Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET

Browns at Titans Betting Preview: Browns (+5.5/-110), Titans (-5.5/-110)

Cleveland Browns

Sure, you can bang on Baker Mayfield for being inconsistent, and you can express concern about this team’s trouble stopping the run lately. But one thing you can’t call them for the first time since 2007? Losers.

Last week’s 27-25 victory at Jacksonville, as unimpressive as it seemed to some, upped their record to 8-3 and kept them squarely in an AFC wild-card spot. And with a schedule that still includes games with the coronavirus-weakened Ravens, 4-7 Giants and winless Jets, 11 wins looks like a pretty solid bet.

New coach Kevin Stefanski has done something previous coaches couldn’t over the last 20 years — establish a clear identity. This team runs the ball well and has won its close games, going 5-0 in one-possession outcomes. Give him and the players credit for overcoming years of losing and also winning without star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Tennessee Titans

That the offense has regained its bearings after a four-game stretch where it wasn’t at its best is comforting to Tennessee fans. They should be more excited that the defense appears to be improving after being a real concern over the first nine games.

The Titans rallied from a 21-10 deficit two weeks ago at Baltimore in the third quarter because their defense got stops. As they pulled away from a 14-14 second quarter tie to build an insurmountable 38-14 fourth quarter lead last week in Indianapolis, it was because the defense made the Colts’ attack one-dimensional.

With Derrick Henry running wild and Ryan Tannehill having the season of his life, the defense doesn’t have to be the 1985 Bears or even the 1970s Steel Curtain. It merely needs to be what it’s been the last couple of games.

Browns at Titans Betting Pick for Week 13

The return of defensive end Myles Garrett off the COVID-19 list immediately boosts the Browns’ defense. His absence has been a reason why losing teams like the Eagles and Jaguars have been able to run the ball with consistency the last two games.

But Garrett’s return by itself is unlikely to keep Henry from doing what he’s been doing most of the year — getting stronger as a game goes along and ultimately wearing down a defense in the fourth quarter. As closers go, he’s the NFL’s version of Mariano Rivera.

Browns at Titans Betting Pick:

Titans 31, Browns 24.

Browns at Titans Best Bet for Week 13

Divergent trends are colliding in Nashville. Four of Cleveland’s last six games have finished under the number, while eight of Tennessee’s last 10 games have ended over the number.

With strong running games going up against defenses that have been pliable against the run, don’t be afraid to hammer the over in this one. Since this should be a close game, both teams should be able to stay with their game plan, so they should be at their best.

Browns at Titans Best Bet: OVER 53.5 total points (-107)

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, 8:20 p.m. ET

Broncos at Chiefs Betting Preview: Broncos (+14/-115), Chiefs (-14/-105)

Denver Broncos

The Broncos (4-7) will try to bounce back from an adversity-filled week in which they had all of their quarterbacks sidelined and were blown out by the New Orleans Saints to fall three games under .500. Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles all were held out after they were determined to be at high risk of contracting COVID-19 because of their meeting, sans masks, with fellow signal-caller Jeff Driskel, who later tested positive for the virus.

Denver expects to have its quarterbacks, minus Driskell, available this week. But that might not be enough for a Broncos’ team that has lost three of its past four games.

The Broncos already lost 43-16 to the Chiefs at home earlier in the season. A road visit to Arrowhead Stadium will not be any easier.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs (10-1) have their sights set on back-to-back Super Bowl runs, and nothing so far indicates that their wish is misplaced.

Kansas City has won six games in a row, with each of its past three victories coming by four points or fewer. The Chiefs are coming off a 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which Patrick Mahomes completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns.

Tyreek Hill had a whopping 13 catches for 269 yards and three touchdowns in the win. He has 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games this season.

Broncos at Chiefs Betting Pick for Week 13

It’s hard to bet against the Chiefs, who have momentum and will not want to relax against one of their oldest and fiercest rivals.

Denver has had a strange couple weeks and will struggle to keep pace with the more talented Chiefs over the course of 60 minutes. The first matchup between the teams was a blowout, and the second matchup could be similarly lopsided.

Broncos at Chiefs Betting Pick:

Chiefs 34, Broncos 21

Broncos at Chiefs Best Bet for Week 13

Granted, Denver could be dealing with some rust on offense, but there is a good chance that both teams will put up decent point totals in this affair. Kansas City has scored 30-plus points in all but three of its contests this year, and Denver has given up 30-plus points five times in the last six games. That could add up to a high-scoring showdown between two teams heading in opposite directions.

Broncos at Chiefs Best Bet: OVER 51 total points (-110)

Las Vegas Raiders at New York Jets Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 1 p.m. ET

Raiders at Jets Betting Preview: Raiders (-8/-114), Jets (+8/-106)

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders (6-5) will try and snap a two-game losing streak when they travel to the East Coast for the second consecutive week to play the winless Jets (0-11). It’s the second season in a row that the teams have played at MetLife Stadium. The Raiders went into last year’s contest as six-point favorites, but New York pulled off a 34-3 upset behind the play of quarterback Sam Darnold, who passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score.

Las Vegas, in a battle with Miami, Indianapolis and Baltimore for the final two wild-card spots in the AFC, comes in off an ugly 43-6 loss at Atlanta. The Raiders finished with five turnovers, including four by quarterback Derek Carr, who became the first player since Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew to lose three fumbles in a game. Minshew accomplished that feat on Oct. 6, 2019 against Carolina.

Defensively, the Raiders go against a Jets’ offense that ranks last in the league in a number of offensive categories, including points per game (13.8), passing offense (170.3 yards per game) and total offense (267.8). Las Vegas has managed just 12 quarterback sacks this season and is allowing 265 yards per game through the air but has played well against the run, ranking 12th by allowing 113.4 yards per game. Starting defensive end Clelin Ferrell and slot corner Lamarcus Joyner both returned to practice after being placed on the COVID-19 list and could play Sunday.

New York Jets

The Trevor Lawrence Watch has already begun in the Big Apple where the winless Jets hold a one-game edge over 1-10 Jacksonville for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Darnold, the third overall pick of the 2018 draft, returned to the starting lineup in last week’s 20-3 loss to Miami after missing two games with a right shoulder injury and will likely be showcased the rest of the season for a potential trade. He completed just 16 of 27 passes for 197 yards and no touchdowns while throwing two interceptions against the Dolphins.

Darnold completed 20 of 29 passes during his strong showing against the Raiders last season. Frank Gore, 37, is having another solid season at running back with 521 yards on 141 carries and had his best output of the season in the loss to the Dolphins when he gained 74 yards on 18 carries. Jamison Crowder leads the receiving corps with 35 catches for 456 yards and three touchdowns.

Former Outland Trophy winner Quinnen Williams is starting to live up to his huge billing after being the third pick of the 2019 draft. The defensive tackle from Alabama has 41 tackles and five sacks and had seven tackles, two pass deflections, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Miami. Inside linebacker Neville Hewitt leads the team with 89 tackles, which is tied for 11th in the NFL.

Raiders at Jets Betting Pick for Week 13

Las Vegas, which two weeks ago were on the verge of sweeping the two-game series with defending Super Bowl champ Kansas City, now will try and snap a two-game losing streak. Quarterback Derek Carr needs 354 yards passing to become the fifth player in NFL history with 3,000 or more pass yards in his first seven seasons.

New York stunned the Raiders with the 31-point trouncing in a similar scheduling situation last season. But this is a must-win for Jon Gruden and company if they hope to remain in a crowded AFC playoff race.

Raiders at Jets Betting Pick

Raiders 34, Jets 21

Raiders at Jets Best Bet for Week 13

Despite his nightmarish game at Atlanta, Carr still ranks fourth in the AFC and seventh in the NFL with a 108.7 passer rating, throwing 19 touchdown passes compared to just four interceptions. Look for Carr and the Raiders, who have scored 31 or more points six times this season, to get back on track against the winless Jets.

Raiders at Jets Best Bet: OVER 47 total points (-106)

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview: Bengals (+11.5/-110), Dolphins (-11.5/-110)

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals (2-8-1) bid for a better performance on Sunday in the absence of top overall pick Joe Burrow (season-ending knee injury), without whom they mustered just 155 yards of total offense in a 19-17 loss to the New York Giants. Practice squad call-up Brandon Allen got the nod over second-year quarterback Ryan Finley and threw for just 136 yards with a touchdown, and an interception and later lost a fumble on Cincinnati’s final drive.

Rookie wideout Tee Higgins boosted his team-leading receiving touchdown total (five) by scoring for the third time in five games last Sunday. Tyler Boyd, however, leads the Bengals in receptions (72) and receiving yards (725), and he had nine for 128 with two touchdowns in Cincinnati’s 38-35 overtime loss to Miami last season.

A punchless ground attack that is sputtering without Joe Mixon was led by Giovani Bernard, who totaled 32 of the team’s 40 rushing yards last week. Bernard has totaled 80 rushing yards over his last three games.

Miami Dolphins

While Burrow obviously is out for Cincinnati, fellow top-five pick Tua Tagovailoa could be under center on Sunday after missing Miami’s 20-3 victory over the New York Jets. Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, is deemed day-to-day with a left thumb injury on his throwing hand.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was with the Bengals from 2007-08, completed 24 of 39 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns last week as the Dolphins (7-4) posted their sixth win in seven games. DeVante Parker, who leads the team in catches (52), receiving yards (642) and receiving touchdowns (four), had 14 grabs for 180 yards and a score in his last two contests.

Miami’s bread and butter has been its aggressive defense, which ranks second in the NFL in points allowed (18.6) and third in total takeaways (19). Cornerback Xavien Howard has a league-best seven interceptions while defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah’s eight sacks are tied for seventh-best in the NFL.

Bengals at Dolphins Betting Pick for Week 13

Cincinnati has been extremely generous with its rush defense, which has surrendered a league third-worst 136.7 yards per game. For its part, Miami’s offense is averaging an NFL third-worst 95.3 yards per game on the ground.

Second-year pro Myles Gaskin (knee) could potentially return from injured reserve while rookie Salvon Ahmed (shoulder) also should aid the Dolphins. Expect Miami to take another huge step toward securing its first playoff appearance since the 2016 season and third in 19 seasons.

Bengals at Dolphins Betting Pick:

Dolphins 21, Bengals 13

Bengals at Dolphins Best Bet for Week 13

The offenses of the Burrow-less Bengals and the defensive-minded Dolphins likely won’t be confused with that of the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs. Considering Miami’s offense is averaging an NFL third-worst 311.9 yards per game, points will be at a premium in this one.

