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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week 15 NFL Predictions: Teasers of the Week

If it wasn't for the Rodgers injury, I would have gone 4-1 on them again last week as they continue to be a great compliment to the standard plays.  I will be adding one more to the list before Sunday, and maybe two depending on the remaining lines.  It is probably too late to get the Chargers at -2.5, but I've had the picks up since early Monday so there was more than enough time to get that at that number.  However, there are a lot of good teaser candidates this week so feel free to combine them as you see fit.

Chargers -2.5 & Falcons PK
Check the standard plays for write-ups on these games.

Chargers -2.5 & Eagles +9

I came pretty close to taking PHI as a standard play this week, but there wasn't enough of an advantage to go with them.  However, I do like them to win this game straight up in what should be another great NFC East showdown.  They match up pretty good on both sides of the ball, but Andy Reid coached teams play their best in November and December while NY tend to come up short.  Yet, even if PHI are the better team in this one, NY will be able to get to Vick a few times.  He still refuses to slide and NY showed that they have a decent game plan for him.  On offense, NY might not be able to move the ball up and down the field all day, but when they do get in the 20 they will be facing one of the worst red zone defenses in recent history.  Unfortunately for NY, Eli Manning is not playing very well this season.  He leads the league in interceptions and the moving parts on offense are significantly banged up.  PHI also some some key parts in their week 14 game. They went out and signed ex-Eagle Derrick Burgess to play 15-20 snaps in place of injured rookie Brandon Graham.  Meanwhile, Jamar Chaney will replace injured middle linebacker Stewart Bradley.  On the bright side, it looks like they will finally get all-pro Asante Samuel back barring any setbacks.  I'm sure Eli just sent him an early Christmas card after he heard that news.  The bottom line is both teams are battling injuries in this one just like most other teams in the league right now.  I would be very shocked if NY won this one by double digits and I feel very confident in taking PHI and the extra points.

Saints +8.5 & Falcons PK
I was hoping that there was an outside chance that the Saints line would go to +3 after opening up at +2.5.  I knew right away that this was a favorable line, but it was quickly moved to +1.  First because I believe that NO should be favored in this one despite being on the road.  Secondly, they likely moved it to get out of the teaser window.  However, as I'm writing this they can still be found at +1.5 which would still make it a great choice for a teaser as you want anything over +7.

BAL have a couple things going for them in this game other than home field advantage.  They should be able to dominate special teams on both sides of the ball and NO will have a tough time establishing a consistent running game.  Bush returned a few weeks ago, but he hasn't been able to find his old form yet.  However, Pierre Thomas also returned to the lineup last week as NO are one of the few teams getting healthier at this time of the season.  Many people also believe that BAL have the physical edge in this one because NO have the perception of a finesse team.  Brees stated that he's not concerned about outside perceptions and I couldn't agree with him more.  They are the defending champs at the end of the day and I'm not worried about a difficult road game whatsoever.   I still don't trust Joe Flacco in big games because I think he is nothing more than a glorified backup.  This might be part of the reason why BAL use play-action so extensively this season, but NO have done a good job defending these plays too.  Normally I would say that BAL need to rely more on Ray Rice in a game like this, but he has not produced anywhere close to where he was expected to.  It's unknown how much of this has to do with him, a lingering injury, his line play, or opposing schemes, but if he doesn't play at a pro bowl level on Sunday I don't see how BAL will generate enough offense to overtake NO.   BAL is coming off a short week and Brees should have enough time to pick the open receiver.  Due to this I like NO to win the game straight up, but it could be close so I'd rather have them in a teaser. 

Raiders -.5 & Cowboys PK
This teaser features two teams that have really favorable matchups on Sunday.  I'm not a huge fan of either program, but when the system says they look good I do not argue.  OAK have been a tricky team to figure out this year because they have either been really good or really bad.  Yet, it's hard to imagine that they have a down performance this week given the opponent.  A wounded animal is coming to town and OAK will be more than happy to put it out of it's misery.  They own a monumental advantage on the ground as McFadden is starting to run like he did earlier in the season.  He could put up some gaudy numbers on Sunday.   On the other side of the ball Orton is going to have another long day because their style of play does not match up very well against a team that is strong on the defensive line and against the pass.  The schedule hasn't helped DEN either as they are on the road once again in what should be a hostile environment.  I'm not sure they will even cover the standard line, but I see very little chance in them winning this game straight up.  The coaching change did nothing to resurrect this roster last week so I am not concerned about that.  The Tim Tebow watch has officially started and injuries to Orton, Lloyd, and Prater are not going to help keep him on the bench.

In the other matchup, DAL get the luxury of playing a terrible NFC East rival on Sunday.  There really isn't a lot to like about WSH and this is one of the easier write-ups I've done all season.  They have a horrible offense and major problems with their kickers.  On paper, McNabb should have a nice day, but they haven't been able to establish a running game all year, provide half-decent pass protection, or drive the field with any consistency.  I'm not sure if they get blown out in this game or not, but if they were playing the Wade Phillips coached Cowboys I'd give them a chance to win this one.  Too bad for them that isn't the case as they are well on their way to another typical failed season.  Regardless of what you think of Jon Kitna, he should have a nice day this weekend.  WSH have no pass rush whatsoever and now they have lost Landry to injured reserve. He was one of the few bright spots on their defense this season.  Much like OAK, this is another game that I came close to making a standard play on, but I feel much better about teasing down DAL to a pick em.  I was a little surprised that they didn't open up as touchdown favorites because I have them favored by slightly more than that.  Including them in a teaser almost seems unfair, but I'll take it.
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