Winter conditions could come into play in several key games with the NFL schedule coinciding with the start of December in Week 13. Thursday night’s Packers/Lions game will be played indoors in Detroit, but early on Sunday, the Vikings host Seattle, the Giants and Jets clash in New York, and Houston travels to Buffalo, all possible cold weather situations.
Sunday’s second window features three games with playoff implications. The Chiefs are in Oakland; New Orleans hosts Carolina; and the Eagles face New England. The night game, Indianapolis at Pittsburgh, will also be huge for the AFC playoff picture, while the dreadful NFC East gets another Primetime slot with Dallas meeting Washington on Monday Night Football.
Let’s take a look at all of the matchups.
Green Bay (7-4) at Detroit (4-7) – Spread: Packers -3
The Packers stumbled on the road in the middle of the season after handling Chicago and San Francisco early on. Green Bay lost at Denver and Carolina before a Week 11 statement win in Minnesota. The Packers are 3-2 straight up and against the spread away from home. They lost at home to Detroit, 18-16, in Week 10 and then got shocked at home by Chicago on Thanksgiving.
This will be a third straight home game for the Lions who beat the Raiders by five points in Week 11 and dominated Philadelphia on Thanksgiving. Detroit is 3-3 in front of friendly fans and 2-4 ATS. They also beat the Bears but = lost to Denver, Arizona, and Kansas City prior to their Thanksgiving destruction of the Eagles.
Seattle (6-5) at Minnesota (8-3) – Spread: Pick’em
The first road game in a month for the Seahawks is a significant test. Seattle lost at St. Louis (34-31) to start the year and dropped games in Green Bay (27-17) and Cincinnati (27-24). They’ve won their last two on the road, though, over San Francisco (20-3) and Dallas (13-12). The Seahawks are 1-3-1 against the number on the road but beat the Steelers at home last weekend. They’ve also won two straight over Minny.
Last year, the Vikings weren’t great in their first season playing outdoors at the University of Minnesota. This year, they started 4-0 at home (SU and ATS) with wins over the Lions, Chargers, Chiefs, and Rams, but were dominated by the Packers 30-13 in Week 11. Minnesota won at Atlanta on Sunday, retaking the NFC North lead.
Baltimore (4-7) at Miami (4-7) – Spread: Dolphins -4.5
Everything has gone wrong for the Ravens this year, including the schedule. They started the season with back-to-back road losses on the west coast (at Denver and Oakland). They also lost twice on a second west coast swing (at San Francisco and Arizona). They are 2-4 outside of Charm City and 2-3-1 against the spread after beating the Browns on a blocked punt as time expired on Monday night. The lone victory on the road prior to Week 12 came by a field goal at Pittsburgh. Now, with quarterback Joe Flacco out, they have a short week and a second straight road game to prepare for.
The Dolphins play four of five at home to finish the season. Miami is 1-2 at home straight up and against the number. They were crushed by the Bills in Week 3, dominated the Texans in Week 7, and fell to Dallas by ten points in Week 11. The Fins were a no-show against the Jets in New York last weekend and fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor after the game. Miami has lost five straight against Baltimore dating back to 2007.
New York Jets (6-5) at New York Giants (5-6) – Spread: Jets -2
This is technically a home game for the Giants, which really just means their season ticket holders get to watch the two teams that call MetLife Stadium home battle in what is a massive game for both squads’ playoff chances. The G-Men are 3-2 SU and ATS at home this year, with wins over Washington, San Francisco, and Dallas and close setbacks to Atlanta and New England. They’ve beaten the Jets five straight times dating back to 1993.
This will be the second of three straight games in New York for the “road” Jets. The team is 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS at home, beating the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, and Fins, while losing to Philadelphia and Buffalo. At 6-5 overall, the Jets are still alive in the AFC Wild Card race, but (thanks to tiebreakers) are looking up at KC and Houston.
Arizona (9-2) at St. Louis (4-7) – Spread: Cardinals -5.5
The Cardinals began the year with three straight convincing wins before St. Louis came to town and beat them 24-22. Arizona committed three turnovers in the game, and went just one-for-five in the redzone. That is Arizona’s only home setback this year, though they are just 2-3 against the spread. The Cards won a tight game in San Francisco on Sunday, 19-13.
