Degen Show (12/21/2020)
Your favorite Degens give you their NFL Week 15 Monday Night Football Picks and a recap of the week that was. Check back to see what they picked this weekend.
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Max’s NFL Week 15 Recap
Point 1: Jets Win, Jets Lose
Nobody thought that the Jets would win this weekend. Beating the Rams would be one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. LA was a 17.5 point favorite but did not look like the better team yesterday. The offense continued to stall out and it’s hard to look at Jared Goff and not get furious at his nonchalant facial expressions when his team is losing.
I don’t think the Rams can win a Super Bowl with him as a QB. He does not have a winning spirit and never does what his needed to win a game. He puts up some gaudy numbers at times but that’s a function of game-planning by McVay and exploiting weaker teams.
That didn’t happen this weekend. The weaker team played much better on both sides of the field. When it mattered, the Jets made the defensive stops needed and got the first downs they needed to win this game.
For L.A., the playoffs are now not guaranteed. They have Seattle and Arizona to close out the season and the Rams could once again be 9-7 on the outside looking into the playoffs. I take solace only in the fact that the win dropped the Jets to the #2 spot in the draft. With 2 weeks left, the Jaguars have a 74% chance of landing the top spot while New York’s quest for Trevor Lawrence could be done.
Point 2: Leasts of the East
The NFC East is still a mess after a weekend that saw 3 of the 4 teams lose. The only winning team was Dallas – who leapfrogged the Giants in the standings and now sits as #2 in the East after beating the 49ers.
Washington almost beat Seattle but came up short and the same could be said about Philly – as the Eagles came up short against another NFC West team in Arizona. The only team that looked completely ineffective was the Giants. New York lost to the Browns 20-6 in the Sunday night game.
Washington still has the inside edge to win the East as they have Carolina and Philly left on their schedule. Dallas closes the season out with Philly and the Giants. And the Giants have the Ravens and the Cowboys.
So as I said, it’s a mess.
Point 3: Flores Buries the Hoodie
Well, it finally happened. The Patriots were eliminated from the playoffs and a former Patriots coach was the one to do it. The Dolphins beat the Pats 22-12 and the loss has broken an 11-season streak of playoff appearances by the Patriots. Only in 2020 would the Spurs and Patriots not make the playoffs.
New England needs to find themselves a QB in the offseason. The Cam Newton experiment was fun for a bit but now it’s looking like a train wreck. Cam wasn’t bad this week – but he also didn’t throw for a TD and came up short when it mattered,
The Patriots solved for the rookie QB once again but failed to defend the run like they normally do. That led to giving up 250 yards and 3 TDs on the ground to Miami. For the Dolphins, the future looks pretty bright. Even if Tua is not the answer at QB, they have a great coach, an emerging defense, and a slew of draft picks to build a winner.
Point 4: The Chiefs Came Marching In
In a possible preview of the Super Bowl, the Chiefs left the Superdome as winners. Their offense looked pretty complete as Mahomes had a damn good day and the running game even looked somewhat competent against a tough New Orleans defense.
More importantly – the Chiefs’ defense came up big. It wasn’t a flawless performance but it seemed like when they needed to make a tackle or get a big play, the defense obliged.
For Drew Brees, it was a decent enough return as he threw for 234 yards and 3 TDs. But L’Jarius Sneed got an INT and broke up several other pass plays that could have resulted in an even bigger day for Brees.
Point 5: Falcons Gonna Falcon
The Atlanta Falcons were up 17-0 at the half and were dominating the Bucs yesterday. Matt Ryan was shredding the Bucs’ secondary and ended the game with 365 yards and 3 TDs. But as we’ve seen all season with the Falcons, leads mean absolutely nothing as Tampa clawed their way back to win the game 31-27.
The game must have given Ryan some flashbacks of when a Brady-led team came from behind for a win after halftime. It was Antonio Brown’s first TD this season that capped the victory. The 46-yard bomb capped off a 390-yard and 2 TD day for the 43-year-old QB.
The win didn’t clinch a playoff spot for the Bucs but it definitely puts them in the driver seat with the Lions and a rematch against the Falcons as their final two games. With consecutive losses by the Saints, the NFC South isn’t out of the question either.
Point 6: Possibly a push for the Bears
With Chicago’s 33-27 win over the Vikings yesterday, the Bears only need one more win on the season to push on the preseason win total of 8. The Bears face the Jaguars next week and while anything is possible (such as the Jets beating the Rams), you have to expect Jacksonville not to be dumb enough to try and win another game this season.
The Bears close the season against the Packers and that game is no slam dunk. If Green Bay has the #1 seed clinched, it becomes an easier game. If Green Bay is still jockeying with the Saints or Seahawks for a first round bye, then the Bears chances of getting a playoff spot – and more importantly an over on their season win totals – is slimmer.
The Vikings defense made the Bears offense look much better than it is. It let Chicago score over 30 points once again. Maybe it’s the Trubisky effect. Not that his play was sensational but since his return, the Bears are calling more run plays and David Montgomery continues to give them ROI on run plays. Montgomery ran for 146 yards and 2 TDs.
Minnesota might not be dead in the playoff hunt but with both the Bears and Arizona in front of them, it’s looking like Kirk will have some extra offseason time to figure out how to squander the millions of dollars the Vikings are paying him for mediocrity.
Extra Point: King Henry’s Quest for 2000
Derek Henry ran for 147 yards yesterday. In many ways, it was disappointing as the Lions’ defense could have easily given up 200+ yards to the running back. Still, it puts him closer to the 2k mark on the season as he now sits at 1,679 yards on the year. With 2 games left, Henry needs to average 160 yards per game.
The Titans play the Packers and the Texans to close out the season. Green Bay’s rush defense is pretty good – ranking 11th and only giving up 110 rushing yards per game. But Houston ranks 31st and gives up an average of 150.5 rushing yards per game.
The Titans will keep playing hard to make the playoffs and possibly win the AFC South. So I don’t anticipate Henry slowing down anytime soon. Even if he can’t get to the 2k mark, it’s been a hell of a year for the king.
Max’s NFL Week 15 Monday Night Football Picks
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Spread: PIT -14.5 (Bet Bengals)
Total: 40.5 (Bet Under – 35)
Predicted Score: Steelers 21 – Bengals 14
Overview: Pittsburgh has lost 2 in a row and should stop the bleeding this week against the Bengals. But if yesterday showed us anything, nothing is a slam dunk in this league. The Steelers have already clinched a playoff spot in the AFC but they find themselves behind the Chiefs for the top seed and are also trying to hold off the 10-4 Browns.
For the Bengals, the goal is to secure a high draft pick and build a team around Joe Burrow – for whenever he returns. Cincinnati has lost 5 in a row and the last 3 have been with Brandon Allen leading the way. The most recent loss was an embarrassing one to the Cowboys. It also led to Allen being injured. So the expected QB this week is Ryan Finley.
Add this all up and you can see why the Steelers are favored by this much. But I’m concerned about the Pittsburgh offense. Ben has regressed each week and has shown signs of age, wear and tear. He’ll be good enough to get the win this week – but I have this as a lot closer game than the line shows.
As such, I will bet the Bengals with these points.