We have reached the halfway point of the NFL regular season in terms of weeks and we’re starting to see the direction a lot of teams are heading in. There are clearly those that are already playing for next year while others are solely focused on getting into the playoffs.
The biggest decisions involve the mediocre teams in the middle. Those that have shown flashes, but we really don't know what they are truly capable of. This week I'm going to ask teams playing over their head to continue to do so.
Record: 24-15-3 (2-2-1 Last week; 15-8-2 last 5 weeks)
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Nov. 12.
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Washington Redskins (4-4), 1 p.m.
The Redskins had the most improbable win in football last week, beating the Seahawks on the road with a really banged-up squad. Washington is still pretty injured and now gets a Minnesota team that is rolling and fresh off of its bye. The Redskins’ defense is holding up for the most part. They held Seattle to 14 points on the road and are led by Josh Norman and Zach Brown. Minnesota's offense doesn't scare me much with a RB committee and a passing attack led by Case Keenum. The good thing for the Vikings is their defense has held six straight opponents to 17 points or fewer. Minnesota has gone under in 25 of its last 41 contests including 12 of the last 18 on the road. To me, this one is a field position game that will be close and low scoring. SELECTION: Under 42.5
Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3), 1 p.m.
The Chargers are heading to Florida fresh off of their bye week to try and solve Jacksonville. The Jaguars are holding their opponents to just 156.4 passing yards per game and 14.6 points per contest overall. Los Angeles is not exactly lighting up the scoreboard with 21 points or fewer in its last three games. Luckily for the Chargers, the defense has kept the team in games. These teams have each played three unders in their last four games. Jacksonville beat the Bengals 23-7 last week without Leonard Fournette, who was benched for a violation of team rules but will be back on Sunday. Los Angeles has gone under in 16 of its last 26 games as an underdog including four of six this season. SELECTION: Under 41.5
New York Jets (4-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6), 1 p.m.
No one would have thought that the Jets would have had the better record at this point before the season began. New York has been a pleasant story with Josh McCown leading the offense and the defense doing work as well. The Jets have lost three of four but are coming off of a convincing victory over the Bills last Thursday. Tampa Bay has lost five straight and will be without Jameis Winston (injury) and Mike Evans (suspension). Yet, I still don't feel like I'm ready to back the Jets as a road favorite. Tampa Bay's defense has been awful, but may get cornerback Brent Grimes back. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center and still has DeSean Jackson out wide along with some decent running backs. I might be guilty of trying to stay with a bad team too long, but I think the Buccaneers are a live dog. SELECTION: Buccaneers +2.5
New Orleans Saints (6-2) at Buffalo Bills (5-3), 1 p.m.
The Saints hit the road to play the Bills in a game that will feature temperatures around 40 degrees. New Orleans has won six straight after an 0-2 start. The Saints have been able to run the ball and take some pressure off of Drew Brees. A negative development is that the offense has started to turn the ball over with four straight games of at least two. The defense is putting up improved numbers, but I'm still not buying in. Over this span, the Saints really haven't seen too many good offenses with the likes of Tampa Bay, Green Bay (sans Aaron Rodgers) and Chicago the opponents. Buffalo lost 34-21 last Thursday to the Jets. Despite that the Bills have won four of their last six. LeSean McCoy should bounce back and this will be the first game for Kelvin Benjamin with this new team. Tight end Charles Clay also is working his back from injury, so it will be interesting to see this offense once all of the pieces are together. I'm not buying the Saints as a road team outside yet, especially in Upstate New York. SELECTION: Bills +3
Dallas Cowboys (5-3) at Atlanta Falcons (4-4), 4:25 p.m.
It's almost like I’m calling this "Show Me Sunday" because I don't believe the Cowboys’ defense has suddenly turned the corner and is no longer a bad unit. Dallas held San Francisco, Washington and Kansas City all under 20 points over the last three weeks while registering double-digit victories against each. Dallas will go home to host NFC East leader Philadelphia as the first of the three straight home dates after this, so there's a shot we may not get a focused effort against a desperate Falcons team. Atlanta has lost four of its last five and just finished up a stretch of three straight on the road. Matt Ryan (above, right) got Julio Jones involved more last time out, but it wasn't enough in a three-point loss at Carolina. The best part about locking this in now is that you may get the bonus of Ezekiel Elliott not playing if his latest appeal is denied later in the week. SELECTION: Falcons -3
New England Patriots (6-2) at Denver Broncos (3-5), 8:30 p.m.
New England will be fresh and ready for Denver after its bye week. These two teams have played two unders in their last three meetings. Brock Osweiler and the Denver O did not look very good in Philadelphia last time out and figure to struggle against Matt Patricia's defense, which has had two weeks to prepare. Denver's D was embarrassed last week and won't play that badly again. New England has a four-game streak of scoring no more than 24. Tom Brady has not been his best the last few meetings against the Broncos. Denver has gone under in 13 of its last 22 at home. I think this one is an under. SELECTION: Under 46.5
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.