Nostrathomas Predicts: An NFL Week 15 Clash of the Titans

We’ve already had three games played heading into Sunday’s Week 15 action. On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Chargers plunged a dagger into the Las Vegas Raiders playoff hopes.

On Saturday, the Buffalo Bills planted their first flag in the AFC East since 1995 with a convincing victory over the Denver Broncos. In Green Bay, the Packers held on against the Carolina Panthers to tighten their hold on the top seed in the NFC.

In Week 14, Nostrathomas was 8-7 against the spread and 10-5 straight-up. That means my record against the spread sits at 64-74-1 and 90-45. Now it’s time to dive into a fun Sunday of NFL football.

Game of the Week

Kansas City Chiefs -3 vs New Orleans Saints (4:25PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA)

This is one of the toughest games to pick of the season. These two teams could easily be facing each other in Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV.

Last week, Patrick Mahomes threw three interceptions, was chased down for a 30 yard sack and still had enough left to win the game against a tough Miami Dolphins team. This week, Mahomes gets to match his skills against another top defense when Kansas City travels to New Orleans to play the Saints.

This is the game that New Orleans has been keeping Drew Brees on ice for. There were questions about whether Brees was prepared to start last week against the Philadelphia Eagles but head coach Sean Payton wanted to give him one more week to heal from the broken ribs and punctured lung he suffered in Week 10.

Both teams need this game to keep themselves in the conversation for first seed in their conferences. The two game losing streak by the Pittsburgh Steelers has put the 12-1 Chiefs into the top spot in the AFC. For New Orleans they’ll be fighting to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the final weeks of the season.

For New Orleans, they’ll need a big game out of Alvin Kamara to take advantage of the Chiefs weakness against the run, not to mention keeping Mahomes off the field as much as possible.

Overall, Kansas City is a bit more well-rounded of a team than the Saints. That’s why Nostrathomas is going to pick the Chiefs to emerge victorious in a tight game.

Kansas City Chiefs 31 New Orleans Saints 27

Best Bets

New England Patriots vs Miami Dolphins -1.5 (1PM ET; Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL)

In what seems like ages ago, New England opened the 2020 season with a 21-11 win over the Dolphins. Now, in Week 15, we have Miami struggling to hold onto the seventh and final seed in the AFC while the Patriots are closing in on an early start to their postseason.

The Dolphins are second in the league on defense in points per play and third in points per drive allowed. That’s what it comes down to while looking through the statistical measures for this game. The Patriots are down and it’s not easy to see where they are going to generate the offense needed to win this game.

Cam Newton has thrown five touchdown passes against 10 interceptions this seasons. No matter what Newton has been able to accomplish with his legs, it’s not enough to beat a quality team, and Miami has become a quality team this season.

Take the Dolphins and the “gimmee” spread.

Miami Dolphins 26 New England Patriots 18

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts -7.5 (1PM ET; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)

Deshaun Watson took a beating at the hands of the Chicago Bears defense last week and he’s not getting any of the support help back that was missing in that game. In the meantime, he’s facing a defense that is every bit as tough as Chicago’s.

Watson has been giving Houston everything they could want in a quarterback this season but the rest of the building is falling apart around him.

For Indianapolis, they have a Super Bowl caliber defense and are getting just enough offense out of “old man” Rivers to keep themselves in contention for one of the Wild Card spots, if not the AFC South title.

Take the Colts to win and cover the touchdown plus the hook.

Indianapolis Colts 31 Houston Texans 17

Seattle Seahawks -6 vs Washington Football Team (1PM ET; Fedex Field, Washington. DC)

It was surprising to see that the spread for this game increased from three to only six points after Washington announced that Alex Smith wouldn’t be able to play and that Dwayne Haskins would get the start. The other problem the football team has on offense is running back Antonio Gibson has been declared as doubtful to play.

Russell Wilson will not find the going easy against the tough Washington front but he will see success. Wilson is one of the NFL’s elite and his offense should generate the points needed to keep the Seahawks comfortably in front in this game.

Seattle Seahawks 30 Washington Football Team 13

Best of the Rest

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6 vs Atlanta Falcons (1PM ET; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)

Tampa Bay has struggled and lost against some good teams this season but they’ve taken care of business against opponents who are playing more for draft picks than playoff spots. That’s the position the Atlanta Falcons are in.

