The NFL’s Week 15 schedule has some key divisional games in Texans-Titans and a rematch of 49ers-Cardinals. There is also a fantastic game in Buffalo between the Cowboys and Bills that has a big impact on the playoff races in both conferences.
We make our best bets for Week 15 below, and you can always find these bets at top-rated sportsbooks.
- Titans Over 20.5 Points (+100) at Bet365
- 49ers -12.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Cowboys-Bills Both to Score 1+ Touchdown in Each Half (+135) at Bet365
Attack on Titan: Levis Delivers Again
The Tennessee Titans pulled off the wildest comeback of the season in Miami, the team’s first win away from Nashville this season. It was also the first time a rookie quarterback ever passed for 300 yards on Monday Night Football, a true highlight of Will Levis’ season. Now he gets his first crack at the Texans, who may be without C.J. Stroud (concussion).
The Titans are a 2.5-point home favorite with a total of 37.5 points. But we are looking past the “will he or won’t he?” aspect of Stroud returning from injury and going with a play on the team total for the Titans (over/under 20.5 points).
Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 01:00 PM ET at Nissan Stadium
Titans Finally Break Through on the Road
Going into last week’s game against Miami, the Titans had a very amusing scoring split based on where the game was played this season. See if you can spot the outlier:
- Titans’ points scored in games played in Nashville: 17, 27, 27, 28, and 28.
- Titans’ points scored in games played away from Nashville: 3, 6, 14, 15, 16, 16, 16, and 28.
Yep, the Titans never scored more than 16 points in games away from Nashville this year. Just when it looked like they would lose with 13 points in Miami after a couple of crucial fumbles, rookie Will Levis went to work and led a touchdown drive.
With nothing to lose, the Titans were wise enough to go for a 2-point conversion, which gave them a shot at a win in regulation should they get the ball back. The Miami offense struggled on the night, and sure enough, the Titans were able to force a quick punt.
Levis went back to work, and Derrick Henry finished things in the end zone. It almost looked like the Titans scored too quickly to leave Miami too much time in a 28-27 game, but the defense had it locked up, and on a night where Tyreek Hill was in and out of the lineup with an ankle injury, the Dolphins couldn’t get into field goal range in a shocking upset loss, the biggest of the year by point spread (13.5).
Miami was an improving defense too, so the Titans dropping 15 points in the final 4 minutes for Levis’ first 300-yard passing game was shocking to say the least. That’s the kind of win that can give a team renewed confidence down the stretch.
Texans Let Zach Wilson Do WHAT?
The Texans have had a weird year in that all the headlines have been about C.J. Stroud and the passing game. We don’t really talk about what coach DeMeco Ryans has done with the defense, which is his specialty after coming over from the 49ers where he had a very successful coordinator run for Kyle Shanahan.
The talent isn’t nearly the same on defense in Houston, but the team did make Will Anderson the first defender taken in the draft with the No. 3 pick. Anderson has come on in recent weeks, but the Texans have largely been a mediocre defense when it comes down to allowing points and yards. They usually contain the run, so teams have success through the air.
But no one could have seen it coming when Zach Wilson of the Jets would throw for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 30-6 win last week. Especially when the game was 0-0 at halftime. Wilson had the best game of his career, and it was a real letdown for the Texans, who dropped to 7-6 and lost Stroud to a concussion in the process.
The Texans are going to need that run defense to be elite, because let’s not forget the history of huge rushing games that Derrick Henry has against Houston. Henry has 4 games with over 210 rushing yards against Houston in his career, and some of those came without much quarterback play to help him out. At least Levis is there and coming off his best game this week.
The Titans have scored 28 points in back-to-back games. Henry has scored multiple touchdowns in 3 straight games. Levis and DeAndre Hopkins have to be excited to face a secondary that couldn’t deal with Wilson in New York last week.
Maybe the Texans get good news on Stroud and get him back for this one, but we are going to focus on the Tennessee offense performing well at home and putting over 20.5 points on the scoreboard again.
49ers Keep Dominating
Can anyone stop the 49ers? San Francisco has won its last 5 games by at least 12 points each, tied for the longest streak in the NFL since the 2009 Saints won 6 in a row by that margin. Those Saints also went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
That also means the last 4 teams to have a 5-game streak like this, including the 2013 49ers, failed to extend it to a 6th-straight game. But the 49ers are playing an Arizona team they have crushed the last few years this week.
The 49ers are a 12.5-point road favorite with a total of 48 points. We took the over for San Francisco’s points last week (30.5) and were burned when they finished with 28 in a win over Seattle. We’re going spread this week against a weaker Arizona team.
Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 04:05 PM ET at State Farm Stadium
Week 4 Recap: 49ers 35, Cardinals 16
Not many people took notice because it was a late-afternoon game in Week 4 involving the Cardinals, but the 49ers came close to offensive perfection that day.
