SF, and just 4-6-1 vs. spread in 2015. Vikings had covered eight in a row prior to recent Green Bay loss. Minnesota also “under” 5-0-1 last six at Gophers Stadium.

    ♦Tech Edge: Vikings and slight to “under,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    ARIZONA at ST. LOUIS (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Big Red 4-2 ATS away this season, and Arians 13-5 ATS last 18 as reg.-season visitor. Arians had won/covered 4 straight from Jeff Fisher prior to 24-22 home loss back on Oct. 4. Arians 28-14-1 ATS in regular-season games since taking over Cards in 2013. Rams no covers last 4 and “under” 8-3 in 2015, though Arizona “over” 8-3 this season.

    ♦Tech Edge: Cards and slight to “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    ATLANTA at TAMPA BAY (FOX, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Falcons no wins last 5 or covers last 7 this season. Bucs 5-2 SU/ATS last seven in 2015. Lovie won in OT at Georgia Dome on Nov. 1. Falcons also “under” 8-2-1 for Dan Quinn TY and 2-11-1 “under” since late 2014. Lovie, however, only 2-3 ATS as host TY and 4-9 vs. spread at Raymond James since last season, compared to his 9-5 ATS road mark.

    ♦Tech Edge: Bucs and slight to “under,” based on recent and “totals” trends.

    N.Y. JETS at N.Y. GIANTS (CBS, 1:00 p.m. ET)
    Eli has covered four of last five this season and is 10-5 last 15 on board since late 2014. Eli also “over” 8-5 last 13 since late 2014. Jets no covers four of last five this season and “over” 7-5 since late 2014.

    ♦Tech Edge: Giants and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    DENVER at SAN DIEGO (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
    Denver has won and covered four straight at Qualcomm. Bolts 4-7 vs. line this season, 6-16 vs. number last 21 since early in the 2014 season. San Diego has also dropped last five vs. spread at home.

    ♦Tech Edge: Broncos, based on team and series trends.

    KANSAS CITY at OAKLAND (CBS, 4:05 p.m. ET)
    Chiefs have won and covered five straight. For most of the past two decades this has been a visitor series, and prior to Chiefs dropping 2 of last 3 in Oakland they had covered 8-0-1 previous nine at Coliseum, and now 15-5 ATS as series visitor since 1995. Raiders no covers last two TY but they are “over” 11-3 last 14 since late 2014.

    ♦Tech edge: Chiefs and “over,” based on series and “totals” trends.

    PHILADELPHIA at NEW ENGLAND (CBS, 4:25 p.m. ET)
    Eagles are a sinking Chip, no wins or covers last three, and Chip Kelly 5-10 ATS last 15 on board. Note Belichick four straight “unders” this season as he reverses long “over” trending, also 3-1-2 ATS at Foxborough this season and 7-2-2 last 11 as host.

    ♦Tech Edge: Patriots and slight to “under,” based on team and recent “totals” trends.

    INDIANAPOLIS at PITTSBURGH (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET)
    Indy turnaround with 6-1 ATS mark last seven this season. Including three straight covers as visitor. Steel only one cover last five this season but must view 2015 marks in context because of injuries and Big Ben availability. Steelers “under” 8-3 this season but note “over” last week, and were “over” 7-2 in nine at Heinz Field until injuries hit TY.

    ♦Tech Edge: Colts and “over,” based on team and “totals” trends.

    #18029
    admin
    Keymaster

    2015 NFL

    Week 13
    Packers (7-4) @ Lions (4-7) — Detroit won its last three games, Green Bay lost four of last five, including first home loss to Detroit since 1991, just 6th win for Lions in last 30 series games. Packers lost 40-10/19-7 in last two visits here; they won 30-13 at Minnesota in only game on carpet this year. Detroit won field position by twelve yards in 18-16 win three weeks ago- neither team ran ball well. Lions held GB to 5.1 ypa. Packers are 3-2 on road, 2-2 as road faves. Detroit allowed 14.3 ppg in winning last three games, after giving up 37.3 ppg in four games before that. Seven of last eight Packer games stayed under total; five of last seven Detroit games went over. NFL-wide, divisional home underdogs are 6-7 vs spread.

