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FILE - At left, in a Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees looks to pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. At right, in a Nov. 19, 2018, file photo, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff warms up before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles. The Rams and Saints will play in the NFC conference championship on Sunday, Jan. 20, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - At left, in a Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees looks to pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. At right, in a Nov. 19, 2018, file photo, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff warms up before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles. The Rams and Saints will play in the NFC conference championship on Sunday, Jan. 20, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/File)|(AP Photo/File)
NFL

NFL: With a +3, the Degenerate likes underdogs Rams and Pats

RAMS +3 at Saints, PATRIOTS +3 at Chiefs

The NFL Degenerate

The NFL Degenerate

RAMS +3 at Saints
It’s a given that a rematch between two teams won’t resemble the first game, and there are a host of reasons to support that here. Start with the way the first one slipped away quickly from the Rams in the second quarter: a fumble recovery but then a failed 4th-down play deep in Saints territory, followed by, in order, a Saints TD, a missed FG, another Saints TD and an interception that set up another Saints TD. But it’s the personnel shifts that are key, and which I believe favor the underdog. C.J. Anderson was a Panther in Week 9; last week he bulldozed a pretty good Cowboys defense for 123 yards and two TDs, and now has 422 yards in his last three games. He and Todd Gurley form a lethal one-two punch. Likewise, cornerback Aqib Talib was recovering from ankle surgery and is now healthy, and that should help prevent Michael Thomas from running wild on the Rams secondary again. Add in the Saints losing nose tackle Sheldon Rankins to injury and the Rams should be able to run effectively and run clock and at least keep this one close, if not win outright.

PATRIOTS +3 at Chiefs
A lot of numbers favor the Chiefs, from their 7-1 home record and 17 ppg allowed at Arrowhead to the Patriots 3-5 road mark and offensive struggles on the road. The Chiefs’ losses came to four teams with a combined 46-18 record; the five teams that beat the Pats finished a combined 36-43-1. That can be taken another way, though: New England was 4-0 against playoff teams (aka better competition) while K.C. was 2-4. I love Patrick Mahomes’ field vision and controlled elusiveness and I think the Chiefs’ defense is underrated. But I like the Pats’ experience and clear coaching advantage. They could easily win here, which makes the three points a bargain.