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NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (6-8) at DALLAS COWBOYS (8-6) Line & Total: Dallas -2.5 & 51.5
Opening Line & Total: Cowboys -3 (even) & 51.5

Dallas seeks its fourth straight victory to remain atop the jam-packed NFC East division when it hosts New Orleans on Sunday.

The Saints are pretty much playing for pride at this point, while the Cowboys continue to fight for their playoff lives. New Orleans snapped a three-game losing streak in a big way, shutting out the Bucs 41-0 at home last week, but the team is just 2-5 SU and 3-4 ATS on the road this season. Dallas, on the other hand, hasn't exactly had much of a home-field advantage of late. Its overtime win over Pittsburgh last week was its only cover in the past 10 home games, dating back to Thanksgiving 2011. Dallas has won three in row, but by only nine points combined. The Cowboys are giving up 263 passing YPG in their past seven contests, which doesn't bode well against the Saints who throw for 298 YPG. Drew Brees has dominated in his two career trips to Dallas, throwing for 736 yards, 6 TD and 1 INT while leading his team to 72 points and two wins. The Saints are 12-3 ATS in the second half of the past two seasons, and Jason Garrett is 3-11 ATS as a home favorite as the Cowboys head coach. This contest will be close, but Dallas will find a way to lose like it usually does in big games to decent teams.

Brees was unstoppable last Sunday, completing 26-of-39 passes (67%) for 307 yards, 4 TD (to 4 different receivers) and 0 INT. That was quite an improvement from his previous two games (both on the road) when he threw just 1 TD pass and 7 INT. Brees' road numbers are rather pedestrian this year (85.9 rating, 14 TD, 11 INT), especially compared to what he's done in New Orleans (101.0 rating, 22 TD, 7 INT). Despite last week's 41-point outburst, the team's top two pass catchers, TE Jimmy Graham and WR Marques Colston, did not score a touchdown. Graham's scoring drought has reached four straight games, while Colston has just 1 TD grab over the past five games combined. Dallas has an average pass defense on paper though (225 YPG, 14th in NFL), with that number rising to 285 YPG in the past three home games. The Cowboys allow 115 rushing YPG (15th in NFL), but the Saints 24th-ranked rushing offense (100 YPG) has improved greatly since November with 127 YPG including five games of at least 140 yards on the ground. With both RBs Pierre Thomas (knee) and Chris Ivory (hamstring) questionable, Mark Ingram will likely be the main ball carrier again. Ingram has rushed for 158 yards on 27 carries (5.9 YPC) over the past two games. The Saints certainly need to take care of the football better, as they have committed nine turnovers in their past two road games, a huge jump from the two turnovers they had in the previous four road contests combined. The good news is that Dallas has not forced more than two turnovers in a game all season. The Cowboys have a slew of injuries on defense with the two most recent ailments to CB Morris Claiborne and LB Ernie Sims, who are both questionable with concussion symptoms.

Cowboys QB Tony Romo has played very well during the three-game win streak, completing 69% of his passes for 912 yards, 6 TD and 1 INT. Although he has thrown for a boatload of yards at home this year (346 YPG), he has also tossed 12 INT and taken 21 sacks in these seven games in Dallas. His top receiver, WR Dez Bryant, had some drops last week due to his fractured finger, but he should be able to secure the football better now that he's gotten used to the splint he needs to wear. Bryant has scored at least one touchdown in six straight games, totaling 584 yards and eight scores during this stretch. Another key Dallas player dealing with an injury is DeMarco Murray (foot). But after two shaky games upon his return to the field (3.1 YPC), Murray ran for 81 yards on 14 carries (5.8 YPC) and added 31 more yards through the air in last week's win over Pittsburgh. The Saints have allowed a league-worst 446 total YPG this year, ranking 31st against the run (146 YPG) and also 31st in passing defense (287 YPG). Dallas has committed 0-to-1 turnovers in six of the past seven games, but New Orleans has 12 takeaways over the past five weeks.

WASHINGTON REDSKINS (8-6) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-10) Line & Total: Washington -6.5 & 45
Opening Line & Total: Redskins -5.5 & 44.5

The sizzling Redskins seek their sixth straight victory (SU and ATS) and to remain tied atop the NFC East when they visit struggling division foe Philadelphia on Sunday.

