Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET

Lions at Titans Betting Preview: Lions (+11/-106), Titans (-11/-114)

Detroit Lions

Give interim coach Darrell Bevell credit for this much: He’s had the Lions playing hard, which is more than Matt Patricia could do near the end. Detroit rallied to beat Chicago in Bevell’s debut, then made Green Bay work 60 minutes for a 31-24 win last week.

None of that is going to help the 5-8 Lions make the playoffs, which makes this no different from most other seasons since, well, Bobby Layne was under center in the 1950s. But at least they’re giving the substitute teacher their full attention, so that’s at least a start.

The task this week was going to be tough in any event, with the No. 29 defense trying to stop Derrick Henry and a top-five offense. But an offense that is capable of scoring points against a mediocre defense might have to go without Matthew Stafford (ribs) or center Frank Ragnow (throat) this week in Nashville.      

Tennessee Titans

The schedule last week said Jacksonville, not bye. But with the exception of the Jets, playing Jacksonville is the NFL’s closest thing to a week off, and the Titans feasted on a bad defense while improving on defense in a 31-10 rout.

Henry rolled up 215 yards and now has an outside chance of reaching 2,000 for the year, as he needs 468 in the last three games. Detroit’s defense hasn’t been confused lately with the Steel Curtain, so this could be another big game.

Tennessee’s defense needs to step up again as it did last week. Its pitiful pass rush, last in the league with 14 sacks, could get a boost if Ragnow’s fractured throat prevents him from playing. It at least stiffened up against the run in Jacksonville, holding outstanding rookie back James Robinson in check while the game was still in doubt.  

Lions at Titans Betting Pick for Week 15

Different week, same task for Tennessee. Don’t let a losing team gain confidence with a fast start and let them think they can win. If the Titans are ready to play and execute well offensively, Detroit isn’t going to stop them from piling on the points.

The trick for Tennessee is to at least be competent defensively, like it was last week. The Lions have gotten a bounce from Patricia’s firing, but their weaknesses on defense are too crippling against an offense as varied and potent as the Titans’.            

Lions at Titans Betting Pick:

Titans 34, Lions 24.

Lions at Titans Best Bet for Week 15

Think over for this one. Ten of Tennessee’s last 13 home games have gone over the number and nine of its last 12 games this year have ended above the number. The total has also climbed over the number in five of Detroit’s last seven games. If you absolutely need any more convincing, try these set of numbers out: The Lions are allowing 29.9 points and the Titans 25.8. So hammer the over and add numbers to your checking account.          

Lions at Titans Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Colts Betting Preview: Texans (+7/-108), Colts (-7/-112)

Houston Texans

The heartbreak of the Texans’ loss to the Colts on Dec. 6 extended into last weekend when Houston (4-9) seemed to lack competitive fire in a 36-7 defeat to the Bears. Now comes a rematch against a Colts team they kept out of the end zone in the second half two weeks ago.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for 341 yards against the Colts earlier this month and ran for another 38 so he is well aware he can move the ball against Indianapolis. Without his late-game fumble near the goal line, the game could have belonged to Houston.

Watson is second in the NFL with 3,761 yards passing but he has been sacked 39 times, third most in the league. The running game has an abysmal 1,121 yards, fewest in the NFL.

Indianapolis Colts

Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton is back with four touchdown receptions in his last three games, including two last week against the Raiders and one two weeks ago against the Texans. The veteran did not have a TD over his first 10 games.

Tied atop the AFC South at 9-4 with the Titans, the Colts close with the Titans, Steelers and Jaguars. Only the Steelers’ game is on the road. Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has multiple scoring passes in each of his last four games and has done it six times in the last eight games.

Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez is the feel-good story of the week after returning to practice two weeks after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. His status for Sunday remains in question.

Texans at Colts Betting Pick for Week 15

Eliminated from playoff contention after their humbling loss to the Bears last week, the Texans can at least use their recent loss to the Colts as motivation. What should be a motivator, though, is reversing their lackluster effort at Chicago when Watson was sacked seven times.

Colts head coach Frank Reich believes his team showed its true identity in last week’s 44-27 victory over the Raiders. Indianapolis has won four of five and figures to have plenty of momentum after collecting 456 yards last week, including 212 on the ground.

Texans at Colts Betting Pick:

Colts 34, Texans 21

Texans at Colts Best Bet for Week 15

Look for Reich to step on the gas in order to see if his Colts team really is hitting its stride with the playoffs approaching and a spot not yet secured. The Texans’ offense figures to be more like it was two weeks ago against the Colts as long as it fixes some of what plagued it in Sunday’s game at Chicago, although getting the running game going would appear to be a tall order.

Texans at Colts Best Bet: OVER 51 total points (-110)

Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, 4:25 p.m. ET

Chiefs at Saints Betting Preview: Chiefs (-3/-110), Saints (+3/-110) 

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs (12-1) have rolled off eight straight victories and are in the driver’s seat for claiming the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Kansas City’s last five wins have been by a combined 21 points, and it hasn’t registered a blowout win since whipping the lowly New York Jets on Nov. 1. Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has been attempting to help the defense play better and he has six interceptions, including four over the past three games.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in total offense (429.2 yards per game) and rank second in scoring (31.0 points per game) as quarterback Patrick Mahomes is playing superb with a league-high 4,208 yards to go with 33 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Star tight end Travis Kelce leads the NFL with 1,250 yards and the player with 90 catches and nine touchdowns is the first tight end in NFL history to rack up five 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Wideout Tyreek Hill is tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdown catches and ranks fourth in yardage with 1,158.

Star defensive end Chris Jones (6.5 sacks) went three games without a sack until recording one during last week’s 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins. Linebacker Damien Wilson (68 tackles) missed practice Wednesday and could sit out his second straight game.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints (10-3) had a nine-game winning snapped with last Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles but are still battling the Green Bay Packers for the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. Quarterback Drew Brees was designated to return to practice on Wednesday after missing the past four games with 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung, but coach Sean Payton said the 41-year-old still has “a ways to go” before he can play in a game. Brees passed for 2,196 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions prior to the injury.

Taysom Hill passed for a career-best 291 yards against the Eagles and also had two touchdowns but he was sacked five times, tossed one interception and lost a fumble in a performance that didn’t impress Payton. Look for Alvin Kamara’s fingerprints to be all over this game plan as the star running back (723 rushing yards, 699 receiving yards) is just three receptions away from reaching 80 catches for the fourth straight season and has scored 52 total touchdowns in 58 career games. Standout receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) is ailing but had eight receptions last week and 30 over the past four games.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson is tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks in a strong breakout season. Defensive tackle Malcom Brown (shoulder) missed Wednesday’s practice and could sit out his second straight contest, while defensive end Marcus Davenport (quadriceps) was limited and should be fine by Sunday.

Chiefs at Saints Betting Pick for Week 15

Kansas City has a major edge at quarterback with Mahomes against Hill as Brees appears to be at least one week away from playing. Kelce and Hill are operating at will against opposing secondaries and the Chiefs feel like they can score at anytime.

Hill’s blemishes were in full view last Sunday and perhaps are what should be expected from a 30-year-old starting NFL games for the first time. New Orleans will score some points against Kansas City’s defense but it is hard to see the Saints slowing down Mahomes.

Chiefs at Saints Betting Pick: 

Chiefs 45, Saints 30

Chiefs at Saints Best Bet for Week 15

Kansas City has topped 30 points eight times this season and Mahomes is on a roll with six straight 300-yard outings. A healthy Brees would for sure make this total over but expect the New Orleans attack to do its part of putting points on the scoreboard regardless.

Chiefs at Saints Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:05 p.m. ET

Jets at Rams Betting Preview: Jets (+17.5/-114), Rams (+17.5/-106)

New York Jets

A second consecutive game on the West Coast could be even more challenging than the first for the 0-13 Jets, who were pummeled 40-3 by the Seahawks last weekend. The Seahawks entered with the worst passing defense in the NFL but quarterback Sam Darnold had just 132 yards in the air and no touchdowns.

Darnold returns home, where he was a star at Southern California, but with the Jets closing in on the top overall draft pick, his days as a starter in New York appear numbered.

After Sunday’s meeting with the Rams, the Jets return home to face the Browns before ending the season at New England, giving them three chances to avoid the NFL’s latest 0-16 season since the Browns in 2017. 

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have hit the win-and-you’re-in portion of the schedule. A victory over the Jets gets the Rams (9-4) back into the playoffs after they failed to advance last year following a Super Bowl run after the 2018 regular season.

The Rams’ defensive credentials continue to sparkle. They held the Patriots to three points in a victory last week and enter Week 15 leading the NFL in total yards allowed per game (285.8) and passing yards per game (191.7). The group also is third in both points allowed (18.9) and total sacks (42).

Running back Cam Akers enters off a 171-yard rushing performance against the Patriots, the highest from a Rams rookie since Jerome Bettis ran for 212 in a 1993 game.

Jets at Rams Betting Pick for Week 15

Rams quarterback Jared Goff is much improved after a three-turnover stinker during a Week 12 loss to the 49ers but could still use some fine-tuning in advance of a Week 16 showdown against the Seahawks. L.A. would rather show as little creativity as necessary in advance of next week’s trip to Seattle.

Even when they are playing well, the Rams lack the ability to run away and hide from opponents. The Jets will have to take advantage when the Los Angeles offense goes into its regular mid-game lulls. 

Jets at Rams Betting Pick:

Rams 28, Jets 13

Jets at Rams Best Bet for Week 15

The Rams figure to have an easy time with the Jets but they have shown they lack a killer instinct. Look for the Rams to get off to their usual hot start, lean on their defense and punting game midway through before taking control early enough to get some players a late-game rest in advance of their division showdown against the Seahawks next Sunday.

Jets at Rams Best Bet: JETS +17.5 (-114)

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Patriots at Dolphins Betting Preview: Patriots (+2/-112), Dolphins (-2/-109) 

New England Patriots

The Patriots (6-7) bid for a sweep of the Dolphins on Sunday after failing to take out the brooms in their games against the SoFi Stadium tenants over the last two weeks. Cam Newton, who rushed for a season-high 75 yards and two touchdowns in New England’s 21-11 win over Miami on Sept. 13, found the end zone in a 45-0 win over the Chargers on Dec. 6 before finding the pine in a 24-3 loss to the Rams on Thursday.

