NFL Late-Game Picks for Week 17

Eddie Lacy could be the 'X' factor in today's game between his Packers and the Lions.

Here are four late games I really like today.

Detroit (+7) at Green Bay (O/U 47.5) – By now you know the history… The Lions haven’t won in Lambeau Field since 1992 and while the players and coaches will scoff at that, it has to be in their minds. Unlike most indoor teams, the Lions are suddenly surviving on the defensive side while the offense continues to struggle.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy is an excellent game-planner and he will he have studied the team’s loss in Detroit over and over to find weaknesses. In my opinion this game is more about Matthew Stafford than it is Aaron Rodgers. Stafford has to play well and he hasn’t for much of the season.

Trends: Detroit is 4-2 straight in their last six games on the road… The total has gone UNDER in four of Green Bay’s last five games against the Lions…Detroit is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games versus the Packers.

The Pick: The Packers have been a scoring machine at home but the Lions can get after it on defense. I like the Lions getting the points and the UNDER.

Cam Newton needs a big game if the Panthers are to win in Atlanta today.

Carolina (+3) at Atlanta (O/U 48) – Both of these teams are lousy on defense. They each give up about 25 points per game but the Falcons score on average about five more points per game on offense than do the Panthers. Being that this game is an “all or nothing” proposition, I expect both teams to pull out all the stops to earn the win.

One of the key issues here is the health of the Falcons’ receivers. Roddy White has battled ankle issues but will play and Julio Jones has had a hip problem. If both can go, it’s a big boost for the offense.

Trends: The Panthers are 3-6-1 straight up in their last 10 games… The total has gone UNDER in eight of Atlanta’s last 11 games… Carolina is 1-5 SU in their last six games on the road in Atlanta.

The Pick: I like Falcons to cover and I love the OVER.

Arizona (+7) at San Francisco (O/U 37) – The Cardinals are staggering into the playoffs behind a quarterback carousel that is struggling. Drew Stanton will miss this one but could return for a the playoffs. Ryan Lindley gets the start despite being told Logan Thomas would be the man for most of the week.

For the 49ers, all signs point to this being Jim Harbaugh’s final game there. Where he goes next is up in the air, but despite missing the playoffs, he leaves the franchise far better than he found it.

Trends: Arizona is 0-5 straight up in their last five visits to San Francisco… The Niners are 0-5 against the spread in their last five games… The total has gone OVER in four of the Cardinals last six games against San Francisco.

The Pick: I like UNDER and I think the Cards find a way to keep it close so take them getting the points.

Cincinnati (+3) at Pittsburgh (O/U 48) – The final game of the 2014 NFL regular season is the third and final battle of the day for a division crown. The winner claims the AFC North and will get a home game for Wild-Card Weekend. The loser is still in the playoffs but will have to hit the road.

The Steelers took a close game into the fourth quarter in the first meeting in Cincinnati three weeks ago and scored 25 points to win 42-21. While the Bengals struggled to slow Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers had no answer for A.J. Green. I think both are limited a bit tonight forcing other players to step up.

Trends: The total has gone UNDER in five of Cincinnati’s last seven games… The Steelers are 5-2 straight up in their last seven games at home against the Bengals… Cincy is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games on the road in Pittsburgh.

The Pick: I expect a little less scoring tonight so take the UNDER but I’ll take the Steelers to cover in a tight game.

As Promised, Here are Your Late NFL Games for Today

Russell Wilson looks to play the right tunes against the 49ers today in Seattle.

Friday I gave you the early National Football League lines and today I’m giving you the late games including the Monday night game. This way, you have a few more hours to decide where your money is going…

Minnesota (+8) at Detroit (O/U 42) – Right now the Lions are like that tennis player who just needs to hold serve long enough until they can get that one, good shot to turn the tide. Detroit has the second wild-card locked up right now but in the final week of the season, they’ll get Green Bay with a chance to take the division. This theory only holds true if both teams keep winning.

