Hard to believe it’s already Week 15, lots of interesting matchups this week and weather will play an important part in a bunch of games. As we get to the end of reg season, I think using strictly numbers becomes less and less valuable and the games become much more about schedule, motivation and situations. We are also at the part where we basically have games every goddam day this week including Saturday for which we have a play.
Week 14: 2-3-1
Game 1: Mia @ NYJ +3
Bet% Mia 64% NYJ 36%
Dolphins are clearly the better team over the season but this feels like a really great spot for the Jets and there are some 3’s available which I think provides value. The Jets are in the midst of a dismal season and there will certainly be changes at the end but they get a stand-alone game here on the heels of a great comeback last week in San Francisco where they came back from being down 17 at half. The temperature in this game will be close to freezing which is a huge advantage for the Jets vs the South Florida Dolphins.
Miami will obviously be without Tanehill in this game and even though they are 8-5 their current playoff odds are somewhere between 27%-35% depending on the model you believe. There has to be some disappointment and the possibility of a major letdown this week, the odds with Tanehill weren’t great as they essentially would have to run the table but with Matt Moore at QB there’s almost no chance that will happen. Which brings us to Matt Moore and he really is the wildcard here. Moore has not had any significant action since 2011, he has attempted only 35 passes in the last 5 years and this starting on the road in game that will be near freezing is not the easiest spot to see if you are still a credible NFL QB. Neither of these teams have been able to stop the run this season and this game will probably come down to whoever does the best job vs the run because I do not think either pass offense is going to be trusted by the coaches to win the game. Weather, Matt Moore and home field should help the Jets get the cover here and win straight up.
Game 2: 2 Team Teaser: Det +10 @ NYG & TB @ Dal-1
Det +10 @ NYG
Bet% 56% NYG%44
I would take the Lions +4 here but the Stafford injury to his hand does have me a little worried so using them in a tease that gets us to 10 I think provides huge value. These 2 teams are kind of built for a teaser, we know the Lions have been the kings of the comebacks with a number of late 4th Q wins but beyond that their 4 losses have been by 7,3,7,1 meaning no losses by more than 1 score.
On the flip side I have talked about the Giants and their point differential a number of time on this blog, The Giants are 9-4 with a point differential of 11 which is in line with most 7 win teams. When the Giants win it is close, they have 2 wins by 7 or more, 1 vs the Rams and the other vs the Browns, 4 of their 9 wins have been by 4 points or less.
I would not be surprised to see the Lions win this game straight up if Stafford’s hand is ok, Lions will be likely be without Theo Riddick which hurts but I think the Giants will be in line for a little let down here afte their hug divisional win vs the Cowboys on SNF.
I love the Cowboys in this spot and if the 1st part of this teaser loses I will probably comeback and bet the Cowboys -7. Dallas is coming off of a very tough loss to the Giants in a game where the offense really struggled but they get the perfect matchup with the Bucs this week. TB is 21st vs the run and have not faced a run offence close the Cowboys. The Bucs have won 5 straight games with some big wins against good teams but with all the talk about perhaps benching Dak Prescott if he performs poorly I think this is a huge comeback spot for the Cowboys offense.
Game 3 Ind @ Min -4.5
Bet% Ind 50% Min 50%
The Colts last week were in what was basically a playoff game, win and you take the lead I the division lose and you are 3rd and most likely out. They were at home and 6 point favorites to the Texans and lost straight up, now they have no more games vs Titans or Texans and play @ Min this week and @ Oak next week. The Colts will also be without Donte Moncreif in this game and against he Vikings very tough defense, missing their 2nd best weapon, especially with TY Hilton than 100% doesn’t help. The Colts win when Andrew Luck is great, when he is human they lose. The Vikings are # 2 in pass defense DVOA so this is not a game where we can expect a super human effort from Luck.
For Minnesota they are very much still involved in the division race and play the Packers next week, for that game to be meaningful they will need to win this week. Minnesota has been one of the best homefields this season and one of the reasons for that is that the offense is much better at home. Bradford has a passer rating of 105 at and 89.5 on the road. Last week we saw the Vikings offense open up against the Jags porous pass defense well the Colts are even worse. The Colts are 25th vs the run, and give up a passer rating 97 on average so Bradford should be able to continue his play from last week here.
Game 4: Jax +5 @ Hou
Bet% Jax 22% Hou 78%
These are the 2 teams that have the greatest variance in performance week in week out because both these QB’s can actively help the opposition score. As a results when one of them is a favourite of more than a FG I think you pretty much have to play the other side.
Houston has continued to ride, luck and an easy schedule to a winning record and the lead in the division despite being a relatively bad team. Despite being 7-6, Houston is 30th in overall DVOA, and has a point differential of -45. To put that differential in context that ranks 26th but Carolina who is 25th is -26. Houston is not a good team, neither are the Jags but it would surprise nobody if they won this game and we get a bunch of points here for our trouble.
Game 5: NE @ Den +3.5
Bet% NE 83% Den 17%
If there is one place we have seen Tom Brady not look like Tom Brady it is in Denver. This years version of the Broncos defense hasn’t been as good overall as last years but the pass defense has been dominant. The Broncos are #1 overall in defensive DVOA despite being 25th vs the run because the pass defense has been so good. The avg passer rating of opposing QBs vs Denver this year is 67.4 that’s better than last year’s 76.4, they are giving up 5.3 yards per pass att which is 1st and are only 1 of 2 teams giving up under 6 yards per att. Denver is also 1st in sack% and 1st in my pressure ranking which includes sacks, TFL and QB Hits.
On offense we saw the Broncos rush Trevor Simien back last week because they needed to keep up with Oakland and KC and Paxton Lynch at this point is just not a NFL QB. Simien wasn’t good but overall this season has been an improvement over the Manning/Osweiller combo of last year. Denver has been a slightly below average passing offense this year compared to one of the worst last year. Simien should find opportunities vs Patriots pass defense which ranks 27th in DVOA.
The Patriots treated last week’s MNF game vs the Ravens at home as a statement game, the comments of many of the players spoke to the rivalry that exists between the teams and organisations. Denver has certainly been a rival the last few years with Manning as the Denver starter but it doesn’t feel like that is the case without him. On a short week coming off of a huge primetime game with the #1 seed pretty much sewn up, this is not a spot I expect to see the best version of the Patriots.