    49ers (3-8) @ Bears (5-6) – Chicago won three of last four games, covered six of last eight; they’re 1-4 at home, with only win 22-20 (+3) over Oakland. 49ers lost four of last five games; they’re 1-4 as road underdogs, losing all five games by average of 35-14- four of five went over total. 49ers lost last four visits here, by 6-10-8-31; last SF win in Windy City was an ’88 playoff game. SF scored 10.4 ppg in last five tilts; they’ve run ball for just 63 ypg in two post-bye games- they don’t have a takeaway in last three games (-4). NFC North non-divisional home favorites are 7-2 against spread; NFC West road underdogs are 1-6. Four of last five SF games, three of last four Bear games stayed under total.

    Bengals (9-2) @ Browns (2-9) — Teams split series last three years; Cincinnati (-13) won first meeting 31-10 four weeks ago, one of eight NFL games this year with zero turnovers. Bengals split last eight visits here; they’re 5-1-1 as favorite this season, 1-0 on road. Cincy is 4-1 on road, winning by 20-4-13-6 points. Browns had brutal loss late Monday nite, losing on blocked FG/TD on last play of game; they’ve lost six games in row (0-5 vs spread), McCown is out for year; either Davis/Manziel will start at QB. Cleveland lost last four home games, three by 7 or less points. Last five series games were decided by 10+ points. Over is 8-3 in Cleveland games, 4-1 in last five Bengal games.

    Jaguars (4-7) @ Titans (2-9) — Teams split season series last six years; Jags are 2-5 in last seven visits here, but won 19-13 (-3) in Thursday night game vs Titans two weeks ago- Jags’ only TD drive was five yards. Tennessee lost its last 11 games at home, with three of five home losses this year by 3 or less points- they lost nine of last ten overall (1-4 vs spread in last five). Jax covered four of last five games; their only road loss by more than seven points was in Foxboro. Jaguars are 3-2 as road underdogs this year. Last four series totals were 36 or less. NFL-wide, divisional home favorites are 14-23-2 vs spread. Under is 4-1-1 in last six Titan games; five of last seven Jax games went over.

    Texans (6-5) @ Bills (5-6) — Houston won last four games, allowing 8.8 ppg; they’re tied for 1st in division, would be Wild Card if playoffs started today. Texans gave up two TDs on last 46 drives; they’re 2-3 as road underdogs. Bills lost three of last four home games; they’re 1-2 as home faves. Houston won last three series games, by 21-12-6 points; they won two of last three visits here. Texans have yet to run ball for 100+ yards on road; they outscored last five foes 67-20 in second half. AFC East non-divisional home favorites are 5-3-1 vs spread; AFC South underdogs are 11-8 vs spread, 6-5 on road. Last four Houston games stayed under total; four of last six Buffalo games went over.

    Ravens (4-7) @ Dolphins (4-7) — In last two games, Miami ran ball 23 times for just 82 yards; offensive coordinator got fired Monday- expect them to run ball more in this game. Baltimore allowed only 81.5 rushing ypg in last four games. Dolphins lost four of last five games, are 1-2 at home- they were outgained by 100 ypg in last three games. Ravens won three of last four games after scoring TD on blocked FG for walk-off win late Monday nite; they’re 2-4 on road, the other win coming in OT at Pittsburgh. Favorites are 2-3 vs spread week after playing Jets; dogs are 2-0 the week after playing Cleveland. AFC East non-divisional home favorites are 5-3-1 vs spread; AFC North road dogs are 5-5-1.

    Panthers (11-0) @ Saints (4-7) — Carolina won five of last seven games against New Orleans, beating Saints 27-22 (-10) at home in Week 3, Panthers averaged 9.8 ypa in that game. Carolina won two of last three visits here, with last four totals 44+ here. Saints lost last three games, allowing 35 ppg; they were outscored 47-7 in second half of those games- firing their DC didn’t help in 24-6 loss at Houston last week, Texans ran ball for 165 yards. Carolina is last unbeaten team; they covered seven of last eight games. Four of Panthers’ five road wins are by 11+ points. Over is 7-2 in last nine Carolina games, 5-2 in last five Saint games. New Orleans split last four home games, despite scoring 32.8 ppg- last three at home went over.

