Tom Brady has his eyes set on the postseason for Tampa Bay

John Bazemore/AP

As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast...

... If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.


We saw the Bills and Seahawks punch their tickets to the postseason in Week 15 leaving only four spots left to claim in both conferences. The Lions, 49ers, Broncos, and Patriots will not be among them as they all added their names to the list of teams mathematically eliminated from contention.

The Jets completed one of the biggest upsets of the season on their way to their first win of 2020 against the playoff-contending Los Angeles Rams, but with that victory gave up valuable ground to Jacksonville in the race for the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, also known as the Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes.

Miami, Baltimore, Arizona, and Tampa Bay all picked up important wins as they're vying for postseason spots in a highly competitive field. The Browns Sunday night win over the Giants kept them in the top Wild Card spot in the AFC. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still look like the team to beat, but there's another gunslinger in the AFC named Josh Allen that may be planning to play the Grinch in Kansas City's championship sequel.

What to Watch For

The Baltimore Ravens (9-5) have been led by a resurgent Lamar Jackson over the past two weeks, and it may be just in the St. Nick of time for reigning MVP. The Ravens will play the Giants and Bengals over the last two weeks of the regular season which should give them a good shot at finishing 11-5.

Currently the Colts (10-4) and Dolphins (9-5) are ahead of Baltimore sitting in the final two playoff spots, but the Dolphins have an unfavorable final two games against the Raiders and Bills. If the Dolphins lose even one game the rest of the way out, we could see the South Beach fans on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

The NFC is a little murkier as nine teams remain in contention to reach the postseason. The NFC East is completely up for grabs as even the 4-9-1 Eagles could still win the division if they win out and everyone else loses out which as we've seen throughout this season, is completely possible. The Cardinals and Bucs helped their causes with wins in Week 15, and a loss by the Rams increased their chances to earn a playoff berth.


Playoff Matchup Predictions As of Week 15 (Only first seed in each conference receives first round bye)

AFC

1. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have looked like the best team in the league all season, and we expect their high level of play to continue into the postseason. Patrick Mahomes has been stellar, and the bevy of weapons at his disposal is simply not fair to the rest of the league.


2. Buffalo Bills

7. Baltimore Ravens

Josh Allen has stepped into the elite category of NFL quarterbacks this season. The acquisition of Stefon Diggs has expedited his development and Buffalo might be the team to unseat the Chiefs in the AFC this year.

If Lamar Jackson is able to carry his team to the playoffs, you never know what he can do. The book on him so far is that he can't win big games. That has been the case for many high profile quarterbacks in league history, and it's always true until it isn't.


3. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. Tennessee Titans

The Steelers started the year with 11 consecutive wins. They're on a two game slide right now, but a Monday night matchup against the Bengals tonight gives them an opportunity to seal a division title and prevent the Browns from having a chance to overtake them.

Derrick Henry proved last season he is a problem in the playoffs and the Titans will certainly look to ride their star running back as far as he'll take them this playoff season.


4. Indianapolis Colts

5. Cleveland Browns

The Colts have been surprisingly good on both sides of the ball this season. We think they'll overtake the Titans for the division lead by the end of the season. Unfortunately for them that would result in a matchup against Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh, and we think that the Browns are the better team in the AFC North at this point in the season.

Cleveland is a team that nobody in the AFC wants to see in the playoffs! 2020 is weird. But it's true. Nobody wants a playoff opponent that can run the ball down down your throats for 60 minutes and Cleveland has the best 1-2 punch in all of football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It's been a long time since we've seen brown and orange against the backdrop of crisp white snow, and we're here for it.


NFC

1. Green Bay Packers

In what will go down as one of Aaron Rodgers' best seasons, the Packers are trying to get one step further than they did last season. Losing to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game a year ago, Rodgers wants to add another Lombardi to his resume before he discount double checks himself into the Hall of Fame.