Damien Harris leads the team in carries (137), yards (691) and yards per carry (5.0) despite missing the first three games of the season following surgery on his pinkie finger. Fellow running back Sony Michel has rushed 17 times for 57 yards since returning to the lineup, although he has rushed for a touchdown in each of his last three meetings with Miami.

Damiere Byrd has 21 catches over his last five weeks to boost his season total to 42, matching Jakobi Meyers for the team lead. N’Keal Harry led the Patriots with 49 receiving yards last week versus the Rams and tied Julian Edelman with a team-best five catches in the season opener against the Dolphins.

Miami Dolphins

Rookie Tua Tagovailoa looks to build off his season-high 316-yard passing performance in Miami’s 33-27 loss to Kansas City when he faces the Patriots for the first time in his career. The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft also rushed for a touchdown last week, a promising sight considering the Dolphins’ backfield is in disarray.

Mike Gesicki reeled in two touchdown passes last week and boasts 602 receiving yards on the season, which ranks third best among AFC tight ends. Gesicki (shoulder), however, joins wideouts DeVante Parker (hamstring) and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) as well as running back Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) with injury concerns. 

With running back Myles Gaskin on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Miami (8-5) likely will look for DeAndre Washington to handle the rushing duties against New England. Xavien Howard has reeled in an interception in five straight games to boost his career-high total to an NFL-best nine on the season.

Patriots at Dolphins Betting Pick for Week 15

The Patriots rushed at will against the Dolphins in the season opener, doing so to the tune of 42 carries for 217 yards. While New England boasts the NFL’s No. 5 rushing attack (147.5 yards per game), its 26th-ranked scoring (21.3 points), 24th-ranked total offense (332.9 yards) and 29th-ranked passing (185.4 yards) outputs leave plenty to be desired.

The bet is the Patriots can run the ball on Sunday. If not, it will be another long day for Bill Belichick’s crew.

Patriots at Dolphins Betting Pick: 

Patriots 21, Dolphins 16

Patriots at Dolphins Best Bet for Week 15

The Patriots are trending toward missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season. With that said, they’ll do their part to make sure the Dolphins don’t improve their stock at their expense.

Patriots at Dolphins Best Bet: UNDER 42 total points (-109)

Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, FedExField, Landover, Md., 1 p.m. ET

Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Preview: Seahawks (-5.5/-110), Washington Football Team (+5.5/-110)

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks (9-4) can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. They’re coming off a 40-3 drubbing of the winless New York Jets in which Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes and the defense allowed just 185 total yards.

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (foot) and cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) are expected to return from injuries and running back Rashaad Penny might make his season debut after suffering an ACL tear in November of 2019. The biggest question mark is starting right tackle Brandon Shell, who aggravated a sprained ankle last week. A healthy Shell would be welcome against Washington’s stout defensive line.

Washington Football Team

 Washington (6-7) has won four games in a row to move atop the NFC East. 

Those wins have been led by veteran QB Alex Smith, who missed the second half of last weekend’s 23-15 victory at San Francisco with a strained right calf. If Smith can’t go, Washington would turn to former first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins, who began the season as the starter but was benched after four games.

Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Pick for Week 15

The Seahawks’ offense got back on track last weekend and the defense continues to get healthy and improve.

Washington’s defense ranks fourth in the league and Smith is 4-1 as a starter. The defense will likely keep Washington in the game, so it might come down to Smith’s health. The Seahawks are 7-6 against the spread this season, while Washington is 7-4-2.

Seahawks at Washington Football Team Betting Pick:

Seahawks 20, Washington 16

Seahawks at Washington Football Team Best Bet for Week 15

Washington has allowed just 57 points over its four-game winning streak. But Seattle’s defense has allowed only 58 points over the same span, in which the Seahawks have gone 3-1.

Seahawks at Washington Football Team Best Bet: UNDER 44.5 total points (-110)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, 1 p.m. ET

Buccaneers at Falcons Betting Preview: Buccaneers (-5.5/-114), Falcons (+5.5/-106)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s safe to say that no team needed a bye week more than Tampa Bay two weeks ago. The Buccaneers had the rare, unwanted distinction of playing 12 straight weeks before getting their bye. They and NFC South-rival Carolina joined the 2016 Titans and Browns in getting the latest bye weeks in league history.

The rest couldn’t have hurt Tampa Bay last week in a 26-14 win over Minnesota. The Buccaneers played a clean game with no turnovers and only five penalties, taking advantage of a bevy of missed chances and mistakes from the Vikings.

But Tampa Bay may be shorthanded this week if Ronald Jones II, the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL with 900 yards, is sidelined after going on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. Leonard Fournette is likely to start if Jones, who also has a fractured left pinkie, can’t go, and Tom Brady may have to carry a bigger load.                            

Atlanta Falcons

The offseason surprise in Atlanta would be if big changes didn’t occur. A third straight losing season, coupled with the firing of coach Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start, means the status quo isn’t going to cut it for owner Arthur Blank or the fans.

All the Falcons can do now is impact someone’s postseason. They get two cracks at Tampa Bay in the season’s final weeks, sandwiched around a trip to 12-1 Kansas City. If misery loves company, as the old cliché goes, Atlanta has a chance to take a division rival with it.

For the Falcons to haunt the Buccaneers’ offseason, they have to protect quarterback Matt Ryan. He’s been sacked 33 times and is facing a team that has bagged 40 sacks. If Atlanta can keep Ryan upright, he could enjoy a big game, particularly if wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) can return from injury.     

Buccaneers at Falcons Betting Pick for Week 15

Tampa Bay needs to be ready to play. The worst thing it can do against a 4-9 team three weeks away from the offseason is to stumble around, let them take an early lead and allow them to believe they can pull the upset.

The Buccaneers’ ability to pressure Ryan will be critical, because if they don’t, Jones and Calvin Ridley are capable of lighting up a suspect secondary. In the end, Brady moves a step closer to a playoff berth with his new team.           

Buccaneers at Falcons Betting Pick:

Buccaneers 30, Falcons 24.

Buccaneers at Falcons Best Bet for Week 15

Go to the tool kit, take out the hammer and use it on the over without hesitation. Recent trends point in the direction of a high-scoring game. In seven of Atlanta’s last eight games against Tampa Bay, the over has been the correct play. So don’t be stunned when Tom Brady finds Rob Gronkowski a time or two in the end zone, and bet on Ryan teaming up with Jones and Ridley for a couple of scores.          

Buccaneers at Falcons Best Bet: OVER 50 total points (-110)

Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview

Thursday, December 17, 2020, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, 8:20 p.m. ET

Chargers at Raiders Betting Preview: Chargers (+3.5), Raiders (-3.5)

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers (4-9) travel to Las Vegas for the first time with a chance to still catch third-place Denver (5-8) in the AFC West. It’s the 122nd regular-season meeting in the rivalry but the first in Sin City. Las Vegas holds a 65-54-2 advantage and has won the last three in a row, including a 31-26 win in Week 9.

The Chargers come in off a 20-17 home victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as Michael Badgley connected on a 43-yard field goal as time expired for the winning points. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert completed 36 of 44 pass attempts for 243 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while producing the first game-winning fourth-quarter drive of his career. Herbert needs just three more touchdown passes to surpass Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018) for most ever by a rookie, while favorite target Keenan Allen needs one reception to hit 100 for the second consecutive season and third time in four years. 

Defensive end Joey Bosa has recorded a sack in five of his six career games against the Raiders but didn’t play in the first meeting at SoFi Stadium because of a concussion. It appeared that Los Angeles won that contest without him when Herbert hit tight end Donald Parham Jr. with a four-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game. However, the score was eventually overturned when a replay review showed that the ball touched the ground as Parham came down on the sideline chalk before establishing full control.

Las Vegas Raiders

 After seeing his defense gashed for 200 rushing yards in back-to-back games, including 212 in a 44-27 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts last week, Las Vegas head coach Jon Gruden decided to turn to defensive line coach Rod Marinelli for a quick fix to his very leaky defense. The 71-year-old Marinelli replaces Paul Guenther, who was fired as defensive coordinator shortly after Sunday’s loss to the Colts, on an interim basis. The Raiders (7-6) rank 30th in defense, allowing an average of 30.1 points per game and have allowed an average of 181.0 yards rushing over their last three games.

Besides the short turnaround, Marinelli also must deal with a cluster of key injuries to his defensive unit. Safety Johnathan Abram (concussion), cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion), linebacker Nick Morrow (concussion) and defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) all missed practice for Las Vegas on Tuesday while defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (calf) was limited. Another starting safety, Jeff Heath, went on injured reserve last week, also with a concussion.

Offensively, quarterback Derek Carr comes in off his 23rd career 300-yard game (316) and threw two touchdowns in the loss to the Colts but also was intercepted twice. Darren Waller had seven catches for 75 yards and is 16 receptions shy of becoming the sixth tight end in NFL history to post 100 catches in a season. Josh Jacobs, despite being hampered by an ankle injury the past month, ranks fourth in the AFC with 831 rushing yards, and the ground game will be counted on even more Thursday after wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was placed on the COVID-19 list.

Chargers at Raiders Betting Pick for Week 15

 After an impressive 6-3 start that included road wins at Kansas City (40-32) and Cleveland (16-6), the Raiders are a last-second 31-28 win at the winless New York Jets — thanks to a Gregg Williams’ coaching gaffe — from a four-game losing streak. The injury-ravaged defense has allowed an average of 37.5 points over that span.

Los Angeles has split its last four games and a big edge defensively ranking seventh in passing defense (217.1 avg.) and ninth in total defense (337.1). This is a must-win for Las Vegas if it wants to keep its playoff hopes alive but is the defense up to the task?

Chargers at Raiders Betting Pick:

Chargers 38, Raiders 30

Chargers at Raiders Best Bet for Week 15

The Chargers ran for 128 yards in the first meeting despite missing top rusher Austin Ekeler, and finished with 440 total yards and 26 first downs. Don’t be surprised if they surpass those numbers this time around against a Las Vegas defensive unit that is running on fumes.