Bengals at Dolphins Best Bet: UNDER 42 total points (-110)

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland, 1 p.m. ET

Titans at Ravens Betting Preview: Titans (+6.5/+210), Ravens (-6.5/-250)

Tennessee Titans

If you’re wondering why the Titans are 1-3 since a 5-0 start, a leaky defense is the primary reason. But there are other issues this team has to solve sooner instead of later if they want to return to the AFC playoffs.

Start with an offense that has dealt with multiple injuries to the line that’s hurt their continuity, affecting their production. Ryan Tannehill hasn’t been nearly as efficient lately, and without him connecting on big plays, Derrick Henry’s one-dimension running ability isn’t always enough.

The kicking game is a concern. Stephen Gostkowski has missed eight of his 20 field goals, and the loss of punter Brett Kern became a big deal last week when replacement Trevor Daniel was bad. That Gostkowski and Daniel stuck around for another week surprised many; if they don’t produce Sunday, they might be gone on Monday.            

Baltimore Ravens

With Pittsburgh cruising along at 9-0, the Ravens must shoot for a wild-card berth. This is a big game not just for that purpose, but for re-establishing who they are on both sides of the ball.

Last week’s 23-17 loss in New England saw Baltimore play out of its identity. The defense was gashed for 173 yards on the ground, something Derrick Henry can do in a half when he gets going. The Ravens played from behind the second half, forcing them to throw more than they ran, a recipe they’d rather not follow.

Baltimore has always prided itself on being the most physical team in any game, but a spate of injuries along both interior lines has affected its ability to impose its will on an opponent. It needs to find a way to do that on defense or Henry will have a field day.            

Titans at Ravens Betting Pick for Week 11

This is going to come down to which team runs the ball the most. Tennessee is sixth on the ground and Baltimore is second. Whoever jumps on a lead can force the opponent to throw more often, and while both can make plays in the air, they’d rather do it on their terms.

Both teams are dealing with injuries on the offensive line, and the Ravens also have injury concerns on the defensive line. But the Titans’ inability to consistently create pressure on the quarterback could help Jackson make big plays with his arm that will make the difference.    

Titans at Ravens Betting Pick:

Ravens 28, Titans 24

Titans at Ravens Best Bet for Week 11

Recent meetings between the teams have trended heavily to the under. In fact, the last seven matchups and 10 of the last 13 have ended below the over-under.

This is one that might defy those numbers. Tennessee’s defense has struggled to stop opponents most of the year and Baltimore’s defense could be short-handed up front. So take a chance, hammer the over and thank us later.   

Titans at Ravens Best Bet: OVER 48 total points (-126)

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Steelers at Jaguars Betting Preview: Steelers (-10/-110), Jaguars (+10/-110)

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers (9-0) don’t figure to have too much trouble staying unbeaten — unless they spend too much time looking ahead to their Thanksgiving night showdown against the Baltimore Ravens. 

Pittsburgh has scored at least 24 points in every game and is tied for fourth in the NFL with a 30.1 scoring average. The Steelers lead the NFL in sacks (36) and are tied for the top spot in takeaways (17) with linebacker T.J. Watt enjoying a fine campaign with nine sacks, tied for second in the league.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger established season bests of 333 yards and four touchdowns in last Sunday’s 36-10 whipping of the Cincinnati Bengals. Wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster matched his season best of nine receptions and has caught 31 balls over the last four games. 

Linebacker Bud Dupree (seven sacks) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (six) have aided Watt in harassing opposing quarterbacks.

Pittsburgh has kept its focus on winning each week as opposed to being caught up in remaining unbeaten. Defensive end Isaiah Buggs (ankle) was a full practice participant on Wednesday and hopes to return after sitting out against the Bengals.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars (1-8) have dropped eight straight games but have been involved in back-to-back close games while losing by a combined six points to the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers. 

Jacksonville has experienced issues on defense, allowing 30 or more points on six occasions while ranking 31st in both scoring defense (30.1) and total defense (415.6 yards per game). The Jaguars are last in the league with nine sacks and have intercepted just seven passes.

Rookie Jake Luton will make his third straight start as Gardner Minshew II remains out with an injury to his throwing (right) thumb. Luton excelled by completing 68.4 percent of his passes for 304 yards in his first outing against the Texans but connected on just 51.4 percent while accumulating just 169 yards against the Packers. 

Undrafted running back James Robinson leads all rookies with 689 rushing yards and has gained 327 over the past three games with a low output of 99.

The Jaguars hope to have receiver Laviska Shenault (hamstring) back on the field after he missed the Green Bay game. However, Shenault didn’t practice Wednesday and Robinson (shoulder) was limited after another heavy workload — he has averaged 25.3 touches over the past three games.

Steelers at Jaguars Betting Pick for Week 11

Pittsburgh is highly confident and Jacksonville hasn’t won a game in more than two months. And the Jaguars are sending out a rookie for his third career start against a defensive unit supplying the best pressure in the league as well as forcing turnovers at a high rate.

Roethlisberger has been superb all season and proclaimed Wednesday that he is “hungry” for more success. He should get a full appetite of it against the lowly Jaguars.

Steelers at Jaguars Betting Pick:

Steelers 34, Jaguars 16

Steelers at Jaguars Best Bet for Week 11

Jacksonville gives up lots of points and that doesn’t figure to stop this Sunday. As long as Pittsburgh takes the game seriously, the over is the correct play.

Steelers at Jaguars Best Bet: OVER 46.5 total points (-110)

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 1 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns Betting Preview: Eagles (+3/-104), Browns (-3/-118)

Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Wentz looks to silence the critics after answering four straight games with two touchdown passes by being held out of the end zone in the Eagles’ 27-17 setback to the New York Giants on Sunday. Wentz found seven different receivers for Philadelphia (3-5-1), although top wideout Travis Fulgham (team-leading 443 yards, four touchdowns) had just one catch for eight yards.

Miles Sanders eclipsed 75 scrimmage yards for the seventh straight game by totaling 95 (85 rushing, 10 receiving) against the Giants. Fellow running back Boston Scott added his fourth consecutive contest with at least 70 scrimmage yards after managing 74 (63 rushing, 11 receiving) and a touchdown last Sunday.

While Richard Rodgers led the team with 60 receiving yards last week, fellow tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) could return to the field for the first time since Oct. 18. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was designated to return from the injured reserve earlier this week, although the team has until Saturday (4 p.m. ET) to active him in order to play versus the Browns.

Cleveland Browns

The 1-2 punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt serve as the Browns’ best chance for a knockout as the team prepares for yet another game that features inclement weather. Chubb returned from a four-game absence due to a knee injury to rush for 126 yards and a touchdown and Hunt added 104 yards in Cleveland’s 10-7 win over Houston last Sunday.

Chubb and Hunt are the lone NFL teammates to each eclipse 400 rushing yards this season. With that in mind, the Browns (6-3) likely will ride their backfield against an Eagles’ rush defense that is hemorrhaging 133.0 yards per game.

Baker Mayfield has not thrown an interception in back-to-back games after being picked off five times in his previous three. Windy conditions hampered the passing offense, however, with Rashard Higgins leading the team with just 48 receiving yards.

Eagles at Browns Betting Pick for Week 11

A safe bet likely would be to take Cleveland’s Myles Garrett (NFL-leading 9.5 sacks) to tackle Wentz to the ground, especially considering Philadelphia team has surrendered an NFL-worst 35 sacks this season.

Perhaps a better bet would be for the Browns to win outright. The Eagles are struggling to find any semblance of consistency on offense, while Cleveland appears content to rely on its bread-and-butter running game.

Eagles at Browns Betting Pick:

Browns 24, Eagles 17

Eagles at Browns Best Bet for Week 11

The under makes the most sense, considering weather will once again play a role in this contest. Showers are expected in Cleveland, and that likely will rain on the offensive parades of both teams.

Eagles at Browns Best Bet: UNDER 47 total points (-107)

New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif., 4:05 p.m. ET

Jets at Chargers Betting Preview: Jets (+8.5/-108), Chargers (-8.5/-112)

New York Jets

The Jets (0-9) seemingly have found a new way to lose every week, and they enter Week 11 as the only winless team in the NFL. The team is coming off a bye, which followed a hard-to-swallow 30-27 loss against the New England Patriots in front of a national TV audience in Week 9.

How does New York find its way into the victory column? It will have to rely on veterans such as Joe Flacco and Frank Gore, who can be solid but far from flashy. Wideout Jamison Crowder also has the potential to be a playmaker, and he enters this weekend with 100-plus receiving yards in three of five games this season.

New York must find a way to patch up its defense. The Jets have allowed 30 points or more in six of their nine games.

Los Angeles Chargers

At 2-7, the Chargers find themselves at the bottom of the AFC West division. That is a massive disappointment for a team that hoped to compete for a deep playoff run during the 2020 campaign.

One week cannot reverse a season, but the Chargers have a chance to take out their frustrations on the lowly Jets this weekend during a home matchup. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has shown plenty of promise since stepping in for injured teammate Tyrod Taylor, and he should get a chance to build upon his statistics (19 touchdowns, six interceptions) against a Jets’ defense that has struggled for most of the season.

The Chargers also could look for another busy day from running back Kalen Ballage, who is looking for his third game in a row with 80-plus yards from scrimmage.

Jets at Chargers Betting Pick for Week 11

It sure seemed like the Jets would topple the Patriots two weeks ago, yet they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It is hard to see how they bounce back on the West Coast against a Chargers’ team that is better than its record.

Los Angeles has many warts, but Herbert is improving with experience, and the Chargers have enough to keep the Jets at bay in Week 11.

Jets at Chargers Betting Pick:

Chargers 31, Jets 14

Jets at Chargers Best Bet for Week 11

The Chargers are at home and looking to take out their frustrations on a Jets team after losing three games in a row, including a 29-21 decision against the Miami Dolphins last week. New York’s defense is leaky, and the team’s morale is worse.

Bottom line: This is the Chargers’ opportunity to forget a disappointing season, if only for a day. Look for Los Angeles to fill up the scoreboard as much as possible.

Jets at Chargers Best Bet: Chargers to score OVER 28 points (-110)

New England Patriots at Houston Texans Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, 1 p.m. ET

Patriots at Texans Betting Preview: Patriots (-2.5/-104), Texans (+2.5/-118)

New England Patriots

The Patriots (4-5) have renewed life after posting back-to-back wins, one being a gutsy 23-17 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday night in treacherous conditions. 

However, the club is beginning a stretch in which four of five games are on the road, including two games against both Los Angeles teams in a five-day span before closing the excursion in Miami on Dec. 20. New England has been flagged for a league-low 29 penalties and is on track to break the franchise record for fewest over a 16-game season (57 in 2008).

Cornerback J.C. Jackson has an NFL-best six interceptions and he is looking to become the first player to record a pick in six straight games since former Minnesota Vikings safety Brian Russell in 2003. 

