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NFL 'Week 17' • Previews, Articles, Info. • Sunday 1/3/16

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    NFL Football Betting Trends – Sunday – Jan, 3

    NY Jets at Buffalo, 1:00 ET
    New York: 19-7 ATS in road games revenging a same season loss against opponent
    Buffalo: 12-4 UNDER as an underdog

    Tampa Bay at Carolina, 4:25 ET
    Tampa Bay: 35-16 UNDER revenging a loss against opponent by 14 points or more
    Carolina: 8-2 ATS in games played on a grass field

    New England at Miami, 1:00 ET
    New England: 8-1 ATS off 2 or more consecutive overs
    Miami: 2-8 ATS as an underdog

    Baltimore at Cincinnati, 1:00 ET
    Baltimore: 26-11 UNDER in the last 2 weeks of the regular season
    Cincinnati: 8-2 ATS as a favorite

    New Orleans at Atlanta, 1:00 ET
    New Orleans: 62-41 OVER after scoring 30 points or more last game
    Atlanta: 0-6 ATS off a win against a division rival

    Jacksonville at Houston, 1:00 ET
    Jacksonville: 9-6 ATS versus division opponents
    Houston: 1-6 ATS after scoring 30 points or more last game

    Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 1:00 ET
    Pittsburgh: 96-67 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5
    Cleveland: 21-39 ATS after failing to cover the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6

    Oakland at Kansas City, 4:25 ET
    Oakland: 29-54 ATS in the last 4 weeks of the regular season
    Kansas City: 13-2 ATS off 1 or more consecutive unders

    Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1:00 ET
    Tennessee: 3-10 ATS revenging a loss against opponent
    Indianapolis: 6-1 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in 2 straight games

    Washington at Dallas, 1:00 ET
    Washington: 5-3 ATS off an upset win by 14 points or more as a road underdog
    Dallas: 1-5 ATS after having lost 5 or 6 out of their last 7 games

    Detroit at Chicago, 1:00 ET
    Detroit: 5-16 ATS off 1 or more straight overs
    Chicago: 73-48 OVER as a home favorite

    Philadelphia at NY Giants, 1:00 ET
    Philadelphia: 11-2 OVER after 1 or more consecutive losses
    New York: 19-8 ATS revenging a loss where team scored less than 9 points

    Minnesota at Green Bay, 8:30 ET
    Minnesota: 11-3 ATS in all games where the total is between 42.5 and 49
    Green Bay: 35-18 OVER after a loss by 10 or more points

    San Diego at Denver, 4:25 ET
    San Diego: 81-57 ATS as a road underdog
    Denver: 9-21 ATS at home after gaining 375 or more total yards in 2 games

    St Louis at San Francisco, 4:25 ET
    St Louis: 0-7 ATS in road games off a division game
    San Francisco: 6-0 UNDER in home games after a loss by 14 or more points

    Seattle at Arizona, 4:25 ET
    Seattle: 7-0 ATS after having won 4 out of their last 5 games
    Arizona: 9-22 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in 2 straight games


    Packers open as 3-point home faves versus Vikings with NFC North title on the line
    By Colin Kelly

    We’ve finally hit the last week of the regular season in the NFL, and with a host of games holding playoff ramifications, no less. Perhaps the most intriguing matchup will take place on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, between NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota.

    Both teams have already punched their postseason tickets. But the winner of this game wins the division, which comes with the No. 3 seed and a home game in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Both teams also enter this game following Week 16 blowouts, though they were on opposite sides of those results.

    Green Bay (10-5 SU, 9-6 SU) went to Arizona as a 6-point underdog and got waxed by the Cardinals 38-8 Sunday. The loss halted a 4-1 SU and ATS surge by the Packers, including 3-0 SU and ATS in their previous three games.

    On the flip side, in the Sunday night game, Minnesota manhandled a New York Giants squad that already knew it had nothing to play for, due to the Washington Redskins’ victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. The Vikings (10-5 SU, 12-3 ATS), with the second-best spread-covering record in the league, plowed to a 49-17 home victory laying 7 points.

    The Packers and Vikings met Nov. 22 in Minnesota, with the Pack rolling 30-13 as 1-point pups, the win that started Green Bay’s 4-1 SU and ATS streak. John Lester, senior lines manager for, had to hold off on posting a line, waiting to see how Minnesota comes out of the Sunday night game injury-wise, but he expects Green Bay to be a solid home favorite.

    “A division title will be on the line, so we’re in for a great Week 17 bout,” Lester said. “The first matchup was completely one-sided, as the Vikings got behind big early, and they aren’t a team that is built to win from behind. But quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has really looked like a more confident player over the past couple of weeks. If everything goes accordingly Sunday night, the Packers will open around touchdown chalk.”

    Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports for Wynn Las Vegas, was seeing things tighter than that.

    “I thought about opening this line at 5 or so, but the way Green Bay played against Arizona, and with the Packers having only two quality wins all year, I’ll settle around 3 points,” Avello said. “The Vikings haven’t beat the Pack in their last five meetings, but this one has more meaning than the last five combined.”

    Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-4)

    Arizona (13-2 SU, 9-6 ATS) is already guaranteed no worse than the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye. But if somehow Tampa Bay beats Carolina in an early game next Sunday, the Cards could get the top seed by winning their late afternoon game against Seattle.

    The Cardinals drubbed Green Bay 38-8 Sunday as 6-point home chalk for their ninth consecutive SU victory (5-4 ATS).

