09 December 2019 02:37
Seahawks (Pick'em) over RAMS: The 'Hawks opened as clear favorites, but the market reacted to the Rams' greater relative need to maintain semblance of realistic postseason contention. The Rams peaked in Week 2, when they wore down the Saints at the Coliseum. They've been desultory otherwise, aside from a couple of manhandlings of outclassed finesse teams. Russell Wilson loves Sunday night lights. Dolphins (+5½) over JETS: Ryan Fitzpatrick essentially has single-handedly resurrected the Dolphins' competitiveness.
The three-game stretch of Jets prosperity came to abrupt halt when previously winless Cincinnati victimized them. But consider: Forecasted temps will peak in the low 40s, leaving us in quandry, given the Dolphins' history in the chill. Also, check the status of Jets running back Le'Veon Bell. BILLS (+5½) over Ravens: Deliberate, focused rebuilding by Buffalo has led to the cashier's window. The Bills have epic revenge motivation, off a 47-3 humiliation in last season's opener. The Ravens remain Tiffany-priced, leaving value solidly residing with the defensive home 'dog. Redskins (+13) over PACKERS: Modestly powered they may be, but the 'Skins are 3-2 ATS as road dogs in a season that's been very friendly to travelers catching points, overall. Aaron Rodgers has a great December history, but not sold the price is right, given subtle Washington developments. TEXANS (-9½) over Broncos: From all evidence, Broncos Super Bowl MVP Von Miller won't play, given broad status and application of rational caution. Houston defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell looks at green Denver QB Drew Lock and smiles, knowingly. see also Las Vegas has very little faith in Eli Manning Las Vegas bookmakers do not expect Eli Manning to put... 49ers (+2½) over SAINTS: The Niners continue to convince doubters, with their near-miss at Baltimore the latest installment of "You dare to doubt us?" Not sold Saints can play in their penalty-attracting defensive style and continue to survive against top-flight foe. The Saints are past their peak. San Francisco is rising. Bengals (+7½) over BROWNS: Andy Dalton's return to command went well, as Cincinnati caught the Jets at the peak of their latest wave. Concerns about Browns QB Baker Mayfield's hand injury makes it tough to go whole-hog on erratic, bluff-and-bluster Cleveland squad. FALCONS (-3) over Panthers: Carolina soldiers on in wake of coach Ron Rivera's firing. We expect Rivera won't be unemployed long, after being caught in classic situation when decent skill people are dragged down by underperformance by lines on both sides of the ball. Concerned about possible Carolina regression. Lions (+13) over VIKINGS: Detroit has beaten no one but the Giants since opening 2-0-1 — though they haven't lost a game by more than eight points. Much depends on how newbie Lions QB David Blough represents. Minnesota has underperformed as chubby chalk this year. Colts (+3) over BUCCANEERS: When fans are asked to lay points with favored Tampa Bay squads in home games lately, it has been a tall hill to climb. The Bucs' form was flattered when the Jags threw a turnover party for them last week. Caution: T.Y. Hilton's calf issues will keep him out of this one. Chargers (-3) over JAGUARS: Challenging market, given Jacksonville's dedicated mediocrity compared to the Bolts' consistent involvement in close games — which makes laying meaningful points an adventure. Close call. Chiefs (+3) over PATRIOTS: The Pats are hell to beat at Gillette, no question — but the '19 Patriots vintage appears short of classic. The Chiefs' recent surface defensive improvement may be due to modest AFC West opposition, but last year's two close losses to New England (including the playoffs) tempt 'dog lovers. Steelers (-3) over CARDINALS: The market is cynical about Pittsburgh's ability to run off and hide from squad as defensively iffy as this house of Cards. Still, Arizona hasn't beaten anyone with January hopes, and Kyler Murray remains a rookie quarterback with plenty to learn. QB Devlin "Duck" Hodges has won both of his starts with visitors. RAIDERS (+3) over Titans: Yes, we're fans of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, and have been since his Dolphins days, but recent Raiders form has been shaded by a pair of deep-dive road no-shows played in what were fairly described as iceboxes, compared to Oakland. The Raiders won three games running at home, prior to recent rough patch. Tannehill struggled when favored in Miami. Raiders rebound! Monday EAGLES (-9½) over Giants: Remember when Monday nights featured top matchups? Them were the days! Daniel Jones' injury leaves us with Eli Manning, in what could become a mop-up tour, in a divisional clash in which the Eagles have owned the Giants for a decade. Let's play, Name That Score. Last week: 5-8. Season: 89-84-2. Follow Richard Witt on Twitter: @rich_witt1