Chargers at Raiders Best Bet: OVER 53.0

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Betting Preview

Monday, December 14, 2020, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 8:15 p.m. ET

Ravens at Browns Betting Preview: Ravens (-2.5/-110), Browns (+2.5/-110)

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore (7-5) rolled to a 38-6 victory when the teams met in Week 1 but now finds itself in must-win mode even after a solid 34-17 victory over Dallas on Tuesday. The Ravens rolled up 294 rushing yards against the Cowboys and figure to unleash their top-ranked rushing attack (169 yards per game) against Cleveland as quarterback Lamar Jackson (94 rushing yards Tuesday) exhibited fresh legs after missing a game due to a positive COVID-19 test. Jackson established season highs of 275 passing yards and three touchdowns in the win over Cleveland during a season in which he has failed to reach 200 yards in seven of his 11 games played.

Wideout Marquise Brown has team-best totals of 41 catches and 555 yards, and the passing attack will be fortified by the return of tight end Mark Andrews (team-leading six receiving touchdowns) after he missed back-to-back games while on the COVID-19 list. Standout outside linebacker Matthew Judon (four sacks) also returns from a two-game stay on the COVID-19 list to aid a unit that rates third in scoring defense (19.3 points per game). Rookie linebacker Patrick Queen has a team-high 84 tackles and notched his first career interception in the victory over the Cowboys.

Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) sat out Thursday’s practice but could return after a one-game absence. Wideout Dez Bryant will miss his second straight contest after being placed on the COVID-19 list on Thursday.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns (9-3) are looking for their fifth consecutive win as they work toward ending a 17-season playoff drought. Cleveland clinched a winning campaign for the first time since 2007 with last week’s 45-38 victory over the Tennessee Titans, and the Browns are much improved from the version of the squad that was trampled by the Ravens in September. The Browns feature the second-best running attack in the NFL (157.8 yards per game) as Nick Chubb (799 yards in eight games) and Kareem Hunt (739 in 12 contests) have formed a prolific duo.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for four touchdowns and a season-high 334 yards against the Titans and has season totals of 2,442 yards and 21 scores against seven interceptions. Star defensive end Myles Garrett is tied for third in the NFL with 10.5 sacks, and he has dropped the quarterback 41 times in just 47 career games. Garrett has forced four fumbles for a unit that has 20 takeaways (10 interceptions, 10 fumbles), which is tied for third in the league.

Cornerback Denzel Ward (calf) has a chance to return after a two-game absence. Center JC Tretter and right tackle Jack Conklin are both dealing with knee ailments. The duo of Chubb and Hunt certainly hope those two are on the field to keep the running game churning.

Ravens at Browns Betting Pick for Week 14

The Ravens are well-accustomed to the Monday night stage, but Cleveland hasn’t been much of an attraction in recent years. How the Browns handle the hype and the change in day-of-game routine will be part of the challenge.

Baltimore looks ready to make a late-season charge after being beaten down by the COVID-19 issues. The Ravens badly need a victory Monday night to bolster their playoff chances.

Ravens at Browns Betting Pick:

Browns 27, Ravens 24

Ravens at Browns Best Bet for Week 14

Both teams can make big plays out of their run game, which is particularly important for the Ravens. Mayfield is coming off a superb game, and another strong performance tilts this game over the point total.

Ravens at Browns Best Bet: OVER 47.5 total points (-105)

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, 4:25 p.m. ET

Packers at Lions Betting Preview: Packers (-7.5/-110), Lions (+7.5/-110)

Green Bay Packers

The NFC-North leading Packers (9-3) have won four of five behind the duo of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams, who have connected for touchdowns in each of the past seven games, allowing Adams to match a franchise record.

Rodgers was 25 of 34 for 295 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay’s 30-16 home win against Philadelphia, giving him 36 scores through the air this season. Rodgers is the first quarterback to throw for at least 35 touchdowns in five seasons and the fastest to 400 career touchdown passes, accomplishing the feat against the Eagles in his 193rd game.

Green Bay, which topped the visiting Lions 42-21 in Week 2, can win the NFC North with a victory and a Minnesota Vikings loss or tie, or a tie and a Vikings loss.

Detroit Lions

Detroit rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to stun host Chicago 34-30 in Week 13 and pull within one game of the final NFC wild-card spot at 5-7.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford helped the Lions win in interim coach Darrell Bevell’s debut, finishing 27 for 42 for 402 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. The Lions again were without wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), who has missed the past five games and didn’t practice Wednesday.

The Lions also have been banged up on the offensive line and secondary. Bevell stressed this week that Detroit must play solid fundamentally against a Packers’ team that ranks first in the NFL in points scored (31.6 points per game) and 15th in points allowed (24.9).

Packers at Lions Betting Pick for Week 14

Despite a recent history of slow starts — and, by extension, frenetic finishes — when playing in Detroit, the Packers appear primed to not overlook the Lions, especially with a division title and postseason berth at stake.

While Rodgers and the passing game continue to shine, Green Bay also has found breakthroughs in the ground game, with Aaron Jones averaging 75.4 rushing yards a game following a 130-yard effort against the Eagles that included a late, 77-yard score.

Packers at Lions Betting Pick:

Packers 41, Lions 23

Packers at Lions Best Bet for Week 14

If Adrian Peterson and a running game that anticipates the return of D’Andre Swift (concussion) can get going, Detroit may be able to keep things close. The Packers have allowed 158, 173 and 140 yards on the ground in their three losses. But given the way Rodgers and Co. have been clicking lately — namely the connection with Adams — it’s hard to envision the Packers having many empty possessions against a Lions’ defense that allowed 30 points to the struggling Bears last week.

Packers at Lions Best Bet: OVER 55.5 total points (-106)

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Titans at Jaguars Betting Preview: Titans (-7.5/-112), Jaguars (+7.5/-108)

Tennessee Titans

Last week represented a big red flag to some who were touting Tennessee (8-4) as a darkhorse in the loaded AFC. After impressive road wins the prior two weeks over Baltimore and Indianapolis, it came home and laid a mutant egg against Cleveland.

The 41-35 final score was frankly flattering to the Titans. They trailed 38-7 at the half, giving up scores on all six first-half possessions against a middle-of-the-pack offense. It was a big step backwards for a defense that has been a fairly consistent source of frustration for their fans.

Tennessee’s approach this week needs to be re-establishing who it is. Get running back Derrick Henry (NFL-leading 1,317 yards) going early in the game, jump on an early lead to keep Jacksonville from gaining confidence and avoid the kind of silly mistakes that plagued it last week.   

Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s hard to believe that just three years ago, Jacksonville won the AFC South and reached the AFC championship game, where it was 15 minutes from toppling New England before a bitter come-from-ahead loss.

Since then, the Jaguars (1-11) have resumed their decade-long role as NFL laughingstock. The general manager has already been cashiered with the team in an 11-game losing streak and the coaching staff — including head coach Doug Marrone –– is probably four games away from needing to update their resumes on LinkedIn.

But they haven’t stopped playing hard. They have eaten a number of tough losses during this skid, the last two coming by five points. And they have unearthed a future star off the free agent pile in running back James Robinson, who needs just 32 yards on Sunday to reach 1,000 as a rookie.                    

Titans at Jaguars Betting Pick for Week 14

The pressure’s on Tennessee to take care of business this week after a stinky performance against Cleveland. They’re facing a division rival with nothing to lose but a 12th straight game, the kind of team you don’t always want to see in the middle of December.

Jacksonville isn’t going to leave anything in the playbook if it has a chance to win, and near-misses against Green Bay, Cleveland and Minnesota show it’s still trying. But the Titans’ offense probably has a bit more firepower and that makes the difference.          

Titans at Jaguars Betting Pick:

Titans 34, Jaguars 30

Titans at Jaguars Best Bet for Week 14

In theory, Tennessee should be ready to go from the jump after getting off to such a lousy start against Cleveland. Given that it has one of the best offenses in the NFL and Jacksonville has one of the worst defenses, don’t be afraid to be bold. Go ahead and hammer the over that the Titans will score more than 10.5 points in the first quarter and thank us later when you step to the pay window.       

Titans at Jaguars Best Bet: Titans OVER 10.5 total points in the first quarter (-223)

Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Preview: Vikings (+6.5/-105), Buccaneers (-6.5/-115)

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings (6-6) are shooting for their sixth win in the past seven games as they ride a hot trio of offensive players. Kirk Cousins has topped 300 yards and thrown three touchdown passes in each of the past three games. He has 14 touchdown passes against two interceptions during the team’s 5-1 stretch. Running back Dalvin Cook had 179 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 59 receiving) on a career-best 38 touches against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday and ranks second in the NFL with 1,250 rushing yards.

The most surprising efforts have come from rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,039 yards while scoring seven touchdowns among his 61 catches. Five-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith is exhibiting his customary strong play, and he leads the Vikings with four interceptions. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (team-best 107 tackles) is over 100 for the fifth straight season and is expected to play despite missing practice Wednesday due to a calf injury.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) sat out Wednesday. His status is one to watch as he has started 97 consecutive games. Backup running back Alexander Mattison (appendectomy) missed last week’s game and likely will sit out again.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers (7-5) return from a well-timed bye that followed a stretch of three losses in four games. Tampa Bay is three games behind New Orleans in the NFC South, so the focus is on earning a wild-card spot, which is certainly helped by their final three contests coming against the Atlanta Falcons (two) and the Detroit Lions. Tampa Bay will rely on the likes of outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks) and cornerback Carlton Davis (four interceptions) when it comes to slowing down the Minnesota offense.

Quarterback Tom Brady appeared to be finding his stride when he went four games without an interception, but he has been picked off seven times over the last four games. Brady has passed for 3,300 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions but hasn’t fully clicked with the methods of coach Bruce Arians. Wideout Mike Evans has 11 touchdown catches. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his best outing of the season with six receptions for 106 yards in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that preceded the bye.

Receiver Chris Godwin, a Pro Bowl selection last season, had the pins removed from his fractured left index finger earlier this week and is expected to be fine by Sunday. Cornerback Jamel Dean has cleared the concussion protocol but is dealing with a groin injury that leaves his status in doubt.

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick for Week 13

The Buccaneers are rested and refreshed after the bye and focused on finishing strong. The Vikings have been hot but were pushed into overtime by the lowly Jaguars last week.