    Seattle (9-6 SU, 7-7-1 ATS), locked into a wild-card playoff spot, was a hefty 11.5-point home fave Sunday against St. Louis, but couldn’t find a way to win, let alone cover. The Seahawks trailed 16-0 in the second quarter and ultimately lost 23-17.

    Back in mid-November, Arizona went to Seattle as a 3-point pup and held on for a 39-32 outright victory.

    “In meeting No. 1 this year, the Cards showed confidence as they jumped out to a big lead, fell behind and then rallied for the victory,” Avello said. “There’s a changing of the guard in the NFC West, and the ‘Hawks need to play flawless to win in the desert.”

    Lester pointed out that, should Carolina win, Arizona has nothing to play for.

    “There was some discussion among our team to make the Cardinals a bit higher favorite, but considering there’s a chance they could sit some personnel, we settled on -4,” Lester said. “Seattle is also already in the second season and could do the same, but we aren’t anticipating that. Early money came in on the underdog, and we moved to -3 within the first half hour.”

    Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)

    Now that Carolina has lost, Kansas City is tied with Arizona for the longest active winning streak in the NFL. The Chiefs (10-5 SU, 8-7 ATS) started out 1-5 SU and ATS, but they haven’t lost since. On Sunday, they won their ninth in a row (7-2 ATS) fending off Cleveland 17-13, though K.C. fell well short at the betting window as an 11.5-point home fave.

    The Chiefs have locked up at least a wild-card bid, but could still catch or even overtake Denver and win the AFC West.

    Oakland (7-8 SU and ATS) has been hit-and-miss all season, but is still far better than last year’s squad, which dropped its first 10 games en route to a 3-13 SU mark. On Thursday night, the Raiders squeaked by San Diego 23-20 in overtime, just short of cashing as a 4-point fave.

    “Even though the Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth, we don’t think they’ll be diverting from the norm in Week 17, especially considering their norm is vanilla,” Lester said. “The Raiders have been a popular play among the public recently, and this spread will probably shift south at some point. I’d be hard-pressed to bet against K.C. at the moment, with the way that defense is playing.”

    Indeed, during their current run, the Chiefs have held seven opponents to 14 points or less. But Avello expects a game effort from Oakland.

    “Unlike season-ending games where teams have nothing to play for and just want to call it a year, the Raiders will not be experimenting and will bring the entire arsenal,” he said. “A 6- to 7-point spread should be about right here, with K.C.’s home-field advantage.”

    San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

    If Denver (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS) doesn’t take care of business tonight at home against Cincinnati, it could be fighting for its playoff life against the Chargers. Recent performances certainly don’t bode well for the Broncos, who lost at home to Oakland in an uninspired Week 14 performance, then blew a 27-13 halftime lead at Pittsburgh in Week 15, losing 34-27 as 7.5-point pups.

    San Diego (4-11 SU, 7-8 ATS) has a record that could easily be far better. The Chargers have lost seven games by a touchdown or less, including four by four points or less. That included last Thursday night’s 23-20 overtime setback catching 4 points at Oakland.

    With Denver in the Monday nighter to cap Week 16, the line will have to wait on this contest. And there’s a chance that Peyton Manning might return for the regular-season finale, too.

    “The Chargers have quietly been playing good ball the last couple of weeks, actually all year to some extent, but they don’t get any respect from the betting public,” Lester said. “We’ll have to be generous with the Denver side for this afternoon affair.”

    Added Avello: “This one might or might not mean a thing, depending on Denver’s Monday night outcome. Denver’s offense has relied on its defense all year, and that defense is now starting to show signs of wear and tear.”


    Football bettors must react quickly to these NFL Week 17 odds

    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 bet on now

    Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-3)

    Five straight wins, three straight losses, three straight wins. And now a 30-point mail-it-in loss to the Cardinals. What’s going on with the Packers?

    Aaron Rodgers says not to worry, that when the real season starts the real Pack will be back. Well, this one qualifies as the real season, because it’s winner-take-all for the NFC title, a No. 3 seed in the playoffs and a home game on wild card weekend.

    A GB loss means schlepping on the road in the opening round, and as their 38-8 loss at Arizona showed, the Packers are not the same team away from home. GB is 4-3 ATS at home this season, and this line is not likely to move.

    Spread to wait on

    New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+9)

    No one is crying about the injury problems facing the Patriots, but being banged up has had a major impact on New England’s offense. The Patriots have scored 30 points in a game only once (Tennessee) since October, and the offensive line is so hurting that NE has gone to a quick passing attack to protect Tom Brady and has almost completely abandoned the run.

    Defenses are starting to adjust. Whether the listless Dolphins – who have lost three straight, five of their last six and haven’t covered a spread since Nov. 15 – can take advantage of the Pats’ issues is anyone’s guess.

    New England has struggled in Miami, but this Dolphin team doesn’t seem to have any fight left in it. Lots of moving parts here in an awkward line that could shift as we find out who will play for NE, and who won’t.

    Total to watch

    New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (43)

    For all the talk of the Bills being ready to take the next step and finally challenge the Patriots in an AFC East that seems to be owned by New England, it was actually the Jets who have made things interesting this year.

    Buffalo can max out at 8-8 this season after going 9-7 pre-Rex Ryan, and for all the talk about Ryan’s defensive acumen, Buffalo has been a below-average defensive team (20th overall).

    The Jets, meanwhile, have been the real deal – holding their last five opponents to fewer than 20 points. For comparative purposes, Buffalo won 22-17, in their first meeting.


