Week 15 NFL: Late Afternoon and Sunday Night Games: Quick Picks!
With only a few games left in the season, every game matters for teams in a playoff position, or if they're in the playoff hunt. The marquee matchup in these games is the Saints vs. Chiefs, but every matchup has playoff implications. Let's see if we can cash in!
Late Afternoon Games
Arizona Cardinals (-280) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (+230)... Spread: Cardinals (-6.5)
QB Jalen Hurts was put in a rough spot in his first career start against the New Orleans Saints, but he played well and the Eagles came out with a 24-21 win as underdogs. Hurts showcased his dual threat ability by rushing for 106 yards on 18 carries, while also adding 1 TD and 167 passing yards. He will have to look more success in this easier matchup, and as he gets more comfortable starting in the NFL. Also, the Eagles defense has been stout all season, but they will be without one of their best CB's, Darius Slay, for this game.
QB Kyler Murray has slowed down a tad as the season has progressed and that may be due to the nagging shoulder injury he's dealing with. But, the Cardinals are coming off a comfortable 26-7 win over the surging New York Giants. Murray finally got his legs going again in that game by carrying the ball 13 times for 47 yards. He's at his best when he mixes the running game with the passing game. The Cardinals are pretty heavy favourites at -6.5 as they are battling for their playoff lives. We could see a very entertaining QB battle in this game with Hurts and Murray and I think it could come down to the last possession. Let's take the Eagles to cover 6.5 points on the road in this spot.
Prediction: Eagles +6.5 (-110)
Los Angelas Rams (-2000) vs. New York Jets (+950)... Spread: Rams (-17)
I don't know where to begin with this game with the Rams being 17 point favourites, but the Jets haven't won a game this year and that trend will continue this week. The question is.. how much will they lose by? That will depend on the play of QB Jared Goff and the Rams offense because we know the Rams defense will dominate this horrid Jets offense. The Rams are coming off a dominate 24-3 win over the New England Patriots and they will take down another AFC East team this week.
The Jets got absolutely hammered against the Seahawks in week 13 by a 40-3 final score. Nothing has seemed to go right for the Jets this season, even when their top QB Sam Darnold is in the lineup. Also, they have a non-existent run game and rely on 60 year old Frank Gore to shoulder the workload in the backfield. Their defense can't keep offenses of the scoresheet and I have lost all faith in the Jets and their ability to cover wide spreads. May as well take the Rams to cover the huge spread in a game no one will watch.
Prediction: Rams -17 (-110)
New Orleans Saints (+130) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-150)... Spread: Chiefs (-3)
This is probably the game of the week, and for good reason. This could be a Super Bowl preview because these are arguably the top 2 teams in their respective conferences. The Chiefs have now past the Steelers for 1st place in the AFC and are 12-1 on the season. In week 13, they has a tough fought 33-27 win over the Miami Dolphins in a game where QB Patrick Mahomes threw 3 INT's. However, they were still able to put up 33 points on a very stingy defense and their offense has way too many weapons. But, they will have their hands full with a Saints defense that has success keeping offenses out of the endzone.
For the Saints, QB Drew Brees is returning from injury in this game, so we don't know how he will fair. But, they will finally have a viable passing attack without Taysom Hill at QB. However, Brees will be without his biggest WR weapon, Micheal Thomas, as he is on the IR for the rest of the season... this is definitely a season he will want to forget unless the Saints have success in the playoffs. RB Alvin Kamara is due for a massive workload in this game, and he will be the x factor for the Saints to keep up with the Chiefs potent offense. As far as the line goes, I think the Chiefs will do enough to cover the 3 point spread. Thomas out of the lineup is a huge loss and the Saints defense won't be able to steal this game for them in what will most likely be a shootout.
Prediction: Chiefs -3 (-105)
Sunday Night Game
New York Giants (+250) vs. Cleveland Browns (-300)... Spread: Browns (-6.5)
The Browns will need to get over the major letdown they had against the Baltimore Ravens in week 13. They were so close to defeating their division rivals, but in typical Browns fashion, they blew it. Despite sitting comfortably in a wildcard spot, this is still an important game for the Browns as they as jostling for playoff positioning. QB Baker Mayfield has been inconsistent all season, but has looked really good as of late and the Browns will hope this play continues into the postseason. Even when Mayfield isn't at his best, the Browns have the best 1-2 punch in the backfield. I expect the Browns backfield with RB's Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb to dominate this game from start to finish.
The Giants are sitting at 5-8 on the season and are 1 game back from 1st place in the NFC East where they are chasing the Washington Football Team. They were stifled by the Arizona Cardinals in week 13 as they lost 26-7. The offense only put up 7 points and they don't have any 'game changers' since RB Saquon Barkley was lost for the year due to injury. They will need a few people to step up on offense if they have any shot of pulling off the upset this week, and that is unlikely with QB Colt McCoy getting the start. This may be a letdown spot for the Browns after a demoralizing loss to the Ravens, but the Giants are without their top QB, so I like the Browns in this primetime spot. Let's take the Browns to cover the wide 6.5 spread here on the road.
Prediction: Browns -6.5 (-110)