The Vikings are showing some real improvement in recent weeks and will not be an easy out here for the Lions even at home in Ford Field.

The Pick: Take the Vikes and the UNDER.

NY Jets (-3) at Tennessee (O/U 42) – OK, both teams stink and are out of the playoffs. The Jets are more “stable” at QB right now.

The Pick: Take the Jets to cover and the UNDER.

Look for Demaryius Thomas to have a big day in San Diego.

Denver (-6) at San Diego (O/U 51) – While a lot of the attention will be on the game in Seattle today, this one could be the game of the day. The Chargers in a massive battle for a wild-card spot with most of the AFC North and really can’t afford a loss. Denver is looking to clinch the division with a victory and is still hoping to get home-field advantage.

The Broncos have become a bit more dangerous with a solid running game with C.J. Anderson but don’t sleep on Peyton Manning not throwing the ball a lot today. The Bolts need to find balance on offense and come up with some turnovers on defense.

The Pick: I like San Diego getting the points and take the UNDER.

San Francisco (+10) at Seattle (O/U 38) – How the mighty have fallen huh? A loss today knocks the 49ers out of the playoffs and ramps up the “Jim Harbaugh to (fill in the blank) rumors. QB Colin Kaepernick has been average this season and will need to play well in an effort to get this team in position to win. The defense is banged up though and now they have to face a streaking Seattle team.

The Seahawks have cranked up their defense to the level that got them a Super Bowl title and that’s scary for the rest of the league. Look for another solid performance from them today and look for heavy doses of Marshawn Lynch as well.

The Pick: Take the Niners getting double-digit points and take the UNDER.

Dallas (+3.5) at Philadelphia (O/U 55) – Two weeks ago, the Eagles put a beatdown on the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day and now these two meet again with the division lead at stake. A Philly win will be tough for the Cowboys to overcome with just two games remaining while a Dallas win will make for some great drama down the stretch.

The Eagles were manhandled by Seattle last week so look for them to bounce back offensively. For the Cowboys, it’s simple; protect Tony Romo.

The Pick: Take the Eagles and take the OVER.

New Orleans (-3) at Chicago (O/U 54) – So the Saints lost three-straight at home, go to Pittsburgh and throttle the Steelers, then return home to get blitzed by the Panthers. Good luck figuring them out…

The Bears are a mess on the field and in the locker room.

The Pick: Take the Saints to cover and the OVER.

Three Teams Trending Down in the NFL

Colin Kaepernick's fumble on this play sent the 49ers to 4-4 on the season.

What we know about the National Football League is that this isn’t the same NFL many of us remember from 10 to 20 to 30 years ago. Teams can go from looking like the greatest teams in the history of the league one week to the worst team ever allowed on a football field.

While there are certainly teams trending upwards right now, there are also teams heading in the wrong direction. Here’s a look at a few of those teams.

San Francisco (4-4) – The 49ers hit rock bottom this past Sunday with yet another home loss this time to St. Louis. It wasn’t even that they lost but moreso in how they lost. With essentially three shots to beat the Rams from the goal line, San Francisco failed to give the ball to their workhorse Frank Gore even once.

Eventually, Colin Kaepernick mishandled a snap and James Laurinaitis came up with the ball to preserve the Rams’ 13-10 victory. 49ers’ legend Jerry Rice said this week that thinks “Jim Harbaugh will not be coaching this team next year.” Rice is not alone in his thinking. It’s no secret that Harbaugh and the general manager don’t exactly get along.

It doesn’t help calm things down either with Harbaugh’s alma mater Michigan potentially looking to hire him as their next head coach. The team expects to get pass rusher Aldon Smith back from suspension as early as next week and he will help but he won’t do much for an offense that is suddenly struggling to find its’ way.

It was not a good day in Miami for Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

San Diego (5-4) – Remember about a month ago when the San Diego Chargers had already racked up a win over defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle? There was much talk that the Chargers were prepared to take on the Denver Broncos for AFC West supremacy. There was also a great deal of discussion about the potential MVP-candidacy of quarterback Philip Rivers.

