For The Win: Week 15 - Footballguys

NFL Picks Against the Las Vegas Lines

Last week the opening statement was this: “Some weeks are just a train wreck from start to finish.” Well, Tennessee helped us out, but Sunday was another disaster. At some point things are going to go back to a bit of normalcy, but Week 13 and Week 14 did us no favors. So what now? Focus on the facts – the season has just three weeks left, and some teams are far more motivated than others. Remember, these are athletes in their 20s for the most part, so getting up for a game this late in the year can be a challenge. Finding that motivation is key to success this late in the year. Stay focused is a mantra that is easier said than done, but focus we shall keep here in mid-December. Here we go:

Note that the lines and Over/Unders are taken from VegasInsider.com.

TAKE NOTE! Now that the NCAA football regular season is over, the NFL starts to put some games on Saturday in addition to Thursday, Sunday and Monday – so keep all kickoff times in mind these final few weeks.

(Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+3 to +3.5) at KANSAS CITY (Over/Under 52.5 to 53)
It is always tough to go with an underdog, but even more so on a Thursday matchup. The Chargers could have Melvin Gordon III back, which would be a huge boost to their chances at pulling off the upset in Kansas City. The two teams know each other well and faced off back in Week 1, with the high-powered Chiefs winning 38-28. Looking back at that matchup, the Chargers had more total yards (541-362) but lost the turnover battle 0-2. If Philip Rivers and company can protect the ball and with the Chargers’ defense holding Travis Kelce down in Week 1 (one catch for six yards), the chances are there for Los Angeles to keep this big AFC West game close. A Chargers win puts them in a dead heat with Kansas City for the division (losing a tiebreaker for Los Angeles losing to Denver inside the division), and that spot is critical in the AFC with the winner of the West getting the top seed (most likely) and the loser being a fifth seed. That means three games on the road for that 5-seed vs. two home games to get to the Super Bowl. Expect the Chargers to pull out all the stops in a very exciting matchup to start Week 15. PICK: Chargers

(Saturday, 4:30PM Eastern) HOUSTON (-6 to -6.5) at NEW YORK JETS (Over/Under 41.5)
The Texans took a tough loss against the Colts last week, but they still have a great shot at both the AFC South and the postseason. The Jets put up a great fight and win in Buffalo with Elijah McGuire and Robby Anderson supporting Sam Darnold, but the Bills defense is still a few rungs below the Texans. Houston can all but clinch a postseason spot with a win on Saturday, which is the expected outcome here. Houston 27, Jets 13. PICK: Texans

(Saturday, 8:20PM Eastern) DENVER (-3) vs. CLEVELAND (Over/Under 45 to 45.5)
Denver took a big hit to their Wild Card hopes with a loss in San Francisco last week. The Broncos have to win three games in a row (winning out) and get some help, and all of that starts with a victory over Cleveland this week. The Browns continue to play well, taking out the Panthers at home last week, so this Saturday night matchup will be a close, tight one most likely. Denver demonstrated that they have young receivers ready to step up, and Philip Lindsay is pushing hard to help the Broncos get to that postseason. Cleveland has had a very respectable season but a tough schedule from start to finish. Tight call, but go with the home team with playoff hopes still alive. PICK: Broncos

JACKSONVILLE (-6.5 to -7) vs. WASHINGTON (Over/Under 36)
Washington is on their fourth quarterback in less than a month, which is never good. For a team that once had a lead in the NFC East, they have really fallen apart – much like Jacksonville. The Jaguars are playing their final home game of the season, so they will want to end on a high note after a very tough season. Neither team has much going forwards for them this season, and it is a little strange to see a team favored by nearly a touchdown in such a low total game (36 points), but that is more a statement about Josh Johnson and the Jaguars defense than anything else. Expect Jacksonville to finish strong, running the ball and pressuring Johnson all day long. PICK: Jaguars

BALTIMORE (-8) vs. TAMPA BAY (Over/Under 46.5 to 47)
Baltimore nearly pulled a big upset of the Chiefs last week, pushing Kansas City all the way to the brink in overtime. The good news is that the Steelers are falling apart, losing in Oakland last week, and the Ravens remain just one half-game behind Pittsburgh for the division. Baltimore has two winnable games at home (Buccaneers and Cleveland in Week 17), while the Steelers must face the Patriots and Saints the next two weeks. Baltimore will play a similar style of game as they played last week, with likely better results against a much weaker team and defense from the Buccaneers. PICK: Ravens

ATLANTA (-8.5 to -9) vs. ARIZONA (Over/Under 37.5)
All is right again with the world with the Cardinals losing last week to Detroit at home, 17-3. This is the last home game of the year for Atlanta, and the Falcons should be able to win by double-digits. The only cause for pause here is the Falcons’ defense against the run, which is very suspect, and that is how Arizona will attack with David Johnson and Chase Edwards. Look for Atlanta to stack the box and get a home win to give one last positive for the Falcon fans. PICK: Falcons

