By Steven Marcuz (@sidskeat) and Shaun Meyer (@deadduck77)
As the weeks roll on, we find ourselves getting closer and closer to getting above water. With three weeks left to go, time is of the essence. But fret not, dear readers, we’ve never let you down before (season long) and we’re not gonna start now! We’re gonna bring it and finish strong. Let’s see where we stand:
And now, we’re on to week 15!
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-2.5)
Amazing what a difference a year makes. These matchups used to be schticky, as the Rams, for some reason, always played their best against Seattle even when their season would be going so wrong. But now things are going right and this game will go a long way to deciding the winner of the NFC West. Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Co. are a confident bunch but heading into Seattle is a different animal. I know Seattle isn’t the same team as we’re used to seeing. Their defense has had injuries to multiple big play guys but Russell Wilson is still doing everything he can to keep them going. The Rams lost a close back and forth game last week against the Eagles while Seattle fell short in their comeback bid in Jacksonville. Surprisingly, the Seahawks are only 2-4 against the spread (ATS) at home this year, but are still 12-3 straight up (SU) in their last 15. They’re also 8-2 ATS in their last 10 at home against the Rams but we all know these aren’t the same Rams. Los Angeles is 6-2 ATS in their last eight including 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. I think we’re in for a good one here but Seattle shows that they’re still Kings of the West. Seattle win 31-27.
Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Carolina Panthers
As Davante Adams proclaimed on Twitter: the King has returned! That’s right, Aaron Rodgers is back and just in time to give the Packers a last ditch chance to sneak into the playoffs. They’ll be playing against a Panthers team who just had a nice win last week against the Minnesota Vikings. How will Aaron Rodgers do in his first game back since breaking his collarbone? He’s Aaron Rodgers, he’ll be fine. My biggest concern and main reason for taking the Pack here is the bigger the spotlight on Cam and Co. the more they seem to fizzle. The Panthers have been a solid bet, I’ve been saying it all year. They’re 5-1 ATS and SU in their last six so they are rolling. On the other hand, the Packers are 4-1 ATS in their last five and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. And that was with Brett Hundley running the ship. Let’s also not forget that December is good to the Pack as they’ve gone 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games in December. I think Christmas came early for Green Bay fans and they get out of Carolina with a win. Packers win this one outright 27-24.
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 54.5
This one is easily the game of the week and I’m gonna be a sissy and fade the spread and take the total. Although these two teams are the best in the AFC, I don’t see this one being a crazy shootout. There’s too much on the line. With home field advantage at stake, I see this one playing out more like a playoff game where teams will be more conservative. Ball control will be key as both offenses try to keep the ball out of the other offense’s hands. I see long drives and a lot of field goals. The total has gone UNDER in five of New England’s last six games on the road and in six of their last eight overall. For Pittsburgh, the total has gone OVER in four of their last five at home and in this matchup specifically, the OVER has hit in nine of 13. Now that spans a few years but does point to this one typically being a high scoring again. I’m betting against that this week. Sit back and enjoy this playoff preview. Patriots win 27-24.
Dallas Cowboys @ Oakland Raiders OVER 46
This one might seem a little odd considering these are two teams who have severely underwhelmed this season. Each team has taken a step back from 2016 and for different reasons but that doesn’t change where we are now. The Cowboys and Raiders both will be playing to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and I think the reigns come off for both offenses. The Cowboys exploded in the fourth quarter last week so we know they can put up points. The Raiders might be a different story as we only got to see them put up some junk time scoring in Kansas City last week. But I think both teams are going to be thirsty and these defenses aren’t anything to worry about. For Dallas, the UNDER has hit in five of their last six and 17 of their last 23 on the road. Conversely, the Raiders total has gone OVER in eight of their last 12 home games and four of their last five overall. I think we get some fireworks here. Cowboys win 28-24.
Chicago Bears (+5) @ Detroit Lions
The Bears went into Cincinnati and laid a beat down on the Bengals last week. With no Vontaze Burfict or Adam (Pac-Man) Jones, Chicago was able to move the ball at will on Sunday. Detroit was able to squeak out a victory over the disappointing team from Tampa Bay. I can’t think of a more disappointing team for fantasy this year than the Bucs. Facing the broken Bengal defense is just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Bear’s offense. The Lions are 1-7 ATS at home in their last eight division games. This is Chicago’s time of year, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven December games. Detroit is 4-1 SU vs the Bears over the last three seasons but Chicago is 3-1-1 ATS over those same games. Lions win but Bears cover 24-20.
Philadelphia Eagles @ NY Giants (+7.5)
Poor Eagles fans. They were cruising towards a number one seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and this bastard of an injury riddled season felt it necessary to take away Carson Wentz. Now it’s the Nick Foles show. They were able to hang on to beat the Rams Sunday in what was still the game of the week. The Giants went back to Eli Manning and it didn’t hurt their tank job, losing in a big way to the Cowboys. I know the Giants are bad, and they aren’t even trying to win, but I think Foles will struggle in his first start for the Eagles. I think drives will stall for the Eagles without Carson using his legs to otherwise keep them alive. The Eagles have been great ATS but I don’t think they will be the same team with Foles. Eagles win 23-17.
LA Chargers (-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City beat the tar out of Oakland last week when they finally decided to feature Kareem Hunt again. Fantasy owners that stuck with him were finally rewarded with a game that looked like the Kareem Hunt of early season. The Chargers easily disposed of the Redskins in a game I honestly did not watch at all. Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen have been on fire and the defense has been terrorizing QBs. The Chargers have been road warriors this year with a 4-1 ATS record in road games over their last five. Kansas City got right last week but I feel like it had more to do with Oakland having given up on the season than anything Kansas City did. I know it is taboo to pick against Kansas City at home in the cold but this week that’s exactly what I’m doing. Chargers win 27-23.
New York Jets @ New Orleans Saints (-16)
My lord that is a big spread. I mean real big. Maybe the biggest spread I’ve ever bet in NFL. But I think the Saints coming off a tight loss to the Falcons, and facing the Jets who just got blanked by the terrible Broncos, will cover easily. New Orleans lost their superstar rookie running back, Alvin Kamara, in the first few minutes of Thursday night’s game but he’s good to go for this weekend. I feel sorry for poor Josh McCown. Under appreciated everywhere he goes and all he did was take a team everyone thought would be in the conversation for the number one pick in the draft and got them in playoff contention (for a while). Sadly, his season ended Sunday with a broken hand. Now who’s going to be the quarterback for the Jets? Seriously, who? Bryce Petty? I will take the Saints to win big, real big, this weekend. Saints win 33-16.
Steve - New York Jets @ New Orleans Saints (-16)
Because Shaun already covered this one I’m not going to go too much further into detail. Saints coming off of a division loss with extra rest facing a Jets team who is starting Bryce Petty. This one is going to be ugly. Saints cover easily 31-9.
Shaun- Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins UNDER 43.5
Arizona pulled the upset over Tennessee last week in an ugly low scoring game. The Blaine Gabbert train slowed way down and they kicked their way to a victory with four field goals. Washington looked equally awful, only managing 13 points in a blowout loss to the LA Chargers. These are two struggling offenses and weather may be a factor too. I’ll take this one to be competitive but low scoring. Washington wins 20-16.