Things change quickly in life and the NFL is no different. The ‘Bolts have suffered three straight defeats and their most recent one has the potential to bury them for the remainder of the season. After divisional losses to Denver and Kansas City, the Chargers were steam-rolled by the Miami Dolphins 37-0. So bad was it, that Rivers was actually pulled from the game in the second half.

With so many teams above .500 in the AFC, the Chargers cannot afford to fall back any further.

Dallas (6-3) – The Cowboys opened the season with a frustrating home loss to San Francisco. They then reeled off six straight wins behind a powerful offensive line and the running of DeMarco Murray. Signaling just how important he is to the Cowboys, Tony Romo went down against the Washington Redskins with a back injury.

Although he returned to the game, he was obviously not the same QB and the Cowboys lost. This past Sunday Romo was forced to sit because of the injury and in his place was Brandon Weeden who struggled from the start as Dallas lost to the best team in football right now the Arizona Cardinals.

Romo has flown with the team to London for their game against Jacksonville but I don’t believe he will play. With their bye week coming after this game, Jerry Jones knows Romo’s health is of paramount concern. Should Romo continue to struggle with his health then I see the Cowboys continuing their slide.


Odds to Win the NFC West for 2014

Don't expect Russell Wilson to listen to the hype. I expect another focused year from him and the 'Hawks.

It’s our last stop in the NFC. Let’s head West and break down the toughest division in pro football.

Seattle +110 – The defending Super Bowl Champions look as good as any defending champ in recent years when it comes to their chances of repeating. Both the offense and defense are largely intact and the business-like approach seems to be there are well. My only question is how much does Marshawn Lynch have left? He declined a bit last year compared to the year before so that’s something to keep an eye on.

The last six weeks of the schedule feature five divisional games including two each against San Francisco and Arizona and one against the Rams. Toss in a trip to Philadelphia and that could be a very tough hurdle.

Season Projection: 13-3

Don't underestimate the loss of Glenn Dorsey to a season-ending injury for the Niners.

San Francisco +150 – A lot has been made through the first two preseason games about how poorly the 49ers have played as they are 0-2. In most cases I wouldn’t put much thought into it, but this team worries me and here’s why. They are aging rapidly on defense. They’ve lost defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey for the season and will be without Navarro Bowman to start the season. Do they have a viable replacement for Frank Gore should he go down and will guard Alex Boone ever sign?

The Niners’ schedule isn’t brutal but it has some potential road blocks right off the bat. They open at Dallas who will test their struggling secondary. They then have Chicago at home and also have trips to Arizona, St. Louis and Denver in the opening half of the season. Philly and Kansas City visit Levi’s Stadium in that stretch as well.

Season Projection: 10-6

Arizona +750 – The Cards were going to be my surprise pick in this division (and that wouldn’t have been much of a surprise based on their finish last year) but defensive tackle Darnell Dockett went down for the season this week and that’s a massive blow. He anchored the league’s number one defense against the run which is huge against division foes like the 49ers and Seahawks. Carson Palmer looks great so far this preseason and the running attack should be more balanced as well.

Despite going 10-6 in 2013, they get a third-place schedule which will help. The final seven games will decide their fate this season. They entertain Detroit, Kansas City and Seattle but must hit the road to Atlanta, Seattle, St. Louis and San Francisco. A good start to the season will benefit them in the long run.

Season Projection: 10-6

St. Louis +750 – Let’s get right to it; this team will ride or fall with quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams flirted with taking a quarterback in the May draft but stuck by Bradford who has been hit with injuries and average play. The running of Zac Stacy and a defense that looks to be really good and aggressive will help.

If this team played in any other division I’d probably have no issue putting them in the playoffs. The reality is that they play in the NFC West and it’s going to be extremely difficult to reach the postseason. The Rams’ season may be defined by a stretch of five games from late October through November. They’ll play at Kansas City, at San Francisco and at Arizona while they host Denver and Seattle on the ends of that three-game road trip.