    Seahawks (6-5) @ Vikings (8-3) — Seattle has led in 4th quarter of every game this year; they’re on road for first time in five weeks- three of its five road games (2-3) were decided by 3 or less points. Minnesota won six of last seven games, covered nine of last ten; they’re 4-1 at home, losing last home game to Packers. Vikes are 7-0 when allowing less than 20 points; Seattle scored 21 ppg in first five road games. Seahawks didn’t allow TD in its last two road games. Teams are 3-6 the week after playing Atlanta. NFC North non-divisional home teams are 9-5 against the spread; NFC West road teams are 4-9. Five of last seven Seattle games went over the total; under is 3-0-1 in last four Viking games. 11 of 13 series totals were 44+.

    Cardinals (9-2) @ Rams (4-7) — Arizona was -3 in turnovers in both its losses, one of which was 24-22 (-6.5) at home to Rams in Week 4, Rams ran ball for 164 yards, were outgained 447-328 n their first win over Cards in last four tries- Arizona lost two of last three visits here. Wheels fell off for Rams, losing four in row, scoring an average of 12.8 ppg- they’ve got five TDs on last 52 drives, turned ball over seven times on 25 drives last two games. St Louis is 2-5 as a dog, 1-1 at home- they’re 3-2 SU at home. Redbirds won last five games, last three by 7 or less points; Arizona is just 13-43 on third down in last three series games. Three of last four Cardinal tilts went over the total; six of last seven Ram games stayed under.

    Falcons (6-5) @ Buccaneers (5-6) — Atlanta outgained Bucs 496-290 in first meeting, but was -4 in turnovers in 22-20 (-7) loss in Week 8; Falcons lost five of its last six games after a 5-0 start- Ryan has thrown huge INTs in last two games. Falcons are 2-2 in last four visits here- they scored 26 points (two TDs/21 drives) in two games on natural grass. Tampa is 4-1 when it allows 20 or less points; they’re 2-3 at home, winning two of last three. Bucs are 16-29 on third down last two games. Teams are 2-6-2 vs spread week after playing Indy, 3-7 after playing Minnesota. Seven of last eight series totals were 43+; last five Atlanta games stayed under total. Atlanta has turned ball over 19 times in its last seven games (-10).

    NJ Jets (6-5) @ NJ Giants (5-6) — Both sides call this stadium home; technically this is Giants home game, but I’m quoting home stats both ways here. Giants won last five series games, with four of five wins by 7+ points- average total last four series games, 57.5. Jets are +14 in turnovers in their six wins, -13 in five losses; they’re 4-2 in Swamp this year- they covered one of last five games. Giants are tied for first in NFC East despite being 5-6; red flag was going 2-3 in five-game stretch where they were + in turnovers all five games. Big Blue won three of last four home tilts. AFC East teams are 12-13-1 vs spread outside its division; NFC East teams are 9-17. Five of last seven Jet games went over total.

    Broncos (9-2) @ Chargers (3-8) — Denver is 2-0 with Osweiler starting, winning at Chicago 17-15 in his first road start; Broncos won seven of last eight series games, with wins by 7-14-12 points in last three. Denver won last four visits here. Chargers snapped 6-game skid last week; they lost last four home games, are 1-5 vs spread at home and was down 21-0 in game they covered. San Diego scored 30+ points in all three of its wins; they’re 2-6 vs spread in its losses- they’re 3-3 as an underdog. Broncos ran ball for 170-179 yards in last two games; they averaged 86 ypg before that. Eight of last 11 series totals were 47+. Teams are 3-5 week after playing New England. Three of last four San Diego home games stayed under total.

    Chiefs (6-5) @ Raiders (5-6) — KC won/covered last five games, running ball for 152.2 ypg after starting season 1-5, but Chiefs had major injury issues on OL last week, not sure how healthy they’ll be here. Chiefs are 3-1 vs Oakland in Reid era, with wins all by 17+; they lost two of last three visits here, after winning eight in row at Oakland before that. Raiders snapped 3-game skid in Nashville LW; they’re 5-2 vs spread as underdogs this year. Teams are 3-6 SU week after playing Titans and were favored in seven of nine games. Favorites are 1-5 vs spread week after playing Buffalo. Chiefs were + in turnovers seven games in row- they’re +14 in turnovers their last five games.

    Eagles (4-7) @ Patriots (10-1) — Philly allowed 951 TY, 90 points in last couple games, giving up 11 TDs, five FGA on 21 drives. Pats lost first game LW, lost Gronkowski; Brady’s three best targets are out here. NE won last four series games, scoring 31+ in three of the four. Eagles lost last three games, scoring 16.7 ppg; they’re 1-2 as underdogs this year- Bradford is expected back at QB, not sure that is a help. Patriots are 3-0-3 as home favorite this year, 0-2-1 vs spread in last three overall. NFC East non-divisional road dogs are 2-7 vs spread; AFC home favorites are 5-3-1. Four of last five Patriot games stayed under total; three of last four Eagle games went over.

