In week 14, 9 points or more decided 11 games, making picking games a large conglomerate of hit and miss. This week has 3 games above that 9.5-point mark, but keep in mind, just 1 of the 4 teams favored by that number last week covered the spread despite so many games being decided by double digits.
Thursday, December 11th
8:25 PM, NFLN, St. Louis, MO
The Cardinals barely squeaked out a win over Kansas City, who has a very limited offense. The reason I bring up the Kansas City offense is because they’re ranked 26th in the league in yards per game; St. Louis is ranked 27th. These two teams back-to-back for the Cardinals who are eerily similar in good defense and stagnant offense may make people think the outcome should be relatively the same. However, The Rams have put together a very impressive 4-game stretch that includes a current run of 83 unanswered points.
Winner ATS: St. Louis
Sunday, December 14th
1:00 PM, CBS, Atlanta, GA
No one seems to really want to win the NFC South, but I think it’ll eventually be the Falcons. In the past 2 games, the Falcons have averaged 482.5 total yards, which includes torching the Arizona defense for 500 yards. I think their return home starts the trek to clinching the division.
Winner ATS: Atlanta
1:00 PM, CBS, Baltimore, MD
The large number is daunting, but the Ravens have been coming on in the recent weeks. The Ravens are 4-2 this season at home, with both losses coming against winning teams; 3 of the 4 wins are against losing teams, which doesn’t fair well for the Jaguars when looking at the Ravens’ margin of victory in those games: The Ravens are winning their home games by an average of 21 points, including winning them all by 14 points of more. The number’s big, but so are the Ravens at home against bad teams.
Winner ATS: Baltimore
1:00 PM, FOX, Orchard Park, NY
The Bills have been a random team this season but struggle against good to average teams. The Bills are 3-6 against teams with winning records, and in those losses are losing by an average of 9.5 points. The cold of Buffalo would usually be an advantage for them, but I don’t think it’s going to affect Aaron Rodgers who seems largely unfazed by weather.
Winner ATS: Green Bay
1:00 PM, FOX, Charlotte, NC
Yes, the Panthers finally won a game, but who knows how consistent that was going to be. I say “going to be” because it now looks like Cam Newton won’t play after getting in a car collision earlier this week. This means they’ll have to readjust with timing for Derek Anderson, and I don’t know quickly that will come together.
Winner ATS: Tampa Bay
1:00 PM, FOX, Cleveland, OH
The Browns absolutely handed it to the Bengals in their first meeting this season, but the Browns will be starting a new QB this week in Johnny Manziel. This looks to be a game where you can throw the stats out the window and rely on puke-y pep talk. Marvin Lewis expressed that Manziel is a midget, which is just the type of thing that a Brown fan-base and team need to hear in order to play hard regardless of how well.
Winner ATS: Cleveland
1:00 PM, CBS, Indianapolis, IN
The Texans have looked very impressive in the past two games in which Ryan Fitzpatrick has looked like the top-tier prototype of being a quarterback. But, let’s pump the brakes. Those two wins came against teams with a combined 4 wins. The last time the Texans played the colts, they failed to win at home. On the other side, the Colts are simply refusing to lose. Despite 3 INTs, 9 sacks, and 6 fumbles in the past 3 games out of Andrew Luck the Colts are 3-0 over that stretch. The Colts can clinch their playoff berth with this win.
Winner ATS: Indianapolis
1:00 PM, CBS, Kansas City, MO
I don’t understand this spread. They’re not overreacting to the Raiders’ recent success, but they’re not quite grasping the struggles of the Chiefs. In their past 3 games, the Chiefs have an average of 284 yards and are giving up an average of 368; both of those numbers are over 30 yards below and above their season averages, respectively–not to mention one of those games was against the Raiders. I don’t think the Chiefs will lose this time around to the Raiders, but I also don’t think they’ll win by more than 10.
Winner ATS: Oakland
1:00 PM, CBS, Foxborough, MA
Once upon an eon ago the Dolphins beats the Patriots and looked to be a contender in the AFC East and put some pressure on the Patriots, which no team in that division has been able to do in the past decade. The story since then has not quite been the same. The Patriots started their first 4 games with an average of 298.5 yards. Since then, the Patriots have posted 422 yards per game, won 6 of 7 games against teams with winning records, and had an average winning margin of just over 18. I’ll take the Patriots.
Winner ATS: New England
1:00 PM, FOX, East Rutherford, NJ
Rare is the situation where a 4 win team this late in the season is favored by nearly a touchdown, but the Redskins have been that bad. Offense has been a rarity for the Redskins since week 9. After a week 9-loss to the Vikings, the Redskins are averaging just over 11 points per game and allowing over 20 more yards per game than their season pace. I don’t think the Giants are as poor as their record given their schedule.
Winner ATS: New York Giants
4:05, CBS, San Diego, CA
Denver is not the same powerhouse on the road as they are at home. All three of Denver’s losses this season have come on the road. In road games, the Broncos are 3-3 against the spread. The Chargers are beastly in December when considering Philip Rivers’ career record in the month alone. Granted, the Chargers lost last week, but it was to arguably the best team in the AFC. The Chargers have been a home dog three times this season; once was last week when they came up 7 points short to New England, and the other ended in a 9 point victory over the Seahawks.
Winner ATS: San Diego
4:05, CBS, Nashville, TN
The Jets with the 2nd best running game in the league should be able to control the time of possession and gets lots of rushing scores on Tennessee’s league worse running defense. There’s not much else to say about this game.
Winner: New York Jets
4:25, FOX, Detroit, MI
The Vikings are 4-2 in their last 6 games, but those 4 wins came against teams with a collective 11 wins. The Lions haven’t lost at home this season, but they’ve struggled a bit to get a few of them. Then again, the Lions have won their past 2 games by 17 points apiece. This is going to be a game largely dominated by defense, so I don’t know if 7 plus the hook is a good play for the Lions.
Winner ATS: Minnesota
4:25, FOX, Seattle, WA
San Francisco has struggled to get much of anything going on offense. They’ve averaged 264 yards and 12.25 points in their past 4 games. Their defense continues to be the one bright spot amid the nonexistent offense. However, it just feels like this game is going to be the one where San Francisco breaks all the numbers and puts up a big game against a Seattle team that’s shaping up to rival the Packers in the playoffs.
Winner ATS: San Francisco
8:30 PM, NBC, Philadelphia, PA
The Eagles man handled the Cowboys two weeks ago in Dallas and subsequently returned home to put up one of the worst showings out of any team this season, including breaking their 10-game home winning steak. While I don’t think this game will be as big of a difference in score as last game, I also don’t expect the Eagles to put up a similar effort as last week. Dallas bounced back strongly after Thanksgiving with 179 yards out of DeMarco Murray and a 138 passer rating game out of Tony Romo. I think this game will be close enough for Dallas to cover the 3.5-points, even if they don’t come away with a win.
Winner ATS: Dallas
Monday, December 15th
8:30 PM, ESPN, Chicago, IL
Both of these teams are entirely inept on defense, so I see big points in this game. The Saints are 9th in the league in scoring, while the Bears are 18th. However, the Bears are going to be without Brandon Marshall for the remainder of the season, which makes for one less tall receiver threat for defenses to deal with.
Winner ATS: New Orleans
Spreads courtesy of Officefootballpool.com