NFL Week 15 Spreads & Takeaways from Week 14
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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Week 15 Spreads & Over/Under Point Totals
By Brandon Caputo & Miklos McMaster
*If last week's results weren't indicative of 2 different sides of the coin, then nothing else will be.
Miklos' Over/Under's were like his Las Vegas Raiders through the first 10 weeks with a 95% Probability to make the playoffs,
yet his Spreads were about the Probability of the Raiders making the playoffs after their Week 15 Thursday Night loss to the AFC West division basement dwellers LA Chargers: a measly 5%....
As for Brandon, he continues to tread just barely above the .500 area, just like Matt Ryan's Touchdown to Interception ratio this year for his Atlanta Falcons after a BRUTAL 3 INT performance vs those same measly Chargers last week.
Week 14 Spreads
Week 14 Over/Under's
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Buffalo Bills (6.0) vs Denver Broncos 0/U 49.5
Miklos: BUF Under 49.5
Brandon: BUF Under 49.5
After a huge win over the Steelers in Primetime on Sunday Night, the Bills get a bit of a break although we wouldn't say it's necessarily an easy game as Denver has consistently proved throughout the season that they may be down but they definitely are not out.
This is a game that the Bills should win easily to continue the show the Chiefs that they're coming for the AFC Crown. What better way to do that than to demolish the Chiefs divisional opponent in the Broncos in treacherous Mile High and likely inclement weather, in what should be the Bills long awaited crowing moment as AFC East Champions for the first time since 1995.
Carolina Panthers vs Green Bay Packers (8.5) O/U 52.0
Miklos: GB Over 52.0
Brandon: GB Under 52.0
Carolina has been feisty all season but this is a game where they are likely going to have more than they can handle. Coming off a loss against the Denver Broncos, they are likely going to be no match for a red hot QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Devante Adams, & RB Aaron Jones as they continue their race for the #1 seed & only 1st round bye in the NFC this season.
Aaron Rodgers should solidify his 2020 NFL MVP
award that he last received in 2014,
with a win over a young rebuilding Panthers squad.
Photo Credit: CBS Sports.com
Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts (7.5) O/U 51.0
Miklos: IND Over 51.0
Brandon: IND Over 51.0
This is a big divisional game so you can throw their records out the window. Despite Houston laying some eggs in recent weeks you can look for them to put up a good fight against the impressive Indianapolis Colts. It will likely not be enough but they will give Phillip Rivers and company all they can handle.
Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans (11.0) O/U 51.5
Miklos: TEN Under 51.5
Brandon: TEN Over 51.5
Not much to say here other than it has been back-to-back cakewalk games for the Tennessee Titans. After walking all over Jacksonville, they are likely to do the same to the hapless Matt Patricia-less Lions and continue their hold on the AFC South title lead over the Indianapolis Colts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6.0) vs Atlanta Falcons O/U 49.5
Photo Credit: "Hylights" on Youtube.com
Miklos: TB Over 49.5
Brandon: TB Over 49.5
This game is a huge opportunity for Matt Ryan and Co to get some revenge for their Super Bowl loss to Tom Brady an place spoiler here to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay has been up and down all season and the Atlanta Falcons would like nothing more then to hand them a loss and try and knock them out of the playoffs.
As much as Brandon wants to pick the Falcons in what is a huge game for this franchise trying to knock Tom Brady & their rival Buccaneers out of the playoffs by playing them 2 of the last 3 weeks of the season,
he just can't get over the fact of how inconsistent the play of franchise QB Matt Ryan has been, along with the young defense going up against a Bucs offense that is absolutely loaded with playmakers all over the field.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens(13.0) O/U 47.5
Miklos: BAL Over 47.5
Brandon: BAL Under 47.5
After a huge win on Monday Night Football vs their rival Browns, the Ravens & QB Lamar Jackson gets a reward this week in far easier opponent than the one they just defeated. This is another opportunity to continue their climb back into the playoffs an for the offense to really get going, as they will likely demolish the Jaguars who are still neck & neck with the New York Jets for the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes and the 2021 1st Overall Pick.
