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Jets vs. Saints Week 15 NFL Point Spread Pick from Will Rogers: December 17th 2017

New York Jets vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 15 NFL Point Spread Pick: Under 47.5 points (December 17th 2017)
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The set-up: After opening 0-2, many (most) believed the Jets w ere on their way to battling the Browns and 49ers for the NFL’s No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. However, the Jets have been surprisingly competitive, going 5-8 SU but 7-5-1 ATS. The Jets will visit New Orleans this Sunday, looking to play the role of spoiler against the 9-4 Saints, who currently own the tie-breaker over the Panthers in the AFC South. The Saints have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons but are very close to ending that drought here in 2017.

NY Jets: The Jets were frustrated by last Sunday;s 23-0 loss in Denver, a defeat which ended the Broncos’ 0-8 SU & ATS run. However, the Jets lost more than a game in Denver, as Josh McCown left the game with a broken hand, likely ending his season. He passed for only 46 yards (on 6 of 12 passing) plus an interception. McCown has been a pleasant surprise, completing 67.3% with 18 TDS and nine INTs (94.5 QB rating). Bryce Petty threw for 14 yards on 2 of 9 passing in relief and is expected to start against the Saints. New York is averaging only 103.2 YPG on the ground, ranking 21st. The Jets are averaging 20.5 PPG (20th), while ranking 21st in both points allowed (23.9 per) and total defense (347.3 YPG).

New Orleans: The Saints opened 0-2 just like the Jets but then ripped off eight straight wins. However, the Rams ended that eight-game winning streak in Week 12 at LA, 26-20. New Orleans rebounded with a 31-21 home win over the Panthers but then a week ago last last Thursday, lost 20-17 in Atlanta. The ageless Drew Brees is having another excellent season, completing 71.7% with 19 TDs and six INTs for a 104.2 QB rating. It sure has helped that the Saints’ have developed a solid ground game, one which is averaging 135.4 YPG (4th). Brees and Co. also have to love the defensive improvement, as the Saints are allowing 20.2 PPG (11th) on 331.1 PPG (15th). Click here for more week 15 NFL picks from our handicappers at Touthouse.com

The pick: I guess it’s possible that McCown could return from an injury on his non-throwing hand but I wouldn’t want to count on that. Also, the Saints are highly-motivated to stay alive (on top?) in the three-team race happening in the NFC South. The Saints can now run the ball effectively (controlling the clock) and their defense has shown the ability to shut down opposing offenses. That’s a likely scenario here vs. the “not ready for prime time” Bryce Petty or a way less than 100 percent, McCown. Play the Under.

Raiders vs. Chiefs Week 14 NFL Over-Under Pick from Teddy Covers: December 10th 2017

Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 14 NFL Over-Under Pick: Over 48.5 points (December 10th 2017)
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The first meeting between these two teams was a legitimate shootout, a 31-30 Raiders victory that flew Over the total by two touchdowns.  Even before the late penalty shenanigans that allowed Oakland to steal the game with an untimed down on their final play, the Over was never in doubt.  The two teams combined to gain a full 7.0 yards per play, and the two defenses generated a grand total of one sack and zero turnovers in 133 total snaps.

We can expect both defenses to struggle getting stops in the rematch as well.   Based on Football Outsiders advanced metrics, the Raiders defense ranks #32 in the NFL; the Chiefs #30, with both teams well below league average against the run and the pass.

KC’s defense is a sieve right now, coming off a truly dismal showing against the Jets last week – zero sacks, zero turnovers forced in 85 snaps.  They allowed 38 points, 30 first downs and total 488 yards, all season highs.  In fact, Bob Sutton’s stop unit has only forced one turnover in their last four games combined, not exactly a defense  loaded with playmakers right now.  This week, KC  won’t have pro bowl cornerback Marcus Peters (suspended), offsetting the probable absence of Raiders WR Amari Cooper (ankle).  Even with Darrelle Revis in the mix, this is NOT a good pass defense right now, bad news against Derek Carr and company.

And even without Amari Cooper, the Raiders offense will get a boost with the return of Michael Crabtree from his one game suspension.  Offensive coordinator Todd Downing: “It’s great having him back out at practice.  He brings an energy and brings a personality that kind of gets guys going a little bit and makes it fun to be out there. It’s certainly awesome to have his talent back.”

The Raiders defense is every bit as bad, a squad with a grand total of ONE interception all season, and even that was lucky – Navarro Bowman made the pick while laying on the ground in the end zone; the ball tipped right to him.  And that pick came against Paxton Lynch, so they have zero INT’s against anything resembling a decent quarterback this season, remarkable for a Week 14 matchup.  Both teams rank in the bottom quartile of the NFL in sack percentage, which means that both Derek Carr and Alex Smith should have some clean pockets to throw from.  On a beautiful sunny December afternoon at Arrowhead, we should expect a Shootout.  Take the Over.