The win at Arizona is the Rams only road triumph this season (1-4-1 ATS); they’ve lost at Washington, Green Bay, Minnesota, and Baltimore. They’ve also dropped eight of their last ten to the Cards at home. Last week, the Rams got pasted in Cincinnati, 31-7, as QB Nick Foles tossed three picks. It remains to be seen whether he or Case Keenum will get the start on Sunday.
Atlanta (6-5) at Tampa Bay (5-6) – Spread: Bucs -2
This could be an elimination game in the NFC Wild Card picture. Despite allowing nearly 400 yards in the air, the Bucs beat Atlanta in overtime in Week 8 thanks to four Falcon turnovers.
The Falcons are 3-2 on the road and 2-3 against the spread. They beat the Giants and Cowboys early in the year and held off the Titans in Week 7, but dropped road games at New Orleans and San Francisco. Atlanta fell at home against Minnesota on Sunday, marking their fifth loss in six games, overall. The Bucs (2-3 home, 2-3 ATS) have home wins (and covers) over Jacksonville and Dallas, and losses to Tennessee, Carolina, and the Giants on their resume. Jameis Winston and co. lost at Indianapolis, 25-12, last week.
All-time, these division rivals have split 44 meetings.
Houston (6-5) at Buffalo (5-6) – Spread: Bills -3
The Texans started 1-4 but are on a four-game win streak and currently hold the second Wild Card spot in the AFC (and a share of the division lead). The Bills aren’t going to catch New England in the AFC East, but could challenge the Texans and others for the final playoff berth.
Houston is starting a stretch with three road games in four weeks. The Texans are 2-3 straight up and against the number outside of Texas. They won at Jacksonville and Cincinnati while losing to the Panthers, Falcons, and Dolphins. Houston won its fourth straight game, 24-6, at home against New Orleans on Sunday.
Buffalo is only 2-3 at home (SU and ATS). They beat Indy in Week 1 and crushed the Dolphins a month ago in their last home game, but lost to New England, the Giants, and Cincinnati in between. They also lost in Kansas City last week, 30-22.
Cincinnati (9-2) at Cleveland (2-9) – Spread: Bengals -7
After losing at home to the Browns last year, the Bengals smacked Cleveland, 31-10, in Week 9, making it two straight (and seven of ten) against their division and state rival. Cincy is 4-1 on the road and unbeaten against the number. Their lone loss came at Arizona, 34-31, in Week 11. They beat the Raiders, Ravens, Bills, and Steelers before that. They also downed St. Louis with ease at home last weekend.
The Browns are 1-4 at home and 1-3-1 against the number after losing to Baltimore on the final play in regulation on Monday. Their only victory came against Tennessee in Week 2.
Jacksonville (4-7) at Tennessee (2-9) – Spread: Titans -2.5
The Jaguars soft schedule continues and their best season in five years has a chance to get better as they look to beat Tennessee for the second time in three weeks: in Week 11, the Jags came from behind to knock off the Titans, 19-13. Jacksonville is just 1-4 on the road (but 3-2 ATS). Their lone victory came against the Ravens on a last-second field goal that never should have been. The Jags fell at home to San Diego on Sunday.
The Titans are at home for a second straight week after falling to the Raiders in Week 12. Tennessee is still winless in six home tries but do have a couple ATS wins in Nashville (from narrow losses to Indy and Buffalo).
San Francisco (3-8) at Chicago (5-6) – Spread: Bears -7
Two teams with first-year head coaches are looking to reverse bad trends. The Niners have not won on the road in five tries (1-4 against the spread) while Chicago is 1-4 at home (1-3-1 ATS).
San Francisco has only played one competitive road game, falling by a field goal to the Giants in Week 5. Their other four road tries were all blowout losses (at Pittsburgh, Arizona, St. Louis, and Seattle). The Niners lost a tight home game against Arizona last week.
The Bears are just 1-4 at home, losing early in the year to the Packers and Cardinals, beating the Raiders, and then dropping two-point games to the Vikes and Broncos. They’ve turned their season around with their last three on the road, though, including a stunner over Green Bay on Thanksgiving last week. With that game on a Thursday, the Bears have extra time to prepare for their duel with San Fran.
