NFL Week 15: There’s Still Time For Rodgers To Lift Packers Into Playoffs
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With the return of Aaron Rodgers, all is good with the Cheeseheads. Well, almost. Now the Green Bay Packers must win their last three games of the season to claim a wild card spot in the NFC.
The two-time NFL MVP posted on Instagram this week that he’s been medically cleared to return to play after being sidelined with a broken collarbone in a game on Oct. 15 against Minnesota.
The Packers were 4-1 with Rodgers behind center, 3-5 without him. No. 12 led the league with 13 touchdown passes before the injury. Now, Green Bay must beat Carolina, Minnesota and Detroit to reach the playoffs.
“We’ve got a chance,” Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari told ESPN.com. “It’s go time.”
**VGB’s Week 14 record against the spread: 6-8
Here are the Week 15 picks against the spread for all 16 games (odds provided by bovada.lv).
Broncos Winless On The Road This Season
Denver at Indianapolis — This season has been disappointing for both teams. The Broncos (4-9) have not won a road game in six tries, while the Colts (3-10) have lost four straight and are 2-7 against AFC opponents. Only two teams — Cleveland and the New York Giants — have scored fewer points than Indianapolis. The Colts also have a -131 point differential. The Broncos have the second worst record against the spread (ATS) at 3-9-1.
VGB’s pick — Denver (-3), Under (40.5)
Lions Must Sweep Last Three Games
Chicago at Detroit — The Lions (7-6) are another NFC team that must win out to have any hopes of a playoff spot. They play Chicago and Cincinnati before finishing the season on New Year’s Eve at home to Green Bay. The Lions have won four of their last six. The Bears (4-9) are undefeated against AFC opponents, but 1-9 against NFC foes and winless in four tries against their division rivals. They are 7-5-1 ATS.
VGB’s pick — Chicago (+6), Over (44)
First Place Up For Grabs In AFC West
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City — First place in the AFC West is on the line. The Chiefs (7-6) started off the year 5-0 and have since won two of eight. The Chargers (7-6) lost their first four games, but have won seven of their last nine. Kansas City is 4-2 at home and 3-1 against divisional rivals. Los Angeles has won four straight, but is 4-5 against AFC teams. The Chiefs are 7-6 ATS, while the Chargers are 7-5-1.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5), Under (46)
Panthers Rank Among Best Against Spread
Green Bay at Carolina — The Panthers (9-4) can spoil Aaron Rodgers’ return and all but eliminate the Packers (7-6) from the playoffs with a win at home. Carolina, tied for first in the NFC South, may be undefeated against AFC teams, but its 5-4 against the NFC. Green Bay, which has won two in a row, will have to up its game to beat a Carolina team which just knocked off Minnesota. The Panthers are also fourth best in the league against the spread.
VGB’s pick — Carolina (-3), Over (47)
Foles Will Lead Eagles To Division Title
Philadelphia at New York Giants — Carson Wentz may be done for the season, but Nick Foles is no ordinary backup quarterback. He put up some stellar numbers for the Eagles (11-2) in 2013, including 27 touchdown passes. He also has the supporting cast to lead Philadelphia to the NFC East title. Will the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl without Wentz? Maybe not. But they will still earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Giants (2-11) have lost three straight and are 0-4 against divisional rivals.
VGB’s pick — Philadelphia (-7.5), Over (40)
Saints More Than Two Touchdown Favorite
New York Jets at New Orleans — This is a ton of points to give if you’re betting on the Saints (9-4). However, here’s why they will likely cover — they must win to stay in the hunt for the division crown, they are 5-1 at home, and the Jets (5-8) will start backup Bryce Petty at quarterback. All three facts make the Saints a prohibitive favorite. They are 6-6 all-time against New York. The Saints are 7-6 ATS, while the Jets are 7-5-1.
VGB’s pick — Line off due to injuries.
Vikings Can Clinch NFC North Title
Cincinnati at Minnesota — The Vikings (10-3) have not been home in nearly a month. So, a home game and a weak opponent may be just what the doctor ordered for Minnesota to clinch the NFC North title. It looks like they would have to sweep the last three games to earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, including the Super Bowl. The Bengals (5-8), who have lost two straight, are winless in two starts against NFC opponents.
