When we glance again at this horrible season — and we received’t — we’ll chortle at performs such because the depressing Texans plus-13.5 factors final week at Miami. The Dolphins had been clearly by no means all for that sport, as we predicted.

But Houston turned the ball over twice inside its personal 20-yard line and misplaced by … 15.

We truly had a profitable week final week, however it’s feeling prefer it all comes right down to luck at this level. There have been 106 one-score video games this season, in comparison with 85 at this level final season. Teams which are forward take their foot off the gasoline, quarterback play total has been fairly unhealthy and a few coaches go for it on fourth down in their very own territory simply to be cool.

You can’t attempt to be cool, you simply are otherwise you’re not. Joe Burrow is clearly cool and so is his matchup this week towards Patrick Mahomes.

“I look at it like Manning and Brady,” Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd informed reporters. “You can’t stop them.”

Burrow not solely has the Bengals rolling however he’s 2-0 in his profession towards Mahomes, beating him within the common season final yr and once more within the AFC Championship Game. The Bengals over the Chiefs, Lions over the Jaguars, Commanders over the Giants and 49ers over the Dolphins are our greatest bets this week.

Last week: 9-7 towards the unfold.

Season document: 83-92-5 ATS (Plays of the week had been 2-2 final week and 13-16-3 total)

All odds are from BetMGM and are locked when the choose was made. Click here for reside odds.

GO DEEPER

NFL Power Rankings: Joe Burrow and Bengals emerging as true contenders

The final time these two groups confronted off in New England, Josh Allen was 30-for-47 for 314 yards and three touchdowns with 64 yards dashing. Bill Belichick’s defenses all the time appear to battle towards working QBs and Allen has 36 profession dashing touchdowns, 12 greater than every other QB since coming into the league in 2018, in response to TruMedia. Eighteen of these TDs have come on scrambles (non-designed run performs), in response to Next Gen Stats, which is seven greater than every other QB.

Allen has additionally handed for 460 yards this season on prolonged dropbacks, which is second-best within the NFL.

The solely likelihood for the Patriots is for Mac Jones to maintain up with Allen, and whereas he was very sharp towards the Vikings on Thanksgiving, I’m going to wish to see it once more. The Bills not having Von Miller will assist, as their strain charge with and with out him drops from 39.3 % to 26.6. There can also be a flu bug within the Bills locker room, which bears monitoring and had pushed the purpose unfold down a degree.

We’re not scared. The Bills hold messing round and haven’t lined the unfold in 5 weeks (three of them wins), however Allen takes care of enterprise right here. And perhaps the Patriots start looking for another QB. 

Player Props that Pop: Allen over 42.5 yards dashing and Jones underneath 1.5 passing touchdowns.

The choose: Bills -3.5

The Steelers barely beat a Colts staff with a coach who admitted that he didn’t have the expertise wanted to name timeouts along with his staff driving and the clock working out. The Falcons barely misplaced when Marcus Mariota threw an interception ultimately zone within the last seconds. That’s how the loopy NFL works as of late.

I’ve little interest in backing Benny Snell Jr. and the Steelers as street favorites. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett has been respectable, however is he or will he ever be higher than Mariota? And this week, he can’t depend on throwing the ball up within the space of George Pickens. Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell simply shadowed Terry McLaurin final week and held him to at least one catch for 3 yards on two targets. Only the Giants’ Adoree’ Jackson (six video games) has shadowed receivers greater than Terrell (4) and Terrell ought to be capable to comprise Pickens.

Four of the 5 Falcons’ wins this season have come at dwelling, and their owner believes in them, too. 

The choose: Falcons +1 

Just like Aaron Rodgers will need to have loved the sport movie of Mike White shredding the Bears, Justin Fields bought excited watching Jalen Hurts run circles across the Packers. He needs to come back from his shoulder injury and play, too.

It’s an inconceivable sport to choose with out figuring out if Fields will play. The Bears don’t have any likelihood with out him. We have been screaming to go towards Rodgers and Tom Brady all season — we didn’t pay attention and took the Bucs final week — and they’re a mixed 3-13-1 towards the unfold since Week 4.

The choose: Bears +4.5

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This sport relies upon largely on the well being standing of Bears quarterback Justin Fields. (Brett Davis / USA Today)

Was {that a} breakthrough sport final week for Trevor Lawrence? Eh. Probably not. He has proven comparable flashes all season, however he has additionally missed some throws and are available up brief typically. We’re on the Lions each week now and now they’re underdogs at dwelling to a staff with a worse protection — yeah, since Week 6, the Jaguars are thirty second within the league in defensive EPA with the Lions a minimum of barely forward at twenty ninth.

There continues to be worth with the Lions. They did a very good job final week towards the Bills apart from giving up a giant catch on the final drive and having no reply for Allen working wild like a rodeo bull.

