There's a lot of crowing about all the offense in the National Football League and the "young geniuses" who are creating them. It's especially true since last Monday night's Rams 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles.
However, it's not an equal opportunity scoring binge. The NFL has as many offensively challenged teams as potential record breakers. Also, by our count, there were four NFL games this season in which only one touchdown was scored. One game between Tennessee and Jacksonville produced no touchdowns and two others when only two were scored.
The New Orleans Saints were averaging a league-high 37.8 points before Thursday, but that pace would fall short of the league record of 37.9 by the 2013 Denver Broncos, who totaled 606 points. Next are the 2007 New England Patriots (589, 36.8) and the 2011 Green Bay Packers (560, 35.0).
Besides the Saints, the high-flying Chiefs (36.7) and Rams (35.4) are below the pace to break the record.
Last week, the Rams and Chiefs easily went above the over-and-under number of 63, an all-time high, with their 105 points. Even that was only third highest by two teams in a game in league history. This week's over-and-under ranges from 55 for the 49ers at Bucs to 37 for the Jaguars-Bills.
A capsule look at what remains of the Week 12 NFL schedule:
Game of the week
Packers (4-5-1) at Vikings (5-4-1)
TV: NBC, Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
The line: Vikings -3 1/2.
ATS: Packers 3-7; Vikings 5-4-1.
Over/Under: 47 1/2.
Times over/under: Packers 5/3/2; Vikings 5/5.
The scoop: Outcome probably will determine which team stays alive to contend with the Chicago Bears for the NFC North title and remains in the wild-card hunt. The teams played to 29-29 tie in Week Two when the Packers couldn't hold 20-7 late third-period lead and Vikings tied game on a Kirk Cousins pass for touchdown and two-point conversion with 31 seconds left in regulation. ... Vikings won, 23-10, last time teams met in Minneapolis in 2017, but Aaron Rodgers left with injury in first quarter of scoreless game and Brett Hundley took over.
Outlook: When it's time to deliver, Rodgers will and Cousins won't. Packers, 27-24.
Steelers (7-2-1) at Broncos (4-6)
TV: CBS, 4:25 p.m.
The line: Steelers -3.
ATS: Steelers 6-4; Broncos 5-4-1.
Over/Under: 46 1/2.
Times over/under: Steelers 5/5; Broncos 4/6.
The scoop: Steelers covered spread in four straight before last week's four-point win over the Jaguars laying five. Pittsburgh is 4-0-1 on the road this season but never by more than a touchdown. ... As soon as it was certain Le'Veon Bell was not coming back last week, James Conner, his replacement, started dropping passes and has become a vital Steelers weapon with 1,207 scrimmage yards and 11 TDs. ... These teams haven't met in Denver since 2012.
Outlook: Pittsburgh had its scare last week. Loss probably ends Broncos' playoff chances. Steelers, 30-23.
Seahawks (5-5) at Panthers (6-4)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Panthers 3 1/2.
ATS: Seahawks 6-3-1; Panthers 5-5.
Times over/under: Seahawks 4/6; Panthers 6/4.
The scoop: It seems like every game Seattle plays lately is tough one. Last three opponents have been Chargers, Rams and Packers and the Seahawks went 1-2. ... Panthers have lost last two, a rout at Pittsburgh and at Detroit, where Ron Rivera went for two rather than tying extra point with 1:07 left and lost 20-19. Interesting to see if Cam Newton and Co. rally around their coach, who was second-guessed all week.
Outlook: Seahawks are gritty bunch and can hang with Panthers. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is back near where he started his college career, at North Carolina State. Panthers, 21-19.
Titans (5-5) at Texans (7-3)
TV: ESPN, Monday, 8:15 p.m.
The line: Texans -6.
ATS: Titans 5-4-1; Texans 3-4-1.
Over/Under: 41 1/2.
Times over/under: Titans 4/5; Texans 4/5.
The scoop: Blaine Gabbert probably will start for Titans with Marcus Mariota hurt again. After destroying Patriots in Nashville, Titans went to Indy and lost, 38-10. Houston has won seven straight, two by a field goal and two by two points and was on its way to losing at home to Bills before two disastrous Nathan Peterman interceptions late in game. A 101-yard interception return by Justin Reid helped bail them out at Washington last week.
Outlook: Pressure on Houston to keep winning because Colts are coming on and will be visiting in two weeks. Texans, 24-14.
Dolphins (5-5) at Colts (5-5)
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m.
The line: Colts -7 1/2.
ATS: Dolphins 5-4; Colts 5-4-1.
Times over/under: Dolphins 5/5; Colts 6/2/2.
The scoop: QB Ryan Tannehill back for Miami after missing four games. ... Andrew Luck of Colts is almost a forgotten man because of the QB heroics of Brees, Goff, Mahomes and Roethlisberger, but he has thrown for three TDs or more in last seven games and has passer rating of 120 or better in last five. ... Indy averaging almost 30 (29.8) ppg. ... Miami routed at Green Bay two weeks ago, but may find indoor air at Lucas Oil more to its liking.
Outlook: Frank Reich leading a late-blooming Indianapolis team. Colts, 31-21.
