After the Oakland Raiders got their first win of the season on Thursday night, here is a preview for the rest of Week 12 in the NFL.
Browns at Falcons
After a three game winning streak that put the Browns atop the AFC North, they suffered a loss last weekend against Houston. This weekend, they’ll hope to get back on the winning side of things as they face the NFC South-leading Falcons.
Despite the fact that the Flacons are just 4-6 on the season, they find themselves tied atop the NFC South with New Orleans. This is the only division in the league that is lead by a team that is below .500, so the Falcons will look to get a win over the Browns to prove that they belong atop the division.
Matt Ryan leads a Falcons offense that ranks 6th in the league with 271 yards per game passing, and the Browns have the 11th best defense in the league against the pass. Another big key for this matchup could be the return of Josh Gordon, who has completed his league mandated suspension after 10 games.
The 4-6 Falcons are slightly favored by a touchdown in this matchup.
Titans at Eagles
The Titans’ season has pretty much been over for a few weeks now, but that doesn’t make them a lock against the Eagles this weekend. Philly is coming off a huge loss to Green Bay, and they’ve lost two of their last four games. The bigger concern here may be the future outlook of the Eagles, as Mark Sanchez will again start after Nick Foles broke his clavicle earlier this month. Sanchez was incredibly effective when he stepped in for Foles during that November 2nd game against Houston, and he also did well against Carolina in Week 10. However, he wasn’t nearly as productive last weekend against the Packers.
For the Titans, it looks like Zach Mettenberger will again start in the post-Jake Locker era. It’s the fourth start in a row for the former LSU quarterback, and he’ll be looking for his first win on the season.
If the Titans are going to get a win in this one, they’ll need a lot of things to go their way. They currently sit with one of the biggest spreads on the day as 11-point underdogs to Philly.
Lions at Patriots
The Detroit Lions are coming off a bitter loss to Arizona, but unfortunately for them they won’t get a chance at an easy rebound as they’ll face off against one of the hottest teams in the league in New England. The Pats are coming off an impressive 42-20 prime time win over Indianapolis, where a new key element in their offense emerged. Jonas Gray had a coming out part that included 201 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.
While New England will surely welcome any sort of follow-up production from Gray, that doesn’t mean that the Patriots were willing to get stagnant with their depth chart in the backfield. This past week they re-signed LeGarrette Blount after he was cut by the Steelers. Blount has proven to be successful for New England before, and that entire franchise hopes that he and Grey will be the ultimate one-two combo against a tough Detroit run offense that leads the league with an average of just 68.8 rushing yards per game against.
The Lions had an epic collapse last year, and they are hoping that they can avoid a repeat from happening this year. That being said, the Patriots are favored by a touchdown in this matchup. New England is also listed at 9/2 odds to win the Super Bowl, which is only behind the Packers.
Packers at Vikings
Speaking of the Packers, who currently sit with a league-best 4/1, they’ll match up against divisional foe Minnesota this weekend. Along with those Patriots, these Packers may be one of the hottest teams in the league After a bye in Week 9, they’ve had two monster wins where they have scored 55 and 53 points in back-to-back games. They’ve also won 6 of their last 7 total.
After winning back-to-back games in Week’s 8 & 9, the Vikings then had a bye in Week 10. Unfortunately for them, that might’ve been the last thing they needed as it appeared to cool them down and they lost to Chicago when they returned in Week 11. The biggest news for the Vikings this past week may have been that Adrian Peterson would be suspended for the rest of the season, and we are still waiting to hear whether or not his appeal will do anything. At 4-6, the Vikings find themselves in third place in the NFC North. They aren’t completely out of the playoff picture and they sit 250/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. However, they’ll need to avoid many more losses in the final few weeks of the season.
The Packers are favored on the road in this one by about 8.5.
Jaguars at Colts
The Colts have lost two of their last three games, but thanks to Andrew Luck they are still in first place in the AFC South. Luck leads an offense that is first in the league with 334 passing yards per game. Despite having a lackluster performance last weekend against the Patriots, Luck will look to right the ship this weekend against a Jacksonville team that is searching for just their second win on the season.
The Jags are coming off their bye week, and the week before they lost to Dallas in London. The good news for Blake Bortles is that Mercedes Lewis is likely going to return to the lineup for the first time since Week 2 when the tight end injured his ankle. Bortles will hope that Denard Robinson can also continue to improve in the backfield for Jacksonville.
The Jags look to be a young team with potential. However, they are already out of the playoff hunt for this season. As for Sunday, they are on the wrong end of the largest spread of the day, as the Colts are favored by two touchdowns.
Bengals at Texans
It’s been quite an interesting year for both Cincinnati and Houston. For the Bengals, they went from third to first place in the AFC North last weekend, but they still remain in a precarious position thanks to a tie that they had in Week 6 against Carolina. They’ve also had plenty of questions when it comes to the productivity of Andy Dalton, who has thrown 9 interceptions on the season. Luckily for Dalton, it appears as if he and AJ Green are starting to get on the same page, as the two connected on six receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown last weekend.
