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NFL 2018 SQ Insiders: Week 15

Austin Taliaferro

Our insiders pick the Week 14 games to help you beat Vegas and your pick’em league.

We get a classic AFC matchup this week as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New England Patriots.

In a turn of events, our insiders believe the Steelers will win the game with three writers to one, but on aggregate have the score as 28-28. That all being said, with the Steelers getting +1.5 at home, that might be the move to make. 

Check out the rest of the picks below.


Matchup

Max V

Hunter B

Matt F

Adrian N

LA Chargers at Kansas City
Cleveland at Denver
Houston at NY Jets
Arizona at Atlanta
Detroit at Buffalo
Green Bay at Chicago
Oakland at Cincinnati
Dallas at Indianapolis
Miami at Minnesota
Tennessee at NY Giants
Washington at Jacksonville
Tampa Bay at Baltimore
Seattle at San Francisco
New England at Pittsburgh
Philadelphia at LA Rams
New Orleans at Carolina
Total Record

127-79122-84132-74136-70



Matchup

Conglomerate Score

ATS Winner

Pick’em Winner

Why the home team will win

Why the away team will win

LA Chargers at Kansas City25-29KC-3.5The Chiefs are rolling even without Hunt in the backfield. Spencer Ware is performing admirably for Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes makes a highlight reel play every week. This week’s matchup will be one of the best of the week, and if the defense can limit Rivers and the offense, the Chiefs should have no problem outscoring Los Angeles. A questionable Melvin Gordon should help the Chiefs’ chances.Philip Rivers has the Chargers in a great position to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West title heading into this divisional matchup. Three straight wins against quality teams while averaging 34.6 points per game makes for a good Thursday Night Football game. To win, the Chargers need to continue their impressive offensive output. This is expected to be a shootout, and the Chiefs usually come out on top of those. The Chargers need to keep pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense.
Cleveland at Denver19-23DEN-3.5After three straight wins against the Chargers, Steelers, and Bengals, the Broncos dropped an embarrassing game to the 49ers. Cleveland sports a better offense than San Francisco, and a much better defense. For Denver to win, Case Keenum needs to move the ball and sustain drives. If the defense can take the ball away for Keenum, the Broncos should score enough to come out on top.The Browns have won three of four, with the only loss coming to a red hot Texans team. To go to Denver and beat the Broncos, Baker Mayfield needs to take care of the football. Denver expects to get pressure easily with its formidable front four. Mayfield needs to recognize this and not panic during chaotic offensive sequences. If he takes care of the ball and the defense plays to its potential, this will be an easy win for the Browns.
Houston at NY Jets29-20HOU-6.5The Jets need to hope Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense are off their game for them to have any chance in this one. The defense needs to come up large with turnovers, playing to the level we saw a handful of times this season. If the defense can make plays and Sam Darnold, if healthy, takes care of the football, there’s a chance the Jets come out on top. Its not likely, but the NFL is a week to week league and the home team always has a chance to shock people.Deshaun Watson needs to round into postseason form in the final three games. This week against the Jets looks like a perfect opportunity to get things going. DeAndre Hopkins should have a big day against an average defense in New York. If Lamar Miller can continue to produce on the ground, the Texans offense should have no problem moving the ball all day.
Arizona at Atlanta14-24ATL-8.5If Atlanta can put up points against the Cardinals, it’s hard to see them not making offseason coaching changes. The Falcons have lost five straight and can’t get anything going, but if there was a week to turn things around, its this week. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones need to dominate a game like they’ve shown they’re capable of doing for the Falcons to win this game. Their season depends on it.The Cardinals offense has been inconsistent, to say the least. After a three point output last week against the Lions, its hard to see a path to success for Arizona. If they’re to pull out a win, it’ll be through their defense. The defense needs to put the offense in advantageous positions, whether it be through turnovers or just great field position. The offense has shown it cannot string together long drives, therefore it’ll take good starting field position for the Cardinals to put points on the board. That might actually be enough with how bad the Falcons have been this season.
Detroit at Buffalo20-19DET+2.5Buffalo has the best defense in the NFL and Detroit’s offense has been marked by inconsistency in both the run and the pass all season.Detroit is used to playing on the road in the cold weather and should be able to break two or three plays on offense to maintain a lead on Buffalo in a low-scoring game.
Green Bay at Chicago20-26CHI-5.5The Bears are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. After holding the Rams incredible offense to just six points, keeping the Packers offense at bay should be an easy task. Nothing left to lose, and a playoff spot still not impossible for Green Bay to grab. They will dump whatever they have left at Chicago.
