After a wild week in the Wild West, the New England Patriots (+3) are back home in Foxboro for a Saturday Showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals. Led by former No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, the defending AFC Champions are red hot, winning 10 of their last 12 games and six straight. Despite being on the road, Cincinnati is a three-point favorite over New England.
Games at Gillette Stadium this season have averaged just under 36.0 points. On the DraftKings Sportsbook, Saturday's point-total in this one is set at 41.5.
Here are five bets we'll be watching on Christmas Eve.
It was an uncharacteristically bad game in terms of accuracy for Mac Jones last weekend, finishing just 13-of-31. Jones should find more success in the passing attack against Cincinnati this weekend, especially working the quick game.
As Bill Belichick explained this week, the Bengals often do not change things up week-to-week defensively. They tend to stick to their two-high safety coverages to take away big plays and force things underneath. If they attack the New England offense in a similar way, Jones could live with the quick game where Cincinnati ranks in the middle of the league defending in terms of DVOA.
On a cold day in Foxboro, look for Jones to take profits underneath and complete his fair share of passes - especially if New England is playing from behind.
The pick: Mac Jones Over 21.5 pass completions (-105)
Mixon Under the Mistletoe
Since returning from injury, running back Joe Mixon has seen less work the past two weeks as the Bengals have kept Samaje Perine involved. Last week against Tampa Bay, Mixon managed just 23 rushing yards while seeing just 11 carries compared to Perine's seven. Perine's eight total touches were the second most in a game this season with a healthy Mixon in the lineup.
Against New England, Cincinnati could stay true to their backfield rotation. From there, the Patriots rush defense should continue their stretch of strong play against a weaker offensive line, even with the secondary paying more attention to the Cincinnati pass-catchers.
The pick: Joe Mixon Under 60.5 rushing yards (-115)
Jingle Boyd Rock
If the Bengals' run game struggles, look for Burrow to turn to the pass-heavy attack like they did last weekend. Burrow has his full disposal of weapons except tight end Hayden Hurst (calf) and his receivers will provide major matchup nightmares for New England.
One of those receivers is Tyler Boyd, who lines up in the slot for the majority of his snaps. That means he'll likely draw New England slot corner Myles Bryant in coverage. Bryant had a strong stretch of play in the middle of the season, but has been picked on the past two weeks allowing seven receptions on 11 targets for 70 yards. The 5-foot-9 Bryant will again have his hands full with the 6-foot-2 Boyd, a matchup the Bengals could look to exploit early and often.
The pick: Tyler Boyd Over 34.5 receiving yards (-115)
Red Santa Sleeves
It was a quiet game in the stat sheet for Matthew Judon last weekend as the Patriots opted to drop him back in coverage a handful of times. As Judon explained on Thursday, that will not be a weekly occurrence.
Against the high-powered Bengals' offense, the Patriots need Judon to be free to get after Joe Burrow. While Cincinnati remolded their offensive line throughout the offseason - and it has played better - it is still one of the weaker links on their roster. The Patriots need their pass rush to exploit Cincinnati's front and make things easier for their secondary. New England's lone Pro Bowler needs to lead that charge.
The pick: Matthew Judon Over 0.75 sacks (-105)
The Bengals, who are perhaps the hottest team in the NFL, prevent a poor matchup for the Patriots as well. Cincinnati's size and talent at the wide receiver provides perhaps the toughest matchup of the season for New England's defensive backs.
After a devastating defeat in Las Vegas last weekend, New England's response will be worth monitoring. While they certainly can be competitive in this game, it's tough to see them pulling it out because of the continuous issues that have hurt them all season long.
The Bengals entered Week 16 as an NFL-best 11-3 ATS and 6-1 ATS on the road. Since entering the league, no quarterback is better ATS on the road then Joe Burrow (17-7). Cincinnati continues to add to their impressive numbers with a win in Foxboro.
The pick: Cincinnati -3 (-105)