Tag Archives: Week 15

Reactions from Denver to Patriots’ 16-3 Victory vs Broncos

John Morgan
December 18, 2016 at 10:38 pm ET

New England is celebrating after the Patriots’ 16-3 victory over the Broncos. The Pats broke a four-decade old NFL record with their eighth consecutive division title. Considering the double edged sword of free agency and the salary cap, that is a milestone that is likely to never be surpassed.

On the other hand the mood in Denver is somber, as would be expected. As is the norm in every city, fans and writers focus blame on the home team for losing while neglecting to credit the opponent for a job well done. Here are a few reactions from both Denver and some national media sites in the aftermath of the Patriot defense shutting down Denver en route to their 12th win of the season.


Sports Illustrated: Patriots showcase too much depth for one-dimensional Broncos to contain

The last two weeks have emphasized why the New England Patriots are as difficult to prepare for as any team in the league. Last Monday, facing a Ravens’ defense that thrives against the run, the Patriots turned to the power-run work of LeGarrette Blount and attacked toward the perimeter—a touchdown for Malcolm Mitchell, 129 yards and a TD for Chris Hogan, etc.

Sunday, pitted against a Denver unit that can dominate at cornerback and off the edges on defense, New England took a page from the book Atlanta used in a Week 5 win at Mile High. It wasn’t so much Blount vs. the Broncos as scat back Dion Lewis and the versatile James White.

That ability to adjust week to week based on matchups is part of why the Patriots have been so good for so long. And Sunday, it also helped emphasize what a one-dimensional mess Denver’s offense has become in 2016.

The Patriots did not score many points vs. Denver’s excellent defense, but they still coasted to the finish line in a 16-3 win.


USA Today: Patriots crack Broncos to clinch AFC East, first-round bye

The Patriots also showed why they might be the most dangerous team in the postseason field. They have discovered a powerful running game, using a combination of smaller backs Dion Lewis and James White along with bruiser LeGarrette Blount, to neutralize Denver’s pass rush. Brady rarely tried to test the Broncos deep, preferring to hand the ball off inside or quickly dump off a short pass to Lewis, White or Edelman, who had six catches for 75 yards.

That game plan, plus vastly improved pass protection for Brady, who was sacked just twice, shows just how many different ways the Patriots can win.

“Our offensive line took a lot of pride this week in their preparation for this game. They’ve been working their tails off all year,” Edelman said. “You can say they’re young, you can say this or that, but they’ve been playing solid football. We were able to run the ball pretty decently when we had to, and when we can protect, it makes things easier.”

But the biggest revelation might be the Patriots’ defense, which has held each of the last five opponents to 23 points or fewer.

On Sunday, Ryan intercepted Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian on Denver’s only trip into the red zone. Denver failed to record a first down on five consecutive possessions to start the second half. The Patriots sacked Siemian four times while holding Denver to just 58 rushing yards, 13 of which came on Justin Forsett’s first carry of the game.

“I thought we deserved to win,” Belichick said.


CBS Denver: Broncos Offense Unimpressive In Mistake-Prone Loss To Patriots

Brady finished 16 of 32 for 188 yards and it was enough for New England (12-2) to retain its hold on the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed with two games left in the regular season. It was a rare win in Denver for Brady, who improved to 3-7 lifetime in the Mile High City.

New England set an NFL record with the eighth consecutive division title.

The mistake-prone Broncos (8-6) lost their hold on the sixth and final wild-card berth. They need help and in all likelihood wins in their final two games, against AFC West rivals Kansas City and Oakland, to reclaim a postseason berth and the chance to defend last season’s Super Bowl title.

Siemian finished 25 of 40 for 282 yards, hamstrung by an ineffective rushing attack and failing to get his offense untracked against the Patriots. He also had a costly interception.


Fox 31 Denver: Offense struggles as the Patriots beat the Broncos, 16-3, at Mile High

The Broncos were in the red-zone to start the second quarter, but an interception by quarterback Trevor Siemian would give the Patriots the ball back.

The interception proved costly as Brady made-up for the lack of completions in the first quarter and drove the Patriots down the field for a touchdown to make it 10-3.

Fans at the stadium were left shocked as the Broncos elected to end the half trailing 10-3 after getting the ball back with over a minute left and all three timeouts.

Coach Gary Kubiak later defended that decision saying that field position and the Patriots timeouts played a factor in the decision.

The Broncos would go three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half. And that set the tone for most of second half for the Broncos offense.


Denver Post: Broncos’ offense goes cold, playoff hopes dwindle with loss to Patriots

But the hope was misleading. The offensive momentum early resulted in just three points.

An interception of a Trevor Siemian pass by cornerback Logan Ryan at the Patriots’ 8-yard line turned the tide early in the second quarter. All the Broncos’ season-long struggles on offense returned soon after. New England turned the turnover into a touchdown drive, making it 10-3, and its defense dominated from that point.

“Yeah, I can’t make that mistake. It just hurts us,” Siemian said, adding that the offense’s performance was “frustrating, no doubt. Especially earlier on when we were moving the ball really well and have no points to show for it. A lot of that’s on me. Missed a couple opportunities to get us points early on, and that comes back to haunt you.”