Oakland at Cincinnati21-18OAK+2.5The Raiders have depleted their roster and destroyed any postseason hopes, this season. The Bengals have playmakers on offense and can shred through the heart of Oakland’s sorry defense if RB Joe Mixon has a big day. Oakland can take advantage of Bengals QB Jeff Driskel’s inexperience and win a close game on the road.
Dallas at Indianapolis22-24DAL+2.5If this game turns into a shootout, the Colts are the easy pick.If this game takes the form of a slow-tempo, grind-it-out match, the Cowboys are a safe bet.
Miami at Minnesota22-26MIA+6.5Kirk Cousins has a 4-24 record against .500 Dolphins. The Dolphins have a -55 point differential. They’re the kind of team that makes up the 4.Kirk Cousins has a 4-24 record against .500 Dolphins. The 7-6 Dolphins qualify. Ryan Tannehill may be better than Kirk Cousins which could be enough for them.
Tennessee at NY Giants21-21TEN+2.5TiedThe Giants have won two straight games and in fairly convincing manners. They beat a very good Bears team, scoring 30 on one of the better defenses in the league, and lead the Redskins 40-0 midway through the third, again another good defense. Tennessee’s defense has been a strength this season, but New York may be able to overcome it.Derrick Henry is coming off of a 200 yard, three touchdown performance. And while that is obviously and an anomaly in the type of season that the Titans have been having, they are a team that in theory wants to be able to run the ball. The Giants give up the 11 most rushing yards per game, meaning there are yards to be had for the Titans on the ground.
Washington at Jacksonville10-16WSH+6.5The Jaguars looked horrible last week, but even they played better than the Redskins. With Josh Johnson going against them, the defense has no excuse but to dominate. Expect the defense to carry Cody Kessler to another victory.Josh Johnson looked like a significant upgrade over Mark Sanchez, but if they are going to win this game, they are going to need him to play the game of his life. With a majority of his weapons injured, Johnson will need to rely heavily on his legs to get the job done in this one.
Tampa Bay at Baltimore15-24BAL-7.5Despite trailing the Steelers in the AFC North, the Ravens actually lead their division in point differential. They have a very good overall team that is lead by their defense and has enjoyed stable offense and ball control these last three games with Lamar Jackson under center.But for a blocked punt, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have dealt the Saints a second loss this season at their hands. The Bucs are a dangerous team with weapons that can break any game open, even against the toughest of defenses.
Seattle at San Francisco24-14SEA-5.5Coming off of their first win in over a month, the 49ers are feeling good right now. Nick Mullens and George Kittle have found a special connection with rookie Dante Pettis making big plays as well. Mullens threw for over 400 yards against this Seattle defense a few weeks ago, but for the 49ers to win this game they need to get their rushing game going too.Seattle blew out the 49ers a couple weeks ago and have the players to do it again. Russell Wilson can pick apart this secondary if given the opportunity and if they rush for over 150 yards and control the time of possession, it’s tough to see the 49ers being able to win this game.
New England at Pittsburgh28-28PIT+1.5TiedPittsburgh puts up the 4th most yards per game in the league and the 4th most points as well. The Patriots just gave up 34 points to the Dolphins and have struggled all year to defend teams at a consistent level.New England very rarely loses back to back games and they seem to have the Steelers number in Pittsburgh. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be fully prepared and ready to avenge last week’s brain farts.
Philadelphia at LA Rams17-38LAR-9.5Although the Rams went 1-1 on their recent road trip, their offense played horribly (given the expectations) in both games. Against arguably the worst secondary in the NFL, expect Jared Goff and the passing attack to have one of their best games to date leading to a huge victory to help them keep pace with the Saints in the NFC.The Eagles have no margin for error. In order to have any chance of making the playoffs, the Eagles must win out. That starts this week with a tough game in Los Angeles. The offense finally got going at the end of the game against Dallas, so they must carry that momentum into this game with a bounce back game from a struggling secondary.
New Orleans at Carolina30-20NO-6.5After starting 6-2, the Panthers have now lost five straight games and look like they are headed towards missing the postseason. However, with a game on their home field against one of the best teams in the league, they need Cam Newton to play at an MVP level to prove to the rest of the league they are still in this playoff race. The Saints offense struggled mightily in the first half against Tampa Bay, but they know they need to keep winning in order to get the first seed. Drew Brees will pick apart this secondary and make sure they don’t slip up.


Edited by Joe Sparacio, Brian Kang.

SQuiz
Which Steelers player TD was overturned due to the catch rule in their 2017 meeting with the Patriots?
Created 12/12/18
  1. LeVeon Bell
  2. Jesse James
  3. Vance McDonald
  4. JuJu Smith-Schuster

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