NFL 2019 Season - Off


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Wet and Wild
by Dennis Ranahan

There are nine NFL games played outdoors today, and five of them are going to include rain for their participants. The mid-December weather report for the league does not include any snow, with the lowest game time temperature forecasted for Buffalo, where 38 degree weather this time of the year in Orchard Park is downright balmy.

Other sites with rain expected in addition to Buffalo, include Baltimore, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Ravens; New Jersey, where the Tennessee Titans meet the New York Giants; San Francisco, for the Seattle Seahawks second game of the year against the 49ers; and Pittsburgh, where the New England Patriots will play the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Detroit Lions first-year head coach Matt Patricia has gotten criticism this year for forcing his squad to practice outside, even in bad weather some weeks with a doom game on their upcoming schedule. It appears he is looking to toughen up his Detroit squad not unlike Bud Grant did for so many years while the Minnesota Vikings were playing outdoors in severe cold weather. Grant didn’t allow any heaters on his sideline while he was coaching the Vikings, and while his opponents were often huddled around the heaters on the visitors side, the Vikings battled the weather without artificial heat and most often came out ahead on the scoreboard.

Patricia will get a real good chance to see if his strategy works for his Lions squad, who are not in playoff contention and play their second straight opponent today that are also scheduled to be home for the New Year, the Buffalo Bills. Last week, the Lions were able to win on the road against a bad Arizona Cardinals team, this week they play a much better squad in Buffalo, but the Lions add an extra shot of motivation this week. Something they didn’t require last Sunday in their 17-3 road victory.

The Bills are favored and bet on in this one, while the Lions come with the more experienced quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who will look to hand rookie Josh Allen his third straight loss.

While the Lions plus the points are one of our money-rated plays this week, the public has also checked in with their three favorite plays of the day. Tops on the public list is the Seattle Seahawks (-3½), who are in San Francisco to meet the 49ers. The next two public plays based on volume of wagering dollars are the Los Angeles Rams (-12½) over the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts (-3) over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Rams double-digit favorite role over the Eagles comes on the heels of Philadelphia shutting down quarterback Carson Wentz for the season. It was revealed this week that the third-year QB has a small fracture in his back, and while he may have been able to play through this injury if the Eagles were in playoff contention, after last week’s loss in Dallas the Eagles have made a clear decision to get ready for next year.

Although, this is Nick Foles coming in to replace an injured Wentz in December. That formula last year led to the Eagles winning their first franchise Super Bowl … but unless you are betting on lightning to strike twice in the same spot, you can scratch Philadelphia from successfully defending their title this year.

All our Sunday selections are now posted on this site, and if a Bullet Play develops in the final hour leading up to the first kick off of the day, that game will be added to the list of recommendations at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time.