The Broncos’ defense, while depleted, kept them in the game and ensured Tom Brady’s latest trip to Denver would be trying but not insurmountable. Brady finished 16-of-32 for only 188 yards and a 68.2 passer rating.

Siemian, meanwhile, was 25-of-40 for 282 yards, but a big chunk of those yards came late when New England backed off protecting its 13-point lead.


DenverBroncos.com: Three Keys Unlocked: Patriots 16, Broncos 3

Despite a muffed Jordan Norwood punt that the Patriots recovered, leading to a game-opening field goal, the Broncos had momentum early until Logan Ryan intercepted Trevor Siemian on the first play of the second quarter, setting the Patriots up inside Denver territory after a 46-yard return. New England scored its only touchdown on a LeGarrette Blount 1-yard plunge seven plays later and led the rest of the way.

“That’s a 14-point swing in a lot of ways,” Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.

The Broncos’ promising first quarter — in which they rolled up 146 yards and gained seven first downs while forging a 3-3 tie — evaporated into a mid-game slump that saw them go six consecutive possessions without a first down.


Mile High Report: Broncos Patriots recap: Another wasted defensive effort from Denver in 16-3 loss

The Denver Broncos needed a win in the worst way this week against their AFC rival New England Patriots. In the frigid cold sub-18 degree weather, the game figured to be one conducting business as usual and the other desperate for a win.

On defense, the Broncos reminded Tom Brady that he doesn’t have good games in Denver for a reason. All game long, the defense did their job. Unfortunately, Trevor Siemian and the offense derp’d their way to a red zone turnover and complete ineptitude everywhere else.

This 16-3 blowout is entirely on the players on offense and now the playoffs are highly unlikely for the reigning Super Bowl champions.


Tom Brady’s TB Times: Pats Get Back On The Horse

John Morgan
at 8:27 pm ET

After every New England Patriots victory it is time for another edition of the TB Times on Tom Brady’s facebook page.

The Broncos had won each of the last three times the Patriots played in Denver. In a subtle reference to that stat the TB Times noted that the “Pats get back on the horse”. The picture has Dion Lewis (18 rushes for 95 yards, 5.3 yards per carry) holding the reigns of a none too happy horse.


Patriots clinch AFC East tile with 16-3 win at Denver


On Saturday the Patriots host the Jets, and then wrap up the regular season on New Year’s Day at Miami.


NFL Week 15 Odds, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

John Morgan
December 17, 2016 at 1:00 pm ET

It is mid-December and we are in the final stretch of the 2016 NFL season. In recent weeks weather has played a role and that could be the case again this weekend. With only bowl games remaining for college football the NFL can now play on Saturdays. As a result the work crew at the Meadowlands will be busy, with a Jets game Saturday night and then a Giants game Sunday afternoon.

Rain and cold temperature is expected in northern New Jersey which will be a challenge for the visiting teams. Miami (vs Jets, Saturday) is used to much warmer weather in south Florida. Detroit (vs Giants, Sunday) is a cold weather city but the Lions play in a dome. Also on Sunday Green Bay is at Chicago where the wind chill is expected to be minus-18.

For all you need to know about clinching and elimination scenarios, check out Week 15 Playoff Picture: Six Teams Can Clinch Playoff Spots.


NFL Week 15 Television Broadcast Information

CBS has the doubleheader this week. In the early time slot Pittsburgh at Cincinnati will receive most of the broadcast distribution. For the late game the Patriots at Broncos will air across almost all of the United States. CBS will send Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and their top production team to work that game. The Lions at Giants will be televised on most Fox affiliates, in the early time frame. To see what is being televised where you will be on Sunday please check out Patriot fan JP Kirby’s 506 Sports Week 15 NFL Maps.


AFC East Participation Trophy Game

★★★ 8-5 Miami Dolphins at 4-9 New York Jets
Saturday December 17 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN; Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Heather Cox.
Dolphins -2½ . . . . over/under 37½ . . . . MIA -140, NYJ +120

Why has New York had such a large drop from their 10-6 2015 record? The Jets rank 31st in giveaways and 30th in takeaways. Their minus-16 turnover differential is 31st (two-win Jacksonville is minus-17). I doubt that will improve any in tonight’s cold and wet weather, even against a rusty backup quarterback.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Jets 17
Dolphins -2½ . . . . . under 37½ . . . . . Miami -140


NFL Week 15 Early Games on FOX

★★★★★ 9-4 Detroit Lions at 9-4 New York Giants
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews.
Giants -4 . . . . over/under 41 . . . . NYG -190, DET +170

The Lions have won five straight and eight of their last nine games. Over the last seven games Detroit is allowing just 16.4 points per game. However center Travis Swanson is out with a concussion. The Giants have a very solid pass rush and could take advantage with pressure up the middle. Matthew Stafford is dealing with a dislocated finger. After suffering the injury last week most of Stafford’s throws were fine, though he was off on a couple of passes.

The Giants were fortunate to win last week, with Dallas dropping what should have been three Eli Manning interceptions. New York’s offensive line did not look very good, unable to figure out what to do whenever confronted with a Dallas pass rush stunt. The Detroit defense is superior up front than Dallas and capable of forcing many three-and-outs. With Darius Slay at corner the Lions are also better equipped to cover Odell Beckham.

