Take Buffalo (#263)
The Chiefs four game winning streak has been as much about the weakness of their opponents than any other factor. Since their 1-5 start, KC has beaten the Steelers with Landry Jones making his first career start. They faced the Lions in London when Detroit was in complete disarray on offense. They knocked off the Broncos in what might be Peyton Manning’s last career start, a woeful four interception performance from the future Hall of Famer. And last week, they knocked off a bottom tier, injury riddled Chargers squad in blowout fashion.
I’m not saying that Kansas City is a bad team, not by any stretch of the imagination. But the Chiefs are a long, long way from being elite, and they’re an overvalued betting commodity at this stage of the campaign following this series of wins and covers.
The Chiefs offense is, most assuredly, a second tier unit. They rank #22 in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage, with Alex Smith consistently throwing the ball away instead of trying to fit it into tight windows. KC’s offensive line play has been mediocre at best, and their running game lacks explosive playmakers since Jamal Charles got hurt. KC ranks #2 in the NFL in turnover margin at +10, another reason why they are at least somewhat overvalued in this pointspread range.
Buffalo’s defense is no joke. They just held New England to a season low in points and yards on Monday Night. A Chiefs team that has struggled to build margins for most of the season is likely to struggle to produce touchdowns in bunches this week too.
Bills QB Tyrod Taylor is healthy and expected to start on Sunday. The Bills have the type of big play offense that can produce quick strike touchdowns, and they’re fighting for their lives in the AFC playoff race. KC might win this game, but don’t expect an easy victory — this has all the makings of a game that gets decided one way or the other by a last minute field goal. Take the Bills.
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The free NFL power system play is on Jacksonville. Game 268 at 1:00 eastern . The Jags are off 2 wins and SD has thrown in the towel. Home teams like the Jags are cashing over 80% off a Thursday win vs an opponent off a loss. The Jags are 7-1 ats vs losing teams, while the Chargers are 1-4 vs losing teams and 0-8 to the spread as a dog off a home dog spread loss by 10 or more points. The Chargers are allowing 28 points per game on the season. Look for Jacksonville to pull away late. Huge Sunday card up with Sunday night 100% Play of the Year on NBC, Top 6* AFC Total and 5* Side in Early action along with Teaser of the Week, NBA and NCAAB. Jump on now and put the most powerful data available on your side. For the free NFL play. Take Jacksonville. RV
Tampa Bay @ Indy
Courtesy of Tony George Sports
The fact that both these teams have identical records at this stage in the season is shocking in all honesty. The maturing of QB Winston has evolved the Bucs into a decent team this season and RB Martin has been a work horse who is racking up some impressive numbers lately, which has opened up play action passing success for Winston.
With Andrew Luck out, Matt Hasselbeck is undefeated as a starter for the Colts, but I think Indy is in a bad matchup here with the power running game of Tampa Bay and the Bucs playing some defense as well. Not impressed with Indy's win against Atlanta who is in free fall and QB Ryan gave them the game with a pick 6 last week, and remember Tampa also beat Atlanta.
All in all I like the Bucs to win this straight up as the holes in Indy's run defense ranked 23rd will be a key in this game, and the Colts allow more points than they score this season. Tampa is also an impressive 4-1 ATS on the road this year. The Colts are banged up at cornerback here and RB Gore is playing with a bum knee as well. Tampa's passing game will be successful here on Sunday and with Martin running well, this sets up nicely for Tampa.
FREE Pro Pick on Tampa Bay +3
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Free Pick on Steelers +
In previous seasons this would be an obvious spot to back the Seahawks laying less than a touchdown at home, but I would have to lean towards Pittsburgh in this one. The Steelers have a huge advantage here coming off their bye this late in the season and look to be as healthy as they have all year.
Coming into this season there was concern with whether Seattle would be able to stick together an remain focused after all the big contracts were handed out and so far it doesn’t look promising for the Seahawks. Seattle is still in it at 5-5, but they don’t have a signature win in 2015.
Their 5 wins have come against the Bears (w/o Cutler), Lions, 49ers (twice) and Cowboys (w/o Romo). Interestingly all 5 of those came against teams who are either struggling offensively or were missing their starting quarterback.
With Roethlisberger healthy, Pittsburgh has one of the most explosive offenses in the game and we saw what a strong offense can do to this Seattle defense a couple weeks ago with Arizona putting up 39 points on 451 yards of total offense.
Not only do I think the Steelers will be able to move the ball and put points on the scoreboard against the Seahawks, but I think they matchup well defensively. Seattle’s offense is predicated around their ability to run the ball. They lead the league with 148.6 ypg on the ground and are 27th in passing at 219.0 ypg. That plays right into the strength of the Pittsburgh defense, which is 5th against the run (93.0 ypg). You also have to factor in that the Steelers have had 2 full weeks to prepare for Seattle’s one dimensional offense.
The Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 when coming off a win. Seattle is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 at home, 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 off a SU win and 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 against a team with a winning record. Take Pittsburgh!
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I'm backing the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Yes, I do realize what the Titans have done at home going back to last season. But this is a different situation. The offensive line is now in charge of actually attempting to protect their QB. And when Marcus Mariota is given a chance, he has shown he's much more than your run-of-the-mill rookie signal caller. There aren't a ton of true "starting" QBs in the NFL in my opinion, but Mariota is already one of them, and he also gets a chance to use his feet as a weapon under current play-calling. Oakland's defense, ranked 30th against the pass, is hamstrung even further, not having Aldon Smith on the field. I'm not going to flood this write-up with historical anti-Oakland Raider spread trends. After all, like Tennessee, those numbers came under different regimes. I will state that Oakland is also hampered up front on offense thanks to a couple of injuries, notably, Rodney Hudson, who is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. Tennessee is better than their 2-8 SU mark, just 12 points from a 6-4 record. I believe this is the spot they snap the home losing skid. I'm recommending a play on the Titans on Sunday. Thanks & GL! Scott Spreitzer.