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Indian Cowboy

    Take #315 Oakland (+7) over Kansas City (4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3)
    We roll with Oakland as our comp selection this week after a nice comp winner with Cincinnati +3.5 over Denver as they stay inside the hook. As per the Raiders, this is a squad that is 7-8, and getting to .500 means volumes for a team that could barely stay competitive nevertheless win a game last year. But, this is Woodson’s last game, this is a squad that symbolically getting to .500 would mean a lot for this franchise after years of dysfunction. And, seeing that this team is not going to the playoffs, this is their playoff game and even their Super Bowl if you will. This game is everything for them in the remaining 2015 season, and they will leave nothing in the bag. Besides, who else is better than stopping the Chiefs insane winning streak coming back from 1-5 to open the season to now having a chance to get to 11-5 on the season. We like Oakland to step up here as we have them at a 35% chance of winning outright and likely losing this contest by 3-4 points this weekend.


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Alan Harris

    Take ‘Over’ 52.0 – Philadelphia vs. New York Giants
    (1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3)
    Two teams that have been trending to the over will meet when the Philadelphia Eagles hit the road to take on the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles have posted a 19-7 record to the over in their last 26 games following an ATS loss and they have gone a perfect 5-0 to the over in their last five games after allowing 30 points or more in their previous contest. The Giants have been an over team as well in the spot they are in here on Sunday as they have posted a 5-1 record to the over in both their last six home games and their last six games versus a team from the NFC in addition to going over the posted total in eleven of their last fifteen Week 17 games. Throw in the fact that these two teams have gone an excellent 6-1 to the over in their last seven head-to-head meetings in New York, and that’s where we’ll have our Weekly Newsletter Free Play in a game that we see turning into an old-fashioned shootout in North Jersey on Sunday afternoon!


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Raphael Esparza

    Take ‘Over’ 52.0 – New Orleans at Atlanta
    (1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3)
    Last game of the year for both division teams and I see a track meet at the Georgia Dome. The Saints offense was clicking on all cylinders at home last week, throwing up a 38 spot against the Jaguars defense, and I see the Saints scoring on the road this Sunday. Yes, I know the Atlanta Falcons have played 9-straight UNDER games, but again since this is the last game of the year for both I see both QB’s having big games. The Saints are averaging 31.7 ppg in their last 4 games and the Saints scored 31 points against Atlanta at home this season. New Orleans is 5-1-1 O/U in their last 7 games against NFC teams and the Saints are 6-2 O/U in their last 8 games.


    NEWSLETTER NFL Football Prediction From Vernon Croy

    Take #321 Detroit (+3) over Chicago (1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 3)
    This pick falls into one of my top NFL systems, and I have Detroit winning this game by at least a touchdown here Sunday. Detroit is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against the Bears and they are also 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing a team with a losing record. The Lions are still playing some very good football despite playing for nothing and the Bears are just 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games when playing a team with a losing record on the road. The Bears are just 7-21-1 ATS in their last 29 home games and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against an NFC North opponent. The Lions have the better team here on both sides of the ball, and I would not be surprised if they put up their best offensive numbers of the season in Chicago Sunday. Play Detroit ATS with confidence. I’m 77% the last 5 weeks in CFB/ NFL combined, and I look to hammer the books on the gridiron again. My highest rated NFL side plays are 10-1 (91%) the last nine weeks as well.


    Public Fades – Week 17
    By Kevin Rogers

    The final week of the NFL regular season is here as all six playoff spots in the NFC have been spoken for. The last postseason berth is still up in the air in the AFC between the Steelers and Jets, while the Patriots are looking to wrap up home-field advantage with a victory at Miami. Plenty of games involve teams not headed to the playoffs, with the biggest story centering around the firing of head coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.

    In this week’s edition of “Public Fades,” we’ll focus on going against the Patriots and Giants.

    Patriots (-10 ½, 47) at Dolphins – 1:00 PM EST

    New England suffered an embarrassing loss last week, even though they fell in overtime to the Jets, 26-20. Bill Belichick’s decision to kick off to start overtime in spite of winning the coin toss went under much scrutiny around the country as the Patriots could have clinched home-field advantage by beating New York. Instead, they left the door open for Denver, who rallied past Cincinnati on Monday night to move within one game of New England for the top spot in the AFC, as the Broncos own the tie-breaker over the Patriots.

    The Dolphins are just waiting for this disastrous season to end following their third straight loss last Sunday, falling to the Colts, 18-12 at home. Miami’s offense has scored 20 points or less in eight of the last nine games since putting up 44 on the Texans in late October, while posting a 2-7 SU and 1-8 ATS record the previous nine contests. The Dolphins have won each of the past two home meetings with the Patriots, but lost a 36-7 decision at Foxboro two months ago in their first matchup this season.

    So why back the Dolphins? handicapper Joe Nelson points out that the Patriots’ offense has taken a dip the last few games, “New England has some of the best offensive numbers in the league, but the numbers have slipped in recent weeks with just over 25 points per game the last six weeks with the team going 3-3 in that span. New England has been handed defensive touchdowns each of the past two games to boost those numbers as well. After scoring 28 or more points in each of the first seven games of the season, New England has hit that mark just twice since. New England is just 2-4-1 ATS in the last seven games and they were pretty fortunate to cover against Tennessee in Week 15 as this is a not a team that will enter the playoffs playing its best.”