The Lions and Giants have made a habit of winning close games. Both teams have won eight games by seven points or less. Expect another close battle here. I liked the Lions a lot when the spread opened at -5½, but I’ll still take Detroit at four points – despite the injuries to Swanson and Stafford.

Prediction: Lions 17, Giants 16
Lions +4 (two units) . . . . . under 41 (one unit) . . . . . Detroit +170


★★★ 5-8 Philadelphia Eagles at 7-6 Baltimore Ravens
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.
Ravens -6 . . . . over/under 40½ . . . . BAL -250, PHI +210

After a 3-0 start the Eagles have not looked good. Since that time Philly has had only two victories, home upsets versus Minnesota and Atlanta. In those eight other games Philadelphia is giving up an average of 27.5 points per game. The Eagles will be without Darren Sproles Sunday. That doesn’t help an offense that is scoring only 16 points per game during their current four game losing streak.

Prediction: Ravens 24, Eagles 17
Ravens -6 . . . . . over 40½ . . . . . Baltimore -250


★★★ 7-6 Green Bay Packers at 3-10 Chicago Bears
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver.
Packers -5½ . . . . over/under 38½ . . . . GNB -250, CHI +210

Cold weather and gusty winds are expected to make this the coldest game in Chicago Bears’ history. Aaron Rodgers suffered a calf injury last week so that weather won’t help his situation. Green Bay is down to a third option of Ty Montgomery at running back. Eddie Lacy is on IR with an ankle injury and James Starks is doubtful after suffering a concussion in a car accident Monday. With Jordan Howard running the ball Chicago should be able to keep this game close.

Prediction: Packers 20, Bears 16
Bears +5½ (one unit) . . . . . under 38½ . . . . . Green Bay -250


NFL Week 15 Early Games on CBS

★★★ 6-7 Indianapolis Colts at 7-6 Minnesota Vikings
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon.
Vikings -5 . . . . over/under 45½ . . . . MIN -240, IND +200

Running back Adrian Peterson has been activated, though it remains to be seen how much he will play. The Colts are giving up 4.5 yards per rush; Peterson would be a huge boost to Minnesota’s anemic offense. Both teams are dealing with injuries to key players. Indy LG Jack Mewhort’s season ended with a knee injury last week and his backup, Denzelle Good, is out with a concussion. Free safety Harrison Smith (ankle) and RG Brandon Fusco (concussion) are both out for the Vikings.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Colts 17
Colts +5 (one unit) . . . . . under 45½ (one unit) . . . . . Indianapolis +200


★★ 0-13 Cleveland Browns at 6-7 Buffalo Bills
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta.
Bills -10 . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . BUF -500, CLE +400

Cleveland’s defense ranks 31st in points (28.8 ppg), yardage (397 ypg) and rushing (146 ypg). The Browns are also allowing 4.6 yards per rush (29th) and are last in the NFL on third down (48.2%). Expect a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy, who now has eight games with over 100 yards from scrimmage. While the Bills have almost zero chance of making the playoffs, they don’t want to be the team that lost to the Browns.

Prediction: Bills 27, Browns 13
Bills -10 . . . . . under 41½ . . . . . Buffalo -500


★★★★ 7-6 Tennessee Titans at 10-3 Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl.
Chiefs -5½ . . . . over/under 41½ . . . . KAN -230, TEN +190

The big question is how Kansas City will perform without Derrick Johnson, who was lost last week with a torn Achilles. Tennessee ran for 180 yards last week against Denver, who has a comparable run defense to Kansas City. The Chiefs have had extra time to prepare after playing last Thursday, but this could be a trap game. Last week KC played Oakland, and they could be caught looking ahead to next week’s game against Denver. However Arrowhead offers one of the best home field advantages in the league and the crowd noise could lead to mistakes by the Titans. This Tennessee team is not used to playing in big games. KC has made a habit of capitalizing on opponent’s mistakes, resulting in an NFL-best 25 takeaways.

Prediction: Chiefs 23, Titans 20
Titans +5½ (one unit) . . . . . over 41½ . . . . . Kansas City -260


★★ 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars at 7-6 Houston Texans
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker.
Texans -5½ . . . . over/under 39½ . . . . HOU -220, JAC +190

Houston has not won by six or more points since Week 8, but this is the Jaguars they are playing. The Jaguars have lost eight straight and just want the season to hurry up and be over. Jacksonville doesn’t force turnovers (a league-low eight takeaways) while giving the ball away 25 times. Houston should win easily despite their stagnant offense.

Prediction: Texans 24, Jaguars 13
Texans -5½ . . . . . under 39½ . . . . . Houston -220


★★★ 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday December 11 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn.
Steelers -3 . . . . over/under 44½ . . . . PIT -170, CIN +150

Cincinnati is allowing 4.5 yards per run (27th) and 119 rushing yards per game (25th). The Steelers ran for 240 yards on the road last week against what was supposedly a decent Buffalo defense. If Cincy sells out to stop Le’Veon Bell then Ben Roethlisberger will be more than happy to throw passes to Antonio Brown. The big concern is Pittsburgh’s penchant for playing down to the level of their competition. Pittsburgh struggled mightily on the road early this season with losses at Philadelphia, Miami and Baltimore. Is that a thing of the past after victories at Indianapolis and Buffalo?

