Seven games fill the early Sunday window (1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT) for Week 15 of the NFL season, headlined by the Dallas Cowboys taking on the N.Y. Giants in the Meadowlands.
The Cowboys are a double-digit favorite across the sports-betting landscape. BetMGM was among the majority of books dealing Dallas -10.5, but Superbook USA had the Cowboys -11.5.
Let’s take a close look at all of Sunday’s early games with lines current as of Friday afternoon.
Dallas Cowboys (9-4, 10-3 ATS) at N.Y. Giants (4-9, 6-7 ATS)
Line: Cowboys -10.5 (44)
The skinny: The Cowboy will look to clinch the NFC East with a victory and a variety of outside help, such as Philadelphia and Washington playing to a tie.
Facts: Dallas QB Dak Prescott was criticized by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones this week for his sub-great play since coming off a calf injury he suffered in a win at New England.
But before that injury, Prescott guided the offense to its most dominant, well-rounded effort of the season, with 300-plus passing yards and 200-plus running yards in a 44-20 victory over the Giants.
Giants QB Daniel Jones will miss his third straight game with a neck injury, with Mike Glennon starting again. Glennon puffed his stats last week in L.A. after the Chargers took a 30-point lead, throwing two garbage-time TD passes.
Analysis: The Cowboys, who are second in the league in takeaways with 27, certainly should be looking forward to dealing with Glennon again. He stepped in for an injured Jones in that previous meeting, and had two INTs and a fumble in a little more than a half. A banged-up Giants offensive line could be vulnerable to the healthy-at-last Dallas front, too.
And maybe this is the week Zeke Elliott gets his mojo back, like he had in getting 110 rushing yards in that previous beatdown of the Giants.
Cowboys at Giants Pick
Cowboys 34, Giants 14
The Bills opened as 9.5-point favorites against the Panthers, but the line has inched up to 12 on some sites, such as Caesars Sportsbook.
Carolina Panthers (5-8, 5-8 ATS) at Buffalo Bills (7-6, 6-6-1 ATS)
Line: Bills – 12 (45)
The skinny: Buffalo, which is clinging to the last playoff spot via tiebreaker with four weeks to go, takes on a Carolina team that’s been in a free fall since its 3-0 start.
Facts: Buffalo’s QB situation is at center stage. During drills this week, Josh Allen has been limited after spraining his left foot in Sunday’s 33-27 OT loss at Tampa Bay. His status is reported to be “day to day.” If Allen is held back, ex-Bears QB Mitch Trubisky is next in line.
For Carolina, QB Cam Newton, whose losing streak as a Panthers starter is at 11, likely will open again and then likely get yanked at some point for P.J. Walker when a faster tempo is required. The Panthers had better hope leading receiver DJ Moore isn’t hindered by his hamstring injury.
The Bills were roundly criticized for not having having a running back get a carry in the first half last week in falling behind 24-3. In the second half, RBs ran seven times.
Analysis: The Bills did quite well moving the ball on Tampa Bay, getting at least one first down on each of their 12 drives in regulation, including 13 firsts in the fourth quarter in their rally from a 21-point deficit.
But the key will be to get that running game going, sort of the way the Eagles did at midseason, going from only three RB carries in Week 3 against Dallas to 32 later on vs. the Saints.
As for those Carolina QBs: Original starter Sam Darnold stands 29th on the league chart with a 59.5 completion percentage. That’s better than what Newton and Walker have put up. Ugh. And, of course, there’s no Christian McCaffrey to key the ground game.
Panthers at Bills Pick
Bills 30, Panthers 10
The opening line had the Dolphins by 8.5 over the Jets, but now it’s at 9.5 across the board.
N.Y. Jets (3-10, 3-10 ATS) at Miami Dolphins (6-7, 7-5-1 ATS)
PointsBet Line: Dolphins -9.5 (41)
The skinny: Miami, off its bye, seeks its sixth straight victory when it plays host to a New York team that’s staggering to the season’s finish line.
