If the three games on Thursday were Thanksgiving, then the rest of the games are the leftovers. But just like Thanksgiving dinner, sometimes the leftovers have some of the best stuff. Food has had more time to settle together and you can do fun mixes at lunch that get you odd glares during holiday dinner. Perhaps the analogy has gone too far now, but there are definitely some good games left for today and tomorrow.
As for Thanksgiving, the models were mostly on. All three favored teams won, and roughly in line with how much they were expected to win by. Dallas won but not by double digits (or over a touchdown, which is what I saw the line move to), Baltimore won close after Pittsburgh needed about fifteen tries to legally get in the end zone but couldn’t do it again for a two-point conversion, and the exception was Detroit absolutely taking it to the Packers. The game wasn’t even as close as the final 30 point margin; the Lions did whatever they wanted and only got stopped when they turned the ball over. Green Bay didn’t score a touchdown on offense. It was a great way to snap the Thanksgiving Day loss streak. Let’s hope the pattern keeps for the rest of the spread picks:
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One of the good games today should be Denver-Kansas City. As Bill Simmons noted, with the game in KC you might think the line should be at Chiefs +1 or +2, but then you’re getting a few extra points. Well, now the line is up even closer to a touchdown at SBR where I get my numbers. I know that Denver looked good in their first game and KC has a couple of defenders out, but I’m not sure what added another point or two to the line. Either way, a Denver win keeps them in the driver’s seat for the AFC number one seed. Here are the rest of Simmons’ lines and our picks against them.
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A couple other games have big playoff implications. Indy and Tennessee are playing a suddenly close divisional game. If the Titans win, they stay even with Baltimore for the AFC sixth seed and would only be a game behind the Colts for the AFC South title. If the Colts win, they keep pace ahead of the Bengals for the three seed, which will keep them from facing the Chiefs in the first round. On the NFC side, the Eagles and Cardinals face off. The Eagles need to win to move back into a tie with Dallas for the division lead. A win for Arizona would keep them tied with the 49ers, or they would even move ahead if the Rams can pull an upset. That would also put them potentially into the playoffs for the time being. A loss would keep both teams on the outside looking in. Here are the rest of the winner/moneyline picks.
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Finally, the last two potentially important games are also two of the potentially higher-scoring games. The Bengals head to San Diego; the game had originally been a pick ’em but now the Bengals are slightly favored. Cincy would like to stay ahead of Baltimore, obviously, but would also like to get a better playoff seed if possible. The three seed will be pretty favorable this year, and if they could manage the two seed that would be even better. A Chargers win only gets them to .500, but they’re still in the race for that sixth seed in the AFC. A win ties them with Baltimore, although I think they need more tiebreaker help beyond that. Finally, on Monday night we have the Saints and Seahawks. That should be a good game regardless, but a Saints win keeps them in the division lead and would give them (I think) the one seed in the NFC, while a Seattle win basically locks the one seed for them. Carolina is essentially the only team threatening either one of these two in terms of record in the conference, so they would both like to keep some room between themselves and the Panthers. And just to mention one more game, Chicago and Minnesota looks like a potential high-scorer if you like that kind of thing. Here are the rest of the over/under picks to round out the predictions, and try to burn off some calories!
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