    Nelson says that the Dolphins have some strong numbers going in their favor, “Miami has failed to cover in each of the last six games, sitting at 4-11 ATS on the season, but that creates a huge spread that is currently three points higher than the number when New England hosted Miami in October. Since December of 2009, NFL double-digit road favorites are on a 6-22 ATS run and Miami has won two of the last five home games with none of the losses coming by more than 10 points.”

    Eagles at Giants (-3 ½, 51 ½) – 1:00 PM EST

    The tumultuous three-year run of Chip Kelly on the Philadelphia sidelines is over with, even though there is still one game remaining on the schedule. The Eagles managed a pair of 10-6 records in Kelly’s first two seasons, but a 6-9 mark in 2015 to go along with running several key offensive weapons out of town prior to the season sealed his fate. Philadelphia is coming off a pair of double-digit home losses to division champions Arizona and Washington the last two weeks, while losing five of seven games down the stretch.

    Things haven’t been much better for the Giants, who own the exact same record as their division rivals at 6-9. New York threw away five games when leading in the fourth quarter, as this team is likely in the playoffs if they won even two of those contests. Odell Beckham, Jr. returns from his one-game suspension for the Giants, who were blown out at Minnesota last Sunday night, 49-17, as the New York defense has allowed 87 points the last two weeks.

    So why back the Eagles?

    Earlier this season, Philadelphia dominated New York at home on a Monday night. Nelson says the firing of Kelly could be a rallying cry for this team, “The Eagles did beat the Giants 27-7 in Week 6 and it seemed like Kelly had fallen out of favor with many of the players. The team might be able to rally together for the final game under Pat Shurmur and this is a team headed for another major overhaul as everyone will be fighting for a job here or elsewhere.”

    This series has been pretty one-sided over the years as Nelson analyzes the way Philadelphia has handled New York, “This is still a great rivalry game and the Giants are not in a much different situation than the Eagles as many assume this may be Tom Coughlin’s last game with major changes potentially ahead. The Eagles are 12-3 SU and ATS in the last 15 meetings in this series with wins and covers in seven of the last eight meetings at New York. The Giants have allowed at least 20 points in six consecutive games with a 1-5 finish to the season as the defense will certainly be vulnerable against Sam Bradford and a still capable Eagles offense that may actually feel some relief to have Kelly let go.”


    2015 NFL

    ‘Week 17’
    Jets (10-5) @ Bills (7-8)
    — Jets make playoffs with a win, but they’ve lost five of last six games with Buffalo, losing last three visits here by 19-23-35 points. Jets lost at home to Bills 22-17 (-2.5) in Week 10, thanks to -4 turnover ratio that included a TD on a fumbled kick return. Jets are +18 in turnovers in their wins, -13 in losses; they won/covered last five games, including OT win over Patriots LW. Jets lost three of five true road games (played “at” Giants, vs Miami in London); they’re 6-5 as faves, 1-2 on road. Buffalo lost four of last six games but has won three in row at home, by 16-9-10 points; they’re 3-2-1 as underdogs, 1-1 t home. Five of last seven Jet games stayed under total.

    Buccaneers (6-9) @ Panthers (14-1) — Carolina lost first game LW, has next week off thanks to its bye; unsure how many starters they’ll rest here. Panthers (-3) scored two defensive TDs in 37-23 (-3) win at Tampa Bay in Week 4, its 7th win in last nine game vs Bucs, who have lost five of last seven visits here, last two by 19-2 points. Tampa lost four of its last five games (-7 turnover ratio); they’re 4-3 as road dogs, but lost 25-12/31-23 in last two road games. Bucs’ defense has one takeaway in its last five games. Carolina gave up 30+ points in three of last four games; they’re 4-2 as home faves- four of their last five games were on road. Six of last nine Carolina games went over the total.

    Patriots (12-3) @ Dolphins (5-10) — New England is 2-3 in last five games after 10-0 start; they need win here for bye next week, home field thru AFC playoffs. Patriots (-8) pounded Miami 36-7 back in Week 8, outgaining Fish 437-270 in game that was 19-0 at half. Dolphins lost seven of last nine games (1-8 vs spread), losing its last three games by 7-16-6 points- they’re 2-4 at home, losing by 27-10-7-6 points. Now the wife of a defensive player is ripping QB Taneyhill on Twitter- not good. Home side won last six series games; Patriots lost 24-20/33-20 in last two visits here- they are 9-2 in last 11 series games overall. Under is 5-2 in last seven Miami games, 1-4 in last four Patriot games.

    Ravens (5-10) @ Bengals (11-4) — McCarron sprained left wrist Monday nite on last play, is expected to play; Bengals could still get bye next week, so they need to win this game, against team they beat 28-24 (+2.5) in Week 3. Bengals led 14-0 at half, averaged 10.9 ypa, had 15-yard edge in field position. Ravens lost five of last six in series, losing last three visits here by 6-17-3 points. Baltimore got boost from new QB Mallett LW, 4th QB they started in last six games. Ravens covered last three on road; their only two SU road wins were division games at Pitt/Cleveland. Under is 7-2 in last nine Bengal games, 4-2-1 in last seven Baltimore games. Bengals lost two of last three at home, but are 4-2-1 as home favorites.