    Colts (6-5) @ Steelers (6-5) — Indy is 4-0 when 40-year old backup Hasselbeck starts; they won last three games, covered last four- they’re 5-0 vs spread as an underdog this year, but are 3-16 in last 19 games vs Steelers, losing 13 of last 15 visits here, winning in ’68/’08. Pitt whacked Indy 51-34 LY. Steelers are 2-3 (1-4 vs spread) in last five games; they’re 2-1 as home faves. Pitt scored 30+ points in last three games; Big Ben had concussion late in game LW but is expected to play here. AFC North non-divisional home favorites are 6-4 vs spread; AFC South underdogs are 11-8, 6-5 on road. Seven of last nine Pitt games stayed under total.

    #18034
    admin
    Keymaster

    NFL Football Betting Trends – Sunday – Dec, 6

    San Francisco at Chicago, 1:00 ET
    San Francisco: 0-6 ATS after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse
    Chicago: 6-0 ATS off 1 or more consecutive unders

    Cincinnati at Cleveland, 1:00 ET
    Cincinnati: 7-1 ATS against conference opponents
    Cleveland: 0-6 ATS after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better

    Jacksonville at Tennessee, 1:00 ET
    Jacksonville: 11-3 OVER in road games in games played on a grass field
    Tennessee: 1-10 ATS off a home loss

    Houston at Buffalo, 1:00 ET
    Houston: 1-4 ATS as a road underdog of 3 points or less
    Buffalo: 8-2 ATS off a road loss

    Baltimore at Miami, 1:00 ET
    Baltimore: 42-25 ATS in road games after having won 2 out of their last 3
    Miami: 0-6 ATS after allowing 35 points or more last game

    Carolina at New Orleans, 4:25 ET
    Carolina: 10-2 ATS off a road win
    New Orleans: 28-50 ATS in home games versus division opponents

    Seattle at Minnesota, 1:00 ET
    Seattle: 12-3 UNDER after scoring 25 points or more in 3 straight games
    Minnesota: 8-1 ATS off 1 or more consecutive unders

    Arizona at St Louis, 1:00 ET
    Arizona: 22-10 ATS against conference opponents
    St Louis: 75-102 ATS after 1 or more consecutive losses

    Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 1:00 ET
    Atlanta: 0-6 ATS after 1 or more consecutive losses against the spread
    Tampa Bay: 58-38 UNDER as a home favorite of 7 points or less

    NY Jets at NY Giants, 1:00 ET
    New York: 0-6 ATS off 2 or more consecutive overs
    New York: 19-7 ATS against AFC East division opponents

    Denver at San Diego, 4:05 ET
    Denver: 8-0 ATS in road games versus division opponents
    San Diego: 1-9 ATS in home games after the first month of the season

    Kansas City at Oakland, 4:05 ET
    Kansas City: 35-19 UNDER after 3 or more consecutive wins
    Oakland: 9-21 ATS as a home underdog of 3 points or less

    Philadelphia at New England, 4:25 ET
    Philadelphia: 8-1 OVER off a road loss
    New England: 7-0 ATS off a road loss

    Indianapolis at Pittsburgh, 8:30 ET
    Indianapolis: 33-55 ATS after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in 2 games
    Pittsburgh: 8-1 ATS after allowing 30 points or more last game

    #18200
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

    The New York Giants have enjoyed bragging rights in the Metropolitan area for quite some time, with two Super Bowl titles in a recent five-year span settling any would-be dispute. With little to crow about after dropping two straight games, the Giants look to regain their swagger on Sunday afternoon when they “host” the rival New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

    “This is the next game and an important one, not just because it’s Giants versus Jets and both teams share a stadium in the same city and everything,” Eli Manning told reporters. “But it’s important because of what it means for our playoff hunt.” While the Giants find themselves tied with Washington atop the less-than-impressive NFC East, the Jets are in the thick of the wild-card logjam following a 38-20 victory over AFC East foe Miami last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick tossed two of his season-high four touchdown passes to former Dolphin Brandon Marshall, who leads the team with 71 receptions, 931 yards and nine scores.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE: Jets -2.5. O/U: 45

    ABOUT THE JETS (6-5): Wideout Eric Decker had a touchdown pass last week, marking his eighth in 10 starts this season. Chris Ivory recorded his third score in four weeks with a 31-yard scamper to seal the win last week and faces a Giants’ rushing defense that is yielding 100.5 yards per contest (4.1 yards per carry). On the other side of the ball, the top-ranked Jets’ rush defense set a franchise record by limiting the Dolphins to just 12 yards on the ground last week and faces a Giants’ rushing attack that is 28th in the league.