Matt Ryan may be starting to show a bit of age but it doesn’t help him when Julio Jones is out, which he will be for this game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 Atlanta Falcons 15

Chicago Bears +3 vs Minnesota Vikings -3 (1PM ET; Bank of America Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)

The big question in Chicago after last week’s blowout of the Houston Texans is, will the real Mitch Trubisky please stand up!

Has Mitch figured a few things out after his mid-season benching for Nick Foles? Has the change of play calling from head coach Matt Nagy to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor led to more success from Trubisky?

The Bears offense did play more to Trubisky’s strengths last week. He was rolled out of the pocket more to help his decision making. Chicago did more with their running game against the Texans too. On the first play from scrimmage, running back David Montgomery broke through a huge hole the line created and dashed 80 yards to give the Bears a 7-0 lead.

Odds are, we won’t be seeing the Trubisky that we did last week. What we should see is a Bears defense shut down Dalvin Cook like they did in Week 10.

The Bears have won four of the last five in this series between two long-time rivals. Look for them to take a split in this series for 2020.

Chicago Bears 24 Minnesota Vikings 20

Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans -9.5 (1PM ET; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN)

Detroit has played tough since Matt Patricia has left the building but they’re facing a team fighting for postseason seeding on the Titans turf. Look for Derrick Henry to have a big day against a Lions team that is still struggling with injuries.

Tennessee Titans 34 Detroit Lions 24

Jacksonville Jaguars +13 vs Baltimore Ravens -13 (1PM ET; M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the bottom third of the league in nearly every one of the 26 statistical categories that Nostrathomas uses to pick games. Gardner Minshew will be back as the team’s starter this week.

The question is, how much do the Ravens have in the tank right now? They won a barnburner last Monday night in Cleveland but this is also the third straight week that Baltimore is playing on short rest.

Jacksonville has played some tough games against good teams this season. They’re not going to win this one, the Ravens need it too keep their playoff hopes alive but this is too wide a spread to expect Baltimore to cover on a short week after an emotional victory.

Baltimore Ravens 30 Jacksonville Jaguars 20

New York Jets vs Los Angeles Rams -17 (4:05PM ET; SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)

Here’s another game that will be asking a lot out of a playoff team. The Jets were so pathetic last week that Russell Wilson was pulled in favor of Geno Smith late in the third quarter.

I think, after the cover-0 fiasco that cost New York a win over the Raiders, that this team is dog meat. The real question is whether the Jets can score against one of the best defenses in the league. The Rams held New England to three points in Week 14.

Los Angeles Rams 32 New York Jets 7

Philadelphia Eagles vs Arizona Cardinals -6.5 (4:05PM ET; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ)

Jalen Hurts had a big game last week to help Philadelphia slow the Saints run to the playoffs. Now he’ll try and throw a wrench into Arizona’s playoff chances.

Looking at the stats for last week, Hurts did most of his damage running the football. He did complete 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown but also fumbled one away.

The Cardinals have struggled to a 2-4 record after their Week 8 bye and they’re a tough team to read. Since Kyler Murray has a more established record as an NFL quarterback so far. Arizona should also have some ideas on how to neutralize Hurts after studying a week of game film.

Arizona Cardinals 27 Philadelphia Eagles 20

Cleveland Browns -6 vs New York Giants (SNF, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)

It’s sounding like Daniel Jones will be missing this game with an ankle injury. That isn’t their biggest problem this week though. It’s that Cleveland is really beginning to believe in themselves and putting a lot points up while doing it.

The Browns are still in great postseason position but need to keep playing well to hold their seeding advantage.

Cleveland Browns 31 New York Giants 21

Pittsburgh Steelers -13 vs Cincinnati Bengals (MNF, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH)

Pittsburgh played three games in 10 days. They finally get a chance to play on a normal schedule which is not good news for the Bengals. The Steelers are still a Super Bowl contender while Cincinnati is waiting for Joe Burrow to return in 2121.

Pittsburgh Steelers 32 Cincinnati Bengals 16

Game of the Weak

San Francisco 49ers -3 vs Dallas Cowboys (1PM ET; AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX)

Both teams are looking forward to the end of the 2020 season with an eye towards doing better in 2021.  Dallas beat an undermanned  Bengals team last week. Look for them to revert back to form against a better coached team.

San Francisco  49ers 24 Dallas Cowboys 18

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