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Jets (5-4) @ Broncos (4-5)-- Jets off spanking by Patriots, have long trip with short work week; they've won two of last three visits here, including 24-20 win LY. Jets allowed 30+ points in all four losses; they've allowed 13 ppg in wins- they're 1-3 on road, winning only at Buffalo. Denver is 3-1 with Tebow starting at QB, running ball for average of 230 yards/game, but they've lost three of four at home, losing 45-10 to Lions in Tebow's only home start. Over is 5-2 in Jets' last seven games. Denver completed less than 50% of passes in last five games. AFC West underdogs are 5-7 vs spread in non-divisional games; AFC East road favorites are 1-3.
Titans (5-4) @ Falcons (5-4)-- Interesting to see how Falcons bounce back after OT loss to rival Saints last week, their first loss in four games. Atlanta is 2-2 as favorite this year, 1-0 at home- they're 2-2 SU at home. Titans are playing first game this year on artificial turf; they're 2-2 on road, 4-1 as underdogs- they are 1-4 when scoring 17 or less points, 4-0 when they score more. Teams are 2-6 week after playing New Orleans. Tennessee won last five series games, with its last loss in 1990, but they lost only Super Bowl appearance on this field dozen years ago. Last five Atlanta games, last three Titan games stayed under total.
Bills (5-4) @ Dolphins (2-7)-- Buffalo lost last two games 27-11/44-7; they've turned ball over 11 times in losing three of last four games. Miami won last two games after 0-7 start, not allowing a TD on 19 possessions; they had only four takeaways in first eight games, but had two last week. Fish are 4-2 in last six series games, winning two of last three here, by 9-28 points. Last eight Miami games stayed under total; six of nine Buffalo games went over, as have four of five AFC East divisional games. Bills lost their last three road games by 3-3-37 points- they're 3-1-1 as underdog this year. Miami's win last week made them 7-29 vs spread in last 36 games as a home favorite.
Bengals (6-3) @ Ravens (6-3)-- Baltimore is 4-0 at home, 3-1 as home favorite, winning by 28-17-15-3 points, but in last four games, they've lost to two awful teams, and beat Arizona after trailing 24-6, so they're struggling badly. Bengals won three of last four series games, are 4-3 in last seven visits here, losing by 6-7-6 points- they're 4-1 on road, 5-0 vs spread, with only loss 24-22 at Denver. Cincy is only NFL team to win field position battle in all nine games. Ravens lost field position last four weeks, by 12-8-3-14 yards- as opponents started 10 of 43 drives in Baltimore territory. Six of nine Baltimore games went over the total. Bengals forced 33 3/out on opponents' last 69 drives.
Jaguars (3-6) @ Browns (3-6)-- Cleveland would be shooting for .500 here had they not botched center snap on GW FG last week. Browns trail series 9-4 but are 3-2 vs Jaguars since teams haven't been division rivals. Jags allowed 14-7-3 points in their three wins, an average of 23.7 in its losses; Browns scored more than 17 points once this year, and were held to 12 or less points in each of last four (two TDs last 40 drives). Jaguars are 1-4 on road, with only win at winless Colts. AFC South road underdogs are 4-6 vs spread in non-divisional games; AFC North home favorites are 5-6-1. Last four Jacksonville games, four of last Cleveland games stayed under the total.
Raiders (5-4) @ Vikings (2-7)-- Minnesota has short week after Monday night tank job at Lambeau; they're 0-6 when scoring less than 24 points, 1-3 at home, despite outscoring those four opponents 82-15 in first half. Oakland is 9-4 in series, splitting six visits to Twin Cities; they're 3-1 on road, with only loss by 3 at Buffalo, when they led 21-3 at the half. NFC North home teams are 6-4 vs spread in non-divisional games. Five of last six Oakland games stayed under the total; three of last four Viking games went over. Raiders had four extra days to prepare for this, having played on Thursday last week. In two games since its bye, Oakland has averaged 8.5/10.5 yards/pass attempt.