Washington showed it could win without Robert Griffin III last week, crushing the Browns in Cleveland. Griffin (knee) will likely return to action this week, though rookie back-up Kirk Cousins threw for 329 yards with a 104.4 passer rating in last Sunday's victory in Cleveland. The Eagles took a step back in last Thursday's mistake-filled home loss to the Bengals, losing four fumbles and gaining just 221 yards of offense. The extra three days rest might give them a bit of an edge going into this one, but they were positively destroyed in Washington in Week 11, turning it over three times in a 31-6 loss. They could also be helped by the probable returns of RB LeSean McCoy and TE Brent Celek who have both missed time due to concussions. This game was a complete mismatch five weeks ago as the Redskins out-rushed the Eagles 169 to 80 despite Philly winning the time of possession. And things are unlikely to change with the shift in venue, as the Eagles haven't won at Lincoln Financial Field since September, giving up 31.6 PPG during a five-game home losing skid (SU and ATS). The Redskins are 5-2 ATS on the road with 29.0 PPG and 416 total YPG this year, and they are also 9-1 ATS in road games after a dominating performance (34+ min TOP, 24+ first downs) since 1992.

Griffin III was nearly perfect in Week 11 versus the Eagles, completing 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards (13.3 YPA), 4 TD and 0 INT. He has also been unbelievable on the road in his rookie campaign, completing 67% of his passes for 1,588 yards (265 YPG), 10 TD and 3 INT, while rushing for another 286 yards (5.7 YPC) and three scores. But Griffin isn't the only rookie offensive star playing in the nation's capital. RB Alfred Morris ranks third in the NFL with 1,322 rushing yards, averaging 4.7 YPC and scoring nine touchdowns. In his past four contests, he's amassed 453 yards and four scores including two last week. The Philly run defense is subpar (122 YPG, 20th in NFL), allowing more than 100 rushing yards in 10 straight games. Another Washington player coming on strong is WR Pierre Garcon, whose foot problems have cost him the majority of the season. But he's caught 23 passes for 340 yards and 3 TD over his past four games, finding the end zone in each of the three games that Griffin has started. The Eagles are slightly above average in pass defense (220 YPG, 13th in NFL), but have held four of the past six opponents to less than 200 passing yards, including a mere 135 YPG and 4.4 YPA over the past two games. Although Philly forced two Bengals turnovers last week, the team entered that contest with five straight games of zero takeaways. And the Redskins pride themselves on ball protection, committing just four turnovers in the past seven games combined.

With Michael Vick still bothered by concussion symptoms, QB Nick Foles will make his sixth straight start on Sunday. He started off December throwing the football quite well with 632 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT in two games, but Foles was off the mark last week versus Cincinnati, completing only 16-of-33 passes for 180 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Although the Redskins possess the third-worst passing defense in the NFL (285 YPG), Foles struggled mightily against them in Week 11 -- his first career start -- when he completed just 21-of-46 throws for 204 yards (4.4 YPA), 0 TD and 2 INT. One player that performed admirably that day was LeSean McCoy, who had 112 total yards before suffering a concussion in fourth-quarter garbage time. In six career games in this series, McCoy has 687 total yards (115 YPG) with 2 TD. McCoy's return couldn't come at a better time, as his fill-in, RB Bryce Brown, has been horrible in the past two games with just 40 yards on 28 carries (1.4 YPC). The Redskins rank sixth in the NFL in run defense (96 YPG), holding nine of their 14 opponents to less than 95 yards on the ground. Washington's defense also has 10 multi-turnover games in 2012, which is not good news for a careless Philadelphia offense that is tied with Kansas City for the most giveaways in the NFL this year with 34.

NEW YORK GIANTS (8-6) at BALTIMORE RAVENS (9-5) Line & Total: Giants & 47
Opening Line & Total: Pick 'em & 47.5

Two struggling teams that are still hoping to capture their respective division titles meet on Sunday when the Baltimore hosts the New York Giants.

The Ravens are in complete disarray right now. They've lost three in a row, SU and ATS, and they seemed to press the panic button in firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron prior to last week. Things weren't any better under new OC Jim Caldwell last Sunday, as they couldn't move the ball until garbage time in a 34-17 home loss to the Broncos. The potential return of LB Ray Lewis (triceps) could give them a needed boost defensively. The Giants are coming off an absolute dud of their own, getting shut out 34-0 in Atlanta. They've been awful on the road, getting outscored 82-29 over their past three road games, all SU and ATS defeats. Baltimore is a dismal 2-5 ATS at home this year, allowing 23.6 PPG and 385 total YPG to visiting teams, while New York is giving up just 19.3 PPG and 362 total YPG on the road this year where it is still 3-3-1 ATS despite the recent slump. The Ravens are 3-8-1 ATS in their past 12 games and are also 0-6 ATS at home when coming off a loss since the start of the 2010 season. The Giants, meanwhile, are 25-13 ATS (66%) on the road under Tom Coughlin when playing against a team with a winning record.