Prediction: Steelers 24, Bengals 20
Steelers -3 . . . . . under 44½ . . . . . Pittsburgh -170


NFL Week 15 Late Games on FOX

★★★ 5-8 New Orleans Saints at 5-7-1 Arizona Cardinals
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale.
Cardinals -3 . . . . over/under 50½ . . . . ARI -150, NOR +130

Carson Palmer has not played well all season. The Arizona offensive line is incapable of either pass protection or run blocking. Now the Cardinal defense is being decimated with injuries. However, center Max Unger missed last week’s game and is questionable for Sunday with a foot injury. Without Unger opponents are able to collapse the pocket and apply pressure up the middle on Drew Brees. Look for Calais Campbell to be tormenting Brees all afternoon.

Prediction: Cardinals 24, Saints 23
Saints +3 . . . . . under 50½ . . . . . New Orleans +130


★★ 1-12 San Francisco 49ers at 8-5 Atlanta Falcons
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman, Peter Schrager.
Falcons -13½ . . . . over/under 50½ . . . . ATL -900, SFO +600

Even without Julio Jones the Falcons should win easily. The Niners have had no defense all year, and now the offense has been weakened. LT Joe Staley is doubtful with a hamstring injury. On top of that C Daniel Kilgore and TE Vance McDonald were placed on IR this week.

Prediction: Falcons 31, Niners 13
Falcons -13½ . . . . . under 50½ . . . . . Atlanta


NFL Week 15 Late Games on CBS

★★★★★ 11-2 New England Patriots at 8-5 Denver Broncos
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Patriots -3 . . . . over/under 44 . . . . NWE -170, DEN +150

Denver’s run defense has taken a hit in comparison to recent seasons. The Broncos are allowing 127 yards rushing (29th) and 6.2 rushing first downs (28th) per game. The Patriots will try to run the ball with LeGarrette Blount, and utilize running backs Dion Lewis and James White as well. That would open things up for play action passes, and keep Denver pass rushers honest. The Broncos have been unable to run the ball, and neither Denver quarterback is capable of generating much offense.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Broncos 20
Patriots -3 (two units) . . . . . over 44 . . . . . New England -170


★★★★ 10-3 Oakland Raiders at 5-8 San Diego Chargers
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots.
Raiders -3 . . . . over/under 49½ . . . . OAK -140, SDG +120

Oakland cannot stop the run. The Raiders are giving up 4.7 yards per carry (30th) and 120 yards rushing per game (26th). Unfortunately for San Diego Melvin Gordon is out with a hip injury and Danny Woodhead blew out his knee in September.

Prediction: Raiders 31, Chargers 27
Raiders -3 . . . . . over 49½ . . . . . Oakland -140


NFL Week 15 Prime Time Games

★★★★★ 8-5 Tampa Bay Bucs at 11-2 Dallas Cowboys
Sunday December 18 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya.
Cowboys -7 . . . . over/under 46½ . . . . DAL -300, TAM +250

After looking atrocious early in the season, the Buccaneer defense has taken great strides. Over the last five games the Bucs have allowed an NFL-best 13.0 points per game. Much of that has to do with Keith Tandy replacing an ineffective Chris Conte at safety, but other players have stepped up their game as well. OLB Lavonte David and DT Gerald McCoy have been studs for a while. Now thy’re getting help from MLB Kwon Alexander and defensive ends Robert Ayers and Noah Spence. Wouldn’t an upset be fun, just to watch Jerrah’s reaction?

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 23
Buccaneers +7 (one unit) . . . . . over 46½ . . . . . Tampa Bay +250


★★★ 5-8 Carolina Panthers at 7-5-1 Washington Redskins
Monday December 19 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN; Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters.
Redskins -6½ . . . . over/under 51½ . . . . WAS -270, CAR +230

The Carolina offensive line is a mess. As a result Cam Newton cannot complete even fifty percent of his passes. On defense the post-Josh Norman era has not worked out well for the Panthers. Injuries to Luke Kuechly and Charles Johnson have exacerbated the situation.

Prediction: Redskins 31, Panthers 24
Redskins -6½ . . . . . over 43½ . . . . . Washington -270


Thursday: Rams at Seahawks.

My advice was to take the Seahawks, despite the huge spread.

I just don’t understand why Pete Carroll decided to go for a fake punt with a big lead in the fourth quarter. Wouldn’t he have been better off saving that play for a critical time in a meaningful game?

Prediction: Seahawks 34, Rams 9
Seahawks -15 (two units) . . . . . over 39½ . . . . . Seattle -1600

Final Score: Seahawks 24, Rams 3 ✓
Seahawks -15 ✓✓ . . . . . over 39½ x . . . . . Seahawks -1600 ✓


NFL Week 14 Parlays and Teasers

3-Game Parlay (one unit):
Giants vs Lions +4
Broncos vs Patriots +3
Colts at Vikings under 45½

5-Team 6-Point Teaser (one unit):
Cowboys vs Buccaneers +13
Giants vs Lions +10
Colts at Vikings under 51½
Niners vs Falcons -7½
Cardinals vs Saints +9
Chiefs vs Titans +11½


Tale of the Tape

Week 14 wasn’t bad at all, considering the fact that there were not many games that jumped out at me that were particularly advantageous.

