I do hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, even in those areas where the holiday isn't observed, and the football from the US is enough. In my new role as The Under Taker, my best bet duly came in on Buffalo/New Orleans, though watching with Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill both out made covering that under easier.
I had the under in all three games, and two out of three wasn't bad: the Cowboys and Raiders went over even before the OT, but that a mess of a game confirming all my biases about the Quantum refereeing in this season's play, as well as Shaun Hochuli's desire, inherited from his father no doubt, to get on camera as much as possible.
It was also interesting that the Thanksgiving guests won all three games, for the third straight year, despite the fact that all three were coming off three straight losses this year!
This week offers some ore opportunities for underosity, though as Ralph Waldo Emerson (no, he didn't play for New England) said: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds."
Sunday 18:00 - Texans and Jets to keep it tight while Jags are value
Tennessee (8-3) at New England (7-4)
A real decider here, as a home win for the Pats would give them a tie-breaker should Tenn perform the unlikely task of faltering within their division (the remainder of their sked is pretty soft). Against Houston last week, their offense looked feeble: they need a healthy AJ Brown at the very least, for Bill Belichick to try to take away. But Mike Vrabel is one of those coaches not awed by his former coach and he will likely try to expose Mac Jones as the rookie he is. A chess game of sorts that will be won by the Pats if their O line can battle the Titan's D line to a draw, and vice versa.
NY Jets (2-8) at Houston (2-8)
We should start a petition to make this draft day derby the Sky choice game, so us game passers will be forced to watch Tenn/NE instead. The difference vs Tenn last week was Tyrod Taylor, and I am going with TT to TCB against the Jest and Zac Wilson, who makes his return.
Outside Bet - Back Under 44.5 at 9/10
Philadelphia (5-6) at NY Giants (3-7)
Looking at the Eagles' upcoming sked, a lot depends on their ability to defeat WTF, but they could possibly win five in a row and be set up with Dallas in week 18, when the Cowboys have already clinched the division. Of course that is in the future. For this week, you have to like them against the G-Men, though the AFC East has become mostly a crap shoot full of trap weeks: crap and trap. With Jason Garrett gone, I'd expect Freddie Kitchens to be calling the plays for Daniel Jones, which might be more interesting, if not more successful.
Tampa Bay (7-3) at Indianapolis (6-5)
Quietly one of the games of the weekend. The Colts can be a pesky opponent for a team sitting in cover two and, with Vita Vea expected back, that's good news for the Indy run game led by Jonathan Taylor, who is due to be stopped. That really is the question, rather than Tom Brady vs Carson Wentz: Wentz is right now basically Mac Jones, only he's in his sixth season. Tom Brady's in his 22nd. I think this surprises us by going under 53.
Atlanta (4-6) at Jacksonville (2-8)
Inter Conference Dixie Derby I: The over/under on this one was dropping faster than a pass off Noah Brown's hands. Jacksonville couldn't do to Jimmy G what they did to Josh Allen the week before, probably because they don't have any defensive ends named Jimmy G, but the more dysfunctional part of their game is the offense, which luckily for them Atlanta are not best-equipped to interfere with. The Jags are getting a point at home but are evens on the moneyline.
Value Bet - Back Jacksonville to win @ even odds
Carolina (5-6) at Miami (4-7)
Inter Conference Dixie Derby II and a fascinating match-up which could knock the Panthers out of playoff contention. The question is whether the move to full time Cam at QB allows them to do what they want to do offensively (or would like to do) in terms of downfield play. They really aren't good enough up front to be an option team with Cam and CMC. I can see Miami rocking their apple cart, but I also wonder if the Dolphins can pick apart the Panther D which, even in losses, has been pretty stingy. Miami's weak point is pass D but, with Cam at QB, can the Panthers take advantage of that? Miami added Philip Lindsay at RB this week, but that shouldn't be a factor.
Pittsburgh (5-4-1) at Cincinnati (6-4)
You wonder how the Steelers manage to do it, and you realise they get TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden back this week so their defense ought to be better. The Bengals are probably going to be able to keep the Steelers in the air, so the question will be how will creaky Ben perform. They haven't been able to score a lot against anyone but the Chargers lately.
Sunday 21:05 - LA Chargers (6-4) at Denver (5-5)
At home, coming off the bye and with Bradley Chubb back, the Broncos may be able to keep the Chargers offense in check, while the Chargers' D has less hope of that unless Joey Bosa is healthy.
Sunday 21:25 - Back overs when the Rams go to Green Bay
Minnesota (5-5) at San Francisco (5-5)
This could be the fight for the seventh playoff spot in the NFC, with each team then expected to drop out gracefully. The Vikes pulled off a big win at home against the Pack, while the Niners found the Jags a road tonic last week. But I liked what SF did against the Rams at home two weeks ago, and they ought to be able to control Jefferson and Thielen, while the Vikes may not be able to keep the Niner run game in check if Elijah Mitchell is cleared to play.
LA Rams (7-3) at Green Bay (8-3)
The Packers' season is back to an evaluation of just how far can the pouty one take them? Even without his first two choices at LT and no Aaron Jones at RB. The Rams, like Denver, are coming off the bye which may have given them a chance to integrate Von and OBJ into their team more completely, and the combo of Miller rushing against Yosh Nijman may be a key. It's supposed to be just above freezing in Green Bay, but Matt Stafford's been there and lost before.
Best Bet - Back over 47 points in LA Rams at Green Bay at 9/10
Monday, 01:20 - Cleveland (6-5) at Baltimore (7-3)
Kareem Hunt ought to be back in tandem with Nick Chubb and if it were me I would give Baker Mayfield some healing time and give Case Keenum the start. The Ravens ought to have Lamar Jackson back, but whether that keeps their transition to a passing team in its flow is another matter. I like the Ravens' D to outperform the Browns here, but if Tyler Hundley is the QB that 3.5 spread is awful tight. This is another under (47) possibility too.
Tuesday, 01:15 - Seattle (3-7) at Washington (4-6)
A Washington Derby! A really tough one to figure because Russell Wilson is approaching the enigma status on the field that defines guys like Aaron Rodgers. Why he and Lockett and Metcalf can't find the time to carve up the WTF secondary will be a mystery, though the Team are actually more of a run-first outfit than the Seahawks.