NFL capsules for weekend games

CARDINALS AT TITANS Line: Cards by 3
Dec 14, 2013

 

Dan Caesar NFL picks

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REDSKINS AT FALCONS

Line: Falcons by 6½

Synopsis: Both teams stink but WASH’s slide is worse and it has benched QB Robert Griffin III. WASH gives up 31.3 points per game (most in the NFL) and is 27th vs. the pass. Atlanta suffers through an injury-ravaged season, but it has been competitive lately (a win followed by a one-point loss) and is sixth in passing.

FALCONS 33, REDSKINS 20

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49ers at BUCCANEERS

Line: 49ers by 5

Synopsis: SF comes off a big win at home vs. Seattle but gets a hot foe here as Tampa has won four of five after an 0-8 start. But the 49ers defense is back on track, having allowed more than 17 points just once in its last seven outings and should harass rookie Tampa Bay QB Mike Glennon.

49ers 26, BUCCANEERS 16

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CARDINALS AT TITANS

Line: Cards by 3

Synopsis: Arizona is in playoff contention but goes on the road, where it’s 2-4, but gets a foe that’s not very good at home — TEN is 2-4 there. The Cards’ defense is solid — top 10 in three of the four major stat categories — and should be able to contain the inconsistent Tennessee attack.

CARDINALS 23, TITANS 17

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SAINTS AT RAMS

Line: Saints by 6

Synopsis: Saints coming off a dominant victory that ended Carolina’s win streak at eight games, but that was at home. They now are on the road, where they are 3-3. They get a foe that is reeling, having scored just 23 points combined in its last two. But the Rams are decent at home and they can stay close here.

SAINTS 24, RAMS 20

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SEAHAWKS AT GIANTS

Line: Seahawks by 7

Synopsis: Seattle will seek to bounce back after suffering just its second loss, at SF last week, and has just the foe to do so. NY has lost two of three, is 25th in offense and should have trouble moving the ball vs. the Seahawks’ defense that is at or near the top of the NFL heap in three of the four major stats.

SEAHAWKS 24, GIANTS 13

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BEARS AT BROWNS

Line: Bears by 1

Synopsis: Although Cleveland has just four wins, it has been competitive recently and nearly beat New England last week and WR Josh Gordon is on a three-game run of receiving outings never seen before in the NFL. Chicago’s defense has been poor, but offense gets QB Jay Cutler back.

BROWNS 30, BEARS 20

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TEXANS AT COLTS

Line: Colts by 5½

Synopsis: Houston plays its first game since firing Gary Kubiak, but the problems are much deeper than the coach — as its 11-game losing streak would attest. Nonetheless, the defense ranks No. 3 and Indy isn’t exactly on a roll, having lost three of five. But it can’t lose at home to this bunch, right?

COLTS 27, TEXANS 17

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BILLS AT JAGUARS

Line: Bills by 2

Synopsis: Buffalo has lost five of six but has the NFL’s No. 5 ground game and faces the No. 28 run defense, However, Jacksonville has won three in a row, and four of five, since its 0-8 start and has averaged 29.5 points in its last two outings. Bills are no bargain on the road, where they’re 1-5.

JAGUARS 27, BILLS 20

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PATRIOTS AT DOLPHINS

Line: Patriots by 1

Synopsis: Miami has won three of four and although not among the leaders in any of the key offensive or defensive stats has been persevering. It gets a foe that will be minus a key cog, tight end Rob Gronkowski. He suffered a knee injury last week and Pats weren’t the same when he was out early this year.

DOLPHINS 24, PATRIOTS 20

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EAGLES AT VIKINGS

Line: Eagles by 5

Synopsis: Philly flying high after its comeback win in snow last week, victory No. 5 in a row, and now turns its speedy offense loose in a dome. That’s a bad sign for Minnesota, which gives up more points and yards than all but one other team and might be minus standout RB Adrian Peterson (foot injury).

EAGLES 34, VIKINGS 23

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JETS AT PANTHERS

Line: Panthers by 11

Synopsis: NY had an uncharacteristic scoring explosion last week, but comes back to realty as Carolina will be mad after its normally air-tight defense was manhandled by the Saints last week. Look for a return to form. The Panthers love to keep the ball on the ground, but New York is No. 2 vs. the run.

PANTHERS 23, JETS 6

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CHIEFS AT RAIDERS

Line: Chiefs by 5

Synopsis: KC has shined against the NFL’s weaker teams and Oakland, which has lost three in a row and is 4-9, fits that bill. The Chiefs thrive via defense and special teams, and they should be a factor here, too. However, Oakland has home wins over San Diego and Pittsburgh, can hang close.

CHIEFS 20, RAIDERS 17

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PACKERS AT COWBOYS

Line: Cowboys by 7

Synopsis: Green Bay is without QB Aaron Rodgers again as it faces a team that has a short week after playing Monday. But Dallas is 5-1 at home, where it averages nearly 34 points a game. That’s a bad sign for the Packers “D,” which is no better than 20th in the major stat categories.

COWBOYS 31, PACKERS 27

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BENGALS AT STEELERS

Line: Bengals by 2½

Synopsis: Pittsburgh is just 3-3 at home after being upset by Miami last week, but is in must-win mode and gets an inconsistent foe here. Steelers have become a pass-oriented team behind QB Ben Roethlisberger, who will guide the NFL’s No. 7 aerial attack vs. the No. 9 pass defense. Last call for PIT.

STEELERS 23, BENGALS 20

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RAVENS AT LIONS

Line: Lions by 5½

Synopsis: Detroit beat itself with turnovers (again) last week as it continues to fail to win with the regularity it should for its talent level. Baltimore is 1-5 on the road but only one of the defeats was by more than six points. Detroit’s offense ranks No. 2, look for a breakout here.

LIONS 27, RAVENS 17

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CAESAR’S RECORD, TOP SELECTIONS

STRAIGHT UP: Last week: 11-5. Season: 139-69. STRAIGHT UP PICK OF THE WEEK: Lions. Last week: Right (Patriots). Season: 11-3.

Vs. POINT SPREAD: Last week: 6-10. Season: 97-102-9. PICK OF WEEK VS. SPREAD: Jags (+2). Last week: Wrong (Patriots -10). Season: 4-10.

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