Week 14 Results:
11-5 Straight Up
8-7-1 Against the Spread
6-10 Over/Under
2-unit plays: 4-0, +800
1-unit plays: 2-3, -130
3-Game Parlay: 1u, -110
5-Game Teaser: 2u, -220
16 units invested
6-5, +240 on $1760 risk.
+13.6% ROI

Year to Date Results:
125-81-2 Straight Up
110-92-6 Against the Spread
112-96 Over/Under
5-unit plays: 1-0, +500
4-unit plays: 1-0, +400
3-unit plays: 6-5-1, +120
2-unit plays: 39-19-1, +3600
1-unit plays: 41-29-1, +900
Parlays: 3-9, +1300
Teasers: 6-6, +2390
97-68-3, +9110 on original $2310 risk.
394.4% ROI on original $2310 bankroll.
30.4% ROI on $29,920 (272 units) of total weekly investments.

6-5, +240 on 16 units (+13.6%) in Week 14.
6-5, -90 on 18 units (-4.5%) in Week 13.
6-9-1, -360 on 28 units (-11.7%) in Week 12.
9-2, +2380 on 16 units (+135.2%) in Week 11.
4-9, -510 on 18 units (-25.8%) in Week 10.
7-4, +850 on 17 units (+45.5%) in Week 9.
11-2, +3470 on 27 units (+116.8%) in Week 8.
3-6, -480 on 12 units (-36.4%) in Week 7.
9-3-1, +1300 on 17 units (+69.5%) in Week 6.
7-7, +50 on 22 units (+2.1%) in Week 5.
9-2, +1910 on 18 units (+96.5%) in Week 4.
3-9-1, -1280 on 22 units (-58.2%) in Week 3.
9-3, +950 on 20 units (+43.2%) in Week 2.
9-2, +840 on 21 units (+36.4%) in Week 1.


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NFL Week 15 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines: Pats Favored by 3 at Denver

John Morgan
December 7, 2016 at 9:45 pm ET

Week 15 brings a test to the theory that pro football has become over saturated. The NFL will televise games on four days next week. With college football finished with the exception of bowl games and playoffs, the NFL is now free to include Saturdays on their schedule. Don’t get too excited about that proposition though. Our first Saturday game of the NFL season takes place at Exit 16W in New Jersey, with the Jets hosting Miami. If you are so inclined to tune in, the game will be available on the NFL Network.

Since the byes went by-by football fans have been treated to a bounty of quality matchups. Unfortunately that is not the case in week 15: there are only three games between teams with winning records. The only good early game is the Lions at Giants, though it gets better after that. In the late afternoon the Patriots are at Denver and Oakland is at San Diego; it is a shame both games are on at the same time. Sunday night Tampa visits Dallas, and then on Monday the floundering Panthers are in Washington.

The odds as well as the won-loss records are prior to the week 14 games. Most of these lines will change after this weekend, but if you happen to be in Sin City before then you can wager up to $3000 on these early look-ahead lines at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook should you feel so inclined.


NFL Week 15 Early Advanced ‘Look-Ahead’ Betting Lines

4-8 Los Angeles Rams at 8-3-1 Seattle Seahawks (-12½)
Thursday December 15 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

7-5 Miami Dolphins (-3½) at 3-9 New York Jets
Saturday December 17 at 8:30 pm ET on NFLN

2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars at 6-6 Houston Texans (-5½)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

0-12 Cleveland Browns at 6-6 Buffalo Bills (-10)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

6-6 Tennessee Titans at 9-3 Kansas City Chiefs (-6)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

6-6 Indianapolis Colts at 6-6 Minnesota Vikings (-3½)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

7-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at 4-7-1 Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS

6-6 Green Bay Packers (-4) at 3-9 Chicago Bears
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

5-7 Philadelphia Eagles at 7-5 Baltimore Ravens (-6½)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

8-4 Detroit Lions at 8-4 New York Giants (-3½)
Sunday December 18 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX

5-7 New Orleans at 5-6-1 Arizona Cardinals (-3½)
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

1-11 San Francisco 49ers at 7-5 Atlanta Falcons (-11)
Sunday December 18 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX

10-2 New England Patriots (-3) at 8-4 Denver Broncos
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

10-2 Oakland Raiders at 5-7 San Diego Chargers (-1)
Sunday December 18 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS

7-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 11-1 Dallas Cowboys (-9½)
Sunday December 18 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC

4-8 Carolina Panthers at 6-5-1 Washington Redskins (-4)
Monday December 19 at 8:30 pm ET on BSPN


Back to the current week, NFL fans are treated to the best Thursday night game of the year tomorrow. The Chiefs and Raiders are not only both headed for the playoffs, these division rivals are two of the best teams in the league right now. Oakland has won six in a row and for the moment hold the top seed in the AFC. The Chiefs have won eight out of nine since a week five bye and are 20-4 overall since late October of 2015.

