Inside the Lines is a weekly feature on ScouTurf.com where we outline the NFL spreads, provide a short snippet of match up insight, and give final score predictions. All lines are from MyBookie as of the timestamp of this article. Please visit our disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
Last week was a weird one as we went 3-6 against the spread despite correctly picking the winners for most games along with three (!!!) pushes (GB, DAL, KC), parking us at a 82-75 record on the season.
Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions
Aside from losing to Minnesota last year, the Lions had won their previous four games on Thanksgiving. Will they get back to that win streak this year against the Chicago Bears? No! With a healthy Khalil Mack rushing Matt Stafford and a banged up Kerryon Johnson with a knee sprain, the Lions will have an extremely difficult time moving the football. Of course the big concern for this match up is the shoulder injury to Mitch Trubisky, but even if Mitch doesn't play, Matt Nagy has a long history with Chase Daniel going back to their time in Kansas City and the lack of tape on Daniel will come to the Bears advantage for a one game spot start like this. Expect the Bears to go with a heavy dose of Tarik Cohen on tosses and stretch plays to neutralize the run stopping prowess of Damon Harrison on the inside.
Bears 28 Lions 21
Washington Redskins (+7) at Dallas Cowboys
This is a crucial game in the NFC East and whoever ends up winning the division will probably be able to point back to this game's result as to why they finished on top. The nasty injury to Alex Smith compounded with the dire injuries to the Redskins offensive line doesn't make this a favorable match up for Washington. The Cowboys defense is really playing fired-up football and the young linebacking duo of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have looked exceptional in the last few games. Let's go Cowboys big.
Cowboys 34 Redskins 21
Atlanta Falcons (+13.5) at New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been boat racing teams and anyone betting with them has seen dividends. But will this magic end this week in a divisional game on Thanksgiving night? The Falcons certainly don't have the horses on defense to keep the Saints from putting points up on the board, but shouldn't an offense with Matt Ryan, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley be good enough to at least cover an almost two touchdown spread? I'm leaning that way.
Saints 38 Falcons 28
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Buffalo Bills
The Jaguars are due to break out of their six-game losing streak, right? I don't know. Josh Allen will likely make some mistakes against a Jaguars defense led by Jalen Ramsey, who humiliated Allen in his summer GQ article, but he is also the type of mobile quarterback that this team has struggled to capture in the backfield. Leonard Fournette abhors playing in cold weather, but the forecast is calling for sunshine with a high of 47 which isn't that bad for late November in Buffalo. If Doug Marrone and the Jaguars do lose this one against the team he left, things are going to get much uglier than they already are.
Jaguars 16 Bills 10
Oakland Raiders (+10.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Raiders finally have a semblance of momentum after beating the Arizona Cardinals last week, but this optimism should be deflated on the road against a Ravens team that is fighting tooth and nail for that last wildcard spot in the AFC. Quite simply, this is the type of game Baltimore can't afford to drop, regardless of whether Lamar Jackson gets his second career start or not. But will the Raiders cover? I would be surprised if they did.
Ravens 27 Raiders 14
San Francisco 49ers (+3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are in weird predicament as they opt to go back to Jameis Winston behind center for this game. Dirk Koetter and Jason Licht know that they need to finish the season strong to stand any type of chance of returning next year, but common sense would suggest that it would be more beneficial to drop some games and get a better shot of drafting their franchise quarterback, since neither Winston nor Fitzpatrick are the long-term solution. The 49ers currently hold that first pick in April, and they may not want to relinquish their shot at drafting Nick Bosa to solve their edge rushing issues. Really weird game to pick and frankly, I'm staying away.
49ers 24 Bucs 23
New York Giants (+6) at Philadelphia Eagles
Ready for a hot take? I'm going with the Giants winning outright against the Eagles this week. The Giants are feeling themselves after that big win last week and the offense seems to finally be getting on a roll with Jamon Brown taking over at right guard. Even if they don't pull off the W, I'm still feeling the cover, and speaking of covering, who is going to be able to cover OBJ with all the injuries in the Eagles secondary?
Giants 24 Eagles 21
Cleveland Browns (+3) at Cincinnati Bengals
Hue Jackson revenge game. How delicious. Hue will want this one bad, but he also wanted a win in 2017 badly and that never seemed to materialized. I fully expect the Browns players led by Baker Mayfield to take this one personally and show that they are better now that "You" Jackson is out of the building. The Bengals pass defense is the worst in the league, and Baker Mayfield has had a bye week to prepare for this. Freddie Kitchens is about to whip up a warm dish of points, folks.
Browns 28 Bengals 24
New England Patriots (-10.5) at New York Jets
HOT PLAY OF THE WEEK
Patriots last game was an embarrassing outing against Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans. You think Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are going to allow that to happen against the Jets? No chance, bubba. The Patriots are going to win big on Sunday, bet the mortgage.
Patriots 31 Jets 14
Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have to get back on track this week, right? After getting blown out on Thursday Night Football by the Steelers and losing a one-point contest against the Lions, Carolina finally heads back home against a Seahawks team that is overachieving. If home-field advantage was swapped, the line would go the other way, but I'm comfortable taking Panthers -3.5.
Panthers 30 Seahawks 24
Miami Dolphins (+7.5) at Indianapolis Colts
Colts are on fire and first-year head coach Frank Reich has his team laser-focused on challenging for that last wild card spot in the AFC. The Dolphins would also like that spot, however, and Ryan Tannehill is set to return this week for Miami. Maybe the Colts win in a close one at home, but it would be surprising if the Dolphins don't at least cover a 7.5 point spread.
Dolphins 24 Colts 23
Arizona Cardinals (+12.5) at Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers dropped a heartbreaker last week against division rival Denver, so expect Phillip Rivers to come out of the gate with his hair on fire this week against a Cardinals team that lost to the Raiders last week. Arizona simply doesn't have the personnel up front to protect Josh Rosen against Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and Melvin Gordon should be able to run at will against a Cardinals rush defense ranked 30th in the NFL allowing 141 yards per game.
Chargers 35 Cardinals 17
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Denver Broncos
The Steelers came back from 97.5% Jaguars win probability last week to keep their impressive win streak alive, and that should continue this week against the Broncos. The Steelers offensive line is talented enough to slow down Von Miller and Nick Chubb on the edge and defensively, Pittsburgh should be able to apply a ton of pressure on a Broncos offensive line that is missing all three interior starters from before the start of the season. It's a bad match up for Denver.
Steelers 34 Broncos 24
Green Bay Packers (+3) at Minnesota Vikings
Tough game to pick in the Black & Blue division. The Packers seem to always respond well to adversity and reports of Mike McCarthy on the hot seat could have them treating this one like a playoff game. On the other side, the Vikings are looking to rebound from a divisional loss against the Bears last week and realize the back to back losses against divisional teams could put them in a hole. Stick with the home team.
Vikings 31 Packers 30
3 TEAM PARLAY: PATRIOTS -10.5, DOLPHINS +7.5, STEELERS -3
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