Saturday night football anyone? In the NFL’s annual event, we’re treated to 3 games on a day normally saved for CFB.
NFL SEASON ATS RECORD: 52-44-3
Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s been undoubtedly an inconsistent season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Weeks ago, the Bucs sat at 3-7, out of the playoff race and with a huge decision to make: is Jameis Winston the franchise QB? Fast forward to today, and they sit at 7-7 after reeling off 4 straight victories in impressive fashion.
The Jameis Winston question still remains, as he is without a doubt the most enigmatic quarterback in the league. Depending on which lense you look you through, Winston is having a year for the ages. He leads the NFL in passing yards with 4,573 yards, is 2nd in TDs at 30, and leads the league in interceptions by a wide margin with 24. I believe the Bucs should extend Winston, as he has shown the ability to be one of the best QBs in the game if he can cut down on his mistakes. That however, is a discussion for another day.
The Texans are coming off a huge win against the Titans to secure 1st place in the AFC South at 9-5. The Texans have shown the ability to beat the best teams, as evidenced by their wins over the Patriots and the Chiefs this season. They’ve also been prone to lay an egg, with losses to the Broncos and Panthers this season. The Texans will go as far as young phenom Deshaun Watson will take them.
The Texans are 3.5 point road favorites in this game. Coming off a big win, I fully expect Houston to come out flying in this game, hoping to keep their momentum going. If the Bucs were healthy, I think they would have a chance to win outright. But since both star WR Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are out of this game, I don’t think they have the firepower to cover. Take the Texans, but buy down to 2.5.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are having a historic run, as they have won the AFC East for 10 straight seasons. It looks like they’re going to make it 11 straight, but they have a familiar foe in their way, the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills are coming off an impressive SNF win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in which their defense dominated, coming away with 4 interceptions. The Bills formula is simple. Run the ball with Singletary and Gore, and let Josh Allen make enough plays with his arm and legs to keep them in games. In the end, their defense usually prevails for them.
These teams played in Week 4 in a tough game where the Patriots prevailed 16-10. Since then, the Bills have improved, while the Patriots have arguably regressed. The Patriots simply cannot get their offense going like most seasons, as they struggle to put up points and rely on their defense to make plays. More often than now, they do.
The Patriots are 6.5 point favorites in this game. I fully expect the Patriots to win, as picking against them in December on their home field is asking to lose. However, I think the Bills give them a real scare, and cover the spread in this one, but to be safe, buy a point.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
After beating the Seahawks in dominating fashion two weeks ago, it appeared the Rams were on a fast-track back to the playoffs, looking like a team nobody wanted to play. That momentum was halted in a big way in a 44-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, who were struggling coming into the game but thoroughly dominated their contest on Sunday. The Rams are officially on the ropes.
The 49ers blew a golden opportunity on Sunday to keep their hold on the 1 seed in the stacked NFC. They blew a late lead against the reeling Falcons, losing 29-22 in a disappointing effort in which their offense forgot to show up. This game is not to take anything away from the 49ers season to this point, as they still hold an impressive 11-3 record and are looking to make noise in the playoffs.
The 49ers are 6.5 point favorites in this game, and I think the value lies on San Francisco’s end. They’re coming off a humbling loss, and should be looking to respond in a big way. On the Rams end, their season is essentially over after they laid an egg last week. With these teams going in two separate directions in the coming weeks, I expect the 49ers to win this game handily.