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I would love to think that I am getting into Dan’s head having gone three out of three so far in week fifteen and picked up two points on him already, but despite his text this morning I am keenly aware that this still only cut his lead to under double digits and there are plenty of opportunities to fall further back.

Still, it is nice to be perfect so far so let’s take a look at the rest of the week fifteen games.

Early Games:

There are a couple of games that leap out of the early slate and once again one of the teams involved is the Miami Dolphins. They are hosting the New England Patriots, and this is a fixture that the Pats have had difficulties with for a number of years even when they were still running up double digit wins and making the AFC East their own. The East looks to be going to the Bills this season, but the Dolphins are very much in the hunt for a wildcard slot and I think this divisional game should be the next step in them doing just that, but I also think it should be a tense competitive game.

The Seattle Seahawks have an interesting test this week as they travel across the country to face the Washington Football Team who currently stand atop the NFC East and still have a shot at a winning record. I somehow doubt the Football Team are going to win out, particularly with the Seahawks coming to town this week, but watching the Washington defensive line trying to limit Russell Wilson should be fun and I think Washington could well cover even if I think the Seahawks are more likely to win.

Points from the rest:

  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really can’t afford too many more losses even with possession of the sixth wildcard spot as the Cardinals are only a game behind them and with the Vikings and Bears two games back neither are out the hunt yet, although you would fancy the Bucs to hold on. Still, while the Falcons should not prove too difficult an opponent this week, the Bucs have not impressed for a while and hanging on for a wildcard spot was not exactly the aim coming into the season
  • The Chicago Bears finally broke their six-game losing streak against the Texans and looked pretty good doing it. The Minnesota Vikings have improved after a bad start to the season and I do like the Vikings to win at home, but I have a feeling this divisional game will be closer than the line suggests with he Bears actually ranking better by overall DVOA.
  • It’s hard to take too much from the Dallas Cowboys’ win last week as the Bengals are a terrible football team, whilst the 49ers have remained competitive despite numerous injury problems and playing in an NFC West division that has been fearsomely competitive in 2020. I lean towards the 49ers winning this one and the points are not enough for me to pick against them.
  • The Detroit Lions followed up their win over the Bears with a loss to the Packers last week, although it was a reasonable showing. Still, the Tennessee Titans looked very solid against the Jaguars last week and with the league’s thirty-first defense by DVOA and the twenty-sixth ranked rush defense facingthe Titans I don’t expect that the Lions will manage a different result than the Jags.
  • The Indianapolis Colts are a very solid football team, top ten in both defense and special teams by DVOA and have enough good quarterback play through the combination of Philip Rivers’ experience and Jacoby Brissett providing short yardage sneaks and run-options close to the goal line that they should win this game. The Houston Texans are a divisional opponent so the line does worry me, but the Colts are a better team than the Bears so I think the Colts should cover
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars got a bit of a boost from starting Mike Glennon for two games but didn’t get a win and they were beat convincingly by the Titans last week. Meanwhile, the Ravens looked very good last week with Lamar Jackson running the ball effectively and it’s hard to see anything other than a Ravens win, although whether they cover the points is another question.

Buccaneers @ Falcons (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Bears @ Vikings (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

49ers @ Cowboys (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      49ers
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Lions @ Titans (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Texans @ Colts (-7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Patriots @ Dolphins (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Seahawks @ Washington (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Jaguars @ Ravens (-13.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Late Games:

The pick of the late games is clearly the Kansas City Chiefs visiting the New Orleans Saints as this is probably the game of the week. The Saints will welcome the return of Drew Brees after the Taysom Hill experiment ran aground against the Eagles last week. This should be a fascinating contest, but how good Brees can be given his layoff for eleven broken ribs is a reasonable question and there does seem to be something inevitable about opposing quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offence. That said, the Saints defense is second only to the Steelers by DVOA and there are enough questions surrounding the Chiefs defense and performance in recent weeks that they are beatable. It’s just no-one but the Raiders have managed it so far this season.

Points on the Rest:

  • The LA Rams looks to be a better-balanced team this season than the year they went to the Super Bowl and should have no problem beating the New York Jets at home.
  • The Arizona Cardinals got back to winning ways last week, and Kyler Murray looked much more like himself. That said, the Eagles found something in Jalen Hurts and having beaten the Saints last week will be hoping to build on that win. I wonder if the Saints were complacent last week, but this line still seems a bit high to me but we shall see.

Jets @ Rams (-16.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

Eagles @ Cardinals (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Chiefs @ Saints (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Sunday Night Football:

Browns @ Giants (+3.5)

The New York Giants lost their first game in five weeks against the Cardinals and the games don’t get any easier this week with the Cleveland Browns coming to town. There is three points between the consensus line and this one so I pretty much have to pick the Browns by default, and I would expect them to win given recent performances. The Giants still have a good defense but they will need their offence to do better if they want to apply pressure to Washington at the top of the NFC East over the final three games.

Gee’s Pick:      Browns
Dan’s Pick:      Browns

Monday Night Football

Steelers @ Bengals (+12.5)

The Steelers have a particularly good record against the Bengals anyway, but I can’t see any hope for a bad Bengals team who will be starting third string quarterback Ryan Finley who has an 0-3 record as a starter. There are genuine issues with a Steelers’ offence that cannot run the ball or stretch the field and a defence that has a cluster of injuries at linebacker but the Bengals are simply not equipped to exploit this.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.