CALVIN & BOMBS
Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley had his best game as a pro last week. The Falcons’ wideout caught all eight of his targets for 143 yards for six first downs, giving Matt Ryan a 158.3 passing rating when targeted. This was all against the league’s sixth-best pass DVOA defense. This week, Ridley sets his sights on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their 30th-ranked pass defense.
With tight end Austin Hooper out again this week and the Falcons down to their No.3 running back who carried 15 times for 30 yards against a bottom-five run defense in Week 11, there is no reason to think Ridley can’t top his yardage totals this week.
We are taking the Over on Ridley’s receiving yards at 68.5 as Tampa Bay is giving up 73 yards to teams’ WR2 this year.
PASS ME A BALL, MR. JONES
Covers’ own Jason Logan is backing the Giants as 6-point underdogs against the Chicago Bears this week. We can get behind that as the Chicago offense is nonexistent and six points is a lot for a unit that has topped 21 points once since Week 4. That doesn’t mean that Daniel Jones has to succeed by any means, though.
The Giants QB has faced four bottom-12 pass defenses in consecutive weeks and will do battle with Chicago's No.6 squad on Sunday. Jones has faced just two top-15 pass defenses this year and didn’t top 200 yards passing in either of them. It also may be difficult for Jones to throw the ball when he is turning it over at such an alarming rate. The rookie may only have two interceptions since Week 7, but he has fumbled ten times in his last four games and leads the league in that category this year.
We are grabbing the Under 226.5 passing yards on Daniel Jones but also think there is good value in his Under 0.5 INTs at +170, just don’t bet on him not fumbling.
THE DRIVE FOR 0-16
The Cincinnati Bengals’ team total for their Sunday game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and their No.3 DVOA defense sits at a laughable 14.5 points. The sad thing is that we don’t see Ryan Finley and his banged-up receiving core scoring more than two TDs against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers have allowed no more than 14 points in their three games this year to bottom-10 DVOA offenses. One of those teams was the Bengals who put up three points in Week 4. On top of that, Cincy could be facing a team with serious motivation after last week’s drama.
The road to 0-16 will continue into Week 13 as even Mason Rudolph will be able to move the ball against a team allowing over 10 yards per pass attempt in their last three weeks. Take the Bengals team total 14.5 before it slips past a key number closer to kick off.
SUNDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN
Checking the rotowire one can’t help but notice all the San Francisco 49ers’ skill players popping up. For those not constantly refreshing team updates, TE George Kittle, WRs Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders, RB Matt Breida and kicker Robbie Gould are all doubtful or questionable ahead of their big Sunday night tilt versus the Packers.
We see the 49ers trying to establish the run and control the clock with all the injuries, something they do well as they sit second in the league at nearly 34 minutes in time of possession. Green Bay should also play to their strength and their opponent’s weakness and run the ball. The Packers are currently gaining 5.1 yards per rush attempt over their last three while San Fran has the fifth-worst yards per rush attempt against at 5.3 yards.
With the possibility of key offensive players sitting out and both teams looking to control the clock, we are hitting the San Fran team total Under 26.5 which we feel is 2-3 points too high.
The New York Giants and the Chicago Bears have been allowing 8.4 sacks combined over the last three weeks. However, both these teams have struggled to take down opposing QBs this year as they sit in the bottom half in the league in sacks per game at nearly five takedowns combined. This last stat may give us some value in a total-sacks prop that won’t be set too high thanks to the Bears’ and Giants’ sacks per game rate.
Daniel Jones has been sacked 22 times in his last four games because the Giants have been pass-happy of late, averaging 39 passes a game since Week seven. Mitch Trubisky will have a short leash that could work in our favor. The Bears QB has been sacked nine times in his last two home games and if Mitch gives way to Chase Daniel, that could be money in the bank. The Bears’ backup was sacked twice in four dropbacks last week while getting taken down four more times in 30 pass attempts in his only other start this year.
We are 6-1 on our weekly sack plays and will be taking the Over 5.5 sacks in the Giants-Bears matchup Sunday.
SKIPPING LEG DAY
Bears’ kicker Eddy Pineiro has zero trust from his coaching staff as Matt Nagy decided to go for it on 4th and nine from their opponents 31-yard line in a 0-0 game. Over their last three games, Nagy’s Bears have attempted just 0.7 FGs.
The Giants are dead last in field goal attempts this season and are kicking a whopping one three-point attempt per game. New York’s kicker Aldrick Rosas is 8-for-10 this year with a long of just thirty-six yards.
Chicago will be breezy Sunday with winds expected in the double digits, further helping our lean on this kicking prop. Take the Under 44.5 yards longest field goal scored.