    ABOUT THE GIANTS (5-6): Manning isn’t shy about leaning on Odell Beckham Jr., who was targeted a staggering 18 times in New York’s 20-14 setback to the Redskins last week. Beckham had nine catches for a 142 yards and a touchdown to continue his torrid stretch and the second-year star is expected to miss Darrelle Revis, as the cornerback is likely to skip his second straight game due to a concussion. “Just got to move on,” Beckham said of missing out on the matchup. “We’ve still got to play the Jets. It would have been fun to go against a guy like that, and it’s unfortunate that he’s not playing, but maybe we’ll get that matchup down the road. We’re still focused on playing the Jets. This is a game we need to win.”

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. The Giants are tied with Atlanta for the fewest sacks (12) on the season.

    2. Jets CB Marcus Williams, who replaced Revis in the lineup week, is nursing a sprained knee and has yet to practice this week.

    3. Giants S Nat Berhe revealed on Twitter that he lost a cousin in Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.

    PREDICTION: Jets 24, Giants 20

    #18201
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Arizona at St. Louis

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

    Impressive victories over Arizona and Seattle were part of a 4-3 start for the St. Louis Rams, who then fell off with a four-game losing streak. The Cardinals will try to gain some revenge for that Week 4 loss and solidify their position in the NFC postseason picture when they visit the Rams on Sunday.

    St. Louis made the switch to Case Keenum at quarterback in an effort to boost the offense, but he went down with a concussion in his first start at Baltimore on Nov. 22 and still is in the concussion protocol. “He’s feeling better, feeling good, but he’s not completely cleared,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters. “We’re just evaluating him. All the tests with the neurologists, things are OK, but it’s just about him feeling 100 percent.” The Cardinals have no issues at quarterback with Carson Palmer, who enters the week third in the NFL in passing yards (3,337) and second in touchdowns (27). Palmer could be under even more pressure with running backs Chris Johnson (leg) and Andre Ellington (toe) sidelined.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE: Cardinals -6. O/U: 43

    ABOUT THE CARDINALS (9-2): Arizona owns a three-game lead in the NFC West and a one-game edge over Minnesota (8-3) for the No. 2 spot in the NFC behind undefeated Carolina. Rookie running back David Johnson is expected to take over for Chris Johnson and Ellington as the team’s top option in the backfield, and the team doesn’t expect much drop off. “I think running back is one of the easier ones (to replace),” coach Bruce Arians told reporters. “Now it’s different to replace Adrian Peterson, or a couple of guys like that. Chris was having a heck of a year, but David, given those same number of touches, I don’t think would be far behind that.”

    ABOUT THE RAMS (4-7): St. Louis will turn back to Nick Foles at quarterback and hope Keenum is well enough to serve as the backup on Sunday. Foles lost the job while managing two TD passes and five interceptions in five games and picked up right where he left off with no TDs and three INTs while replacing Keenum in a 31-7 loss at Cincinnati last week. Foles’ best performance of the season came in Week 4 at Arizona, when he went 16-of-24 for 171 yards, three TDs and no picks in a 24-22 victory.

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Cardinals WRs Larry Fitzgerald (ankle) and John Brown (hamstring) are questionable while Michael Floyd (hamstring) is probable.

    2. St. Louis RB Todd Gurley ran for 106 of his 146 yards in the fourth quarter of the Week 4 meeting.

    3. Palmer needs three TD passes to tie Kurt Warner’s franchise record of 30.

    PREDICTION: Cardinals 40, Rams 13

    #18202
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Atlanta at Tampa Bay

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

    While the Atlanta Falcons slowly have been slipping in the NFC playoff picture, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been clawing their way back into it. They’ll both try to improve their chances with a key divisional victory when the Buccaneers host the Falcons on Sunday.

