December 23, 2017 - 4:38 pm
Updated December 23, 2017 - 5:08 pm
Eric Parkila, @ParkilaSports
Lions (8-6) at Bengals (5-9)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Lions -3, 44
*Analysis: The Lions are still alive in the playoff picture and end the season against a Green Bay team without Aaron Rodgers. If Detroit can win out and finish with a 10-6 record, it can stay alive in the NFC playoff race. The Bengals are a mess of a team at the moment and the locker room does not appear to be much better. Rumors are swirling that coach Marvin Lewis will leave the team after the season. The Bengals have scored only seven points in each of their last two games.
*By the numbers: Cincinnati is 0-3 straight up against the NFC North this season (1-2 ATS). … The Bengals have been a home underdog of at least four points once this season in a 23-20 loss to the Steelers. … The Lions have been a road favorite twice this year (1-0-1 ATS) but not by more than a field goal.
*Pick: Lions, 24-21
Chargers (7-7) at Jets (5-9)
*Time: 10 a.m., KLAS-8
*Line/Total: Chargers -6½, 42½
*Analysis: Jets QB Josh McCown is out for the year with a hand injury and Bryce Petty is downright awful. Petty is completing less than 44 percent of his passes and New York is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The Chargers are are still fighting for a playoff spot. Los Angeles is coming off a tough loss at Kansas City that hurt its playoff hopes but it has been good in the second game of back-to-back road games (2-0 ATS).
*By the numbers: After covering six of seven games, the Chargers are have gone 1-2 ATS in their last three. … Los Angeles hasn’t lost to a team with a losing record this season since the Dolphins in Week 2.
*Pick: Chargers, 27-17
Rams (10-4) at Titans (8-6)
*Time: 10 a.m., KVVU-5
*Line/Total: Rams -6½, 46½
*Analysis: This matchup will feature two of the best young quarterbacks in each conference. At 10-4, the Rams may be the biggest surprise of the season. First-year coach Sean McVay has Jared Goff playing well after many labeled him an early bust under Jeff Fisher. At 9-5 ATS, the Rams may be reaching the point where bettors are paying a premium to back them. Tennessee has not lost at home since Week 1. Coming off a loss at San Francisco, it might be time to buy the Titans and sell the Rams this week.
*By the numbers: Tennessee has been an underdog just three times this season, all on the road. … The Rams are 5-2 ATS on the road this season and 6-1 straight up with the only loss to Minnesota (24-7).
*Pick: Titans, 24-23
Browns (0-14) at Bears (4-10)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Bears -6½, 38
*Analysis: The sharps have been on the Browns seemingly every week this season. At some point you might as well light your money on fire. The Bears aren’t exactly the most exciting team to back, either, but they have been significantly better than the Browns from an ATS perspective. With Cleveland headed to Pittsburgh in Week 17, this will be the game the Browns need to win if they’re going to avoid being the second team in NFL history to go 0-16. With both teams eliminated from the playoffs, the only interesting storyline here is the potential winless season for Cleveland.
*By the numbers: The Browns are 3-11 ATS this season. … The Bears are 4-2-1 ATS at home. … Chicago lost the only game it was favored in this season.
*Pick: Bears, 27-17
Buccaneers (4-10) at Panthers (10-4)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Panthers -10, 46½
*Analysis: The NFC South is one of the more interesting playoff races with the Falcons, Saints and Panthers all fighting for the division. Unfortunately for the Bucs, this leaves them as the odd team out. The last time these teams met, Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing quarterback for Tampa Bay. James Winston is back and while he hasn’t played bad, the Bucs have lost four in a row. The Panthers have not laid double digits yet this season.
*By the numbers: Carolina is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games and is 4-3 ATS at home. … The Panthers have gone over the total in their last five games. … Tampa Bay is on a 1-5-1 ATS skid on the road.
*Pick: Panthers, 31-24
Falcons (9-5) at Saints (10-4)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Saints -5½, 52½
*Analysis: For the second time in three weeks, the Saints and Falcons meet with hopes of gaining an edge in the division race. New Orleans lost the first game by a field goal in what was a low-scoring affair. In the last meeting, Matt Ryan threw three interceptions but it was a game-saving interception by Deion Jones in the end zone that preserved the Falcons’ win. This game has the feel of a toss-up, making the line seem high.
*By the numbers: The Saints are 7-7 ATS overall and 4-3 ATS at home. … New Orleans has covered only one of its last five. … Atlanta is 6-8 ATS overall and 2-5 ATS on the road.
*Pick: Falcons, 27-23
Broncos (5-9) at Redskins (6-8)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Redskins -3, 40½
*Analysis: Trevor Siemian is out for the season and Paxton Lynch is questionable, leaving Brock Osweiler as the only healthy quarterback on the Broncos roster. Denver has won two in a row after losing eight straight to take it out of playoff contention. Washington beat Arizona last week but has otherwise been unimpressive most of the season. The Redskins’ defense has been leaky at best, allowing 25.6 points per game.