Cousins has been on a roll, but you never know when he will revert to being the quarterback who was picked off multiple times in three of the first six games of the season. Brady is well aware he needs to raise his level of play, and this game looks to be the time to start.

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick:

Buccaneers 34, Vikings 28

Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet for Week 13

Playmakers are all over the field with Cook, Jefferson and wideout Adam Thielen (12 receiving touchdowns) for the Vikings and Evans, Godwin, Gronkowski, wideout Antonio Brown and running back Ronald Jones II for the Buccaneers. Expect the scoreboard to be busy.

Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1 p.m. ET

Broncos at Panthers Betting Preview: Broncos (+4/-110), Panthers (-4/-110)

Denver Broncos

The Broncos (4-8) have lost four of their last five games to pretty much fall out of playoff contention. The strong effort last week in the loss at Kansas City came with encouraging moments, but minus the outcome that would have been needed to turn things around.

Quarterback Drew Lock has nine touchdown throws compared to 13 interceptions. That’s part of the team’s 14 passing touchdowns with 21 interceptions. With the team’s 118.9 rushing yards per game, that’s not an ideal combination. That’s probably why the Broncos have scored more than 20 points in only four of 12 games.

Denver is down players in the secondary with the suspension of cornerback A.J. Bouye and the season-ending injury for rookie cornerback Essang Bassey (knee). For that to happen pretty much all at once, it might be tough for the Broncos to recover from the impact of that, particularly if Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is back to form as one of the NFL’s leaders in completion percentage.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers (4-8) are coming off their open week, having to wait until December before taking a break. When ready to return to normal activities, they went on a pause because of coronavirus protocols before reaching the practice field again. Still, the break figured to do this team some good and they’re trying to shake a stretch that includes losses in five of their last six games.

Carolina receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are among those on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so if they’re not available that would put a glitch in their plans. Linebacker Shaq Thompson, a defensive leader, could be out for the same reason.

Things were lining up for running back Christian McCaffrey to be back in action after missing the past three games, this time with a shoulder ailment. Now there’s some hesitation on his status because of quad discomfort, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

Broncos at Panthers Betting Pick for Week 14

The Panthers’ only victory against Denver came in 2008 at home. The two-most recent meetings came in calendar year 2016, with the Broncos winning the Super Bowl in February and then repeating that success with a one-point victory the following September at home. There have been some hard-luck results for the Panthers (at New Orleans, at Kansas City, at Minnesota), so they should be due for some fortune falling their way.

Broncos at Panthers Betting Pick:

Panthers 27, Broncos 21

Broncos at Panthers Best Bet for Week 14

While some of the Panthers’ key offensive players might be out, the absence of starters on the defensive side could be more devastating. The Broncos figure to be finding their groove a bit more offensively after a week to regroup from the quarterback-less game. Denver’s ability to break down Carolina’s nickel coverage packages will be instrumental in bolstering the point total.

Broncos at Panthers Best Bet: OVER 47 total points (-110)

New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington, 4:05 p.m. ET

Jets at Seahawks Betting Preview: Jets (+13.5/-110), Seahawks (-13.5/-110)

New York Jets

The Jets (0-12) are four losses away from joining the 2008 Cleveland Browns and 2017 Detroit Lions as the NFL’s only 0-16 teams. They’ve tied a franchise record with 12 straight losses, set in 1995-96 under coach Rich Kotite.

Last Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders was the most painful, allowing a 46-yard TD pass with five seconds left. It was a defeat that cost defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job.

Sam Darnold threw his first two touchdown passes since Week 3 and Ty Johnson took over after veteran Frank Gore suffered a concussion and rushed for a career-high 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks (8-4) were supposed to be in the soft portion of their schedule, but dropped a 17-12 decision to the New York Giants last Sunday, their first home loss of the season. That dropped them into a tie with the Los Angeles Rams for first place in the NFC West.

Seattle’s defense is no longer the worst in the league, but the offense has struggled over the past month, failing to gain more than 350 total yards in the past four games. Quarterback Russell Wilson was under constant pressure last week, hit 10 times and sacked five — with four of those four for losses of eight yards or more. Wilson was 27 of 43 with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble.

Starting right tackle Brandon Shell could return after missing the past two games with an ankle sprain, which would help protect Wilson.

Jets at Seahawks Betting Pick for Week 14

This game should’ve been about Seahawks safety Jamal Adams facing his old team in the Jets, but Seattle’s upset loss last weekend and the way New York blew its late lead has altered the narrative. Adams leads all NFL defensive backs with 7.5 sacks and should get reacquainted with Darnold.

Seattle tends to play to the level of its opponents, as only two of its victories have been by more than eight points. The Seahawks are 6-6 against the spread this season, while the Jets are 4-8.

Jets at Seahawks Betting Pick:

Seahawks 24, Jets 16

Jets at Seahawks Best Bet for Week 14

The Seahawks’ much-maligned defense has allowed just 17 points in each of the past two games, while their offense has reached 27 points only once during their past four games after doing so in each of their first eight games of the season. The Jets are averaging a league-low 15.0 points per game.

Jets at Seahawks Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points

Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 1 p.m. ET

Cardinals at Giants Betting Preview: Cardinals (-2.5/-114), Giants (+2.5/-106)

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals (6-6) are looking to break out of a slump that has seen them drop four of their past five games. Quarterback Kyler Murray has accounted for 32 touchdowns (22 passing, 10 rushing) but is having difficulty dealing with defensive approaches aimed at limiting his ability to escape the pocket. Murray has just 61 total rushing yards over the past three games after having at least that many in seven of Arizona’s first nine games.

Murray completed just 53.8 percent of his passes — 21 of 39 — in last week’s 38-28 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, his second lowest ratio of the campaign. Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins (1,019 receiving yards) also has seen his output drop of late as 55 yards represents his highest total over the past three games. Veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, and he could return after a two-game absence.

Safety Budda Baker leads the team with 94 tackles and also has two interceptions and two sacks. Two other safeties, Jalen Thompson (ankle) and Charles Washington (groin), are ailing, and their statuses will be determined later in the week.

New York Giants

The Giants (5-7) have won four consecutive games and are tied for first place in the NFC East with the Washington Football Team. New York used the power approach to upset the host Seattle Seahawks last week as Wayne Gallman picked up a career-high 135 of the team’s 190 rushing yards and the defensive posted a season-high five sacks. Defensive end Leonard Williams had 2.5 sacks, giving him a team-leading 8.5, while linebacker Blake Martinez is third in the NFL with 111 tackles.

The availability of quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) is expected to be determined Friday as he looks to return after a one-game absence. Colt McCoy started against Seattle and completed 13 of 22 passes for 105 yards with one touchdown toss and one interception. He will be ready to play if Jones is ruled out. Gallman has just 504 rushing yards on the season, but 229 of them have come over the past two weeks.

Martinez (back) missed Wednesday’s practice but is expected to be fine by Sunday. New York surely doesn’t want to play without him after allowing an average of just 16.5 points during the four-game winning streak.

Cardinals at Giants Betting Pick for Week 14

The Giants just defeated Russell Wilson and the Seahawks — in Seattle — behind a backup quarterback. That certainly provides belief that New York can beat Murray and the Cardinals in the Meadowlands whether or not Jones is back on the field.

Arizona is trying to cure its offensive woes, but the Giants have been playing superbly on the defensive side. Murray is not an easy quarterback to corral, but nobody figured New York would sack Wilson five times either.

Cardinals at Giants Betting Pick:

Giants 23, Cardinals 20

Cardinals at Giants Best Bet for Week 14

The Giants are hot and the Cardinals are not — that’s the most important thing. That leans toward Arizona’s offense being slowed down and the total dipping under.

Cardinals at Giants Best Bet: UNDER 45.5 total points (-115)

Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:25 p.m. ET

Falcons at Chargers Betting Preview: Falcons (-2.5/-115), Chargers (+2.5/-105)

Atlanta Falcons

After gaining 70 yards on the ground in Sunday’s defeat to the Saints, the Falcons (4-8) are looking for more from their running game. Todd Gurley was a solid red-zone runner earlier in the season, but chronic knee issues have slowed him of late and he had just 16 yards on eight carries Sunday.

Atlanta is 1-2 in its last three games, but the two defeats were to the NFC-best Saints and the victory was an impressive 43-6 showing against the Raiders. They fell 21-16 to New Orleans in their most recent game.

A Falcons’ loss would all but eliminate them from playoff contention, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions also playing a role in ending their hopes.

Los Angeles Chargers

If there was one thing that could be said about the hard-luck Chargers (3-9) is that at least they were competitive. That all changed Sunday when they were crushed 45-0 at home by the New England Patriots.

Issues on special teams for the Chargers are only getting worse after the Patriots returned a punt for a TD as well as a blocked kick. After rookie quarterback Justin Herbert threw for multiple touchdowns in seven consecutive games (and had at least three in five of those games), he has just one TD pass in his last two games combined.

Los Angeles was eliminated from playoff consideration last weekend. The Chargers are just 2-4 at home this season.

Falcons at Chargers Betting Pick for Week 14

While the Falcons did have 70 yards on the ground Sunday and just 59 in Week 10, those two games were against the Saints’ second-ranked rush defense. The Chargers are 23nd against the run (124.2 yards per game) and the Falcons’ signature balanced offense should be more evident in Los Angeles.

The Chargers expect to see Herbert return to his productive ways against a Falcons pass defense that is near the bottom of the NFL. But Los Angeles’ own struggles at keeping opponents off the scoreboard has led to 28.8 points per game (27th in the NFL) by their opponents.

Falcons at Chargers Betting Pick:

Falcons 30, Chargers 27

Falcons at Chargers Best Bet for Week 14

The Chargers have given up a combined 72 points in their last two games and are well aware they aren’t about to win a defensive tussle anytime soon. The pass is the best way to slice through the Falcons’ defense and the Chargers figure to lean into their rookie QB to open the final quarter of their schedule.

Falcons at Chargers Best Bet: Game OVER 48.5 total points (-110)

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Bears Betting Preview: Texans (-1/-110), Bears (+1/-110)

Houston Texans

The Texans (4-8) have won two of their past three games but will look to bounce back from a 26-20 loss against the Indianapolis Colts a week ago. The teams combined for 44 points in the first half and only two points in the second half off a safety by the Colts.