2. New Orleans Saints

7. Arizona Cardinals

Drew Brees is back and he pretty good in his return from multiple rib fractures and a punctured lung. Not good enough to best the Chiefs in Week 15, but Saints fans should have nothing to worry about. If Michael Thomas can get healthy for the playoffs it will boost their chances to make a run, but he was just recently placed on IR and will be out for the remainder of the regular season.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals outlasted Jalen Hurts and the Eagles in Week 15 to earn an important win to keep them a game ahead of the Bears for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Although their level of play has slipped from the beginning of the year, a mobile quarterback like Murray can prove to be a tough matchup for any team in a must-win game.


3. Seattle Seahawks

6. Los Angeles Rams

Remember when we were all asking for Pete Carroll to #LetRussCook? Well now we're just hoping he can work a toaster. We have serious concerns about this Seattle team from a defensive perspective, but if Wilson isn't able to provide the Superman heroics we've come accustomed to seeing from him Seattle will be looking at an early exit.

The Rams would make up the other half of this matchup and this combination is about as vanilla as it gets. We envision the line on this game being "bleh" and an over/under of "who cares". Whoever comes out of this the winner, will likely be outed in the next round. Let's hope for a different opening round 3/6 matchup.


4. Washington Football Team

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While you may think that the assessment of a potential Seattle and Los Angeles was harsh and that this potential game is worse, let me tell you that you'd be wrong. Washington has been the best NFC East team for the majority of the season and that's with a rotating cast of quarterbacks and a rookie running back named Antonio Gibson.

Gibson along with Jacksonville's James Robinson, has been a pleasant surprise among this rookie class and his potential return from injury in Week 16 gives fans of the Football Team legitimate hope of winning the division and maybe, just maybe a playoff game or two. Chase Young leads an impressive defense, one that likes to get at the opposing QB which may not bode well for Tom Brady.

The Bucs were a preeminent favorite to win the Super Bowl after their offseason acquisitions of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette. Antonio Brown signed on with the team once he was eligible, coming off a league imposed suspension. This added to an already solid group that included Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Ronald Jones.

What we've seen from Tampa has been a team trying to find its identity all year. Through ups and downs however, Tom Brady has been low-key great. He's thrown for 3,886 yards and 32 touchdowns so far, and has been a steady figure for the team as they are attempting to lock up their playoff position.

We won't get to see Tom's old coach and team in the playoffs this year, but we will get our annual postseason dose of Tom Brady.

File:Justin Herbert (51459803577) (cropped).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

It's another eventful week in the NFL.

Four teams -- the Jets, Falcons, Saints, and 49ers -- are the first teams to get a bye week. After Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers narrowly escaped Thursday Night Football with a 28-22 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning Super Bowl champs are the first team with five wins in the league. Who will join them on Sunday? We know that we'll get at least a second five-win team since the 4-1 Ravens are hosting the 4-1 Chargers. That is going to be an epic battle, so let's start with that clash of AFC contenders. Welcome to our Week 6 NFL Best Bets.

Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Playing on the road is a difficult task for any team, but if any team can escape with a victory, it's Justin Herbert and the Chargers. This isn't the Chargers of the last decade. This team is winning the close battles. Herbert is playing at an MVP level this season and already has led this team to big-time wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns -- two of the top teams in the AFC. This L.A. team is deep at the skill positions, can rush the passer, has an improved offensive line and a great young coach. What's not to like?

All that said, Lamar Jackson seems to be playing as he did during his 2019 MVP campaign. Not to mention, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is actually catching passes. He eclipsed 100 yards last week and scored two touchdowns (including the game-winning catch in overtime). Simply put, this is a tough team to bet against. It did take last-second heroics for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions and a pretty pedestrian Colts team. Overall, Baltimore hasn't faced a test like this yet this season. Take the points and the better overall squad. Chargers may win this game, but if they don't, they are not going to lose by more than a field goal.

