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Week 12 Tips

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Heading down the stretch in the NFL regular season, more and more division matchups are taking shape. In Week 12, two road teams have won divisional contests already with the Redskins and Patriots picking up victories on Thanksgiving Day. On Sunday, six more games between division rivals takes place, including five early kickoffs. We'll start in Kansas City with two teams going in completely different directions.

Broncos at Chiefs - 1:00 PM EST

Following a 1-2 start, Denver is rolling right now by putting together an 8-1 stretch the last nine games to take firm control of the AFC West. The Broncos are laying their highest number this season at Kansas City on Sunday, battling a Chiefs' team that owns just one victory in nine tries.

Denver is a perfect 3-0 inside the division, coming off last Sunday's 30-23 triumph over San Diego to complete the season sweep of the Chargers. However, the Bolts grabbed the money with a late touchdown to cash as 7 ½-point underdogs, handing Denver its first ATS loss in the last five contests. The Broncos continue to pound out 'overs,' hitting the 'over' in five of the previous six games, including four straight away from Denver.

The Chiefs have been an unmitigated disaster all season, as they turn back to former Bronco Brady Quinn at quarterback this season. Kansas City couldn't capitalize off a Monday night cover at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, as Romeo Crennel's club was drilled by Cincinnati last Sunday at home, 28-6. The Chiefs have now scored 16 points or less in six consecutive games, as they look to snap a three-game ATS home skid to the Broncos dating back to 2009.

Vikings at Bears - 1:00 PM EST

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Chicago stumbles back to Soldier Field after getting knocked around at San Francisco last Monday night, 32-7. The Bears have totaled just 13 points the last two games, but are expected to get Jay Cutler back under center after missing the 49ers game with a concussion. The task for their second divisional win on the season won't be easy against a Minnesota squad that is still hanging around in the NFC Wild Card race.

The Vikings are just one game behind the Bears and Packers inside the NFC North at 6-4 following a home underdog triumph over the Lions two weeks ago. Minnesota is fresh off the bye week, but the defense needed a break after allowing 90 points in the previous three games, all resulting in 'overs.' The Vikes have dropped four consecutive visits to the Windy City, while giving up at least 27 points in all four defeats.

Chicago's opportunistic defense isn't providing the team with points recently, creating problems on the offensive side of the ball. With Cutler expected back, the Bears will look to snap a three-game ATS skid at Soldier Field, as Chicago failed to cover against Carolina, Detroit, and Houston in the last three home contests.

Falcons at Buccaneers - 1:00 PM EST

Atlanta continues to roll atop the NFC South at 9-1, as the Falcons try to slow down a red-hot Tampa Bay squad. The Buccaneers were an after-thought for a playoff berth through September, but Greg Schiano's club has won four straight games to pull to 6-4. Tampa Bay can help its playoff cause with a victory over Atlanta, as the Bucs are just 1-6 the last seven meetings with the Falcons.

The lone victory in this stretch came last September at Raymond James Stadium, a 16-13 triumph as one-point favorites. Tampa Bay has been a tremendous team to back for bettors this season, cashing in eight of 10 games, while hitting the 'over' seven consecutive times. The Bucs needed to rally from a late 21-13 deficit to force overtime at Carolina last Sunday, before Josh Freeman's game-winning touchdown pass to Dallas Clark gave Tampa Bay its sixth victory, two more than last season.

The Falcons rebounded from their first defeat of the season, but it was barely convincing in a 23-19 home victory over the Cardinals last week as 9 ½-point 'chalk.' Since starting the season 3-0 ATS, Mike Smith's squad has compiled a 3-4 ATS record the last seven games. However, Atlanta is a solid 4-1 ATS when laying four points or less.

Steelers at Browns - 1:00 PM EST

The quarterback roulette wheel for Pittsburgh lands on Charlie Batch this Sunday, as the Steelers are running out of options following injuries to Ben Roethelisberger and Byron Leftwich. Pittsburgh dropped a crucial division contest last Sunday night to Baltimore, 13-10, while Leftwich suffered broken ribs to add injury to insult.

The Browns return home after slipping up in overtime at Dallas, 23-20, but managing a cover as seven-point road 'dogs. If there is one thing to keep an eye in regards to Cleveland this season, the Browns have not covered in consecutive games, going 0-3-1 ATS off an ATS win. The defense has played better recently, allowing 71 points in the last four contests, while hanging around in losses to the Ravens and Colts.

Pittsburgh has seen the 'under' cash in five straight games, as the offense has mustered just 26 points in the last two weeks. The Steelers own a 9-1 SU mark the previous 10 meetings with their division rivals, but the Browns are 6-4 ATS in this stretch. This is the lowest pointspread (-1 ½) in this matchup since Cleveland re-entered the league in 1999.

Titans at Jaguars - 1:00 PM EST

Jacksonville almost pulled off a massive upset last Sunday as 15-point underdogs at Houston, but fell in overtime to the Texans, 43-37. The Jags head back to their house of horrors, Everbank Stadium this week seeking their first home victory in six tries. The Titans travel to North Florida listed as a road favorite for the first time this season, as Jake Locker seeks his second career victory.

The former University of Washington standout put together his first pro win two weeks ago in a 37-3 trouncing of the Dolphins as six-point underdogs. Tennessee is seeking only its second two-game winning streak of the season, while trying to break through with its first division victory in three tries. The Titans have split the last four meetings in Jacksonville, as Mike Munchak dropped his debut last September in a 16-14 setback.

The Jags have lost all five home contests by 17 points or more, while failing to cover each time. Chad Henne makes his first start at quarterback for Jacksonville, replacing the injured Blaine Gabbert, looking to capitalize on a 354-yard, four touchdown performance at Houston. How bad has it been for Jacksonville at home? The Jags scored 37 points against the Texans last week and have totaled 44 points in five home contests this season.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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