December Team Trends
December 2, 2013
By Marc Lawrence
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And down the stretch they come.
With December upon us, the 2013 NFL season heads in to the final quarter of the season and with it our final take on monthly teams trends.
Please note that all trends are ATS (Against the Spread) unless noted otherwise.
Good: Whether Seattle had a good team or a not so good team, they always are tough to beat at home. This is true in December as well at 31-15 ATS. Besides the big Monday night battle with New Orleans, their final two games of the season are at Century Link Field against Arizona and St. Louis.
Keep an eye on (Good): Aaron Rodgers is expected to return and Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy has stated his team needs a 4-0 finish to have a shot at the playoffs. At home this month, the Packers are 30-16 ATS and Atlanta along with Pittsburgh will visit, giving them two shots at covers.
Keep an eye on (Bad): Large group to keep an eye on here. St. Louis is 16-26 ATS and will have NFC South teams New Orleans and Tampa Bay in weeks 15-16.
The New York Jets slate of Miami, Oakland and Cleveland is not necessarily foreboding, but the offense is sure to have coal left in the stocking of the quarterback position. Gang Green is 16-30 ATS in New Jersey.
New Orleans is 18-32 ATS at home and at least part of this in recent years is they have wrapped up the division late in the season and are playing backups. Before Drew Brees and Sean Payton, they just stunk.
Oakland has been a play against home team no matter the month for years and facing Kansas City and Denver is not likely to improve their chances.
Good: The hottest team in the NFL, Carolina, has been road warriors for years and is a sensational 24-12 ATS in the final month of the year. The Panthers have a HUGE game at New Orleans on Dec. 8 and end the season at hapless Atlanta.
Bad: This flies under the radar unless you are sharp handicapper or a Bears fan. Chicago is Grinch-like 11-32 ATS in road games, stealing money from its followers and makes trips to Cleveland and Philadelphia in consecutive weeks. Wonder what those in Whoville will be thinking?
Before Jim Harbaugh arrived, San Francisco was ripe play against material late in the season, accounting for their 16-32 ATS figure. They will go to Tampa Bay and Arizona to improve that number.
Keep an eye on (Bad): Like cold weather in the Midwest and East this time of year, Dallas struggling on the road fits the season. The Cowboys are 19-32 ATS away and will be in the Windy City for a Monday night affair and at the hated Redskins just before Christmas, trying to win a division title.
Bad: The weather might be nice in South Florida, but the Miami Dolphins are scarier than room full of Santa Clauses when doling out points. The Fins are a miserable 20-41 ATS as favs. Two contests to possibly be careful of the Dolphins are Week 16 at Buffalo and the season finale versus the Jets.
Keep an eye on (Good): Green Bay is a fantastic 44-23 in December and if Rodgers stays healthy, they will be favored in their two home games. But with how unsightly the defense has become, little chance they will be a favorite at Dallas or Chicago.
Keep an eye on (Bad): We won’t know for sure, but Dallas could be favored as many as three times this month and conceivably four if the public likes them against the Bears. At 18-33 ATS, it might be wise to find another team to consider for this role. Note: Tony Romo is 4-14 ATS as a favorite during December in his NFL career.
The New York Jets will be handing out points to Oakland and Cleveland, but with their quarterback situation and a 14-26 ATS mark, this might be harder to swallow than Aunt Margaret’s fruitcake.
Good: With Carolina being such a good wager on the road, naturally they would be a Play On underdog. However, with this year’s team, fewer opportunities will be available and just the Dec. 8th matchup at New Orleans should place them in this role.
Besides Carolina, Seattle also fits the bill and they are 39-19 ATS on the receiving end of digits and they might see only one or two points at San Francisco on the second Sunday of the month.
Bad: With how bad the Chicago Bears defense is in 2013, they should be a frequent underdog in December and could well add onto an abysmal 16-34 ATS mark.
Keep an eye on (Good): New England is 21-11 ATS in the underdog role and only a trip Baltimore could place them in that position this month.
The New York Giants are notorious closers and are a sparkling 31-18 ATS as a pooch. This year’s team lacks the same qualities of more recent vintage and they might be hard-pressed to match previous levels at San Diego, vs. Seattle and at Detroit in the middle games of the month.
Keep an eye on (Bad): St. Louis in November showed signs of improvement, but with three division road games and hosting New Orleans, hard to imagine they will improve as underdogs at 19-33 ATS.
Good: No team in any month can match Carolina’s 23-8 ATS record versus division opponents and they will have four shots against their rivals to close 2013.
New England is also very good at 28-14 ATS, being the dominant team for more than a decade in the AFC East. The Patriots will be at Miami on the 15th and host Buffalo in the final game of the season.
Keep an eye on (Bad): Starting the month as part of a large group of 5-6 teams with a chance to be a wild card club, Miami will play in division four times and with how the Jets and Buffalo are playing, the Dolphins could make a move. They will have to overcome the ghosts of December past with a 16-31 ATS mark.