PICK: Chargers +3.5

Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5) at Washington Football Team

It's been a tough start to the season for the Chiefs. They had great odds to return to the Super Bowl and are now last in the AFC West heading into Week 16 with a 2-3 record. They desperately need this game. This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to prove they are still elite by defeating a team that made the postseason last year on the road. The Chiefs are going to turn it around against a Washington defense that is allowing the sixth-most passing yards and second-most passing touchdowns this season. Patrick Mahomes is going to blow up. Tyreek Hill is going to dominate. Travis Kelce is going to continue to provide a steady source of receptions down the middle of the field. As long as the Chiefs' offensive line holds against Chase Young, it's going to be a long day for Washington's defense. Betting on Mahomes to right the ship isn't a really difficult choice.

PICK: Chiefs -6.5

Houston Texans (+9) at Indianapolis Colts

Yes, the Texans are one of the worst teams in the league. Betting on them on the road against a divisional rival might seem crazy at first. However, the Texans are 7-3 against the spread as underdogs in their last 10 games. Plus, the Colts are emotional after completely giving away the game against the Ravens in which they blew a 22-3 lead late in the game. This is going to cause a bit of a hangover in that locker room. When New England suffered a terrible loss against Tom Brady and the Bucs, the Texans managed to cover the spread the following week. Look for history to repeat itself. Texans coach David Culley has Houston playing hard in spite of its lack of talent and quarterback Davis Mills appeared to take a step forward last week against the Pats. Houston has played pretty good pass defense, too. The Texans have allowed only seven passing TDs this season.

PICK: Texans +9

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)

Sunday night will be an interesting matchup to watch as Geno Smith will make his first start in four years as the Seahawks travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. I hate betting on Ben Roethlisberger, but it's hard to envision the Seahawks covering the spread without the services of Russell Wilson. And as much as I think Big Ben should hang up his cleats, you have to give him credit for the way he dominated a solid Broncos defense last week. Roethlisberger looked better than he did earlier in the season and was able to get the ball to his playmakers -- Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and running back Najee Harris. Seattle's defense is one of the worst in the league and their secondary is even worse than their front seven. Look for the Steelers to light up Seattle in the passing game.

PICK: Steelers -5

Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns OVER 49.5

Both of these offenses can put up a lot of points, though they go about it very differently. The Browns are a run-heavy team, and even though they will be without the services of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt is more than capable of getting the job done. Meanwhile, Arizona's offense runs through electric quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray is able to move the chains with his legs but he isn't afraid to toss the ball either. He loves getting his guys involved and his weapons are elite in DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk.

The Browns are coming off an 89-point slugest with the Chargers and hit the OVER in their other game against a high-end offense in a 33-29 loss to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have scored 30-plus points in four of five games this year. Smash the OVER.

PICK: OVER 49.5

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers
Getty Images

Week 2 of the NFL was full of breakout performances, thrilling finishes and potentially the start of the Justin Fields era in the NFC North as the Bears' win over the Bengals finds them in first place in the division.

We cap off the week with a Monday Night Football showdown between the Packers and the Lions with the winner finding themselves tied for first in the North. The Packers put up an absolute dud of a performance last week against the Saints in Week 1 while the Lions looked surprisingly effective while playing catch-up against the West-leading 49ers. The expectations for these two teams couldn't have been further apart coming into the season but with matching 0-1 starts on the books, I think there are a couple of interesting props and roster construction angles to exploit.

NFL DFS Showdown Picks

*Prices are from DraftKings

Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($9,600) ($14,400)

I'm normally not a fan of playing a tight end in the captain spot, but T.J. Hockenson is not your average tight end. He finished 2020 with an elite 18% target share in the Lions' offense and picked up right where he left off in Week 1, finishing with an 18.2% share on 50 routes run last week. Hockenson has always carried premium TD upside as a red-zone target but what was most encouraging about last week was that he ran nearly 55% of his routes out of the slot, leaving him a matchup against Chandon Sullivan, who's allowing a 67% catch rate in his coverage. In a game where the Lions are projected to be down early, expect Hockenson to get fed once again. His red-zone utilization gives him enough juice to take the captain's chair in my builds.

