NFL Week 15 Betting Takeaways: Playoff Spots Are Solidified
Week 15 was a make-or-break Sunday for many NFL teams aiming to play in January.
With two weeks left in the regular season, eight of the 12 playoff spots have been locked up. Two teams are vying for two available spots in the NFC, and one will likely be decided Sunday when the Eagles (7-7) host the Cowboys (7-7) for NFC East supremacy.
Six teams are playing for two AFC spots, though the Texans (9-5) would need a lot of bad things to happen to not to take one of them. The Steelers (8-6) are holding off the Titans (8-6) while the Colts, Browns and Raiders are mathematically in it, too.
Here’s a look back at Week 15 and a quick look ahead to Week 16:
Streaks Live On …
Kansas City rolls
The Chiefs made short work of the Broncos in a 23-3 home win, and in the process won their 21st AFC West day game in a row. They got off to yet-another hot start, leading 13-0 after one quarter. KC has now led after 15 minutes in nine-straight AFC West games played in December.
The game finished well Under, the 10th Broncos road game in a row the Under has hit against the AFC.
Bucs Continue Scoring, Lions Continue Losing
The Buccaneers got off to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and beat the Lions 38-17. The 55-point game marked the ninth game in a row the Over had hit against NFC competition.
Meanwhile, the Lions not only lost their seventh straight, they failed to cover a Sunday game for the eighth-consecutive time.
Seahawks, Panthers Keep Trends Going
The Seahawks got off to a hot start but had to hold on late for a 30-24 victory over the Panthers. That hurt those who were feeling pretty good about Seattle -6.5, the line at kickoff. Many who made a pick during the week were left with a push at -6.
Regardless, Seattle has now won 19 in a row as a favorite coming off a loss. Tyler Lockett scored a TD for the fourth game in a row against the Panthers, and Chris Carson got into the end zone for the sixth time in seven December games.
Christian McCaffrey scored for Carolina for the seventh time in eight games when the Panthers are the underdog.
… And Streaks End
Houston bounced back from its blowout home loss to Denver the week prior and took care of Tennessee 24-21. That snapped a six-game streak between the Texans and Titans in which the home team won. It also snapped Tennessee’s 4-0 ATS run overall, and the 7-0 Over run in Titans games.
Player streaks were snapped too, as Derrick Henry had scored at least two TDs in four of the Titans’ last five games (he had none on Sunday) and DeAndre Hopkins had scored in three-straight AFC South games for the Texans.
Chargers Suffer Outage
The Chargers suffered a whopping seven turnovers in a crushing 39-10 defeat at home to the Vikings. It snapped a six-game streak in which the Under hit in Chargers games against the NFC North, and was just the second time in six games L.A. had lost as an underdog against the NFC.
Melvin Gordon had scored in four of five day games and Austin Ekeler had scored in four of five Sunday games, but both were blanked Sunday. Dalvin Cook also didn’t score for the second time in nine games (a shoulder injury knocked him out after nine carries).
Los Angeles rammed
Tavon Austin scores the 59-yard TD against his former team! @Tayaustin01#DallasCowboys— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2019
📺: #LARvsDAL on FOX
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app
Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ALWDCpltogpic.twitter.com/1FiQ6CKXvR
The Rams’ playoff lives were at stake, and they got routed 44-21 by the Cowboys in Big D. They had won eight straight after winning an NFC West game the previous week. In addition, L.A. has covered in six straight road games against NFC foes and the total finished Under in seven of eight. Both runs were emphatically snapped.
Best Pick Of Week 15
Bills (+2) over Steelers
The Steelers had momentum and were 3-0 under QB Devlin Hodges, but the victories were against subpar competition and some of the bottom defenses in the league. Facing the Bills was to be a different story — and it was, as Hodges threw four INTs and Buffalo won 17-10 at Heinz Field, improving to 6-0-1 against the spread on the road.
Worst Pick Of Week 15
Broncos (+9) over Chiefs
The Broncos had found success and confidence with rookie Drew Lock under center, but the Chiefs jumped out to a quick lead and their maligned defense dominated the game. Denver held Kansas City to a below-average 23 points. I’m less disappointed in the Broncos than I am impressed with how the Chiefs played as the playoffs draw near.
ZERO touchdowns allowed yesterday ❌ pic.twitter.com/hqhp0uKiZK— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 16, 2019
A Quick Look Ahead
Lines change throughout the week. Here are three to consider for Week 16 before they move:
Falcons (-7) vs. Jaguars
The Falcons are finally playing up to their preseason standards. It’s too late to salvage this disappointing season, but not too late to back against a Jaguars team that had lost five straight, each by at least 17 points, before embarrassing the Raiders in their Oakland swan song.
Steelers-Jets Under 38.5
The Jets are going to struggle to put up many points against that ball-hawking Steelers defense. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t committed to Hodges yet, but the Steelers are averaging just 17.3 ppg in his four starts and the Jets’ run defense can contain James Conner.
Cowboys (-2.5) at Eagles
“We were going to find a way. That was the mindset.”#FlyEaglesFly— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 16, 2019
The Cowboys are 3-4 on the road, with the three wins against the Redskins, Giants and Lions. But they dismantled the Eagles 37-10 earlier this year and should have confidence after crushing the motivated Rams on Sunday. Philly has been unspectacular in barely beating the Redskins and Giants the last two weeks, this after losing to the Dolphins. Dallas offers a different level of offensive firepower.