    Saints (6-9) @ Falcons (8-7) — Atlanta won last two games, allowing 15 ppg but 1-7 skid doomed their season, a skid that started with 31-21 (-3) loss to Saints at home in Week 6, when Falcons lost three fumbles and had punt blocked for TD. Saints are 15-5 in last 20 games in this rivalry, 6-3 in last nine visits here; they’ve allowed 43 TD passes this year, three more than any team, ever. NO is 2-5 on road, 3-3 as a road underdog- they won two of last three games, covered three of last four. Over is 8-3 in last 11 Saint games, 0-9 in Falcons’ last nine. Falcons failed to cover seven games in row as a favorite- they’re 1-4 as home favorites. Atlanta converted 15 of 29 on third down in last two games. This is an underrated rivalry game.

    Jaguars (5-10) @ Texans (8-7) — Houston makes playoffs unless nine things happen Sunday; they’ve won six of last eight games after a 2-5 start, winning last two with #5 QB Weeden playing (33-54/352 in two games). Texans (+2) won 31-20 in Week 6 at Jacksonville, picking off three passes (+3) one of which was run back for TD. Jax lost four of last five games, are 4-3 as road underdogs. Texans are 3-3 as favorites this year; they ran ball for 283 yards last two weeks- they’re +10 in turnovers in last ten games, after being -8 in first five games. Over is 4-1 in last five Jaguar games, 1-7 in last eight Houston games. Jags lost four of last five visits here; last three were all decided by 7 or less points. Hoyer is healthy again, will start at QB for Texans.

    Steelers (9-6) @ Browns (3-12) — Pitt needs win here and Bills win to make playoffs; they beat Browns 30-9 (-4.5) in Week 10, throwing for 399 yards (10.5 yp) in game that was 21-3 at half. Steelers are 27-5 vs Cleveland, but lost two of last three here; they lost three of last four road games, are 5-2 as favorite this year, 1-1 on foreign soil. Browns lost nine of last ten games, covered two of last three; they covered once in last seven games as an underdog- their only recent win was 24-10 vs 49ers. Browns have two TDs on 25 drives last three losses, by 34-17-4 points. Four of last five Steeler games went over total; six of last seven Cleveland games stayed under. Manziel is in concussion protocol; Austin Davis likely to start at QB for Browns.

    Raiders (7-8) @ Chiefs (10-5) — KC is in playoffs, can still win AFC West, Oakland has shot for a .500 season- this is a big rivalry. Chiefs won last nine games (7-2 vs spread) after 1-5 start- they’re 2-4 as home favorites- failing to cover last two home games despite allowing one TD on 18 drives. Raiders are 4-0 as road dogs, losing away games by 2-3-5 points (4-3SU). Four of Chiefs’ last five home games stayed under total. Chiefs (-3) won 34-20 at Oakland in Week 13, picking off three passes in 4th quarter that led to TD drives of 13-2 yards as well as a defensive TD. Chiefs won four of last five series games, winning 24-7/31-13 in last two here– Raiders had won six in row at Arrowhead before Reid became Chiefs’ coach.

    Titans (3-12) @ Colts (7-8) — Indy still has (small) shot at division title, they signed Freeman/Lindley off street Monday, but Hasselbeck says he feels better and could start. Colts (-3) won 35-33 at Tennessee in Week 3, scoring a defensive TD- they’re 13-1 last 14 series games, winning last eight in row. Titans lost last seven visits to Indy, with five of seven losses by 8+ pts. Tennessee lost six of last seven games (0-6-1 vs spread); they’re 2-4 as underdogs on road, losing last three on foreign soil by 6-22-17 points. Under is 6-3-1 in last ten Titan games, 4-2 in last six Indy games. Indy was outscored 85-6 in second half of its last four games. I cannot think of one good reason to wager on this game.

    Redskins (8-7) @ Cowboys (4-11) — Washington is locked into #4 seed/home field in playoff game next week; will they rest starters? Dallas is 1-10 in games started by backup QBs- Moore makes second career start here. Cowboys scored 9.7 ppg in losing last three games since 19-16 (+3.5) win in Maryland four weeks ago, winning despite losing three fumbles (-2), converting 1-9 on third down. Redskins won two of last three visits here, won/covered last three weeks, scoring 73 points in last two games. Washington won last two road games after losing first five; they’re 3-4 as a road underdog. Dallas hasn’t won a home game since Opening Night. Over is 5-2 in last seven Redskin games, 1-6 in last seven Dallas games.

    Lions (6-9) @ Bears (6-9) — Detroit got first win of year in Week 6, beating Bears in OT, 37-34; Lions outgained Bears 546-444, were -2 in turnovers, won despite losing field position by 15 yards- both teams scored in last 0:21 of regulation. Detroit won five of seven games since 1-7 start; they scored 67 points in last two games, with eight TDs on last 20 drives. Lions are 1-9 vs spread when they allow more than 17 points. Chicago lost three of last four games; they’re 1-6 at home, losing last four- their only home win was 22-20 over Raiders in Week 4. Detroit won last five series games, winning 21-19/20-14 in last two visits here. Four of last five Detroit games, last four Chicago games went over total.

    Eagles (6-9) @ Giants (6-9) — Philly fired Kelly Monday; Lord knows how players will react here, with Giants coach Coughlin also on hot seat. Philly (-4) won 27-7 in first meeting in Week 6, running for 155 yards- they’re 12-3 in last 15 games against Giants, winning seven of last eight played here. Both teams were eliminated when Redskins won last week; Eagles beat Jets 24-17 on this field in Week 3- they’re 3-4 on road, beating Patriots in last road game. Giants lost five of last six games, giving up 87 points last two weeks; Big Blue lost last three home games by total of seven points. Five of last six Philly games, last three Giant games went over total. Giants have only three takeaways (-7) in last five games.

