Week 15 of the season, and two games with some playoff implications to kick off the week as the AFC East champion-elect take on the Broncos looking to confirm the division win, while the Packers travel to Carolina to keep themselves in the running for the one-seed and the bye week in the NFC. The Bills have a slight chance of finishing the season as the 2nd seed in the AFC North, it would require the Steelers to lose another game, which is entirely likely and winning out themselves, which again is possible. So they’ve got things to play for.
The Packers have secured the NFC North again, but a win for them tonight and a loss for the Saints against the Chiefs tomorrow gives the Packers an 80% chance of securing that important bye week and making sure the NFC goes through Lambeau field, possibly one of the only places where there’s a slight home-field advantage this season.
I think that’s a quick synopsis of the playoff implications tonight. On to the previews.
I’ve got a draftkings set up for the slate – Saturday night games – Half full at the moment – $5 entry, top 2 get paid.
Bills -6 @ Broncos: 48
They come here on a high after beating the Steelers on Monday night last week, that gives them the head-to-head over them should it come down to a tie-breaker.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs put on a clinic in that game, against what is supposed to be the best defense in the league. In fairness they were playing a team who were on their 3rd game in 11 days which obviously played some part in it as they slowed in the second half and the Bills ran out fairly comfortable winners in the end.
That’s where the possible negatives start here. They are on short-rest, after their “superbowl” game, on the road against a team that people expect them to win.
Does that matter? Well, it shouldn’t. They’ve got by far the better roster, the offense has been good all year, the defense has been better in recent weeks as well, they should have too much for Denver.
The fears for Josh Allen were that he couldn’t throw accurately, we all knew he could throw the ball over mountains, but finding his man was something else. This year though he’s 6th in QBR, 6th in TDs, 7th in yards and on course to set completion, TD and other Bills franchise records this year. He’s been very good for most of the season. He’s ran for 350 yards and 6 TDs as well, something which is in his arsenal.
The signing of Stefon Diggs was a big deal at the time. I’ll admit, I thought they over-paid for him and that he’d get annoyed with Allen over-throwing him, but it’s been brilliant for the team, they obviously thought he was a missing piece and they went out and got him. He leads the league in receptions after hitting the 100 mark last week, and he’s third in yardage with 1,157. TDs on the other hand have been lacking. He’s had 10 receptions in 4 games, over 100 yards in 5 games this year. He’s good.
Cole Beasley is under-appreciated in the slot, he’s had 4 100 yard games himself this year and averages 5 receptions a game this year. Outside of him they’re once again without John Brown so Gabriel Davis fills that role and he’s done a good job in relief when Smokey has been out of the lineup, he’s got a TD in each of the last 3 games, 6 on the season. Outside of those three you’re looking at the likes of Isaiah McKenzie to chip in a bit, he’s a speedy fucker and does a little on jet sweeps and the likes.
Dawson Knox get more involved again last week after struggling with injury for much of the season, there’s been a lot of hype on him and he might be proving his worth. Tyler Kroft and Lee Smith get the odds reception as well, but not reliable for anything really.
The running game is split between Zack Moss and Devin Singletary. I’m not sure who is meant to be the lead back, and who does anything else in that area, so it’s an avoid for me personally. Moss had been getting more snaps on the whole recently and he leads the team in redzone carries, so you’d be looking at him to score a TD before Singeltary I guess.
The defense has been getting better recently, ranks 16th overall, slightly higher over recent weeks.
The Broncos aren’t easy to judge. I don’t think they’re very good, the run game is shit, the passing game on the whole isn’t much better. However they then went and scored 32 points out of nowhere.
Drew Lock threw for 4 TDs against the Panthers last week, 21 from 27 for 280 yards. Two of those were deep bombs to KJ Hamler who got behind the defense. It’s been a tumultuous year for Lock who has suffered injuries to his pass catchers and been unable to overcome them. I’m not sure he’s a decent QB or not to be honest, he has games where he looks great, he has more where he’s shit, and he loves garbage time. 13 TDs. 13 INTs for him this season.
Jerry Jeudy was meant to be the man to go alongside Courtland Sutton and give them a good passing attack, Sutton went out for the year early on while Jeudy has shown flashes but not been consistent, and seems niggled by an ankle injury for a lot of the year. In their place, Tim “t-pain” Patrick has been really good. He’s had 4 or more receptions in 8 of their games this year, 643 yards and 6 TDs for him this year. He’ll probably get 4 or 5 targets tonight. As said, KJ Hamler turned up last week, and actually has a few receptions per game on the whole. Daesean Hamilton still exists too.
Noah Fant is a decent tight end who has had his season interrupted bu injury. If he’s healthy he should have a decent game, the Bills have been poor over the middle of the field on the whole this season.
The run game hasn’t been good and Philip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon are both playing tonight after that being questionable during the week. It’s a split backfield and there was one snap between them last week. Gordon tends to get more carries, but I’ll be honest, I’ve not looked enough to figure out who does what, it’s an uninspiring area of the field. Gordon has 753 and 6 TDs, Lindsay 464 and 1 this year.
They’re battered on defense, down to their CB5 or 6. That’s not good against Stefon Diggs. They ranked 8th vs the pass, 25th vs the run on the season.