BUFFALO (-2 to -2.5) vs. DETROIT (Over/Under 38 to 38.5)
The Bills played the Jets hard at home last week, while the Lions won on the road in Arizona. Tough to glean much from two weaker teams facing two weak teams last week. Now both lower end teams face off in Buffalo, and the Lions are still very thin on offense. Buffalo has enough on offense to support their strong defense to get the job done in a game that no one is really interested in watching this week. PICK: Bills

CHICAGO (-5.5 to -6) vs. GREEN BAY (Over/Under 44.5 to 45.5)
The Bears made (another) statement win last week in a huge 15-6 home win over the Rams. Chicago’s defense is arguably the best in the NFC, and a win at home against the Packers secures the NFC North for Chicago and nearly secures the third seed in the conference. Green Bay has been up and down all season long, winning last week in big fashion over Atlanta, but the Falcons’ defense scares no one. Chicago will win their final regular season home game this week and virtually lock up the third spot in the NFC, giving them two weeks to rest up for a Wild Card home game. PICK: Bears

CINCINNATI (-3) vs. OAKLAND (Over/Under 45.5 to 46.5)
The Bengals are one of four teams who have a final home game in Week 15. That’s important motivation for getting their fans behind the team for next season and saying thanks for their support with a win. Cincinnati has played reasonably well of late despite a ton of injuries, and the Raiders (at a 1PM Eastern kickoff) are a very beatable team. PICK: Bengals

INDIANAPOLIS (-3) vs. DALLAS (Over/Under 47)
Dallas practically wrapped up the NFC East last week with an overtime win over the Eagles. The Cowboys have won five in a row to get to 8-5, and are not far behind Chicago (9-4) for the third seed in the NFC. Indianapolis had a big win in Houston last week to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the home team here should have more motivation with the bigger need of a win than for the Cowboys. The Colts have been playing very good football (aside from the trip to Jacksonville), and Andrew Luck is playing extremely good football. Colts should take this one by more than just a field goal. PICK: Colts

MINNESOTA (-7) vs. MIAMI (Over/Under 43 to 43.5)
The Vikings have fallen off the wagon of late, losing 21-7 (and it was not even that close) to Seattle on Monday Night Football. That loss led to the firing of offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and the promotion of QB coach Kevin Stefanski to that role. The Vikings can still make the playoffs and they have three winnable games the rest of the way, assuming the Bears do not care about Week 17 (Week 16 is at Detroit). Miami had their usual upstart week against New England in Miami, but they are just playing out the string. Odds are that their one shot at a big upset was taken last week – and it hit, so expecting a letdown for the Dolphins and a rally by the Vikings seems appropriate for this week. PICK: Vikings

TENNESSEE (+2.5) at NEW YORK GIANTS (Over/Under 43.5 to 44)
The Giants blew out Washington last week, but Tennessee also had a big win last Thursday at home over Jacksonville. The Titans still have a reasonable shot at the postseason, and to do so they must win their final three games as their most direct path. New York’s defense has been suspect to big rushing performances, having yielded 75+ yards to six different backs this season, along with 15 total touchdowns to running backs. That screams “big game” for Derrick Henry, while the Giants are likely to go in a similar direction with Saquan Barkley against the Titans. The concerns for New York is that the Titans have only given up six total touchdowns to running backs and just three games of 75+ yards rushing. With all the motivation and numbers leaning towards Tennessee, that is the correct path to take with this contest. PICK: Titans

SEATTLE (-6 to -6.5) vs. SAN FRANCISCO (Over/Under 44.5)
The Seahawks are back in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot after four consecutive wins, sitting at 8-5 as the top Wild Card team in the NFC. A win in San Francisco locks them into the #5 seed for the playoffs while the 49ers have very little reason left to put up a ton of fight – but they have done so of late. That said, Seattle is a much tougher opponent and much more motivated than the likes of Detroit. Take the hot team to win by more than a touchdown. PICK: Seahawks

NEW ENGLAND (-3) at PITTSBURGH (Over/Under 44.5)
Pittsburgh is really struggling right now with Ben Roethlisberger doing his usual road/home splits (not so hot away from PA), but now he returns to Pittsburgh to host the New England Patriots. Tom Brady’s team just suffered an unbelievable loss in Miami, so both teams are coming off of big upsets on the road. New England (9-4) needs to win to secure a bye and to stay ahead of the 7-5-1 Steelers. Pittsburgh is in a very difficult spot with games against New England this week and the Saints in Week 16. Not only are they banged up but they could be fighting the Ravens for the AFC North title all the way through the final weekend . This matchup is almost always entertaining, but all signs are pointing towards a win for New England. PICK: Patriots