This season has not gone according to plan for Houston, but interim coach Romeo Crennel has helped to steady the ship. After the Texans started the season 0-4 under former head coach Bill O’Brien, who then was fired, the team has posted a 4-4 record with Crennel at the helm.

Deshaun Watson certainly is not the reason for Houston’s woes. Watson enters Week 14 with an impressive 110.0 passer rating on the season. He has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,542 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

Chicago Bears

The Bears (5-7) are falling apart, and with each defeat that piles up, the scrutiny intensifies regarding the future of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. Chicago has lost six games in a row, including a 34-30 collapse at home last week against the Detroit Lions.

Can Nagy get his players to regroup after a long string of disappointments? Maybe. But he will need a better effort from his defense, which has appeared to lose focus while giving up 75 points over the past two weeks. That marks a sharp downturn for a unit that had not surrendered more than 26 points in any of its first 10 games.

The Bears’ offense remains a work in progress, with Mitchell Trubisky coming off a good performance that ended with an awful turnover against Detroit. Trubisky has an 88.2 passer rating this season with 1,069 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Texans at Bears Betting Pick for Week 14

Both teams have turned in disappointing seasons and appear headed for sub-.500 finishes. But Houston is playing better right now, and until the Bears prove that they can put together a winning game plan, it will be hard to make a case for them.

Another factor to consider is that the Bears turned down a chance to draft Watson in 2017. Instead, Pace traded up to the No. 2 overall spot to select Trubisky, leaving Watson and his incredible college credentials on the board. Houston eventually picked Watson at No. 12 overall.

Could Watson still feel slighted? Could he try to stick it to the team that passed on him? It would not be a surprise in the least.

Texans at Bears Betting Pick:

Texans 31, Bears 21

Texans at Bears Best Bet for Week 14

The weather forecast is something worth watching as game time approaches. Early forecasts call for a high of 33 degrees and a low of 23 degrees, with a chance for precipitation. Any kind of wet weather could lead to a sloppy field along Chicago’s chilly lakefront, which could subdue both offenses. However, the Bears’ defense has been a sieve of late, and Houston has given up 26.9 points per game, which ranks 24th in the league. Barring nasty weather, look for the offenses to prevail.

Texans at Bears Best Bet: OVER 45 total points (-108)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York, 8:20 p.m. ET

Steelers at Bills Betting Preview: Steelers (+2.5/-105), Bills (-2.5/-115)

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are coming off their first loss of the season, a somewhat shocking home outcome against Washington. This is a chance to see how Pittsburgh will respond to this situation after opening with 11 consecutive victories.

Despite the overwhelming success this season, it has been an unsettling time for the Steelers because of schedule changes. If this game is played Sunday night, it will mark the first time in three weeks that they play on the originally designated date.

The Steelers were disappointed in their physicality in the loss to Washington, so expect that to be an emphasis against a team that’s clearly on the rise. The Steelers should be out to prove a point against a team that will be jockeying with them for AFC playoff position if Pittsburgh drops its second game in a row.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills returned from their second trip in a month’s time to Arizona — this time with a victory Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers. So it’s a short turnaround for the Bills, with the impact perhaps lessened by Pittsburgh’s recent scheduling issues.

With quarterback Josh Allen leading the charge, Buffalo has become one of the most efficient teams in the NFL. He threw for four touchdowns with a 139.1 quarterback rating in the San Francisco game.

The Bills’ only loss in their last six outings came in the ‘Hail Mary’ defeat to Arizona, so it might be hard to find a team on much more of a roll than Buffalo. Their only loss at home came to Kansas City, which is the only other one-loss team in the league besides Pittsburgh.

Steelers at Bills Betting Pick for Week 14

Until last year’s 17-10 victory for the Bills in Pittsburgh, the Steelers had won six straight in the series — and the Bills failed to score more than 10 points in three of those results. But these Bills are a different group and this is a chance to prove it. 

They’re often compared to the New England Patriots because they’re in the same division, but this year showing that they can compete successfully with the Steelers might mean more.

Steelers at Bills Betting Pick:

Bills 28, Steelers 24

Steelers at Bills Best Bet for Week 14

The way Allen is directing the Bills’ offense, it’s easy to expect that points could come in bunches. Expect the playing conditions to be a factor in some way because a December night game in Buffalo is bound to create some issues, especially with showers in the forecast. Still, there’s enough offense in play for these teams, especially figuring that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be motivated to get back on track. Despite some rough moments against Washington, Roethlisberger has averaged more than two touchdown throws per game this season (with just seven total interceptions).

Steelers at Bills Best Bet: OVER 45.5 total points (-115)

Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1 p.m. ET

Cowboys at Bengals Betting Preview: Cowboys (-3.5/-110), Bengals (+3.5/-110)

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys (3-9) have had a disastrous initial season under Mike McCarthy as injuries have ravaged key parts of the offense, and the defense has severely underperformed within a new scheme. Dallas has lost two straight games, and dropped six of seven. Dallas has just one road win this season, in six tries, but it was their most recent victory, a 31-28 decision at Minnesota on Nov. 22.

The Cowboys most recent pair of games does not give confidence a late-season turnaround is evident, however. Washington pulled away in the second half for a demoralizing 41-16 win in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Then, with nearly two full weeks to prepare, the Cowboys appeared powerless to stop or even slow down the Baltimore Ravens’ ground-based offense in a 34-17 loss on Tuesday night. Defensively, the front seven has been porous all season; Dallas ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (167.8 yards per game allowed) and in scoring defense (32.8 points allowed per game).

Dallas has good talent on the outside with flankers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, but a sub-par year from running back Ezekiel Elliott (3.9 yards per carry, four lost fumbles) and the injuries to quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) and across the offensive line have taken away much of the Cowboys consistency week-to-week, particularly in the red zone. Andy Dalton (1,155 yards, seven TDs, six INTs) will make his first start as a member of the opposition this week in Cincinnati, where he was the Bengals’ starter the past nine seasons.

Cincinnati Bengals

Whatever early-season optimism the Bengals (2-9-1) were building, it evaporated three games ago when rookie quarterback Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury in a loss at Washington. But Cincinnati remains a potentially tough out, especially at home where the club is 2-3 with wins over Jacksonville and Tennessee. The Bengals have been tied, or held the lead, at halftime in each of the last three games, all losses.

Leading rusher Joe Mixon remains on injured reserve and quarterback Brandon Allen has been non-descript in his two starts since Burrow’s injury. Talented young wide receivers Tyler Boyd (73 receptions, 797 yards) and Tee Higgins (53-729) have provided most of the punch of late for Cincinnati, which has been held to a combined 10 points in the second half during its four-game losing skid.

Cincinnati has had a revolving door situation in the secondary for most of the season, and that continues this week. Cornerback Darius Phillips (groin) returns after a three-week stint on injured reserve, but safety Shawn Williams earned a one-game suspension from the league for stepping on offensive lineman Solomon Kindley in the loss at Miami on Sunday. The Bengals are firmly in the middle of the pack in points allowed per game (25.7), but rank just 29th in rushing defense (134.3 yards per game).

Cowboys at Bengals Betting Pick for Week 14

The Bengals are a home underdog, which might be surprising given the Cowboys’ short week of preparation and tough travel schedule. Dallas played at Baltimore on Tuesday, flew home, and then was expected to fly to Ohio on Saturday. Cincinnati, however, has been essentially stymied offensively since Burrow’s injury and Dallas — in theory — will have the best quarterback on the field in this matchup.

And while Dallas has been unable to do much against run-heavy offenses this season, the Bengals haven’t been to do much on the ground all season. Cincinnati ranks 30th in the NFL with just 91.6 rushing yards per game. The Cowboys dictated the terms for the most part at Baltimore, but were done in by red-zone failures and big plays allowed on the ground. And while Cincinnati has nothing to play for in terms of the playoffs, the Cowboys remain alive in the NFC East.

Cowboys at Bengals Betting Pick:

Cowboys 23, Bengals 10

Cowboys at Bengals Best Bet for Week 14

Dalton will be motivated, and Dallas will be in last-stand mode heading into this one. With the Bengals lacking the offensive structure to attack the Cowboys’ weakest point, Dallas should be able to find a way to get back on the winning track. It won’t be easy, and Dalton’s limitations could make it closer than the Cowboys would like, but the Bengals at this point seem unable to match anyone score for score.

Cowboys at Bengals Best Bet: UNDER 42.5 total points (-114)

Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, 4:05 p.m. ET

Colts at Raiders Betting Preview: Colts (-3/-108), Raiders (+3/-112)

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts (8-4) enter the contest tied for first in the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans but because of tiebreakers are second in the division and seventh overall when it comes to the AFC playoff race. That makes their first ever trip to Las Vegas to play the Raiders even more meaningful. The Raiders lead the all-time series 10-8, including 9-7 in the regular season, but the Colts have won five of the last seven meetings.

Indianapolis lost the last contest between the two teams, 31-24, in Week 4 last season at Lucas Oil Stadium but that was with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers is scheduled to get the nod this time which would be his 29th career start against the Silver and Black. That would break a record for most regular season starts against the Raiders that he shares with John Elway. Rivers already holds the marks for most wins (18), touchdown passes (47) and passing yards (7,103) against the Raiders.

The Colts have won three of their last four games, including a 26-20 victory at Houston last Sunday. Rivers completed 27 of 35 passes (77.1 percent) for 285 yards and two touchdowns in that one while rookie running back Jonathan Taylor had a career-high 135 scrimmage yards, including 91 rushing, and T.Y. Hilton had season highs in catches (eight) and yards (110) as well as a touchdown reception.

Las Vegas Raiders

Thanks to the Miracle in the Meadowlands, the Raiders (7-5) find themselves still in serious playoff contention but currently on the outside looking in as the No. 8 seed. It would have been a whole lot worse if not for Derek Carr hitting Henry Ruggs III with a game-winning 46-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining to beat the winless Jets, 31-28, on Sunday. The winning TD against a surprising all-out blitz cost New York defensive coordinator Gregg Williams his job and saved Jon Gruden’s squad an embarrassing loss.

It was the 20th fourth quarter comeback of Carr’s career, an NFL record for most in the first seven seasons. Carr finished the day throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns and got plenty of help from tight end Darren Waller. Waller had 13 receptions for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns to become just the fourth tight end in NFL history to have 200-plus receiving yards and two or more touchdowns in a game.

