Houston (9-5; 7-7 ATS) at Tampa Bay (7-7; 5-8-1 ATS) (12:00 pm CST)
Early line: Bucs (minus-1 point). Total: (53)
HOU 7TH OFF; TB 15TH DEF
HOU 7TH RUN; TB 1ST vs. RUN
HOU 11TH PASS; TB 30TH vs. PASS
HOU 10TH PTS; TB 30TH PTS ALLOWED
TB 3RD OFF; HOU 28TH DEF
TB T27TH RUN; HOU 19TH vs. RUN
TB 1ST PASS; HOU 28TH vs. PASS
TB 3RD PTS; HOU 19TH PTS ALLOWED
HOU T17TH TO/TA; TB T27TH TO-TA
Texans lead all-time series 3-1-0 and have won last 3 games vs. Bucs, most recently defeating them 19-9 at Houston Sept. 27, 2015. Bucs could be a tough out at home for Texans with their top-ranked passing offense (308.1 ypg) and rushing defense (73.3 ypg), although WR Chris Godwin, ranked 2nd in league with 1,333 yards receiving, left Week 15 game with a hamstring injury (check status) with star WR1 Mike Evans already likely sidelined for rest of year with a hamstring injury (double check Evans’ status).
TEXANS took control of AFC South with 2 games remaining after 24-21 Week 15 road win over division-rival Titans, despite being outgained 432-374. The defending division champs are looking for Houston's fourth AFC South title in six years under head coach Bill O'Brien.
RB Carlos Hyde ran for 104 yards and scored a TD with 10:34 left, and PK Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 29-yard FG with 3:26 remaining provided the winning margin as the TEXANS scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter in Week 15 win.
TEXANS nearly blew a 14-0 halftime lead with Tennessee intercepting QB Deshaun Watson twice inside the Titans 1. Watson had 19-27-243-2 TDs-2 INTs (92.1 QB rating) while getting sacked once and 7-32 rushing with a long of 12 directing a Week 15 offense that gained 374 total yards (35-140 rushing) and converted 5-of-10 3rd downs.
Titans held TEXANS WR1 DeAndre Hopkins to just two catches for 21 yards through three quarters. But Hopkins had four catches for 98 yards in the fourth quarter and finished with six catches for 119 yards with a long of 35 in Week 15 win.
It was Hopkins’ second straight 100-yard receiving game, fifth this season and 30th of his career. That's the second-most through seven seasons in TEXANS franchise history only to WR Andre Johnson (31).
Back in TEXANS’ lineup after being out with hamstring injury, WR Will Fuller finished with 5-61 receiving on 7 targets with a long of 31, while WR Kenny Stills came up big with 3-35-2 on 3 targets with a long of 16 (TD) in TEXANS’ pivotal Week 15 victory.
TEXANS defense allowed Titans 432 total yards (28-163 rushing; 5.8 ypc), 4-of-10 3rd-down conversions and 1-of-2 4th-down conversions and registered 2 sacks and only one takeaway — an INT returned 86 yards by OLB Whitney Mercilus.
Check status of TEXANS LB Bernardrick McKinney, who suffered a concussion in Week 15 game; and RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring; DNP in Week 15).
BUCS offense continued to make presence felt in a major way in 38-17 Week 15 road win over Lions, as QB Jameis Winston became the first player in NFL history to throw for 450 yards in consecutive games. Winston threw 3 TDs in the first half — 4 overall — and a career-high 458 yards passing one week after throwing for 456 yards.
BUCS have won four straight and five of six, but their surge started too late for them to get in the playoffs race.
BUCS’ Winston, playing with a small fracture in his right thumb, completed 28-of-42 passes and set career highs with 221 yards passing in the first quarter and 308 yards by halftime. The No. 1 pick overall from the 2015 draft did throw a league-high 24th interception on the opening possession, but he more than made up for the miscue.
"He was dropping dimes as soon as we got out of the tunnel," said BUCS WR Breshad Perriman, who set career highs with 3 TD receptions and 113 yards receiving and had the best game of his four-year, three-team career against the franchise his father, Brett, caught 25 TDs for from 1991-96.
Before leaving game in third quarter with hamstring injury, Godwin had 5-121 receiving on 7 targets with a long of 51 in BUCS’ Week 15 rout.
BUCS defense limited Lions to 295 total yards, with top-ranked run defense limiting Lions to only 18-45 (2.5 ypc), and registered 2 sacks and 3 takeaways.
