It all comes down to this, one last Sunday to close the 2014 NFL regular season.
With most fantasy seasons now completed attention this Sunday focuses on daily games, with several strategies in play and all 32 teams in action.
I hope you have enjoyed this year’s editions of Against The Spread, it has been a successful year from a won-loss perspective!
Week 16 record: 8-8
Season record: 130-106-3
Indianapolis Colts (10-5) -7 at Tennessee Titans (2-13)
The Colts already have Luck, now the Titans want the Duck. Tennessee has zero motivation to win this game because a loss would sew up the No. 1 overall draft pick. The Colts have already ensured themselves the AFC’s No. 4 seed and will host a Wild Card game next weekend, but seek momentum following last week’s debacle in Dallas. This will be unwatchable football.
ATS pick: Colts
San Diego Chargers (9-6) +2.5 at Kansas City Chiefs (8-7)
The Chargers have put themselves in a simple “win and in” situation. Kansas City can still claim the AFC’s final playoff slot, but need a win plus losses from the Ravens and Texans. In a developing story, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is out with a lacerated spleen and will be replaced by Chase Daniel, who went 21-of-30 for 200 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers in Week 17 last year.
ATS pick: Chargers
New York Jets (3-12) +5.5 at Miami Dolphins (8-7)
Dolphins Stadium will be filled with Jets fans as two teams whose coaches may be gone Monday morning do battle. The Dolphins’ 2015 home game against the Jets has already been outsourced to London.
ATS pick: Jets
Chicago Bears (5-10) +6.5 at Minnesota Vikings (6-9)
Jimmy Clausen played out last week’s game concealing a concussion sustained at the hands of Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah. As a result, Jay Cutler will be back under center in Minneapolis. That should upgrade the values of Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett for the week.
ATS pick: Bears
Buffalo Bills (8-7) +4.5 at New England Patriots (12-3)
The Patriots have secured the AFC’s top seed, meaning Tom Brady and other regulars will play sparingly if at all on Sunday. I look for the Bills to finish off what would be a winning season on a high note.
ATS pick: Bills
Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) +3 at New York Giants (6-9)
Getting 48 catches, 657 yards and eight touchdowns would be a good season for many receivers, it is also what Odell Beckham Jr. has amassed in just the last five weeks, bringing back memories of Randy Moss’s 1998 rookie campaign. Look for ODB to be a top-three overall fantasy pick for 2015 and possibly No. 1 in some circles. He is now officially the NFL’s best receiver.
ATS pick: Gaints
New Orleans Saints (6-9) -4 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13)
The Buccaneers will be assured of a top-two draft pick by losing this game, possibly resulting in Jameis Winston remaining in Florida.
ATS pick: Saints
Dallas Cowboys (11-4) -6 at Washington (4-11)
The Cowboys still have hopes of earning a first-round bye, but I expect DeMarco Murray to see limited playing time to give his hand another week to rest. I strongly recommend Joseph Randle in daily games, as he will be dirt-cheap.
ATS pick: Cowboys
Cleveland Browns (7-8) +10 at Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
As bad as the Ravens stunk it up in Houston last week, I do not expect a repeat, as the Browns will be down to rookie third-string quarterback Connor Shaw. The Ravens will make the playoffs with a win plus a Chargers loss.
ATS pick: Ravens
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) +9.5 at Houston Texans (8-7)
The Jaguars can look towards the Texans for evidence that they can make a quantum leap in 2015. The Jags will be looking at top five pick regardless of Sunday’s outcome. Houston has remote playoff hopes but need a win plus Chargers and Ravens losses.
ATS pick: Texans
Carolina Panthers (6-8-1) +4 at Atlanta Falcons (6-9)
The winner of this game wins the NFC South and hosts a wild card game next weekend, so most players in this contest will be wise daily league options. Falcons running back Stephen Jackson (quad) will sit, with Devonta Freeman getting the majority of his reps.
ATS pick: Falcons
Oakland Raiders (3-12) +14 at Denver Broncos (11-4)
After losing Sunday night, this game suddenly has meaning for Denver who must win to lock up a first-round bye. The Raiders have scored three quality home wins in recent weeks, but remain a disaster on the road.
ATS pick: Raiders
Detroit Lions (11-4) +7.5 at Green Bay Packers (11-4)
The Lions broke a 16-game losing streak in temperatures under 40 degrees last week in Chicago. The next curse for Detroit to break is a 23-game skid in the state of Wisconsin dating back to the days of Wayne Fontes. The winner of this game earns a first-round bye while the loser will be the NFC’s sixth seed.
ATS pick: Lions
Arizona Cardinals (11-4) +6 at San Francisco 49ers (7-8)
The league’s worst kept secret is that this will be the last game of the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco. Cris Collinsworth tried to sell the Kool-Aid of the Cardinals still being an NFC contender before being routed by Seattle last Sunday. I look for the Cards to be one and done in the playoffs.
ATS pick: 49ers
St. Louis Rams (6-9) +12.5 at Seattle Seahawks (11-4)
Everyone saw this coming a month ago, the Seahawks have run the table since Thanksgiving and will earn the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a home win. Russell Wilson won a lot of people money last week (36.36 fantasy points).
ATS pick: Seahawks
Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) +3.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)
The final Sunday night game of the season will be for the AFC North title, the winner hosts a Wild Card game next weekend while the loser will play at Indianapolis. The two teams met just three weeks ago as Le’Veon Bell and several others put up huge fantasy numbers.
ATS pick: Steelers