BEST GAME -- Tennessee at New England (-5.5)
Tennessee 8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS
New England 7-4 SU, 7-4 ATS
And just like that, the Patriots are in first place in the AFC, a mere five games (all wins) after being buried at 2-4 in mid-October. New England has all the ingredients for successful cold-weather / playoff football – a killer defense, a two-pronged (Stevenson and Harris) powerful running game and a mistake-averse quarterback (Jones) who cares more about winning than he does about statistics. Not only that, they get to play at home this week against a Titans team that not only lost, at home, to Houston but had to score late to make the game (22-13) as close as it was. Tennessee figured to have the AFC South wrapped up by Dec. 1, but now has to worry about the surging Colts.
New York Jets at Houston (-3)
New York 2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS
Houston 2-8 SU, 5-5 ATS
Any given Sunday, right? The Texans proved that they can beat one of the best teams in the NFL when they offed the Titans this past Sunday. Now, can they beat one of the worst? We’ll find out when the 2-8 teams claw it out in the Week 12 Dog of the Week. At a minimum, the Texans showed that they have some fight in them after breaking their 8-game losing streak by stunning Tennessee. Outplayed the entire game, Texas turned the tables by intercepting Ryan Tannehill four times, leading you to wonder if they can put a similar hurt on vet Joe Flacco. Houston is favored by 2.5 on this one, though New York-area money could affect the line toward the end of the week.
BIGGEST SPREAD and LARGEST TOTAL – Las Vegas at Dallas (-7.5, 54.5)
Las Vegas 5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS
Dallas 7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS
The Raiders looked like they were going to come out ok post-Gruden, but reality sucks – and so has LV. Three straight losses are on the books, and the next three games include Dallas this Sunday and Kansas City in early December. It’s hard to look at LV’s schedule and figure out where it will get the five wins it will probably need to get to the playoffs. Dallas has different concerns. Right now the Cowboys just want to right the ship after a puzzling loss in Kansas City. There’s no harm in losing to the Chiefs on the road, but the Boys managed to play 60 minutes without scoring a touchdown against one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Dak Prescott was picked twice, and the Dallas offense stalled in the red zone all day and settled for three field goals. The early O/U number was set at 54.5, and it will be interesting to see if that drops as bettors analyze Dallas’ poor offensive showing in KC.
SMALLEST SPREAD – Atlanta at Jacksonville (PK)
Atlanta 4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS
Jacksonville 2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS
How bad are things in Atlanta? The Falcons have gone eight straight quarters without scoring a touchdown, and have three total points in that time. They were shut out last Thursday at home by the Patriots, and thus will get some extra time to figure out what is going wrong on offense. A good start might be for Matt Ryan to stop throwing the ball to Falcon opponents – he’s had seven picks in the last two games. Ryan should at least have some time in the pocket as the Jaguars don’t apply too much pocket pressure.
SMALLEST TOTAL – Carolina at Miami (43)
Carolina 5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS
Miami 4-7 SU, 5-5-1 ATS
Yes, 43.5 is a short number here. But there is no evidence that either the Panthers or Dolphins are getting their acts together offensively. Dolphin games are averaging less than 43 points this season, and the Panthers are even lower at less than 41. Add in the fact that Carolina has one of the better defenses in the league and the arrow trends toward Under. Turnovers are the key here, of course, but both teams take care of the ball. Both coaches are in job preservation mode, and that means fewer chances.