BUCS CB Sean Murphy-Bunting returned an INT 70 yards for a score and a 14-point lead with 5:12 remaining and tied for team lead in tackles with 8 in Week 15 win.
BUCS OLB Shaquille Barrett had a sack, giving him a league-leading 16 ½ this season that matches the franchise record set by Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp in 2000. Barrett also had 2 hurries and 5 tackles.
In addition to Godwin and Evans, Check status of BUCS WR Scotty Miller,who left with a hamstring injury after he scored in the first quarter in Week 15; TE Tanner Hudson, who was evaluated for a concussion in the second half; DT Beau Allen (knee; DNP in Week 15); OT Donovan Smith (knee; DNP in Week 15); and LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring; DNP in Week 15).
Buffalo (10-4; 9-4-1 ATS) at New England (11-3; 8-6 ATS) (3:30 pm CST)
Early line: Patriots (minus-6.5 points). Total: (38.5)
BUF 22ND OFF; NE 1ST DEF
BUF 5TH RUN; NE 7TH vs. RUN
BUF 28TH PASS; NE 2ND vs. PASS
BUF 22ND PTS; NE 1ST PTS ALLOWED
NE 18TH OFF; BUF 3RD DEF
NE 19TH RUN; BUF 10TH vs. RUN
NE 9TH PASS; BUF 3RD vs. PASS
NE 8TH PTS; BUF 2ND PTS ALLOWED
BUF T10TH TO/TA; NE 1ST TO-TA
Patriots lead all-time series 75-43-1 and have won last 6 games vs. Bills (8 of last 9), most recently beating Bills 16-10 at Buffalo in first game of these AFC East rivals’ 2019 season series in Week 4. Bills outgained Pats by a significant margin (375-224), but lost turnover battle 4-1 and were also victimized by a blocked punt that was returned 11 yards for a TD by NE special-teams ace Matthew Slater that gave Pats a 13-0 first-quarter lead they never relinquished. Late Saturday-afternoon matchup features league’s top 2 scoring defenses (NE 1st: 12.9 ppg; BUF 2nd; 15.9 ppg).
BILLS secured their second playoff berth in three seasons under head coach Sean McDermott with 17-10 road win over Steelers in Week 15 Sunday-nighter for their fourth win in five games.
BILLS have recorded their first 10-win season since 1999 and improved to a most- impressive 6-1 on road leading up to their trip Saturday to Foxborough, where the Pats are normally near-invincible.
BILLS trailed Steelers 10-7, but scored on two possessions in the fourth quarter, as QB Josh Allen rallied his troops for a comeback win for the fifth time this season.
Consecutive interceptions by SS Jordan Poyer and CB Levi Wallace on Pittsburgh’s last two possessions sealed Week 15 victory for BILLS.
BILLS offense gained 261 total yards and converted 6-of-14 3rd downs and their only 4th down, while their defense held Steelers to only 229 total yards and registered 4 sacks and 5 takeaways (4 INTs).
BILLS’ Allen completed 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Allen, who also rushed for a score, has only lost consecutive games once in his career.
Allen’s ninth score also established a new single-season BILLS franchise record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback. Allen also tied Doug Flutie for the most consecutive games accounting for a touchdown by a Bills quarterback with 20.
RB Devin Singletary led BILLS’ Week 15 38-130-1 ground game with 21-87 rushing with a long of 15, and WR John Brown caught seven passes for 99 yards to become Buffalo’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2015.
CB Tre’Davious White had a pair of picks and 4 tackles, DT Jordan Phillips had a pair of sacks and 3 tackles, Wallace had an INT and 6 tackles and Poyer had an INT, a FR and 3 tackles to lead BILLS’ staunch Week 15 defense.
Check status of BILLS OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle; DNP in Week 15).
In BILLS’ Week 4 loss to Patriots earlier this season, Allen struggled mightily (13-28-153-0 TDs-3 INTs-ghastly 24.0 QB rating while getting sacked 4 times and 5-26-1 rushing with a long of 15) before being replaced by Matt Barkley; RB Frank Gore had 17-109 (6.4 ypc) with a long of 41; four Buffalo receivers had at least 58 yards receiving, led by WR Cole Beasley, who had 7-75 on 13 targets with a long of 20; and MLB Tremaine Edmunds led defense with a team-high 11 tackles, 2 TFLs and a PB.
