Favorites posted a fourth consecutive winning Sunday, finishing 7-5 ATS against the closing number. Over the past four Sundays, favorites are a combined 28-15-4 (65 percent) ATS. Of the five underdogs that did cover on Sunday, only two won outright: Packers +5 and 49ers +3. Overs turned a small profit at 7-5 against the closing total, and home teams finished 6-6 ATS.

From an entertainment value standpoint, we experienced a very boring day of football, as illustrated by the 13.5 point average margin of victory. However, the three late afternoon kicks and the Sunday Night Football game skew the average significantly, as six of the eight early afternoon kickoffs were decided by one possession. Conversely, the four final games of the day were each decided by double digits, with a 20.25 point average margin of victory.

The San Francisco 49ers picked up their first win, improving to 1-9 on the season, which leaves the Browns as the only winless team in the NFL.  Discussions throughout the bars of Cleveland will now turn to the first overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft, as they always seem to in November each season.

Only six teams in the NFL have a point differential greater than plus-50:

  1. Rams +134
  2. Eagles +104
  3. Saints +103
  4. Jaguars +92
  5. Patriots +62
  6. Vikings +52

If the season ended today, here is what the NFL postseason would look like:

NFC

  1. Eagles (8-1)
  2. Vikings (7-2)
  3. Saints (7-2)
  4. Rams (7-2)
  5. Seahawks (6-3)
  6. Panthers (6-3)

AFC

  1. Steelers (7-2)
  2. Patriots (7-2)
  3. Chiefs (6-3)
  4. Titans (6-3)
  5. Jaguars (6-3)
  6. Bills (5-4)

All six of the division leaders in action today won, which meant there was not much change in the playoff picture from last week. The Cowboys did move out of the top six in the NFC and now find themselves the last of four teams sitting at 5-4 due to tiebreakers. We should see some separation at the top of the NFC over the next few weeks, as the Rams’ next two opponents are the Vikings and Saints. Keep in mind that the Vikings already beat the Saints earlier in the year, which could ultimately decide who gets the prized first round bye.


Key Injuries on Sunday:

49ers QB C.J. Beathard – Thumb (?)
Bengals CB Adam Jones – Concussion (?)
Bills DE Jerry Hughes – Shin (?)
Browns LB Jamie Collins – Knee (?)
Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves – Hamstring (?)
Colts QB Jacoby Brissett – Concussion (?)
Cowboys LB Sean Lee – Hamstring (?)
Cowboys S Jeff Heath – Concussion (?)
Falcons Devonta Freeman – Concussion (?)
Giants DT Damon Harrison – Ankle (?)
Giants LG Justin Pugh – Back (?)
Jaguars WR Allen Hurns – Leg (?)
Jaguars WR Arrelious Benn – Knee (?)
Jaguars LS Matt Overton – Ankle (?)
Jets CB Morris Claiborne – Foot (?)
Patriots RB Dion Lewis – Concussion (?)
Patriots WR Matthew Slater – Hamstring (?)
Packers QB Brett Hundley – Hamstring (?)
Packers RB Ty Montgomery – Ribs (?)
Packers RB Aaron Jones – Knee (?)
Packers CB Kevin King – Shoulder (?)
Rams LB Connor Barwin – Knee (?)
Rams LG Rodger Saffold – Ankle (?)
Redskins RB Rob Kelley – Ankle (?)
Redskins WR Ryan Grant – Concussion (?)
Redskins LB Will Compton – Foot (?)
Saints LB A.J. Klein – Ankle (?)
Steelers FS Mike Mitchell – Ankle (?)
Steelers CB Joe Haden – Knee (OUT)
Texans WR Will Fuller – Ribs (?)

The Ravens, Chiefs, Raiders and Eagles had byes this week. The Colts, Panthers, Jets and 49ers have the final byes of the year next week.

