Three games are already in the books thanks to the busy Thanksgiving schedule but there are still more than enough intriguing contests featuring teams battling for playoffs spots
There could be some more clarity in the too close to call AFC North Division race and when Aaron Rodgers gets together with Matthew Stafford, it is usually not a fun day for defensive backs.
For those who bet online, here is a look at some of the most compelling matchups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
Odds: Buccaneers -3
What to know: The Indianapolis Colts have gone over the total set by the Las Vegas odds in five of the last six games against Tampa Bay. The total for this one is 49½.
It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay but the Buccaneers still hold a 2.5-game lead in the NFC South and there is still a chance that the Buccaneers could secure home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs although they have plenty of work to do in that department.
Tampa Bay (7-3) leads the NFL in rushing defense allowing 78.4 yards per game and they will be facing Jonathan Taylor, who leads the NFL with 1122 rushing yards. The Colts are 6-0 when Taylor rushes for at least 100 yards and 0-5 when he is held under 100.
The Colts (6-5) started 0-3 and have worked their way back in the AFC South and AFC playoff race. Indianapolis is two games behind first-place Tennessee in the division and is one of 11 AFC teams with winning records.
Tampa is second in the NFL in passing offense and there is a chance that tight end Rob Gronkowski is back this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Odds: Bengals -4
What to know: The total set by the NFL picks against the spread has gone under in five of the last seven games between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. The total for this game is 45.
This is not exactly an elimination game in the AFC North but it is getting close to that point.
The Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) are a game behind first-place Baltimore. Pittsburgh (5-4-1) would be tied with the Bengals if not for a head-scratching tie against winless Detroit.
This game won’t lack for talented rookies at the skill positions.
Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris is seventh in the NFL with 685 rushing yards and also has 49 receptions. Cincinnati receiver Ja’Marr Chase is sixth in the league with 867 receiving yards while Pittsburgh tight end Pat Freiermuth has 36 catches.
Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots
Odds: Patriots -7
What to know: The Tennessee Titans are 2-5 against the scores and odds spread in five of their last seven games against New England.
The New England Patriots have the longest active winning streak in the NFL having won their last five games. New England hasn’t exactly been winning nailbiters. There was a three-point win against the Los Angeles Chargers but defeated the New York Jets by 41, the Carolina Panthers by 18, the Cleveland Browns by 38, and the Atlanta Falcons by 25 to become a factor in the AFC East Division they once dominated for so long.
New England (7-4) and Buffalo are tied for first place in the AFC East.
Tennessee (8-3), despite the loss of superstar running back Derrick Henry to a foot injury, still leads the AFC South by two games and if the playoffs started today, the Titans would hold the top seed and home-field advantage in the AFC.
New England is ranked third in the NFL in total defense while Tennessee is fifth in the AFC in point differential.
The game features two of the top pass rushers out there. New England’s Matt Judon has nine sacks and Jeffrey Simmons of the Tennessee Titans has 7.5.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers
Odds: Rams -1
What to know: The Los Angeles Rams are 0-7 against the spread in their last seven games against the Green Bay Packers.
This is a showdown against two of the NFC’s top contenders. The Los Angeles Rams (+400) are tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the second-best odds behind only reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the Las Vegas NFL odds to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Green Bay is close behind at +475.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to key offensive personnel. Green Bay running back Aaron Jones is questionable after missing last week’s game and Los Angeles receiver Robert Woods is out for the season with a knee injury.
Still, this game doesn’t lack for offensive playmakers. Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford is fifth in the NFL with 3014 passing yards while Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is second only to Arizona’s Kyler Murray in quarterback rating among players with at least 100 passing attempts. Cooper Kupp of the Rams leads the NFL with 85 catches and 1141 receiving yards while Green Bay’s Davante Adams needs 21 yards for his third 1,000-yard receiving season in the four years.
Green Bay (8-3) is running away with the NFC North Division but the Rams trail Arizona by 1.5 games in the NFC West.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Odds: Ravens -3½
What to know: The total has gone under in six of the last nine games between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. The total for this game has been set at 47.
The AFC North is quickly becoming the new “Black and Blue division.”
The Baltimore Ravens (7-3) lead a division where all four teams are separated by only 1.5 games despite dealing with an unfathomable amount of injuries at the running back position.
The Ravens have been known for years for their physical defense but this year led by quarterback Lamar Jackson, Baltimore is third in the NFL in total offense averaging 402.6 yards per game.
About the only consistent thing about the Cleveland Browns, who have been dealing with running back issues of their own, has been the pressure supplied by NFL sack leader Myles Garrett, who has 13 sacks. Jackson has been sacked 28 times which is tied for third in the NFL.
Most Sacks this season
1. MYLES GARRETT 13
2. T.J. Watt 12.5
3. MATT JUDON 10.5
3. Haason Reddick 10.5
Most QB Hits this season
1. MYLES GARRETT 26
2. Maxx Crosby 23
3. MATT JUDON 22
3. Nick Bosa 22 pic.twitter.com/n345AWFMrL
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 24, 2021
Back-to-back games by the Browns against the Bengals (a 41-16 win) and the Patriots (a 45-7) loss display why the Browns might be the most frustrating team to figure out among those who bet online.