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Saturday NFL Free Picks - Two Solid Games Kick Off Week 15 Early

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

December 13th, 2018

The NFL starts playing a couple of Saturday games every year after the end of the college football regular season. The first slate of Saturday games takes place on Dec. 15 when the Houston Texans travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey to face the Jets and the Cleveland Browns head to Colorado to take on the Denver Broncos. Both games could have big playoff implications and require some analysis so I can dispense some Saturday NFL free picks for you.

The Houston Texans have a lot to play for, even though a test against the Jets shouldn't be too difficult. They lost their first game in 10 attempts last weekend in a stunner against the Colts. That loss, combined with an Indianapolis Colts victory, means the Texans are only 2 games ahead of Indianapolis with 3 left to play. Stranger things have happened than a top NFL squad blowing a division title in the final 3 weeks of the season.

Denver’s in a more precarious situation than the Houston Texans. At 6-7, the Broncos need help to make the postseason. Denver must win out and hope the Baltimore Ravens lose at least 2 more games. The Ravens beat the Broncos 27-14 earlier in the season. The head-to-head tiebreaker goes to Baltimore.

Can either playoff contender get it done on Saturday? Or, will the dogs in both matchups come up with big bites?

Saturday, Dec. 15

Houston Texans -6 at New York Jets

The Texans had looked unbeatable up until they faced the rival Colts in Week 14. But the only reason Houston lost was because Indianapolis starts a player named Andrew Luck. Luck threw for 399 yards. When Houston faces teams that have mediocre passing attacks, they often play much better (most teams do).

Saying anything positive a bout the Jets' passing attack is a tough task, but they do have some behavior which suggests a cover. The Jets are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 versus a team with a winning road record. They’re also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 after accumulating less than 250 total yards in their previous game.

Even though the Texans should bounce back, they won’t bounce back enough to cover. The New York Jets are the team to back in first NFL game on Saturday. Houston has skated by on some easy matchups through the middle of the season, and a truly elite team would be favored by much more. Given the weather, the traveling situation, and what we know about the Texans, the Jets have a chance to sneak in to this game.

Saturday NFL Free Picks: NYJ +6

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos -3

Stats won’t help us to determine if the Denver Broncos are better than the Cleveland Browns. Neither team's great on either side of the ball. Denver’s defense does appear slightly better than Cleveland’s, but when the Browns have had trouble this season, it’s been against teams with good quarterback play.

That’s not the Broncos, who only get 239.2 passing yards per from Case Keenum. Without a strong passing attack, Cleveland should be much better in Week 15 at keeping their opponent from getting touchdowns.

The trends provide a much better picture of what should happen. The Browns are 4-11 ATS versus a team with a losing record, 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 on the road, and 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous.

The Broncos are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games on Saturday, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 versus the AFC, and 6-2 in their last 8 overall. Sometimes, something as simple as homefield advantage can determine which team handicappers should back against the spread. This seems like one of those times.

Saturday NFL Free Picks: Broncos -3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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