Let’s take a quick look at each game from yesterday…


Steelers at Colts (+10)

Steelers win 20-17 (Under 45)

Pittsburgh outscored the Colts 11-0 in the fourth quarter to steal a game in Indianapolis on a Chris Boswell field goal as time expired. Those who bet the underdog and/or the under here never had to stress from the opening kick.

Once again, Mike Tomlin did not have his troops ready for an inferior opponent on the road. The Steelers, who were coming off of a bye, did not get on the board until a Chris Boswell field goal with 30 seconds left in the first half, and then had to overcome a 17-3 second half deficit. The momentum flipped on a Ryan Shazier interception inside the Colts’ 10-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Jacoby Brissett threw two 60-plus yard touchdowns in the game, and he now leads the NFL in that category. Chester Rogers led all Colts in receiving with 104 yards on six receptions, including one of those 60-yard touchdowns.

Neither team could get much going on the ground, and neither of the two big name wideouts in this game, T.Y. Hilton and Antonio Brown, had productive days. Hilton had only two catches for 23 yards, and AB only finished with 47 yards on three catches. JuJu Smith-Schuster had himself a day once again, finishing with 97 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

 


Vikings (-1) at Redskins

Vikings win 38-30 (Over 43)

The Redskins’ secondary was absolutely abused by Case Keenum and the Minnesota receivers on Sunday. Keenum threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns on 21-of-29 passing. Stefon Diggs caught one of those touchdowns, and Adam Thielen put on a receiving clinic. Thielen finished with eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings, winners of five straight, now find themselves as the current second seed in the NFC. They can put themselves in prime position for a bye with a home victory over the Rams this week since they already have a win over the Saints under their belt.

Kirk Cousins threw for 327 yards on 26-of-45 passing, but the Redskins didn’t get any help from the running game, which cost them on a few critical short yardage situations. The 4-5 Redskins now travel to New Orleans for what is essentially a must-win game. If they can find a way to win another marquee road game this week – they have road wins against the Seahawks and Rams – they might have a shot at the Wild Card given how easy their schedule is down the stretch (Giants twice, Cowboys, Cardinals, Broncos, Chargers).

 



Chargers (+5) at Jaguars

 Jaguars win 20-17 (Under 40.5)

The Chargers found a way to lose another heartbreaking game to drop to 3-6 on the season. LA now has three losses by under a field goal, and three losses to the Chiefs, Patriots and Eagles. Jacksonville scored their only points of the first half on a fake punt for a touchdown. In the second half, they completely abandoned the run, but they found a way to tie the game up in the final seconds to force overtime, where they would eventually go on to win their third consecutive game.

Blake Bortles threw the ball 51 times for 273 yards and ultimately got away with two interceptions late in the game. Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee caught a combined 13 balls for 125 yards. The Chargers’ run defense improved significantly with the return of linebacker Denzel Perryman, who finished with eight total tackles. Leonard Fournette only rushed for 33 yards on 17 carries.   

The Chargers also could never really get anything going on the ground, finishing with only 87 yards on 30 rush attempts. It appears that the addition of Marcel Dareus has drastically improved the Jaguars’ run defense. Austin Ekeler scored two touchdowns and led the Chargers in receiving with 77 yards on five receptions.

Joey Bosa recorded his 20th career sack (in just 21 career games) to become the second-youngest player to get to 20 sacks (Terrell Suggs).

Chargers +4 bettors can thank the tackling skills of Philip Rivers for the cover. Watch for yourself.

 


Saints (-2) at Bills

Saints win 47-10 (Over 48)

New Orleans continued their roll in Orchard Park on Sunday, coming away with their seventh straight victory. They are only the second team in NFL history to start 7-2 after an 0-2 start. The only other team that did, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, went on to win the Super Bowl.

