1* Free Play Patriots.
Tom Brady. Brock Osweiler. We could leave it at that and just say "enough said" and that would be ample reason enough to take the Patriots in this matchup. Osweiler looked alright vs. a struggling Bears team last week but now faces a much stiffer test obviously in defending champion New England. It's true that the Pats haven't completely dominated their last two opponents, winning 27-26 over the Giants and then holding on for a victory over the revenge minded Bills last Monday. Remember, Brady and New England beat both of these teams with significant injuries on both sides of the ball, a clear testament to how deep and well coached the Patriots really are. And how awesome Brady really is. Both the Giants and the Bills gave New England their best shots and the injured Pats STILL won. Is there any question in your mind that if New York and Buffalo played as well as they did in those contests, that they'd both have beaten the Broncos easily? Beating Jay Cutler and the Bears is one thing, but beating Brady and an albeit injured Patriots team is quite another. This is what Brady and head coach Tom Belichick live for. These are the moments that these two almost always dominate in. The fact that the team is injured is not going to matter. Brady or Osweiler? We'll highly recommend a second look at NEW ENGLAND in this one.
Free Pick on Steelers +
In previous seasons this would be an obvious spot to back the Seahawks laying less than a touchdown at home, but I would have to lean towards Pittsburgh in this one. The Steelers have a huge advantage here coming off their bye this late in the season and look to be as healthy as they have all year.
Coming into this season there was concern with whether Seattle would be able to stick together an remain focused after all the big contracts were handed out and so far it doesn’t look promising for the Seahawks. Seattle is still in it at 5-5, but they don’t have a signature win in 2015.
Their 5 wins have come against the Bears (w/o Cutler), Lions, 49ers (twice) and Cowboys (w/o Romo). Interestingly all 5 of those came against teams who are either struggling offensively or were missing their starting quarterback.
With Roethlisberger healthy, Pittsburgh has one of the most explosive offenses in the game and we saw what a strong offense can do to this Seattle defense a couple weeks ago with Arizona putting up 39 points on 451 yards of total offense.
Not only do I think the Steelers will be able to move the ball and put points on the scoreboard against the Seahawks, but I think they matchup well defensively. Seattle’s offense is predicated around their ability to run the ball. They lead the league with 148.6 ypg on the ground and are 27th in passing at 219.0 ypg. That plays right into the strength of the Pittsburgh defense, which is 5th against the run (93.0 ypg). You also have to factor in that the Steelers have had 2 full weeks to prepare for Seattle’s one dimensional offense.
The Steelers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 when coming off a win. Seattle is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 at home, 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 off a SU win and 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 against a team with a winning record. Take Pittsburgh!
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Jack's Free Pick Sunday: Denver Broncos +3
The New England Patriots are going to be hard-pressed to keep their unbeaten streak going with all of the injuries they are dealing with right now on offense. They will be missing three of their four best weapons in this game against the Denver Broncos, and they shouldn’t be favored as a result.
Already without top target Julian Edelman due to a broken foot, the Patriots lost Danny Amendole (knee) and Aaron Dobson (ankle) during their win over the Bills last week. Neither of those two are expected to play. Passing-down back Dion Lewis also suffered a torn ACL in Week 9 and won’t be returning this season. The chips are simply stacked against Tom Brady and company now.
Brady was under more pressure last week against the Bills than he has been all season. In fact, he faced pressure on 45 percent of his dropbacks. Now he’ll be up against the best defense in the NFL in the Broncos, who rank 1st with 34 sacks while allowing league-lows of eight touchdown passes and 190.6 passing yards per game. I believe the Broncos’ defense is the reason they are going to win this game.
But I’ve also been impressed with what I’ve seen from Brock Osweiler. He led a couple of touchdown drives late in the loss to Kansas City two weeks ago. Then, in his first career start last week, he looked like he’d been there before. Osweiler completed 20 of 27 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns without an interception in the 17-15 road win over the Bears. The Broncos also got their ground game going, rushing for 170 yards in the win.
Home-field advantage has been huge in this series. The home team is 5-0 SU & 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. Denver is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 home games vs. teams who outscore their opponents by 10-plus points per game. We saw what this Broncos’ defense did to Aaron Rodgers a few weeks back, limiting him to 77 passing yards. Look for this stop unit to come up big once again and to lead Denver to a huge home win. Bet the Broncos Sunday.
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#NBA Free Pick from Mike Lundin
Play: Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic are coming off a pair of wins against the Knicks and the Bucks and have already secured their first winning month since March of 2012. I like their chances of closing out the month with another victory when hosting the Boston Celtics Sunday night. The Celtics are off a couple of wins as well, defeating the 76ers and the Wizards. They're just 1-4 ATS in their last five Sunday games though and 3-17 SU in their last 20 Sunday games away from home tracking back to 2012. The Magic meanwhile are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a S.U. win.