    The Falcons kept pace with Carolina in the NFC South for a month, winning their first five games and six of their first seven before enduring a four-game skid that prompted a players-only meeting on Monday. “I think that’s a good part of a team, to have good, solid leadership, guys that voice stuff to get it all going in the same direction,” quarterback Matt Ryan told reporters. “To me, that’s the key – for all of us to be on the same page and be moving in the same direction, and we are.” Atlanta’s losing streak began with a 23-20 overtime loss at home against Tampa Bay in Week 8, starting a string of three wins in five games for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay had its two-game winning streak snapped with a 25-12 loss at Indianapolis last week but is just one game behind Atlanta and Seattle for the second wild card.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE: Buccaneers -1. O/U: 46

    ABOUT THE FALCONS (6-5): Atlanta’s offensive production dropped off dramatically after the 5-0 start, and turnovers have been a major reason with 19 in the last seven games. Ryan has thrown five interceptions in his last two contests and finished with a season-low 230 passing yards to go with two picks in last week’s 20-10 loss to Minnesota. The Falcons have been decent defensively but were gashed for a season-high 191 rushing yards last week and have allowed over 100 on the ground in three of their last four games.

    ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (5-6): Tampa Bay has taken much better care of the ball of late, as rookie quarterback Jameis Winston has shown dramatic improvement. Winston has thrown three interceptions in his last seven games after being picked off seven times in his first four contests, and Doug Martin (1,038 yards, three touchdowns) has helped take the pressure off him. The Bucs’ defense has been inconsistent but has shown flashes of brilliance against the run, holding four opponents to 55 yards or fewer on the ground.

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) is expected to play after missing last week’s game.

    2. The Bucs had recorded at least one turnover in every game before being held without a takeaway last week at Indianapolis.

    3. Atlanta WR Julio Jones, who leads the NFL in catches (94) and receiving yards (1,245) has 29 receptions for 442 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games against Tampa Bay.

    PREDICTION: Falcons 23, Buccaneers 20

    #18203
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Seattle at Minnesota

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    The Minnesota Vikings have taken advantage of the Green Bay Packers’ struggles to jump on top of the NFC North while the Seattle Seahawks are sneaking into the wild-card race. Both teams will be trying to hold on to those precarious positions when the Seahawks visit the Vikings on Sunday.

    The Vikings are one-half game ahead of the Packers in the North but lost the first head-to-head meeting and has a brutal closing stretch that includes trips to Arizona and Green Bay on top of visits from the Seahawks, Chicago and New York Giants. “We’re kind of just trying to get one week at a time and worry about that,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer told reporters. “I haven’t really reflected on (our record) too much, to be honest with you.” Minnesota did Seattle a favor last week by beating the Falcons (6-5), who dropped behind the Seahawks in the wild-card standings due to a better winning percentage against conference opponents. Seattle is coming off its most impressive offensive performance of the season in a 39-30 win over Pittsburgh last week but lost starting tight end Jimmy Graham to a season-ending knee injury in the process.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE: PK. O/U: 42

    ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (6-5): Graham, who was acquired from New Orleans in an offseason trade and has struggled to adapt to Seattle’s passing game, underwent surgery on a torn patellar tendon on Wednesday and will be out until training camp. “Obviously, you lose one of the best playmakers in football, period,” quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters. “You think about Jimmy Graham and what he brings to the table. His fire, his passion to the game, his ability to make catches.” Wilson, who was voted Air Player of the Week at NFL.com after throwing for 345 yards and a career-high five TDs against the Steelers, will target Luke Wilson at the tight end spot the rest of the way.

    ABOUT THE VIKINGS (8-3): Minnesota enters the week second in the NFL in points allowed (17.6) and leading the league in rushing yards (146.4) behind Adrian Peterson, who was named FedEX Ground Player of the Week after going for 158 yards and a pair of scores in last week’s 20-10 win over the Falcons. Peterson also was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for November and leads the NFL with 1,164 yards on the ground. “It really is about the team,” Zimmer told reporters in reference to Peterson’s success. “I’ve always preached the team and I know they’re not always getting all the catches that they want to get, but they understand we’re pretty good running the football, and they’re a part of it as well.”

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin has recorded 339 receiving yards and four TDs in his last three games.