Denver (9-2) at San Diego (3-8) – Spread: Broncos -4.5
Two games against the Chargers appear to be the softest parts of the remaining schedule for the Broncos, who host the Raiders and Bengals and travel to Pittsburgh the rest of the way. The Broncos are 5-1 on the road and 3-1-2 against the number. They beat the Chiefs, Lions, Raiders, Browns, and Bears while falling in Indianapolis. With Peyton Manning on the sideline and Brock Osweiler at the helm, Denver handed New England its first loss of the season on Sunday night at Mile High.
The Chargers dropped to 2-4 at home (1-5 ATS) with a Week 11 loss to Kansas City. Their only victories in So-Cal were on opening day over Detroit and Week 4 over Cleveland. They have losses to Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Chicago. They managed to snap a six-game losing streak last week with a win in Jacksonville.
Kansas City (6-5) at Oakland (5-6) – Spread: Chiefs -3
This is the first of two meetings over the final five weeks of the season between Oakland and KC. The Chiefs are 58-52-2 all-time against the Raiders and have taken three of the last four. The teams have split their last six battles in the Bay Area, though. The Chiefs are 3-3 overall and ATS on the road. They have wins at Denver, San Diego, and Houston, and losses at Green Bay, Cincinnati and Minnesota.
Oakland is 2-3 straight up and against the spread at home. They beat the Ravens and Jets while falling to Cincinnati, Denver, and Minnesota. They managed to edge Tennessee on the road last week.
Carolina (11-0) at New Orleans (4-7) – Spread: Panthers -7
The Panthers have won two straight, three of four, and five of seven in this rivalry. However, the Saints have won four of the last six matchups in New Orleans. Carolina beat the Saints at home, 27-22, in Week 3. The Saints committed the only two turnovers in that game.
Carolina has a little extra time to prep for this contest after dominating in Dallas on Thanksgiving. The win moved the Panthers to 5-0 straight up and against the spread on the road. (They also own wins over Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Tennessee.)
The Saints are 3-2 at home and 2-2-1 ATS. They beat Dallas, Atlanta, and the Giants while falling to Tampa Bay and Tennessee. New Orleans lost at Houston last week, 24-6, failing to score a single major.
Philadelphia (4-7) at New England (10-1) – Spread: Patriots -10
The Patriots are looking to move to a perfect 7-0 at home and sweep the NFC East in the process. New England already won at Dallas, 30-6, in New York, 27-26, and at home against Washington, 27-10. Though the Pats haven’t lost in Foxborough this year, they are only 3-0-3 ATS, and three of their home games have been decided by seven points (against Pittsburgh, the Jets, and Buffalo). Tight End Rob Gronkowski was injured in the Pats Week 12 loss at Denver and figures to miss this tilt with Philly.
Philadelphia is 2-4 straight up and against the spread on the road following a Thanksgiving day loss in Detroit. The Eagles won at the Jets and Cowboys, but lost in Atlanta, Washington, and Carolina.
Indianapolis (6-5) at Pittsburgh (6-5) – Spread: TBA – Both starting QBs questionable
It’s been a bumpy ride for the Colts this year, but they are in control of their own playoff destiny, and have actually played better on the road than at home in 2015. Indy is 3-2 overall and ATS away from home with wins at Tennessee, Houston, and Atlanta; they lost trips to Buffalo and Carolina. Indy beat Tampa Bay last Sunday.
The Steelers have dealt with major injuries but can still make the playoffs and have been solid in the Steel City: 4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS. They beat San Francisco, Arizona, Oakland, and Cleveland in front of friendly fans and lost against the Ravens and Bengals. Ben Roethlisberger sat out the final minutes of last week’s loss to Seattle with concussion symptoms.
Dallas (3-8) at Washington (5-6) – Spread: Washington -4
The Cowboys come off their traditional Thanksgiving home game (a decisive loss against unbeaten Carolina) and play Washington for the 111th time. Dallas leads the series 65-43-2 and are 29-28 in DC. Washington’s won two straight and three of the last four at home, though.
Dallas is 2-3 SU and ATS on the road. With Tony Romo healthy, the Cowboys were perfect outside of Big D with wins over the Eagles and Dolphins, each by ten points. But Romo’s back on the shelf now. Washington stands at 5-1 at home and 4-2 against the number, beating the Rams, Eagles, Bucs, Saints, and Giants while falling to Miami to open the year.
(Photo credit: MarineCorps NewYork (flickr) “New York Jets vs Jacksonville Jaguars Military Ceremony” [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].)