Panthers (2-7) @ Lions (6-3)-- Detroit lost three of last four games after a 5-0 start; QB Stafford broke index finger on his passing hand, why is he playing if he is hurt? Detroit scored 24+ points in its six wins, 19-16-13 losses, and they lost their last two home games (2-2 as home fave). NFC North non-divisional favorites are 9-6 vs spread, 5-4 at home; AFC South underdogs are 5-6, 3-4 on road. Six of nine Detroit games went over the total; three of last four Carolina games stayed under. Panthers lost five of last six games, are 1-2 as underdogs on road, losing all three games by 7-5-14 points- this is their first road game in five weeks. Carolina allowed 140.5 rushing yards/game over last four games.
Buccaneers (4-5) @ Packers (9-0)-- Unbeaten Green Bay on serious roll, with six covers in last seven games; Pack is 4-0 as home favorite, winning by 8-26-21-38 points, scoring 19 TDs on 37 home possessions. Pack covered six of last seven games- they scored 45 in both post-bye games. Tampa Bay lost three in row, by 6-11-28 points, with only four TDs on last 36 drives- they've given up an average of 185.7 rushing yards/game in last three games. Bucs are 1-3 on the road, losing by 45-6-11 points, with lone win at Metrodome in Week 2. Six of last seven Buc games stayed under the total; last three Packer games went over. Tampa Bay won last three series games, by 1-9-10 points.
Cowboys (5-4) @ Redskins (3-6)-- Wheels have fallen off for Washington club that lost last five games (0-5 vs spread) scoring one offensive TD on their last 32 drives. Neither QB is any good, so teams play nine in box vs runs and have held Skins to average of 54.6 rushing yards during five-game losing skid. Dallas lost three of four on road, with only win in OT at Candlestick in Week 2; they are 2-3-1 as favorites. Cowboys won five of last six games in series, including 18-16 (-4) Monday night win in Week 3, when teams combined for one TD and four FGs on six red zone drives. Five of last six series totals were 34 or less. Under is 7-1 in last eight Washington games, 4-1 in last five Dallas games.
Cardinals (3-6) @ 49ers (8-1)-- San Francisco won/covered last seven games, as 49ers continue to take ball away- they've had 2+ takeaways in every game but one, and are +13 in turnovers for season. Niners won last four series games, last three by 15+ points- they held Arizona to 9.5 ppg in the four games. Arizona covered last three games, winning last two and blowing 24-6 lead at Baltimore in game before that; Cardinals are 1-4 on road, 3-1 as road underdog, losing on road by 1-3-24-3 points, with a win at Philly- only two of their six losses are by more than four points. Three of 49ers' last four games stayed under total. Underdogs are 0-3-1 vs spread week after playing the Eagles.
Seahawks (3-6) @ Rams (2-7)-- Seattle won 11 of last 12 series games since '04 playoff loss; last meeting was 16-6 home win that clinched NFC West on final day of 2010. Seahawks are 1-4 on road, getting five takeaways (+2) in only win at Giants. Rams won two of last three games, allowing only one offensive TD on last 21 drives; they're favored for first time this year. Jackson is healthy and Rams have run ball for 154.3 yards/game last three weeks. Seattle's turnover ratio is +6 in its three wins, -8 in losses- they have three TDs on 43 drives in their four road losses. Under is 3-1 in Seattle's last four games, 5-1 in Rams' last six. Average total in last four series games, 29.0.
Chargers (4-5) @ Bears (6-3)-- San Diego has fallen apart, going 0-4 since bye, allowing 29.8 ppg (12 TDs/33 drives); they're 1-3 on road, losing by 14-6-3- its only road win was at Denver. Chicago won/covered last four games, scoring an average of 32.5 ppg; they're 3-2 at home, 2-1 as home favorite, winning games at home by 18-5-29-24 points. San Diego has turned ball over 2+ times in each of last five games (-4). Teams split 10 series games, with Bolts losing three of four visits here (only win was 20-7 in first meeting 41 years ago). Three of last four Chicago games went over the total. Chicago has nine INTs in its last three games, after picking off only four passes in their first six games.