Season Projection: 8-8

Overall: Seattle will be tested but they’ll win the division. My one big concern in the 49ers. I can actually see them sliding down to third in 2014.

Broncos Go All-In; Martin, Gabbert on the Move in the NFL

The Denver Broncos are adding top free agents as they try to take advantage of Peyton Manning's last couple of years.

Last we saw the Denver Broncos; they were being pummeled like a bookie who couldn’t pay off his bets. The site was Super Bowl XLVIII in MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey. The team entered the game as fairly heavy favorites to defeat the Seattle Seahawks and give Peyton Manning his coveted second Super Bowl Ring.

That didn’t happen and we can second guess all we want to about whether the opening play was something the Broncos couldn’t recover from or whether the Seahawks were just a better team. I choose the latter and it’s clear to me that Denver President John Elway felt the same way watching his historic offense and solid defense get destroyed in the trenches.

With those ugly memories in mind, the Broncos went out and grabbed two impact defensive players on the first day off free agency. Coming to Denver are cornerback Aqib Taliq and safety T.J. Ward.

Taliq is considered one of the better cover-corners in the National Football League but his health has always been a hindrance. The last two seasons in New England he left playoff games with injuries and his absence was obvious. Ward comes off a Pro Bowl season in Cleveland where the defense was actually pretty respectable. He is both a guy who can cover and a guy who can come up and support the run.

The irony of these moves is that they really don’t address the area where Denver was most vulnerable. To take that point a step further, they also lost guard Zane Beadles in free agency to Jacksonville on Tuesday. For a team that was demolished along the line of scrimmage, you’d think that would be the area of most need.

The Broncos are very serious about adding DeMarcus Ware to their defense.

Before I get to far ahead though, ESPN is reporting that former Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware is very close to a deal with the Broncos. With 117 career sacks, his presence and threat to opposing quarterbacks would be extremely welcomed by the defense. Again, this isn’t set in stone but it does look like it’s going to happen.

What this flurry of moves also tells us is that Elway and the Broncos understand that Peyton Manning may have one or two good years left as he nears 40 years of age. In other words, the window is closing rapidly on Manning and the Broncos. I don’t care what anyone tells me, his arm strength weakened as the season wore on. He threw down-field less and less and with less accuracy as well.

Credit Elway for going for the prize as the door closes on this era of the Broncos but is he going after the right pieces? Time will tell.

J-Mart Leaves the Dolphins

The man at the center of the bullying controversy in Miami will no longer play for the Dolphins. Jonathan Martin, who left the team mid-season due to harassment from Richie Incognito among others, has been traded to San Francisco for a conditional draft pick.

The move will re-unite Martin with Jim Harbaugh who was his college coach at Stanford. With a very veteran team in place in San Francisco, Martin should be welcomed without issue but one can’t help but wonder if there will be any lingering issues.

Gabbert Gone

The Jacksonville Jaguars finally cried ‘uncle’ and traded former first round draft pick Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional sixth-round pick. Gabbert was the tenth overall selection in 2011 NFL Draft but just never materialized as some thought he would. Injuries and poor play were his downfall and he is yet another example of a team hoping for a franchise quarterback to resurrect their franchise.


NFL Thoughts for Tuesday

With his QB a year away from a big contract and an aging defense, would Cleveland have been so bad for Jim Harbaugh?

The last time a trade was made in the National Football League involving a head coach was when Oakland traded Head Coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay in 2002. If you’ll recall, late Raiders’ owner Al Davis had grown tired of Gruden’s West Coast offense and desired a more down-field passing game.

Gruden was traded for the Buccaneers’ first round draft picks in 2002 and 2003 plus a couple of second rounders and $8 million in cash. He would lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl Championship in his first season in Tampa Bay.

Apparently we were very close to having yet another head coach traded across the country as the Cleveland Browns admitted they flirted with trading for Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers.

