LES COUSINS NONDANGEREUX
If you would have said that Kirk Cousins would be in the Top-10 in MVP odds after Week 4, you would have been laughed out of the room. Fast forward to Week 15 and the Minnesota Vikings quarterback has his team at 9-4, battling for a division title and sits second in QB ratintg. This week, Cousins and the Vikes head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers.
The Chargers have been playing exceptional pass defense of late as they have the second-best passing yards against oveer their last three games and have held Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr and Patrick Mahomes to just 561 yards combined and three touchdowns in three of their last five games. The numbers look even better when you look at all their games since November: 171.4 yards passing and only one opposing QB to throw for more than one TD.
Cousins is 3-4 SU on the road this year and has a completion percentage 17 points lower on the road than at home. Even with Adam Thielen returning to practice after missing five games, we are taking the Under on Cousins’ passing total of 273.5, a number he is 3-4 O/U on the road this year.
JAGUARS PLAYING DEAD
Last week the Jaguars and their 31st-ranked run defense lost their best linebacker and leading tackler in Myles Jack. This week they lost another linebacker in Quincy Williams who is the fourth linebacker that Jacksonville has had to put on the shelf. The Jaguars have just flat-out quit defensively and should be faded for another three weeks.
This week’s running back who gets to pad his stats against a run defense that is allowing 163 yards rushing a game of late and 5.2 yards per carry is Josh Jacobs. The Oakland running back missed Week 14 with a shoulder problem but reports are that ROY contender has a good shot of starting this week. Things could obviously change between now and Sunday, but in a dream matchup versus a soft Jags’ D, we are going to monitor the situation closely and may even get a little discount on his total in what will be a higher risk/reward bet.
Jacobs needs just 246 yards rushing to top Saquon Barkley’s rookie-of-the-year mark of 1,307 yards (although Barkley added another 700-plus yards receiving) and he currently sits at -350 to win the Offensive ROY. We like the matchup more than anything and hope Jacobs’ recent injury gives us a better number on his rushing total. We are waiting for the Raiders RB to practice Thursday and Friday with no setbacks and will be riding the Over on his' rushing total on any number below 70 yards as we think 12-15 rushes is a realistic workload. If Jacobs does miss Week 15, DeAndre Washington will get the chance to carve up the Jaguars.
BREESIN’ PAST THE COLTS
The Indianapolis Colts have lost five of their last six with their only win coming against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Indy has been allowing the second-most passing yards since Week 12 (300 yards) and got torched for 467 yards through the air last week versus Jameis Winston. This week, the Colts will hit the primetime lights of Monday night and face the New Orleans Saints on the road where their defense has let four opposing QBs to surpass 295 yards this year.
Drew Brees is coming off a 349-yard performance where he lobbed five touchdowns in what was the NFL’s game of the year last week versus the 49ers. Since coming back from injury in Week 8, Brees is averaging 287 yards passing and that number jumps up to 330 yards a gamr in his four games in New Orleans.
We like Brees to keep his foot on the throttle as the Saints need to get a playoff game at home, even if it means the No. 2 seed. Jump on Brees’ Over 298.5 passing yards, a total he has eclipsed in four of his five home games this year.
THURSDAY NIGHT QUICKIE
Don’t have time to watch all the Thursday night game? The Jets will do that to you, no worries. It’s a good thing that the Baltimore Ravens lead the league in first-quarter scoring at 8.3 points per the opening frame. The Jets will likely be missing a handful of starters on the defensive side of the ball as safety Jamal Adams, DT Quinnen Williams and a pair of starting defensive backs are all doubtful.
This Jets’ defense has seen Miami (twice), Cincinnati, Oakland, Washington, the Giants and Jacksonville in consecutive weeks — that’s five of the six-worst offenses. New York might be down 10 before it knows what hit them. If you're looking for a quick banger, take the Ravens -3.5 first-quarter spread.
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