Eagles (3-6) @ Giants (6-3)-- Last 3-6 team to wind up in playoffs were the '96 Jaguars, coached by Tom Coughlin, so Eagles aren't dead, but their season is on life support. Philly (-8) lost 29-16 to Giants in Week 3, ending six-game series win streak- they've won last four visits here, scoring 45-38 in last two. Giants are 3-1 at home, 1-2-1 as home favorites, winning in Swamp by 12-3-3 points. Vick has broken ribs; if he can't go, highly suspect Vince Young gets nod. Philly is on road for first time in five weeks; they've split four road games, losing by 4 in Atlanta, 7 in Buffalo. Three of four Eagle road games went over total. Eagles are amazingly 0-6 this season when allowing more than 13 points.
Chiefs (4-5) @ Patriots (6-3)-- Chief QB Cassel (hand) is out for year; former Pitt QB Palko gets first NFL start here, leading team that scored one TD on last 21 drives in losing last two games by 28-7 points. Patriots won four of last five series games; Chiefs lost last four visits here by 30-6-3-7 points, with last win in '90. Patriots lost two of last three games, but are 3-1 at home, winning by 14-9-4 points with a loss to Jets (2-2 as home faves). Six of last seven Kansas City games stayed under total, as did three of last four Patriot tilts. Chief personnel head Pioli had same role in Foxboro during Patriots' championship years. Chiefs covered their last three road games, are 5-1 as an underdog this season.
With Denver's inability to rely on the run and move the ball against a Jets defense out for punishment, I think gang green rolls here even if Sanchez is his usual mediocre self. Frankly I found it hard to believe that the Broncos still outlasted Kansas City who has offensive problems of their own 17-10 despite Tebow completing just 2 passes. I guess you accept wins any way you can get them.
Atlanta is going to need a strong bounce back performance to keep pace with the inconsistent Saints, who were lucky to win that game in OT last week on one of the more stupisdest coaching decisions I have seen in quite sometime. How do you go for it on 4th and short from your own 30? When the first team to score wins in overtime, you play for field position. Inexcusable. I'm sure Mike Smith heard an earful from Dimitroff Jr.
Buffalo needs this win badly, almost as much as the Jets do against Denver Thursday night. Tiebreaker is crucial in these divisional matchups, and New England swept the season series from the Jets. The Bills need to cut down on turnovers and be more efficient in the running and passing games. Their defense is also suffering from inefficiency and injuries, so a loss to a team just playing for pride may all but end the Bills' postseason hopes as well.
The matchup between Cincinnati and Baltimore is also crucial because the winner ties the idle Steelers for first in the AFC North. While both of these teams can move the ball, their ability to capitalize in the red zone is essential. Seems like the Ravens have more success utilizing Rice and Flacco at home while the Bengals' Dalton gets the job done on the road with his balanced receiving core.
How up for grabs is the AFC West? You've got Oakland leading the pack at 5-4 with Denver, Kansas City and San Diego all 4-5. This is a significant head to head advantage for the rested Raiders especially if Carson Palmer can continue to feel more comfortable out of a short retirement. Michael Bush is coming off his best game of the season. While Minnesota has played respectable even in most of its closer games, Ponder and Petersen need to be more efficient if they have plans to pull off the upset.
This is also a big game for Detroit and perhaps a wake-up call coming off the humiliating loss to Chicago on Sunday. After starting the season with five consecutive wins, the Lions (6-3) have dropped three of four since. The Lions finished with six turnovers - four interceptions and two fumbles - one more than they had through their first eight games. Stafford had thrown four picks all season before matching that total in the span of six possessions Sunday. Not good Spooky. The good news is three of their next four games are at Ford Field, with the only road contest coming at New Orleans' Superdome on Dec. 4. The Panthers, who have lost a franchise-worst 11 straight road games, rank 30th in the NFL in scoring defense (26.3 per game) this season, and are 29th in total defense (373.2 yards per game) since Week 5.
Will this Green Bay team ever lose this season? Let's face it. Aaron Rodgers is on pace to soar past Brett Favre in career achievements. Green Bay defenders have taken their generous play prior to Monday personally at times. That unit has felt it has not held up its end of the bargain while the Rodgers-led offense continues to roll over the competition, with the Packers averaging an NFL-high 35.6 points per game. Tampa Bay and Cleveland are the only teams in the league not to have scored an offensive touchdown in the first quarter all season. Trying to improve offensively is only half the battle for Tampa Bay. Stopping Rodgers is perhaps an even more daunting issue for a Buccaneers defense that allowed scoring plays of 80 and 78 yards in last Sunday's 37-9 home loss to Houston.
