Welcome to this week’s edition of NFL Breakdown. We focus on three games you need to check out and all the info that you’ll need ahead of the contests. This week we will look at the matchups between the Buccaneers and Lions, Bears and Jaguars, and Bengals and Texans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Buccaneers -9.5 (-113)
- Point Total: 54
With seven and a half minutes left in the third quarter, the Bucs found themselves down 24-7 against the Falcons. Atlanta made the mistake of counting Brady out and once again he delivered. Tampa Bay has yet to clinch a playoff spot and are one game behind New Orleans for the division. Antonio Brown had his most impactful game in recent memory last week with 5 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs 29th ranked rushing attack must generate more than the 94 yards per game they are averaging. Tom Brady needs to win this game and next week against the Falcons to ensure he sees the postseason. Bruce Arians’s defense only gives up 77.8 rushing yards per game, the best in the league, and they are not exactly facing Dalvin Cook and a prime Adrian Peterson in the final games.
The Lions are 1-2 since firing head coach Matt Patricia, though both losses came at the hands of the Packers and Titans. Rumors about Matthew Stafford and where he will play next season are swirling as Detroit once again is eliminated from playoff contention. Detroit gives up a staggering 137 yards per game, fourth-worst in the league. They also give up the most points per game at 31.1.
Tampa’s running game will be the focus this week against the weak Detroit front. They will be without Ronald Jones again, he has not practiced due to COVID and a broken finger. That leaves Leonard Fournette as the main option in their rushing attack. The Bucs are 7-7 and the Lions are 5-8-1 against the spread and are a combined 17-11 in over/unders. Take the Lions to cover and the under in this one. Expect both teams to score in the low to mid-20s with the Buccaneers squeaking by.
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Spread: Bears -7.5 (-108)
- Point Total: 47
The Bears are one game behind Arizona for the final wildcard spot in the NFC. They finish with this game against the Jaguars and next week against the Packers. The team is 7-7 ATS and 6-8 in O/Us. David Montgomery is coming off of back-to-back 100+ rushing yard games and has the 30th ranked Jacksonville rushing defense on deck. He has carried the ball 50 times in the last three games, watch to see if his body can keep up to finish the year. Allen Robinson has once again managed a 1,000-yard season despite playing on yet another quarterback-starved team.
Jacksonville is squarely in the number one draft slot for the upcoming draft thanks to the Jets’ victory over the Rams last week. Even if they, for some reason, do not want to take Trevor Lawrence, the number one pick has significantly more value in a trade than the number two. The Jags give up the most yards in the NFL and put up less than 20 points per game. Do not expect the house to be thrown at Chicago this week. The stakes are too high.
The Bears are 7-7 and the Jags are 6-8 against the spread and a combined 14-15 in over/unders on the year. Both teams have something to play for here. The Bears need a win to try and secure the wildcard berth and the Jaguars need to lose to get Trevor Lawrence. Take the Bears to cover the points and the under.
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
- Spread: Texans -8.5 (-108)
- Point Total: 46
Ryan Finley and Cincinnati beat the Steelers by 10 on Monday, but that might not be as impressive as it looked. They are the second-worst in the league at protecting their quarterback, which means Houston’s pass rush might actually look good for once. That pressure has led to the third-lowest points per game on the year. Losing Joe Mixon in Week 6 and Joe Burrow in Week 11. Two of their three wins this season came against playoff teams, last week against the Steelers and earlier against the Titans. The only thing on the line in Houston this week is pride.
Speaking of Houston, they’re coming off three straight losses at the hands of the colts and bears. It remains to be seen how much of Deshaun Watson‘s career will be absolutely wasted by management and Will Fuller’s performance-enhancing drug issues. Trading for David Johnson clearly has not paid off as the team is dead last in rushing. Imagine trading one of the best wide receivers to ever do it just to average 86 rushing yards per game.
Cincinnati is a surprising 8-6 ATS and 7-7 in O/Us while Houston is 5-9 and 6-8 respectively. Big money to be made on the Bengals covering, take them and the over, as neither defense is impressive.
Week 15 Recap: Many playoff teams did their jobs last week. Kansas City held on to cover the two points and keep me perfect on the day.
- Last Week Against the Spread: 3-0
- Last Week Over/Under: 2-1
- Season Against the Spread: 18-18
- Season Over/Under: 17-7
*Odds via DraftKings