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Detroit Lions will underperform on road against Cardinals

CARDINALS (+3) over Lions: Detroit maintains mind-numbing habit of performing to a standard clearly below the sum of their parts when away from home. The Arizona offense is no bargain, but the defense is more than respectable, and in a pitcher’s duel, will fade the side far from the comforts of home.

BILLS (-3) over JETS: The Jets get Sam Darnold back, but the first-round draft pick will be facing a defense whose primary distinction is keeping foes’ passing yardage well-below 200 yards per game. The Jets do have divisional revenge for 41-10 shellacking at MetLife a month ago. Figures tight.

Giants (-3 ½) over REDSKINS: Even without Odell Beckham Jr. (quad) Sunday, the Giants haven’t thrown an utter clunker in close to two months. Note near-TD price swing off the open, due to the Redskins losing QB Colt McCoy for the season, necessitating Mark Sanchez, who was inept (4.8 yards per pass attempt) behind shredded line in a loss to the Eagles on Monday.

Ravens (+6½) over CHIEFS: The Chiefs survived a visit to Oakland well enough. Though they didn’t miss Kareem Hunt there, they might pine for him now, against revitalized, savvy foe. Would anticipate undefeated Lamar Jackson starts for a live underdog here, though Joe Flacco appears sound and ready.

TEXANS (-4 ½) over Colts: Three games behind Houston in AFC South standings, Andrew Luck’s Colts clearly need this more, striving to make amends after getting shut out at Jacksonville — but Houston has won nine straight in fine style after getting off 0-3, and their defensive superiority should tell.

BROWNS (+2) over Panthers: At his best, Cam Newton is a powerful weapon and a serious dual threat — but he’s been asked to do too much for a while, and his shoulder issues are beginning to have serious deleterious effects on performance. Browns have lost twice at home — to the Bolts and Chiefs.

PACKERS (-5 ½) over Falcons: Atlanta has beaten the Packers the past three seasons — but all wins came in Georgia, not in intimidating mid-20s temps Matty Ice and friends are going to face in Lambeau. Slightly better conditions resulted in underprepared no-show in Cleveland. Off coach Mike McCarthy’s firing, Aaron Rodgers has points to prove.

BUCCANEERS (+8) over Saints: Head start has shrunk off earlier offerings, but worth a swing. New Orleans at midpoint of three-game road stint, facing great expectations — and they’re up against professionals every week. Bucs QB Jameis Winston has matured.

DOLPHINS (+7½) over Patriots: New England typically has issues spending holiday time in Florida — and Miami has lost just once at home all year, beating the Bears in the process. Ex-Pat Danny Amendola (knee) is back practicing, eager to face his old mates. CB Xavien Howard (knee) absent for the Fins, which helps Josh Gordon.

49ERS (+4) over Broncos: Denver will be without key wideout Emmanuel Sanders after he tore his Achilles tendon in practice Wednesday, considerably lessening the star power of the Broncos’ receiving corps. No Chris Harris hurts favorite as well — which leaves door open for the Niners to make game of this.

CHARGERS (-14) over Bengals: Up against raw Cincy ex-Gator QB Jeff Driskel, the Bolts should manage to win as they please. Driskel is no Andy Dalton, and Driskel’s presence eases Chargers’ concerns about Bengal downfield air sorties. Off an upset of Pittsburgh, favorite visits Arrowhead next Thursday, so use caution.

Eagles (+3) over COWBOYS: Dallas’ defensive effort against the Saints was superlative — but New Orleans was saddled with the burden borne by Thursday’s road sides. Philadelphia looks revitalized, with a healthier Carson Wentz, Golden Tate settling in, and revenge for loss at the Linc.

RAIDERS (+10½) over Steelers: Though Pittsburgh should avoid losing third straight, off grossly mismanaged second half against the Bolts and staring ahead at a visit from New England, it’s difficult to expect top effort without RB James Connor. Pittsburgh is averaging 0.5 interceptions a game.

Rams (-3) over BEARS: Rams boast superior roster — and the Bears’ defense is not inviolate — especially if foe can run it, as lesser sides (the Dolphins and Giants) did. Temps project sub-freezing at kickoff in this Sunday-nighter, and lesser Bears teams have long been tenacious home dogs when dissed. Close!


SEAHAWKS (-3) over Vikings: Struggling to solidify legitimate January positioning within the NFC, Minnesota came up small at New England. It isn’t all Kirk Cousins’ fault, but as desperate as the Vikings are, this noise-pit is no place for erratic travelers who are valued above reasonable expectations.

Last week: 8-7
Season: 84-89-2

Follow Richard Witt on Twitter: @rich_witt1

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