3 Bad Bets in 2016 NFL Playoffs

3-bad-bets-nfl-playoffsIt’s always tough picking NFL Playoff games, given that the parity is a little better than your average in-season matchup. Case in point, who do you pick between a Seattle team on the road without Marshawn Lynch this week, and the Minnesota Vikings and their one-dimensional offense? But no matter how close playoff games may seem, there are always plenty of blowouts each year. That said, take a look at the following three teams, which aren’t great bets to cover the spread in the 2016 NFL Playoffs.

1. Washington Redskins

Plenty of experts are picking the Redskins to beat Green Bay in the Wild Card round, meaning they’d cover or tie their minus-1 spread at GTBets.eu. But despite winning their last four games to close out the season at 9-7, coupled with the Packers’ subpar play down the stretch, it’s hard to give Washington much credit. They haven’t played a winning team in seven weeks, and Kirk Cousins hasn’t faced a quality defense in the same span. The only playoff teams on their schedule – Carolina and New England – beat the Redskins by a combined score of 71-26. Again, Green Bay might not be playing their best football right now and their offensive line isn’t helping Aaron Rodgers much. But don’t believe the Redskins hype that started when they locked up the league’s worst division.

tyler-eifert-bengals2. Cincinnati Bengals

While the Bengals may be playing at home against Pittsburgh, the Steelers are favored on our line at -2.5. A great reason for this is that Cincinnati just don’t seem to win in the postseason. They’re 0-6 under head coach Marvin Lewis in the playoffs, which doesn’t bode well against a tough Wild Card opponent. An even bigger reason for the Bengals being an underdog is that starting quarterback Andy Dalton is still out with a fractured thumb. A.J. McCarron hasn’t played too badly in his absence, tossing 6 TD’s against only 2 INT’s and completing 66% of his passes. However, we wouldn’t bet on McCarron breaking the playoff curse of Lewis – even if he does, the Patriots loom in the Divisional round.

peyton-manning3. Denver Broncos

Somehow Denver managed to wrangle the top seed in the AFC, despite losing two of their last four games. Brock Osweiler played well in relief of an injured Peyton Manning, throwing for 10 TD’s, 6 INT’s and completing 62% of his passes. However, Manning talked his way back into the final regular season game against San Diego and let the run game do the work for him. In years past, having No. 18 back under center would be a great thing. But this season, Manning has thrown just 9 TD’s against 17 INT’s and looked every bit his age. Even with homefield advantage, the Broncos defense will have to carry them considering how Manning will be starting again.

2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 15

aj-mccarron-bengalsThe Cincinnati Bengals’ season has taken a surprising turn after losing Andy Dalton for 4-6 weeks with a fractured thumb. The Bengals will now try to earn a first-round playoff bye with AJ McCarron under center, which, until further notice, puts a question mark on the team’s potential. See where Cincinnati ranks in our Week 15 power rankings, and you can check out last week’s rankings here.

1. Carolina Panthers (13-0); beat Atlanta 38-0, same spot – You can definitely see why Cam Newton is leading the MVP race when considering that in the last six games, he’s thrown for 14 TD’s, rushed for 2 TD’s and tossed just one interception.

2. Arizona Cardinals (11-2); beat Minnesota 23-20, same spot – Games against Green Bay and Seattle to close out the season will get Arizona playoff-ready.

3. New England Patriots (11-2); beat Houston 27-6, up 2 spots – New England halts a two-game slide, and suddenly they’re back in position to grab the AFC’s top seed again.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-3); lost to Pittsburgh 33-20, down 1 spot – Andy Dalton might not be back until the middle of the postseason. Can the Bengals last this long?

5. Denver Broncos (10-3); lost to Oakland 15-12, down 1 spot – Brock Osweiler has protected the ball well, but he’s getting sacked on nearly 9 percent of his drop-backs.

6. Seattle Seahawks (8-5); beat Baltimore 35-6, same spot – Seattle has been crushing opponents lately. But can they settle their running back position en lieu of all their injuries?

aaron-rodgers-vs-patriots7. Green Bay Packers (9-4); beat Dallas 28-7, same spot – The Packers racked up 251 rushing yards in this game, which is their most since 2004.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5); beat Cincinnati 33-20, up 1 spot  – Nobody can stop Pittsburgh’s offense right now. They’re averaging 494 yards in offense in the last five games while scoring over 30 points each time out.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5); beat San Diego 10-3, down 1 spot – Alex Smith threw his first interception in 312 pass attempts – ending the second-longest streak in NFL history behind Tom Brady (358).

10. New York Jets (8-5); beat Tennessee 30-8, up 1 spot – With 89 catches, Brandon Marshall needs just 5 more to break the Jets’ record for most catches in a season.

11. Minnesota Vikings (8-5); lost to Arizona 23-20, same spot – Teddy Bridgewater needs to get rid of the ball quicker; he’s been sacked on 8.4 percent of his drop-backs.

