Trying to bounce back from a rare off week
The underdogs fought back last week and now we get back to the unpredictability that we are used to in the NFL. Playoff spots are on the line as well as draft picks. Thankfully our dreadful list of starting quarterbacks is getting better now that Eli Manning is in and Aaron Rodgers may be returning soon as well. Keep your eye on the weather as things get colder and heaven forbid maybe snow enters our forecasts.
Record: 35-24-3 (2-3 last week; 26-17-2 last 9 weeks)
Note: All games are on Sunday, Dec. 10 and times are ET.
Chicago Bears (3-9) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7), 1 p.m.
This is purely a situational play as I've got to wonder what the Bengals have left after their horrendous loss to the Steelers on Monday night at home. Not only did they fall in that one, but Adam Jones, Joe Mixon and Vontaze Burfict all got hurt and are questionable for Sunday. It bears watching to see their status because those are some important pieces. The Bears have lost five straight and have not played well as of late. That's what makes it tough to make this play is that Chicago's offense has managed just 287 yards the last two games total. The Bears’ defense isn't awful so that unit should be able to keep them in this game. One situation in our favor is that the Bears have covered 10 of their last 12 games where the total is between 35.5 and 42 points. With such a low total, we may see a close game since Vegas isn't expecting much. SELECTION: Bears +6.5
Dallas Cowboys (6-6) at New York Giants (2-10), 1 p.m.
The Giants finally got rid of Ben McAdoo and now Eli Manning is back under center so I'm expecting a better effort now at home as they take on Dallas. The Cowboys snapped a three-game losing streak with a 38-14 home win over the Redskins last Thursday. In that one, they discovered the run game as Dak Prescott finished with just 93 passing yards. The defense forced four turnovers, but I really don't think this unit is that good. Sean Lee is probably coming back which is good, but won’t be enough. Manning is playing his last few games at home as a member of the Giants most likely. New York has covered 15 of its last 25 at home in this series. I think the Giants can win this one outright on Sunday as we get a really motivated team under "new" leadership. SELECTION: Giants +4
Minnesota Vikings (10-2) at Carolina Panthers (8-4), 1 p.m.
Minnesota is wrapping up three straight on the road as the Vikings take on Carolina. As well as Minnesota has play, you have to wonder if this when all the travel takes its toll. As a matter of fact, the Vikings have played just one true home game dating back to their Week 8 trip to play Cleveland in London (Oct. 29). The defense has been great especially against the run. The offense has not had a turnover the last three weeks. Carolina has won four of its last five. This offense is dealing with a lack of true weapons especially since Greg Olsen is still not completely over the foot injury that caused him to miss multiple games. It's a concern that the usually strong Panthers defense has allowed 21 points or more in three straight, but at home this team is very good. They have covered nine of their last 12 games as an underdog with seven straight up wins. I think there's some value here with the home dog. SELECTION: Panthers +3
Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (9-3), 4:25 p.m.
That sound you hear are members of the national media jumping off the Eagles’ bandwagon after they lost to the Seahawks last week. Philadelphia’s defense couldn't contain Russell Wilson and the offenses made some rare mistakes too. The Eagles have stayed on the West Coast all week and will take on a Rams team that has been a great story. Los Angeles has won two straight since getting "exposed" against Minnesota. The run game has struggled and should continue to do so against an Eagles defense that is the best in the league in that category. There are stories about the Rams practicing with a silent count as Philadelphia fans are expected to show up in the Coliseum for this one. I think we get a really focused effort and a win from the road team who will be eager to fix what went wrong last week. SELECTION: Eagles +2.5
Seattle Seahawks (8-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4), 4:25 p.m.
This is another situational play as the Seahawks have to fly east to play Jacksonville as part of a sandwich between a big home win over the Eagles and a huge home game against the Rams next week. Russell Wilson has put himself right into the mix for the MVP award with his play, but the run game has been pretty stagnant. Jacksonville's secondary is fantastic and the front seven will get pressure on anyone. The key is if the Jags can keep Wilson in the pocket in the process. Jacksonville’s offense is in good form right now after Blake Bortles threw for 330 yards last week. Dede Westbrook is stepping up and playing like the team hoped when it drafted him. The Seahawks are not as good outside of Seattle. I think they lose this one. SELECTION: Jaguars -2.5
— 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.