WEEK FIFTEEN TNF & SATURDAY!!!
In this post we’ll cover 2020’s first Saturday games…
L.A. CHARGERS (4-9)@ LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (7-6) -3.5 51.5 [O]
Two fairly awful defenses square up off the strip in an AFC West contest that the Raiders must win to keep John Gruden’s post-season dreams alive.
Last week, the Raiders fired DC Paul Gunther after surrendering 44 points to the Horseshoes. Why? Before that lousy defensive showing Da Raidas gave up less than 28 points only four times all year.
When any team in any sport is that defensively inept, coaching is not the issue—talent is. Firing one of your coordinators at this point in the season smacks of desperation—or if your more cynical, maybe Gruden wants to deflect blame from where it should be laid—at the feet of the head coach.
Speaking of desperation, the more I hear Anthony Lynn speak, the more I think he ought to be given one more year with a more seasoned Justin Herbert. When I hear players talk about Lynn, there is not one negative word. Football people and those who know the man can’t stop gushing about his greatness as a guy.
Clock management seems to be an ongoing issue for coach Lynn, and there have been at least two games this season in which Lynn’s in game missteps have cost the Bolts games.
We’ll see how the Spanos’ value stability when they consider giving Lynn one more year and keeping the organization stable for their young franchise QB.
We think his Chargers are the better team in this game, with the better QB, and better coaching; both defenses stink—we recommend the Over.
Chargers 31 Raiders 28
BUFFALO BILLS @ DENVER BRONCOS +6 49.5 [U]
Years ago, I explored the interesting hypotheses concluding the Broncos were one of the few sports teams to enjoy a true home field advantage, primarily due to the thin air at Mile High Stadium.
The scientific conclusion was scattershot---the “advantage” increased as games progressed and was more noticeable late in the 4th quarter or overtime. Made perfect sense, Denver players had adapted to the decreased oxygen in the air; opponents could deal until much of their energy was spent.
Also, visiting field goal kickers thought they could take advantage of the condition and maybe kick a 60+ yarder. Bronco place-kickers knew they could and routinely practiced doing so.
In the ‘80s when the famed “Orange Crush” defense was at its zenith, the original Mile High Stadium was a graveyard for even good teams. And it remained that way for much of the last four decades.
· Denver has been a top ten ATS home team since 2003
· Since 2010 they have maintained that standing
Then around 2015 until this week, Denver begins to look very average as a home team. In fact, since 2015 Denver is ATS the 16th ranked team on their home field.
Isn’t it funny how some perceived advantages a team might or might not enjoy fluctuate with the talent levels of those teams?
Buffalo climbs the Mile High mountain having just smothered a depleted, tired Steelers club at home. The Buffs are on the verge of winning the AFC East for the first time since Belichick got busted for cheating a second time.
The Wild Horses are trying to figure out if Drew Lock has earned a leadership role in the herd, and head coach, Vic Fangio, is trying to coach up some consistency on both sides of the ball
We think he has the defensive Horses to do it—and the improving Lock and his offense can keep it close.
We’re going with Denver to Cover, betting the Bills are looking forward to remaining games at NE and home against the Dolphins--just shy of the Total.
Buffalo 27 Denver 22
LOCK OF THE WEEK
CAROLINA PANTHERS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS -8.5 51.5 [U]
Well, time for my Lock of the Week pick featuring the Green Bay Packers.
Hmmmm….What team should I pick
· The Panthers sputter more on offense than any NFC team.
· The Packers could in about two months very well win their second Lombardi in the Rodgers era.
· The Packers out rank Carolina by just about any and every football statistic you can cite…
Green Bay—big! Under the Number...
Packers 35 Panthers 16
Thursday, Dec. 17
Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas -3 55 [O] 8:20 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 19
Buffalo @ Denver +6 49.5 [U] 4:30 p.m. ET
Carolina @ Green Bay -8.5 51.5 [U] 8:15 p.m. ET LW