Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
Thursday's Tip Sheet
Bears (-3, 39) at Lions – 12:30 PM EST
These two struggling NFC North squads kick off Week 13 at Ford Field and play on Thanksgiving for the second straight season. Chicago (5-6 SU, 3-8 ATS) won for the second time in three weeks after holding off the Giants at Soldier Field, 19-14 on Sunday. The Bears failed to cover as six-point favorites as New York scored a late touchdown to get within the number, but Chicago posted 16 third quarter points to erase a 7-3 halftime deficit.
The Bears won in spite of rushing for 65 yards on 26 carries and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky getting intercepted twice. Chicago dropped to 1-6 ATS the last seven games, but the only positive note for the Bears is they have allowed 17 points or less in three consecutive contests, while hitting the UNDER in five straight games. However, the Bears have not won a game away from Soldier Field since a Week 3 blowout of the Redskins, 31-15 as five-point favorites.
The Lions (3-7-1 SU, 4-7 ATS) remain at the bottom of the NFC North after losing their fourth consecutive game in Sunday’s 19-16 setback to the Redskins. Washington picked up only its second win of the season in spite of not scoring an offensive touchdown as the Lions held the Redskins to four field goals and a kickoff return for a score. However, quarterback Jeff Driskel was intercepted three times and Detroit managed to lose even though it rushed for 175 yards.
Detroit lost its fourth straight road game and slipped to 0-3 ATS this season when listed as a favorite. The last time the Lions covered a game came in the Week 6 Monday night setback at Green Bay, 23-22 as 3 ½-point underdogs, as Detroit is riding an 0-6 ATS stretch the previous six weeks. To makes matters worse, the last home cover came in a Week 4 loss to Kansas City, while the only home ATS win for Matt Patricia’s team in a victory occurred in Week 2 against the Chargers.
These division rivals hooked up at Soldier Field in Week 10 as Chicago held off Detroit, 20-13 to barely cash as six-point home favorites. The Lions announced the morning of the game that veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford would not start due to a back injury, opening the door for Driskel to make his sixth career start. Driskel threw for 269 yards and led Detroit to an early 6-0 lead, but Chicago scored the next 20 points to take control of the game.
Chicago has captured the last three meetings with Detroit since the start of last season, including a 23-16 road triumph on Thanksgiving in 2018 as three-point favorites. Trubisky missed that win due to injury as backup Chase Daniel tossed a pair of touchdowns and Chicago overcame 38 yards rushing for the win thanks to a late Eddie Jackson interception return for a score.
Bills at Cowboys (-6 ½, 45) – 4:30 PM EST
Not many people thought going into the season that Buffalo would own two more wins than Dallas heading into their interconference Thanksgiving matchup. But, that’s the case as the Bills (8-3 SU, 7-3-1 ATS) are in a prime position to capture the top Wild Card spot in the AFC after cruising past the Broncos this past Sunday, 20-3. Buffalo easily cashed as 3 ½-point home favorites, while limiting the woeful Denver offense to nine first downs and 134 yards.
The Bills continue to dominate teams with losing records by improving to 7-2 against these struggling squads, although the only victory against a team with a winning record came at Tennessee in Week 5. Buffalo has excelled on the road this season by posting a 4-1 SU and 4-0-1 ATS mark, while allowing 20 points or fewer in all five away contests. The Bills were blown out by the Eagles in Week 8, but Philadelphia is now considered one of those clubs in the losing record category at 5-6. In the only loss against a team with a winning mark, the Bills covered as seven-point home underdogs against the Patriots in a 16-10 setback in Week 4.
Dallas (6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) owns the worst record of any division leader as the Cowboys still remain atop the NFC East despite falling short at New England on Sunday, 13-9. The Cowboys managed to cover as 5 ½-point road underdogs to move to 4-1 ATS the last five games. New England held Dallas to three field goals in awful weather at Gillette Stadium, while Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott was limited to his lowest passing output of the season with 212 yards.
The Cowboys fell to 0-5 this season when scoring less than 30 points, while not beating a team that currently owns a winning record (Giants twice, Redskins, Dolphins, Eagles, Giants). Dallas went through an eight-year stretch from 2006 to 2013 posting a 7-1 record on Thanksgiving with the lone loss coming by three points to New Orleans in 2010. However, the Cowboys are 2-3 the last five on Turkey Day, but did knock off the Redskins last seasons, 31-23.
Dallas has lost five of its past seven matchups with AFC foes since 2018, while Buffalo is 3-1 in its previous four affairs with NFC opponents. The Bills defeated the Cowboys in their most recent meeting in 2015 in Buffalo, 16-6 as 6 ½-point favorites. The starting quarterback that day for Dallas was Kellen Moore, who is the team’s current offensive coordinator. Buffalo is making only its third appearance on Thanksgiving Day as the Bills try to improve on an 0-2 mark after losing in their last game back in 1994 at Detroit.
Saints (-7, 49) at Falcons – 8:20 PM EST
For the second time this month, New Orleans and Atlanta hook up as the Saints (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) seek revenge for an ugly 26-9 loss at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS) closed as hefty 14-point road underdogs following their bye week (Saints were also off the bye) and were looking to snap a six-game skid. Atlanta did so with a dominating defensive effort as that side of the ball has let the Falcons down all season. The Falcons held the powerful Saints’ attack to 310 yards, while Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes for Atlanta’s first victory since Week 2 against Philadelphia.
Atlanta’s two-game winning streak came to a crashing halt in last Sunday’s 35-22 home setback to Tampa Bay as 3 ½-point favorites. The Falcons’ defense has struggled all season, but it seemed like they were turning it around after allowing 12 points in road blowouts of the Saints and Panthers. However, Atlanta reverted back to its old ways by yielding 446 yards to a Tampa Bay team that had lost five of its previous six games.
The Saints’ offense topped the 31-point mark for the third time in four games since Drew Brees returned from his thumb injury as New Orleans edged Carolina last Sunday, 34-31. After the Panthers missed a go-ahead chip shot field goal, Brees drove the Saints down the field to set up the game-winning boot from Wil Lutz, but New Orleans failed to cash as 10-point favorites. Brees threw for 311 yards, while tossing three touchdowns for the third time in four games to build a commanding four-game edge over Carolina for first place in the NFC South.
New Orleans continues to have a seesaw effect on defense this season and if the trend stays true, expect another low-scoring output from the opposition. Since allowing 27 points to Seattle in Week 3, the Saints have given up 10, 24, 6, 25, 9, 26, 17, and 31 points, so there have not been consecutive rough defensive performances for Sean Payton’s team.
The Falcons slipped to 0-4 in their last four home games since knocking off the Eagles back in Week 2. In 2017 and 2018, Atlanta was not listed as a home underdog once; this season, Atlanta is received points at Mercedes-Benz Stadium three times and have gone 1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS in those contests. Since losing to the Rams in Week 2, the Saints have not dropped a game away from the Big Easy by posting a solid 4-0 SU/ATS record in the past four road contests.
These teams hooked up on Thanksgiving night last season in New Orleans as the Saints took care of the Falcons, 31-17 as 11 ½-point home favorites. Brees tossed four touchdown passes on only 15 completions for the Saints, who have lost two of the past three visits to Atlanta dating back to the 2016 season.
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