    Vikings (10-5) @ Packers (10-5) — Winner takes NFC North title, gets home tilt in playoffs next week. Green Bay (+1) won first meeting 30-13 in Twin Cities; they’re 10-1-1 in last dozen series games, 5-0-1 in last six played here- four of five wins were by 9+ points. Minnesota scored 87 points in winning last two games; they’re 12-3 vs spread this year, covering last six on road- they’re 5-1 as an underdog. Green Bay was crushed in Arizona LW; Rodgers was sacked nine times in Pack’s first loss in four games- they’re 4-3 as home favorite this year. Three of last four Viking games went over total; five of last seven Packer games stayed under. Lows for this game expected to be in mid-teens.

    Chargers (4-11) @ Broncos (11-4) — Denver needs win for division title if KC won its 1:00 game, home field/bye either way. Broncos (-6) beat Chargers 17-3 four weeks ago, scoring a defensive TD and holding Bolts to 272 yards, in its 8th win in last nine series games. Chargers split last four visits here, losing by 7-14 points. San Diego has been out of it for long time but they covered four of last five games- they’re still competing. Chargers are covered their last five road games. Denver rallied from 14-0 down LW to beat Bengals and stay in first place; they’re 1-4 as home favorites. Under is 6-1 in last seven San Diego games, 3-1 in last four Bronco games. Manning will be Denver’s backup QB.

    Rams (7-8) @ 49ers (4-11) — Both teams are out of it but this is rivalry; St Louis won 27-6 (-8) in first meeting, outrushing Niners 197-38, holding SF to 3.4 ypa. Rams are 1-1-1 in last three visits here, 4-10-1 in last 15 overall but they’re now better team. St Louis won its last three games, scoring 25 ppg after five-game that ruined their season- their win/cover LW was their first in six outdoor tilts this year. 49ers lost last three games by 14-10-15 points; they’re 3-4 at home, with all four losses to top teams. SF is 4-3 as home underdog- they were dog in every game this season. Under is 9-2 in Rams’ last 11 games, 6-3 in 49ers’ last nine games. This is Rams’ first game on grass since October 11.

    Seahawks (9-6) @ Cardinals (13-2) — Arizona won its last nine games (5-4 vs spread); only games they lost this year they were -3 in turnovers both games. Cardinals (+3) won 39-32 at Seattle in Week 10, despite turning ball over three times (-2)- they converted 8-17 on third down. Redbirds are 3-4 as favorites at home- they scored three defensive TDs in last two games. Seattle had 5-game win streak snapped LW; they’ve 4-2 in last six games with Arizona, winning 34-22/35-6 in last two visits here- their last four series wins were by 12+ pts. Seattle can move up to #5 seed and face Redskins instead of Packers/Vikings next week. Four of last five Arizona games stayed under the total.


    Preview: N.Y. Jets at Buffalo
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

    It’s only fitting that Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills are the last obstacle standing in the way of a playoff berth for the New York Jets. Visiting New York faces its former coach, who was fired after six seasons and immediately hired by Buffalo last January, on Sunday with its first postseason bid since 2010 on the line.

    The Jets leapfrogged the Pittsburgh Steelers with their fifth straight win last week, leaving them in control of their own destiny. Led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 276 passing yards shy of his first 4,000-yard season, New York knocked off New England 26-20 in overtime a week ago to move to the brink of the playoffs. The Bills will miss the playoffs for the 16th straight year, but both Ryan and general manager Doug Whaley will be back to get a chance to make amends in 2016. On Wednesday, the team announced that the duo will get another chance to turn things around despite the disappointing campaign.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Jets -3. O/U: 43.

    ABOUT THE JETS (10-5): Fitzpatrick and running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell all missed portions of practice during the week but are expected to play. The Jets, who took the kickoff in overtime and marched downfield for the winning score on a pass from Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker, could still earn a playoff berth with a loss if Pittsburgh loses to Cleveland. “The past couple of weeks have been playoff games,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “There really is no pressure.”

    ABOUT THE BILLS (7-8): Ryan celebrated on the field after his team edged the Jets 22-17 earlier in the season as his defense had two interceptions, recovered a fumble and stopped the Jets inside the Bills’ 10 in the final minutes. Overall, however, it’s been a disappointing year for Ryan, a self-proclaimed defensive specialist, as Buffalo ranks 20th in total defense and, shockingly, 31st in sacks. LeSean McCoy is questionable with a torn MCL, leaving Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee to shoulder the load at running back.


    1. The Jets own just two wins over teams headed for the playoffs – Washington and New England.

    2. Tyrod Taylor looks to earn a $1 million bonus for starting for the Bills, who are 4-3 at home

    3. The Bills snapped a two-game slide last game, allowing a season-low six points in a 16-6 win over Dallas.

    PREDICTION: Jets 28, Bills 14


    Preview: New England at Miami
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

    With a first-round bye already secure, the New England Patriots look to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs on Sunday when they conclude the regular season against the host Miami Dolphins. Coach Bill Belichick’s charges were unsuccessful in their bid to wrap up the top seed last week after a curious decision on an overtime coin toss backfired in their 26-20 setback to the New York Jets.

