As the end of the regular season draws closer, playoff hopes hand by a thread. Paul Higham is back with his RedZone picks for NFL week 15.
Christmas is just around the corner and that means play-off places are up for grabs in Week 15 of the NFL with the likes of the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys hoping to book their spots in the NFL RedZone kick-offs.
The Cardinals lost only on Monday but despite the quick turnaround, they should still bounce back against the Detroit Lions.
Dak Prescott enjoys playing the New York Giants so he will hope to fire the Dallas Cowboys to a third straight win as they look to tie-up the NFC East.
In the chase for AFC play-off places, the Tennessee Titans visit the Pittsburgh Steelers looking for a second straight win, while the Buffalo Bills are in crisis mode as they look to avoid a third straight loss when hosting the slumping Panthers.
Here’s our pick of the NFL RedZone.
Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions
The Arizona Cardinals suffered a tough loss against the Rams and lost star receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the season on Monday, but even on a short week a trip to Detroit shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
The Lions are playing tough and now in the spoiler role looking to add to any insecurity Arizona may be feeling after Monday night. The Cards are still 10-3 though, still one of the best teams in the league, and can still book their play-off place with a win in Detroit.
If the Lions are again without TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift then their offensive capability will be severely handicapped – and that’s not ideal against one of just two teams without an away defeat so far this season.
Look for Arizona to run the ball a bit more than usual, especially if Chase Edmonds is back, while QB Kyler Murray will also use his legs and James Conner can score a touchdown for the eighth straight game.
With the play-offs in site, look for Arizona to make a statement and put up a few points to make the post-season in style, but with the Lions having nothing to lose they could well cover a 12.5pt spread so preference goes for a decent points total.
Best bet: Over 48.5pts at Evens
— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2021
Carolina Panthers @ Buffalo Bills
It’s officially panic stations for the Buffalo Bills, who have gone from being at the front of the Super Bowl conversation to being in danger of slipping out of the play-offs altogether.
Their three defeats out of the last four have come against quality teams and at least the last one in Tampa Bay saw Josh Allen finally show up big and lead a nice comeback to force overtime.
The Panthers have fallen off a cliff with three straight defeats not ruling them out altogether but realistically they’re already casting an eye on next season, and that lack of urgency will cost them.
There’s also confusion at the quarterback position with Cam Newton now under threat from PJ Walker and neither is particularly good at taking care of the football.
Look for the Bills to come firing out of the traps here, fired up to get back to winning ways and they’ll take a handy lead by half time.
"As much as it hurt my wallet yesterday and as much as Buffalo has disappointed me, you have to run the football."
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) December 13, 2021
Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers
A welcome 20-0 win over the lowly Jaguars was a nice way for the Titans to return after a bye, and they’re now 9-4 heading to Pittsburgh where the bookies can’t really split them from the Steelers.
Tennessee are obviously a better team but losing Derrick Henry is still causing concern even if D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard look capable of running the football for the Titans.
And even Steelers coach Mike Tomlin admits their run game, which allows a league-worst five yards per carry, isn’t up to scratch. They’re allowing 139.5 yards rushing per game and that’ll be Tennessee’s main area of attack.
Pittsburgh are currently bottom of the AFC North, and they’ve not finished a season in last place in a division since 1988, so they’ll be desperate not to end the campaign there.
Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth will be their main danger after scoring six TDs in seven weeks and Diontae Johnson will also be a threat as Ben Roethlisberger will likely have to play catch-up at some stage. But it’ll all come in a losing effort.
Best bet: Titans –3.5pts at 29/20
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Dallas can clinch their play-off spot via a complicated set of conditions this weekend, but they’ll just be interested in making it three wins in a row and getting a bit more production out of QB Dak Prescott.
Rookie defensive giant Micah Parsons has been leading this team recently with nine sacks in six games. He’s been a monster off the edge and he’s having an impressive award-worthy season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has suggested Prescott hasn’t been at his best, but the Giants can cure that as he’s won his last eight against Big Blue with five 300-yard games and five three-TD outings.
Overall it’s 20 TD passes against just five interceptions against New York, and with the fire in his belly Prescott can put on a clinic here to get himself back on track against a secondary allowing 256 passing yards a game.
The Giants may hang around for longer than people think, but this is Dallas’ game to lose and anything they do offensively will come through Prescott, so it pays to go with a Bet Builder on his performance.
Best bet: Prescott over 250 passing yards & over 2.5 TDs at 23/10
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) December 17, 2021
D’Onta Foreman & Amari Cooper to score a touchdown at 21/4
The Pittsburgh Steelers allow more yards per carry than anyone in the league, so even without Derrick Henry, the Titans can run the ball on them and D’Onta Foreman is the man who will be leading the way to the end zone.
Dak Prescott has thrown more TDs against the Giants than any other team, and Amari Cooper can catch another one of them on Sunday. He has six TDs this season, one is his last game and one already against the Giants this season.