New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins (2.0) O/U 41.5
Photo Credit: SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL
Miklos: MIA Under 41.5
Brandon: MIA Under 41.5
Weird things used to happen to Tom Brady in Miami even during the championship dynasty years for the Patriots and we wonder if Cam Newton will suffer the same fate.
Despite their loss last week, the Dolphins have been impressive and their defense was playing really impressive for the first half.
Not many teams can make Patrick Mahomes turn the ball over and if they could do that to the best team in the NFL, they are likely to walk all over the struggling Patriots in what should be the final nail in the coffin of their division rivals playoff hopes & ending their playoff streak.
Dolphins HC Brian Flores gets the best of his former boss Bill Belichick & shows him that this Miami team is the real deal for years to come in this changing of the guard in the AFC East.
Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings (3.0) O/U 47.0
Miklos: CHI Under 47.0
Brandon: CHI Over 47.0
This is a massive NFC North match up and could make or break both teams ability to make the playoffs. The Vikings have been inconsistent throughout the season but so have the bears. With Mitchell Trubisky back under center, and looking really good, look for the Bears to put the Vikings out of the playoff race and get one step closer to the postseason.
After eating his words about an impressive Bears victory last week, Brandon is going to give respect & pick the finally pick the Bears for once, although he has been impressed with Minnesota's resurgence this season as Coach Mike Zimmer is finally starting to trust his extremely young & inexperienced Defensive Secondary.
Seattle Seahawks (6.0) vs Washington Football Team O/U 43.5
Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
Miklos: SEA Over 43.5
Brandon: SEA Under 43.5
In the battle of Washington (State vs D.C) this game is likely to be far more competitive than it really should be as the Seahawks seem incapable of putting teams that are weaker than them out of their misery, the Jets excluded because they are in competitive with anyone (except the Raiders).
This is a game that Seattle should win, but Washington has been seriously impressive of late with that defense playing all-world by scoring points & taking pressure off their offense.
Unfortunately, the lack of Antonio Gibson and Dwayne Haskins coming back under center with Alex Smith being OUT this week are the two factors that will likely cost them the win this week.
San Francisco 49ers (3.0) vs Dallas Cowboys O/U 46.0
Miklos: SF Under 46.0
Brandon: SF Under 46.0
We do not have the podcast this week but this is a game that would definitely get the cricket sounds. Although Dallas did win their game last week it was against a team that happens to be struggling more than them in the Bengals. Although San Francisco has also been struggling they are far more dangerous team than Cincinnati and we wouldn't be surprised if Dallas dropped this game. The Cowboys also don't feel very eager to use Ezekiel Elliott for the rest of this season & look to be saving him for the hopeful return of his QB Dak Prescott in 2021.
Low scoring affair as both offenses have been shocking in moving the ball down the field, not in a good way.
New York Jets vs Los Angeles Rams (17.5) O/U 44.0
Miklos: LAR Over 44.0
Brandon: LAR Over 44.0
It is official that the Jets are closing up shop on the season. After a game in which they barely put up any resistance whatsoever against Seattle they take on the current front runners in the NFC West in an extremely dangerous Rams team. The way that Cam Akers has been running the ball and the rest of the team has been playing the spread could be 100 and I'd probably still pick the Rams and that potent offensively sound scheme from Coach Sean McVay.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Arizona Cardinals (6.0) O/U 49.0
Miklos: PHI over 49.0
The Lincoln Riley Bowl has made this game far more interesting than it was a couple of weeks ago. With both teams battling for the playoffs and two quarterbacks who have been unbelievably entertaining this game could be highly competitive and exciting And possibly the best four o'clock game this week. Despite Jalen Hurts heroics Arizona is likely to come away with a win here but that is definitely not for sure.
Brandon: ARI over 49.0
In what should be an exciting high scoring affair between 2 former Oklahoma Sooner QB's, the Cardinals are clinging onto their Wild Card playoff lives at the moment and can't afford to lose any of these last 3 games. After a feel good story for the Eagles last week with Jalen Hurts getting the upset victory against the Drew Brees-less Saints, this is setting up nicely for them to come back down to reality with still many problems to fix within that team/organization. Kyler Murray & Kliff Kingsbury continue their rise to relevance for this Arizona team who has had a long road to get back to this point.
