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The ranks of the unbeaten teams fell by one last week and it was not the lone underdog that fell victim.

Carolina was a TD underdog at Seattle and pulled off a furious late rally to improve to 5-0, making a successful return to action following its bye.

Rather, NFC South Division rival Atlanta dropped the number of unbeaten teams to five with its loss at New Orleans, another Division rival, last Thursday. The four other unbeatens each won with Denver having the toughest time, needing overtime at Cleveland.

Also surviving a tough test was Green Bay, which denied San Diego a likely 27-27 tie with a great defensive play facing fourth and goal from the 2 with time for one last snap. Chargers QB Philip Rivers’ 65th pass attempt of the game was deflected.

Rivers had an amazing performance, gaining 503 total yards on 43 completions with no interceptions. That effort came on a short week that followed Monday night’s last second home loss to Pittsburgh.

Both Cincinnati and New England met less resistance in remaining unbeaten.

The Bengals broke open a game they led just 17-14 at the half with a big second half, winning 34-21. The Patriots, trailing 21-20 at the half in their game at Indianapolis, held the Colts scoreless in the second half until less than two minutes remained, winning 34-27. The late Indy touchdown resulted in a backdoor cover for the Colts. The game closed at most books at either 8.5 or 9.

Heading into Monday favorites were just 3-9-1 ATS.

Another result that went the books’ way was one of the least flashy games of the week. Houston opened up as pick ‘em or 1-point favorites at Jacksonville but closed as 3-point underdogs in a game they won, 31-20. It may have been one of the most lightly bet games of the week, but points out that following the so-called smart or professional money does not always lead to a winning wager.

Three of the remaining five unbeaten teams have byes this week as Cincinnati, Denver and Green Bay join Chicago on the sidelines. Dallas, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay return to action after enjoying their byes last week.

Here’s a preview of this week’s slate of 14 games.

Pro Football – Thursday

Seattle Seahawks -5.5 at San Francisco 49ers (O/U 41.5): The Niners have played well at home and QB Colin Kaepernick has looked sharp in his last two games. The short week to prepare helps the hosts and there have to be concerns for the Seahawks after failing to hold big fourth quarter leads in back to back games. SAN FRANCISCO.

Pro Football – Sunday

Buffalo Bills -4 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (42) at London, England: The Bills continue to alternate wins and losses, which suggests a winning effort this week. The Jags are here for a third straight season after losing to Dallas, 31-17, last season and to San Francisco, 42-10, in 2013. Even though they are banged up, the Bills have most of the edges as they step down in class. BUFFALO.

Cleveland Browns +4.5 at St. Louis Rams (42): The Rams have scored 10 or fewer points in 3 of their 5 games but have rushed the football well in their last two games at Arizona and at Green Bay. Their strength remains their defensive line, which should make it tough for the Cleveland passing game to flourish. UNDER.

Pittsburgh Steelers NL at Kansas City Chiefs: After winning their opener the Chiefs have lost 5 straight and the season is rapidly unwinding, especially with RB Jamaal Charles lost for the duration. This is their last home game until after Thanksgiving, which gives this game an even greater sense of urgency. KANSAS CITY.

Houston Texans +4.5 at Miami Dolphins (43): This is a more critical spot for the Dolphins who have three straight, tough road games up next. There should be a carryover from last week’s win that featured their best effort in running the football and defending the run. They have the edge at QB and no longer are at a disadvantage on the sidelines. MIAMI.

NY Jets +10 at New England Patriots (48): With an upset win the 4-1 Jets could tie the 5-0 Patriots atop the AFC East. The Jets have played the Patriots as well as any team has in recent seasons, covering in 5 of their last 6 meetings. NY also added personnel on the field and on the coaching staff who were with the Patriots last season and catch the Pats off of their satisfying win over the Colts. NY JETS.

Minnesota Vikings -2.5 at Detroit Lions (44.5): Detroit has held just one foe to below 24 points. The Vikings have the better defense and are yet to allow 300 passing yards this season. With RB Adrian Peterson they have the running game to dent a suspect Lions defense. And the Vikes have covered four in a row following their opening week loss in San Francisco. MINNESOTA.

Atlanta Falcons -4 at Tennessee Titans (48): The Tennessee rushing game has declined in each of the last three games. The Falcons have yet to face a high quality defense and won’t face one here. Their own defense has been solid against the run and the Titans have topped 236 passing yards just once. ATLANTA.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5 at Washington Redskins (43): The Redskins are favored for the first time after going 1-4 ATS in that role last season. This is a team that cannot be trusted to even win when expected, much less cover the spread. The extra time to prepare should benefit the Bucs even with Washington having their bye next week. TAMPA BAY.

New Orleans Saints +5 at Indianapolis Colts (52): After poor efforts to start the season against the defenses of the Jets and Buffalo, the Colts have run for at least 110 yards in 3 of their last 4 games. That sets up nicely for a balanced offense here against a New Orleans defense that is allowing 410 yards per game and 6.4 yards per play, both ranking dead last in the league. INDIANAPOLIS.

Oakland Raiders +4 at San Diego Chargers (47): Oakland is off of its bye that followed a pair of competitive losses at Chicago and to Denver. San Diego has struggled to run the football but has a very potent passing attack. We should see both offenses eschew the run and just rely on their aerial games. OVER.

Dallas Cowboys +4.5 (48) at NY Giants: With Tony Romo injured the ‘Boys turned first to backup Brandon Weeden and now will start Matt Cassel. Though banged up, the Giants are healthier than Dallas and will have a major edge at QB. With that first game just edging OVER the total these teams have now played 10 OVERS, 2 UNDERS and 1 push since 2009. OVER.

Philadelphia Eagles +3 (47) at Carolina Panthers: Prior to Monday night the Eagles’ offense had started to gel nicely after needing several games for all the new personnel to develop synergy. We could see the Eagles continue to play well over the next few weeks, which makes them an attractive underdog here provided they did not suffer any key injuries against the Giants this past Monday night. PHILADELPHIA.

Pro Football – Monday

Baltimore Ravens +7.5 at Arizona Cardinals (48): All 5 of Baltimore’s losses have been by 6 points or less. They are also either 1-5 or 0-5-1 ATS depending upon how their 3 point win at Pittsburgh is graded, so there is added value in getting at least a full TD here. BALTIMORE.

NFL Last Week: 4-8-1

NFL Season: 36-50-4

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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