While the 49ers have claimed this either didn’t happen or never got serious, Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem validated the stories that had been emerging about the potential trade.

My take is that the Browns did indeed poke around and explore the possibility but I don’t think it got all that serious. Cleveland would have been in a very good position with which to negotiate because of their numerous high picks over the next couple of years.

While Harbaugh himself called the story “Ridiculous,” would the move have really been that bad for him?

The Super Bowl window in San Francisco is closing. His quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a year away from a big contract and his defense is aging rapidly at many key positions. Anquan Boldin and Frank Gore are both on the down-side of their careers despite still putting up big numbers.

In Cleveland, the defense is young and has potential while the receiving corps is pretty talented. If Harbaugh could just take his QB with him, it wouldn’t be a bad deal if you really think about it.

Furthermore, one has to wonder why the 49ers would even consider the possibility although they are claiming they didn’t. Are they perhaps tired of the near misses? Are they embarrassed by his sideline antics?

Adam Muema's NFL chances took a severe hit when he left the Combine for religious reasons.

Who knows? All I can say about this entire situation is that it isn’t happening so let’s move on.

Religion Leads to Combine Absence

San Diego State running back Adam Muema was projected to be a mid to late round draft pick in May’s NFL Draft. There’s a good chance he won’t get drafted at all after the leaving the combine before participating because ‘God’ told him to do so. I’m not in the business of telling anyone how or who or what to believe in so to each their own when it comes to religion.

It would have been one thing had Muema just said ‘God’ told him to leave and that were the end of it, but he took it further by saying “[God] told me to sit down, be quiet, and enjoy the peace,” according to U-T San Diego. Muema’s dream is apparently to play for the Seattle Seahawks and he is taking God’s message as the only way for that dream to come true.

The sad reality is that Muema is not only costing himself a shot at a decent NFL contract but he is potentially costing himself a chance to ever play pro football period. While there are certainly more important things than that out in the world, the sanity of Muema must be questioned.

I find it interesting that with all the focus on Johnny Manziel’s off-field antics and Michael Sam being gay, very little attention will be paid to a guy who probably needs the right kind of attention the most.

NFC Conference Championship: Seattle Laying 3.5 at Home

The NFC Championship Game will be played on Sunday night in the Pacific Northwest where the Seattle Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field.

The two teams have split their regular games with each winning on their home field. The two teams know one another very well.

Seattle won the NFC West by one game over San Francisco and had the best record in the NFC. This rubber match will determine which team represents the NFC in the Super Bowl on February 2.

Seattle was hoping that the return of Percy Harvin last week would help them put life in their stagnant offense. However, Harvin caught just 3 passes before leaving with a concussion. Harvin will miss Sunday’s game versus the 49ers.

Seattle’s offense has not scored over 26 points in any of their past five games. Over that period, quarterback Russell Wilson has passed for 200 yards only once. The team’s running game is fourth in the league.

Defensively, the Seahawks are No. 1 overall in the NFL and it is their defense that dictates outcomes of games for the team.

San Francisco hopes to have cornerback Carlos Rogers back after missing the first two games of the postseason. However, the 49ers defense had fared well nevertheless giving up just a combined 30 points against the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers in their two playoff games to date.

The 49ers defense was No. 3 this season in the league, but could be playing better than any time at the moment. Since the third week of the season, the 49ers defense has give up over 20 points just once.

Offensively the 49ers have improved of late. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not play well during the first part of this season, but over the past five games including the postseason, has played very well.

However, versus Seattle Kaepernick struggled completing fewer than 50% of his passes and averaging only 151 yards through the air in the two games.

The line currently on Bovada is Seattle -3.5, but on other sites such as topbet, betonline and is between -3 and -3.5. If Seattle were playing on a neutral site, the game would be a tossup. Home field advantage at CenturyLink field is worth the 3.5 points.

The point total is set low at 39.5. The two teams have exceptional defenses and between the two allowed only 31 points a game throughout the season.

Seattle failed to cover last week at home versus New Orleans, but covered in 11 of 16 games during the regular season.

