It’s put up or shut up time for teams around the league with playoff aspirations. With just four games left in the season, we’ve entered the home stretch.
There are four matchups on the Week 15 slate featuring two teams that are currently in the playoffs, including an AFC clash between the red-hot Baltimore Ravens (-3) and ice-cold Jacksonville Jaguars (+3). I’ll also preview an NFC battle between squads looking for big bounce-backs in the Seattle Seahawks (+4) and Philadelphia Eagles (-4). Let’s take an inside look at those contests along with the matchup of the week, the Dallas Cowboys (+2) traveling to Buffalo to face the Bills (+2) — in a must-win game for QB Josh Allen and company.
Allow me to help you try and win some cold hard cash courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Here’s a look at our games of the week.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (+3)
The Ravens are slight road favorites in this matchup between AFC divisional leaders, and it’s understandable, considering the Jaguars’ recent problems with injuries. It was clear that Pro-Bowl QB Trevor Lawrence was not 100% during Jacksonville’s loss to the Cleveland Browns (-3) last weekend, as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain suffered two weeks ago in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (-3). On top of that, wide receiver Christian Kirk is out for at least the next three games after undergoing core muscle surgery.
On the flipside, the Ravens are about as healthy as they’ve been all year, outside of TE Mark Andrews. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has found the fountain of youth, accruing over 95 yards receiving in two of his last three games. In their last contest, the Ravens took down the Los Angeles Rams (-6.5) in overtime after specialist Tylan Wallace became the fourth player in NFL history to score a TD on a punt return in NFL history.
Baltimore has won three straight, and Jacksonville has lost two straight. I anticipate a bounce-back effort from the Jags as they fight tooth and nail to remain on top of the AFC South. I’m not sure if they will win, but they will certainly cover the spread.
Pick: Jaguars +3
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle Seahawks (+4)
Both of these teams are still trying to get up off the deck after losses to the Dallas Cowboys (+2). Two weeks ago, the Cowboys scored 41 against Seattle, handing them their third straight loss. The Eagles are coming off a loss to the Cowboys as well, meaning both of these teams need to find their mojo again.
The key matchup in this game will be the Seahawks’ elite wide receivers against the Eagles struggling secondary. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and the ascending Jaxon Smith-Njigba are arguably the top receiving trio in the league. Metcalf in particular can’t be stopped at times. The 6’4 receiver has 23 catches for 410 yards and five touchdowns over his last five games.
If you’re a fan of great defense, hide your eyes. The Eagles have allowed 33 points or more in three straight games. Last year they ranked first in pass defense. This season, they are 28th. Their embattled secondary has allowed multiple touchdown passes in six straight games for the first time since 2012.
Due to those challenges, I’d expect Seattle to keep this one close. Currently, 79% of bets have been wagered on the Eagles. I’ll go against the majority.
Pick: Seahawks +4
Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills (-2)
If I could watch only one game this weekend, this would be it. Dallas is now leading the NFC East after taking down the Eagles last weekend and is riding a five-game winning streak as they sit at 10-3.
The Bills, meanwhile, just notched an enormous win over the Kansas City Chiefs (-8) last weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive at 7-6. They’ve won the AFC East for three straight years, but that seems unlikely this season with the Miami Dolphins (-8.5) holding a two-game lead with four games remaining.
Do the Cowboys feel disrespected as underdogs? To be determined. If they can force the turnover-prone Josh Allen into mistakes, they will likely walk away victorious. Dallas ranks second in the NFL in turnover differential - and can make things messy for the Bills offense.
However, the Cowboys are just 3-3 on the road this season (7-0 at home), and Buffalo once again has their backs against the wall. Currently, just 40% of bettors are riding with the Bills. I think that number should be higher.
Pick: Bills -2
What are your thoughts on the team’s picks for Week 15?