As we gear up for Week 15 in the NFL, there are a few favorites in the NFC that seem well-positioned to cover the spread and win their games. Those three are the Cardinals (-6), 49ers (-3), and Vikings (-3).
All are playing struggling teams and are in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. Ok, the Niners are on the outside looking in, but they’ve shown themselves able to fight through adversity all year.
Let’s break down each matchup and why the favorite is the right bet to make when you’re betting online this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (-6)
The 4-8-1 Philadelphia Eagles head to Glendale, Ariz., to take on the 7-6 Cardinals. The buzz out of Philadelphia has been around the spark Jalen Hurts provided, and it’s true – Hurts played well in his first NFL start last week.
He ran strong, surpassing 100 yards, and threw for a touchdown without an interception.
The team seemed to come to life with him at the helm. However, it was Hurts’ first start, and teams now have an extra batch of film to dissect when preparing to face him.
It’s the Eagles defense that makes betting on the Cardinals so tempting. Their secondary has been ravaged by injuries in the last seven days. Starting safety Rodney McLeod tore his ACL, both starting corners went down last weekend, and it’s possible neither plays.
Even if Darius Slay (questionable) does play, he’s let up three big games in a row to star wide receivers (DK Metcalf, Davante Adams, Michael Thomas). Now, a hobbled Slay or practice-squad corner will get DeAndre Hopkins and this Cardinals aerial attack.
Kyler Murray and Co. could be in for a big day against this secondary, and it’s this factor that has me inclined to make one of my NFL picks on Arizona to cover their six-point spread at home.
San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Dallas Cowboys
This line feels off to me. The Cowboys (4-9) have been consistently one of the worst teams in the NFL all year. The offense has slogged, and the defense has been gashed.
The 5-8 49ers come to town as the most injured team in the NFL, and they lost wide receiver Deebo Samuel for the remainder of the year.
This season has shown me how deep and creative San Francisco can be on offense. It has had different skill-position players every week and can still dial up chunk plays and big runs.
Pro Football Focus has the 49ers as the significantly stronger team for both offense and defensive ratings. The road trip doesn’t impact my decision here, as San Francisco hasn’t played at home in over a month due to Santa Clara County closing down contact sports.
The Cowboys have proven susceptible through the air and on the ground each and every week, and I’ll bet on it happening again.
Keep an eye on San Francisco rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in daily fantasy or for player props. He is the top target for a 49ers offense that will look to take advantage of the 28th-ranked secondary in Dallas in the latest installment of one of the classic NFL matchups.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
The 6-7 Bears picked up their first win since mid-October last weekend over the Texans, and now they will look to keep pace in the NFC Wild Card race against their division rival, the 6-7 Vikings.
I like the host Vikings to prove the NFL odds correct in this one to move to .500 and stay in the mix for the NFC’s seventh playoff spot.
The Minnesota offense has been electrifying all year. Pro Football Focus grades the Vikings out very favorably: First in passing offense and second in rush offense.
The Bears defense is their strength, but I like the Vikings’ firepower, led by Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, to offset that with plays throughout the day.
These teams played a month ago, with Minnesota winning 19-13. I like a higher-scoring affair this weekend in the Minnesota dome, and the Vikings are well-positioned to bring the fireworks.