Kansas City Chiefs (3.0) vs New Orleans Saints 0/U 51.5
Miklos: KC Over 51.5
This is the biggest matchup of the week but with the Saints laying an egg against Philadelphia it is likely to be less competitive than previously hoped. It's unlikely that Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara have the juice to compete with the Chiefs especially how they have been looking in recent weeks. Sean Payton is going to have to dig into every trick in the book if he wants to unseat the Champs.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Brandon: NO Over 51.5
I don't think its a coincidence that Drew Brees is rushing back for this game in a possible Super Bowl preview if things go the way many people expect it to with the Saints vs Chiefs meeting in Tampa Bay in February.
After a very disappointing loss to the struggling Eagles last week, this is a measuring stick game for New Orleans to see what they're going to have to do to dethrone the Chiefs & a good test for Drew Brees & Sean Payton to learn a lot from this game, even if the result is still a loss.
Star WR Michael Thomas being out certainly does not help the Saints cause, but they've shown that they can win without star players in the lineup on many occasions this season.
Cleveland Browns (6.0) vs New York Giants O/U 44.5
Miklos: CLE Over 44.5
Brandon: CLE Over 44.5
Somehow this is the Sunday Night Football game. The Browns have an opportunity to write the ship after losing a slugfest against the Ravens. This game has huge implications for both teams and both desperately need a win if they want to stay in the playoffs in the case of the Browns and get into the playoffs in the case of the Giants. It is also the Freddy Kitchens & Odell Beckham Bowl, so the Giants should be playing inspired with Jason Garrett their offensive play caller being out due to positive COVID-19 tests.
It's not likely to be enough as the Browns have been nothing short of impressive even in their loss last week in one of the most exciting Monday Night Football games in recent memory with QB Baker Mayfield stepping up & that elite running game being the heartbeat of this teams success.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12.5) vs Cincinnati Bengals O/U 40.5
Miklos: PIT Under 40.5
Brandon: PIT Under 40.5
Is this a joke? Pittsburgh gets an opportunity on Monday night to get right against the Bengals after coming back down to earth after their undefeated season came to an end with back-to-back losses vs Washington & Buffalo. Big Ben and the rest of the Steelers really need to get their groove back and what better way to do that than to hammer a division rival on primetime television as the Bengals tank for a 2nd straight year is on pace for great success once again.
Most confident picks of the week
Gold Pick: LA Rams over NY Jets
Silver Pick: Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Bronze Pick: Baltimore over Jacksonville
Gold Pick: Arizona over Philadelphia
Silver Pick: Green Bay over Carolina
Bronze Pick: Miami over New England
Takeaways from Week 14
By Miklos McMaster
Photo Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
1. Are the Bills the Chiefs biggest threat?
After their big victory against the Steelers the bills moved into I spot where they have not been for a very long time as one of the top teams in the AFC. Shadow to the Bills mafia who have stayed loyal and true to a team that has struggled over the past couple of decades especially underneath the shadow of Tom Brady and the Patriots, their time is now! They have a franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, a dominant wide receiver and Stefon Diggs, and a stout defense. While their running game is questionable Josh Allen is shown that he can dominate through the air and with his legs and he's going to need both if they want to take on the number one team in the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs, but I think they can do it.
Their defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and a Steelers offense that is no joke. They're going to need to be at their best to slow down Patrick Mahomes and that dangerous Chiefs offense. But big teams come through in big moments and as I have been saying since the beginning of the season, even when I had my doubts, the Bill's time is now. The regular season is wrapping up and they know they're going to the playoffs. It's time to put their big boy pants on and win statement games in the playoffs when it matters and unseat the defending Super Bowl champions.