Quarterback Cam Newton isn’t making much of an impact as a passer (three touchdowns, seven interceptions) but has found the end zone as a runner on nine occasions. Running back Damien Harris posted a career-best 121 rushing yards against Baltimore and has topped 100 in two of the past three games.

Wideout Julian Edelman (knee) is close to making a return after a three-game absence but it will not be a surprise if he misses this contest. Former high school quarterback Jakobi Meyers has taken advantage of his opportunity to make 23 receptions over the past three games as well as throwing a touchdown pass against the Ravens.

Houston Texans

The Texans (2-7) haven’t recovered from the 0-4 start that led to Bill O’Brien’s firing and last week’s 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns added to their frustrations. 

The porous defense that has been ravaged all season allowed its fewest points of the season but the offense put up its lowest point total as a tough effort came up short. Houston ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (167.4) and the Browns carved the unit for 231 yards with two different runners topping 100.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for a season-low 163 yards against the Browns but didn’t throw an interception for the fourth straight game. Watson has passed for 2,539 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions but Houston ranks just 25th in scoring offense (22.2). 

The Texans are 29th in total defense (409.1) and perennial star defensive end J.J. Watt has a team-best four sacks.

With top runner David Johnson (concussion) sidelined, Houston is hoping to get production from Duke Johnson (3.1 average) but he missed Wednesday’s practice due to an illness. Receiver Kenny Stills (back) is ailing and he has experienced a down season so far with just 11 catches.

Patriots at Texans Betting Pick for Week 11

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is well aware the Texans can’t stop the run so Harris should receive a heavy workload with reliable Rex Burkhead (six total touchdowns) being worked in. Of course, Newton’s legs are always ready to inflict some damage, especially since his arm isn’t supplying the production.

The Texans are putting up a fight under interim coach Romeo Crennel, who knows the New England system well from his time working under Belichick. But Watson can’t win games by himself and that too often has become part of his job description.

Patriots at Texans Betting Pick:

Patriots 23, Texans 14

Patriots at Texans Best Bet for Week 11

New England badly needs a third straight win as it chases a playoff berth and the Texans’ defense doesn’t match up well with New England’s ability to run the ball. 

Houston figures to keep it close but the Patriots will be able to control the clock and this contest figures to fall under the total.

Patriots at Texans Best Bet: UNDER 49 total points (-115)

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Betting Preview

Thursday, November 19, 2020, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington, 8:20 p.m. ET

Cardinals at Seahawks Betting Preview: Cardinals (+3.5/-128), Seahawks (-3.5/+104)

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals (6-3) have won four of their past five games to move into a three-way tie with Seattle and the Los Angeles Rams for first place in the tough NFC West. That includes a 32-30 home victory against Buffalo on Sunday, as Kyler Murray threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with two seconds remaining in what is being called a “Hail Murray” in the desert.

Murray continues to be a dual threat, throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown against the Bills and rushing for 61 yards and two TDs. He has 10 touchdowns on the ground this season, and he is the first QB since 1956 to have a rushing TD in five consecutive games. Hopkins is second in the league with 861 receiving yards, but has a game in hand on the leader, Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs (906 yards).

The Cardinals’ injury-riddled defensive line sustained another setback Sunday as Corey Peters was taken off on a cart with a knee injury that might end his season. That left Arizona with only three healthy defensive linemen.

Seattle Seahawks

After winning their first five games of the season, the Seahawks (6-3) have lost three of four. That skid started with a 37-34 overtime loss at Arizona on Oct. 25. The Seahawks failed to record a hit on the Cardinals’ Murray on 48 passing attempts in that matchup. More recently, they’ve brought the pressure and have combined for 10 sacks over the past two games.

Safety Jamal Adams, who missed four games earlier this season due to a groin injury, tweaked a shoulder early last Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, but he still had seven tackles and two sacks. The injury-riddled secondary might be without starting cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Shaquill Griffin (hamstring) again on Thursday.

Russell Wilson has committed 10 turnovers over the past four games, in part because he has been asked to carry the offense with running backs Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) sidelined. Hyde could return Thursday. Tyler Lockett had 15 receptions for 200 yards and three TDs in the October game against the Cardinals.

Cardinals at Seahawks Betting Pick for Week 11

This is the biggest game in the NFC West this season. A season sweep would give the Cardinals the tiebreaker edge over the Seahawks. 

Seattle is 9-1 in Thursday night games under coach Pete Carroll, with two of those victories against Arizona. The Seahawks also are 4-0 at home this year, but CenturyLink Field isn’t quite the same without the “12th Man.”

This promises to be another shootout, but it’s the Cardinals who are soaring right now.

Cardinals at Seahawks Betting Pick:

Cardinals 34, Seahawks 30

Cardinals at Seahawks Best Bet for Week 11

The Cardinals are averaging a league-leading 425.4 yards per game, and the Seahawks are No. 1 with 32.2 points per contest. 

With the Cardinals’ ailing defensive line and the Seahawks’ broken secondary, expect the offenses to dominate.

Cardinals at Seahawks Best Bet: OVER 57.5 Total Points (-110)

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts, 8:20 p.m. ET

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots Betting Preview: Ravens (-7/-120), Patriots (+7/-103)

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (6-2) aren’t putting up gaudy numbers this season, however the electric quarterback is part of a four-tiered attack that has enabled the team to boast the NFL’s top-ranked rushing offense (170.1 yards per game). Jackson, in fact, needs just 31 yards on the ground to join New England’s Cam Newton as the lone quarterbacks to rush for at least 500 yards in each of their first three seasons.

Jackson gashed the Patriots for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) in Baltimore’s 37-20 victory over New England on Nov. 3. Jackson has rushed into the end zone in three of his last five games overall and Gus Edwards extended his scoring streak to three contests with a 1-yard run in the Ravens’ 24-10 win in Indianapolis last Sunday.

Fellow running back Mark Ingram is trending toward returning from a two-game absence due to an ankle injury for Baltimore, which aims to look to exploit New England’s 25th-ranked rush defense (131.0 yards per game). Marquise Brown leads the team in receptions (30), targets (49) and receiving yards (417), while tight end Mark Andrews has a club-best five touchdown catches.

New England Patriots

Newton is no stranger to rushing touchdowns, as the former NFL MVP bulled his way into the end zone on two occasions in the Patriots’ 30-27 victory over the New York Jets on Monday. The victory allowed New England (3-5) to snap a four-game losing streak, a run that was its longest since 2002.

Damien Harris rushed for 71 yards against the Jets before sustaining a chest injury, however he was able to serve as a limited participant in practice on Wednesday. Sony Michel (quad) could come off injured reserve for Sunday night’s game, while Rex Burkhead may also play a role after coming off season highs in both carries (12) and rushing yards (56) on Monday.

While the Patriots own the NFL’s fourth-ranked rushing offense (159.6 yards per game), the passing offense failed to take flight for much of the season before Jakobi Meyers set career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards versus the Jets. Fellow wideout N’Keal Harry returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a concussion against San Francisco on Oct. 25.

Ravens at Patriots Betting Pick for Week 10

While the Patriots have yet to lose a regular-season contest when the Ravens pay a visit, the latter does own a pair of playoff victories at Gillette Stadium. Baltimore is expected to rely heavily on its potent rushing attack, and New England hasn’t shown much in the way of stopping opponents’ ground games this season.

The Ravens’ opportunistic defense likely will have its antenna up with the Patriots coming off a short week.

Ravens at Patriots Betting Pick:

Ravens 31, Patriots 17

Ravens at Patriots Best Bet for Week 10

The Ravens likely will do their part on offense, considering the team has scored at least 20 points in 31 consecutive regular-season. With that in mind, the over seems like a safe bet on Sunday night.

Ravens at Patriots Best Bet: OVER 43.5 total points (-110)

Washington Football Team at Detroit Lions Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, 1 p.m. ET

Washington Football Team at Lions Betting Preview: Washington (+4.5/-110), Lions (-4.5/-110)

Washington Football Team

Quarterback Alex Smith is set to make his first start under center for Washington since suffering a gruesome and life-threatening leg injury nearly two years ago. Smith, 36, has appeared in relief twice this season, including last week, when he passed for 325 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in a home loss to the New York Giants. He was pressed into duty after starter Kyle Allen dislocated his left ankle.

At 2-6, Washington remains in the playoff hunt in a scuffling NFC East in which 3-4-1 Philadelphia sits atop the division standings. Washington leads the all-time series 31-14. The past three meetings between the teams have been decided by seven points or less.

Running back Antonio Gibson is battling a shoulder problem. Gibson and receiver Dontrelle Inman (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday.

Detroit Lions

The Lions (3-5) will seek to snap a two-game losing streak and earn their first victory at Ford Field this season as they look to remain alive in the NFC playoff picture.

Detroit is coming off a 34-20 road loss to Minnesota that saw the Lions allow Dalvin Cook to run for 206 yards on 9.4 yards a carry. Detroit also permitted three passing touchdowns from Kirk Cousins, who completed 65 percent (13 of 20) of his passes.

Receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) was questionable with his injury early in the week. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who passed for 211 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions before giving way to backup Chase Daniel last week, will welcome all the healthy weapons he can get against an active Washington defense that boasts seven players with at least two sacks. Stafford is battling a neck injury but practiced on Wednesday.

Washington at Lions Betting Pick for Week 10

Naturally, Smith’s return to the starting lineup has been the early talking point of this meeting between two struggling yet playoff-hopeful NFC teams, but Washington can’t overlook his late woes that turned the tide against the Giants last week.

Detroit has allowed 75 points over the past two weeks, and the ‘D’ likely will have to come up with a key takeaway and improve its meager success against the run to keep this from being a possession-for-possession shootout. 

Look for Lions running back Adrian Peterson to have success against his former team to complement the Detroit passing attack.

Washington at Lions Betting Pick:

Lions 27, Washington 23

Washington at Lions Best Bet for Week 10

Washington’s defense has allowed an average of 185.6 passing yards a game this season, tops in the NFL. Still, that success has come against the second fewest pass attempts in the league.

Look for Stafford to outshine Smith down the stretch as both offenses rev up as the game progresses.

Washington at Lions Best Bet: OVER 46.5 total points (-110)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1 p.m. ET

Buccaneers at Panthers Betting Preview: Buccaneers (-8.5/-250), Panthers (+8.5/+200)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers (6-3) need to get back on track and this might be a good chance to do so. After all, it worked earlier this season when Tampa Bay followed a season-opening loss to New Orleans by defeating Carolina 31-17. This time, the Buccaneers are fresh off a 38-3 whipping from New Orleans.

Quarterback Tom Brady suffered the worst loss of his 21-year NFL career in terms of scoring margin. He also was intercepted three times for the first time in nine years. By all accounts, he’ll be extra motivated to make sure there’s nothing close to a repeat of that. 