PATRIOTS clinched a playoff berth and broke two-game losing streak by forcing five turnovers, including four interceptions in the second half, in 34-13 Week 15 road win over lowly Bengals. It's the fourth time this season that the Patriots picked off four passes in a game.
PATRIOTS continue to have league’s best TO differential by far (plus-24) and also lead league in total takeaways 36 (2.6 per game) and INTs (25). They also continue to have league’s best total defense (268.4 ypg) and scoring defense (12.9 ppg).
A week that started with intrigue — a Patriots crew videotaping the Bengals' sideline in Cleveland — concluded with more New England history. The PATRIOTS have made the playoffs 11 consecutive seasons, extending their NFL record.
PATRIOTS head coach Bill Belichick is in the playoffs for the 18th time, tying Tom Landry for second all-time, one behind Don Shula. His 11th straight postseason berth broke a tie with Tony Dungy for the league record.
PATRIOTS QB Tom Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes to move within one of the NFL career record, and elite CB Stephon Gilmore registered 2 INTs, one of which he returned 64 yards for a score, in Week 15 win.
PATRIOTS’ Brady had TD passes of 23 and 7 yards that left him with 538 for his career, one shy of Peyton Manning's record. He finished 15-of-29 for 128 yards and missed open receivers numerous times, a performance below his career standards (86.6 QB rating).
Brady has thrown at least 20 touchdown passes in 17 seasons, moving ahead of Manning for the NFL record. Gilmore picked off Bengals QB Andy Dalton twice in the third quarter, with his second pick-6 of the season putting PATRIOTS in control of Week 15 game. CB J.C. Jackson also picked off two passes.
PATRIOTS have seven touchdowns by their defense or special teams — two fumble returns, three interception returns and two blocked punt returns. The club record is nine non-offense TDs in 2010 and 1961.
PATRIOTS had a robust 32-175 Week 15 ground game led by RBs Sony Michel, who had 19-89 rushing with a long of 12, and Rex Burkhead, who had 6-53-1, including a career-long 33-yard score.
Check status of PATRIOTS CB Jason McCourty, who was inactive with a groin injury for the third time in the last four games; ORG Shaq Mason, who left Week 15 game with an ankle injury in 4th quarter; and CB Jonathan Jones, who left with a groin injury in 4th quarter.
In PATRIOTS’ Week 4 loss to Bills earlier this season, Brady wasn’t much better than Allen (18-39-0 TDs-1 INT-45.9 QB rating), Michel had 17-63 rushing (3.7 ypc) with a long of 15, RB James White had 8-57 receiving on 10 targets with a long of 26, Jackson had 2 of team’s 4 INTs and LB Kyle Van Noy excelled, registering 2 of team’s 5 sacks, 2 FFs and team-high 8 tackles.
L.A. Rams (8-6; 9-5 ATS) at San Francisco (11-3; 8-5-1 ATS) (7:15 pm CST)
Early line: Niners (minus-6.5 points). Total: (TBD)
LAR 12TH OFF; SF 2ND DEF
LAR 24TH RUN; SF 21ST vs. RUN
LAR 6TH PASS; SF 1ST vs. PASS
LAR 13TH PTS; SF 5TH PTS ALLOWED
SF 6TH OFF; LAR 12TH DEF
SF 2ND RUN; LAR 23RD vs. RUN
SF 13TH PASS; LAR 9TH vs. PASS
SF 2ND PTS; LAR 15TH PTS ALLOWED
LAR T22ND TO/TA; SF T10TH TO-TA
49ers lead all-time series 70-67-3 and won first game in these NFC West rivals’ 2019 season series 20-7 at LA in Week 6 after getting swept in last year’s season series. Niners defense dominated Rams in Week 6 win, limiting LA to 157 total yards, 0-for-9 3rd-down conversions and 0-for-4 4th-down conversions while registering 4 sacks for 30 yards in losses.
A year after going to their first Super Bowl since the 2001 season, RAMS appear to be on the brink of playoff elimination following their 44-21 Week 15 road drubbing by the Cowboys.
With games left against NFC West foes San Francisco and Arizona, the RAMS have to win both and get some help to get to the playoffs for the third year in a row.
“We've just got to finish these last two games off, and see what happens from there,” RAMS star DT Aaron Donald said after LA’s crushing Week 15 loss. ”It's the National Football League. When you don't play good football you lose, and we didn't play good football.”