The Saints also became the first team in over 60 years to rush for 295-plus yards and six touchdowns in the same game. This was the first time that a team has rushed for six total touchdowns against the Bills in franchise history. I’m pretty sure they regret trading Marcel Dareus now. Mark Ingram was the star of the show, as he found the endzone three times on 21 carries for 131 yards. Alvin Kamara added over 100 yards on the ground, and Michael Thomas caught nine balls for 117 yards.

Here are some additional tidbits to illustrate just how bad of a beatdown this really was:

  • New Orleans outgained Buffalo 482-198
  • First downs were 32-10 in the Saints favor
  • The Saints never punted
  • Nathan Peterman threw for more yards (79) than Tyrod Taylor (56)
  • Saints had a 10-play, 94-yard touchdown drive without a single pass


Packers (+5) at Bears

Packers win 23-16 (Over 38)

Green Bay, already without Aaron Rodgers, lost two running backs to injury, but the Bears still couldn’t find a way to beat the Packers at home.

A lot of the blame has to fall on the coaching staff, especially John Fox, who inexplicably challenged his way from a first and goal situation to a touchback. Talk radio is going to heat up in Chicago this week in regards to whether or not Fox should hit the road.

Chicago, who gave up 160 yards on the ground to Green Bay, only ran the ball 17 times for 55 yards. One of the few positive takeaways for the Bears was the performance of Mitch Trubisky, who had his most productive day passing as a pro. The rookie quarterback threw for 297 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-35 passing without throwing an interception.


Bengals (+5) at Titans

Titans win 24-20 (Over 40.5)

Tennessee won in thrilling fashion in the final minute on a Marcus Mariota pass to DeMarco Murray to secure their fourth consecutive victory, their longest winning streak since 2009. The game-winning touchdown, which occurred with just over 30 seconds left, crushed the hopes of those who bet the under.

The Titans had a very balanced attack on offense, as they ran the ball 37 times for 180 yards and threw the ball 44 times for 264 yards. Ryan Succop missed from 48 yards out, which ended his NFL record streak of consecutive field goals made from under 50 yards at 56.

Andy Dalton finished with a nice stat line, thanks to Brandon LaFell and A.J. Green, who Dalton targeted a combined 17 total times. LaFell and Green each found the endzone and combined for 210 receiving yards. However, the Bengals continue to struggle establishing anything on the ground; they only ran the ball 14 times for 53 yards on Sunday.

 


Jets at Bucs (-1)

Bucs win 15-10 (Under 44.5)

Tampa Bay ended their five-game losing streak in one of the ugliest games of the year. Under backers never had to break a sweat, as these two teams went into the half tied 3-3. The Bucs scored the first touchdown of the game with six minutes left in the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 16-3 over the lifeless Jets. New York would add a touchdown in the final 30 seconds to make the final score appear a little more respectable.

Not much to write home about in the box score. Neither team could establish the run – I’m not sure why the Jets didn’t run it more, though. Thanks to that aforementioned touchdown in garbage time, Robby Anderson finished with 85 yards on four catches. DeSean Jackson led Tampa in receiving with 82 yards on six receptions. Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin did have a productive day in his first career start, finishing with five catches for 68 yards.

 


Browns at Lions (-10)

Lions win 38-24 (Over 42.5)

I can’t imagine anybody out there actually bet the Browns 1H +6.5, 2H +3.5, and full game +11. However, if you did, my thoughts and prayers are with you. The Browns actually led this game 10-0, but found themselves down seven at the half after failing to score any points during a bizarre goal line sequence that left Browns 1H +6.5 bettors in shock.

The Browns actually recovered in the second half and scored 14 straight points in the third quarter to take a 24-17 lead. However, Browns +11 backers would eventually be left holding a losing ticket, as the Lions ended the game on a 21-0 run – all Matt Stafford touchdown passes. Tough pill for Browns backers to swallow, as you would normally expect to cover double digits in a game that featured four lead changes, especially after holding a seven-point second-half lead.

