Such a high-pressure environment as the tail-end of the regular NFL season can do funny things to people, even professional athletes – and for that reason week 16 tends to throw up the most interesting storylines.
I wonder what those will be this week?
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This Tampa Bay defence is set up to stop the run. In terms of security in the secondary, it’s questionable. That suits Deshaun Watson, who would rather throw the ball 50 times a game anyway, but the selection here is more based on coaching styles than it is anything else.
the Houston Texans produce fewer points per opening drive than any other franchise in the league.
Bill O’Brien is the worst coach in the NFL on opening drives. You see, coaching staffs script plays early on to settle in their units – and the Houston Texans produce fewer points per opening drive than any other franchise in the league. Does this make O’Brien a terrible schemer or a master adjustor? Who knows, but I’d rather avoid having to make that judgement and just stick to the facts.
Jameis Winston has also become known for throwing a pick on his opening drive, too. If you factor in both of these probabilities, you could be looking at a single-score opening quarter. That leaves 14 points per period required from thereon-in and that seems a real climb.
Back the under here in the comfort of knowing you won’t be sweating early doors.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Run the well dry.
The Browns are in recoup mode and while I don’t buy that a franchise ever wants to go out and actively lose, there can be a considerable drop-off in performance based solely on effort and will to win.
Baltimore are chasing the number one overall seed, and they’re in a strong position to land it with a win in Cleveland.
Cleveland have had problems stopping the run all season, and with Mark Ingram/Lamar Jackson running option at you all day, you’ll get to a point where you’ll be nullified into acceptance of your fate.
Freddie Kitchens might keep his job but will likely lose his dignity.
Oakland Raiders @ Los Angeles Chargers
Just trying to get my head around this.
Derek Carr doesn’t turn the ball over and the Chargers coughed the ball up seven times last week against the Vikings, so why in God’s name are the Raiders getting a touchdown on the spread?
The Raiders already won this matchup earlier in the season and they’ll probably win this one, too – especially as this will be their second-last game representing Oakland. They owe their fanbase something after last week’s late-fourth quarter heartbreak – and they’ll deliver.