Plus, the Buccaneers would like more from receiver Antonio Brown than the three catches for 31 yards that he posted last week in his debut with the team.

Only four teams have scored more than 20 points against the Buccaneers, who won two of those games. The other two were losses to the Saints.

Carolina Panthers

Carrying a four-game losing streak, the Panthers (3-6) seem far removed from their three-game winning streak. The biggest hitch has come with an offense unable to come through enough in clutch situations, with settling for field goals often the norm. The Panthers rolled out a risky approach on offense at Kansas City and that paid off with fourth-down conversions and a successful fake punt, so they seem willing to try just about anything.

Teddy Bridgewater had never lost as many as three consecutive games as a starting quarterback prior to this season, so he’s due to get back on the winning track.

The defense has largely overperformed at times, though giving up 33 points was a tad too much in the Kansas City game. They’re young in the secondary in certain places, so Brady will look to pick them apart.

Buccaneers at Panthers Betting Pick for Week 10

The Buccaneers might have enough talent to pull this out on the scoreboard, but covering the spread could be another issue. The offense needs more efficiency in order to accomplish that.

Carolina’s four-game losing streak consists of defeats by an average of five points per game. Those include games against three teams — Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City — with winning records.

Buccaneers at Panthers Betting Pick:

Buccaneers 23, Panthers 20

Buccaneers at Panthers Best Bet for Week 10

There are issues for the Panthers’ offense and the Buccaneers, after putting up only three points Sunday night vs. New Orleans, are bound to be determined to make amends. It’s clear the Buccaneers have issues to sort out. 

While the almost all-out passing attack was due to a large deficit in the Saints game, Tampa Bay would be wise to crank up some semblance of a rushing attack. The Panthers appear likely to be without all-pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who played one game after a six-game absence but has landed on the injury report again. Running back Mike Davis has proved to be a capable fill-in.

Buccaneers at Panthers Best Bet: UNDER 50.5 total points (-110)

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, Calif., 4:25 p.m. ET

Seahawks at Rams Betting Preview: Seahawks (+2/-115), Rams (-2/-105)

Seattle Seahawks

The NFC West-leading Seahawks (6-2) have lost two of their past three games, including a 44-34 defeat last Sunday in Buffalo. It was the second time in three weeks the Seahawks scored 34 and lost. The Seahawks’ pass defense is historically bad. They’ve already allowed more yards than the “Legion of Boom” did in their 2013 Super Bowl season and are on pace to break the league record for passing yards allowed — by more than 1,000.

After failing to register a QB hit on Arizona’s Kyler Murray in a 37-34 overtime loss on Oct. 25, the Seahawks brought the pressure in Buffalo and sacked Josh Allen seven times. But Allen threw for 415 yards and three TDs against the exposed secondary.

Running backs Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) have missed the past two games and are uncertain for Sunday’s trip to Los Angeles. That has put even more pressure on MVP candidate Russell Wilson, who uncharacteristically had four turnovers against the Bills — two interceptions and two fumbles.

Los Angeles Rams

Under Sean McVay, the Rams have come to be known for their offense, but it’s the defense that’s carrying them this season. With a first-year coordinator in Brandon Staley, the Rams rank No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense (19.0 points per game) and total defense (291.9) and are allowing a league-low 4.7 yards per play. Only one team has allowed opponents to convert fewer third downs (33.3).

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has nine sacks, seven tackles for loss, 15 QB hits and three forced fumbles through eight games and could win a third NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Offensively, the Rams are tied for 21st with 24.1 points per game. The Chicago Bears are the only other team with a winning record that scores less.

Quarterback Jared Goff has completed just 58.3 percent of his passes over the past three games. The Rams have lost two of those, including a 28-17 decision at Miami entering their bye week. Leading rusher Darrell Henderson Jr. (thigh/quad) has missed practice time this week and receiver Cooper Kupp (wrist) has been limited.

Seahawks at Rams Betting Pick for Week 10

Just a couple of years ago, the storyline would’ve been the Rams’ high-powered offense against the Seahawks’ stellar defense. The script has flipped.

The Rams’ offense is averaging 396.4 yards per game, which is sixth in the NFL, despite the struggles to score. With a wideout corps led by Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, they should be able to find the end zone against the Seahawks’ putrid pass defense.

Seahawks at Rams Betting Pick:

Rams 34, Seahawks 31

Seahawks at Rams Best Bet for Week 10

The Rams have had two weeks to get their offense back on track and Goff could have a big day against the Seahawks’ secondary, which has had its four projected starters entering the season play just one game together. The Rams have a great defense, but nobody has slowed Wilson yet.

Seahawks at Rams Best Bet: OVER 55.5 total points

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, 4:25 p.m. ET

49ers at Saints Betting Preview: Saints (-9/-430), 49ers (+9/+330)

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback Nick Mullens has put up 250-plus passing yards in eight of his 11 career starts and the 49ers know what it’s like to be in a shootout in this building. They beat the Saints 48-46 in New Orleans last season but their roster looks a bit different for this Sunday afternoon showcase. 

Some of the usual names are set to take the field, and Raheem Mostert could key the entire plan from Kyle Shanahan. Mostert had 109 total yards and two scores in last year’s meeting. 

But the 49ers will need help from their unheralded supporting cast to keep this one close. 

One such candidate is Richie James, who had nine catches for 184 yards and his third career touchdown in Week 9. James is likely to garner the full attention of the Saints’ veteran secondary. 

Defense has been the downfall of the 49ers on the road and personnel continues to be a concern. No Nick Bosa and constant injuries in the secondary has set up opposing quarterbacks to feast on San Francisco’s pass defense. Saints quarterback Drew Brees has three TD passes in three straight games against the Niners.

New Orleans Saints

Brees looked like his vintage self in Week 9 with a season-high four TD passes and the zip on his passes of 30-something Drew. Like San Francisco, the Saints key their plan around running back Alvin Kamara, who is in Priest Holmes-Marshall Faulk territory in terms of total production through eight games and the main reason New Orleans is standing up a 6-2 record. 

Kamara tops the NFL with 1,036 total yards — 565 receiving, 471 rushing — and would be the first player in NFL history with 500-plus rushing yards and 500-plus receiving yards in each of his first four seasons in NFL history. 

There could be a big boon for Brees and the passing game with Michael Thomas looking healthy. Thomas had 11 receptions for 134 yards against the Niners last season.

49ers at Saints Betting Pick for Week 10

Brees is rolling and the Saints are showing some teeth defensively, while the Niners are showing the wear and tear of a “Super Bowl schedule” that includes a rugged NFC West slate. 

Expect New Orleans to come out firing and San Francisco to keep it tight for a half before losing steam.

49ers at Saints Betting Pick:

Saints 33, 49ers 24

49ers at Saints Best Bet for Week 10

Kamara and Thomas get the deserved attention but the 49ers have been unable to contain top tight ends. In last year’s game, Cook hauled in two touchdowns and narrowly missed on another big gainer.

49ers at Saints Best Bet: Saints TE Jared Cook anytime TD (+200)

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 1 p.m. ET

Eagles at Giants Betting Preview: Eagles (-3.5/-104), Giants (+3.5/-118)

Philadelphia Eagles

In every other division in football, a 3-4-1 start would have you multiple games behind the leader. In the NFC East, it has earned the Eagles a 1 1/2-game lead over Washington and a two-game advantage over the Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

It also means that Philadelphia, in spite of its injury and turnover issues, can strike a critical blow towards winning the division this week if it can sweep the season series from New York. That would make the Eagles 3-1 in division games and all but eliminate the Giants.

For Philadelphia to make that step forward and perhaps become a dangerous out in the postseason, quarterback Carson Wentz must stop throwing the ball to the other guys. His 12 interceptions not only lead the NFL, but are two off his career high of 14, set his rookie year.

New York Giants

Former Giants coach Bill Parcells once said you are who your record says you are. A 2-7 mark says New York is not a good team, and cumulative stats agree with that assessment. Still, there are reasons to be bullish on their development under first-year coach Joe Judge.

A descendent of the Parcells coaching tree, Judge worked under Bill Belichick in New England and learned to appreciate what his old boss and his old boss’ old boss do. A strong running game can make life easier for all three phases and a young quarterback.

Last week, the Giants rushed for 166 yards, controlling the ball for nearly 36 1/2 minutes. That took pressure off Daniel Jones, who didn’t have a huge game but also enjoyed his first turnover-free game of the year. The 23-20 win might have been the best complimentary football New York has played in 2020.

Eagles at Giants Betting Pick for Week 10

One thing both teams do well is get after the quarterback. Philadelphia is on pace for 55 sacks at its halfway point of the year and New York’s 22 sacks rank eighth in the NFL. Imagine how much better both teams could be if they could consistently play from in front.

The Eagles have been slow starters and the Giants have gotten off to quick starts lately. If that trend holds true, New York might be in good shape to get a win that would keep it in contention for a division title. That would be fitting for the NFC East in 2020.

Eagles at Giants Betting Pick:

Giants 24, Eagles 21.

Eagles at Giants Best Bet for Week 10

When you think of NFC East football in November and December, you think of slugfests in which the scoreboard operator gets a break. Well, the Giants’ recent tendency to be on point early suggests a different idea, at least in the first quarter.

If you’re looking for a wagering angle here, take the over in the first quarter and thank us later. New York has scored at least one touchdown in the first quarter of its last five games.

Eagles at Giants Best Bet: OVER 7.5 total points in the first quarter (-134)

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida, 4:05 p.m. ET

Chargers at Dolphins Betting Preview: Chargers (+2.5/-110), Dolphins (-2.5/-110)

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers (2-6) have found ways to lose all season and their setbacks have been by an average of four points with seven representing the largest margin of defeat. Their only victory in the past seven contests has come against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars so beating the Dolphins is a must if the team aims to make a second-half playoff charge. 

A defense allowing 27.0 points per game needs to make sharp improvement after allowing at least 29 in each of the past five games.

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has excelled with four 300-yard passing outings in his first seven NFL starts and the first-round pick has thrown for 2,146 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. 

Star receiver Keenan Allen (62 catches for 651 yards and four touchdowns) has 586 career receptions to tie for second in club history with Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner from the franchise’s “Air Coryell” era in San Diego. The Chargers have just seven takeaways (four interceptions, three fumbles) and the failure to make impact plays on defense has been an issue.

Defensive end Joey Bosa (concussion) has a team-best 4.5 sacks and he was a limited practice participant after missing last week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Left tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) departed early against the Raiders and is hopeful of being cleared to play versus Miami.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins (5-3) are seeking their fifth straight victory and are making a strong run at reaching the postseason for the first time since 2016 and only the third time since 2001. 