The Bills should win and I think they should cover. The matchup in the passing game is too good for them not to put up points on the Broncos backups.
I’d say over on the total, if the Bills put up points then the Broncos will throw and that means either TDs or INTs from Lock, and he does tend to do well against prevent defenses.
- Gabriel Davis anytime – 21/10 (Unibet)
- Tim Patrick and Zack Moss both to score – 9.69 (Betfair/PP multi)
I like the two-team teaser tonight as well. Bills down to 0 and the Packers down to -2 comes to 5/6.
Packers -8 @ Panthers: 52.5
Ok, half time in the early one, let’s go.
Aaron Rodgers. He’s been pretty good hasn’t he. I’ll be the first to admit I was down on him, I thought he was a moody arrogant prick who blamed everyone else for his fuck ups. Well. Don’t I look like a fool. He’s the first player to have 9 games in a season with 3+ TDs and 0 INTs. He’s top in QBR, top in TDs thrown, with 39, 3rd best in interceptions, just 4, and 4th in yard this season, oh and he’s run in a couple as well. He may well win the MVP this year, especially after Mahomes threw a few interceptions last week.
And he’s doing all of this with basically one proper wide receiver. One hell of a receiver though, Davante Adams has been outstanding this year and it’s tough to argue he’s not the best in the league now. He missed 2 games through injury, yet still has 6 games with 100+ yards, he’s scored in 8 games in a row, with 12 TDs over that stretch of games while his 14 rec. TDs is tied for most in the league this season. In 11 games. He’s phenomenal and Rodgers trusts him in every situation, honestly, 4/7 isn’t even that bad. Beside him they’ve got Marquez Valdes-Scantling who’s good for at least one 40+ yard catch per game, and probably a drop on a similar effort. Allen Lazard seems fairly low in the rotation since returning from injury and the likes of Malik Taylor and Equanimeous St. Brown (I spelt it correctly first time, sweeeet) are bit part players.
Robert Tonyan on the other hand is increasingly involved for the Pack this year, and has scored in each of the last 4 games with at least 5 targets in each of them. He’ll get most of the snaps there with Marcedes Lewis and possibly Jace Sternberger having a couple of targets. Apparently Lewis is retiring this year and this could be the last chance he gets for a Lambeau score.
Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams form a good partnership at running back. Jones was great, but hasn’t seemed the same since returning from injury, however has had 15+ carries over the last three weeks, he scored 3 TDs the last time these two teams met. Williams has 32 carries over the last 3, but over half of them came three weeks ago on Jones’ return. He’s good in the receiving game as well, although hasn’t been used too much in that facet so far.
Defensively they’ve got a good secondary and the Smith brothers should be able to get pressure here although they’ve not got near the heights of last year. They’ve been really poor against the run this season, DVOA ranks them 22nd there (in fairness they rank them 19th vs the pass too, worse than I thought)
They’ve been better than expected this year, yet still enter this game with just 4 wins on the season having lost 7 games in a row now. They’ve been without their talisman for most games though and Christian McCaffrey is ruled out for this one, so it will be Mike Davis leading the running back room once more. He’s never had a full workload over a season in his career, so the bye week probably did him good by allowing him a week to recover from the aches and pains and he looked good last week with 93 yards and 2 TDs.
Teddy Bridgewater has been perfectly fine at QB. He’s mobile, so can scramble and keep things alive and he’s got the second best completion % in the league behind just Drew Brees. He keeps it safe but still takes the odd shot down the field. QBR ranks him 16th. Sounds right. He’s bang average.
They should welcome back DJ Moore tonight after he missed last week on the covid list. He’s having the quietest 1,000 yard season in a long time, currently sitting at 924 at the moment, averaging 18.5 yards per catch, good for second in the league. It was assumed from the early season games that Robby Anderson was the WR1, but I think we’ve got to say it’s a 1a, 1b kind of situation between the two. Anderson has 996 yards and just 2 TDs this year. He’s quick and is 1 of 3 WRs with 8 receptions in at least 5 games this year after 8 catches last week. I’m not sure if Moore returning helps or hinders Curtis Samuel. He wasn’t as effective as expected last week without Moore there, so maybe having the lesser coverage helps him, he’s versatile and will get carries as well as receptions.
Ian Thomas is their tight end. That’s it on him.
They’ve been all right on defense, which is impressive given they’re mostly rookies. Jeremy Chinn is in with a very good chance of getting defensive rookie of the yea after returning consecutive plays for TDs against the Vikings a couple of weeks ago, he leads rookies in tackles this year, and is 4th among all DBs. BRITAINS OWN EFE OBADA has 1,000 snaps but couldn’t quite take a fumble recovery to the house last week.
It’s been good to watch Rodgers this year, so I’ve got to say it’ll be a good one to watch.
The Packers should win, and probably cover, but it’s a decent sized spread. As said above I liked the teaser between the two games. At 2330 the Bills have just recovered a fumble for a TD so that looks fairly safe now.
- Robert Tonyan Anytime Touchdown, 35+ Receiving Yards, 4+ Receptions – 11/4 (Skybet)
I’ll stick to that, should be a high scoring and entertaining game.