San Francisco had 6 possessions that were not just a kneeldown to end each half, and they scored a touchdown on 5-of-6 drives. The only stop, a punt, was still a 41-yard drive that was knocked out of field goal range by a sack of Brock Purdy, who completed 20-of-21 passes that day for 283 yards. Christian McCaffrey scored 4 touchdowns.
The Cardinals produced some decent numbers in the loss, and it was a 21-16 game going into the 4th quarter. But the dominance of the 49ers was hard to top that day as the offense basically did anything it wanted.
Does Anything Change This Time?
An obvious change from Week 4 is that Kyler Murray is now the starting quarterback again in Arizona instead of Joshua Dobbs. But Murray is not really producing better numbers than Dobbs did in his time with the team.
Murray has actually missed the last 4 matchups with San Francisco due to injuries. But in the last 3 games since 2022, the 49ers exploded for 38, 38, and 35 points as this Arizona defense just has no answers for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Murray’s scrambling ability might help extend some drives, but the 49ers have not allowed more than 19 points in the 5 games since the bye week. The highest in that time was 19 points by Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, and even that last touchdown reeked of garbage time in the 42-19 blowout win.
Division games can be weird, but we’ve already seen Arizona held under 17 points twice in Murray’s 4 starts since returning. This feels like a game where the 49ers can win 31-17 to cover the spread and keep rolling with these dominant victories by more than a dozen points.
Cowboys vs. Bills in a Shootout?
The Dallas Cowboys can look in a mirror and see the Buffalo Bills. Both teams have been consistently elite on both sides of the ball since 2021. Dallas (+485) and Buffalo (+467) lead all teams in scoring differential in that time, but neither has yet to get to a Super Bowl.
But the teams meet in Buffalo this Sunday in a highly important game for both teams. The Bills (7-6) really need the win to stay in the playoff hunt, and the Cowboys (10-3) are trying to keep pace with the 49ers and Eagles in the NFC race.
The Bills are a 2-point home favorite with a total of 50.5 points. We are looking at a game prop where both teams will score at least 1 touchdown in each half.
Sunday, December 17, 2023 – 04:25 PM ET at Highmark Stadium
Trusting the Dallas Offense
The Cowboys have scored more points than any team in the league this year, and it is true they are more potent at home than on the road. In fact, all 4 games this year where Dallas was held under 30 points were on the road. But most of those games were earlier in the season before Dak Prescott got on this “yeah, here we go” MVP run he’s been on since the San Francisco loss.
Dallas has scored a touchdown in both halves of its last 3 road games against the Chargers, Eagles, and Panthers. The Cowboys did not score any touchdowns after halftime against the Eagles at home last week, a somewhat disappointing performance on a night where they still won by 20 points. But they settled for a lot of long-distance field goals and know they are capable of doing better than that.
The Cowboys are the No. 1 offense on 3rd down and do a great job of sustaining drives. The red zone issues seem to be out of the way too from earlier this year.
Buffalo is a respectable defensive opponent, but we have seen the Bills allow touchdowns in both halves to the Chiefs and Eagles in their last 2 games. They also did it against the Broncos, Buccaneers, Patriots (ouch), Jaguars, and Dolphins.
Dallas has been getting off to good starts, and the Bills have blown 4 leads in the 4th quarter this year, so there is always a possibility of a late scoring drive too in what should be a high-scoring, competitive game.
Trusting the Buffalo Offense
The Bills fired their offensive coordinator after Week 10, but it was not really that big of a problem for the team. They just needed to control turnovers better, and sometimes that comes down to bad bounces or the player having more ball security. Schematically, the offense made logical sense and was producing. The Cowboys are the only offense that converts on 3rd down at a higher rate than Buffalo, and the Bills are No. 2 in the red zone at scoring touchdowns (66.7%).
The Bills have scored touchdowns in both halves of some of their key games against the Dolphins, Jaguars, Bengals, Broncos, Jets, and Eagles. They did not do it last week in Kansas City, settling for field goals after halftime. But the Chiefs usually make good adjustments after slow starts defensively.
The Bills are facing a very good Dallas defense, but we have seen the Cowboys get lit up at times by contenders like the 49ers (42 points) and Eagles (28 points in Philadelphia).
This year, the Cowboys have allowed the Cardinals, 49ers, Chargers, Rams, Eagles, and Seahawks to score touchdowns in both halves, so that’s almost half of the season (6-of-13 opponents). The Cowboys have only 1 win against a team that currently has a winning record, and that was Philadelphia last week. Facing Josh Allen in Buffalo is a lot tougher than hosting the Giants and Jets.
It could be a great game and the highlight of Week 15. The late-afternoon games have usually been much better for scoring duels than the prime-time games this year. The offenses come in on good runs, no quarterbacks have more touchdown passes than Prescott and Allen right now, and the weather looks like it should be solid for December in Buffalo (near 50 degrees).
We’ll go with an exciting duel with both teams finding the end zone in each half.
NFL Pick: Both Teams to Score 1+ Touchdown in Each Half (+135) at Bet365
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