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be making his third career start after being promoted over Ryan Fitzpatrick and the first-round pick was much sharper in his second outing, a 34-31 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Tagovailoa completed 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards and one score in his first start against the Los Angeles Rams before hitting 20 of 28 throws for 248 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona.

Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah has been a difference-maker with sacks in five straight games and he is tied for fourth place in the NFL with a career-high seven. Cornerback Xavien Howard also is enjoying a strong campaign and is tied for second in the NFL with four interceptions as he chases his career best of seven in 2018. 

Kicker Jason Sanders is performing like a Pro Bowl possibility as he is 17-for-17 on field goals and has made a franchise-best 20 straight dating back to last season.

Receiver Preston Williams (foot) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday to further dent the skill positions. Running back Myles Gaskin (knee) remains on injured reserve and replacement Matt Breida (hamstring) was injured against Arizona so rookie Salvon Ahmed (seven rushes for 38 yards in his NFL debut vs. the Cardinals) will be prepared to play a role even if Breida starts the game.

Chargers at Dolphins Betting Pick for Week 10

A lot of attention will be placed on the quarterback duel as Miami elected to take Tagovailoa as the fifth overall pick ahead of Herbert, who went sixth to the Chargers. Tagovailoa looked much more comfortable in career start No. 2 and could make another jump this Sunday.

Herbert has been sensational since becoming the starter earlier than expected due to Tyrod Taylor’s lung being punctured by a pain-killing injection to treat his injured ribs. Herbert has kept the Chargers in games but wins have been hard to come by.

Chargers at Dolphins Betting Pick:

Dolphins 24, Chargers 20

Chargers at Dolphins Best Bet for Week 10

Miami allowed 17 or fewer points in three straight games prior to giving up 31 in the win over the Cardinals. The Chargers have been giving up lots of points but perhaps Tagovailoa’s inexperience and the Dolphins’ running back injuries help make the total go under.

Chargers at Dolphins Best Bet: UNDER 48.5 total points (-110)

Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin, 1 p.m. ET

Jaguars at Packers Betting Preview: Jaguars (+12.5/-105), Packers (-12.5/-115)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Rookie quarterback Jake Luton looks to follow up a strong NFL debut as the Jaguars (1-7) strive to halt a seven-game losing streak. 

The sixth-round draft pick from Oregon State passed for 304 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) while starting in place of Gardner Minshew II (thumb) last Sunday in a 27-25 loss to the Houston Texans. Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden were both amazed by the poise and maturity the 24-year-old displayed.

The defense has been a problem area for the Jaguars, who had allowed 30 or more points in six straight outings before the close encounter against the Texans. 

Jacksonville ranks 31st in the NFL in both scoring defense (30.9 points per game) and total defense (418.1 yards per game) and is last (32nd) with eight total sacks. The kicking game has been a season-long disaster, and Chase McLaughlin will become kicker No. 6 for the team as long as he clears COVID-19 protocols.

Rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) was a limited practice participant on Wednesday, but the receiver with 30 catches figures to be available. Safety Andrew Wingard (core muscle) could be activated off injured reserve after a three-game absence.

Green Bay Packers

Veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been superb for the Packers (6-2) and is on track to set a personal best for touchdown passes. Rodgers (2,253 yards, two interceptions) threw 24 scoring passes over the first eight games and is on pace to pass the 45 he tossed in 2011. 

Green Bay ranks third in the NFL in scoring offense (31.6) and seventh in total offense (395.9) despite not having star wideout Davante Adams for two-plus games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury.

Adams is healthy now and thriving as he had 30 receptions for 422 yards and six touchdowns over the past three games to raise his season output to 53 catches for 675 yards and eight TDs. 

The defense hasn’t always been sturdy — it ranks 17th in opponents’ scoring (25.5) — but it allowed its second-lowest point total in a 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 5. Linebacker Za’Darius Smith is tied for fourth in the NFL with seven sacks and has 20.5 in 24 games with the Packers.

It is still to be determined whether star cornerback Jaire Alexander (concussion/hand) will be available after he missed practice on Wednesday. Two-time Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari (chest) is expecting to return from a three-game absence.

Jaguars at Packers Betting Pick for Week 10

This is certainly a quarterback mismatch with eight-time Pro Bowler Rodgers making his 183rd regular-season start and novice Luton taking the field for start No. 2. Following up the stellar performance could be hard for Luton with there now being an NFL game tape for the Packers to dissect.

But even if the sixth-round pick delivers a second straight solid performance, Rodgers is firing on all cylinders and has thrown four touchdown passes in four different games this year. Factor in how poorly the Jaguars play defense, and this contest will turn into a rout.

Jaguars at Packers Betting Pick:

Packers 38, Jaguars 17

Jaguars at Packers Best Bet for Week 10

Jacksonville allowed 30 or more points in six straight games before “holding” the Texans to 27 last week. Rodgers and Adams are surely salivating at the opportunity to feast on the Jaguars, so expect this one to go over.

Jaguars at Packers Best Bet: OVER 50.5 total points (-114)

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Browns Betting Preview: Texans (+3.5/-114), Browns (-3.5/-106)

Houston Texans

The Texans (2-7) have labored through a disappointing season thanks in part to a schedule that has featured six teams with winning records in the first 10 games. Houston, mired by an 0-4 start and the subsequent dismissal of head coach Bill O’Brien, has two wins, but both against 1-7 Jacksonville.

Houston is 1-3 on the road this season, with the win (27-25) coming last Sunday against the Jaguars. The Texans have competed away from home, however, with one-possession losses at Tennessee and undefeated Pittsburgh. 

Deshaun Watson remains the best thing about the Texans’ season as he has thrown for 2,376 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 68.3 percent of his throws despite playing behind an offensive line that has allowed 24 sacks. He threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 50 yards, at Jacksonville.

The defense has served up points for the opposition all season, as opponents have scored at least 25 points in all but one game in 2020. The Texans have allowed at least 31 points five times.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns (5-3) are in the playoff hunt, but play in the competitive AFC North where they’re chasing both Pittsburgh and Baltimore and can ill-afford a misstep. Cleveland, 3-1 at home, enters after a bye week but has dropped two of its last three games including a dismal 16-6 loss to visiting Las Vegas in Week 8 where it finished with a season-low 223 total yards.

The Browns have been hot-and-cold offensively, averaging 37.4 points per game in five wins but just 6.3 points in their three losses. Cleveland is a run-first offense, especially now after the season-ending knee injury to receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield hasn’t thrown for a lot of yardage (1,514) but has improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio (15-7).

Defensively, the Browns have been ineffective against the pass where they rank 24th in the NFL in allowing 264.6 yards per game. But defensive end Myles Garrett is tied for the league lead with 9.0 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Texans at Browns Betting Pick for Week 10

The Browns are in the rare position of competing for a playoff spot at the midway point, and are expected to return difference-making running back Nick Chubb (knee), right guard Wyatt Teller (calf) and tight end Austin Hooper (abdomen) from injury this week. Watson is capable of tormenting a weak Cleveland secondary, but Houston will have to devise a plan to keep Garrett from making a big impact.

Given the Texans’ weakness in stopping the run (last in the NFL in allowing 159.5 rushing yards per game), and the Browns’ ability on the ground now augmented by returning personnel, it’s easy to see Cleveland dictating the flow and pace. Without a spate of turnovers to aid the cause, Houston will be hard-pressed to make up the difference.

Texans at Browns Betting Pick:

Browns 27, Texans 17

Texans at Browns Best Bet for Week 10

With rain in the forecast, the Browns’ preference for a ground-and-pound approach and a rested defense coming off a bye week, Cleveland should be poised to wear out a Houston squad making a second consecutive road trip. 

Watson is talented enough to make it a shootout, but the Browns are in position to take that out of the equation.

Texans at Browns Best Bet: UNDER 49.5 total points (-114)

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, 4:05 p.m. ET

Broncos at Raiders Betting Preview: Broncos (+4.5/-110), Raiders (-4.5/-110)

Denver Broncos

The Broncos (3-5) play their longtime AFC West rival Raiders for the first time in Las Vegas. The Raiders lead the all-time series, 64-53-2, but Denver won the last meeting in Week 17 of the 2019 season at Empower Stadium at Mile High, 16-15, when defensive lineman Shelby Harris batted down David Carr’s two-point conversion pass for Hunter Renfrow with seven seconds remaining. It ended the slim playoff hopes for the Raiders.

Harris, who has 15 tackles and is third on the team with 2.5 sacks, won’t be making the trip to Las Vegas after testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning. 

It’s a big loss to a Denver defense that has allowed an average of 35.7 points over its last three games. Linebacker Bradley Chubb leads the team in sacks (5.5) while safety Justin Simmons has recorded three interceptions and has 14 picks in five seasons.

Offensively, quarterback Drew Lock threw for a career-high 313 yards and two touchdowns and an interception in last week’s 34-27 loss at Atlanta and also rushed for a career-high 47 yards and another TD. 

Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, who sat out practice on Wednesday with a shoulder injury, had career highs for catches (seven) and receiving yards (125) to go with a touchdown reception, his third game in a row with 70-plus receiving yards. KJ Hamler also set career highs in catches (six) and receiving yards (75) against the Falcons while Melvin Gordon leads the team with 393 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have won three of their last four games, including a 31-26 victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles last Sunday. Backup cornerback Isaiah Johnson posted career highs in tackles (six) and passes defensed (two) with both his breakups coming in the final 10 seconds of the game at the back of the end zone on back-to-back plays to seal the victory. 

The second came against tight end Donald Parham on a fade pass from Justin Herbert and was originally ruled a touchdown but the call was reversed when replays showed Parham didn’t maintain control of the ball when he landed on the ground.

Quarterback Derek Carr has been in MVP form for Las Vegas (5-3), completing 180 of 258 passes for 2,002 yards, 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions despite playing most of the season behind a patchwork offensive line that has seen nine different starters. 

Carr’s 110.0 passer rating ranks fifth in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers (117.5), Russell Wilson (117.1), Patrick Mahomes (115.9) and Drew Brees (110.3). Josh Jacobs leads a strong ground game with 587 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns while tight end Darren Waller leads the team in receptions (50) and receiving yards (395) and has four touchdown catches.

The defense has struggled, allowing an average of 385.6 yards per game including 267.1 yards through the air, which ranks 26th in the league. One of the problems has been a pass rush that has accounted for just nine sacks, including five by end Maxx Crosby. The Raiders also rank 31st in takeaways with five.

