It’s only Wednesday, but it’s never too early to take a look at Sunday’s games in the NFL. Below are five games on the Week 14 schedule where the side or total jump out to me.
Patriots (10-2) @ Bears (9-3), 4:15PM ET
Looking at this game from a public standpoint, it’s hard not to love the Patriots. The point spread is low (-3), the Pats are coming off a 45-3 beat down of the Jets on Monday night and while the Bears are 9-3, a large portion of the public seems to be waiting for them to collapse. That said, there’s always value in taking the home underdog – especially when that home dog has a winning overall record and is 4-2 at home this year. The Pats are also coming off a short week of preparation and even though Chicago is a playoff contender this year, this game could still be viewed as a possible letdown for New England (due to the fact that they’re coming off an emotional MNF win over a division rival and now have to go on the road to play a non-conference foe). If Jay Cutler and the Bears’ O-line was still a mess, I would be hesitant to add this game to my card. But seeing as how Cutler is playing very well and the offensive line has improved greatly over the past month, the Bears look like a sound play to me.
CURRENT ODDS: PATRIOTS –3
THE LEAN: BEARS +3
Giants (8-4) @ Vikings (5-7), 1:00PM ET
Before the last two weeks, it was a dangerous proposition to take the Vikings. Brett Favre has played like crap all year, Brad Childress was pissing players off on a routine basis and their pass rush had been non-existent. But the Vikes are 2-0 under interim head coach Leslie Frazier, who seems more committed to to getting Adrian Peterson involved than Childress was. Favre is still a mess and there’s some question whether or not he will/should start the remaining four games, but he’s still tough to beat at home. The Giants, on the other hand, have a date coming up with the Eagles next week and are highly turnover-prone. I’m thinking they might be caught looking ahead. I don’t like the number where it’s at now (-2.5), but if I can get a field goal or more with the Vikings I would hesitate playing it.
CURRENT ODDS: GIANTS –2.5
THE LEAN: VIKINGS +2.5
Packers (8-4) @ Lions (2-10), 1:00PM ET
I like the Lions for the same reason I like the Vikings: they’re a home dog playing a team with a huge game coming up next week. The Packers can’t afford to overlook any team, but with a trip to New England coming up next Sunday, it would be human nature to look past the lowly Lions. But Detroit has been competitive for most of the season and Drew Stanton gave them a spark last week in a loss to the Bears. If the spread was sitting at anything lower than a touchdown I’d probably pass, but at +7 there’s a lot of value in the Lions.
CURRENT ODDS: PACKERS –7
THE LEAN: LIONS +7
Falcons (10-2) @ Panthers (1-11), 1:00PM ET
I thought for sure we’d see the Falcons fall last week against the Bucs and we almost did. But I don’t have the same feelings about this week. The Panthers have been putrid all season and they’ve struggled at home against divisional foes all year. The Bucs defeated them 20-7 in Week 2 and the Saints crushed them 34-3 in Week 9. The Falcons’ defense gives up a ton of yardage but usually not a lot of points. Either way, Matt Ryan and Co. should roll this week and with another road game coming up next Sunday at Seattle, they won’t overlook Carolina. (Not to mention they’re fighting to retain the top seed in the NFC and first place in the NFC South).
CURRENT ODDS: FALCONS –7
THE LEAN: FALCONS –7
Rams (6-6) @ Saints (9-3), 4:05PM ET
This one has me going back-and-forth but I like the under. The Saints can obviously score and the Rams’ defense just gave up 33 points to the Broncos two weeks ago on the road. Plus, with the way the Bengals drove up and down the field against the Saints last weekend, it would be easy to throw up your hands and take the over. But New Orleans should play better defensively this weekend and the Rams’ defense has been underrated for most of the year. The Saints have also scored 30-plus points in each of their last four games, which is a trend that is hard to keep up. This may be one that I eventually drop from my card, but as of right now the under holds so value.
CURRENT ODDS: SAINTS –9.5 (47)
THE LEAN: UNDER 47
Below is a complete list of odds for Week 14 in the NFL, including Thursday night’s game between the Colts and Titans.
101 Indianapolis Colts –2.5 (46)
102 Tennessee Titans +2.5 (46)
105 Oakland Raiders +5 (43)
106 Jacksonville Jaguars –5 (43)
107 Cincinnati Bengals +9 (39.5)
108 Pittsburgh Steelers -9 (39.5)
109 New England Patriots -3 (41)
110 Chicago Bears +3 (41)
111 Cleveland Browns +1 (41)
112 Buffalo Bills –1 (41)
113 New York Giants -2.5
114 Minnesota Vikings +2.5
115 Green Bay Packers –7 (47)
116 Detroit Lions +7 (47)
117 Atlanta Falcons –7 (42)
118 Carolina Panthers +7 (42)
119 Tampa Bay Buccaneers –3 (41)
120 Washington Redskins +3 (41)
121 St. Louis Rams +9.5 (47)
122 New Orleans Saints –9.5 (47)
123 Seattle Seahawks +4.5 (40.5)
124 San Francisco 49ers –4.5 (40.5)
125 Miami Dolphins +5.5 (41)
126 New York Jets -5.5 (41)
127 Denver Broncos -5 (42)
128 Arizona Cardinals +5 (42)
129 Kansas City Chiefs +7 (47)
130 San Diego Chargers –7 (47)
131 Philadelphia Eagles –3 (50.5)
132 Dallas Cowboys +3 (50.5)
133 Baltimore Ravens -3 (45.5)
134 Houston Texans +3 (45.5)