2. Are the Steelers One and Done in the Playoffs?
Sticking with the same game, I'll repeat the question in the headline are the Steelers one and done in the playoffs? As Brandon mentioned on the podcast a couple of weeks ago the Steelers have had a very easy schedule on route to being the last perfect team in the NFL. And now they've lost it feels like they've been exposed for the frauds that they are. They looked terrible in both games and are in danger, I think, of having the wheels come entirely off. As of right now they're still in the lead in the NFC North and the rest of their schedule is relatively easy but there is an outside chance that the Browns could catch them and the Ravens have looked incredibly good in recent weeks as well.
They have the look of a team that is running out of steam just whenever it matters most while their competition is just starting to hit their stride. The slugfest between the Browns and Ravens on Monday night looks like a taste of things to come as both teams are fighting for every win down the stretch of the season looking towards the playoffs. If the Steelers continue to lose and somehow get caught by the Browns they could be on the road in the playoffs and that's a game that right now it looks like they're likely to lose.
I have much faith in Mike Tomlin to turn things around but he needs to start doing that soon.
3. What is going to happen with Carson Wentz?
Photo Credit: by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
An impressive victory by Jalen Hurts has created an uncomfortable situation in the city of brotherly love. It is just one win and one game but it was against one of the top teams in the NFL and the New Orleans Saints. Of course they were quarterbacked by Taysom Hill so that is something to be considered but Philadelphia has looked positively brutal throughout the season and this win was massive.
Not only because of the team that they be but also it keeps them within striking distance of potentially winning the ridiculous NFC East. Jalen Hurts looked impressive and mobile and most importantly avoided getting sacked which is something that Carson Wentz has been struggling with throughout the season.
It is very likely that, even if Hurts has success throughout the rest of the regular season, if the Eagles don't make the playoffs they will stay with Wentz next year. They owe him far too much money on a massive contract to give up on him that easily. But if Hurts continues to succeed and they make the playoffs AND he wins a playoff game the questions in Philadelphia about what they're going to do with Wentz will get louder and louder and I don't know what they're going to do. He has a massive contract, as I mentioned earlier, and a ton of guaranteed money that will make him extremely difficult to unload to another team and impossible to cut.
Either Wentz is going to improve and win back the job or the Eagles are going to be in a really difficult quarterback quandary.
4. We Talking Playoffs?
Now that Week 14 is wrapped up and we're looking at the final three weeks of the NFL I thought it was a good time to look over the NFL playoff picture. Only four teams in the Chiefs, Steelers, Packers, and Saints have clinched a playoff spot. In the AFC it seems pretty clear that the bills are likely to clinch this week with a win,
the Colts and Titans are both likely to lock in playoffs but the decision over who gets home field advantage between the two of them is still ongoing and finally the Browns seemed likely to have their spot locked in as well.
The competition remains thick for the final and brand new seventh playoff spot however. It is currently in the hands of the Dolphins and although they are close in the hunt the way the Raiders have looked in previous weeks it is likely not going to be them competing for it but the Ravens on the other hand have seriously woken up in recent weeks and could take that final spot away from the Dolphins and be very dangerous in the playoffs.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Over to the NFC. Unlike the AFC the NFC playoff picture is wild! The top spots held by the Saints and Packers appear to be relatively safe but beyond that the competition starts to get more intense. The NFC West is a bloodbath with the Rams and Seahawks continuing to trade for the top spot and the Cardinals currently in the seventh playoff spot have also been battling. The Rams and Seahawks are both likely to make it but who is in first place remains the question.
As for the remaining three spots anything can happen. First in the laughable NFC East both the Giants and the Eagles are capable of unseating the top seeded Washington Football tTea,m so the remaining three weeks of all of their schedules will be extremely interesting to watch as the winner will get a home playoff game.
As for the 6th and 7th seeds currently held by the Cardinals and Buccaneers, both have had their ups and downs and need to win out to keep the teams currently trailing them off their heels.
The Vikings have certainly been far more consistent in the second alf of the season than they started and the Bears (who I have toted but Brandon has cast down) seemed to have re emerged with Mitchell Trubisky back under center with some big wins of their own. Both teams trailed the Cardinals by one game and with the remaining three weeks are capable of catching them and squeezing into the playoffs. The bottom line is the remaining three weeks of the NFL are going to be as engaging as ever and must watch television!