Don't you love softer parts of the schedule? Looks like my Boys are making some noise in the NFC East and we still have two more matchups with big blue. However first things first. We all remember what happened last year at Fed Ex Field, with a potential victory TD wiped out on a holding call as time ran out. Demarco Murray has opened up the offense and helped turn around the season for Dallas, which seeks a season-best third straight win. Murray has rushed for an NFL-best 601 rushing yards and two touchdowns since taking over as the lead back Oct. 23, leading the Cowboys to three wins in four contests. While Jones is expected to return following a four-game absence, Murray will remain No. 1 on the depth chart. He tops all NFL running backs with 6.7 yards per carry - Jones was averaging 4.0. The Redskins (3-6) have been outscored 115-53 during a five-game losing streak. They haven't lost six in a row since opening 0-7 in 1998. While it looked like quarterback John Beck was in line to make a fourth consecutive start last Sunday, Shanahan made a late switch and went with Rex Grossman, who threw for 215 yards and two interceptions in a 20-9 loss at Miami. With the offensive woes drilling down to RB and the rest of the areas, things should be just as easy as they were last week in a bashing of Buffalo.
Not much was expected of a team which hasn't been to the playoffs since 2002, and only three of its victories have come against teams with winning records. However, the 49ers believed in themselves long before the victory over the NFC East-leading Giants. San Francisco has the league's second-best record behind Green Bay and holds a five-game lead in the NFC West. The 49ers rank first against the run, giving up an average of 73.2 yards, and have not allowed a rushing touchdown in 10 straight games. Their 31-game stretch of not allowing a 100-yard rusher is the longest active streak in the NFL. Beanie Wells has averaged 53.4 yards and scored twice in five games since a 138-yard, three-touchdown performance Oct. 2 against the Giants. He ran for 62 yards on 23 carries in Sunday's 21-17 win at Philadelphia, as quarterback John Skelton helped the Cardinals (3-6) to their second straight win without the injured Kevin Kolb.
Chicago's stingy defense is forcing turnovers and coming up with big stops, and the Bears have won four in a row as a result. San Diego's struggling offense is having trouble protecting the ball, and not surprisingly, the Chargers have lost their last four games. In a matchup of teams heading in opposite directions, Chicago's playoff hopes seemed slim Oct. 10, as a 24-13 loss to Detroit dropped it to 2-3 and three games out of first place in the NFC North. A banged up San Diego team has turned the ball over 11 times during its skid. The Chargers (4-5) allowed a season-high six sacks Thursday as they fell one game back of the first-place Raiders. This is their longest skid since opening the 2003 season 0-5. Rivers had another tough game Thursday, going 23 of 47 for 274 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. Turner, however, praised Rivers for his performance considering he was constantly under pressure. Hello, are we watching the same game here while the season is at stake?
The Philadelphia Eagles don't have much room for error now, and may be without Michael Vick this weekend. The New York Giants have already knocked Vick out once this season. Now they can land a knockout blow to their archrivals' season. Michael Vick did not practice Wednesday after suffering two broken lower ribs last week and finishing with a 32.5 passer rating - his worst with the Eagles. After Vick had career highs of 21 passing touchdowns and nine on the ground last season and the Eagles added numerous big-name acquisitions, Philadelphia was considered a clear favorite to repeat as NFC East champions. Andy Reid is dealing with other issues besides Vick. The coach said DeSean Jackson will return after the receiver was deactivated last Sunday because he missed a meeting. Meanwhile, New York is finishing stronger this season behind Eli Manning, who owns the league's second-best fourth-quarter rating at 116.5. Manning is fifth in the league in TD passes (17) and quarterback rating (97.0) and has turned in consecutive four-touchdown efforts against Philadelphia.
Now that New England has first place all to themselves, they catch a reeling Chiefs team at the right time. While the ability of the Patriots' offense to score has rarely been in question, the NFL's lowest-ranked defense's chances of stopping anyone certainly were before facing the Jets last week. However New England's front constantly pressured Mark Sanchez - defensive end Andre Carter had four sacks - and helped take some of the heat off a makeshift secondary.
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