Our staff, led by handicapper Vegas Vic, picks this week's games.
Quick hit: Seattle opened as a home 'dog for the first time since Week 6 in 2012 when they beat the visiting Patriots outright as four-point underdogs. The Seahawks are 43-7 straight-up at home in the Russell Wilson era, but just 3-2 this season. They opened as 3-point favorites against Atlanta, but enough scratch was put on the Falcons that the Seahawks went off as 1-point underdogs. The quarterbacks who have won up in Seattle in the last six seasons: Carson Palmer (2013, 2015, 2016), Cam Newton (2015), Case Keenum (2015), Kirk Cousins (2017) and Matt Ryan (2017).
Eagles vs. spread: 9-2
Seahawks vs. spread: 4-6-1
Vegas Vic's take: Look ahead? Everyone is already hyping next week's game against the Rams as the preview of the NFC Championship. That might actually happen, but to look past Seattle — even a wounded group of Seahawks — could be a big mistake. Yeah, the Birds looked spectacular against the Bears last week, hanging 31 on the board while allowing only three. That was against Chicago rookie Mitchell Trubisky who is dead last in QBR at 22.0 and was pathetic last week (17-for-33 for 147 yards with no TDs and two interceptions). Now they get the multi-dimensional Russell Wilson, and it will not be that easy. Especially in front of the loudest fans in the NFL. The Green Machine hasn't really seen a top flight/duel threat QB since playing at Carolina in Week 6, which they won by only five, 28-23. (Dak Prescott is not a top flight QB without Ezekiel Elliott.) Expecting a tight fit, gonna say Eagles and over with a 27-24 final.
Quick hit: The Lions are 2-5 in the game after Thanksgiving with Matthew Stafford at quarterback. One of those wins was last year when they went to New Orleans and surprised the Saints.
Lions vs. spread: 5-5-1
Ravens vs. spread: 5-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: If Baltimore looked shaky against Tom Savage, the Ravens are bound to have trouble with Matthew Stafford.
Quick hit: This became a mildly interesting game when the 49ers announced that Jimmy Garoppolo was going to make his first start since being acquired from New England for a second-round pick. This will be the third start for Garoppolo, who was taken 62nd overall in 2014.
49ers vs. spread: 5-6
Bears vs. spread: 5-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: You're all familiar with the Doppler effect right? They say it's the change in frequency of a wave. We say that it also means the change in San Francisco's fortunes with Jimmy Garoppolo getting the keys to the offense.
Quick hit: Minnesota has won its last seven outright and covered its last six … Atlanta has won its last three, covering each time.
Vikings vs. spread: 8-3
Falcons vs. spread: 5-6
Vegas Vic's take: Minny comes in with an amazing 30-8 (79%) spread record against teams outside of the NFC North.
Quick hit: The Internet had a ball when the Patriots played at Buffalo last year, and it had nothing to do with the four touchdown passes Tom Brady threw.
Patriots vs. spread: 7-4
Bills vs. spread: 5-4-2
Vegas Vic's take: He might be scamming us, but Bill Belichick keeps telling us that Tom Brady has an Achilles problem. It might not take him out of action, but like the way the Buffs have responded with Tyrod Taylor back at QB.
Quick hit: The Broncos have lost seven in a row, the franchise's longest losing streak in 50 years. As if that wasn't bad enough, the flu has hit Denver's locker room.
Broncos vs. spread: 2-8-1
Dolphins vs. spread: 3-6-2
Vegas Vic's take: Denver rides in on an 0-8 run and is favored. What am I missing? Swim with the Fish, but only in the shallow water.
Quick hit: Cardinal O'Hara product Tom Savage was getting ridiculed on social media for the televised portion of his press conference after the Texans lost for the fourth time in five games. He basically walked to the podium and then walked out. But that's only part of the story. See the Tweet below.
Texans vs. spread: 7-4
Titans vs. spread: 4-6-1
Vegas Vic's take: In the first game at Houston, Tennessee was humiliated, 57-14. Payback is a, well, you know.
Quick hit: The Jags won the first meeting, in Indy, 27-0 and should be in a foul mood after laying an egg last week and losing at Arizona. Jags RB Leonard Fournette's attempts-yards the last three games are 17-33, 28-111, 12-25.
Colts vs. spread: 6-5
Jaguars vs. spread: 6-5
Vegas Vic's take: Never believe what a coach says about his team, because it's almost always hooey. (Dang, that could be the first time I ever used "hooey".) Anyway, since getting bageled by the Jaguars, Indy has been ultra competitive, losing by a point to the Bengals, beating the Texans by six, losing to the Steelers by three and the Titans by four. Oh yeah, the Horseshoes would love to avenge the bagel they ate at home against Jax, and expecting a final score that should stay under double digits.