Defensive end Clelin Ferrell returned after missing a pair of games with COVID-19 and had two sacks and two forced fumbles to go along with six tackles. However, the Raiders’ defense was gashed for 206 yards rushing even though the Jets lost starting running back Frank Gore after two plays with a concussion. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen added a highlight-reel one-handed interception, his second pick in the past three games.

Colts at Raiders Betting Pick for Week 14

Indianapolis has won three road games in a row and will be facing a Las Vegas team that has struggled at home in its first season in sparkling new Allegiant Stadium, winning just twice in five games. They’ll be going against a Raiders defense that is allowing 28.9 points per game which ranks 28th in the league and has struggled defending the pass, allowing an average of 257.1 yards per game.

This is the start of a make-it-or-break-it three-game home stretch for Las Vegas which still must play Miami at home in two weeks and ends the season at Denver. Trying to stop old nemesis Rivers won’t be easy, especially with a secondary that has three key performers in safeties Johnathan Abram (knee) and Jeff Heath (concussion) and cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion) battling injuries.

Colts at Raiders Betting Pick

Colts 35, Raiders 30

Colts at Raiders Best Bet for Week 14

The over is 5-1-1 for the Raiders in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and 6-0-1 in the last seven games when Las Vegas is a home underdog. The over is also 6-2 in the Colts last eight games overall and 8-3 in the last 11 games that Indy has entered as a road favorite.

Colts at Raiders Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-118)

Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Kansas City Chiefs at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview: Chiefs (-7/-113), Dolphins (+7/-108) 

Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes threw for at least 315 yards in his fifth straight game last Sunday when he eclipsed that total by three and added a touchdown to lead the Chiefs (11-1) to a 22-16 victory over Denver. Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 3,815 passing yards, was named the MVP of Super Bowl LIV during his last trip to Hard Rock Stadium in February.

Travis Kelce, who found the end zone in the Super Bowl, boosted his NFL-best totals among tight ends in catches (82) and receiving yards (1,114) after reeling in eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown versus the Broncos. Dynamic wideout Tyreek Hill likely would have added to his NFL high-tying 13 receiving touchdowns on Sunday had Kansas City challenged a play in which he actually came down with the ball on an unusual sequence.

Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who leads the team in carries (151), rushing yards (692) and rushing touchdowns (four), was a full participant in practice on Wednesday after failing to play a snap versus the Broncos. The addition of Edwards-Helaire (illness) provides some semblance of balance for the high-octane Chiefs, who average an NFL-best 427.6 yards per game and rank second in scoring offense at 30.8 points per contest.

Miami Dolphins

Rookie Tua Tagovailoa passed for a personal-best 296 yards with one touchdown to lead the Dolphins (8-4) to their seventh win in eight outings, a 19-7 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft has yet to throw an interception during his five starts this season.

Tight end Mike Gesicki reeled in a touchdown pass for the second straight week on Sunday to highlight his career-high nine-catch performance versus the Bengals. Speaking of career-high efforts, running back Myles Gaskin recorded 141 scrimmage yards (90 rushing, 51 receiving) in his return from injured reserve.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy also had a career-best performance with three sacks and five tackles for loss en route to earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Cornerback Xavien Howard has secured an interception in four straight games to boost his league-leading total to eight. 

Chiefs at Dolphins Betting Pick for Week 14

The Chiefs enjoyed their last trip to Hard Rock Stadium in February, with their victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV giving them a championship 50 years in the making. The stakes aren’t as high on Sunday, but Kansas City can clinch the AFC West title for the fifth consecutive season with a win or tie on Sunday or a loss or tie by the Las Vegas Raiders.

There’s little to suggest that the Chiefs won’t extend their winning streak to eight games on Sunday.

Chiefs at Dolphins Betting Pick: 

Chiefs 31, Dolphins 20

Chiefs at Dolphins Best Bet for Week 14

The Dolphins’ defense has been downright stingy of late, however games against the winless New York Jets and Joe Burrow-less Bengals could provide a false sense of security. Mahomes and Co. will test the mettle of Miami’s opportunistic defense on Sunday.

Chiefs at Dolphins Best Bet: OVER 49.5 total points (-109)

Washington Football Team vs. San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, 4:25 p.m. ET

Washington Football Team vs. 49ers Betting Preview: Washington (+3/-108), 49ers (-3/-110)

Washington Football Team

Washington (5-7) has built a three-game winning streak on the strength of a stingy defense to move into a tie with the New York Giants atop the NFC East. Washington has allowed an average of 14.0 points and 281.7 yards in wins over Cincinnati, Dallas and Pittsburgh.

Washington likely will go into Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale, Ariz., without top back Antonio Gibson, who suffered a toe injury Monday against the Steelers. Peyton Barber stepped in when Gibson got hurt, but managed just 23 yards on 14 carries. He did, however, cash in on a 1-yard rushing score.

Quarterback Alex Smith will be facing the 49ers for just the second time since they dealt him to Kansas City in 2013. Smith had been the No. 1 pick of the 2005 draft, with the 49ers taking him ahead of popular local product Aaron Rodgers of California. The 49ers beat Smith and the Chiefs 22-17 in their lone head-to-head in 2014.

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers (5-7) will be looking to beat Washington for the sixth time in their last seven meetings when they square off Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The clubs met in the rain last season at Washington, with San Francisco escaping with a 9-0 victory.

The 49ers couldn’t get their running game rolling in Monday’s 34-24 loss to Buffalo despite the return of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr. The 49ers are 2-0 this season when rushing for more than 131 yards, but 3-7 when held to 131 or fewer. They finished at 86, their fourth-lowest total of the season, against the Bills.

The 49ers had Mostert and top wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk on the field together in the Buffalo game for just the third time all season. Aiyuk finished with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Samuel had six receptions for 73 yards.

Washington Football Team at 49ers Betting Pick for Week 14

Two coaches who are conservative by nature have even more reason to be so in this one, with Washington missing Gibson and San Francisco still without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle.

The 49ers have gone just 2-6 when they’ve committed two or more turnovers, while all five of Washington’s wins have come in games in which it gave the ball away no more than once. The team that can run the ball the best should have a huge advantage, and with Gibson out, that likely will be the 49ers.

Washington vs. 49ers Betting Pick:

49ers 27, Washington 15

Washington Football Team vs. 49ers Best Bet for Week 14

For most of the season, the West was considered the best division in the NFC, while the East was clearly the worst. Some recent results have led to a re-evaluation, but let’s not get hasty. The Redskins have faced West teams twice this year and got drubbed both times to the tune of 60-25. And the beat goes on.

Washington vs. 49ers Best Bet: 49ers -3 (-110)

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4:25 p.m. ET

Saints at Eagles Betting Preview: Saints (-7/-110), Eagles (+7/-110)

New Orleans Saints

The Saints (10-2) clinched a playoff berth last Sunday by defeating the Falcons and earning their ninth consecutive victory, but still have something to play for other than seeding. New Orleans can wrap up their fourth consecutive NFC South title with a victory.

Quarterback Drew Brees (ribs) is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, but the Saints figure to give him another week of recovery and have him play in Week 15 against the Chiefs. The Saints are 8-0 without Brees over the last two seasons.

Taysom Hill is 3-0 as the starter in place of Brees and threw his first two scoring passes in the victory over the Falcons this past weekend.

Philadelphia Eagles

Going nowhere fast, the Eagles are on a four-game losing streak and will move away from quarterback Carson Wentz as rookie Jalen Hurts will make his first career start Sunday.

Hurts took over for Wentz in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to the Packers and went 5 of 12 for 109 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 29 yards rushing on five carries. An Eagles’ defense that is seventh against the pass with 217.2 yards allowed per game, will look to hold Hill’s aerial game in check.

Philadelphia’s rush defense is in the bottom third of the league, though, and containing Saints running back Alvin Kamara could pose a problem. There is also Hill’s running ability to deal with.

Saints at Eagles Betting Pick for Week 14

Even with a playoff spot in hand, Hill figures to be plenty motivated knowing his run as the Saints’ starting quarterback is nearing an end. He will look to build off his two-TD performance last week and show that he can be the team’s QB of the future.

Hurts’ first start figures to give the Eagles a much-needed jolt of energy. If the Saints’ No. 2 rushing defense (76.1 yards per game) keeps Hurts’ scrambling abilities in check, New Orleans has more than enough for a 10th consecutive victory.

Saints at Eagles Betting Pick:

Saints 28, Eagles 17

Saints at Eagles Best Bet for Week 14

The Saints have the fourth best scoring defense in the NFL at 20.1 points allowed per game and have not given up more than 16 in any of their last five games. But that 16 came last weekend even though the Falcons barely had a rushing attack. The Eagles might be able to move the ball some, with play calls designed to get the most out of Hurts. It will give them some unpredictability, at least early.

Saints at Eagles Best Bet: Game OVER 44.5 total points (-110)

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview

Thursday, December 10, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 8:20 p.m. ET

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview: Patriots (+5.5/-110), Rams (-5.5/-110)

New England Patriots

Quarterback Cam Newton told reporters that his focus is on results — not aesthetics — as he attempts to guide the Patriots (6-6) back to the playoffs. Newton accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in New England’s 45-0 romp over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday to give him eight TDs (five rushing, three passing) over his past five games. The Patriots own a 4-1 mark in that span.

Damien Harris gained 80 of the 165 rushing yards last week for the Patriots, who boast the NFL’s third-ranked running offense (150.9 yards per game). The passing game has been a work in progress under Newton, who is just 21 of 37 for 153 yards over the past two games combined.

J.C. Jackson picked off rookie Justin Herbert last week, and six of his NFL second-best seven interceptions coming in the past eight games. The Patriots have forced 18 turnovers and are limiting opponents to 21.3 points per game, which ranks seventh in the NFL.

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff answered criticism from coach Sean McVay by throwing for 351 yards and totaling two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) on Sunday, helping the Rams (8-4) move into a tie for first place in the NFC West with a 38-28 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Goff now can aim at avenging a lackluster performance against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, when he completed just 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards and an interception in a 13-3 loss.