Eli Manning continues to flounder on the road this season with a 77.3 passer rating (6.9 YPA, 5 TD, 6 INT), including last week's 38.9 rating (13-of-25, 161 yds, 0 TD, 2 INT). However Manning expects to have a heavy workload on Sunday, as the Ravens pass defense ranks 22nd in the NFL with 242 passing YPG allowed. Manning will once again rely on top receivers Victor Cruz (79 rec, 1,019 yds, 9 TD) and Hakeem Nicks (692 rec. yds), but last week it was Domenik Hixon who led the team with 80 receiving yards on five catches. New York's running game is not in great shape with top RB Ahmad Bradshaw (knee) as a game-time decision. And the Ravens porous run defense (132 YPG allowed, 26th in NFL) will certainly improve if Ray Lewis returns to action, like he is expected to do. However, Giants rookie RB David Wilson has been outstanding in the past two weeks, rushing for 155 yards and 2 TD on just 25 carries (6.2 YPC).

Like Manning, Ravens QB Joe Flacco has also had much better success on his home turf (96.8 rating, 13 TD, 5 INT) than on the road (75.3 rating, 7 TD, 5 INT). However, his past two home games (both losses) have been shaky, as he's completed just 48.6% of his passes for 6.0 YPA, 3 TD and 2 INT. He expects to look much sharper against a generous Giants pass defense allowing 254 YPG (5th-most in NFL). Flacco will also likely have the services of top WR Torrey Smith (concussion) who returned to practice Thursday and expects to suit up on Sunday. But per usual, this Baltimore offense revolves around RB Ray Rice who has rushed for 1,031 yards (4.5 YPC) and 9 TD. However, Rice has just one 100-yard game in the past nine contests and he was bottled up versus Denver last week with just 38 yards on 12 carries (3.2 YPC). He should be able to have some success on Sunday though, as the Giants rank 22nd in rushing defense at 124 YPG.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (8-6) at PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-7) Line & Total: Pittsburgh -3.5 (even) & 42
Opening Line & Total: Steelers -4.5 & 43.5

Cincinnati tries to keep its playoff hopes alive Sunday when it visits a place it hasn't won very often, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

This one is pretty close to a playoff game, as these two teams battle for a wild card spot. The Steelers have absolutely owned the Bengals over the past three seasons, beating them five straight times, SU and ATS by 12.8 PPG on average. They won in Cincinnati in Week 7, 24-17, in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score would indicate. The Steelers outgained Cincy 431-185, and completely shut down the Bengals by simply doubling WR A.J. Green, who finished with one catch for eight yards. Though Pittsburgh's injury-ravaged secondary could open the door a little bit more for QB Andy Dalton, he has a 48.8% completion percentage in three career games against the Steelers. Despite the series history, these teams are trending in opposite directions. The Bengals are 5-1 (SU and ATS) in their past six games both overall and on the road, while the Steelers are 1-4 SU (1-3-1 ATS) in their past five games. Cincy is also 7-0 ATS on the road following an ATS win over the past two seasons, while Pittsburgh is 7-16 ATS (30%) in all games played on a grass field during this same time frame.

Cincinnati has moved to just one game back of Baltimore for the division lead after winning five of its past six contests. The Bengals crushed the Eagles 34-13 in Philadelphia last Thursday, making them 5-1 (SU and ATS) in the past six road tilts. QB Andy Dalton has not been strong in his career versus the Steelers with a paltry 410 passing yards (137 YPG), 5.0 YPA, 4 TD and 3 INT in three games against them. Although Pittsburgh has some key injuries in the secondary, this is still the NFL's top defense in terms of total yardage (274 YPG), ranking 4th against the run (93 YPG) and first in passing defense (181 YPG). Although A.J. Green couldn't get open last game, the Steelers won't have CB Ike Taylor (ankle) this time, and could also be without CBs Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen, who are both questionable with hip injuries. Cincy will try to establish the run with RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis who has 543 rushing yards (5.1 YPC) over his past five games. Cincinnati has been a bit sloppy recently with six turnovers in the past three games and 11 sacks taken in just the past two games.

