The three Saturday NFL games could be a day for the underdogs. The Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all have realistic chances for a victory over the favorites.
The first slate of Saturday NFL games features two division rivals. Buffalo is at New England, and the Los Angeles Rams are at San Francisco. The third game is Houston at Tampa Bay.
Buffalo is a 6.5-point underdog at New England, while the Rams-49ers game opened as a pick ’em, but is now 6.5 points in San Francisco’s favor. The line moved dramatically on the Texans-Buccaneers game as well. It opened with Tampa Bay a 1-point favorite, but money came pouring in on Houston, who are now laying three points.
Rams-49ers Kick Off Saturday NFL Games
Before the season started, Los Angeles was the -175 favorite to win the NFC West. The 49ers were +500 to win the division. The Rams have stumbled, and are currently third in the NFC West, while San Francisco is tied for first. The 49ers are now the -200 favorite to win the division, while the Rams are +2000.
Los Angeles is fresh off an embarrassing 44-21 loss to Dallas, but Sean McVay told reporters Thursday they have to forget last Sunday.
“Clearly that wasn’t the type of showing we wanted to have,” McVay said. “I don’t think we played well in any phase. I don’t think that’s indicative of the type of team that we are. The thing that I do like about this football team is, unfortunately we’ve had our share of ups and downs this year, but I do like the way that our team has bounced back this year after some of our setbacks.”
The 49ers won the first meeting against LA in October, 20-7. Despite that positive outcome, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Thursday he doesn’t expect an easy game on Saturday.
“I thought they were pretty good then, and I see them pretty similar now,” Shanahan said. “I think they’ve been one of the better teams here over the last month.”
Bills-Patriots Game Could Dethrone New England
The last time Buffalo defeated New England was in 2016, but they have a chance to pull off an upset in Saturday’s matchup. If they win, it would be only the third victory against New England since 2012.
Buffalo is a 6.5-point underdog on the road in this second meeting between the conference rivals. The teams first met in the last week of September, and New England won 16-10.
Expect another low-scoring game on Saturday. The Patriots are first in the league in defense, while the Bills are third. Neither team is sporting what can be called an impressive offense this season; the Patriots are 18th in the league, while the Bills are ranked 22nd. The over/under on this game is 37.
Buffalo coach Sean McDermott told a local radio station on Thursday that the key to winning the rematch is not getting overly excited.
You have to be very disciplined,” McDermott said. “They can beat you, Brady or just the entire offense can beat you in a lot of ways because they’ve been together for so long, and they can just spin the dial. If it’s not working, they can go to something else. They’re probably unlike any other team around the NFL because they’ve been together for so long.”
Tampa Bay Trying to Play Spoiler
Tampa Bay lost its shot at a playoff spot a couple of weeks ago. Now, the Buccaneers will try to prevent Houston from making it into the postseason. A Texans win on Saturday can help them clinch the AFC South.
The Buccaneers are a hot team right now, winning their last four games. None of those victories were against a playoff-bound team, however.
Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians told reporters that his team hasn’t written off the season, and that Saturday’s game is still important.
“Yes, for us it is a big December game,” Arians said. “It’s a good measuring stick, even without whoever is not playing, it doesn’t matter. It’s still going to be a team going to the playoffs.”