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp continue to be the focal points in the passing game, with the former reeling in 10 catches for 85 yards against the Cardinals while the latter had eight receptions for 73 yards. Woods has 29 catches for 295 yards and a touchdown in his past three games. Kupp has 37 receptions for 419 yards over his past five contests.

While the Rams boast the NFL’s third-ranked offense (395.3 yards per game), their clouded backfield appears be getting clearer after rookie Cam Akers dominated the carries versus the Cardinals. Akers rushed 21 times for 72 yards and a touchdown, but he was listed as a non-participant on Monday’s estimated injury report and limited on Tuesday due to an ailing shoulder.

Patriots at Rams Betting Pick for Week 14

While several names come to mind when discussing the offensive star of the Rams, there is little question regarding who holds that distinction on defense: Aaron Donald. The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has recorded a sack in back-to-back games to boost his total to 11, which is one shy of the league lead.

With Donald creating havoc at the line of scrimmage, New England’s offense likely will have a tough time getting in gear versus Los Angeles’ second-ranked defense and third-ranked rush defense.

Patriots at Rams Betting Pick:

Rams 21, Patriots 17

Patriots at Rams Best Bet for Week 14

McVay, Goff and the Rams will have plenty of motivation after falling on the wrong side of history in their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. The offense may sputter a bit on a short week, but it’s hard to go against Donald and Co. on the other side of the ball.
Patriots at Rams Best Bet: UNDER 44.5 total points (-109)

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 4:25 p.m. ET

Eagles at Packers Betting Preview: Eagles (+8.5/-105), Packers (-8.5/-115)

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles (3-7-1) are trending in the wrong direction with three consecutive losses, leaving them in third place in the dreadful NFC East. Philadelphia has scored exactly 17 points in each game of the skid, and the heat is being turned up on Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson for the poor season. Pederson’s once acclaimed offensive mind isn’t producing results at past levels as the club ranks 25th in scoring offense (21.5 points per game) and 28th in total offense (322.8 yards per game).

Quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown an NFL-worst 15 interceptions and been sacked a league-high 46 times during a season in which he has passed for 2,541 yards and 16 touchdowns. The constant pressure has prompted Wentz to make more high-risk throws, and the end result is that the Eagles have a minus-10 turnover ratio with 21 giveaways against 11 takeaways. Defensive end Brandon Graham has a team-best seven sacks for a unit that has racked up 36, tied for second in the NFL.

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) could return after a five-game absence, and that would certainly help Wentz. Wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside should also be back on the field after being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers (8-3) have a three-game lead in the NFC North and look to move closer to clinching a playoff spot for the second straight season following a two-year absence. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having a stellar season with 3,100 yards, 33 touchdowns and four interceptions. He is three touchdown passes away from becoming the seventh player in NFL history to reach 400. In a 41-25 win over the Chicago Bears last week, Rodgers (50,046) became the 11th player to top 50,000 career passing yards.

Helping make Rodgers ultra-productive is star receiver Davante Adams, who has caught at least one scoring pass in six straight games. Adams has 74 receptions for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and he has topped 100 yards in four of his nine games played. Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith is tied for fourth in the NFL with nine sacks, and he has 22.5 in 27 games with Green Bay.

Wideout Allen Lazard is again having core-muscle injuries after totaling just 41 yards on six receptions over the past two games. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice as was tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee), who was hurt against the Bears.

Eagles at Packers Betting Pick for Week 13

Rodgers is playing like a guy still mad the Packers used a first-round pick on possible quarterback of the future Jordan Love. His four-touchdown effort against the Bears was his fifth of the season, and he is a strong candidate for NFL MVP honors.

The Eagles are in disarray and can’t put it together despite being in a division rated as one of the worst in NFL history. A fourth straight loss would be detrimental, but it is hard to imagine Philadelphia winning at Green Bay.

Eagles at Packers Betting Pick:

Packers 34, Eagles 17

Eagles at Packers Best Bet for Week 13

This total going over depends on the Eagles as we feel confident the Packers will do their part. But what if Wentz and the offense melt down further and score in single digits? Look for that familiar Philadelphia 17-spot.

Eagles at Packers Best Bet: OVER 47 total points (-106)

New England Patriots at Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:25 p.m. ET

Patriots at Chargers Betting Preview: Patriots (-1/-110), Chargers (+1/-110)

New England Patriots

The Patriots (5-6) are beginning a two-game stay in Los Angeles as they visit the Chargers on Sunday before playing the Rams four days later in the same stadium. New England is closing in on must-win territory as it resides in third place in the AFC East and is also on the outside when it comes to the wild-card race. The Patriots are 1-4 on the road with the lone victory coming when it rallied to a 30-27 victory over the winless New York Jets on Nov. 9.

Quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t become a force in New England and has thrown just four touchdown passes against nine interceptions. Newton passed for a season-low 84 yards last week in a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the seventh time he has failed to reach 200 this season. Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley racked up a season-high 13 tackles against the Cardinals, his second double-digit output of the campaign.

Bentley (groin), Newton (abdomen) and cornerback J.C. Jackson (hip) were among 11 Patriots who were limited in Wednesday’s practice. Linebacker Anfernee Jennings (illness) sat out Wednesday, and his availability was to be firmed up later in the week.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers (3-8) are en route to missing the playoffs for the ninth time in the past 11 seasons. A loss to the Patriots would move the club one setback away from double-digit losses for the fourth time in six campaigns. Defensive end Joey Bosa (7.5 sacks) certainly isn’t the reason for the dysfunction. His 47.5 career sacks rank fifth in franchise history after he had three last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills to pass Hall of Famer Junior Seau (47) on the club’s all-time list.

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is certainly excelling, having thrown for 3,015 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The next task is winning games, as the 27-17 loss to the Bills marked the Chargers’ highest margin of defeat all season. Star wideout Keenan Allen leads the NFL with 85 receptions, good for 875 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bosa (shin) sat out practice Wednesday and cornerbacks Casey Hayward Jr. (groin) and Chris Harris Jr. (foot) also were among those who missed the session. Running back Kalen Ballage (ankle) was limited, and he could miss his second consecutive contest.

Patriots at Chargers Betting Pick for Week 13

The victory over the high-powered Cardinals kept New England’s season alive, and the next step is getting back to .500. The Patriots will try to hold down the Herbert-to-Allen connection and make the game relatively low scoring.

Close games aren’t the Chargers’ specialty. The club also has experienced trouble holding double-digit leads, so the end result is that New England will find a way to win this one.

Patriots at Chargers Betting Pick:

Patriots 20, Chargers 17

Patriots at Chargers Best Bet for Week 13

New England certainly isn’t high-powered with Newton at the helm. The Chargers are the type of team the Patriots can keep off the field, so look for a low-scoring contest.

Patriots at Chargers Best Bet: UNDER 47.5 total points (-110)

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia 1 p.m. ET

Saints at Falcons Betting Preview: Saints (-3/-102), Falcons (+3/-110)

New Orleans Saints

The Saints haven’t thrown a touchdown pass since Drew Brees got injured in a win against the 49ers three weeks ago. But they’re finding other ways to win. Taysom Hill has run for four touchdowns in his two starts in Brees’ place and Latavius Murray had two touchdowns and a 100-yard day in a win against Denver last week.

Brees (ribs/lung) isn’t eligible to come off of injured reserve for another week, so Hill will start again and lean on All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas and dual-threat running back Alvin Kamara.

The New Orleans defense has ascended to the top of the NFL in yards allowed (284.9 per game), second in rushing yards allowed (76.6), fifth in passing yards (208.3) and fifth in points allowed (20.5). It has made 10 interceptions in the last four games, including two against Matt Ryan in a 24-9 win against the Falcons two weeks ago.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons managed just three field goals and were shut out in the second half of the first game against the Saints, but if they can take the ball away five times — as they did in a 43-6 victory against Las Vegas last week, the points will come more easily. Atlanta couldn’t run effectively against the Saints, who battered Ryan for eight sacks after his offense became one-dimensional. The Falcons have emphasized doing a better job with the running game this week and if they can, Ryan can still be very effective.

He will be helped if running back Todd Gurley (knee) and receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) can play after missing the game against the Raiders. Both returned to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday. Wideout Calvin Ridley has been limited by a foot injury but has played through it.

One of the takeaways against the Raiders was linebacker Deion Jones’ pick-six against Derek Carr and the Falcons have played much better defense since interim head coach Raheem Morris replaced the fired Dan Quinn. Atlanta (4-7) is 4-2 under Morris.

Saints at Falcons Betting Pick for Week 13

The Falcons are a much-improved team under Morris and they will be better prepared for Hill’s dual-threat game after seeing it two weeks ago. But the Saints are playing too well in all three phases for the Falcons to end the winning streak.

Saints at Falcons Betting Pick:

Saints 23, Falcons 20

Saints at Falcons Best Bet for Week 13

These teams combined for just 33 points in the first meeting. Both defenses are getting better by the week and both offenses have key players banged up.

Saints at Falcons Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-104)

New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington, 4:05 p.m. ET

Giants at Seahawks Betting Preview: Giants (+10/-110), Seahawks (-10/-110)

New York Giants

The last time the Giants (4-7) were forced to start a career backup with their starting quarterback injured? Try Jesse “The Bachelor” Palmer, back in 2003.

But that might be the case Sunday after Daniel Jones suffered a right hamstring strain last weekend in a 19-17 victory against Cincinnati. Colt McCoy, 34, who is 7-21 in 28 career NFL starts, could get the call.

Wayne Gallman has filled in admirably for the injured Saquon Barkley (knee) and Devonta Freeman (ankle). Gallman has scored a TD in five consecutive games and rushed for 94 yards against the Bengals. Graham Gano returned from the COVID-19 list to kick four field goals last week.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks (8-3) regained the top spot in the NFC West with a 23-17 victory at Philadelphia on Monday night. Wideout DK Metcalf had 10 receptions for 177 yards and leads the league with 1,039 receiving yards.

The Seahawks’ defense allowed just 250 yards and sacked Carson Wentz six times. Safety Jamal Adams is finally close to 100 percent after suffering a shoulder injury that cost him four games. Adams has 6 1/2 sacks this season and is the first defensive back to have six or more sacks in multiple seasons since it became an official statistic in 1982.