DRISKEL DRUMMING UP RUSHES
Jeff Driskel will start again for the Lions Sunday against Washington as Matthew Stafford may have to sit out the rest of the season with Detroit out of playoff contention. The word on Driskel’s rushing ability is not widely known yet but the Lions’ starter rushed for 51 yards on eight carries and had a rushing TD for good measure last week.
Driskel is not afraid to take off and run as the 26-year-old QB has averaged 4.5 carries over his seven career starts. The Washington is allowing a completion rate of 71 percent which may stop Driskel from taking off as much but we still like his rushing prospects for Sunday and will take the Over on any number below 23 yards.
TAKE THESE BROKEN WENTZ
The Philadelphia Eagles receiving core is a mess. Last week they gave 88 percent of the snaps to Jordan Mathews who had just signed two weeks ago and now Nelson Agholor appears questionable for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
They could have Alshon Jeffrey back this week, but this is a run-first offense and with Jordan Howard likely back this week after missing Week 11, we don’t see Carson Wentz and the offense airing things out against Seattle. The Eagles are 24th in the league in passing yards per game at 215 and 28th over their last three games at 185 yards.
We are jumping on the Under 241.5 passing yards for Carson Wentz, a number he has not eclipsed in four-straight games.
HOME FAVS LEADING THE WAY
Over the last 30 days, home favorites have been winning SU at 73 percent clip and last week they hit at 78 percent. This week, home teams are favored in nine of the 13 games. Our two favorite home favorite MLs this week are the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. Parlayed together, this two-teamer pays out an even +100.
New England has won 16-straight games at home and is allowing just 11 points per game at Gillette stadium this year. The offense hasn’t looked great, but this is a defense-first team that could give the Cowboys some problems as they have only beat the Redskins, the Giants and the Lions on the road this year while losing to the Jets and Saints.
Atlanta has run off two consecutive wins versus divisional opponents and picked off Kyle Allen four times last week. They also haven’t allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters of football. They could really force Bruce Arians to sit Jameis Winston if the Dirty Birds get to the Bucs’ QB early.
Take the Pats ML and Falcons ML for a +100 payout.
JAGS TO FEATURE FOURNETTE
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone believes that RB Leonard Fournette didn’t touch the ball enough last week in their loss to the Colts. The lead back, who had averaged 26 touches a game over his previous six contests, handled the ball just 15 times in Week 11 but game flow was a big reason for that.
The Jaguars should have a better time keeping the game close and allow Fournette to be an option in both the running and passing game as they visit the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee has three wins in their last six games but has only won by three or four points in each of those games, meaning they aren’t blowing anyone out and forcing teams to abandon the run.
There is no reason that the Jacksonville RB can't rush the ball 17-20 times while chipping in half a dozen catches. With the Titans allowing four yards per carry and six yards per pass attempt to opposing RBs and Fournette averaging 4.7 yards per carry and 5.7 yards per target, we can take the difference of those totals and see a 20-rush and seven-target day for Fournette working out to 127 total yards.
Take the Over on Fournette’s total yards of 113.5 yards.
DOLPHINS BACK TO THEIR OLD SELVES
The Miami Dolphins streak of five-straight wins against the spread is over after they got filled by the Buffalo Bills 37-20 last week. Buffalo had scored more than 21 points just twice in their last six games before the 37-point explosion. Our takeaway from that game: Miami is still a very bad football team.
On the offensive side of things, their current No.1 running back, Kalen Ballage, is averaging 1.9 yards per carry. That number is historically bad as it would be the worst mark in league history. The Dolphins offensive coordinator even put the blame on Ballage’s teammates and coaches, telling reporters that they needed to do better.
On the defensive side of the ball, Miami just sent their two starting safeties to the I.R. This will only make the league's worst passing defense even worse heading into their Sunday contest against the Cleveland Browns.
Buffalo beat the Dolphins in every quarter last week, becoming the fourth team this year to do so. Over their eight losses this year, Miami has lost 26 of 32 quarters while winning just four.
With a price of +650, sign us up for the Browns winning every quarter Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints forced four interceptions last week against the human turnover machine better known as Jameis Winston. This week the Saints get to face the Panthers and rookie QB Kyle Allen who threw four INTs himself last week and has thrown nine picks in his last four games.
Allen has been facing serious pressure making the young QB force some throws. His nine INTs were the product of 18 sacks as the Carolina offensive line has been getting dominated in November. Things will only get worse Sunday as the Saints’ defense has the fourth-most sacks at home.
It is a juicy play but we feel confident in Allen throwing at least one interception. Take the Over on Allen’s 0.5 INTs.
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.
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.
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