2014 Week 15 Review & Week 16 Picks
Week 15 Review (Week 4-1, Season 34-41, All Time 137-120-2)
Week 15 was really the last real week of the season as now many teams have now been knocked out of playoff contention. This generally makes handicapping more difficult, and historically, weeks 16 and 17 have been our worst. At the same time however, many of our theories about various teams in the NFL finally came to fruition last week as our picks went 4-1. We were rewarded for sticking to our long term views on the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Tennessee Titans. We successfully re-upped on one of these plays already this week, going against the Titans on Thursday Night, and we will hopefully have similar success on our other plays this week.
Week 16 Picks
San Diego Chargers +1.5 @ San Francisco 49ers
It is truly surprising that the 49ers are favored in this game. Not only are they a worse team on paper, but also they are dealing with the distraction of losing a head coach. This alone will affect their preparation enough to cost them the game. In addition to a talent and preparation gap, the 49ers will also be dealing with a motivation gap. A team whose stated goal is a Super Bowl will unquestionably have difficulty "getting up" for a game the week after they were eliminated from the playoffs. San Diego should have every imaginable advantage in this game and we like them to win.
Minnesota Vikings +6.5 @ Miami Dolphins
Miami's recent struggles have been because of two specific problems. First, they have been completely ineffective running the ball as teams have adjusted and game planned for the quasi-zone-read rush attack. Second, they have been completely ineffective stopping their opponent's rushing attack. Because they haven't been able to run, the Dolphins have asked Tannehill to win them games, which he simply has not been good enough to do. A similar story has unfolded in Minnesota where an inability to run has placed all the pressure on a rookie QB. In this game, we think Minnesota will be able to stop the run while Miami will not. This will significantly open up the game for Bridgewater and constrain it for Tannehill. We like the Vikings as a live underdog.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +12 vs Green Bay Packers
Though we picked the Buffalo Bills last week against the Packers, we certainty don't think Rodgers has been "figured out" or that anything is "wrong with him." Rodgers is still an elite QB, and the Packers are still a Super Bowl caliber team -- they simply ran into a great defense playing in an electric home environment. We do not think the same outcome will unfold in Tampa Bay, but given Green Bay's struggles on the road and the way the Buccaneers have been playing defense recently, we think Tampa Bay can certainly cover 12 points at home.
Arizona Cardinals +8.5 vs Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have been playing great defense ever since getting Bobby Wagner back from injury, resulting in an impressive streak of games that has them looking more like their Super Bowl selves heading into the playoffs. The Cardinals on the other hand have been dealing with significant injuries and a very difficult schedule. We believe that Arizona's recent losses are being too harshly valued because strength of opponent and circumstance are not being considered. Despite the uncertainty at the QB position, we believe that the Cardinals are still dangerous, especially at home, and we believe that they can certainly win this game.