With no more bye weeks left in the NFL season, we are officially in the final stretch of the year. Just a few games remain for teams as they try to position themselves for the playoffs and push towards a Super Bowl 56 title.
These are the picks for the Sunday games against the spread. Some very intriguing matchups involve playoff teams, but there’s also value out there to check out involving teams playing for little more than draft position.
Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills -10.5
It was a humbling loss for Buffalo last week, and they’ll be looking to take out their frustration against a Carolina Panthers team that has looked pretty rough recently. Josh Allen is nursing a minor toe injury, but he should still be able to tear up the Panthers’ defense.
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Buffalo is a double-digit favorite, which can be a little bit scary, but they take care of business easily at home. Carolina is just too much of a mess offensively to keep up with Buffalo’s onslaught.
Pick: Buffalo Bills -10.5
Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions
Arizona Cardinals -14
Getting two touchdowns on the road will open up some eyes this week. Arizona knows they can’t be taking Detroit lightly, even despite their terrible record. For them to win and cover, they need to come out firing right away.
One thing that’s helping Arizona this week is that Detroit is losing the very few offensive weapons that they have had all year long. Jared Goff looks around and wonders how they are going to score any points.
Trust Arizona’s offense enough to score points early and often. It’s always a tough task for any team to win by more than two touchdowns, but Arizona get it done.
Pick: Arizona Cardinals -14
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins -8.5
The Dolphins have put together a nice little run in the last few weeks, which surprisingly has them in position to make some noise in the final few weeks of the regular season. The New York Jets may not be the easiest of opponents, but will Miami be able to do enough to keep the momentum going?
Miami wins this game, but the spread is getting too big at this point. The Dolphins find ways to win each week, but their inconsistent running game is not enough to put up huge scores. Zach Wilson’s playing a little bit better, which will help the Jets score enough to hang around within a score.
Pick: New York Jets +8.5
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys -10.5
It’s always a very tough situation to bet on a road team that’s a double-digit favorite. However, the New York Giants have a very challenging quarterback situation, and very little consistency with their offense other than Saquon Barkley. Dallas knows that they need to get into playoff shape, and they get the offense rolling in this one.
The biggest reason why Dallas has not been able to score as much as in the beginning of the season comes down to their lackluster running game. It’s forced everyone to do a little too much, but they find their footing and cruise to a victory over the Giants.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -10.5
Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles -4.5
Washington‘s defense keeps getting stopped, but their offense has been a complete mess. They are about as inconsistent as they come, but they face another inconsistent team in Philadelphia this week.
Expect a lot of running from the Eagles once again, and they’ll be rejuvenated after taking advantage of a bye week. Philadelphia is the home favorite, and they win and cover by doing just enough.
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles -4.5
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans -2
This figures to be one of the closest games of the week based on the spread. The two teams are pretty similar from a matchup perspective, but who will ultimately prevail?
Tennessee’s running game must be on point for them to go into Pittsburgh and win. Fortunately, Pittsburgh’s defense against the run has been a disaster in the last couple of weeks. Tennessee can move the ball and dictate the pace of play from the start.
IA few years ago, these are the types of games that Ben Roethlisberger would will his team to win. Now, he struggling so much that he might actually be the difference-maker the opposite way. Take Tennessee to win and cover, although it will be a close game throughout.
Pick: Tennessee Titans -2
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars -3
There’s no shame in completely avoiding this matchup, as both teams have little to play for. To make matters worse, Jacksonville will be without Urban Meyer, who was recently fired for this disastrous season.
Houston did win this matchup in Week 1, and they seem to be the more motivated of the two teams right now. Davis Mills and David Culley are two of the only bright spots for Houston right now, so expect them to keep the momentum going. It might not be a pretty win, but the visitors get the job done.
Pick: Houston Texans +3
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos -1
The Cincinnati Bengals dropped a heartbreaker last week at home, and now they hit the road to face another tough opponent. The two teams come in with the same record, but Denver’s been a less impressive team so far this year.
For Cincinnati to win, they must let Joe Burrow go from the beginning. Putting pressure on Denver early on will take them out of their comfort zone. They want to run the ball a lot to hide their lack of passing game.
Cincinnati get a much-needed win and keeps their playoff hopes alive on the road. It’s a close one, but the Bengals are just a more complete team overall.
Pick: Cincinnati Bengals +1
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers -8.5
It’s been a pretty impressive showing the last few weeks for the San Francisco 49ers. They seem to be clicking on all cylinders, as Jimmy Garoppolo is finding open receivers while the running game is crushing teams as well.
Atlanta hasn’t been able to stop many teams this year, so it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to slow down San Francisco at all. Look for the 49ers to pick up a pretty big blowout victory in the end.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -8.5
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams -6.5
It’s a short week for the Los Angeles Rams, which could cause some concern for gamblers out there. The Seattle Seahawks are showing signs of life this year as well, although they’re a bit inconsistent.
For the Rams to win and cover, they’ll need to keep their running game strong and consistent. Seattle will try to put some pressure on Matthew Stafford, but their offense stalls out and doesn’t keep them competitive. Look for the Rams to win by double-digits in this matchup.
Pick: Los Angeles Rams -6.5
Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
Green Bay Packers -5.5
Baltimore’s pass defense looks depleted at the worst time of the year. They have the tough task of stopping Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers during the stretch.
Although Baltimore likes to blitz, they could be in some pretty big trouble against Rodgers if he picks it up early. Baltimore just seems like they won’t be able to cover, even at home. They put up a few points, but Green Bay outclasses them enough to win by at least a touchdown.
Pick: Green Bay Packers -5.5
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -10.5
It’s very hard to pick against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, even if they are double-digit favorites on Sunday night. New Orleans plays with a lot of pride, but their strength plays right into Tampa Bay’s strength. New Orleans has had success this year by running the ball, but the Buccaneers snuff that out with one of the best run defenses in the game.
Tampa Bay ultimately cruises to a double-digit victory in front of a national audience. They seem to be peaking at the right time, which means that they’ll dispose of New Orleans early and then preserve the victory.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -10.5