    New England has been anything but perfect since its 10-0 start, losing three of five as its offense has struggled to find consistency in the wake of several injuries. Despite missing wideouts Julian Edelman (foot) and Danny Amendola (knee), Brady leads the league in passing yards and needs 364 to reach 5,000 on the season. The two-time NFL MVP fell just eight yards shy of that total on Oct. 29 during his four-touchdown performance in a 36-7 rout of Miami. The AFC East cellar-dwelling Dolphins aren’t finishing the season with any semblance of strength, having dropped three in a row and seven of nine.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -10. O/U: 47

    ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (12-3): Tight end Rob Gronkowski has topped out at 113 receiving yards on three occasions this season, with his 47-yard touchdown reception highlighting the victory over Miami. Running backs James White and Brandon Bolden continue to make impacts in the passing game with five catches apiece last week, but their contributions on the ground have been limited. New England has struggled mightily with top rushers LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis sidelined for the rest of the season.

    ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (5-10): Ryan Tannehill threw for 329 yards in an 18-12 setback to Indianapolis last week, but has failed to find the end zone in consecutive outings. The 27-year-old was nursing a leg injury after the team’s latest loss, but interim head coach Dan Campbell told reporters that Tannehill wasn’t limited in his movements during practice. Wideout Jarvis Landry had seven catches last week to set a franchise record with 104 on the season.


    1. New England needs to win or see AFC West champion Denver fall to San Diego in order to clinch the top seed in the conference.

    2. Miami Pro Bowl C Mike Pouncey (foot) has yet to practice this week and would be replaced by rookie Jamil Douglas if he can’t play on Sunday.

    3. Patriots DE Chandler Jones (team-leading 12.5 sacks) was limited in practice Thursday with a toe injury.

    PREDICTION: Patriots 35, Dolphins 14


    Preview: New Orleans at Atlanta
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

    Two teams looking to put a positive cap on a disappointing season square off Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons host the NFC South-rival New Orleans Saints in their regular-season finale. New Orleans hopes to salvage something despite missing the playoffs for the second straight year, while Atlanta aims for a third straight victory that will give the team its first winning season since 2012.

    The Falcons ended Carolina’s bid for a perfect regular season with a 20-13 win last week but still had their playoff hopes dashed. New Orleans effectively was knocked out of the postseason picture with a four-game losing streak that bridged November and December, and despite winning two of its last three, rumors continue to swirl regarding whether coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees will offer their services elsewhere next season – a notion Brees dismisses. “I think a plan was put in place throughout last offseason as to how we were going to build the foundation to make a run at it in the future, and I think that includes new faces, that includes new players that I think will all come together,” Brees told NFL Network. The Saints have won three of the last five meetings, including a 31-21 home decision in Week 6 that handed Atlanta its first loss of the season.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -4. O/U: 52.5

    ABOUT THE SAINTS (6-9): Despite another prolific year for Brees and the league’s top passing game, the Saints need a win or a Tampa Bay loss to avoid finishing in the division cellar. Turnovers were a major concern early in the season, but New Orleans has gone three games without a giveaway and Tim Hightower revived the ground game in last week’s 38-27 win over Jacksonville. The maligned defense, which ranks 31st against both the pass and the run, turned in a decent effort last week, giving up 347 passing yards but limiting the Jaguars to 65 on the ground with two takeaways.

    ABOUT THE FALCONS (8-7): Atlanta’s surge came too late, as a six-game losing streak during which it committed 16 turnovers derailed a once-promising season. The offense limited the miscues in the back-to-back victories and Matt Ryan snapped a streak of five straight games with at least one interception when he went 23-of-30 for 306 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers. The defense gave up 155 rushing yards last week – the fourth time in five games it has allowed 140 or more – but limited Carolina to 113 passing yards and a season-low 13 points.


    1. Falcons WR Julio Jones (127) ranks third on the NFL’s single-season list for receptions behind Marvin Harrison (143 in 2002) and Antonio Brown (129 in 2014).

    2. Ryan has passed for 1,065 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games against the Saints.

    3. New Orleans WR Brandin Cooks has recorded eight touchdown receptions in his last eight games and 15 catches for 247 yards and two TDs in the past two.

    PREDICTION: Falcons 26, Saints 23


    Preview: Baltimore at Cincinnati
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

    The Baltimore Ravens are suffering through their first losing campaign since 2007 and will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, but at least they still are able to cause some pain for their division opponents. The Ravens will try to knock another AFC North team down when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

    Baltimore took the rival Pittsburgh Steelers’ destiny out of their own hands with a 20-17 victory last week, snapping a three-game slide, and can ensure the Bengals will not get a first-round bye with a Week 17 triumph. “If we can’t get in there, then you can’t get in either,” Ravens cornerback Ladarius Webb told reporters after the win over Pittsburgh. “That’s how we want it.” Cincinnati was the direct beneficiary of Baltimore’s triumph over the Steelers, which allowed the Bengals to back into an AFC North title. Cincinnati has dropped two of its last three games with AJ McCarron taking the snaps in place of quarterback Andy Dalton (thumb), though the team maintains strong faith in McCarron.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bengals -10. O/U: 41.5

    ABOUT THE RAVENS (5-10): Baltimore is without quarterback Joe Flacco (knee) and leading receiver Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles), and only recently was assured that both would return next season. Flacco has promised that he will be ready to go by training camp in August, but Smith had planned to retire at the end of the campaign before abruptly changing course with a Twitter announcement on Wednesday. “Obviously, we can’t wait to have him back,” Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele told reporters. “I know he’s going to come back in the best shape of his life and he’s going to dominate, because that’s the type of person he is.”