And there may be much more worth as a result of Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown is a superb passing-game connection that nobody is speaking about. Imagine in the event that they ever bought D’Andre Swift a heavy workload again.

The choose: Lions +1 

Mike White positive was unbelievable, wasn’t he? He threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns towards the Bengals … oh wait, that was final season. Two weeks after that, he threw 4 interceptions towards the Bills and was quickly buried on the bench once more. Jets followers are so disgusted by Zach Wilson that White’s showing towards the Bears final week has triggered amnesia.

The Bears’ cross protection is so unhealthy after their latest commerce giveaways that even Wilson would have had a very good day if he hadn’t been benched. Aaron Rodgers has a damaged thumb and throbbing ribs and he yelled out Tuesday that he’s enjoying towards the Bears this week.

White now will get to face a significantly better Vikings staff (that may a minimum of cease the run) on 10 days’ relaxation coming off a good-vibes Thanksgiving night win. Meanwhile. Dalvin Cook could have a giant day catching the ball towards the Jets’ linebackers.

The choose: Vikings -3 

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Dane Brugler’s NFL mock draft, 1.0: Can an elite group of defenders break up the QB run?

The Giants gave all they’d on Thanksgiving earlier than their defensive gamers began dropping like bloated folks on the sofa. And they already had a banged-up offensive line. Saquon Barkley had nowhere to run towards the Cowboys and could have an analogous downside right here towards a nasty Commanders run protection.

Washington’s protection has truly been nice total, because it ranks fourth in defensive EPA per drive over the past 5 weeks, in response to TruMedia. Ron Rivera was proper, patience pays off.

It’s additionally a foul matchup on the opposite facet of the ball, because the Giants blitz quite a bit and Taylor Heinicke is finishing 68 % of his passes with no turnovers when dealing with 5 or extra cross rushers. Just just like the Lions, we now have been on the Commanders quite a bit these days and there’s no purpose to leap off now.

The choose: Commanders -2.5 

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Taylor Heinicke has but to show the ball over this season whereas being blitzed. (Geoff Burke / USA Today)

The Eagles simply ran for 363 yards towards the Packers — the eighth-most by any staff within the Super Bowl period. They received’t want to try this this week, as whereas the Titans have seemingly overachieved this season, their secondary has been suspect. They simply bought torched by Tee Higgins, and right here comes A.J. Brown towards his former staff.

But the Titans ought to be capable to run towards the Eagles, and if Philadelphia stacks the field, Ryan Tannehill does have some respectable targets rapidly with the resurgent Treylon Burks, Austin Hooper and Robert Woods — who appears to be like like he is likely to be getting his legs again after offseason knee surgical procedure. Plus, the Eagles’ secondary is vulnerable.

Hopefully, Mike Vrabel received’t springboard off this win to Ohio State.

The choose: Titans +5.5 

The Ravens needs to be using a five-game profitable streak. But the offense nonetheless appears to be like confused, particularly when forward, and the defense keeps blowing leads within the fourth quarter — Baltimore was up 10 factors on the Jaguars final week and misplaced.

This sport is meant to be a simple one. Russell Wilson and the Broncos’ offense is so unhealthy that his comp is … Zach Wilson. Russell Wilson was 3-of-13 on throws 10-plus yards downfield towards the Panthers, in response to TruMedia. He’s accomplished 31.5 % of his throws at that distance since Week 5, and the one QB that’s worse is Zach Wilson (30.8%). The Broncos stink so unhealthy that they were flexed out of a national TV game, even when it meant flexing out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs as properly.

Everyone is betting towards the Broncos, and this unfold has already moved up from 6.5 factors. I hate siding with the general public and … whereas the Ravens have received 5 of the final seven video games, 4 of these had been by a mean margin of 5 factors and … Lamar Jackson is 7-15 towards the unfold as a house favourite of greater than 3.5 factors (not together with openers).

And … (yeah, I’m reaching like Plastic Man) perhaps his teammates yelling at him sparks Wilson … to lose by lower than 9.

The choose: Broncos +8.5

Deshaun Watson is again, with official questions on what NFL teams have learned from his suspension for violating the NFL’s private conduct coverage following greater than two dozen lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct throughout massages. On the sphere a minimum of, he has a reasonably simple job towards his former staff: simply hand the ball off to Nick Chubb. I can’t think about selecting the Texans two weeks in a row, however they need to be capable to run the ball as properly. Dameon Pierce ought to have a giant day towards a Browns protection that’s twenty eighth within the NFL at 4.8 yards per carry allowed.

I do not know how Watson will look in his first sport in 23 months, however the Texans will probably be motivated enjoying towards a former teammate who needed out of Houston even earlier than the lawsuits and allegations started being filed. The proven fact that the general public is on Cleveland (they opened as 4.5-point favorites) can also be enticing.