Quick hit: The Packers are 1-5 without Aaron Rodgers, counting the game he broke his collarbone in the first quarter. They've covered two of those six, including last Sunday night as a 14-point underdog in a three-point loss at Pittsburgh. Jameis Winston (shoulder) will make his first start for the Bucs since Week 9.
Buccaneers vs. spread: 3-7-1
Packers vs. spread: 5-6
Vegas Vic's take: Jameis Winston is back. Big freakin' deal. Guess the Vegas guys heard that Double V was thinking about using Green Bay as a best bet. After opening Tampa at -1.5, the line has swung around, with the Pack now -1, and probably heading higher. Why are we best betting the Cheeseheads? They showed a huge heart against the Steelers, losing 31-28 on a late field goal after eating a 23-0 bagel at home the week before against the Ravens. Unfortunately, it ain't gonna be the frozen tundra on Sunday — expecting like mid-40s — but it's the Bucs defense that makes us tingle. Last year, they had the NFL's best third-down defense. This year, it's the worst! Take Brett Hundley's performance against a formidable Pittsburgh D last week (three TDs, no picks) and throw in Tampa's recent work against the spread (covering only one of the last nine) and you get this week's Best Bet.
Quick hit: Kansas City has lost five of six straight-up and against the spread. Additionally, five of those six have been under. The Chiefs offense has scored three touchdowns in three games. It had six in the opener against New England in what seems like 10 years ago.
Chiefs vs. spread: 6-5
Jets vs. spread: 6-4-1
Vegas Vic's take: The winds will not be howling at over 40 mph like the last time KC was at MetLife Stadium. Redemption for Alex Smith.
Quick hit: Red-hot Saints rookie leads the league in scrimmage yards since Week 7 with a wonderfully numerical 777. He also has seven touchdowns in that span.
Panthers vs. spread: 7-3-1
Saints vs. spread: 7-4
Vegas Vic's take: New Orleans is marching in with a 4-0 spread perfecto at home, so we'll drop some love, but only puppy love. Keep the action light.
Quick hit: Would love to see a nice game from Cleveland's Josh Gordon, who is trying to turn his life around after missing most of the last three years because of suspensions. He caught his last pass from Jason Campbell (yikes) in 2013.
Browns vs. spread: 2-9
Chargers vs. spread: 6-4-1
Vegas Vic's take: Fourteen. Very interesting number. San Diego — oops! gimme a full season and I'll remember to call 'em Los Angeles — is favored by 14 points. The Lightning Bolts have covered five of the last six, and have outscored the opposition by 82-30 the last two times out. And the 14? After last week's loss at Cincinnati, the Brownies are 0-14 on the road the last two seasons, and have covered only four of the last 21 overall.
Quick hit: Rams DT Aaron Donald has five sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in his last six games. Donald, you may recall, missed all of training camp and Week 1 holding out for a new contract that never came. Donald's rookie contract expires after next season. The $3.2 million he is due to make this season is 33rd among players at his position.
Rams vs. spread: 7-4
Cardinals vs. spread: 3-7-1
Vegas Vic's take: Last time out, it was L.A. by 33-0 over the Cards in London. Back in Arizona, it'll be closer, like 28-17 for the visitors.
Five semi-current events from the last time the Giants played a game without Eli Manning as their starter: 1) It was Nov. 14, 2004 2) Kurt Warner started and they lost to the Cardinals 3) Ryan Howard just hit 37 homers at Double-A Reading 4) George W. Bush narrowly won re-election, beating out John Kerry 5) Peyton Manning was 0-5 against Tom Brady.
Giants vs. spread: 4-7
Raiders vs. spread: 4-6-1
Vegas Vic's take: No Eli and you're gonna rock the New Yorkers? You lost what is left of your mind, Vic? Nah. Check me. The Giants might not have Manning the younger, but the defense is still solid. On the other side, the Silver & Black are without top two receivers Amari Cooper (concussion) and Michael Crabtree (suspension). And since Oakland — soon to be Las Vegas — has covered only two of the last nine, we're gonna buy the underdogs from New York.
Quick hit: Pittsburgh is 3-0-1 against the spread in Cincinnati since 2014.
Steelers vs. spread: 6-5
Bengals vs. spread: 6-5
Vegas Vic's take: Pitt has won six of the last seven in Cincy and should extend the run with another W, and probably a cover.
Cowboys 38, Redskins 14: Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and Alfred Morris ran for 127 yards as Dallas finally won a game without Ezekiel Elliott.
Posted in Thursday's Daily News