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In a topsy-turvy league, underdogs offer real value

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Updated: November 20, 2012 10:42AM



TOP PLAYS

Lions
AT bears

Time: 7:30 p.m., Mon., ESPN

Line: Bears by 5. Total: 471/2.

Records (overall/ATS): Lions 2-3/1-4; Bears 4-1/4-1.

Fast fact: Since 2010, the Bears are 10-1 SU/8-2-1 ATS with more than a week to prepare, scoring 30 or more points 7 times.

Outlook: It’s unrealistic to expect the Bears’ defense to maintain its scoring pace (5 TDs in 5 games), but the offensive line usually improves after the bye under Mike Tice, which could pay even bigger dividends this season.

Pick: Bears 31, Lions 17.

Cowboys
AT panthers

Time: Noon.

Line: Cowboys by 21/2.

Total: 451/2.

Records (overall/ATS): Cowboys 2-3/2-3; Panthers 1-4/2-3.

Fast fact: Cowboys are No. 2 in the NFL in total defense (285 ypg) and No. 1 in passing defense (182 ypg).

Outlook: Cowboys would have beaten the Ravens if not for mismanaging the clock last week. Panthers are coming off a bye, but they lost 30-3 to the Titans off the bye week last season.

Pick: Cowboys 31, Cats 17.

Jets
AT patriots

Time: 3:25 p.m., Ch. 2.

Line: Pats by 13. Total: 47.

Records (overall/ATS): Jets 3-3/4-2; Patriots 3-3/4-2.

Fast fact: After their previous 2 wins, the Jets lost 27-10 at Pittsburgh and 34-0 to Houston at home.

Outlook: First-place Patriots, coming off a tough loss to the Seahawks on the road, will be fired up against the last-place Jets.

Pick: Patriots 38, Jets 10.



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