If there was any doubt concerning the stage of randomness in play within the NFL, it was eliminated in a significant manner final Sunday courtesy of Patriots-Steelers and Cowboys-Raiders. However the the weird finish video games in Pittsburgh and Oakland aren’t indicators that NFL betting cannot be a successful proposition; as an alternative, they’re traditional reminders of what these things is all about within the first place. Happily, we do not have to foretell the outcomes. We simply must predict the outcomes higher than the collective betting market, and since we’re all topic to so many main swings to this point past our management, that course of begins with maximizing the perimeters we will uncover amidst all of the volatility of any given Sunday.
On this board the worth extends into the Christmas nightcap on Monday, so it is time to dig in and attempt to give the bankroll a vacation bonus within the type of a successful Week 16.
Tennessee +7 vs. Rams
The Titans aren’t nearly as good as their Eight-6 file, with a robust case to be made that they rank properly under common amongst NFL groups. The Rams are each bit nearly as good as their 10-Four file, having reworked seemingly in a single day from dire straits beneath Jeff Fisher to one of many league’s elites beneath Sean McVay. However betting in opposition to level spreads is about numbers as an alternative of groups, and even with out factoring on this week’s state of affairs, the Rams being favored by a full landing in Tennessee sells the Titans quick.
That solely will get magnified when accounting for the state of affairs. The Rams journey throughout the nation for a 10 a.m. physique clock kickoff on the heels of giant video games in opposition to NFC rivals within the Eagles and Seahawks, with final week’s demolition in Seattle principally wrapping up the NFC West. With a first-round playoff bye all however out of attain, nonetheless, the Rams’ playoff positioning is fairly safe. This might be a giant letdown spot, and even when it is not, a max effort by the Rams is constructed into the present unfold.
The Titans, in the meantime, have been absolutely uncovered for his or her fraudulent Eight-Four file via their first dozen video games, with back-to-back losses to the NFC West’s 2017 backside feeders jeopardizing their place in a crowded AFC playoff image. We are able to count on to see their finest effort at house on Sunday, and even when that effort is not sufficient to win the sport, it leaves ample room to lose the sport and nonetheless cowl the unfold.
Calling for an outright Tennesse win could be bold, nevertheless it’s not swimming upstream choosing the Titans to cowl this quantity.
Jacksonville -Four at San Francisco
The 49ers result in as a lot vitality to the desk as we’ll ever see from a Four-10 group, with the mentality that they are actually Three-Zero when utilizing Jimmy Garoppolo’s first begin at QB as the start line. However getting into final week’s recreation at Three-10 and nonetheless being favored over the then-Eight-5 Titans tells us the constructive vibes coming from San Francisco are absolutely accounted for in latest level spreads. Some bodily limitations, nonetheless, might not be factored in correctly.
The unfold is that this recreation occurs to be the distinction between a landing and a area objective, making it an acceptable setting to name out a key think about element. In his three video games because the starter, Jimmy G has solely led a complete of three landing drives. Evaluate that to a whopping 15 area objectives in the identical span, and people four-point swings from touchdowns to area objectives can begin to turn out to be magnified, notably in opposition to higher opposition.
It feels odd to say it, however in 2017 the Jaguars match the mildew of “higher opposition.” They arrive in with the NFL’s finest protection in response to DVOA, and their capability to make Garoppolo uncomfortable will probably restrict the 49ers’ capability to seek out the top zone as soon as once more. On the opposite facet of the ball, Blake Bortles hasn’t abruptly turn out to be an important QB, however his serviceable passer ranking this season of 87.9 signifies his limitations are lastly being dealt with correctly throughout the confines of the offense. With rookie sensation RB Leonard Fournette on observe to return to the fold, it ought to be a balanced Jacksonville assault that, not like the San Francisco offense, can convert its scoring drives into touchdowns fairly than area objectives.
Decide of the Week: Teaser – Chargers decide ’em at Jets, Philadelphia -2.5 vs. Oakland
The Chargers suffered a significant setback in Kansas Metropolis final week, however they nonetheless have a pulse within the AFC playoff image and it may get racing heading into the season’s ultimate Sunday if issues break proper for them this weekend. Along with being the clearly superior group, one refined issue working of their favor this Sunday is a diminished drawback because the street group, having already performed and received at MetLife Stadium this season. The Jets will play laborious and should properly cowl the unfold, however when push involves shove, it’s tough to check Bryce Petty stopping Philip Rivers and the Chargers from rising with the outright win, particularly with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram main a quick and livid go rush that ought to take Petty out of his factor, not that Petty has established a lot of a component within the first place.
The second leg of the teaser presents each a really perfect play-on spot for the Eagles and a play-against spot for the Raiders. Beginning with the Eagles, whereas they lined their finish of the discount to assist final week’s teaser ticket money, it was extra success than good soccer that acquired them out of MetLife Stadium with a win over the Giants. Regardless of pulling off a hat trick in blocking a area objective, and further level and a punt, and successful the turnover for good measure, the Eagles needed to make a defensive stand on a first-and-goal state of affairs within the ultimate minute simply to complete off a group that took the sphere with a meager 2-11 file.
Much more shocking is that the offense was effective in its first displaying with out Carson Wentz, and it was the protection that entered the week because the third-best within the league that was the issue. Regardless of Nick Foles stepping in at QB and throwing 4 landing passes and no interceptions whereas finishing 63% of his passes, and regardless of gaining greater than 100 yards on the bottom, the Eagles had been outgunned by a full yard per play. That may occur when a protection permits greater than 500 yards at greater than six yards per play, solely producing one sack in 58 Eli Manning drop-backs alongside the best way. The place this turns into a think about Week 16 is the Eagles’ preparation, figuring out they had been fortunate to win however viewing Christmas evening at house as an opportunity for atonement like we’d usually see from a group off a loss.
Don’t search for the Raiders to atone for final week’s loss, nonetheless, as they arrive in off the king of all dream crushers. From probably the most weird first-down measurement in NFL historical past extending what turned out to be the Cowboys’ game-winning area objective drive to Derek Carr’s fumble out of the top zone that turned first and objective on the 1 within the ultimate moments right into a turnover and recreation over, the Raiders had the wind taken out of their sails about as a lot as we’ll see within the NFL. Add in speak of a divided Oakland locker room, and it’s tough to think about the Raiders responding properly in any setting, not to mention a cross-country journey to play a non-conference opponent once they’d fairly be house with their households on Christmas.
And even when they had been motivated, the absence of left sort out Donald Penn defending Carr’s blind facet, plus the probably absences of Carr’s prime two targets in Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, would make the Raiders an extended shot to point out what it takes bodily to knock off the Eagles.
Philadelphia has been concerned in a finest guess teaser every of the final two weeks and has come via each occasions, and the best way all the pieces strains up this week, it’s time to see if they’ll make it three straight on Christmas evening to turn out to be the present that retains on giving.
Final week: 1-1-1
Picks of the Week: 11-Three-1