    2. Minnesota DT Linval Joseph (foot) missed practice this week and is questionable.

    3. Seattle RB Thomas Rawls totaled 290 yards and two TDs in the last two games.

    PREDICTION: Seahawks 24, Vikings 17

    #18204
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Houston at Buffalo

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

    With his team’s playoff hopes on life support, Rex Ryan still believes that the Buffalo Bills are capable of running the table to earn a postseason berth. The Bills, battered and bruised on defense, host the surging Houston Texans on Sunday with “no room for error,” according to Ryan.

    Ryan told reporters this week that he still feels the Bills can play with anyone and their best game is ahead of them. Time, however, is running out for Buffalo, which may be further short-handed against the Texans, as defensive end Mario Williams remains questionable with a foot injury and Kyle Williams was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Houston has won four straight and remains tied atop the AFC South Division with Indianapolis. Led by All-Pro J.J. Watt, who leads the league with 13.5 sacks, the Texans have allowed just two touchdowns in their last 18 quarters.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE: Bills -3. O/U: 41.5

    ABOUT THE TEXANS (6-5): With a crucial game against the Colts looming, Houston controls its own playoff destiny but also has little room for error. Watt missed multiple practices during the week with a groin injury but said he will play against the Bills, who dropped a 23-17 decision at the Texans last season. Houston’s recent surge has vaulted it to sixth in the NFL in total defense and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is listed as probable with a sore hamstring, ranks third with 1,081 yards receiving.

    ABOUT THE BILLS (5-6): Buffalo is coming off road losses at New England and Kansas City, and Ryan’s defense has plummeted to 19th in the league in yards per game. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor (questionable) continues to nurse a shoulder injury but is expected to start after throwing three touchdown passes for the third time this season in last week’s 30-22 setback at Kansas City. LeSean McCoy has been impressive in the second half of the season, going over 100 all-purpose yards in five straight games, but backup Karlos Williams left last week with a shoulder injury and remains questionable.

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Texans RB Alfred Blue, who rushed for 77 yards and a score in last week’s win over the Saints, was limited in practice with a back injury and is questionable.

    2. Defensive lineman Alex Carrington, who was filling in for Kyle Williams, sustained a season-ending left quadriceps injury last week.

    3. The Bills had a league-high 54 sacks last season but have just 16 this year, tied for 29th in the league.

    PREDICTION: Bills 27, Texans 16

    #18205
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Baltimore at Miami

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

    After keeping their flickering postseason hopes alive with a last-second victory, the visiting Baltimore Ravens look to post their third straight win at the expense of the floundering Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Safety Will Hill scampered 64 yards to return a blocked field goal for a touchdown as time expired in Baltimore’s 33-27 triumph over AFC North-rival Cleveland on Monday.

    “December football is when football matters, and we’re relevant in December,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who owns a perfect 5-0 record versus the Dolphins. “That’s what we needed to be.” Although it shares the same 4-7 mark as Baltimore, Miami hasn’t shown much fight lately with losses in two straight and four of its last five. Ryan Tannehill threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns in Miami’s 38-20 setback to the AFC East-rival New York Jets last Sunday, with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor being relieved of his duties the following day.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE: Dolphins -4. O/U: 43.5

    ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-7): Veteran Matt Schaub threw two touchdowns versus the Browns in his first start in place of injured quarterback Joe Flacco (knee). Wideout Kamar Aiken has also stepped up in lieu of the season-ending injury to Steve Smith Sr., reeling in 24 receptions and two touchdowns on 38 targets in November. Javorius “Buck” Allen rolled up 55 yards on 12 carries in his first career start on Monday and faces Miami’s 32nd-ranked rush defense.

    ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-7): While wideout Jarvis Landry has been Tannehill’s most frequent target, rookie DeVante Parker is expected to be under the microscope for the final few games of the season. The 14th overall pick of the 2015 draft, Parker had four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown last week and should see additional playing time with Rishard Matthews nursing cracked ribs. “I think it’s irrelevant whether (Parker) is ready or not; he’s going to have to,” Miami interim head coach Dan Campbell told reporters. “I mean, it’s time for him to step up and take on a bigger role.”

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Miami RB Lamar Miller was once again a forgotten man last week with just two yards on five carries.

    2. Baltimore is the first team in NFL history to see its initial 11 games of a season decided by eight points or fewer.

    3. Dolphins QB coach Zac Taylor will assume the play-calling duties in place of the departed Lazor.

    PREDICTION: Dolphins 21, Ravens 17

    #18206
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Cincinnati at Cleveland

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

    The Cincinnati Bengals have their eyes focused on clinching their fifth consecutive postseason berth while the Cleveland Browns are finding new and creative ways to lose games. The AFC North-leading Bengals would love nothing more than to add to their Buckeye State rival’s misery on Sunday by completing a season sweep and handing the host Browns their seventh straight setback.

