Week 15 Review (2-1) OVERALL: 29-14-2
Green Bay Packers (+2.5) @ Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers 31 Green Bay Packers 24
Unfortunately for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, this season did not go as planned. Rodgers’ three interceptions were costly, but had Geronimo Allison not coughed up the football late in the game, Green Bay would have had a real shot to send the game into overtime.
In last week’s article, we talked about how Cam Newton had thrown for less than 200 yards in five of his last six games. We also mentioned that, from last season to now, when a quarterback throws for less than 220 yards against Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are 7-0.
Fortunately for Newton, he played a flawless game. The former No. 1 overall pick threw for 242 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 128. The Panthers also managed to run for 151 yards. Christian McCaffrey had a stellar game, rushing for 63 yards and catching six balls for 73 yards and a score.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (-3.5)
Buffalo Bills 24 Miami Dolphins 16
After three quarters, this game was a blowout. The Bills were up 24-6 and showed no signs of weakness against Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. However, a Kenyan Drake touchdown and a late Cody Parkey field goal made the game a bit more interesting. At the end of the day, it’s really tough to win if your quarterback throws zero touchdowns and three interceptions. I’m going to miss Jay Cutler next year.
It was a typical game for Tyrod Taylor. The former Virginia Tech standout threw one touchdown, rushed for another and did not turn the ball over. LeSean McCoy had a pair of touchdowns as well. The Bills have a legitimate shot to make the postseason, but that Nathan Peterman game against the Chargers could come back to haunt them if they end up with the same record as Los Angeles.
New England Patriots (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots 27 Pittsburgh Steelers 24
Arguably the game of the year, New England just barely came out of this one with a win, as well as a cover. By rule, Jesse James did not catch that ball.
In all honesty, Pittsburgh outplayed the Patriots. They had almost double the rushing yards, and went 10-of-16 on third-down conversions. If the Steelers knew how to defend Rob Gronkowski, this game would have ended a bit differently.
Prayers up to Antonio Brown as he exited the game early on, but will hopefully be back for the playoffs. Had he not gotten injured, Brown would have a serious shot at winning MVP.
This probably will not matter, but keep an eye on Tom Brady, as he does not look like the same quarterback from a few weeks ago. He has now thrown five interceptions in his last four games.
WEEK 16 PICKS
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) @ San Francisco 49ers
PICK: JAGUARS TO COVER
Although Jimmy Garoppolo looks likes the real deal, let’s pump the brakes a bit. He is stacked up against a Jaguars defense that is first in the league in points allowed, opposing yards per play and opposing red zone scoring in regards to touchdowns. They also rank third in both opposing third-down conversion percentage and opposing yards per game. Yes, as odd as it seems, the Jaguars defense is the real deal.
San Francisco’s defense ranks 28th in interceptions, and when Blake Bortles does not throw a pick, the Jaguars are a perfect 8-0. In his last three games, Bortles has been as good as anyone in the league. He has seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and passer ratings of 119.8, 123.7 and 143.7. Jacksonville currently ranks fifth in points per game, sixth in yards per game and fifth in percentage of red zone trips ending in a touchdown.
Leonard Fournette is good to go, which is huge news for the Jacksonville offense, which ranks first in rushing yards per game with 149.1. They are up against a 49ers defense that allows 119.1 yards per game on the ground. The entire NFL has been running all over San Francisco’s defense, so look for Fournette to have a monster game.
Seattle Seahawks (+4.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
PICK: SEAHAWKS TO COVER
Seattle is coming off two straight losses, including a brutal 42-7 loss to the Rams a week ago. With that said, I don’t see Russell Wilson losing three in a row.
In his three games against the Cowboys, he is 2-1 and completing over 60 percent of his passes. Both teams are playing for their lives, so expect a thriller.
Luckily for Dallas, Ezekiel Elliott is back from his suspension and appears to be in even better shape than before. Seattle allows 112.9 rushing yards per game, which is subpar. But if they can hold Dallas to that much, they should be fine. This season, when the Cowboys rush for less than 120 yards, they are 1-4.
In an important matchup like this, pay most attention to the quarterbacks. Wilson is the far superior player to Dak Prescott. Prescott has Dallas ranked 24th in passing yards per game and has thrown seven interceptions in the last five games.
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (-6)
PICK: SAINTS TO COVER
After their Week 2 loss to the Patriots, New Orleans is a perfect 6-0 at home, outscoring opponents by about 11 points per game. Drew Brees is also playing elite football, as the Saints rank first in yards per game, second in touchdowns per game and third in points per game.
Their lethal backfield is averaging 135.1 rushing yards per game and rank first in rushing touchdowns per game. In the three games in which Atlanta has allowed over 136 rushing yards per game, they are 0-3.
The Falcons have done a nice job of turning their season around, but at this point, you have to give the edge to the home team, especially when they have the better quarterback. In Brees’ career against Atlanta, he is 15-9 with a completion percentage of 67.8 and 45 touchdowns. Look for him to have a very efficient game as Atlanta ranks 28th in opposing completion percentage.
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