Broncos at Raiders Betting Pick for Week 10

After losing star outside linebacker and team leader Von Miller to a tendon injury in his ankle in early September, Denver sputtered to an 0-3 start but has bounced back to win three of its next five, including road games against the Jets (37-28) and New England (18-12). Despite the loss of Miller, the Broncos still have racked up 22 sacks and are allowing just 5.33 yards per play which ranks 10th in the NFL.

Thanks to the steady play of Carr and some physical interior run blocking led by center Rodney Hudson and right guard Gabe Jackson, Las Vegas has a balanced offensive attack that averages 27.3 points per game. Defensively, the Raiders have made just enough big plays to win their share of high-scoring contests.

Broncos at Raiders Betting Pick

Raiders 34, Broncos 28

Broncos at Raiders Best Bet for Week 10

Trends point this to be a high-scoring contest. The Broncos have gone over the total in five of their last six games after a loss while the Raiders, other than a 16-6 win at very windy and rainy Cleveland, have averaged a total of 60.7 points in their other seven contests.

Broncos at Raiders Best Bet: OVER 50.5 total points (-110)

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET

Bengals at Steelers Betting Preview: Steelers (-7.5/-360), Bengals (+7.5/+290)

Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, who has quickly established himself as the leader of the Bengals’ offense. The Bengals had two weeks to prep for Pittsburgh’s blitz packages but there’s still concern about the personnel in front of Burrow. 

Guard Xavier Su’a-Filo (ankle) was cleared to practice Wednesday, and center Trey Hopkins (concussion) was a full participant. However, left tackle Jonah Williams (stinger) was limited Wednesday, while right tackle Bobby Hart (knee) and running back Joe Mixon (foot) remained out.

Burrow has 25-plus completions in six games this season. Generating a ground game to balance the system is the next goal on coach Zac Taylor’s checklist. Unless the offensive line comes together this week, the Steelers’ defensive front seven personnel will be too much to handle. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Availability is the No. 1 question for the undefeated Steelers (8-0), who opened the week placing tight end Vance McDonald on the COVID/reserve list and later added quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as a high-risk close contact. 

Mason Rudolph took all the first-team snaps this week and Roethlisberger’s earliest possible clearance day is Saturday. Head coach Mike Tomlin insists the 17-year veteran doesn’t need the practice and will dial into video calls and review practice film this week to prepare to start. 

Of course, there’s ample evidence to back up Tomlin’s theory. Roethlisberger has feasted on Cincinnati defenses in his career, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 7,310 yards, his highest yardage total against any team. Pittsburgh is 23-7 in games he has played against the Bengals.

The Steelers listed wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster as questionable. He didn’t practice Wednesday. 

Offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, running back Jaylen Samuels and linebacker Vince Williams are isolating for five days as high-risk close contacts of McDonald.

Bengals at Steelers Betting Pick for Week 10

Neither team had a typical week and preparation was strained on either side with remote meetings and key personnel absent. The Steelers are far more prepared to thrive without the benefit of their usual routine and picking on the Bengals’ defense is old hat for Roethlisberger. 

Bengals at Steelers Betting Pick:

Steelers 27, Bengals 16

Bengals at Steelers Best Bet for Week 10

Burrow can move the chains, but the Steelers hold advantages at nearly every turn in this one. Unless the Steelers enter the game shorthanded, the line is being overly kind to the Cincinnati kid. 

Bengals at Steelers Best Bet: UNDER 47.5 total points (-110)

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals Betting Preview

Sunday, November 15, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., 4:05 p.m. ET

Bills at Cardinals Betting Preview: Bills (+2/+114), Cardinals (-2/-134)

Buffalo Bills

The Bills (7-2) will go for their fourth win in a row when they visit the desert to take on the Cardinals this weekend. Buffalo already has one four-game winning streak this season, as it opened the 2020 campaign at 4-0 before dropping back-to-back contests.

Buffalo is 3-1 on the road this season, including a win at Las Vegas, so a long road trip is not necessarily as detrimental as some might assume. Josh Allen’s performance will be much more important than a long plane ride, and the quarterback is coming off one of his best performances of the season in a 44-34 win over the Seattle Seahawks last week. He threw for 415 yards and three touchdowns while completing 31 of 38 passes.

Defense could be more of a question mark. The Bills gave up 34 points last week after allowing only 31 points combined in their previous two games.

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals (5-3) sure love to play thrilling games, and this week might be no different as they host the Bills. Arizona is looking to bounce back from a 34-31 loss against the Dolphins last week, which followed a three-point win over the Seahawks in overtime one week earlier. Put the scores together, and Arizona is even at 68-apiece against its opponents in the last two weeks.

The Cardinals come in hot on offense, having scored 30-plus points in each of their past four games. Kyler Murray has tossed at least one touchdown pass in every game this season, and he has five games with multiple passing TDs.

As with Buffalo, Arizona is less consistent on defense. The Cardinals have given up 30-plus points in back-to-back games and three times overall this season.

Bills at Cardinals Betting Pick for Week 10

Arizona is getting a lot of hype because of Murray and the team’s high-flying offense, but Buffalo is at least as dangerous. Allen & Co. have proved that they can travel west and win, and the Bills’ defense is capable of sniffing out takeaways.

In a highly entertaining and hard-fought matchup, look for the Bills to find a way to outlast their hosts. Allen and Murray will provide plenty of highlights with their arms as well as their feet.

Bills at Cardinals Betting Pick:

Bills 34, Cardinals 31

Bills at Cardinals Best Bet for Week 10

One could make the argument that the Bills and Cardinals are due for a quieter game on offense after stringing together some high-scoring weeks. But the guess here is that another shootout could be in store between two talented and hungry teams eager to bolster their playoff chances.

Bills at Cardinals Best Bet: OVER 56 total points (-118)

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans Betting Preview

Thursday, November 12, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, 8:20 p.m. ET

Colts at Titans Betting Preview: Colts (-2/+115), Titans (-2/-134)

Indianapolis Colts

Coming into the Thursday night game, the Colts boast the league’s third-best scoring defense at 20 points allowed per game. And defense does travel. But can their offense allow that defense a bit of wiggle room in its matchup with the NFL’s No. 7 scoring offense? Tennessee puts up 29 points per game.

Indianapolis is a middle-of-the-pack attack this year — 15th in scoring (26 points per game), 19th in total yards (360.5 per game) — that sustained a season-ending injury to starting running back Marlon Mack in Week 1. Rookie Jonathan Taylor is doing a decent job, but the offense misses Mack’s burst.

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has played all right most of the year, but he floundered Sunday in a 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, managing only 227 yards on 43 pass attempts. The Titans’ lack of pass rush could play to his advantage, as could the return of wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (groin), who was forced to sit out last week.

Tennessee Titans

No defense in the NFL needed a good game more than Tennessee’s on Sunday. Taking advantage of a limited opponent, the Chicago Bears, the Titans pitched a shutout for three quarters and didn’t allow a touchdown until they had guided the horse back into his stall.

The difference? A legitimate pass rush for once and good third-down defense for once. Tennessee, which entered the game with seven sacks in seven games, put Nick Foles on the ground three times. The Titans also held the Bears to 2-of-15 success on third down, far superior to the 61.9 percent opponents converted through seven games.

The Titans will aim to find more creases for running back Derrick Henry, who was limited to 68 yards Sunday and lost his NFL rushing lead to Darvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. Ryan Tannehill’s excellence at quarterback aside, this offense is built on Henry.

Colts at Titans Betting Pick for Week 10

The AFC South rivals meet twice in the next three weeks. Neither Houston or Jacksonville has a realistic chance of catching Tennessee or Indianapolis, so there’s a shot this division will be decided before the calendar flips to December.

Indianapolis appears to have the edge on defense, but is its offense too limited to fully take advantage of a defense that’s been shaky for most of the season? Expect that weakness to haunt the Colts as the Titans’ offense comes up with a big play late to decide this one.

Colts at Titans Betting Pick:

Titans 24, Colts 20

Colts at Titans Best Bet for Week 10

Recent trends say over, but a deeper dive into this first-place showdown suggest the under might be a good play. Indianapolis has one of the league’s better defenses, especially in preventing big plays, but blows hot and cold on offense.

Tennessee’s defense looked much sharper last week against Chicago, which isn’t saying much. But that could give the Titans confidence to play another good game, even with short prep time.

Colts at Titans Best Bet: UNDER 48.5 total points (-103)

New England Patriots at New York Jets Betting Preview

Monday, November 9, 2020, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, 8:15 p.m. ET

Patriots at Jets Betting Preview: Patriots (-7.5/-105), Jets (+7.5/-115)

New England Patriots

The Patriots (2-5) have lost four in a row for the first time since 2002. Incredibly, there had been 284 skids of at least four games in the NFL since the start of the 2003 season, and New England was the only team without a single one, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

New England fell 24-21 at Buffalo last Sunday when Cam Newton coughed up a fumble in field-goal range with 31 seconds remaining. In his past three starts, Newton has zero touchdown passes, five interceptions and three fumbles.

Damien Harris rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Bills, his second 100-yard game during the losing streak. Newton completed only 15 passes in windy, wintry conditions. The’ Patriots defense, which held the Bills to 339 total yards (149 through the air), ranks 12th in the NFL in scoring defense (23.9 points per game) and 14th in total defense (357.3 yards per game).

New York Jets

The NFL’s only winless team, the Jets (0-8) managed only three Sergio Castillo field goals, 13 first downs and 221 total yards last Sunday in a 35-9 loss to the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Sam Darnold, who is battling a shoulder injury, passed for 133 yards at Kansas City and has not thrown for more than 230 in a game this season.

The Jets have scored one touchdown in their past 13 quarters and have tallied just 94 points this season, by far the lowest total in the league. They are last in the NFL in total offense, passing and third-down success.

The New York defense allowed a season-high-tying 496 yards to the Chiefs, with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 416 yards and five scores. The Jets are yielding 398.9 yards per game, which ranks 26th in the NFL. Their pass defense sits 29th in the league while their run defense is a respectable 13th.

Patriots at Jets Betting Pick Betting Pick for Week 9

The last time Darnold faced the Patriots, which also was on a Monday night, he threw for just 86 yards and was picked off four times in a 33-0 loss on Oct. 21, 2019. Darnold did not practice Thursday, but coach Adam Gase was optimistic that he’d be ready to go Monday. Joe Flacco lost both of his starts in October while leading the Jets to only one touchdown on 25 possessions.

The Patriots rank ninth in the NFL against the pass (216.9 yards per game) but could be without cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year didn’t play last Sunday and missed practice Thursday due to a knee injury.

Patriots at Jets Betting Pick:

Patriots 30, Jets 17

Patriots at Jets Best Bet for Week 9

Newton and the New England offense couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to break out of their funk than by having the winless Jets on the runway in prime time. The Patriots have averaged 30.1 points during their current eight-game winning streak in the series. New York will be lucky to reach double digits.

