Home team in CAPS:
TEXANS (+4) over Jaguars
The Jags have gone on a nice recent run, but now they’re actually favored, a role they’ve failed to fulfill on three previous seasonal occasions. Trevor Lawrence needs to go turnover-free. The Texans are gunning for respectable season finish.
GIANTS (-6) over Colts
The Giants boast powerful incentive, as they can clinch a postseason berth with a win. Though they haven’t been blowing out anyone, the hosts are clearly superior to the Colts. Optimism reigns at the Meadowlands.
Seahawks (+1.5) over JETS
The Jets have settled on promising Mike White to make the most of their final two regular-season games. Given time, Sauce Gardner and company will do their best. Expect further improvement and a better 2023.
Saints (+6.5) over EAGLES
Maintain full respect for Philadelphia’s enviable talent base, but nervous about any loss of effectiveness with the likely insertion of Gardner Minshew at quarterback. The still-alive Saints are fast and loose.
Panthers (+3) at BUCCANEERS
Fans have paid steep tariffs to back Tom Brady and his less-than-jolly band of Bucs this season. Carolina has come on with a powerful rush since midseason.
COMMANDERS (-2) over Browns
Now switching to Carson Wentz at quarterback, perhaps we’ll see improved signs of offensive life out of the Commanders, though we need meaningful signs of improvement. Browns haven’t been killing it behind Deshaun Watson.
Broncos (+12.5) over CHIEFS
Too often, K.C. sprints out to a commanding lead, though chalk players too frequently find the results disappointing. The Chiefs are marking time while maintaining the AFC West lead. No strong feeling, either way.
PATRIOTS (-2.5) over Dolphins
Without Tua Tagovaiola (concussion), the Dolphins will have Teddy Bridgewater under center. Miami’s December form has disappointed for far too long. The Pats figure to grind this one out.
Bears (+6) over LIONS
Exceedingly close call at the number, when you consider the disappointing levels of defensive intensity which has been brought to bear by both sides. “Over” (52) could be better deal.
Cardinals (+3) over FALCONS
With QB Colt McCoy out, look for ex-Lion David Blogh to start Sunday for the Cards. Desmond Ritter will make his third straight start for the Falcons. With a head start, would rather endorse the road dog.
49ers (-9.5) over RAIDERS
Expect multiple significant substitutions for many Raiders starters, including Jarrett Stidham stepping in for Derek Carr. Don’t expect much mercy from visitors, in cruise control as we turn the calendar page.
PACKERS (-3.5) over Vikings
Not too enthusiastic about prospects for Minnesota, especially up against this foe at this locale. Minny has engineered a number of narrow escapes. Aaron Rodgers not through, yet.
Rams (+6.5) over CHARGERS
Can’t fault how Baker Mayfield has performed under center since joining Los Angeles. The Rams are better now then they were earlier in the season. Reluctant to lay full tariff with the chalk.
Steelers (+2.5) over RAVENS
Long a bloodthirsty rivalry, there are no signs of any slacking of intensity. Our sustained concern about the Ravens is their pattern of expending excessive quantities of energy in the early going. Close call!
BENGALS (+1) over Bills
Cincinnati continues to surprise those looking to downgrade or underrate the Bengals. It would please Cincy greatly to avoid any winter trips to Orchard Park this season. Those who try to short Joe Burrow may be disappointed.
Last week: 9-6
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