2016 NFL Week 15 Bettor’s Guide (Audio Embedded)
Last week was brutal from every standpoint. Teams blew leads, which in turn, blew covers and money lines, and some spreads were screwed at the very end of four games. Let’s just move onto Week 15 with alacrity.
Week 15: SEA -15 (Covered), SEA Money Line (Covered)
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
East Rutherford, New Jersey
SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL SPECIAL
My Call: MIA -2.5
Over/Under: Under 37.5
Ugly football, low-scoring, and bad QB play will be the name of this game. The Dolphins must win this game to maintain pace in the AFC Wild Card, but without Ryan Tannehill, it is difficult to predict where the Fins’ passing attack will go while led by Matt Moore. Miami SHOULD be able to get most of what they want against a porous/packed-in-for-the-winter Jets defense; at least enough to win, but don’t expect any blowouts here.
NY Jets 13
Detroit Lions vs. New York Football Giants
East Rutherford, New Jersey
My Call: NYG -4
Over/Under: Under 40.5
The Lions will be without Theo Riddick, while both teams have a plethora of players out. The only definite for the Giants is that Jason Pierre-Paul remains out for the next month or so with sports hernia surgery.
Regarding Matthew Stafford’s hand, he is preparing as best as possible to be prepared for this game. The Lions need it, as the Packers are surging in the NFC North. The Lions pass defense is questionable here. The Giants still may not be able to run the ball with efficacy in this game, but outside of Darius Slay, Detroit does not have much in the way of playmakers on their back end. Ezekiel Ansah has no sacks on the season, and will certainly be looking to get off that schneid against midtown turnstile Ereck Flowers.
The Giants have the ability to make a couple of big plays against the Lions defense, whereas the Giants defense does not give up much when they are rolling. The Lions execute a quick passing scheme and work underneath, but as is the case every week, the Giants need to be alert for the tight end — in this game, Eric Ebron and others — and they will be in position to cover this spread.
NY Giants 24
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens
M&T Bank Stadium
My Call: BAL -6
Over/Under: Under 41
Jimmy Smith’s absence will be felt to a degree, but the Eagles’ receiving corps isn’t all that equipped to take advantage of what will be a mediocre Ravens’ secondary as a result. The Baltimore pass rush will give Carson Wentz fits to the point where he will be running for his life for most of the game.
Which Joe Flacco shows up for this game, though? That’s the determining factor in wagering on this spread.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
My Call: CHI +5.5
Over/Under: Under 39
This is the ultimate go-with-your-gut game. Don’t overanalyze it. Aaron Rodgers is not 100% and it will be hovering around 0 degrees all game.
Green Bay 13
Indianapolis Colts vs. Minnesota Vikings
U.S. Bank Stadium
My Call: IND +5
Over/Under: Under 46
Why are the Colts getting 5? At least they have some semblance of an offense. We’ll see how it goes with the Vikes against the Colts’ bend-and-often-break defense that does not force many turnovers. Andrew Luck can be frivolous with the football, but he can at least push it downfield. The Vikes can’t pass protect well enough to consistently do so. We’ll even go so far as to take the Colts and the points straight up here. We know Adrian Peterson is planning to play, but even HE isn’t coming back into the lineup after missing three months and busting out the type of impactful that the Vikes would need in order to win/cover the spread.
Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills
New Era Field
Orchard Park, New York
My Call: BUF -10
Over/Under: Under 41
No, not even the Bills will lose to the Browns.
Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City, Missouri
My Call: KC -4.5
Over/Under: Over 42
This is a tough game to call. The Chiefs pass rush will give the Titans fits, but the Titans can run the ball pretty decently. Do the Titans have enough to slow Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill? We don’t think so.
Kansas City 26
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
My Call: HOU -5
Over/Under: Under 39.5
If Gus Bradley had any dignity, he’d retire now.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Brown Stadium
My Call: PIT -3
Over/Under: Over 44
Bengals’ WR AJ Green teased a return from his hamstring injury this week, but it is not looking likely. If he does play, it is doubtful that he will be very effective or see his normal allotment of snaps and targets.
Pittsburgh is seeking to finish the season strongly, and build their lead in the AFC North. The Bengals are playing out the string and hoping to serve as spoilers for both the Steelers and Ravens from here. We will see how good the Steelers’ defense really is once this game is over. The past two games aren’t really convincing; given the circumstances.
New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium
My Call: ARZ -3
Over/Under: Under 50.5
Sucker bet, at least with the game totals. The Saints aren’t a good road team in any facet. They showed that yet again in Tampa by getting shut out of the end zone all game. The Cards defense is generally better at home (as is their offense, for that matter), and as they have released Michael Floyd — who signed with New England later in the week — that creates a void that will be filled by JJ Nelson, who will have a more expanded role in the Cards’ offense. Carson Palmer will have his chances against the sieve that is the Saints defense. Expect a big game from David Johnson in the all-purpose capacity.
New Orleans 16
San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Georgia Dome
My Call: ATL -13
Over/Under: Over 50
Once again, Julio Jones will not play against a bad team, and the Falcons won’t miss him.
San Francisco 20
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium
AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK
My Call: DEN +3
Over/Under: Over 43.5
That hook will be interesting, because this game will hover in that 43-45 area, we feel. The Denver offense has been stuck in neutral for the past couple of weeks, and facing a relatively weak defense (we know their points per game against stat), they look to perk up a bit. Without much of a pass rush (although Denver’s right tackle situation bears watching) New England will opt to play coverage and dare Denver to finally run the ball; something they have not done consistently this year. New England will be able to do a few things underneath in the pass, and they will have to, because Denver’s pass rush will be all over Tom Brady all game, and eventually close out the game late.
New England 17
Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers
San Diego, California
My Call: OAK -3
Over/Under: Over 49
The Chargers cannot overcome the loss of Melvin Gordon.
San Diego 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: TB +7
Over/Under: Over 46.5
Lavonte David’s status bears watching. His absence would be huge in this game; particularly in defending the intermediate routes which Dallas works frequently with Cole Beasley and Jason Witten. However, with Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes playing well on the back end with Alterraun Verner, Chris Conte, Keith Tandy and Bradley McDougald, coupled with a refueled pass rush, Tampa’s defense is still plenty equipped to slow Dallas’ offense, which has been neutralized in recent weeks.
The X-factor in this game is the play of Jameis Winston and Doug Martin. Tampa will need to be able to run the football to keep Dallas’ secondary honest; as Dallas loves to play a base shell two-deep with their safeties. If Tampa can get Dallas out of that look — and they will, at times, but at what frequency? — Winston will carve up Dallas’ smoke and mirrors defense, whose statistical performance makes them appear to be better than they actually are. The past two weeks Dallas has faced offenses that do not consistently push the football down the field.
Jameis Winston does not dink and dunk.
Tampa Bay 27
Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
My Call: CAR +6.5
Over/Under: Over 51
Much talk will be made about the Cam Newton/Josh Norman, Josh Norman/Dave Gettleman/Panthers storyline, but as far as the game goes, none of that really matters. The Redskins are not the same team when Jordan Reed is out or not playing at close to 100% physically. Thomas Davis may wreck this game.