NFL · Sun (12/12) @ 4:25pm ET
|Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
Buffalo Bills (7-5, 6-6 ATS) at Tampa Bay Bucs (9-3, 6-6 ATS)
Time: 4:25 p.m. EST
Line: Bucs -3.5 (54)
The skinny: Buffalo, playing on the road on on a short week after its 14-10 home loss to New England, will try to keep Tampa Bay from clinching the NFC South.
Facts: Buffalo’s average starting field position was its 40 last week vs. the Patriots. In 18 other games this year when teams had a 40-yard-line or better average launch point, they scored no fewer than 20 points and went 17-1.
With the Bucs, the pass/catch combo of Tom Brady and Chris Godwin has been hard to stop the past four games, with Godwin having 32 receptions on 36 targets, including 15 catches last week in a 30-17 win over Atlanta. They’ll be going against Buffalo’s top-rated pass defense.
The Bills yielded 222 rushing yards to the Patriots last week in the cold and snow and wind, the second time this season they’ve given up 220-plus. No other team has been victimized twice.
Analysis: On one hand, Tampa Bay is one of two teams to be undefeated at home this season, going 5-0. And it would seem that with Buffalo on short rest the Bills could be at a significant disadvantage.
But six weeks ago the Bucs played a Saints team coming off a MNF game halfway across the country in Seattle and lost 36-27 in the Superdome with Trevor Siemian coming on in relief of injured QB Jameis Winston. The Saints haven’t won since.
The desperate Bills, behind QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs, have the talent and extra desire to try to slow the Bucs’ charge to its division crown.
Bills at Bucs Pick
Bills 28, Bucs 20
The Bengals opened as a 1.5-point pick, but with QB Joe Burrow missing drills because of his injured finger, the 49ers are now the choice, by up to 2 points at PointsBet.
San Francisco 49ers (6-6, 5-7 ATS) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5, 6-6 ATS )
Time: 4:25 p.m.
Line: 49ers -2 (49)
The skinny: Cincinnati will be playing host to a West Coast team for the second week in a row when the 49ers make their fourth visit East across three time zones.
Facts: San Francisco has a 3-0 mark SU/ATS back East this season (last year, too), and West Coast teams overall in this spot (including Arizona) are 12-3 SU/ATS. Included is the Bengals’ 41-22 loss to the L.A. Chargers last week.
Drive to nowhere: The 49ers marched 115 yards (overcoming 20 yards in penalties) on one possession last week in Seattle, but came up empty when turning the ball over on downs at the 3 with 18 seconds left in their 30-23 defeat.
Burrow dislocated the pinkie on his throwing hand early last week and said afterward it didn’t affect his passing. He did indeed throw for 300 yards vs. LA, but among the 89 games a QB had 300-plus yards this year, his passer rating of 70.8 was third worst. He was limited in mid-week practices but said he expects to play.
Analysis: San Francisco likely will be missing WR Deebo Samuel again this week (questionable, groin) and coach Kyle Shanahan said he wasn’t optimistic that leading rusher Elijah Mitchell (concussion/knee) would be able to suit up. On four times, he’s had 100 yards in a game.
Those two missing pieces seem too much to overcome.
Of course, if Burrow is held back, that collective groan you’ll hear is the announcement that backup Brandon Allen is under center. But still …
49ers at Bengals Pick
Bengals 27, 49ers 19
The Broncos opened as an 8-point favorite over Detroit, but the line climbed to 10 on just about every board as the week wore on.
Detroit Lions (1-10-1, 8-4 ATS) at Denver Broncos (6-6, 6-6 ATS)
Time: 4:05 p.m. EST
FanDuel Line: Broncos -10 (42.5)
The skinny: Detroit will try to build on a one-game winning streak against a Denver squad that can’t afford a slip-up if it is to be a major playoff threat down the stretch.
Facts: Denver’s 11-minute, 7-second drive at Kansas City last week in a 22-9 defeat was the second longest in the league this year, yet the Broncos gave up the ball on downs after 20 plays. There were eight other marches of 10 minutes or more in the NFL this season, resulting in seven TDs and a FG.
FYI: Even with the Lions’ upset win vs. Minnesota last week, their odds to win the Super Bowl didn’t budge on FanDuel. In case anyone’s interested, they remain +1000000. Translated, that’s 10,000-1.
Denver running back RB Javonte Williams drew raves for his pulverizing runs in totaling 102 yards against Kansas City’s revitalized defense last week. He’ll likely remain the Broncos’ top RB while Melvin Gordon (questionable) nurses shoulder and hip injuries.
Analysis: This point spread seems pretty steep considering the Lions are riding a high and Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater is coming off his worst game of the year (based on passer rating). He even threw a pick-six vs. K.C.
But on second thought, maybe that line is a little low considering the Lions likely will be without standout RB De’Andre Swift (shoulder) for a second straight game. He sat out of drills Thursday. In his absence last week, the Lions averaged only 3.7 yards a carry against a soft Vikings defense that ranks 30th in the league. Denver’s is eighth.
Lions at Broncos Pick
Broncos 24, Lions 9
The Chargers opened as a 10.5-point choice over the Giants, but that number has dropped a tad this week.
N.Y. Giants (4-8, 6-6 ATS) at LA Chargers (7-5, 6-6 ATS)
Time: 4:05 p.m. EST
BetMGM Line: Chargers -10 (42.5)
The skinny: This could be a trap game for the Chargers, who play host to AFC front-running rival Kansas City on Thursday.
Facts: In the Chargers’ 41-22 victory last week in Cincinnati, Austin Ekeler became the seventh player to lose two fumbles in a game this season, but the first running back.
The Giants’ QB situation remains in flux. It appears No. 1 guy Daniel Jones will remain out with a neck injury. No. 2 Mike Glennon hasn’t cleared concussion protocol as of Thursday night, but coach Joe Judge said he’s optimistic he’ll play. And if it comes down to No. 3, that would be Jake Fromm, who joined the team two weeks ago.
The Chargers’ issues are at wide receiver: Top WR Keenan Allen tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and fellow WR Mike Williams is in league protocols as a close contact. Their situations bear watching.
Analysis: The gamble inside the gamble is that Glennon will start, and maybe catch L.A. a little flat-footed while looking ahead to facing the Chiefs.
And then there’s this: Coincidence or not, the Chargers have struggled when playing at home the past four seasons right after returning from a game in the Eastern time zone, going 1-8 ATS/2-7 SU. This season in that scenario they lost to Dallas and Minnesota as 3-point favorites.
Giants at Chargers Pick
Chargers 27, Giants 21
Last week: 5-9 ATS, 8-6 SU
Season total: 91-100-3 (.476) ATS; 116-71-1 (.601) SU