2018 NFL SEASON
P R O F O O T B A L L M E D I A
Week 15 #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 14 results: 11-5 (WINS); 8-8 (ATS); 10-6 (O/U)
Season totals: 136-70-2 .660 (WINS); 98-103-7 .488 (ATS); 112-93-3 .546 (O/U)
Note/Key (when applicable): Statistical analysis based on the following metrics (abbreviations): Points scored (PF); points against (PA); Point differential (PD) Yards gained (YG); Yards allowed (YA); Red Zone TD efficiency (RZ); 3rd-down efficiency (3rd); Turnover ratio (TO); Time of possession (TOP); Yards per play (YPP); Sacks (S); Interceptions (INT); Penalty yards (PEN); Against the spread (ATS).
Andy Reid has the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC driver's seat heading into the playoffs, which can only mean one thing: A probable early exit from the playoffs.
Los Angeles Chargers 10-3 (+3.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs 11-2 (56.5): Chiefs 28-27
Thursday, 8:20 PM, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO (Weather: Wintry mix; high 30s)
Reasons: Assuming the weather predictions hold true Kansas City could have two decided advantages heading into Thursday night’s game, because let’s be honest, whether the Chargers hail from San Diego or Los Angeles or somewhere near those places in a town called Carson, the Chargers are not built for bad weather. To make matters worse, no team is built to play in Kansas City, where the Chiefs home crowd will make things miserable for Phillip Rivers (29 TDs; 6 INTs), especially if Melvin Gordon can’t go, because his back-up Austin Eckler is out for the game. The Chiefs are well known by now, with MVP candidate and virtual rookie Patrick Mahomes throwing 43 TDs with two games remaining, and now that Justin Houston is back a historically bad defense suddenly seems legit, at least as far as pressuring the quarterback goes (2nd sacks). If this game were in Fresno or Riverside or even Carson I’d be inclined to pick the Chargers to win as Los Angeles dominates both sides of the ball, but the game is at Arrowhead with a chance for wintry weather, meaning the Chargers chances are as good as hitting the over.
Houston Texans 9-4 (-6.5) @ New York Jets 4-9 (42.5): Texans 24-20
Saturday, 4:30 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Rain; mid-40s)
Reasons: The Jets season is over, but the Texans’ season isn’t and Houston missed an opportunity to win the division last week by beating the Indianapolis Colts and owning the 2-0 head-to-head tie-breaker (in the event both teams ended the season 10-6). What a perfect way to get back on track, facing a Jets team ranked in the lower third of the league in total offense and defense, points scored and allowed, sacks, turnover ratio and offensive penalty yards. The Texans might struggle in the rain on the road, so maybe the 6.5 point is a bad idea, but a win is inevitable.
Cleveland Browns 5-7-1 (+4) @ Denver Broncos 6-7 (44.5): Broncos 24-23
Saturday, 8:20 PM, Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO (Weather: Partly cloudy; low 30s)
Reasons: Believe it or not this game has playoff implications. Yes, the Cleveland Browns are still relevant in Week 15; both teams are mathematically still in the so-called “playoff hunt”, and even more astonishing is the Browns are the team with a chance at winning the division, although the odds of that are, well, much better than you think. Cleveland could win the AFC North through one of several complicated situations considering they tied and lost to the Steelers and beat the Ravens with a Week 17 match up looming, but the Browns should just focus on the Broncos. The fact remains Mile High Stadium is still one of the toughest places to play, and not just because of the altitude; it’s because the crowd comes with the same energy as the Arrowhead crowds and have been doing it a lot longer than the CenturyLink crowds. These teams match up well, right up to Baker Mayfield’s rookie status matching Case Keenum’s underwhelming status, so what we have here is a true “Who wants it more” game between two teams that will likely both be home by Week 18.
Stay tuned for Week 15: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) coming Sunday!