Best of the rest
Jaguars (3-7) at Bills (3-7)
Kickoff: CBS, 1 p.m.
The line: Jaguars -3.
ATS: Jaguars 4-5-1; Bills 4-6.
Times over/under: Jaguars 4/4/2; Bills 4/5/1.
The scoop: Josh Allen starts for Bills and becomes fourth different opening QB in last four games, fifth in five if you count game LeSean McCoy lined up for shot gun snap and Derek Anderson was split wide on opening play versus Patriots. Only Bills have depth where they can put QB (Matt Barkley) on bench after he passed for two TDs and 117.4 rating in previous game. Not. ... Doug Marrone is still old school. Jaguars punted nine times in trying to hold off Steelers last week, twice from inside Pitt territory and twice when outside of own 43.
Outlook: Most likely, Jacksonville will come at rookie Josh Allen hard with their pass rushes and blitzers and stick to ground-and-pound offense. Jaguars, 16-9.
Raiders (2-8) at Ravens (5-5)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Ravens -10 1/2.
ATS: Raiders 2-7-1; Ravens 4-6
Times over/under: Raiders 4/6; Ravens 3/6.
The scoop: Ravens did not cover last four as favorite. Lamar Jackson, the "other" quarterback in the 2018 draft, starts again for Baltimore after carrying ball 27 times for 117 yards last week in win over Bengals. ... Interesting to see if ending five-game losing streak has positive effect on Raiders playing far from home.
Outlook: Oakland will have trouble scoring against No. 1 defense in AFC, which is allowing only 18.1 ppg. Ravens, 20-13.
Cardinals (2-8) at Chargers (7-3)
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m.
The line: Chargers -13.
ATS: Cardinals 5-4-1; Chargers 5-5.
Times over/under: Cardinals 4/6; Chargers 5/5.
The scoop: Chargers let one slip away at home against Denver last week or else they would be tied with Chiefs for lead in AFC West. ... Cards also lost at home last week to lowly Raiders, even though rookie Josh Rosen passed for three TDs. Rosen has nine touchdown passes but also 10 interceptions.
Outlook: How many UCLA fans will show up in Carson to see Bruin grad Rosen? L.A. has to be careful here. Chargers, 28-20.
Browns (3-6-1) at Bengals (5-5)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Bengals -3.
ATS: Browns 6-4; Bengals 5-5.
Over/Under: 47 1/2.
Times over/under: Browns 5/5; Bengals 6/3.
The scoop: Cleveland is 1-0 under interim head coach Gregg Williams while rumors about possible new permanent head man (or woman) swirl. First of two late-season games between Buckeye State rivals. Bengals have won last seven, including 30-16 at Paul Brown Stadium last November. ... Bengals lost on fourth-quarter field goal at Baltimore last week. Need this one to stay in playoff picture as long shot.
Outlook: This would seem to be the kind of game Baker Mayfield thrives on. Browns, 31-28.
Giants (3-7) at Eagles (4-6)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Eagles -6.
ATS: Giants 5-5; Eagles 3-7
Times over/under: Giants 6/4; Eagles 4/5/1.
The scoop: One of few times game between old-time NFC East rivals is not vital to either side, even though both are dreaming the impossible dream of running the table and getting to the playoffs. First-place Redskins' injury problems only raises those hopes. Giants have won last two against weak opposition. Super Bowl Eagles are only 2-3 at home but losses were to Panthers, Vikings and Cowboys.
Outlook: Bad as they are, two of Giants three wins were on the road. Eagles, 17-14.
49ers (2-8) at Buccaneers (3-7)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Bucs -3 1/2.
ATS: 49ers 3-6-1; Bucs 3-7.
Over/Under: 54 1/2.
Times over/under: 49ers 6/4; Bucs 9/1.
The scoop: Jameis Winston back as starter in musical chairs QB situation in Tampa, where coach Dirk Koetter seems on his way out despite offense that leads the league in total yards (458.5). ... There were 13,000 empty seats at Raymond James last time Bucs played there. How many will show for Niners?
Outlook: Wish Bills had receiving weapons like Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and O.J. Howard. Bucs averaging 26.7 ppg and Niners giving up 26.6. Buccaneers, 31-24.
Dog of the day
Patriots (7-3) at Jets (3-7)
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
The line: Patriots -9 1/2.
ATS: Patriots 6-4; Jets 3-7.
Times over/under: Patriots 4/6; Jets 6/4.
The scoop: Jets have not covered last four. Sam Darnold (11 TDs, 14 INTS) gets his first look at a Bill Belichick defense. ... Patriots have had two weeks to stew over 34-10 loss at Tennessee. Jets have had two weeks to brood over 41-10 loss to Bills.
Outlook: Pats have won last four versus Jets but only by 24-17 in last visit to MetLife. Assuming Rob Gronkowski plays, Patriots, 34-13.
Last week: Against the spread, favorites covered five games and seven lost. Seven games went over the number, four under; Bengals-Ravens was off the board as of last Friday.
Last week's results: 7-4 straight up; 8-3 against the spread. Not counting Monday night game.
Season record: 76-57-3 straight up; 67-64-5 against the spread. Not counting Monday night Chiefs-Rams.