The Lions’ offensive line looked a lot better with the return of Taylor Decker, which also may have translated into red zone success for Detroit. Decker only allowed one quarterback hit during the 20 passing plays when was in the game – most of which came against Myles Garrett.

The Browns did have success rushing the ball, as they finished with over 200 yards rushing on 33 carries. Cleveland actually had three players finish with over 50 yards on the ground, the first time they have done so in over 40  years.

The Browns dropped to 0-9 on the season and 1-24 under Hue Jackson. Cleveland is now 2-34 over their last 36 games and 4-42 over their last 46. Yikes.


Texans at Rams (-12)

Rams win 33-7 (Under 45)

The Rams continue to roll everyone in their path, as they put up 30 points once again despite a very slow start. LA only took a 9-7 lead into the half after Greg Zuerlein drilled a field goal from 50 yards out in the final seconds. However, the Rams exploded in the third quarter, outscoring the Texans 21-0.

Jared Goff threw for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns without an interception for the second straight week, becoming the first player in Rams’ franchise history to do so. Robert Woods, who scored twice on Sunday, finished with eight receptions on 10 targets for 171 yards.

The game had a shot to go over at the end, but Tom Savage threw his second pick of the day inside of the Rams’ red zone in the final minutes. The Texans scored zero points on three red zone trips. DeAndre Hopkins was targeted 14 times and came down with seven of them for 111 yards.


Giants at 49ers (+3)

49ers win 31-21 (Over 41)

The 49ers secured their first win of the season on Sunday at home over a sinking Giants team. Yesterday’s win marked the first time in over 700 days that the 49ers have defeated a team other than the Rams.

C.J. Beathard put together an almost flawless first half, finishing 13-of-16 for 198 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His reward for the solid performance and win? A bye week and then the bench, as San Francisco announced that Jimmy Garoppolo will get the start in Week 12 against the Seahawks.

Eli Manning had a productive day from a fantasy perspective, as he threw for 273 yards on 28-of-37 passing with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. His favorite target on Sunday was Sterling Shepard, who caught 11 balls for 142 yards.

Cowboys at Falcons (-3.5)

Falcons win 27-7 (Under 49)

The Falcons improved to 5-4 on the season with a convincing 20-point home victory. Dallas didn’t have the services of Ezekiel Elliott, but the bigger loss proved to be All Pro left tackle Tyron SmithChaz Green started in his place and was absolutely humiliated from the opening drive, finishing with a PFF grade of 14.2. Adrian Clayborn took full advantage, and he joined Derrick Thomas, Fred Dean and Osi Umenyiora as the only four players in NFL history to record six sacks in a single game. As a result, Clayborn, who finished with a PFF grade of 99.9, hit his $750K annual sacks incentive bonus in this game alone. He should probably send Green and/or Smith a gift.

Dallas better hope Tyron Smith gets healthy because they have the Eagles’ and Chargers’ ferocious pass rushes on deck.

Matt Ryan, who finished the day with a pedestrian 215 yards on 22-of-29 passing, reached 40,000 passing yards faster than any other quarterback in NFL history (151 games).

 


Patriots (-7) at Broncos

Patriots win 41-16 (Over 45)

New England improved to 7-2 on the year with a dominant effort in Denver on Sunday night. The box score wasn’t as lopsided as the score, but special teams played a huge role in the outcome. The Patriots only lined up to punt twice, and kept possession each time. The Broncos had 12 men on the field for one of the punt attempts, and they muffed the other. Dion Lewis also returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown.

Bill Belichick won his 270th career game, which ties him Tom Landry for the third-most in NFL history, trailing only Don Shula and George Halas. Tom Brady, who finished with 266 yards and three touchdowns on 25-34 passingwon his 86th career road record, which is an NFL record.

The vaunted Broncos defense has now allowed 92 points over the last two weeks. Denver didn’t have much in the box score to highlight on the offensive side of the ball except for Emmanuel Sanders, who finished with six catches for 127 yards.


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