Kansas City has the better defense and Oakland has the better offense. With Jeremy Maclin back in the lineup the KC offense is more versatile and should be able to exploit the Oakland D. The Raiders rank last in the NFL in yards per play allowed and are 30th in yards per game. Oakland has survived thanks to turnovers, but Kansas City protects the ball very well. Derek Carr’s fingers are still not healed, and Arrowhead Stadium provides one of the three best home field advantages in the NFL. Spencer Ware could be in for a big game against a Raider defense that is surrendering 4.7 yards per rush (31st). Oakland doesn’t really have an answer for TE Travis Kelce either.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Raiders 20
Chiefs -3½ (two units) . . . . . over 46 . . . . . Kansas City -175

Final Score: Chiefs 21, Raiders 13 ✓
Chiefs -3½ ✓✓ . . . . . over 46 x . . . . . Chiefs -175 ✓


Titans at Patriots: In-Depth Team Stats, Odds, TV Info & Prediction

John Morgan
December 20, 2015 at 10:00 am ET

The 11-2 New England Patriots seek to avoid the proverbial ‘trap’ game, as the best team in the AFC hosts a 3-10 club that appears to be headed towards making the first overall pick in the 2016 draft Sunday. Game kicks off at 1:00 pm eastern time Sunday and is available on CBS throughout most of the eastern United States plus the northwest. Thanks to there being an unheard of five late games this week plus a game Saturday, the Patriots-Titans tilt is one of just three early games this week on CBS, who has the doubleheader. For out of town fans hoping for an easy blowout, be careful what you wish for: that could mean your local station switches to Houston at Indy or KC at Baltimore.


NFL Week 15 Playoff Picture with Clinching and Elimination Scenarios

The Patriots clinched the AFC East title last week, and can finish no lower than the number three seed in the conference. New England can clinch a first round bye with a win, coupled with a Denver loss to Pittsburgh. The Pats could also clinch a bye with a win, a Bengals loss, and a tie between the Broncos and Steelers.


When: Sunday, December 20 at 1:00 pm ET

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA

Television: CBS; announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Odds: In early advanced ‘look-ahead’ lines posted a week ago Thursday, the Westgate listed the Patriots as ten-point favorites. Immediately following last Sunday’s Week 14 games when the Patriots defeated Houston 27-6 and the Jets beat Tennessee 30-8, the Patriots opened as 12½ point favorites. That line quickly rose to 14 points, where it has for the most part remained since then. Earlier in the week a few venues were giving the Titans 14½ points, and as of Saturday if you shop around you may find a few places that are at 13½. The over/under is 46½ or 47 depending on where you visit, and the typical money line has pushed up to New England -1400 and Tennessee +800. While this game may seem like a sure thing, risking $1400 to win $100 does not appeal to me in any manner whatsoever.

Head-to-Head Series Record: Dating back to the inaugural season of the AFL in 1960 when the two franchises were known as the Boston Patriots and Houston Oilers, the Pats lead the series 23-16-1 (including a 1-1 playoff split). On New Years Eve in 1978 I witnessed the Patriots first ever home playoff game, at Schaefer Stadium. On a cold gloomy day Earl Campbell ran for 118 yards, Dan Pastorini threw three touchdown passes, and Houston opened up a 21-0 halftime lead and held the Pats off in the second half to win 31-14. The team lacked focus after being thoroughly distracted by the suspension and reinstatement of head coach Chuck Fairbanks, who had accepted a much better paying job with the University of Colorado. This game was in the middle of a four-game winning streak for the Oilers against the Pats, though the three others were much more closely contested, decided by a grand total of 14 points.

Since that time the Patriots have won eleven of the fourteen meetings between the two clubs, including the last five in a row. The only loss in the Belichick-Brady era came on a Monday night game late in 2002. The most recent games between these two teams have not been close: the Patriots won 34-13 at Nashville in 2012, 59-0 in Foxborough in 2009, and 40-23 in Nashville in 2006. In the only other post-season game between the two clubs, the Patriots won 17-14 in the 2003 playoffs on a bitterly cold day when Bethel Johnson caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning 46-yard field goal, and an open Drew Bennett dropped a fourth down pass from Steve McNair to end the game.


Here is a look at how the two teams compare statistically; the numbers reflect an average per game (or per play), rather than aggregate totals. Per-game and per-play stats are used rather than gross totals because that makes the rankings more meaningful, and because they provide a better context in regards to what to expect in any given game. Numbers in green indicate a top-ten ranking while underlined green is top-five; red indicates a bottom-ten ranking and underlined red is bottom-five.

With the return of Rob Gronkowski, in one week New England’s ranking in pass completion percentage went up five spots from 16th to 11th. The defense now also ranks higher in several categories, including up seven spots in the NFL’s official defensive ranking (yardage), from 13th to sixth.


