Patriots (PK) and first half under 24 One thing about Super Bowls is they don't tend to start with a bang.
Week 15 picks
Patriots (-7.5) over Dolphins
The hook on the 7 makes this line a little less appealing on the New England side, but this is an instance of two teams trending in opposite directions. The Dolphins are fresh off a loss to the Ravens in what amounted to an elimination game, and it wasn’t even close. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead Miami was run off the field, as Baltimore rushed for 183 yards and 5.9 yards per carry while Joe Flacco missed on just eight of 33 pass attempts en route to a 28-3 burst over the final three quarters. That performance came on the heels of a Monday night game in New York in which the Dolphins had to rally from a 10-point hole to squeeze out a 16-13 win over the Jets. The Patriots, meanwhile, are back home after 10 days on the road that saw them come up a Rob Gronkowski dropped touchdown short in Green Bay before downing the Chargers, 23-14, after spotting them a 14-3 lead in the first half. The defense was outstanding in that game, holding San Diego to 216 total yards and 4.0 yards per play while pitching a shutout in the second half. The Patriots are 5-1 straight up and ATS over their last six games, winning by an average of 21.2 points per game. Add in the fact that they have the opportunity to lock up their sixth straight AFC East title and 12th since 2001, a thorough and decisive 60-minute performance should be expected.
Steelers at Falcons – over 55
This is a high total, but it’s difficult to envision these teams not going up and down the field on one another. The Steelers are allowing 12.2 yards per completion (30th in the NFL), while the Falcons are last at 12.8. Additionally, both defenses have been poor in the red zone, with Pittsburgh allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 58.97 percent of red-zone opportunities (23rd in the league), and Atlanta just slightly better at 56.25 percent (19th). According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, the Steelers rank 30th in the league in defense, and the Falcons dead last. When factoring in the high-octane and peaking air attacks of both teams – the Steelers boast the No. 2 passing offense and have scored 74 points over the last two weeks; the Falcons have the No. 5 passing offense and have totaled 66 points in the last two games – it starts looking like this total actually can’t be high enough. Over is the play.
Last week: 2-0
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