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The Panthers rank 13th in scoring defense, allowing 21.7 points per game. They're eighth in total defense, allowing 325.9 yards per game. Their 15th ranked rushing defense allows 113.2 points per game and their passing defense is eighth, allowing 212.7 yards per game. Linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the team, and the NFL, in tackles (151) and has two interceptions. Defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson have combined for 21.5 sacks.
Open: Chicago -3
Current: Chicago -3
Public Betting %: 66% on Chicago
What they see: The Bears need a win and a Minnesota loss to make the playoffs, while the Lions have nothing to play for but the spoiler role.
Analysis: Correction. The Lions actually have one more thing to play for: Calvin Johnson’s quest for a 2,000-yard season, which has been the only storyline in Detroit for at least a month. It’s hard to talk yourself into taking the Lions right now in any situation, with their 7-game losing skid and only one cover since Nov. 4.
Johnson was held to a season-low three catches for 34 yards in the last meeting between these teams, a 13-7 Chicago victory.
“It’s safe to say (the Lions) are disappointed in their season, so they would love nothing more than to make us disappointed for the rest of the year,” Jay Cutler said this week.
The Bears opened 7-1 but are just 2-5 since, eerily reminiscent of last season when they started 7-3 only to finish 1-5 and miss the playoffs. We won’t be laying any points with them on the road in this situation.
Open: New England -11
Current: New England -10
Public Betting %: 68% on New England
What they see: It didn’t work out for all of us laying 14 points on the road with the Patriots last weekend, so let’s try this again.
Analysis: The Patriots have been a fantastic team to bet on over the years, but if there’s one area they’ve struggled since Bill Belichick took over in 2000, it’s as double-digit favorites.
New England is only 16-23 against the spread when laying 10 or more points, including an 0-4 ATS mark this year.
The Patriots can get a first-round bye with a win and either a Texans or Broncos loss, but we’re not in any rush to swallow this many points against a Miami team that actually hung pretty tough with them at home in a 23-16 loss about a month ago.
The Giants still need a win to make the playoffs and PHI, of course, has nothing to play for and a lot of high priced talent that’s merely playing out the string at the end. LW vs WAS they actually had a 183-141 yd edge at the half but trailed 13-10. Earlier in the year PHI upset the NYG which should have them a little more focused for this. The key to this probably comes in the 3Q as if the Eagles are competitive we could see them playing the entire game. PHI has had a couple of blowout losses on the road this year including losing to ARZ by 21 and the Saints by 15. They are an unusual team in the fact they outgained their foes by 28 ypg on the road and are being outgained at home. The Giants only play their best when they need an “A” game. While there is playoff need, this doesn’t look like an “A” game. I’ll call for the superior team at home to win this by double digits.
Detroit was called out as a team that quit by HC Schwartz after a loss at Arizona and they followed that up with a festive night for Calvin Johnson (11-225) as he topped HOF’r Jerry Rice. Unfortunately they were -3 in TO’s and lost their 7th straight. While winning doesn’t seem to motivate them maybe the entire team’s goal will be to get CJ to 2K yds. Chicago has also slumped to the finish line losing 5 of 6 before LW but those losses are easily explained as each is a playoff contender with 3 being div leaders. Those 5 teams are all also okay on D as they were ranked #2, #3, #7, #14 and #20. LW vs Arizona the Bears gained some confidence back albeit vs a QB who was signed just weeks ago. With CHI still in the mix of the playoffs and DET not wanting to end the season losing their 8th straight, I expect a great effort by both teams and will call for the Bears to come away with a win.