SHADING THE MVP
The Buffalo Bills' hype-train is chugging along after a convincing win in Dallas with the country watching in Week 13. But things will get much more difficult this week with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to New Era Field.
This game will feature the first and fourth-best rushing quarterbacks (rush yards/game) in Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. Jackson is nearly impossible to game plan against because no teams can mimic Jackson in practice - except the Bills.
The Bills Defense is used to practicing against a mobile QB and if any team in the league is prepared to slow down Jackson, the Bills stand the best chance. The same can be said with Allen as he will see a defense that faces an elite QB rushing talent in practice every week.
We think there’s a chance that the Allen and Jackson (not to be confused with the rugged country singer) rushing markets could be overvalued with all the attention they have been getting after Week 13. We are going to fade both dual-threat quarterbacks, taking the Under on Jackson’s rushing total of 75.5 yards and the Under on Allen’s on 39.5 yards.
The Arizona Cardinals may be 4-1-1 ATS at home this year but their opponents have enjoyed success on the offensive side of the ball in the desert. The Cardinals are giving up the second-most TDs at home (3.8) and have allowed their opponents to score 30 or more points in four straight weeks. Even the L.A. Rams scored 34 points versus Arizona last week after averaging just 11.6 points a game from Weeks 10 through 12.
The Pittsburgh Steelers under Devlin Hodges have scored in seven of their last 16 drives and are putting up 5.5 points a quarter. Not incredible numbers but facing the league’s 28th-ranked red-zone defense will make things easier. Getting center James Pouncey back from suspension certainly helps and if James Connor can suit up, the Steelers have a good chance at eclipsing their team total, even if JuJu Smith-Schuster is out.
We’re riding the Over on the Steelers’ total of 22.5 and are waiting for TE Vance MacDonald’s prop market to open as he faces the league’s worst TE-defending team.
PRIMETIME SIX-POINT TEASER TIME
Dallas (+3) is lucky it plays in the worst division in football this year. Nobody wants to win the NFC East but Dallas may have more motivation after getting shown up on Thanksgiving and Jerry Jones basically saying Jason Garrett will not be back next year. Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears are also due for a dud. Cowboys +3
The Rams decided to run up the score last week which hopefully gives that offense and their full slate of receivers some confidence ahead of their matchup versus the Seahawks. Seattle sits sixth in points per play while its defense is allowing 24.4 average points against. Take the Over 42.
Over their last three games, the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants are averaging 52 points combined. The Giants Offense will be forced to put up some points on Monday night as their defense is allowing the second-most points on the road. New York is also 5-1 O/U on totals of 41 or higher over its last six games. Take the Over 41.
FIRST-HALF CIRCUIT BAKER
The Cincinnati Bengals have the 31st DVOA first-half defense and are giving up 14.3 first-half points on the road this year. The Bengals have won their last two first halves against the Steelers and the Jets and this week may be a great time to fade Cincy in the first half as it recovers from a victory hangover.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield will be good to go for Sunday and feasted on the Bengals last year. In his two games against Cincy, the former No.1 pick has thrown for seven TDs and completed 73 percent of his passes.
Cleveland will take out its frustrations on its division rivals. Take the Browns first-half spread of -4.
Kansas City’s defense is amped up to play the Patriots and their anemic offense. We won’t put all the blame on Brady as that receiving corps has been a revolving door this year and there’s a serious lack of experience outside of Julian Edelman.
The Chiefs have six interceptions over their last two games and if Patrick Mahomes and the offense get up in New England, they will force Brady to pass - something the 42-year-old QB hasn’t been very good at. Brady is just 17th in QBR, between Ryan Tannehill and Jameis Winston.
Brady has only one interception at home this year but threw eight at Gillette Stadium last season. Aided by the eye test, we are putting our money on the Over 0.5 INTs for Tom Terrific.
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