12. Buffalo Bills (6-7); lost to Philadelphia 23-20, same spot – The Bills’ biggest downfall has been penalties since they lead the league in penalties called (147) and penalty yardage (1,086).

khalil-mack-raiders13. Oakland Raiders (6-7); beat Denver 15-12, up 4 spots – With his five sacks, Khalil Mack tied Howie Long for the most in a single Raiders’ game.

14. New York Giants (6-7); beat Miami 31-24, up 4 spots – This is the sixth-straight game that Odell Beckham Jr. has had 100 receiving yards – the longest streak this year.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7); beat Buffalo 23-20, up 5 spots  – Sam Bradford is playing much better; he has 5 TD’s and 1 INT in the last four games, compared to 9 TD’s and 10 INT’s in the first 11 contests.

16. Houston Texans (6-7); lost to New England 27-6, up 3 spots – This is the fifth game in which Houston has replaced their quarterback; they’re 1-4 in these contests.

17. Indianapolis Colts (6-7); lost to Jacksonville 51-16, down 3 spots – For the first time since 1953, the Colts have allowed 45 points in back-to-back games.

18. Washington Redskins (6-7); beat Chicago 24-21, up 4 spots – Kirk Cousins should land a pretty big contract this offseason for his play.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7); lost to New Orleans 24-17, down 4 spots – Tampa Bay’s glaring weakness is their pass defense, as they’re giving up a league-leading 68.7 percent completion rate.

20. Atlanta Falcons (6-7); lost to Carolina 38-0, down 4 spots – Atlanta is on a six-game losing streak and they haven’t gotten one rushing TD during this period.

allen-robinson21. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8); beat Indianapolis 51-16, up 6 spots – The Jaguars have put up 90 points in the past two weeks – 11 more points than any other team.

22. New Orleans Saints (5-8); beat Tampa Bay 24-17, up 6 spots – Tim Hightower went from not playing a game since 2011 to rushing 28 times in this victory.

23. St. Louis Rams (5-8); beat Detroit 21-14, up 1 spot – The Rams are 4-1 when Todd Gurley rushes for at least 100 yards.

24. Chicago Bears (5-8); lost to Washington 24-21, down 5 spots – Chicago just can’t win at Soldier Field; they’re 1-6 at home, which is tied for worst with the Titans.

25. Miami Dolphins (5-8); lost to NY Giants 31-24, down 4 spots – With this loss, the Dolphins are guaranteed to miss the playoffs for the seventh-straight season.

26. Detroit Lions (4-9); lost to St. Louis 21-14, down 4 spots – This marked just the second time since 2010 that Calvin Johnson only had one catch in a game.

27. Dallas Cowboys (4-9); lost to Green Bay 28-7, down 2 spots – Matt Cassel has only completed 16-of-42 passes (38.1%) to Dez Bryant this year.

28. San Francisco 49ers (4-9); lost to Cleveland 24-10, down 2 spots – Yet again, Blaine Gabbert fails to win consecutive starts in his career.

29. Baltimore Ravens (4-9); lost to Seattle 35-6, down 2 spots – Baltimore was only losing by a 3.6 PPG margin before playing Seattle and suffering a 29-point loss.

30. Tennessee Titans (3-10); lost to NY Jets 30-8, same spot – At least QB Marcus Mariota caught a touchdown in this game…that was about it, though.

31. Cleveland Browns (3-10); beat San Francisco 24-10, up 1 spot – Johnny Manziel is now 2-2 as a starter. Austin Davis and Josh McCown are 1-8 combined.

32. San Diego Chargers (3-10); lost to KC 10-3, down 1 spot – This is the third time in four games that San Diego has been held to just a field goal.

2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 14

Carson PalmerThe biggest surprise from last week was the New England Patriots’ loss to the Eagles. After starting the season 10-0, they’ve now lost two straight and have slipped in our Week 14 power rankings. See exactly where the Patriots are at now, and check out last week’s power rankings here.

1. Carolina Panthers (12-0); beat New Orleans 41-38, same spot – It wasn’t easy, but Carolina came back in the fourth quarter to keep their perfect record intact.

2. Arizona Cardinals (10-2); beat St. Louis 27-3, up 1 spot – Arizona made a tricky road game look easy. But their remaining schedule will be anything but easy.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (10-2); beat Cleveland 37-3, up 1 spot – A.J. Green has become just the second player (Randy Moss) to tally 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first five seasons.

4. Denver Broncos (10-2); beat San Diego 17-3, up 1 spot – QB Brock Osweiler has served as a real catalyst for the running game; the team is averaging 161 rushing YPG in Osweiler’s starts.

5. New England Patriots (10-2); lost to Philadelphia 35-28, down 3 spots – Can New England get healthy enough to have a real shot at defending their Super Bowl title?