Patriots at Jets Best Bet: OVER 42.5 (-105)

Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, Bills Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y., 1 p.m. ET

Seahawks at Bills Betting Preview: Seahawks (-2.5/-121), Bills (+2.5/+100)

Seattle Seahawks

The NFC West-leading Seahawks (6-1) rebounded from their first loss of the season, a 37-34 overtime defeat at Arizona, with a 37-27 victory at home against San Francisco last Sunday. The Seahawks led 27-7 through three quarters and limited the 49ers to 117 yards of total offense in that span.

Russell Wilson continues to lead the MVP conversation after throwing four more touchdown passes against San Fran. Wilson passed for 26 TDs through seven games, one shy of Tom Brady’s league record. DK Metcalf had a career day with 12 catches for 161 yards and two scores against the 49ers. He will draw an entertaining matchup this week against the Bills’ physical secondary.

Rookie DeeJay Dallas, playing because Seattle’s top three running backs were injured, rushed for 41 yards, caught five passes and scored twice. Dallas could again be pushed into a big role with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde ailing.

Defensively, the Seahawks brought the pressure after failing to hit Arizona’s Kyler Murray once the previous week. Linebacker Bobby Wagner led the way with 11 tackles and two sacks. Seattle’s D could get a boost this week with the debuts of a pair of former Pro Bowl linemen in Carlos Dunlap and Damon “Snacks” Harrison and the return of All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who has missed the past four games with a groin injury.

Buffalo Bills

The AFC East-leading Bills (6-2) rediscovered their ground game in a 24-21 victory at home against New England last Sunday, rushing for a season-best 190 yards. Devin Singletary gained 86 yards and rookie Zack Moss added 81 yards and two touchdowns as 25-mph winds whipped through an empty stadium.

Buffalo beat the Patriots for the first time at home since 2011, forcing New England quarterback Cam Newton to fumble at the Bills’ 13-yard line with 31 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Josh Allen was outstanding during the Bills’ 4-0 start, during which he had 12 TD passes, three rushing scores and just one interception. But over the past four games, Allen has thrown as many interceptions as TD passes (four apiece) and has had a QB rating of 78.0 or less in three of those games. WR Stefon Diggs, acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota, ranks among league leaders with 48 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns. 

Buffalo’s defense ranked second in the NFL last season, allowing just 298 yards per game, but has fallen to 16th this year with 358 ypg. Opposing QBs have a 97.7 rating against the Bills this season, which is worse than the beleaguered Seahawks’ defense is allowing (93.1).

Seahawks at Bills Betting Pick for Week 9

The last time the Seahawks played in Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch scored the game’s first touchdown — for the Bills. That was in 2008, a 34-10 Buffalo victory.

The Seahawks could get lucky, as Sunday’s forecast in Buffalo is for sunny skies and unseasonable temperatures in the upper 60s.

Seahawks at Bills Betting Pick:

Seahawks 27, Bills 23

Seahawks at Bills Best Bet for Week 9

The Seahawks and Bills both tend to play close games, with five games for each team decided by eight points or less this season. The Seahawks will score and if their defense plays like it did for the first three quarters last week, the Bills will struggle to reach their average of 24.8 ppg.

Seahawks at Bills Best Bet: UNDER 55.0 points

Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, 4:25 p.m. ET

Steelers at Cowboys Betting Preview: Steelers (-13.5/-114), Cowboys (+13.5/-106)

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers look to start 8-0 for the first time in franchise history as they aim to supplant the 1978 “Steel Curtain” squad for the top beginning to a campaign. 

Pittsburgh is on the road for the third consecutive week, having begun the stretch by beating two AFC title contenders, the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense (30.1 points per game) and sixth in scoring defense (20.3) while rating third in the league with 10 interceptions.

Pittsburgh has racked up an NFL-best 30 sacks with linebackers T.J. Watt (6.5) and Bud Dupree (six) plus defensive end Stephon Tuitt (six) leading the charge. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 1,628 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions but has failed to reach 200 yards in two of the past three games. Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had recorded 16 of his team-high 39 receptions in the past two games but has averaged fewer than 10 yards per catch in four straight contests.

The Steelers regain a valuable piece of their offensive line as guard Stefen Wisniewski (pectoral) was activated from injured reserve on Wednesday — he didn’t practice — after a six-game absence. Defensive tackle Cameron Hayward (quadriceps) was injured in last week’s game against the Ravens, but the outlook is good after he was a full practice participant on Wednesday.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys (2-6) have lost three consecutive games and will be starting their fourth quarterback of the season as they try to upset the Steelers. 

Dak Prescott (ankle) was lost for the season, Andy Dalton is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and rookie Ben DiNucci struggled in his first career start against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, so either Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert will start versus Pittsburgh. Neither player has started an NFL game, but Rush may have an edge as he spent the past three seasons as a backup with the Cowboys.

Dallas has scored just 22 points total in the three games Prescott has missed as its scoring average has dropped from 32.6 to 23.1. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has been unable to pick up the slack, managing just 157 rushing yards during the stretch and failing to reach 50 in two of the contests. Amari Cooper has team-best figures of 54 receptions and 588 yards but had just one catch for 5 yards with DiNucci under center against the Eagles.

The Dallas defense has allowed a whopping 266 points — a league-worst 33.3 average — despite giving up “only” 48 over the past two games. Defensive Aldon Smith (team-high five sacks) is nursing a knee injury and was limited at Wednesday’s practice, as was Elliott (hamstring).

Steelers at Cowboys Betting Pick for Week 9

Pittsburgh has been marching through its schedule with impressive victories and would like to end the road stretch with a convincing win. Having its opportunistic defense going up against a novice quarterback and a team with a minus-11 turnover margin almost seems unfair.

Dallas stunningly hasn’t covered the point spread at all this season, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance the team will do so on Sunday. It figures to be a tough day for either Rush (three career NFL pass attempts) or Gilbert (six) as the Cowboys trend toward another setback.

Steelers at Cowboys Betting Pick:

Steelers 30, Cowboys 6

Steelers at Cowboys Best Bet for Week 9

Pittsburgh should be in control of this contest from the outset on both sides of the ball. The Steelers could reach the 30-point mark and still have the total fall under due to the Dallas quarterback situation.

Steelers at Cowboys Best Bet: UNDER 41.5 (-114)

New York Giants at Washington Football Team Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland, 1 p.m. ET

Giants at Washington Betting Preview: Giants (+3/-128), Seahawks (-3/+104)

New York Giants

Tensions are rising as the losses keep mounting for Big Blue. The Giants blew an 11-point lead for the second straight week in Monday night’s 25-23 loss at home to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Daniel Jones’ sophomore slump continued with two more interceptions, giving him at least one turnover in every game this season.

Golden Tate, whose brilliant touchdown catch with 33 seconds left gave New York a chance to win, had just two receptions on three targets and expressed his frustrations. He reportedly channeled his inner Keyshawn Johnson, yelling “Throw me the damn ball!” toward the Giants’ sideline. The team responded by asking Tate to stay home on Wednesday.

Also missing practice Wednesday were cornerback Ryan Lewis (hamstring) and running back Devonta Freeman (ankle). Linebackers Blake Martinez (hamstring) and Devante Downs (shoulder), cornerback Logan Ryan (hip) and wideout Sterling Shepard (shoulder, toe) were all limited practice participants.

Washington Football Team

Washington (2-5) got healthier during its bye week. Defensive end Montez Sweat (concussion), tight end Logan Thomas (ankle), left tackle Geron Christian (knee) and wideout Isaiah Wright (shoulder) all practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Last time out, Kyle Allen passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns, rookie third-rounder Antonio Gibson rushed for 128 yards and a score, and newly promoted team captain Terry McLaurin caught seven passes for 90 yards and a TD in a 25-3 win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7.

That snapped a five-game losing streak for Washington, which allowed just 142 yards against Dallas. Sweat collected two of the team’s six sacks and No. 2 overall pick Chase Young made it four straight games with at least one tackle for loss. Defensive mainstay Ryan Kerrigan remains with the team despite reports earlier this week that he requested a trade. Washington is looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time since October 2018.

Giants at Washington Betting Pick for Week 9

The Giants have swept the last four meetings with NFC East rival Washington, including a 20-19 win in Week 6 for coach Joe Judge’s maiden and so far solo NFL victory. However, New York is coming off a short week and Washington is coming off a bye week. The Giants will keep it close — their four road losses this season were decided by a combined 16 points.

Washington has the NFL’s No. 4 defense (309.1 yards per game) but has only come up with nine takeaways so far, including one fumble recovery. That trend is likely to change on Sunday considering Jones’ ball-control issues with nine interceptions and four lost fumbles.

Giants at Washington Betting Pick:

Washington 21, Giants 17

Giants at Washington Best Bet for Week 9

When these teams met three weeks ago in East Rutherford, N.J., “Riverboat Ron” gambled and lost. Down by one with 43 seconds left, Rivera elected to go for two instead of playing it safe with the PAT and overtime. Allen couldn’t find an open man and the conversion failed.

Rivera’s risk didn’t pan out, but it showed confidence in his club. With a “play to win” attitude, an NFC Least title is on the table.

Giants at Washington Best Bet: UNDER 41.5 (-112)

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, 8:20 p.m. ET

Saints at Buccaneers Betting Preview: Saints (+4.5/-110), Buccaneers (-4.5/-110)

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees is working his way through a right shoulder injury, and was limited at practice this week, but is expected to be at full strength for the matchup of elite quarterbacks. Brees threw for two touchdowns when the Saints earned a 34-23 victory over the Bucs in the season opener.

Brees isn’t the only one on the Saints with a nagging injury as running back Alvin Kamara has a bone bruise in his foot. He also is expected to play Sunday. Kamara had just 16 yards rushing on 12 carries in Week 1.

The Saints will get two wide receivers back on Sunday night. Michael Thomas last played in the first game against the Bucs because of ankle and hamstring issues. Emmanuel Sanders has returned after missing two games on the reserve-COVID-19 list.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady had two interceptions in the Week 1 loss to the Saints, but has thrown just two more since and none in the past four games. The veteran has eight TD passes in the last three games, all victories. And now he has a new target in veteran wideout Antonio Brown, who will be active for the first time with his new team.

Brady has an NFL record 561 TD passes, one more than Brees, and the career duel and the game duel figure to be one in the same Sunday.

Brady’s success on a new team at age 43 gets most of the attention, but the Tampa Bay defense enters Week 9 third in total yards allowed per game (299.5), third in sacks (28) and fourth in turnovers (six).

Saints at Buccaneers Betting Pick for Week 9

Brady has been a handful of late as he has found a flow with his new teammates. Brown might not be ready to take over in his first game in over a year, but his presence will keep the Saints’ defense honest.