*By the numbers: Denver is 1-6 ATS on the road but has covered its last two games overall. … The Redskins are 3-4 ATS at home this year and have been favored only three times, going 1-2 ATS.
*Pick: Broncos, 35-28
Dolphins (6-8) at Chiefs (8-6)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Chiefs -10½, 43½
*Analysis: The Chiefs began 5-0 and many thought they were the team to beat in the NFL. They are a much more realistic Alex Smith-like 8-6 and still in the playoff race and leading the AFC West. Kansas City is off a big win against the Chargers. The Dolphins have not covered a road game since Oct. 15th. Although Miami is technically still alive in the playoff race, backing Jay Cutler is always a risky decision.
*By the numbers: The Dolphins are 2-5 ATS on the road. … The Chiefs failed to cover in their only other game as double-digit favorites this season. … Kansas City is 2-4 ATS in its last six but 2-0 in its last two.
*Pick: Chiefs, 31-17
Bills (8-6) at Patriots (11-3)
*Time: 10 a.m.
*Line/Total: Patriots -11½, 46½
*Analysis: There will always be a premium when backing the Patriots. Buffalo has won two in a row and is hanging onto the final spot in the AFC playoff race. The Patriots outgained the Bills by 167 yards in the first meeting, when New England had 191 rushing yards. The Patriots have clinched a playoff spot but are still fighting for the AFC’s top seed. As a general rule, it’s usually fairly safe to bet with Bill Belichick.
*By the numbers: The Patriots are 9-5 ATS this season. … The Bills are 3-3 ATS on the road this season.
*Pick: Patriots, 24-10
Jaguars (10-4) at 49ers (4-10)
*Time: 1:05 p.m.
*Line/Total: Jaguars -4, 42
*Analysis: The Jaguars have drafted well and are another team that is about to end a playoff drought, having clinched their spot. Jacksonville leads the league in scoring defense (14.9 points per game). The 49ers have been a different team since Jimmy Garoppolo took over after being traded from the Patriots. San Francisco has won three straight and four of its last five following an 0-9 start. The Jaguars are 4-2 straight up on the road this season but lost at Arizona on their only other trip out West.
*By the numbers: The Jaguars have covered three straight and four of their last five games. … The 49ers are 2-1 ATS in their last three and 2-5 ATS at home.
*Pick: Jaguars, 24-20
Giants (2-12) at Cardinals (6-8)
*Time: 1:25 p.m.
*Line/Total: Cardinals -3, 39
*Analysis: The Giants are another NFL team that is a mess. Ben McAdoo was fired after benching Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. Arizona has been without Carson Palmer since the end of October and has gone with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback since Week 11. The Cardinals have gone 2-3 in that five-game stretch, winning two of their three home games against Jacksonville and Tennessee.
*By the numbers: New York is 4-3 ATS on the road. … The total has gone under in four of the last five Giants’ games. … Arizona is 4-9-1 ATS overall but 2-2 ATS in its last four.
*Pick: Cardinals, 20-13
Seahawks (8-6) at Cowboys (8-6)
*Time: 1:25 p.m., KVVU-5
*Line/Total: Cowboys -4½, 47½
*Analysis: Seattle and Dallas are each fighting for one of the final playoff spots. The Seahawks have lost badly in each of the last two weeks to Jacksonville and the Rams. The Cowboys will get Ezekiel Elliott back and will go against a Seahawks defense that gave up 152 rushing yards and three touchdowns to Todd Gurley last week.
*By the numbers: Seattle is 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight. … The Cowboys are 4-3 ATS with Elliott and 2-3-1 ATS without Elliott.
*Pick: Cowboys, 27-23
Steelers (11-3) at Texans (4-10)
*Time: 1:30 p.m., KSNV-3
*Line/Total: Steelers -9, 46
*Analysis: The Steelers have clinched their division but are still battling for a first-round bye. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown is out with a calf injury. Coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots, Pittsburgh should get back on track against a Texans team that has lost four straight games and is down two quarterbacks on the year.
*By the numbers: The over is 3-1-1 in the Steelers’ last four games. … Pittsburgh is 1-5 ATS in its last six games. … The Texans are 2-5 ATS in their last seven and 0-3 ATS in their last three.
*Pick: Steelers, 27-7
Raiders (6-8) at Eagles (12-2)
*Time: 5:30 p.m., Monday, ESPN
*Line/Total: Eagles -9, 47
*Analysis: After a playoff appearance last year, the Raiders have been a huge disappointment this season despite still being mathematically alive in the playoff picture. The Eagles were on a tear with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. There is a drop off in value between Wentz and backup Nick Foles. However, Foles has been a starter in the past and is a serviceable backup. The Eagles have clinched a playoff spot and are the only NFL team to have a first-round bye wrapped up.
*By the numbers: The Raiders are 4-8-2 ATS this season and 1-4-1 on the road. … The Eagles are 10-4 ATS overall and 5-1 ATS at home.
*Pick: Eagles, 28-21