VGB’s pick — Minnesota (-11), Over (42)
Ravens Need Win To Stay In Playoff Hunt
Baltimore at Cleveland — The Ravens (7-6) have won one of their last three road games, but those two losses were by a total of four points. They are in the hunt for an AFC wild card spot, so there’s no time to take the Browns (0-13) for granted. The Ravens are 5-4 against AFC opponents and +72 in point differential. The Browns are “zero for everything” and they are the worst in the league against the spread at 3-10.
VGB’s pick — Baltimore (-7), Under (40)
Cardinals Just 3-6 Against NFC Rivals
Arizona at Washington — The Cardinals (6-7) have a good record against AFC teams at 3-1, but they’re just 3-6 against NFC rivals and 2-4 in road games. The Redskins (5-9) have lost two straight and don’t have much to play for this season. They’ve scored 47 points in their last three games, while allowing 88. Both teams ranks near the bottom of the league against the spread — Washington is 5-8, while Arizona is 4-8-1.
VGB’s pick — Arizona (+4.5), Under (43.5)
Jags Have Great Record Against The Spread
Houston at Jacksonville — The Texans (4-9) have lost three straight by a combined total of 28 points. It’s one reason why the Jaguars (9-4) are such huge favorites. Houston is 1-5 since young star Deshaun Watson got hurt. And it doesn’t get any easier next week as the Texans host the Steelers. The AFC South leaders are 8-2 within their conference and field one of the best defenses in the league. Eleven points is a lot to cover, but the Jaguars are 8-5 ATS.
VGB’s pick — Jacksonville (-11.5), Under (39)
Dolphins Put Winning Streak On The Line
Miami at Buffalo — The Dolphins (6-7) are in for a big surprise when they leave South Florida and head north for New York. They beat the Patriots in perfect weather conditions on Monday night, but it will hardly be that way in Buffalo against the Bills (7-6). Jay Cutler and the Dolphins have been playing better of late, winning two straight. The Bills have won two of their last six, but it appears Tyrod Taylor may be back this week.
VGB’s pick — Line off due to injuries.
Seahawks Perfect Against Divisional Rivals
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle — It’s tough to bet on the Seahawks (8-5). Even oddsmakers can’t figure them out as the defending NFC West champs are 5-8 against the spread. This is the biggest game for both teams this season with the division title likely on the line. The Rams (9-4) are 3-1 against division rivals and 8-5 ATS, while the Seahawks and MVP candidate Russell Wilson are undefeated in four games.
VGB’s pick — Seattle (-3), Under (48)
Steelers Battle Pats In Game Of The Week
New England at Pittsburgh — Here’s the game of the week. Home-field advantage for the AFC is likely on the line as these two longtime powerhouses battle at Heinz Field. The Patriots (10-3) suffered an untimely loss on Monday night to Miami. At least they get Rob Gronkowski back for one of the most important games of the season. The Steelers (11-2) are 5-1 at home and 8-1 against AFC opponents. This game could also be a preview of the AFC championship game.
VGB’s pick — Pittsburgh (+3), Under (53)
49ers’ Garoppolo Undefeated In Two Starts
Tennessee at San Francisco — The trade for Jimmy Garoppolo with the Patriots is turning out to be a very good one for the 49ers (3-10). They were 1-10 before Garoppolo was named the starter, but he’s won both his starts. The Titans (8-5), who are battling for the division lead in the AFC South, looked terrible in a loss in Arizona last weekend. Tennessee is 3-4 on the road and 1-1 against NFC teams. The 49ers are 7-6 ATS, while the Titans are 5-7-1.
VGB’s pick — San Francisco (-2), Under (44)
Cowboys Get Zeke Back Next Week
Dallas at Oakland — The Cowboys (7-6) are now just one game from getting Ezekiel Elliott back. It may be the perfect Christmas gift, too, as Dallas fights for one of two wild card spots in the NFC. The Cowboys, who have won two straight, are 4-2 on the road, but 1-2 against AFC foes. The Raiders (6-7) still have a shot at the AFC West title, but they have to start playing better … and soon. Dallas is 7-6 ATS, while Oakland is 4-8-1.
VGB’s pick — Dallas (-3), Under (46)
Falcons Terrific Against NFC Opponents
Atlanta at Tampa Bay — The Falcons (8-5) were in this exact same spot last year before making their run to the Super Bowl. They are 4-2 on the road and 7-2 against NFC opponents. The Bucs (4-9) and their inconsistent quarterback Jameis Winston have continued to struggle this season. They are winless against divisional rivals and 2-7 in NFC play. Tampa also has the second-worst record against the spread at 3-9-1.
VGB’s pick — Atlanta (-6), Under (48)
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