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap, acquired from Cincinnati at the trade deadline, has four sacks in as many games and has helped revitalize the Seahawks’ pass rush. But he suffered a foot injury against the Eagles and is questionable.

Giants at Seahawks Betting Pick for Week 13

The Seahawks, who are 5-0 at home, would be heavily favored even if the Giants had a healthy Jones at quarterback.

The Seahawks are 6-5 against the spread this season, thanks to the Eagles’ late Hail Mary pass and two-point conversion, while the Giants are 7-4.

Giants at Seahawks Betting Pick:

Seahawks 29, Giants 13

Giants at Seahawks Best Bet for Week 13

The first half of the Seahawks’ season was about letting Russell Wilson cook. But now that the calendar has turned to December, expect coach Pete Carroll to try to re-establish the running game, especially with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde healthy.

Seattle’s much maligned defense has allowed 23 or fewer points in each of the past three games and the Giants are 30th in the league in scoring (19.5 allowed per game).

Giants at Seahawks Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-110)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, 1 p.m. ET

Jaguars at Vikings Betting Preview: Jaguars (+9.5/-110), Vikings (-9.5/-110)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Losers of a franchise-record 10 straight games, the Jaguars will aim to avoid another dubious defeat against a team headed in the opposite direction.

Veteran Mike Glennon, who last week started his first game since Week 4 of the 2017 season, gets the call under center again, as coach Doug Marrone told reporters Glennon gives Jacksonville the best chance to win. Glennon nearly did just that in Week 12, going 20-for-35 passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-25 home loss to Cleveland.

Jacksonville (1-10) has lost 16 of 19, and general manager Dave Caldwell was fired following the Cleveland loss. Injuries have beset the team, but top targets DJ Chark (ribs) and Chris Conley (hip) returned to practice in limited duty this week after missing last week’s game.

Minnesota Vikings

Don’t look now, but the Vikings (5-6) are just 1 1/2 games out of the final NFC wild-card spot after winning four of five since their bye week.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins led Minnesota on a game-winning 75-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes against the Carolina Panthers last week, finding Chad Beebe for a 10-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left moments after Beebe muffed a punt that led to a Panthers’ score.

Receiver Adam Thielen was activated from the COVID-19 list this week and is expected to play. Ditto for running back Dalvin Cook, who returned from an ankle injury against Carolina. Cook leads the league with 13 rushing touchdowns and is second with 1,130 rushing yards and is facing a Jaguars’ run defense that ranks 29th in the NFL, allowing 136.2 yards per game.

Jaguars at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 13

Contending for the playoffs seemed like a long shot after Minnesota limped to a 1-5 start, but the Vikings clicked throughout November and look to maintain their momentum to start December, when they’re set to play two of their first three games at home. Cousins has eclipsed 300 yards passing in two straight games, and fell just eight yards shy of that benchmark in the previous contest.

Jaguars at Vikings Betting Pick:

Vikings 41, Jaguars 16

Jaguars at Vikings Best Bet for Week 13

The Vikings and Panthers combined for 38 points in the second half of their Week 12 thriller, but expect nothing resembling a see-saw when Carolina’s 1995 expansion cousins visit U.S. Bank Stadium. Still, with the Vikings looking to come untracked and build momentum for the stretch run and the Jaguars reeling on the road, this still projects as a high-scoring contest — albeit in a lopsided manner.

Jaguars at Vikings Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-120)

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, 1 p.m. ET

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Betting Preview: Colts (-3.5/-110), Texans (+3.5/-110)

Indianapolis Colts

Philip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton have tormented the Texans throughout their careers, with the former throwing for 16 touchdowns and posting a 121.4 quarterback rating in five meetings while with the Chargers. The latter has done his damage with the Colts, namely reeling in 85 career catches for 1,537 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games.

Rivers has thrown multiple scoring strikes in four of his last six games for Indianapolis, including his first touchdown pass of the season to Hilton in a 45-26 setback against Tennessee last Sunday. Unfortunately for the Colts (7-4), they found themselves on their heels after surrendering 35 points in the first half — more than their sum total in any game this season.

Indianapolis will see the return of rookie Jonathan Taylor (team-leading 518 rushing yards), who was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday after missing last week’s game because he was considered high risk. While the return of Taylor is a plus, the Colts may be more concerned with the availability of Anthony Castonzo after the starting left tackle exited last week’s game with an MCL sprain.

Houston Texans

The Texans (4-7) were dealt two significant losses earlier this week after being informed by the NFL that star wide receiver Will Fuller V and top cornerback Bradley Roby were suspended six games for performance-enhancing substance violations. Fuller led the team in catches (43), receiving yards (879) and touchdowns (eight), while Roby shared the club lead in passes defensed (seven) and interceptions (one).

Deshaun Watson, who has 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last six games, likely will lean on wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Keke Coutee in the passing game. Cooks had five receptions last week and 42 over his last seven contests, while Coutee has 14 catches for 134 yards in two career meetings with the Colts.

Watson threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns in Houston’s 41-25 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Watson has fared well in four career meetings with Indianapolis, averaging 312 yards passing while completing 68.1 percent of his throws.

Colts at Texans Betting Pick for Week 13

Indianapolis has been downright generous in the first half each of its last three games, surrendering an average of 26.7 points in that span. Although we’re in the season of giving, the Colts would be best served to play the role of The Grinch if they wish to remain in contention for the AFC South title.

The inspired Colts have every reason to compete on Sunday, while Houston may have had the wind taken out of its sails with the news on Fuller and Roby. This could get ugly quick.

Colts at Texans Betting Pick:

Colts 31, Texans 14

Colts at Texans Best Bet for Week 13

Indianapolis’ running game likely will have its way against Houston’s rush defense, which is averaging an NFL second-worst 154.7 yards per game. Look for Taylor, Nyheim Hines and company to be the focus of the offense, all the while taking significant time off the clock.

Colts at Texans Best Bet: UNDER 51 total points (-110)

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, 4:05 p.m. ET

Rams at Cardinals Betting Preview: Rams (-3/+104), Cardinals (+3/-128)

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams (7-4) might have one of the better defensive teams in the NFL but the offense is in a funk with quarterback Jared Goff committing three turnovers (one fumble, two interceptions) against the 49ers last week. Head coach Sean McVay called out his QB after the defeat and doubled down this week saying his signal caller knows what is expected of him.

Through play Monday night, the Rams were one of two teams in the NFL to allow less than 300 yards a game and were fourth in sacks with 34.

The Rams are 6-0 against the Cardinals and have averaged 32.7 points per game against Arizona in three seasons under McVay, but have averaged 23.9 per game this season.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals also are in something of an offensive downturn as teams have started to neutralize quarterback Kyler Murray. The former No. 1 overall draft pick threw for 170 yards with no touchdowns and an interception in a loss to the Patriots last week and his 67.0 passer rating was the lowest of his two-year career.

The Cardinals have lost three of their last four and without Murray’s Hail Mary to DeAndre Hopkins in the closing seconds of a Week 10 victory over Buffalo, they would be on a four-game slide.

The Cardinals’ defense is greatly improved against the pass (227.2 yards per game), looking nothing like the squad that gave up 400 yards passing to Goff by the third quarter of a Dec. 1 loss last season.

Rams at Cardinals Betting Pick for Week 13

The Rams were solid on offense early, but have been rather pedestrian of late, especially since tackle Andrew Whitworth was lost with a major knee injury in Week 10 and Joseph Noteboom was moved into a starting role. Murray’s pass/run abilities make the Cardinals tick, but teams have been able to game plan for the Arizona offense lately.

In the end, the Rams’ top defense figures to have what it takes Sunday. The Rams are in the top four in passing, rushing and scoring defense this season, proving they are more than just Aaron Donald wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines.

Rams at Cardinals Betting Pick:

Rams 24, Cardinals 21

Rams at Cardinals Best Bet for Week 13

A pair of defenses that allow less than 24 points per game are expected to take center stage. Arizona’s Murray and L.A.’s Goff figure to have their hands full. As improved as the Cardinals’ defense is this season, it still gives up 123.4 yards per game on the ground and the Rams have been solid running the ball with 124.6 yards per game.

Rams at Cardinals Best Bet: UNDER 48.5 total points (-112)

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 1 p.m. ET

Lions at Bears Betting Preview: Lions (+3/-110), Bears (-3/-110)

Detroit Lions

The Lions (4-7) will play their first game since the firing of head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. The interim coach is Darrell Bevell, an 18-year assistant in the league who most recently served as the Lions’ offensive coordinator.

The Lions have lost two in a row and four of five. They went only 13-29-1 under Patricia, but Bevell hopes that he can give the team a boost during his five-game audition to get the top job.

Matthew Stafford has endured an up-and-down season but has capable weapons such as wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end T.J. Hockenson. Stafford will look to end a five-game losing streak against the division-rival Bears.

Chicago Bears

The Bears (5-6) also face hard questions about their future amid a five-game losing streak. Should ownership stick with general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy or turn a different direction heading into 2021? That remains to be seen.

A strong finish to this season can only help things going forward. The Bears have not won since Oct. 18, but they enter Week 13 as favorites against the Lions, whom they have beaten in five straight games.

Chicago’s defense has led the way throughout the season but is coming off of one of its worst efforts in a loss to Green Bay. Look for the defense to regroup as the Bears look to climb back to .500.

Lions at Bears Betting Pick for Week 13

Both teams have warts, and it is likely that both of these clubs head into a long offseason rather than making the playoffs. But Bevell and Nagy each have a lot on the line over the final few weeks of the 2020 regular season.

Could the Lions’ coaching change give the team a short-term boost? Maybe. Could Nagy’s challenge for his players to work harder result in an angry, better roster for the short term? Maybe.

Bottom line: This should be a close game. It usually is, and given Chicago’s superior talent on defense, look for the Bears to squeak past the Lions.

Lions at Bears Betting Pick:

Bears 23, Lions 17

Lions at Bears Best Bet for Week 13

The Bears’ defense was embarrassed against Green Bay a week ago and will look to regroup. Meanwhile, the Lions could be motivated after a coaching change in which their leader, Patricia, was sent packing. Toss in some cold weather along the Chicago lakefront, and it stands to reason that points could be at a premium come Sunday afternoon.

Lions at Bears Best Bet: UNDER 44 total points (-110)