Nagging injuries to Brees and Kamara aren’t expected to be a big deal, but they don’t help. The Tampa Bay defense should have plenty of confidence after keeping Kamara in check in Week 1.

Saints at Buccaneers Betting Pick:

Buccaneers 34, Saints 28

Saints at Buccaneers Best Bet for Week 9

It is a must-see quarterback matchup, on national television no less, with Brees and Brady ready to show that they know what to do with the spotlight. In the end, the Buccaneers defense will stand up and be a difference maker but look for the total to go over.

Saints at Buccaneers Best Bet: GAME OVER 51 (-114)

Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, 4:25 p.m. ET

Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Preview: Cardinals (-5.5/-106), Dolphins (+5.5/-114)

Miami Dolphins

A rough start for Tua Tagovailoa turned out to be a win for the Dolphins in Week 8. Tagovailoa was hit and fumbled as the Dolphins fell behind the Rams last week, but the Miami defense helped keep Los Angeles and Jared Goff off balance. Miami forced four turnovers and overcame a nondescript opening outing from Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Tagovailoa won his debut while being asked to limit the damage in a vanilla game plan that more than did the trick. The Dolphins (4-3) might need more this week as the Cardinals turn loose their blitz packages to create havoc. Tagovailoa completed 12 of 23 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 28-17 victory over the Rams, and rarely pushed the ball downfield.

He’ll be contending with a few Swiss Army-knife role players for the Cardinals, who tricked MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson into a couple of guess throws that wound up in the hands of Arizona’s defense. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has alternated coverage and attack mode against young quarterbacks in the past and didn’t send extra bodies at Wilson until overtime. The Cardinals have seven takeaways in the past two games.

Arizona Cardinals

A return from the bye week started on a sour note for the Cardinals with the announcement on Monday from coach Kliff Kingsbury that the team is dealing with a COVID-19 challenge.

But Kyler Murray, who can certainly relate to Tagovailoa’s predicament, is ready to roll and could get Kenyan Drake back as soon as Sunday. Indications are Drake could miss Week 9 with an ankle issue, but he’s pushing to play. Drake has 512 rushing yards with four touchdowns and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, but he was hurt in Week 7. Without him, the Cardinals would turn to Chase Edmonds as the lead ballcarrier.

But Murray’s mobility is also a plus, and the Dolphins have had their struggles against mobile quarterbacks. Arizona leads the NFL with 419 yards per game because of his consistent pattern of making the right decision. The slim edge for the visitors is in the secondary, where Miami stocked up on cornerbacks in free agency and the draft for matchups such as this one vs. DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald.

Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Pick for Week 9

Murray is playing with the maturity and poise of a grizzled veteran in Year Two while Tagovailoa being asked to win against a playoff-caliber opponent in Game Two as a starter sets up as a mismatch. The Dolphins cover-zero defense might be good for a takeaway or two, but the inability to generate points based on the refusal to take some risks makes this a failed mission for Miami.

Dolphins at Cardinals Betting Pick:

Cardinals 25, Dolphins 16

Dolphins at Cardinals at Best Bet for Week 9

The all-out effort to preserve Tagovailoa is evident, and the rookie won’t likely be turned loose in a road game against an increasingly rabid defense. Arizona should be in control from start to finish.

Dolphins at Cardinals Best Bet: UNDER 47.5 total points (-110)

Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:05 p.m. ET

Raiders at Chargers Betting Preview: Raiders (+1.5/-118), Chargers (-1.5/-104)

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders (4-3) are feeling good about their defensive improvement after posting a 16-6 road win over the Cleveland Browns last week. Las Vegas had allowed 30 or more points in five of its first six games and still ranks 25th in scoring defense (29.0 points per game) after holding Cleveland without a touchdown. Defensive end Maxx Crosby has four of the Raiders’ seven sacks and the unit has just three interceptions.

Quarterback Derek Carr looks to bounce back from a season-low 111 yards against Cleveland and the team’s long pass play was just 17 yards. Carr has enjoyed a solid season with 1,838 yards and 14 touchdowns against only two interceptions. Josh Jacobs (522 rushing yards) gained a season-best 129 yards against the Browns and the knee he banged up during the game seems to be fine as he was a full practice participant on Wednesday.

Right tackle Trent Brown was hospitalized in Cleveland due to air entering his bloodstream while receiving a pregame IV treatment and he didn’t practice Wednesday though coach Jon Gruden said his condition has improved. Complicating matters is that Brown had come off the reserve/COVID-19 list just two days before the incident so the Raiders will likely be cautious.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers (2-5) continue to build big leads before folding in dramatic fashion and they are nearing must-win territory due to the string of collapses. The Chargers held a 24-3, third-quarter lead over the Denver Broncos last week before eventually falling 31-30 to mark the fourth contest they lost this season after holding a double-digit lead. The squad also let a 16-point advantage get away against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 7 before recovering for a 39-29 victory.

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been the real deal and has tossed 13 touchdown passes over the past four games. The first-round pick from Oregon has thrown for 1,820 yards and 15 touchdowns against five interceptions while quickly establish rapport with star receiver Keenan Allen (53 receptions for 548 yards and three touchdowns). The defense has allowed an average of 32 points over the past four games and star defensive end Joey Bosa (concussion) might not be available on Sunday.

Bosa has 44.5 sacks — including 4.5 this season — in 58 career games and lacking his tenacity would be a blow to the defense. Defensive end Melvin Ingram has been back for the past two weeks after being sidelined with a knee injury but doesn’t have a sack in four games this season.

Raiders at Chargers Betting Pick for Week 9

Perhaps the Chargers need to avoid building a double-digit lead if they want to post a victory. Herbert’s play has been terrific but his late third quarter interception with the Chargers leading by 14 and firmly in field-goal range contributed to set up Denver for its rally.

The Raiders outperformed Cleveland in the trenches last week and persevered despite Carr’s suspect outing. Las Vegas figures to be better on the offensive end against a Chargers’ team prone to playing higher-scoring affairs.

Raiders at Chargers Betting Pick:

Chargers 27, Raiders 23

Raiders at Chargers Best Bet for Week 9

The Raiders displayed last week they could play defense, but this game doesn’t figure to come close to a low total like that one. There will be more points on the board, but it is reasonable to see the total fall below the under.

Raiders at Chargers Best Bet: UNDER 52 total points (-106)

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Texans at Jaguars Betting Preview: Texans (-7/+106), Jaguars (+7/-130)

Houston Texans

A team with star power like this shouldn’t be 1-6 and playing out the string after its bye week, but barring a 9-0 finish and some spectacular fade patterns by Tennessee and Indianapolis, that’s Houston’s fate over the final nine games.

For the Texans, this game is as much a referendum of their pride as it is their ability. Their one win this year is against the Jaguars, a 30-14 decision in Week 5 days after Romeo Crennel took the reins from fired coach Bill O’Brien.

Houston should score at will if it executes decently. No team in the league sacks the quarterback less than Jacksonville, which means Deshaun Watson should have plenty of time to find open receivers. And a punchless running game actually created traction against the Jaguars, so David Johnson could enjoy a good day if the Texans commit to running the ball.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The more this team plays, the more it becomes clear their Week 1 upset of Indianapolis might become the most unlikely win of the NFL season. Jacksonville has lost six in a row, allowing more than 30 points in each game.

And it’s becoming more likely that the Jaguars will be without starting quarterback Gardner Minshew (thumb) for this one. Minshew didn’t practice on Wednesday, with rookie Jake Luton taking most of the snaps in his stead. A sixth-round pick out of Oregon State, Luton’s strength is said to be a big arm that should allow the offense to take more shots down the field.

Luton will get chances to show off that arm. With the league’s 30th-ranked rushing attack and a defense allowing 31.4 points per game, it’s hard to forecast a scenario under which Jacksonville will lead in the second half, even against a fellow 1-6 team.

Texans at Jaguars Betting Pick for Week 9

While weird things happen when teams venture on the field to play games, logic suggests this should be the Texans’ second double-figure win this year against the Jaguars. Watson is going to enjoy a big game against a weak secondary that gets no help from the pass rush.

Luton could make some plays, too, against a defense allowing 31 points per game. But Houston at least can crank up a big-league pass rush, and the likes of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus figure to find Luton a couple of times.

Texans at Jaguars Betting Pick:

Texans 28, Jaguars 17.

Texans at Jaguars Best Bet for Week 9

Sage gamblers usually hammer the over when it doubt. Plunging under the line might be your best play in this one. Jacksonville’s lost five consecutive games to Houston, and all of them ended under the over-under number.

With the Jaguars giving a rookie his first NFL start at quarterback, it might use a conservative game plan on offense, which would only drive scoring down a bit more.

Texans at Jaguars Best Bet: UNDER 50.5 total points for the game (-105)

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, November 8, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

Lions at Vikings Betting Preview: No Posted Lines (Thursday 5 A.M.)

Detroit Lions

An uneasy week will lead into Sunday’s NFC North clash as the Lions still are not certain who will play quarterback. Matthew Stafford is on the reserve/COVID-19 list after close contact with a high-risk non-team member. He has been away from the team, but if he tests negative and has no symptoms he will be able to play but otherwise Chase Daniel is in line to play.

The uncertainty is not something the Lions need after a 41-21 loss to the Colts ended their two-game winning streak. Stafford has 13 touchdowns passes, but five interceptions, with one coming in each of the team’s four defeats.

The game will mark a homecoming for former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who leads Detroit with 321 yards rushing and two TDs.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings are feeling much better about things, using one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL to defeat the Packers 28-22 on Sunday to improve to 2-5. The victory ended a two-game losing streak.

The Vikings average 144.0 yards per game on the ground, sixth best in the NFL. Dalvin Cook has 652 yards rushing this season with 10 TDs, and now has the opportunity to show Peterson that the Minnesota rushing attack is in good hands.

Cook had four TDs against the Packers (three rushing), with 226 yards from scrimmage. The Lions give up 130.0 yards per game on the ground, 23rd in the NFL.

Lions at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 9

Playing at home, and with a little momentum, the Vikings are poised to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer made it known that there will be heavy doses of Cook on Sunday against a Lions rushing defense that has its problems.

Detroit’s roster issues, with Stafford’s uncertainty and wide receiver Kenny Golladay out with a hip injury, leave the team with too many question marks.

Lions at Vikings Betting Pick:

Vikings 27, Lions 24

Lions at Vikings Best Bet for Week 9

Both Vikings victories have come on the road, but they finally are poised to break through on their own turf. Expect the Vikings to control the ball, control the clock and get the best of the Lions again after winning both contests last season.

Lions at Vikings Best Bet: VIKINGS MONEY LINE (Line not yet listed)