The Steelers have committed 18 turnovers during their current 1-4 SU (1-3-1 ATS) slump, some of which have been caused by their quarterbacks taking a dozen sacks during this stretch. Pittsburgh will rely on the arm of QB Ben Roethlisberger, who has been up-and-down in his career in this series, posting a 13-4 record, but throwing for a pedestrian 21 TD and 16 INT in 17 regular season starts versus the Bengals. He did throw for 285 yards in the Week 7 win though, and he will need to be on top of his game again considering how bad the Steelers have been rushing the football recently. In the past four games, they have a pathetic 71 rushing YPG on 3.5 YPC. The Bengals have a great defense, especially recently where they have 15 takeaways and 20 sacks over the past six games. For the season, Cincinnati ranks 9th in rushing defense (101 YPG) and 12th in passing defense.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-3-1) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-5) Line & Total: San Francisco -1 & 39
Opening Line & Total: 49ers Seattle -1 & 40.5

The top two teams in the NFC West will close out Week 16 when San Francisco looks to retain its dominance over Seattle on Sunday night.

The Niners have won four straight meetings SU, but the Seahawks have covered in each of the past two matchups. When the teams met in San Francisco in Week 7, the 49ers smothered Russell Wilson in a 13-6 victory, as the rookie went 9-for-23 for 122 yards and an interception. Alex Smith was still under center for San Francisco at that point, but new starter Colin Kaepernick has added a new dimension to their offense. The team is 4-1 SU and ATS with Kaepernick under center, including last week's impressive win at New England when he threw 4 TD passes. The Seahawks are also surging too, scoring 131 points (43.7 PPG) during a three-game win streak with back-to-back 50-point outbursts. This game features the top-two scoring defenses in the NFL, each allowing 15.6 PPG. Although it's been a while since Seattle won in this series, this team has been perfect at home, going 6-0 (SU and ATS) and outscoring these visitors by a whopping 18.7 PPG margin (30.2 to 11.5). And although the Niners were able to capitalize on New England's mistakes (4 turnovers) last week, they still let the Patriots erase a 28-point deficit and rack up 520 yards of total offense. That's not a good thing when facing a team that became the first NFL team in 62 years to score 50+ points in two straight games. The Seahawks are 8-1 ATS when facing a winning team in the past two seasons, and 11-3 ATS when revenging a loss against an opponent in the past three seasons.

Kaepernick has a 104.6 QB rating in his five starts, throwing for 1,088 yards (8.5 YPA), 7 TD and 2 INT while running for another 202 yards and two scores. He could have a tough time repeating these impressive numbers though, as Seattle ranks third in the NFL in total defense (304 total YPG), able to defend both the pass (198 YPG, 3rd in NFL) and run (106 YPG, 10th in league). Although Kaepernick has never faced Seattle's defense in his career, he's sure to get plenty of notes from RB Frank Gore who has played 13 times against the Seahawks, totaling 1,632 yards from scrimmage (126 YPG) and 5.4 yards per carry. In the Week 7 matchup, Gore ran for 131 yards on just 16 attempts (8.2 YPC), while adding five receptions for 51 yards. The Niners don't turn the ball over much, with 10 games of 0-or-1 giveaways this year. But the Seahawks have a slew of playmakers, forcing 17 turnovers in the past six games (5-1 SU) including 11 in just the past two weeks. However, the secondary is a mess, as they could be missing top CB Richard Sherman, who is waiting on his appeal of a four-game suspension for PEDs, the same reason CB Brandon Browner will not play on Sunday night. Two other CBs are also questionable with hamstring injuries -- Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant.

Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson had a tough night in San Francisco in Week 7, but he has been outstanding ever since that game. In the past seven contests, Wilson has a 111.3 passer rating, completing 66% of his throws for 1,467 yards (8.2 YPA), 13 TD and 2 INT. He has also rumbled for 283 yards on 6.6 YPC during this stretch, rushing for 3 TD in last week's 50-17 trouncing of the Bills in Toronto. Seattle has an NFC-best 33.4 PPG during these seven games. RB Marshawn Lynch has also been running very well lately with six 100-yard outputs in his past eight games, totaling 830 yards (5.8 YPC) and 8 TD. In five career meetings with San Francisco, Lynch has rushed for 406 yards on 5.1 YPC, including back-to-back 100-yard efforts. In the Week 7 visit to San Francisco, Lynch rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries (5.4 YPG). But the Niners are not an easy team to gain yardage against, as they rank 2nd in the NFL in total defense (293 YPG), allowing just 202 passing YPG (5th in league) and 91 rushing YPG (3rd in NFL). However, star DL Justin Smith (elbow) is doubtful to play in this game after injuring himself last week.

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