New England Patriots Offense versus Tennessee Titans Defense

Scoring per Game: Patriots 30.9 (3rd); Titans 25.1 (22nd)

Yardage per Game: Patriots 397 (3rd); Titans 344 (13th)

First Downs per Game: Patriots 23.3 (2nd); Titans 20.1 (17th)

Yards per Play: Patriots 5.9 (6th); Titans 5.6 (23rd)

Yards per Drive: Patriots 34.2 (7th); Titans 30.7 (11th)

Points per Drive: Patriots 2.65 (2nd); Titans 2.20 (27th)

Drive Success Rate: Patriots .742 (2nd); Titans .719 (26th)

Points per Play: Patriots .458 (3rd); Titans .407 (28th)

Touchdowns per Game: Patriots 3.5 (3rd); Titans 3.2 (28th)

Red Zone Touchdowns per Game: Patriots 2.8 (1st); Titans 2.2 (25th)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Patriots 68.5% (2nd); Titans 65.1% (29th)

Plays per Game: Patriots 67.5 (7th); Titans 61.6 (4th)

Third Down Conversions per Game: Patriots 5.8 (7th); Titans 5.5 (22nd)

Third Down Percentage: Patriots 43.4% (5th); Titans 42.5% (26th)

Punts per Score: Patriots 0.8 (3rd); Titans 1.1 (15th)

Punts per Game: Patriots 4.5 (10th); Titans 4.5 (21st)

Rushing Yards: Patriots 90.6 (27th); Titans 111.5 (17th)

Yards per Rush: Patriots 3.82 (24th); Titans 4.00 (21st)

Passing Yards: Patriots 307 (1st); Titans 233 (9th)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Patriots 7.8 (5th); Titans 8.1 (30th)

Completion Percentage: Patriots 64.3% (11th); Titans 64.3% (19th)

Passer Rating: Patriots 103.8 (4th); Titans 102.3 (31st)

TD Passes/Picks: Patriots +27 (1st), 33/6; Titans -18 (29th), 28/10

Complete Passes per Game: Patriots 26.6 (3rd); Titans 19.9 (1st)

Incomplete Passes per Game: Patriots 14.8 (27th); Titans 11.2 (28th)

Quarterback Sacks per Game: Patriots 2.5 (20th); Titans 2.7 (6th)

Sack Yardage Lost per Game: Patriots 14.4 (14th); Titans 18.8 (5th)


Tennessee Titans Offense versus New England Patriots Defense

Scoring: Titans 19.5 (27th); Patriots 19.5 (9th)

Yardage: Titans 325 (28th); Patriots 329 (6th)

First Downs: Titans 19.7 (20th); Patriots 18.8 (7th)

Yards per Play: Titans 5.3 (23rd); Patriots 5.1 (3rd)

Yards per Drive: Titans 28.3 (29th); Patriots 28.5 (6th)

Points per Drive: Titans 1.58 (27th); Patriots 1.55 (7th)

Drive Success Rate: Titans .677 (24th); Patriots .681 (11th)

Points per Play: Titans .318 (23rd); Patriots .301 (7th)

Touchdowns per Game: Titans 2.4 (18th); Patriots 2.2 (10th)

Red Zone Touchdowns per Game: Titans 1.6 (16th); Patriots 1.5 (8th)

Red Zone TD Percentage: Titans 61.8% (9th); Patriots 55.9% (17th)

Plays per Game: Titans 61.2 (27th); Patriots 64.6 (20th)

Third Down Conversions per Game: Titans 4.1 (29th); Patriots 5.2 (15th)

Third Down Percentage: Titans 33.3% (28th); Patriots 37.2% (11th)

Punts per Score: Titans 1.6 (28th); Patriots 1.5 (4th)

Punts per Game: Titans 5.2 (23rd); Patriots 4.5 (9th)

Rushing Yards: Titans 96.8 (22nd); Patriots 98.6 (10th)

Yards per Rush: Titans 4.04 (15th); Patriots 4.07 (14th)

Passing Yards: Titans 228 (25th); Patriots 231 (7th)

Yards per Pass Attempt: Titans 7.4 (11th); Patriots 6.8 (7th)

Completion Percentage: Titans 63.1% (19th); Patriots 59.4% (8th)

Passer Rating: Titans 89.1 (18th); Patriots 83.1 (9th)

TD Passes/Picks: Titans +8 (19th), 21/13; Patriots -7 (9th), 17/10

Complete Passes per Game: Titans 21.3 (22nd); Patriots 22.1 (14th)

Incomplete Passes per Game: Titans 12.5 (9th); Patriots 15.1 (5th)

Quarterback Sacks per Game: Titans 3.4 (31st); Patriots 3.2 (2nd)

Sack Yardage Lost: Titans 22.2 (31st); Patriots 22.2 (2nd)



Patriot Giveaways: 0.9 (3rd); Titan Takeaways: 1.2 (21st)

Titan Giveaways: 1.9 (29th); Patriot Takeaways: 1.3 (18th)



Penalties per Game: Patriots 6.4 (6th); Titans 6.2 (5th)

Penalty Yards per Game: Patriots 59.8 (19th); Titans 49.8 (3rd)

Opponent Penalties per Game: Patriots 7.2 (12th); Titans 7.5 (6th)

Opponent Penalty Yards per Game: Patriots 65.5 (9th); Titans 65.2 (11th)


Football Outsiders Statistics and Rankings

Team Efficiency: Weighted DVOA: Patriots 25.5% (5th); Titans -25.1% (30th)

Team Efficiency: Offense DVOA: Patriots 19.4% (2nd); Titans -12.8% (27th)

Team Efficiency: Defense DVOA: Patriots -5.9% (9th); Titans 5.4% (21st)

Special Teams DVOA: Patriots 3.5% (4th); Titans -4.0% (30th)


An interesting aspect to this game is how well New England can run the ball, behind an inconsistent offensive line and their top two running backs now on injured reserve. If the Patriots are too one-dimensional on offense then Tennessee might keep it interesting for a while thanks to their pass rush, but in the end the Titans are just far too overmatched in all three phases of the game to keep pace. The Patriots already had their annual WTF game two weeks ago against Philadelphia; they are not about to look past this one or lose a second straight home game.