Facts: Miami took a gut punch when rookie WR Jaylen Waddle, the team’s top receiver, entered COVID protocol Thursday. He’s on pace to set the league record for reception yards by a rookie.
Also in protocol and in danger of missing the game is leading rusher Myles Gaskin. In Week 14, Miami was among the four teams in the last wave of byes. Clubs with a week off from Week 10 on have gone 8-4 ATS in their return to action.
Four weeks ago the Dolphins beat the Jets 24-17 as a 3.5-point pick in the Meadowlands, as part of their current five-game winning streak. NYJ rookie WR Elijah Moore had 141 yards in that meeting, his sole 100-yard game this year. But he’s just been put on the reserve/COVID list.
Analysis: Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa gives the Dolphins an edge going against the league’s lowest rated pass defense. Tagovailoa has completed 80 precent of his throws the past three games, and even with Waddle possibly out, WR DeVante Parker and TE Mike Gesicki are established targets.
The Jets will have a fighting chance, though, if rookie QB Zach Wilson can connect with WRs Jamison Crowder and under-the-radar WR Braxton Berrios now and then.
A vote here for the Jets to keep it close.
Dolphins At Jets Pick
Dolphins 21, Jets 14
The Eagles opened as a 4-point choice, moved up to 7 at midweek and on up to 9.5 across the board by Friday morning with the news of Washington’s COVID/injury issues. Later Friday, the NFL announced the game will be played Tuesday, and the line adjusted to 8.
Washington Football Team (6-7, 5-8 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7, 7-6 ATS)
FanDuel Line: Eagles -8 (41)
The skinny: Washington will look to keep its grip on the last wild-card slot when they face the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Facts: WFT had 21 players including starting QB Taylor Heinicke on the COVID list as of Friday, and reports were that the defensive line was gutted. And those missing bodies don’t include standout edge rusher Chase Young, who is on season-ending IR.
Before last week’s bye, backup Philly QB Gardner Minshew filled in for starter Jalen Hurts (ankle) and guided the Eagles to a 33-18 win over the Jets in the Meadowlands. Hurts was limited in drills Thursday, and coach Nick Sirianni has been coy about his status.
Among non-COVID concerns for WFT are the fumbling issues of top RB Anthony Gibson, who leads all running backs with six.
Analysis: With Washington’s defense likely to be extremely short-handed, the Eagles have a strong chance of getting their fifth 200-yard rushing game in their past seven outings — even without Hurts. That would be a startling accomplishment considering no other team has reached 200 more than twice all season.
Oh, and there’s a chance WFT could be using its fifth-string center. How bad can it get for those guys?
WFT at Eagles Pick
Eagles 30, WFT 16
The Titans were a 2.5-point pick over the Steelers on the opening line, but that number has drifted as low as pick-em at BetMGM.
Tennessee Titans (9-4, 8-5 ATS) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1, 5-8 ATS)
Line: Pick ’em (43)
The skinny: Tennessee will need a win to keep pace with Kansas City for the top seed in the AFC – and maybe New England, too, if it upsets Indianapolis on Saturday.
Facts: Two-time rushing champion Derrick Henry (foot) isn’t due back until maybe Week 18, but the running game is flourishing anyway. Tennessee’s 270 rushing yards against the powerhouse Patriots three weeks ago is a league season-high.
Speaking of season highs, the Steelers allowed Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rush for a 205 yards in Minnesota’s 36-28 win last Thursday. The Steelers rank 30th in run defense.
Thus, Pittsburgh has fingers and toes crossed that sack leder T.J. Watt can return after tweaking his groin in last week’s loss to Minnesota. But what are the odds he would be able to play a whole game?
Analysis: Giving the Titans a boost down the stretch was the acquistion of disgruntled former Texans star Zach Cunningham off waivers. He’s already stepped in as the team’s starting right inside linebacker on a team that already ranked 12th best in the league.