RAMS set a franchise playoff record with 273 yards on 50 carries in a 30-22 divisional win at home over Dallas last January. They had only 22 rushing yards on 14 carries in Week 15 loss, while the Cowboys had 263 with two 100-yard rushers (Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard).
Coming off two of his better games of the season, RAMS QB Jared Goff had a rough outing that looked better at the end because of his fourth-quarter numbers with the outcome decided. He finished 33-of-51 for 284 yards with 2 TDs and an INT (84.1 QB rating) directing LA offense that gained only 289 total yards.
RAMS RB Todd Gurley had a TD both rushing and receiving, but he had just 11-20 on the ground with a long of 8 and 3-18 receiving on 7 targets with a long of 9 in Week 15 loss.
RAMS TE Tyler Higbee continued his strong play as of late with 12-111 receiving on 14 targets with a long of 26, while WR Cooper Kupp had 6-41-1 receiving on 6 targets with a long of 11 in Week 15 loss.
RAMS defense that entered Week 15 game on a dominant role was completely dormant vs. Dallas, surrendering 475 total yards, 7-of-13 3rd-down conversions and 1-of-1 4th-down conversions while registering zero sacks and zero takeaways.
Check status of RAMS TE Gerald Everett (knee; DNP in Week 15).
In RAMS’ Week 6 loss to Niners earlier this season, QB Jared Goff had only 13-24-78-0 TDs-0 INTs (60.8 QB rating) and 2 fumbles (1 lost) while getting sacked 4 times; Donald had 2 sacks, a FF, 3 hurries and 7 tackles; and CB Marcus Peters (subsequently traded to Ravens) had an INT and 4 tackles.
NINERS managed to clinch a playoff berth but lost their margin for error chasing the No. 1 seed with a fourth-quarter flop in final-second 29-22 Week 15 home loss to lowly Falcons.
NINERS must now win out to earn the NFC's top seed with a season-ending road game against the Seahawks on Dec. 29 still on the schedule. That comes after a shorter week with the Rams visiting the Bay Area on Saturday night.
The Week 15 ending was wacky, and tough for the NINERS to comprehend following a 48-46 win a week earlier at New Orleans.
Fill-in NINERS S Marcell Harris broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Falcons TE Austin Hooper in the game’s waning moments. Then with 8 seconds left, Hooper couldn't secure a catch in the end zone though the Falcons were already celebrating an upset when the play went to review, and the catch was overturned because the ball hit the ground.
But that was just the first reversed call on replay in the closing seconds of NINERS’ Week 15 stunning loss. Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s winning 5-yard TD pass to WR1 Julio Jones with 2 seconds left also came after a replay reversal. Jones initially was called short of the goal line with the Falcons trailing 22-17. But a replay showed the ball breaking the plane with Jones in the air while being tackled.
A week after piling up 48 points, the NINERS’ offense fizzled for most of the game, finishing with 313 total yards, 4-of-12 3rd-down conversions, 1-of-1 4th-down conversions and 2 lost fumbles.
NINERS QB Jimmy Garoppolo finished 22-for-34 for 200 yards and had 13 completions to TE George Kittle for 134 yards. Garoppolo's streak with a QB rating of at least 110 ended at 4 straight games when he finished at 90.3. The only San Francisco QB to do that previously was Steve Young with his six-game streak in 1994.
RB Raheem Mostert led NINERS’ Week 15 ground game with 14-54-1 rushing and a long of 8.
NINERS defense allowed Falcons 290 total yards and 7-of-13 3rd-down conversions while registering 2 sacks and one takeaway. A banged-up secondary held its own despite missing CB Richard Sherman (hamstring), S Jaquiski Tarrt (ribs) and slot CB K’Waun Williams (concussion), although Falcons’ Jones did finish with 13-134-2 receiving.
In addition to Sherman, Tartt and Williams, check status of NINERS DE Dee Ford (quadriceps; DNP in Week 15), and DT Jullian Taylor (elbow; DNP in Week 15).
In NINERS’ Week 6 win over Rams earlier this season, Garoppolo had 24-33-0 TDs-1 INT (80.7 QB rating), a one-yard TD run and a lost fumble; RB Tevin Coleman had 18-45-1 rushing with a long of 9; Kittle had 8-103 receiving on 8 targets with a long of 45; Ford had 1 ½ sacks, a FF and 4 tackles; and DRE Arik Armstead had a half-sack, a FR and 6 tackles.
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