Take the Patriots minus the points despite the big line.


Prediction: Patriots 34, Titans 13


NFL Week 15 TV Info: Patriots-Titans gets extensive early broadcast coverage

John Morgan
December 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm ET

NFL Week 15 TV Info: Patriots-Titans gets extensive early broadcast coverage


Early NFL games typically do not receive extensive broadcast distribution, primarily since there are so many games being played at the same time. There are exceptions to every rule, and in Week 15 the 1:00 pm eastern time kickoff between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans will be available in either all or most of 31 states in the U.S. on CBS. The other primary games being televised are Carolina at the Giants early on FOX and a crucial matchup for the AFC playoff picture as Denver travels to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.



There will also be a fourth prime time game this week; since the college football regular season is over, the NFL can now play games on Saturday. The Jets will play at Dallas on Saturday night; that game as well as Thursday’s between the Bucs and the Rams will start at 8:25 pm ET on the NFL Network. Sunday night’s game should be a good one with Arizona at Philadelphia, and Week 15 wraps up next Monday night with Detroit at New Orleans.


6-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 5-8 St. Louis Rams (pk, 41)

Thursday Dec 17 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

Nationwide broadcast distribution.


8-5 New York Jets at 4-9 Dallas Cowboys (+3, 42)

Saturday Dec 19 at 8:25 pm ET on NFLN; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

Nationwide broadcast distribution.


5-8 Chicago Bears at 8-5 Minnesota Vikings (-5, 43)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch

Mostly upper midwest: broadcast in Illinois, Indiana (except Indianapolis), Iowa, Michigan (except upper peninsula), Minnesota, eastern Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.


6-7 Atlanta Falcons at 5-8 Jacksonville Jaguars (-3, 48½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Dick Stockton, David Diehl

Only on ten stations: broadcast in northern Florida, Georgia and Chattanooga TN.


6-7 Houston Texans at 6-7 Indianapolis Colts
(no line due to uncertainty with both team’s quarterbacks)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Regional coverage on 37 stations: broadcast in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Seattle WA and southern Wisconsin.


8-5 Kansas City Chiefs at 4-9 Baltimore Ravens (+7½, 42½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Most of the west: broadcast in Arkansas, California, Colorado, DC, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.


6-7 Buffalo Bills at 6-7 Washington Redskins (pk, 44)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston

Limited regional distribution on 14 stations: broadcast in DC, Salisbury MD, western New York, Virginia and West Virginia.


3-10 Tennessee Titans at 11-2 New England Patriots (-14, 46½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS; Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

Primarily available in the eastern United States: broadcast in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida (except Jacksonville), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota (except Minneapolis), Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York (except NYC), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (except Seattle), West Virginia and northern Wisconsin.


13-0 Carolina Panthers at 5-7 New York Giants (+6½, 48½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 1:00 pm ET on FOX; Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

Primary game for FOX: broadcast in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, southern California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida (except Jacksonville, Panama City and Tallahassee), Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts (except Boston), Mississippi, Missouri (except Kansas City), Las Vegas NV, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (except Buffalo), North Carolina, Cincinnati OH, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee (except Nashville), Texas (except Houston), Utah, Vermont and Wyoming.


3-10 Cleveland Browns at 8-5 Seattle Seahawks (-14½, 43)

Sunday Dec 20 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis

Limited regional distribution on 22 stations: broadcast in Alaska, Idaho, western Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington.


9-4 Green Bay Packers at 6-7 Oakland Raiders (+3, 46½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 4:05 pm ET on FOX; Chris Myers, Ronde Barber

Limited regional distribution on 20 stations: broadcast in northern California, Indianapolis IN, Baltimore MD, Boston MA, Marquette MI, Kansas City MO, Reno NV, Houston TX and Wisconsin.


5-7 Miami Dolphins at 3-10 San Diego Chargers (-1, 45½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein

Broadcast on just two Charger stations (Yuma AZ and San Diego CA) and three Dolphin stations (Fort Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach FL).


10-3 Denver Broncos at 8-5 Pittsburgh Steelers (-6, 44½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Jim Nantz, Phil Simms

Primary late game distribution: broadcast in all markets with the exception of Yuma AZ, northern California, San Diego CA, Fort Myers FL, Miami FL, West Palm Beach FL, Hazard KY, Lexington KY, Ohio and Seattle WA.


10-3 Cincinnati Bengals at 4-9 San Francisco 49ers (+4, 40½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 4:25 pm ET on CBS; Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots

Limited regional distribution on 14 Bengal and Niner stations: broadcast in northern California, Reno NV, Hazard KY, Lexington KY and Ohio.


11-2 Arizona Cardinals at 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles (+3½, 50½)

Sunday Dec 20 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth

Nationwide broadcast distribution.


4-9 Detroit Lions at 5-8 New Orleans Saints (-3, 51)

Monday Dec 21 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN; Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden

Nationwide broadcast distribution.