Ness Notes: Saturday, Dec 12

by Larry Ness

This is a special Saturday edition of my Ness Notes column, which is always available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."

NFL Week 14: Home teams have struggled all season, having gone 95-95-1 (.500) SU, while going 89-100-2 (47.1%) ATS through 13 weeks. Home dogs are 10-47 (.213) SU but 36-29-2 (55.4%) ATS. Week 13 games averaged 48.8 points with six going over, eight under and one push. There have now been 93 overs, 94 unders and five pushes. Week 14 began Thursday with the Rams easily beating the Pats 24-3 in LA, as home teams got off to a winning start. Will it hold? Let's take a look at Sunday's card.

I will start at the top and bottom. The Jets found yet another easy to lose in Week 13, when Raiders QB Carr completed a 46-yard TD pass with FIVE second left in the game for a 31-26 win. The 0-12 Jets have now matched their longest losing streak ever, a 12-game skid that bridged the 1995-96 seasons. Not far behind the Jets are the 1-11 Jaguars, who lost their 11th straight game 27-24 in OT at Minnesota (Jacksonville upset the Colts 27-20 in Week 1 but are winless ever since). At the 'top of the food chain' the Steelers finally got beat, falling 17-12 at home to Washington on Monday night. The 1972 Dolphins' perfect 17-0 season remains safe.

Let's start in the AFC where the North-leading Steelers and the West-leading Chiefs are both 11-1. Pittsburgh currently owns the tiebreaker, giving them the No. 1 seed. The 9-3 Bills (one game up on the 8-4 Dolphins in the East) are the No. 3 seed and the 8-4 Titans are tied with the Colts atop the South at 8-4 but own the tiebreaker which gives them the No. 4 seed. The 9-3 Browns (read that again slowly to make sure!) own the No. 5 seed and the Dolphins own the No. 6 seed (and final wild card spot). Lurking are the 8-4 Colts, plus the 7-5 Raiders and Ravens.

Over in the NFC, let me remind all that in 2019, the 49ers, Packers and Saints all finished 13-3 with San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans earning the 1-2-3 seeds, respectively. The defending NFC champions 49ers are all but officially eliminated from the 'playoff 'picture' in 2020, with their 5-7 record. Staying with that theme, San Francisco's 5-7 record would be good enough to be tied for first in the NFC East. Last season's NFC East champs (Eagles) are currently 3-8-1, while the 5-7 NY Giants (winners of FOUR straight) and 5-7 Washington (has won three straight) are tied atop the NFL's worst division. The Giants currently own the tiebreaker, so the G-Men currently own the No. 4 seed. As former head coach Bill Parcells once famously opined, "You are what your record says you are!" Hey Bill, the Giants are 5-7 and currently own a higher seed than the 8-4 Seahawks and 7-5 Bucs. Any thoughts? As for me, I'll paraphrase  Vinnie Barbarino, "I'm so confused!" 

Returning to the top of the NFC, the Saints are 10-2 (have won NINE in a row!), one game better than the 9-3 Packers. The No. 3 seed belongs to the LA Rams and although the 8-4 Seahawks can match the Rams at 9-4 with a win over the Jets, the Rams would still own the tiebreaker. Seattle is currently the No. 5 seed, with the 7-5 Tampa Bay Bradys holding down the No. 6 seed. Lurking behind the the Bucs are the 6-6 Vikings, who are 5-1 after a 1-5 start, and the 6-6 Cards, who are 1-4 after a 5-2 start.

From the "who'da thunk it" department: The two NO. 1 seeds from 2019 (14-2 Baltimore and 13-3 San Francisco) may BOTH miss the postseason in 2020. The Pats are almost sure to NOT win the AFC East for the first time since 2008 and may well miss the postseason for just the SECOND time in the last 18 seasons. In contrast, the 9-3 Bills have a good chance at winning the AFC East for the first time since 1995 and the 9-3 Browns (it's STILL hard to say that!) could just make the postseason for the first time since 2002 (can you say Tim Couch?).

Good luck...Larry

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