    ABOUT THE BENGALS (11-4): McCarron is completing 67 percent of his throws and has recorded four touchdowns and two interceptions in the last three games, but Cincinnati has scored a total of nine points in the second half of the last two contests. “Extremely well,” offensive coordinator Hue Jackson told reporters of McCarron’s adjustment to starting. “Now what we have to do is continue to grow in that process so that we’re playing really good football for four quarters.” McCarron is expected to get some help in the passing game from tight end Tyler Eifert, who came off the concussion protocol and is expected to play after missing the last two games.


    1. Dalton threw for 383 yards and three TDs in a 28-24 win over the Ravens in Week 3.

    2. McCarron (wrist) was limited in practice but is expected to start.

    3. Baltimore QB Ryan Mallet threw for a career-high 274 yards in his team debut last week.

    PREDICTION: Bengals 24, Ravens 13


    Preview: Pittsburgh at Cleveland
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

    The Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to control their own destiny for a playoff spot but watched their offense fall off drastically in a loss at Baltimore last week. The Steelers will need a win and some help to make the playoffs when they visit the Cleveland Browns in the regular-season finale on Sunday.

    Pittsburgh needs to beat the Browns and have the Buffalo Bills knock off the New York Jets in order to earn a wild card spot, and the Steelers are concentrating on their part of that equation. “There’s a scenario that hasn’t transpired in order to get in the dance,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. “But the other part of that scenario is us winning,” Tomlin said. “I’m not looking for comfort. I’m just trying to meet the challenges of this week. You set yourself up for failure if you view it any other way.” Cleveland has not done well lately in its efforts to throw a wrench into the playoff picture and fell to postseason hopefuls Seattle and Kansas City in the last two weeks. The Browns are 1-9 in their last 10 games and have a question at quarterback again with Johnny Manziel in the concussion protocol.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -10.5 O/U: 47

    ABOUT THE STEELERS (9-6): Pittsburgh scored 30 or more points in six straight games before turning the ball over three times in a 20-17 loss at the Ravens. “It was time of possession, turning the ball over,” wide receiver Antonio Brown explained to reporters. “We have to find a way to get better in that area, especially on the road.” That offense did not have time to operate at full strength in Wednesday’s practice, when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was among several players sent home due to illness.

    ABOUT THE BROWNS (3-12): Cleveland has its own issues on offense with Manziel questionable, and Austin Davis would get the start if Manziel is not cleared by Sunday. Davis made his lone start against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 6 and threw for 230 yards, but was intercepted once and did not find the end zone in a 37-3 loss. “I think anytime you go out and get a chance to start and the game goes the way that one did, it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Davis told reporters. “Obviously that game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but just another chance to play, another chance to compete and go get after it again. Last game of the season and I know the guys are excited and ready to play and so am I.”


    1. The Steelers have taken five of the last six in the series, including a 30-9 triumph on Nov. 15.

    2. Cleveland TE Gary Barnidge needs 23 receiving yards to become the third player in team history (Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow Jr.) to reach 1,000.

    3. Pittsburgh RB D’Angelo Williams needs 101 yards to reach 1,000 for the third time in his career.

    PREDICTION: Steelers 38, Browns 17


    Preview: Jacksonville at Houston
    When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 3, 2016
    Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

    The Houston Texans will turn to Brian Hoyer in hopes of capturing their third AFC South title in five years when they host the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both teams. Hoyer will be back under center after missing two games with a concussion, with recent acquisition Brandon Weeden returning to the sideline after coming off the bench to lead Houston to a huge victory over Indianapolis in Week 15 before guiding the club to a rout of Tennessee last Sunday.

    The Texans control their own destiny, as a triumph over Jacksonville gives them the division crown, although a loss by the Colts to the division-doormat Titans would provide the same. The Jaguars would love to end their two-game skid – and disappointing season – by helping dash Houston’s playoff aspirations. Blake Bortles has been one of Jacksonville’s few bright spots, throwing a franchise-record 35 touchdown passes – which ranks him second in the NFL heading into the final weekend. Despite their struggles, the Jaguars have posted their highest total of victories in four seasons and look to notch a sixth for the first time since going 8-8 in 2010.

    TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Texans -6.5. O/U: 45.5

    ABOUT THE JAGUARS (5-10): The 23-year-old Bortles can set another club record Sunday as he needs 179 passing yards to eclipse Mark Brunell’s single-season mark of 4,367, which he totaled in 1996. He has thrown at least two TD passes in nine of his last 11 games and is one of three quarterbacks in league history (Dan Marino and Matthew Stafford) to record 35 scoring tosses in a season while under the age of 24. T.J. Yeldon has rushed for 740 yards, ranking first among AFC rookies and third among all NFL first-year players.

    ABOUT THE TEXANS (8-7): DeAndre Hopkins set the franchise single-season record with 11 touchdown catches and joined Andre Johnson as the only players in club history with 100 receptions and 1,400 yards in a campaign. J.J. Watt enters Sunday trailing Oakland’s Khalil Mack (15) by 1/2 sack for the league lead. Watt, who also can join Reggie White as the only players to register 15 or more sacks in three of their first five seasons, has recorded an NFL-high 71.5 since 2011.


    1. The Texans have won eight of their last 10 meetings with the Jaguars.

    2. Jacksonville WR Allen Robinson is tied with Seattle’s Doug Baldwin for the league lead with 14 touchdown catches.

    3. Hoyer guided Houston to a 31-20 triumph at Jacksonville in Week 6, throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns – two to Hopkins.

    PREDICTION: Texans 27, Jaguars 10

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