A wild NFL Week 15 added some clarity to the playoff picture in both conferences. Green Bay solidified itself as the team to beat in the AFC North. Tennessee showed up as the team to beat in the AFC South. Both New England and the New York Giants threw the gauntlet down in their respective conferences. A lot happened in the NFL as you will see in our Week 15 recap. Let’s get to it!
NFL Betting – Regular Season Week 15 Recap
Los Angeles Rams 3, Seattle Seahawks 24
This was a no-brainer pick, right? Still, the Rams showed that they have enough on offense and defense to garner some interest from former Super Bowl winning coach Jon Gruden. Gruden, who is ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst, is at +150 in a lot of sportsbooks to be the Rams’ next head coach. Eventhough he extended his contract to 2021. Those are low odds. Seattle’s defense is just okay while the offense struggles when QB Russell Wilson struggles.
Green Bay Packers 30, Chicago Bears 24
The Packers allowed a big lead to evaporate against their hated rivals on Soldier Field this past Sunday. I’m not too worried about that. Rivalry games are supposed to be tough to win. What’s really impressive is how Ty Montgomery, a former wide receiver, rushed for 162 yards from 16 carries and scored 2 TDs versus the Bears’ defense. If the Packers have a rushing attack, they could be tough in the playoffs.
Miami Dolphins 34, New York Jets 13
Maybe, it’s the system in Miami. Back-up QB Matt Moore went 12 of 18 for 234 yards. He threw 4 TD passes to only a single interception. The Dolphins destroyed the Jets in a key road game that kept their playoff hopes alive. Sure, they beat the Jets, but it was still a nice win.
Cleveland Browns 13, Buffalo Bills 33
I suppose the Browns are really that bad. Cleveland’s next 2 game are against San Diego and Pittsburgh. Their only chance to not go 0 and 16 is to beat San Diego in Week 16. Pittsburgh will be playing for a playoff spot in Week 17. Forget it. The Steelers are going to go all out. So, it’s the Chargers or bust. Buffalo played well for their soon to be former coach in Rex Ryan. The Bills have some talent. There’s going to be a lot of coaches interested in the job in Buffalo this off-season.
Jacksonville Jaguars 20, Houston Texans 21
The Jags fired coach Gus Bradley. Too late in the game? Probably. But, Jacksonville has enough talent on both sides of the ball that, like Buffalo and L.A., there are going to be a lot of interested parties. Houston coach Bill O’Brien benched multi-millionaire starting QB Brock Osweiler for Tom Savage. Savage rallied the Texans to a win over the Jags. It was all leadership as Savage threw for 260 yards. He directed the offense on the field. That’s what you need out of a QB in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans 19, Kansas City Chiefs 17
If Tennessee wins out, they win the AFC South. How incredible is that? It’s not all Marcus Mariota. Just a lot of it is. Marcus has been horrible in the last two Titan games. He had a 47.7 QB rating against Denver. He had a 67.9 QB rating versus KC. But, unlike so many other veteran quarterbacks in the NFL, Marcus Mariota is a leader. He rallied his team to a 13 to 10 home win over the Broncos in Week 14. He rallied them to a 2-point road win over Kansas City in Week 15. If Tennessee’s defense continues to surge, with Mariota’s leadership abilities, the Titans could upset some teams in the AFC Playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles 26, Baltimore Ravens 27
The good news for Philly fans is that Carson Wentz made the right plays in the 4th quarter to get the Eagles within a 2-point conversion of upsetting Baltimore on the road. If you’re a Baltimore fan, you have to wonder how, or why, QB Joe Flacco bombed against Philly’s defense after close to a month of games where he played well. No, seriously. He was great versus Cincinnati, Miami and New England. What a disappointment. Baltimore has two tough games, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, left on the schedule. Flacco must step it up.
Detroit Lions 6, New York Giants 17
As I watched the Giants beat the Lions in Week 15, it suddenly struck me. The New York Giants are going to win Super Bowl 51 in February. Think I’m crazy? You need an experienced, solid QB, to win the Super Bowl. The Giants have that in Eli. You also need a great defense. The Giants have a great defense. Detroit played well. They’re just not as good as the New York Giants.
Indianapolis Colts 34, Minnesota Vikings 6
The good news for Minnesota fans is that Adrian Peterson carried the football in a game for the first time since Week 2. The bad news for Viking fans is that the defense imploded. The Colts looked great in a huge road win. Indy can still make the playoffs. It’s an outside shot, but it’s still have a shot.
New Orleans Saints 48, Arizona Cardinals 41
The Saints ended the Cardinals chances of getting back to the playoffs after their terrific 2015 season. Arizona was out of sorts all season long. Giving up 48 points to New Orleans is almost shameful after the Saints scored only 13 versus Detroit and 11 versus Tampa Bay in Week’s 13 and 14. Arizona’s offense played well. All in all, though, a wasted season from the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Cincinnati Bengals 20
The Bengals had their rivals on the ropes. Pittsburgh was down 17 points to Cincinnati before Big Ben and the Steelers rallied for the 24 to 20 road win. Pitt has now won 5 straight. They’ve also gone 5 and 0 against the spread during those games. Watch out if Pittsburgh makes it to the playoffs.
New England Patriots 16, Denver Broncos 3
I heard some football analysts talk about how great New England’s defense is. I’m not so sure about that. Stopping Denver’s offense hasn’t been too difficult to do this season. The Broncos only scored 10 points against Tennessee’s D in Week 14. New England played well to win the game. But, I kept wondering where LeGarrette Blount was. He only managed 31 yards from 17 carries. Blount has to be a force in the playoffs for New England to get to the Super Bowl.
San Francisco 49’ers 13, Atlanta Falcons 41
Atlanta looks like a complete team. That should make them tough in the NFC Playoffs. Then again, the defense gave up 13 points to San Francisco’s offense. Atlanta’s biggest problem is with its defense, which doesn’t always shut down opposing offenses the way that the Giants’ defense can. It should be interesting.
Oakland Raiders 19, San Diego Chargers 16
Raider QB Derek Carr had a bad game. But, and this can’t be overlooked, he rallied Oakland to win…again. It’s becoming apparent that your QB does have to be the leader of your football team. That’s Derek Carr. That’s Mariota. That’s Eli. That’s Dak Prescott. The Chargers have a great leader as well. But, his skills have diminished some. Plus, Oakland’s defense has gotten a lot better. That’s big news for the Raiders who grabbed a playoff spot with the win over the rival Chargers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Dallas Cowboys 26
Tampa Bay played well in this game. After giving up points early, the Bucs rallied to get within only 6 points to NFC East leading Dallas. The key for Dallas was the key of QB Dak Prescott. Prescott threw for 279 yards. He opened up the offense for Cowboys’ RB Ezekiel Elliott. What a great showing by the Cowboys in Week 15.
Carolina Panthers 26, Washington Redskins 15
It’s too little, too late for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers rushed for 148 yards from 33 carries in their Week 15 Monday night win over Carolina. Washington may have blown their chance to get back to the playoffs with the loss. Kirk Cousins didn’t play well. Neither did Washington’s defense, which has a tough game in Week 16 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.