Dallas Cowboys' Sean McKeon
Dallas Cowboys' Sean McKeon (84), La'el Collins (71) and Osa Odighizuwa (97) look on as quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates scoring a touchdown on a running play in the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)


Mike Shara

Much to bettors’ chagrin, the NFL continues to be as unpredictable as ever. Last week nearly as many underdogs won their games outright (5) as favorites covered the spread (6). Teams that were left for dead (San Francisco, Carolina, Philadelphia, Miami and Washington) all played what might have been their best games of the season, and many defeated teams that were among the top ten Super Bowl favorites as the week started, including the defending champs from Tampa Bay, Arizona and the Rams. Washington’s upset of the Buccaneers was so upsetting that Tom Brady ended his post-game press conference after less than a minute, walking away in a petulant huff. Tom’s life is so difficult, you guys – you just couldn’t possibly understand.

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As we get deeper into the second half of the regular season, the playoff picture is still very murky – especially in the AFC, where only the Titans seem to have a fairly solid postseason footing. After the Titans, there are 11 (yes, Virginia – eleven) AFC teams currently at .500 or better, including all four teams in both the West and North divisions. Similarly, the NFC probably only has 3-4 teams that are likely out of the playoff conversation at this point, though Dallas, Arizona and Green Bay appear to be in very good positions at or near the top of their conference.

Despite over ⅔ of the teams remaining at least on the periphery of the postseason possibilities (alliteration alert!!), there are still some genuine dud games this week – Miami/NYJ and SF/Jacksonville, for example. However, there are also enough games this week that will feature two desperate teams facing one another, which should make for tough betting and great viewing. After a humbling game last week that ended with them tying the hapless Lions, Pittsburgh travels down to L.A. to face the perennially confounding Chargers. The Raiders and Bengals will meet in Vegas as both teams try to prove that this really is the season they finally turn things around; and after treating the Jets like an 8 year-old with a magnifying glass treats ants last week, the Bills will try to stay ahead of the surging Patriots as they host an Indianapolis team that remains on the fringe of possible playoff picture (alliteration alert #2!). Finally, in what could be the most exciting, highest scoring game of the week, the suddenly resurgent Chiefs will host the Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium.

Only two teams have byes this week, with the Rams getting a chance to lick their wounds from Monday night’s thrashing at the hands of the 49ers, and Denver retreating back to their Rocky Mountain lair to try and sort themselves out for the final third of the season.  All times listed below are at EST. Check your local listings to see which games are available in your area. Or don’t check the listings and let yourself be surprised – let’s get nuts this weekend!!


New EnglandAtlanta (+6.5 on BetMGM)8:20 pmNFL/FOX


IndianapolisBuffalo (-7 on DraftKings)1 pmCBS
BaltimoreChicago (+4.5 on FanDuel)1 pmFOX
DetroitCleveland (-11 on DraftKings)1 pmFOX
HoustonTennessee (-10.5 on BetMGM)1 pmCBS
Green BayMinnesota (+2.5 on BetMGM)1 pmFOX
MiamiNY Jets (+3.5 on FanDuel)1 pmCBS
New OrleansPhiladelphia (-1 on DraftKings)1 pmFOX
WashingtonCarolina (-3.5 on FanDuel)1 pmFOX
San FranciscoJacksonville (+6.5 on BetMGM)1 pmFOX
CincinnatiLas Vegas (+1 on DraftKings)4:05 pmCBS
DallasKansas City (-2.5 on FanDuel)4:25 pmFOX
ArizonaSeattle (+2.5 on BetMGM)4:25 pmESPN2
PittsburghLA Chargers (-6 on FanDuel)8:20 pmNBC


NY GiantsTampa Bay (-11 on DraftKings)8:15 pmESPN

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