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NFL

NFL Week 18: Part 2

Week 18: Part 1 is live and can be found here. The last eight games for Week 18 are listed below in Part 2.

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WFT at Giants +7

Kudos to the WFT. Last week, the WFT bounced back from allowing 42-points in the first half to nearly upset the Eagles a week later. The WFT has had their struggles this season. Early in the season, it was the defense. Later in the season, it was the offense. Lately, it’s been both. Despite all the struggles, the WFT is still giving a strong effort down the stretch.

The Giants were doomed from the start, but they still don’t seem to realize it. With Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge and Daniel Jones working together, this team is as functional as an eight year old Land Rover SUV. The Giants have failed to cover in each of their last five games (all losses). Thanksgiving is long gone and as such, this Turkey is cooked.

On Saturday, WFT was a firm 67% favorite on the cash side. Sunday’s early report listed the Giants as surprising 93% cash favorites.

 WFT 26 Giants 20

 

Panthers at Buccaneers -9.5

The Bucs survived a dangerous scare last week against one of the NFL’s worst teams. We were concerned the lack of weapons for Tom Brady would be a big hurdle and it turned out to be correct. This week, Brady is limited with even fewer weapons, as Antonio Brown is now off the team. Mike Evans is now the only full-time starter playing WR this week. Defensively, the Bucs have had issues lately as well.

The Panthers have been a disaster in the second half of this season. They’ve lost six straight and gone 0-6 ATS in all of them. With the QB situation a disaster, the limp offense overall, and a defense who can’t catch a break, the Panthers are ready to take a four-month cat nap.

Saturday’s cash report listed the Buccaneers as massive cash favorites at 96%. By Sunday, the Bucs were still around 77% even with a 1.5 point line movement from -8 to -9.5.

Buccaneers 24 Panthers 14

 

Saints -4 at Falcons

The Saints are clinging to playoff hopes this week. They need a 49ers loss and a victory over the Falcons to get in. Last week, the Saints handled their business against a sloppy Panthers team. It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win. Taysom Hill returned as the team’s QB and the offense managed to find a little rhythm at parts last week. This week, they are facing a Falcons team who has been pretty frisky vs the Saints.

The Falcons have nothing left to play for this season. Matt Ryan has been given little help this season. From changes with the coaching staff to the losses of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, this team has had a lot to overcome. Now, there have been whispers of a possible Calvin Ridley trade. With nothing left to play for, I don’t expect the Falcons can overcome this Saints defense this week.

The Saints were 71% cash favorites on Saturday. By Sunday, the Saints were up to 97%.

Saints 23 Falcons 16

 

Patriots -6 at Dolphins

The Patriots reminded everyone last week why they’re elite. Following a disparaging loss to the Bills the week before, the Patriots clobbered the Jaguars last week in a rout for the ages. We are well aware of the Patriots’ weaknesses at this point. They struggle with negative game scripts. The thing is, the Dolphins don’t really have the offensive potential to put the Pats in that position.

The Dolphins were officially knocked out of the playoff race last week. The Titans dragged the fins up and down the field for sixty minutes. In the end, the Dolphins had finally been exposed. They were a pretty good, well-coached team, eeking-out wins on good defense and offensive deception. Now, the Dolphins have nothing to play for but pride. Will pride be enough to take down the Patriots?

The Patriots were overwhelming cash favorites on Sunday (98%).

Patriots 26 Dolphins 16

 

Jets at Bills -15.5

As far as competitive games go, this one should be pretty far down the list. The only thing that could make this interesting is the weather. Lucky for us, it is supposed to be very cold (34 degrees) and windy. That should make for some interesting football.

Last week was a strong effort from the Jets. After leading for much of the game, the Jets fell victim to a classic Tom Brady comeback. Despite controlling much of the game, the Jets tried to finish-off the Bucs with a late QB sneak, but failed miserably.

The Bills only need a win to capture the division title and secure a home playoff game (likely against the Patriots). If the Bills lose, they’ll be on the road, possibly playing against a team they don’t match up very well with. Last week, the Bills handled business against the Falcons. It wasn’t a blowout, but the Bills continued to use Josh Allen in the run game to great success. Expect it again this week.

Apparently, the weather shouldn’t be as bad as expected earlier in the week. Sunday’s forecast shows things milder than we expected, and the cash had the Bills as 91% cash faves.

Bills 34 Jets 14

 

 49ers at Rams -3

The 49ers need to win this week to secure a playoff berth. If they win, they’ll be the 6th seed and likely face the Buccaneers. It’s not the best matchup for them, but the alternative is no playoffs. Last week, Trey Lance kicked things into gear in the second half and the 49ers were able to overcome a halftime deficit to beat the Texans at home. This week, a win will be much tougher to come by.

The Rams can win here and avoid facing the 49ers next week, assuming all else holds. It’s not a must-win, but beating the 49ers to knock them out of the playoffs would be appealing for their division rivalry. The question this week will be whether we see good Matt Stafford or bad Matt Stafford. There’s also some pending WR records on tap. A huge week from Cooper Kupp, and he’s into the record books.

Despite line movement back and forth, the cash report listed the Rams at 95%.

Rams 29 49ers 24

 

Seahawks +5.5 at Cardinals  

The Seahawks had their best offensive performance of the year last week. Normally, offensive potency this late in the season should be celebrated, but for the Seahawks, it just means a worse draft pick. Regardless, the Seahawks needed to give their fans hope for next season and end the year on a positive note. There’s another chance to do that this week, as well as play spoiler for the Cardinals’ seeding.

The Cardinals took care of the Cowboys in Dallas last week and positioned them to potentially face the Cowboys again in the Wildcard round. If the Cardinals lose, nothing is likely to change for their playoff position. A win means the Cardinals could get a higher seed and take the division title. Do the Cardinals have enough motivation this week to risk it for a higher seed? It appears they do.

The Sunday cash numbers had this game a complete coin flip.

Cardinals 31 Seahawks 27 

 

Chargers -3 at Raiders

The Chargers were able to get healthy just in time for last week’s game against the Broncos. The offense and defense also appeared to be in synch for the first time since their game against the Giants. This week, the Chargers need to win over their division rival Raiders to lockup a playoff spot. There are multiple scenarios for seeding, but the 7th seed is looking more and more likely by the minute.

The Raiders did a fine job taking advantage of unfortunate opponent roster situations down the stretch to put themselves in this “win and they’re in” scenario. Wins over the Browns (without Baker), the Broncos (without Bridgewater and other key players) and the Colts have been largely unexpected. This week, they’ll need to stifle the Chargers offense, as well as break down the Chargers defense to get in.

Sunday’s cash report had the Chargers at 76% at -3.

Chargers 30 Raiders 23

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