San Francisco was 10-5-1 ATS this season. On the road, the 49ers are 8-1-1 ATS during the regular season and two playoff games. However, their only loss against the spread this season was their 29-3 loss to Seattle on the road.


The teams are as evenly matched as two teams can be, especially on defense. I like the 49ers with the 3.5 points.

Trends to Consider if You’re Wagering the NFC Championship Game

Will Aldon Smith be a difference-maker in the NFC Title game?

On Tuesday, I ran through a series of trends and numbers that you’ll want to consider if you’re going to wager on the AFC Championship game between New England and Denver. Today I do the same for the NFC.

The Teams

The San Francisco 49ers are making their 15th appearance in the NFC Title game which is the current record. Overall, they are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC. By contrast, the Seattle Seahawks are making just their second NFC Title game appearance.

To be fair, they did reach the AFC Title game when they were members of that conference but lost to Miami. The 49ers are an impressive 6-2 on the road in NFC Title games while the Seahawks are 1-0 at home. The Seahawks have also won six straight playoff games at home after starting 0-2.

This game features two of the top three scoring defenses in the NFL. This has occurred eight times previously with the winner going on to win the Super Bowl.

Kaepernick and Wilson
Will rushing yards or passing yards be the bigger difference between Kaepernick and Wilson on Sunday?

The Quarterbacks

Colin Kaepernick is 4-1 in the postseason with his only loss coming in Super Bowl XLVII. That record also includes a very good 3-0 record on the road. His completion percentage in those five playoff games is just 57.9% with his high being 76% in last year’s NFC Championship game win over Atlanta which was on the road. Keep in mind too that one third of Kaepernick’s career interceptions have come against Seattle.

Russell Wilson has more career starts but less playoff experience. His postseason record stands at 2-1 with a win at home and a win at Washington last year. His loss came against Atlanta in the Georgia Dome. Wilson’s postseason completion percentage is right at 60% with a high of 66.6% coming in the loss to the Falcons.

Kaepernick and Wilson had almost the exact same rushing yards total this season. Kaepernick rushed for 524 while Wilson was just 15 yards better at 539. The rushing similarities don’t stop there. Kaepernick carried the ball 92 times while Wilson had four more at 96. Kaepernick did have a four to one advantage in rushing touchdowns however.

The Over/Under

After opening at 40.5, the over/under for the NFC Title game has slipped to 39 points. Unlike the AFC Title game, points are liable to be at a premium on Sunday. The Seahawks have beaten San Francisco 29-3 and 41-13 in the teams’ last two meetings in Seattle. The first would have come under today’s O/U number while the game from last year in Seattle would have been over the O/U number.

Ironically, the 49ers have scored 23 points in both of their postseason wins while the Seahawks have scored 23 in their one playoff victory. Assuming both stay on that pace, the over/under would clearly be an ‘over’ selection.

In San Francisco’s case, the total has gone under in four of their last five meetings when playing Seattle. The total has also gone under in four of the Niners’ last six road games.

For Seattle, the total has gone under in four of their last five games at home and has gone the way of the under in all of the Seahawks’ last five games.

Because these two teams both allow less than 20 points per game I’m going to push for the under here.

The Coaches

Jim Harbaugh is in his third year with the 49ers and has a playoff record of 5-2 over that span. Pete Carroll has been in Seattle for four seasons and he has a playoff record of 4-4. Keep in mind he was 1-2 when he coached the New England Patriots in the 1990’s.

Harbaugh does have three road playoff victories in the last two seasons whereas Carroll is unbeaten at home in the playoffs.

Seattle Getting Points on the road in San Francisco

At the beginning of the season, this late season matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the visiting Seattle Seahawks looked like it could be for the NFC West division title.

However, it is far from that, as the Seahawks are now considered the best team in the NFC and leads the division by 3 games over the 49ers with just four to play.

Seattle has clinched a postseason berth and with a win on Sunday in San Francisco can clinch the division title.

