COLTS CONTROL THE LINE
The Indianapolis Colts’ Marlon Mack fractured his hand last Sunday and will be out for Thursday’s game against the Houston Texans. Coach Frank Reich told reporters that Nyheim Hines will stick with his passing role as either Jordan Wilkins or Johnathan Williams will take over the early-down work. The lead spot should be Williams’ as Wilkins was inactive in Week 11 with an ankle injury, a DNP on the team’s estimated practice report on Monday and limited on Tuesday.
The Colts ran for a robust 264 yards versus the Texans as Williams passed the century mark in his fill-in role on just 13 touches. Indy’s offensive-line has been dominating the line of scrimmage of late and all year as they are rushing for an average of 170.7 yards in the last three games (second-most) and 172.2 yards per game on the road (second-most).
Houston gave up 264 rushing yards last week to the best rushing team in the league but have also surrendered the ninth-most yards per rush this year and the third-most over the last three weeks.
We are banking on the Colts’ running game and feel this is a plus matchup for Williams in a divisional game that will decide an AFC South leader. Even if Wilkins dresses, we still like the Colts to feature the run and hand out double-digit rushes to Williams. Take Williams’ rushing total on any number below 65 yards.
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CHECK DOWN VALUE
Nick Foles got his job back last week and fell short in a 33-13 loss to the Colts. The Jaguars QB padded his stats in garbage time and fell in love with his checkdowns as he averaged just 6.3 yards per pass attempt — that’s Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky territory. Still, Foles attempted 47 passes and completed 33 which makes us think there is some value in Jacksonville’s receivers' reception totals for their Week 12 matchup against a Tennessee Titans 22nd-ranked pass defense.
The object of Foles’ attention last week was receiver D.J. Chark. Chark was the most targeted receiver in the league last week catching eight of his 15 targets while seeing 36 targets in his last three matches. If Foles is afraid to take his shots, Chark could easily surpass a reception total of 4 or 5.
We will take the Over on any total below six for Chark’s reception total.
PRIMETIME 3-TEAM TEASER
Here is a three-team, six-point teaser for this week’s primetime games that pays out +160.
IND +9.5 @ HOU: As mentioned above, the Colts could dominate this game on the ground and control the tempo versus a Texans team is 1-3 ATS as the favorite this year. Deshaun Watson is also just 1-2 versus the Colts over his career losing by seven this year, winning by three in Indianapolis in 2018 and losing by a field goal at home in Week 13 last year.
GB @ SF +3: San Francisco will look to ride the momentum from last week’s come-from-behind win and will get to do so on Sunday Night Football versus Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Packers let a terrible Panthers team hang around and escaped with a win in Week 10 before hitting their bye in Week 11. Rodgers hasn’t looked great in his last two starts, going 40 for 64 for just 394 yards and one TD since Week 9. We don’t see GB winning by more than thre
BAL +3 @ LAR: Baltimore may be the best team in football but the fact that they are only three-point favorites versus a team led by a quarterback who is 27th in QBR — just ahead of Andy Dalton and Mitch Trubisky — is disrespect to Lamar Jackson. Goff may have more passing weapons back for the Monday nighter, but the Rams have averaged just nine points per game against top-10 DVOA defenses since Week 3.
BYE THE BOOK
Since Week 4, teams coming off their bye week are 9-15 against the spread. Of those games, favorites are 5-5 ATS but the dogs are having the most problems going 4-10 ATS to date. This week has four teams coming out of their bye week, with three of those four being underdogs.
Seattle (+1.5) will probably be a popular public pick this week and we don’t blame backers as that Eagles' offense isn’t threatening with a receiving core that featured Jordan Matthews last week.
The Giants (+6.5) could roll into Chicago and surprise a team that doesn’t know who will be starting at quarterback thanks to a mysterious hip-pointer injury to Mitch Trubisky. If Daniel Jones and the offense can limit turnovers (2.5 per game), then the Giants have a good shot at covering and bucking the trend.
Green Bay (+3) is our favorite bye team to not cover this week. The Packers’ struggling passing offense will be in for a battle versus San Fran’s No. 2 pass defense. The Niners are tightening things up even more at home as they are giving up just 132 yards through the air at Levi’s Stadium — the lowest mark in the league. The 49ers are 5-0 ATS on spreads less than six points.
NO TDS IN 10 QUARTERS
No defense is hotter than Atlanta Falcons’. The former bottom-five defense has held opponents to 13 points a game over the last three weeks and will look to make it a natural clean sweep against divisional opponents as they entertain the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Atlanta held the Saints’ No.8 offense to just nine points (three field goals) on the road and embarrassed the Panthers by giving up just a field goal last week. Now they get to tee off on a quarterback who has six interceptions, two fumbles and has been sacked six times in his last two games. Look for the Falcons’ pass rush to bully Jameis Winston all day after sacking Drew Brees six times in Week 10 and Kyle Allen five times in Week 11.
We are betting on a surging defense that hasn’t allowed a TD in their last 10 quarters while at the same time fading a quarterback who could lose his job at any moment. Take the Buccaneers’ team total Under 23.5.