The choose: Texans +7

Aaron Donald is now out as seemingly the complete Rams roster is packing it in. Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford and Allen Robinson II are additionally out, to call just a few. Cam Akers went from virtually being reduce to being the Rams’ solely offensive hope, and he received’t be capable to do a lot towards a Seahawks protection not too frightened about Bryce Perkins throwing the ball.

The Seahawks are coming off two losses — and a few growing pains for rookie Kenneth Walker — however Geno Smith continues to be firing away and the Rams will enhance their draft place.

The choose: Seahawks -7.5

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The Seahawks received’t be too frightened about Rams backup quarterback Bryce Perkins. (Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today)

How good has the Dolphins offense been this season? They went three-and-out towards the Texans final week to snap a 16-drive streak of selecting up a minimum of one first down. It was the Dolphins’ longest streak relationship again to 2000, which is when our mates at TruMedia began getting their fingers soiled.

Tua Tagovailoa made even Kyle Shanahan a believer and each he and Tyreek Hill deserve MVP consideration, however former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel can’t just like the timing of this assembly along with his outdated staff. Left sort out Terron Armstead tore his pec final week — though he hasn’t been dominated out but for this sport — and Tagovailoa was pressured on 33 % of his dropbacks, probably the most since Week 1.

For the 49ers, in the meantime, DeMeco Ryans’ defense has shut out its final 4 opponents within the second half. The 49ers offense wasn’t excellent final week towards the Saints and the Dolphins have a troublesome run protection, however Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel will do sufficient within the passing sport.

The choose: 49ers -4

New MVP favorite Mahomes has thrown for a minimum of 320 yards in six straight begins, making him the third participant in league historical past to take action and the primary since Drew Brees in 2012. He goes to wish to make it seven towards Burrow, who was 53-of-77 for 696 yards, six touchdowns and one interception towards the Chiefs in two wins final season.

The Chiefs wish to blitz and Burrow is the most effective within the league towards the blitz. And he’s getting Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon again, not that he needed them final week towards the Titans. He threw three deep balls (20 or extra air yards) to Tee Higgins within the fourth quarter, tied for probably the most by a receiver in a fourth quarter since 2016.

The Bengals have received three in a row, and as we now have typically talked about, a giant purpose is the return of D.J. Reader. Their 73.3 % run protection success charge with Reader on the sphere would lead the NFL. (The Titans rank first at 65.1 %).

The choose: Bengals +2.5

Justin Herbert usually doesn’t have a number of time to throw. He has been pressured in 2.5 seconds or much less on 28 % of his dropbacks, per TruMedia.That’s the fewest within the NFL. Luckily for him, the Raiders have the sixth-worst strain charge, which is superb contemplating they’ve Defensive Player of the Year candidate Maxx Crosby.

The Raiders have received two extra time video games in a row and will look to feed Josh Jacobs once more towards a staff that provides up 151 yards dashing a sport.

Which staff has the ball final? (Actually, the Chargers defense got here up massive final week.) It’s a toss-up sport and the opening line of Chargers -3 on the street seems like a lure.

The choose: Chargers -1.5

The Colts aren’t unhealthy defensively, however they will’t be enthusiastic about going towards the two-headed monster of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott appeared rejuvenated final week and gained 91 dashing yards whereas dealing with a field of eight or extra defenders on half of his 16 carries, per Next Gen Stats.

As for Jeff Saturday and Matt Ryan, the honeymoon is lengthy over. The Colts have misplaced two straight since beating the Raiders in Saturday’s non-high-school teaching debut and Ryan appears to be like horrible. The Cowboys’ cross rush towards him appears to be like like a matchup wherein dropping out after the fifth sack needs to be an possibility. But buck up Colts followers, perhaps Will Levis is the answer.

Jonathan Taylor towards a mediocre Cowboys run protection is the one hope for Colts followers. But an aggressive Dak Prescott and the Cowboys getting out to a giant lead and tormenting Ryan appears much more doubtless.

The choose: Cowboys -11 

That Buccaneers’ loss to the Browns final week could have been the tipping level for a staff that hasn’t been on the identical web page since Tom Brady compelled Bruce Arians out earlier than the season. Brady and his receivers have been cold and warm, the offensive line and working sport unreliable and the protection has been a giant tease.

The Bucs this week received’t be capable to get sufficient strain on Andy Dalton or comprise Alvin Kamara. And the Saints’ defensive entrance will trouble Brady sufficient to — best-case state of affairs for the Bucs — make this a field-goal sport both manner. A pair extra losses and we are able to actually begin pumping up the Brady back to the Patriots rumors. 

The choose: Saints +3.5

— TruMedia analysis courtesy of NFL editor Aaron Reiss. 

(Graphic: John Bradford / The Athletic; photograph of Joe Burrow: Nick Cammett / Getty Images)



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