Nevertheless, Bovada and other online wagering sites have Seattle as an underdog on the road, even after they dismantled the 49ers earlier this season 27-3.

Seattle is fresh of its best performance of the season after routing the New Orleans Saints on Monday night 34-7. In the first meeting between the Seahawks and 49ers, the Seattle defense held San Francisco to just 207 total yards.

The 49ers also have problems with injuries on the offensive line, but remain a favorite by a field goal as of early Saturday morning on topbet and betonline.

The points are at 41 and have been as high as 42. The point spread opened at 3.5 in favor of San Francisco was pulled down to as low as 2.5 early in the week and is back to -3 for San Francisco.

Seattle controlled most of the game in September and put away the 49ers with 17 straight points during the fourth quarter.

The rivals from the NFC West have split the past 10 games SU, but the Seahawks are 7-3 ATS in those same 10 games. Over their past 10 games on the road, the Seahawks have a record of 8-2 ATS. San Francisco is 4-2 ATS over their 6 games at home.

Russell Wilson has moved ahead of Colin Kaepernick as the best young quarterback in the NFL. He gives Seattle a distinct advantage at that position in Sunday’s showdown.

In the first head-to-head game, Marshawn Lynch had three rushing touchdowns. For the season, Seattle is No. 3 in the NFL in rushing, while on defense they are first against the pass.

Both starting tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati are banged on offense for the 49ers. Staley will likely not play and Iupati is still questionable.

Last week, the 49ers defeated St. Louis, but Kaepernick suffered four sacks. The 49ers are No. 31 in passing yards this season.

Seattle is 30-14 ATS over its past 44 games overall and is 16-5 ATS in its past 21 as an underdog. San Francisco is 17-7 ATS over its past 24 home games.

Both teams are 3-0 ATS over their past three games overall. Last season San Francisco was -7.5 at home and won by just 7.

Pick: Take Seattle and the 3 points with the UNDER cashing out.

Saints Unbeatable at Home This Season

A showdown on Bourbon Street takes place this week as the San Francisco 49ers visit the New Orleans Saints in an NFC showdown. San Francisco has not done well of late against top competition, while the Saints have been unbeatable at home.

Eventually the public will come around and bet on the Saints, as betting against New Orleans at home is not a solid bet of late.

Nevertheless, the Saints opened on sites such as Bovada as a favorite by less than 3 points over the visiting 49ers, who are suffering with offensive issues.

This season the Saints are undefeated at home and have covered each of the past 14 spreads at home as a favorite under Sean Payton as head coach. The Saints are 21-5 ATS overall in their past 26 games at home.

The 49ers come to New Orleans following a touch physical loss to Carolina at home. Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback has had difficulty against the better defenses he has played against this year.

San Francisco is 6-3 SU. Their three loses have been against Carolina, Indianapolis and Seattle.

The current line has New Orleans favored by 3 points with the point total sitting on 47.5.

Check the odds right up to game time on sites like topbet, betonline and as both teams have players injured who might miss the game.

San Francisco has defeated New Orleans the last two seasons. At home during the 2011-12 playoffs, the 49ers won 36-32. Last season, during the regular season, the 49ers beat the Saints 31-21 in New Orleans.

The 49ers are 10-4 ATS over their past 14 games following a loss. The OVER has cashed out in 15 of the past 20 San Francisco games.

The 49ers have lacked a passing attack this season but are averaging over 147 yards a game on the ground. On defense, the 49ers are No. 9 versus the pass and No. 12 versus the run.

If Drew Brees does not get sacked or overly pressured, the Saints will be able to move up and down the field. The running game for the Saints has come to life, which helps the passing attack as well.

On defense, the Saints are weak against the run as they allowed 198 yards by the New York Jets.

The Saints are beating opponents at home by an average of 20 points, while the 49ers are having problems with playoff caliber teams. The 49ers are 1-3 against those opponents, and have just a combined 19 points in their three losses.

Pick: Saints 35-27