And with the return of WR Julio Jones off IR, that gives QB Ryan Tannehill a quality target to hit, even if Jones has slowed a step.
This time when the Steelers fall behind by 17 points or so, they won’t make it close.
Titans at Steelers Pick
Titans 31, Steelers 17
The Cardinals opened at -13.5 over the Lions, but that was before Arizona lost Monday night. Now the number has dropped to 12.5 at most books.
Arizona Cardinals (10-3, 9-4 ATS) at Detroit Lions (1-11-1, 8-5 ATS)
Line: Cardinals -12.5 (47.5)
The skinny: The Cardinals travel cross-country on short rest after falling to the Rams on Monday and getting knocked off their No. 1 perch in the NFC playoff standings.
Facts: The Cardinals remain tied with Green Bay and Tampa Bay for the best record in the NFC, but now trail them both via tiebreaker. In that loss to L.A., former top-rated passer Kyler Murray threw two INTs and got sacked four times.
Detroit continues to be short-handed at the skill positions, with star TE T.J. Hockenson out for the rest of the year (thumb surgery) and top RBs D’Andre Swift (shoulder) and Jamaal Williams (COVID) sitting out practice at midweek after missing last week’s 38-10 beatdown in Denver.
For sure, the Cardinals will be without star WR DeAndre Hopkins, who has a team-high eight receiving TDs. He’s scheduled for knee surgery Friday. Arizona also might be without RB James Conner (questionable, ankle), the team leader with 14 rushing TDs.
Arizona is 7-0 away from home and aiming for only its second perfect road season in history. The 1948 team went 6-0, but alas, lost on the road to Philly in the league title game.
Analysis: The Cardinals, behind Murray’s scrambling and running ability, should have enough firepower to get past the Lions, who have QB Jared Goff and little else except for hustling guys off the practice squad.
It will be mighty tough for Detroit to work against the Cardinals’ fifth-rated defense, but they don’t have a glistening ATS record for nothing. They are 3-2 ATS as a double-digit underdog. Also, double-digit road favorites are 3-4 ATS overall this season.
Cardinals at Lions Pick
Cardinals 20, Lions 14
The Jaguars were a 3.5-point choice when the line opened, and the line has climbed as high as 5 across the industry. DraftKings still had -3.5 as of Friday afternoon.
Houston Texans (2-11, 5-8 ATS) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11, 4-9 ATS)
DraftKings Line: Jaguars -3.5 (39.5)
The skinny: The teams tied for the worst record in the league meet for the second time this season, only under much different circumstances.
Facts: The big news out of Jacksonville was the firing of Urban Meyer only 13 games into his rookie season for a host of on-field and off-field reasons.
Replacing him on an interim basis will be Darrell Bevell, who had the same role last year in Detroit after Matt Patricia was fired. Bevell’s Lions won in his debut, but then lost four straight to close the season.
Meyer is the first rookie coach to be fired in midseason since San Francisco gave Pete McCulley the heave-ho after a 1-8 start in 1978. The 49ers got it right when they replaced him with Bill Walsh.
Analysis: This is a rematch of a Week 1 game in Houston, won by the Texans 37-21 in large part because of a running game headlined by Mark Ingram, who’s no longer with the team, and QB Tyrod Taylor, who’s no longer in the huddle.
In Jacksonville, there were no reports of tears flowing after Meyer’s dismissal reached the locker room. Maybe now star RB James Robinson can carry the rushing load instead of being benched every time he sneezes wrong. He should enjoy going against the league’s worst rush defense, too.
Texans at Jaguars Pick
Jaguars 20, Texans 7
Last week: 6-8 ATS, 10-4 SU
Season total: 97-108-3 (.473) ATS, 126-81-1 (.609) SU
Also read: Odds to make NFL Playoffs | Week 15 totals | Week 16 look-ahead lines