    “Our goals are bigger than (just making the postseason),” said quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw three touchdown passes in Cincinnati’s 31-7 victory over St. Louis last week and did the same in a 31-10 rout of Cleveland on Nov. 5. “The nice thing is that we’ve put ourselves in position where we can start handling that stuff as the season goes along. But our focus is getting this win right now, and that will set us up better for the end of the season.” Cleveland will need to find its focus after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on Monday, courtesy of a blocked field goal attempt which led to a touchdown as time expired in a 33-27 loss to Baltimore. “Tough one to wrap your brain around,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.

    LINE: Bengals -9.5. O/U: 43.5

    ABOUT THE BENGALS (9-2): Tyler Eifert, who is listed as questionable for Sunday’s tilt, has yet to practice this week after receiving a stinger in his neck versus the Rams. The tight end torched the Browns in the previous meeting last month by reeling in three of his NFL-leading 12 touchdown receptions. Running back Jeremy Hill rolled up a season-high 86 yards last week and could improve on that total when he faces Cleveland’s 31st-ranked rush defense.

    ABOUT THE BROWNS (2-9): The quarterback carousel made yet another turn this week as Pettine announced that Austin Davis will be the 24th starter for the club since 1999. “He deserves this opportunity,” Pettine said of the 26-year-old Davis, who gets the nod after Josh McCown broke his right collarbone on Monday while former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel tries to escape the doghouse. Davis completed 7-of-10 passes for 77 yards on Monday, with six completions in as many attempts on Cleveland’s scoring drive.

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Cincinnati is attempting to win 10 of its first 12 games in a season for the first time since 1975.

    2. Cleveland has dropped 14 of its last 16 dating to last season.

    3. The Bengals have won 16 of the last 22 meetings with the Browns.

    PREDICTION: Bengals 27, Browns 10

    #18207
    admin
    Keymaster

    Preview: Jacksonville at Tennessee

    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 6, 2015

    Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

    Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans look to rebound from another difficult loss and win for the first time at home when they face the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Jaguars edged the Titans 19-13 just two weeks ago.

    Tennessee is 0-6 at home on the season and has lost 11 straight at the not-so-friendly confines in Nashville. The Titans’ last home win was a 16-13 decision over the Jaguars in Week 6 of last season. Jacksonville is coming off a 31-25 home loss against the San Diego Chargers, a setback that dropped them two games back of AFC South Division co-leaders Indianapolis and Houston. Defense continues to be the downfall of the Jaguars, who rank 29th in the league in scoring, allowing 27.2 points a game.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS.

    LINE: Titans -2.5. O/U: 43.

    ABOUT THE JAGUARS (4-7): The Jaguars, just 1-4 on the road, are paced by quarterback Blake Bortles, who has thrown 22 touchdowns but 13 often-costly interceptions. Tight end Julius Thomas had his best game of the season in last week’s loss to the Chargers, hauling in nine catches for 116 yards and a touchdown and could see even more targets if wide receiver Allen Hurns is unable to go. Hurns suffered a concussion last week and was carted off the field. The second-year receiver out of Miami, who has seven touchdowns, is unlikely to play.

    ABOUT THE TITANS (2-9): Mariota threw three of his 16 touchdown passes in last week’s loss to the Raiders, a game which the Titans seemed to have secured until a defensive holding call on a fourth-down play extended Oakland’s game-winning drive. Five of Tennessee’s losses have come by less than a touchdown, including Week 11 when Jacksonville scored 10 points in the final 3:30 to rally for the win. Top receiver Kendall Wright is expected to return this week for the Titans, who average 18.5 points (30th in the league) and look for Mariota to become more a running threat after they gained just 44 yards on the ground last week.

    EXTRA POINTS

    1. Titans RB Dexter McCluster missed the past two weeks with a shoulder injury and remains questionable.

    2. Antonio Andrews led Tennessee with 32 yards rushing last week and has 118 yards on 37 carries in his last three starts.

    3. Bortles has thrown a touchdown pass in every game and an interception in nine of them.

    PREDICTION: Jaguars 28, Titans 24

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