As for the Texans, they currently sit at 5-5 and in second place in the AFC South, despite the fact that they’ve had their own trouble with their roster this season. After earning the top spot in the NFL Draft last April, the Texans drafted Jadaveon Clowney. Unfortunately for them, Clowney was injured early in the season and he hasn’t had quite the impact that the team had hoped. In addition, it also looks like Ryan Mallet may be getting just his second career start in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has fallen out of favor after struggling in his last games under center for the Texans.
The Bengals currently have 40/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while the Texans are listed at 125/1. But as for this weekend, things are expected to be much closer as the spread is at 1.5 in favor of Houston.
Buccaneers at Bears
If the Chicago Bears plan to make a run at the postseason, then they need to realize they don’t have much in the way of wiggle room. As they head up against a 2-8 Bucs team this weekend, Chicago is favored by 5.5. The Bears did get a win last weekend against Minnesota, but that was on the heels of a three game losing streak against Miami, New England, and Green Bay. In the coming weeks, the Bears will play Detroit twice, as well as Dallas and New Orleans once. There isn’t much room for them to slip up, which is why they need to get one at Soldier Field this weekend.
As for the Bucs, they’ll hope to ride high off the emotion of a 27-7 win against Washington last weekend. Remember this time last season when the Bucs finished strong, and that could be a good sign for fans in Tampa. The good news is also that, despite being 2-8, the Bucs technically aren’t eliminated from the playoff picture. They do sit at 2000/1 odds, but luckily for them they are in an NFC South that is full of mediocre squads.
Despite the fact that neither of these teams jump off the page as contenders, this weekend could have huge implications on the remainder of each of their seasons.
Cardinals at Seahawks
There is no question that this NFC West showdown could be one of the more exciting ones of the afternoon on Sunday. The Cardinals have a league best 9-1 record, while the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks are coming off their fourth loss of the season. Keep in mind that the Seahawks have already lost back-to-back games this year in Weeks 6 and 7, so they certainly will have their hands full against the Cardinals.
Despite the fact that the Cardinals have the best record in the league, odds makers aren’t completely sold on them just quite yet. After all, we still need to see a bit more of Drew Stanton before we decide whether or not he can fill in adequately for Carson Palmer. The Cardinals are currently listed at 10/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while the defending champs have fallen to 18/1. That being said, Seattle is still favored in this one by a touchdown.
This should be one of the more exciting games on the day, so be sure to check in with sportspicks.com for more information before kickoff.
Rams at Chargers
Over the last decade, it hasn’t be unusual to see the San Diego Charger start the season slow, only to make a late push in November and December to secure themselves a playoff spot. This season it looks as if they might be going the other way. After starting the season 5-1, the Chargers then lost three in a row. They then had a bye week, which they followed with a closer-than-wanted win against Oakland. And while a matchup against a 4-6 team might look like an easy game, don’t forget that this is a St. Louis team that defeated Denver last weekend and held Peyton Manning to the lowest points he’s scored since being in a Broncos uniform in the process.
Yes, the Rams are 4-6 and in last place in the NFC West. However, considering all that they’ve been through this season, it’s nothing short of spectacular that they are still in the playoff hunt with 300/1 odds to win the Super Bowl. The Rams have been battling after losing Sam Bradford early in the season, and they’ve been juggling Shaun Hill and Austin Davis over the last few weeks. Through it all, they’ve been able to reel off wins in two of their last three, and in three of their last five.
The Chargers are favored by 5 in this one, but they shouldn’t get ahead of themselves against one of the tougher below-.500 teams in the league.
Dolphins at Broncos
As for the team that the Rams beat last weekend, the Broncos will look to rebound as they host Miami. As mentioned, Peyton Manning was held to the lowest points he’s scored since coming to Denver. Unfortunately for him, things won’t get much easier this weekend. The Dolphins have the second-best pass defense in the league, as they allow an average of just 208 yards per game.
The Dolphins aren’t too shabby on offense either. They currently rank 6th in the league with 127 rushing yards per game, and Ryan Tannehill has done what is needed to lead Miami to some solid wins in recent weeks. Last weekend it was a solid win against divisional opponent Buffalo, and the fins also reeled off three wins in a row from Week 7 to Week 9.
The Broncos are favored by a touchdown in this one. After seeing what happened to Peyton Manning last weekend, expect a much more productive showing as Denver looks to stay a game up on Kansas City in the AFC West.
Redskins at 49ers
Things are falling apart quickly for the 3-7 Redskins, as they’ve lost 2 games in a row against mediocre teams in Minnesota and Tampa Bay. This weekend, they’ll have an even tougher time on the road against the 6-4 49ers.
San Francisco has won back-to-back games against New Orleans and New York, but they still are tied with Seattle at 6-4 in the NFC West. The good news for 49ers fans is that they currently have better odds than Seattle, as they sit at 14/1 to win the Super Bowl.
This Sunday, San Francisco is favored by 9 points. With plenty of turmoil between Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III, this spread is representative of the troubles that Washington has had this season. As for San Francisco, a win could be just what they need to help them make a big move in the NFC West.