LOS ANGELES RAMS (-9 to -9.5) vs. PHILADELPHIA (Over/Under 53.5 to 54)
This game was supposed to be a marquee matchup in December with the Rams and Eagles vying for home field in the NFC – but Philadelphia has not held up their part of that bargain. The Eagles have been decimated on defense and at tailback, greatly diminishing their defense and ground game capabilities. The Rams are humming along at 11-2 and are going to be a Top 2 seed in the NFC, while Philadelphia now will not even have Carson Wentz at quarterback. The irony is not lost here as the Rams knocked Wentz out last season in December, pushing Nick Foles to a starting role that did lead to a Super Bowl win last February. Now Foles is in again, but the Eagles are not strong enough in other areas to compete against the top end teams. Rams by double digits as they bounce back from their loss last week in Chicago. PICK: Rams

(Monday) NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) at CAROLINA (Over/Under 51.5 to 52.5)
The Saints have to face Carolina twice in the next three weeks, a scheduling quirk that puts them against the Panthers (and the Steelers in Week 16) to close out the season. New Orleans can hold on to the top spot in the NFC if they win out, and Carolina has fallen off of late with five consecutive losses. The Saints came back last week in Tampa Bay for a win, and they will look to go to Carolina and build on that road win within the NFC South. After a loss in Cleveland, it is hard to see how the Panthers can match up with the Saints for four quarters, so look for the Saints to move to a two-game winning streak. PICK: Saints

PICK(S) OF THE WEEK: Los Angeles Chargers, Houston, Denver, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Seattle, Los Angeles Rams

THIS WEEK'S PLAYS

The intent of this column is to give out not only the Plays for the Week in the NFL but also a rating of each one on a 1-3 Unit scale. The more units, the bigger the emphasis on that side of the game. (More units = More $$$).

The games are much more fun (and teaser friendly) this week. If you are unfamiliar with a "Wong Teaser", check out the link and learn a bit more as we have several in play for Week 14. Plenty of fun to be had this week.

* ONE UNIT PLAYS *

  • (Saturday, 4:30PM Eastern) HOUSTON (-6) at NEW YORK JETS
  • (Saturday, 8:20PM Eastern) DENVER (-3) vs. CLEVELAND
  • JACKSONVILLE (-6.5) vs. WASHINGTON
  • CHICAGO (-5.5) vs. GREEN BAY
  • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-9) vs. PHILADELPHIA
  • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+3.5) at KANSAS CITY
  • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS “FOR THE WIN” (+170) at KANSAS CITY
  • 6-POINT TEASER: (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+9) at KANSAS CITY (Over 46.5)
  • 6-POINT TEASER: (Monday) NEW ORLEANS (-0.5) at CAROLINA (Over/Under 45.5)
  • 6-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (6.1-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
  • 7-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (8.9-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
  • 8-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (12.75-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
  • 9-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (18.25-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
    • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at KANSAS CITY (Over 46.5)
  • 10-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (26-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
    • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at KANSAS CITY (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) NEW ORLEANS (-0.5) at CAROLINA
  • 11-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (37-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
    • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at KANSAS CITY (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) NEW ORLEANS (-0.5) at CAROLINA
    • (Monday) NEW ORLEANS at CAROLINA (Over 45.5)
  • 12-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (52-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
    • (Saturday) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • SEATTLE (EVEN) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
    • LOS ANGELES RAMS (-3) vs. PHILADELPHIA
    • (Thursday) LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at KANSAS CITY (Over 46.5)
    • (Monday) NEW ORLEANS (-0.5) at CAROLINA
    • (Monday) NEW ORLEANS at CAROLINA (Over 45.5)
    • CINCINNATI (+3) vs. OAKLAND

** TWO UNIT PLAYS **

  • 2-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER:
    • (Saturday, 4:30PM Eastern) HOUSTON (EVEN) at NEW YORK JETS
    • (Saturday, 8:20PM Eastern) DENVER (+3) vs. CLEVELAND
  • 5-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (4.1-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON
    • ATLANTA (-2.5) vs. ARIZONA
*** THREE UNIT PLAYS ***
  • 3-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (9-5 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
  • 4-TEAM, 6-POINT TEASER (2.65-1 ODDS):
    • MINNESOTA (-1) vs. MIAMI
    • BALTIMORE (-2) vs. TAMPA BAY
    • CHICAGO (+0.5) vs. GREEN BAY
    • JACKSONVILLE (-0.5) vs. WASHINGTON

RESULTS

Last Week

  • OVERALL: 7-9 (43.8%)
  • PICK(S) OF WEEK: 4-5 (44.4%)
  • WEEKLY TOP PLAYS: 5.5-22 (20.0%)

Season

  • OVERALL: 102-99-7 (50.7%)
  • PICK(S) OF WEEK: 45-37-3 (54.9%)
  • WEEKLY TOP PLAYS: 320.3-151-2 (68.0%)

Good luck this weekend!

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