2015-nfl-playoffs-russell-wilson6. Seattle Seahawks (7-5); beat Minnesota 38-7, up 1 spot – The Seattle offense has really heated up over the past three games, averaging 35.3 PPG.

7. Green Bay Packers (8-4); beat Detroit 27-23, up 1 spot – Green Bay needed a miracle to avoid being swept by the Lions. Can this huge win help them get past a mid-season slump?

8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-5); beat Oakland 34-20, up 1 spot – When Kansas City wins, they win! Their 17.3 PPG average margin of victory leads the NFL.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5); beat Indianapolis 45-10, up 1 spot  – Like Seattle, Pittsburgh’s offense is also on fire, averaging 35.8 PPG over the last four contests.

10. Minnesota Vikings (8-4); lost to Seattle 38-7, down 4 spots – Teddy Bridgewater has now gone six straight games without eclipsing 200 passing yards.

11. New York Jets (7-5); beat NY Giants 23-20, same spot – The Jets have an inside track to the playoffs, with the 3-9 Titans and 4-8 Cowboys up next.

12. Buffalo Bills (6-6); beat Houston 30-21, up 3 spots – A career backup before this year, Tyrod Taylor has gone 187 straight passes without an interception, which is a Buffalo record.

13. Houston Texans (6-6); lost to Buffalo 30-21, same spot – Houston was right in the game with the Bills, until they gave up nine unanswered points and collapsed on defense.

14. Indianapolis Colts (6-6); lost to Pittsburgh 45-10, down 2 spots – While things look bleak for Indy after this loss, they finish up with three of four games against AFC South opponents – whom they’ve beaten 16 straight times.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Oakland Raiders15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6); beat Atlanta 23-19, up 5 spots – Doug Martin is a big reason why Tampa Bay is competitive again, sitting second in rushing with 1,133 yards.

16. Atlanta Falcons (6-6); lost to Tampa Bay 23-19, down 2 spots – Atlanta has lost six out of their last seven games, thanks in large part to only averaging 16.7 PPG.

17. Oakland Raiders (5-7); lost to Kansas City 34-20, down 1 spot – The fourth quarter has been Oakland’s Achilles’ heel, where they’ve been outscored by 72 points.

18. New York Giants (5-7); lost to NY Jets 23-20, down 1 spot – The Giants tied an NFL record by losing their fourth game after leading within the final minute.

19. Chicago Bears (5-7); lost to San Francisco 26-20, down 1 spot – Chicago missed a golden chance to climb into the playoff race by losing a winnable home game.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7); beat New England 35-28, up 6 spots  – Philly’s defense and special teams have given them 17 touchdowns in the past two seasons – 8 more than any other team in the same span.

21. Miami Dolphins (5-7); beat Baltimore 15-13, up 3 spots – It’s puzzling why Miami doesn’t just keep giving Lamar Miller the ball. He averages 128 yards in wins and just 55 yards in losses.

22. Washington Redskins (5-7); lost to Dallas 19-16, down 3 spots – Washington has to run the ball better; they’re averaging just 2.6 YPC in their last three contests.

23. Detroit Lions (4-8); lost to Green Bay 27-23, down 2 spots – Detroit’s three-game win streak is snapped after allowing the longest, game-winning Hail Mary in NFL history (65 yards).

jeff-fisher-st-louis24. St. Louis Rams (4-8); lost to Arizona 27-3, down 2 spots – Jeff Fisher admitted that he has little idea what to do with the offense after scoring just 10 points the past two weeks.

25. Dallas Cowboys (4-8); beat Washington 19-16, up 4 spots – While Dallas might be one game out of the NFC East lead, they also have a rough schedule ahead (@GB, NY Jets, @Buffalo, Wash).

26. San Francisco 49ers (4-8); beat Chicago 26-20, up 4 spots – Blaine Gabbert is playing well enough that the Niners might think about starting him next year.

27. Baltimore Ravens (4-8); lost to Miami 15-13, down 4 spots – This is the third straight game that Matt Schaub has thrown a pick 6.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8); lost to Tennessee 42-39, down 2 spots – Allen Robinson (1,080 receiving yards, 11 TD’s) is quickly becoming a top-5 NFL receiver.

29. New Orleans Saints (4-8); lost to Carolina 42-39, down 2 spots – New Orleans has now given up four touchdowns passes in four out of their last five contests.

30. Tennessee Titans (3-9); beat Jacksonville 42-39, up 2 spots – Marcus Mariota had just 137 rushing yards entering last weekend; then he ran for another 112 yards against Jacksonville.

31. San Diego Chargers (3-9); lost to Denver 17-3, down 2 spots – This is the second straight loss where San Diego has only managed a field goal.

32. Cleveland Browns (2-10); lost to Cincinnati 37-3, down 1 spot – The Browns will once against give Johnny Manziel another chance at starting.