Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
WEEK 15 – CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
As we close in on the final four weekends of the NFL regular season, the playoff scenario has become quite a “choose your own adventure” type of narrative. There are widely trashed teams like the Bucsled by an aging TB12 that have no right to be in the postseason, but because of their lackluster division, they still occupy a wild card weekend home playoff spot until further notice. On the other end of the spectrum, there are teams like the Lions that are coming into December football like a wrecking ball. While their playoff hopes are all but dashed, they’re a wild roller coaster ride that you don’t want to get off of.
The week 14 plays were a smooth sail on my end but the last 30-day stretch run to the playoffs presents some desperation for teams trying to squeak in, and tight point spreads with intra-division scrums are in the near future. With that said, let’s check out the ongoing narratives around the week as we take our first glance at the Week 15 spread of games.
Thursday Night Kickoff
49ers (-3.5) @ Seahawks – An NFC West clash between two teams hovering in the postseason bracket. Their week 2 meeting where the 49ers rolled 27-7 was under completely different circumstances. Now it’s Geno Smith and the desperate Seahawks in need of a win against America’s new darling QB Brock Purdy. I’m expecting a lot more points than the first meeting.
Bills (-7.5) vs Dolphins – Heyo! Nothing like a Saturday tripleheader, the ultimate sign that the holiday season is here for NFL fans and TV geeks like us. The three games culminate with an AFC east duel in the cold (and probably snow) of Buffalo. Early in the season, the Fins clipped the Bills in the sweltering Miami heat; let’s see how a climate and setting change affects this one – I’m guessing a lot as indicated by the spread.
Early Sunday Slate
Lions (EVEN) @ Jets – An intriguing matchup of two teams that are enigmas to NFL fans and betters. Both the Lions and the Jets have tremendously low lows and high highs. I think the lack of a spread speaks to the predictability of which offenses we see on Sunday. Slight lean towards Detroit, but only as an optimistic Patriots fan still holding out hope for the wild card.
Cowboys (-4.5) @ Jaguars – Ah, those same old Cowboys…just when we get the hype wheel spinning on this seemingly dynamic team, they deliver an extremely unimpressive home win by a nose over the Texans. If that game is a trap game, then this game in Jacksonville is the backup trap ready to get you if the first one didn’t. I can see the urge to bet the Jags in this one at home.
Bengals (-3.5) @ Bucs – The 9-4 Bengals are led by Jackpot Joey Burrow and poised to be right back in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. They head down to Tamps but are still favored against Tom Brady, who was embarrassed in his OG hometown of San Fran last Sunday, parents in attendance and all. This is a stay away from me for betting, but definitely a litmus test for both to see if they’re real as potential representatives of their divisions in the postseason.
Night Pick of the Week
Commanders (-4.5) vs Giants – AH yes, a rematch of the gut-wrenching display of football that ended in a TIE between these two teams a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully, one team decides to actually win the game to help secure a wild card weekend spot for the time being. I lean on NYG here mainly because of the bounceback factor following their laid egg against the Eagles.
THE “WHO CARES?” GAME
Week 15 meaningless football is definitely not for the faint of heart. This week’s carefree matchup is a beauty because you have the joy of waiting until late Sunday for all its glory. The viewership on the Cardinals/Broncos game should be at an all-time low for fans, as both these teams boast flashy mobile QBs that have underwhelmed for most of the season. There is no hope but looking at April’s draft board for both these teams, and especially the Broncos who traded the farm for Russell Wilson and absolutely regret it.
WEIRD VIBE PREDICTION OF THE WEEK
The weird vibes are cooking again as the Rams +6 was done in the weirdest of ways with a QB in Baker Mayfield that they signed after I wrote my preview. In staying with that theme here’s another goofy QB scenario playing out with a bad team – the Colts. Matt Ryan is BACK at the helm after being benched by the old Coach who’s out the door. It’s a weird Saturday matinee spot so let’s get wild and forecast a shootout – the Vikings D is not fixed overnight and this flies over 47 points as Ryan throws for a couple of TD’s of his own.
WEEK 14 RECAP
I saw the board pretty clearly with spreads going 4 for 4, and my one-point total was staying under for 58 minutes until it wasn’t. Overall, we tick ourselves above .500 as we head for the home stretch. Time to keep a grip on the winning record vibe in cold weather football weeks ahead.
Week Fourteen: 3-2 ATS, Season Overall: 36-35-1 ATS
EARLY WEEK 15 NFL PLAYS FOR ALEX
I feel like I might be chasing the Seahawks lately, but this Thursday night spot is too good to pass up. Brock Purdy and the 49ers offense levels off on the road and this is a close one – I’ll take Seahawks +3.5.
In a really cruddy game at the Superdome, I do like the Falcons mainly because they play the Saints tight, know them well and they’ve covered with regularity even in losing efforts. I’ll Take Falcons +4
One game I like in a couple of ways is the Texans/Chiefs matchup. Before the number gets crazy I would take Chiefs -14 or better yet tease it to 13.5. Also, Under 49 points is quite possible once the Chiefs shut it down late in the game.
One OVER play I’m in on Sunday is Titans/Chargers Over 46.
Other leans: Patriots/Raiders Under 44.5, Bears +9, Rams/Packers Over 40.5
Not in an NFL pick’em pool yet? Create your own today to get in on the action as the season heats up!
EATS AND DEETS
The best crowd: The Saturday night kickoff presents an amazing amount of potential debauchery for Bills Mafia in the parking lots of Orchard Park. That place will be rocking by nightfall.
Goofiest line: Saints -4 against the Falcons? Hard to favor that team by more than a field goal in any scenario.
Simultaneous screen count: We’re down to the nitty-gritty, it’s time to bust out all of the screens you have in time for the holidays.
Tailgate pick of the week: There’s truly nothing like a brat or sausage off the grill on a cold Sunday morning – It’s a tailgaters delight.