Week 15 has soccer followers clamoring for arguably the most effective quartet of regular-season video games we’ll see this 12 months. Within the AFC, Patriots-Steelers may decide the No. 1 seed and home-field benefit on the street to Tremendous Bowl LII and Chargers-Chiefs will resolve who’s on the within observe to host a playoff sport and who’s on the skin wanting in on a crowded playoff image. Within the NFC, Rams-Seahawks may decide the division crown, whereas Packers-Panthers will see the return of that man from these State Farm commercials who we’re informed additionally occurs to be a serviceable QB.
However betting being what it’s, the largest edges aren’t at all times discovered within the marquee matchups. Happily, a dozen different video games stay to mine for worth, so it is time to roll up the sleeves.
Houston +11 at Jacksonville
Based mostly on the standard of those two groups and the Jaguars’ subpar home-field benefit in a vacuum, 11 is the utmost variety of factors Jacksonville needs to be laying. Factoring within the scenario, it looks as if a beneficiant spot to again the underdog.
For starters, T.J. Yates is in at QB for the Texans, and whereas he is not one to set the world on fireplace, the one course to go is up with anyone apart from Tom Savage below heart. While you filter rankings by passer score on NFL.com, it’s important to go to Web page 2 to seek out Savage’s title – that is not good contemplating 49 names seem on Web page 1 and there are solely 32 groups. Yates will not be particular, but when something he needs to be an improve over Savage.
Digging deeper into the matchups in play, Blake Bortles is not a QB anyone trusts to construct a margin, and a good Jaguars floor sport stands to get met with resistance from a Houston rush protection that ranks #6 within the league in response to DVOA. The Jaguars ought to maintain a lead for many of the sport, however with a QB who requires being dealt with with child gloves and a dashing assault that would get held in examine, their capacity to construct a sufficiently big margin to cowl this quantity is one other query. That the Jaguars rank 29th in defensive DVOA towards the run additionally opens the door to the Texans making performs with out leaning too closely on their very own uninspiring QB.
Lastly, whereas the Jaguars’ emergence has been one of many prime storylines this season, this setting calls their pedigree into query. After the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins on Monday, Jacksonville has a practical shot on the AFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. With the stakes this excessive, can we count on Bortles and equally unproven Head Coach Doug Marrone to be at their finest? Particularly after rolling to a 22-point Week 1 win in Houston, there is not any assure they take the Texans significantly.
The Jaguars ought to win this sport, however the considered them dominating sufficient to cowl this massive of a selection, with this a lot on the road for the primary time within the Bortles-Marrone period, is nearly sufficient to induce a watch roll.
Oakland +Three vs. Dallas
Sure, the Cowboys received Sean Lee again final week and he was an animal, racking up 18 tackles plus an interception for good measure. However as particular as he’s when wholesome, it is tough to return to phrases with this line. Greater than a play on the Raiders, that is an anti-Dallas transfer due to the best way the market is decoding the final two Cowboys ultimate scores. For the needs of this sport’s breakdown, it is so simple as that.
Scoreboard outcomes of 38-14 over Washington and 30-10 on the Giants paint an image of Dallas domination that wasn’t there. A 6-Zero turnover benefit and a punt return for a landing will skew the scoreboard over the course of eight quarters, however when a deeper dive reveals the Cowboys had been outgained by half a yard per play at residence by Washington and had been tied at 10 with the lowly Giants in an evenly performed sport with lower than eight minutes to go, a course correction seems to be so as. Sunday evening in Oakland, Derek Carr & Co. do not should do something particular to be the beneficiaries of a little bit Cowboys regression to the imply.
Choose of the Week: Teaser – Philadelphia -1.5 at Giants, Baltimore -1 at Cleveland
The Eagles are solely in teaser territory due to the crushing harm to Carson Wentz, and as unhappy because it was to see that occur to him, when alternative knocks a bettor had higher reply. Nick Foles stepped in and did extra than simply handle the sport in crunch time towards the Rams final week, making a big-time throw to Nelson Agholor to transform a key third down on the Eagles’ ultimate drive to ice the sport. That needed to be a jolt of confidence for a backup QB who finds himself in an optimum atmosphere to succeed – Foles is surrounded by a succesful RB corps, a stable group of TEs that will get even higher with the return of Zach Ertz this week, and WRs able to driving defenses loopy with Agholor out of the slot and Alshon Jeffery out broad. To not point out the adage good protection could be a QB’s finest pal, and the Eagles have the third-best protection within the league in response to DVOA. So far as Philadelphia’s opposition goes, we noticed the Giants’ finest shot final week, after they performed the Cowboys to a draw for the higher a part of three and a half quarters earlier than falling aside late. Search for one other robust effort at residence towards a divisional rival, however with their expertise, effort can solely go to date. And the Eagles ought to match or exceed the Giants’ effort, needing to carry on to the NFC’s No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field benefit greater than ever with out Wentz out there for the playoff run. We frequently see a heightened focus from a staff in its first sport after it loses a key participant to harm, and that method by Philadelphia can be greater than sufficient in New York.
Within the second leg it is all about fading the Browns, a profitable sample of conduct throughout their 1-28 straight-up run within the Hue Jackson period. Making it 1-29 will get the job performed for the Ravens, virtually whatever the margin, and it is tough to see Cleveland bouncing again after blowing a golden alternative to lastly break into the 2017 win column final week with a 14-point fourth-quarter lead over Brett Hundley and the Packers. The Ravens are additionally off a troublesome loss, however within the thick of the AFC playoff hunt they’ve all the rationale on the planet to bounce again. The continued emergence of RB Alex Collins has breathed life into an in any other case anemic offense, and whereas the Steelers exploited the Baltimore protection with out No. 1 CB Jimmy Smith, they did so in a means the Browns cannot replicate with out competent QB play and Antonio Brown making the spectacular look bizarre at WR. Issue within the teaching benefit John Harbaugh brings to the desk, and we should always see the continuation of a stunning pattern in fading the Browns proving to be an excellent higher cash maker within the post-Johnny Manziel period than throughout it.
Final week: 1-2
Picks of the Week: 10-Three-1