Core Consideration: QB Jared Goff, Detroit Lions ($10,000)

Two principles I take into Showdown slates apply to this play. Generally speaking, if I have a pass-catcher as my captain, I'm finding a way to get their QB into a flex spot. The second is that your build needs to tell a story. Mine is that the Packers come out with something to prove after getting embarrassed in Week 1 and that we'll likely see upwards of 50 pass attempts from Jared Goff as he attempts to mount a comeback. Goff is a surprisingly effective passer when getting good protection and this unit gave him a clean pocket on 86.7% of snaps last week. Expect that to continue tonight as Goff will continue to feast in garbage time.

Contrarian Play: WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers ($2,000)

I still chuckle at the thought of the return of Randall Cobb being on the short-list of demands from Aaron Rodgers in the midst of his holdout. I do, however, think there is something to be said about the importance of chemistry between a quarterback and his receiver and I expect that in a typical game (which Week 1 was not), Aaron Rodgers is going to find his spots to get Cobb involved. In a game script that figures to have the Packers up by a healthy margin, not many are going to look at the tertiary passing options for Green Bay and I think a $2,000 Randall Cobb could sneak in a handful of receptions at single-digit ownership..

Salary Relief: WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions ($2,400)

This one fits perfectly into my narrative for the game as well. In a game where the Lions are likely to flirt with 50+ pass attempts and coming off a week where St. Brown ran routes on 75% of the team's passing plays, I will be overweight on Amon-Ra tonight. Lining up in the slot on 74.5% of plays means St. Brown will primarily see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, the most favorable of the options GB lines up in their defensive secondary. Expect St. Brown to see his target volume increase tonight. If Detroit can be more effective in getting to the red zone, he carries decent scoring upside with the way he's utilized in this offense. Plus, who doesn't love the extra motivation of playing against their big bro?

Monday Night Football Best Bets

Taking a look at the wagering side of this game; before we determine anything else we must ask ourselves what we think of these Green Bay Packers. I tend to look at last week's performance as the exception and not the rule. With that being the case, I am laying the 11.5 points and taking GB tonight. Over the past six seasons, oddsmakers have been fairly sharp when it comes to these larger spreads and NFL teams cover double-digit spreads more than 55% of the time. The total for tonight is sitting at 48.5 and given the somewhat surprising ability of the Lions to make up ground last week, I am confidently on the "over" side of that line.

Picks: Packers -11.5, OVER 48.5 points

Taking a look at the prop market, I am again mainly investing in the "GB Blowout" narrative:

D'Andre Swift: OVER 28.5 Receiving Yard

Coming off a 65-yard performance in a very similar game script, this one feels like a no-brainer. Swift averages nearly 8 yards per reception so this really boils down to whether you think he catches more than 3 passes. I certainly do and I'm confidently on the OVER for this prop. FanDuel is currently carrying the best odds at -110.

T.J. Hockenson: Anytime TD

I'm not the biggest fan of these "to score" props, but I'll break from the norm with this one. I am projecting the Lions to at least have a go at it in this game and there simply isn't a scenario where that doesn't involve a score for Hockenson. +220 odds at FanDuel sort of feels like stealing given that I see this game going over the 48.5 total.

AJ Dillon | UNDER 8.5 Rushing Attempts

I know that the betting public is forecasting a fairly comfortable win for the Packers, but let's not get carried away. AJ Dillon would have to nearly double his career average for carries to get to this number. Plus, it's a bit unlikely that this game gets so far out of reach that Green Bay brings in their backups. Even last week when they did bring in the second-stringers, Dillon only saw 4 carries. I'm expecting Aaron Jones to have a monster day on the ground, as evidenced by my Saturday article.

File:Derrick Henry 2019 12-08.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Week 1 is in the books and it's time to move on to the best bets in Week 2.

If you listened to my article earlier this week, you would have started 1-0 for taking the Giants with the points against Washington in that thriller of a matchup Thursday night. Now, let's dive into Week 2's best NFL bets.

Best Bets

Tennessee Titans/Seattle Seahawks Over 54

The Seahawks' offense was high-flying in the first half last week. Because the Colts never really threatened the outcome of the game, the Seahawks were able to take the air out of the ball and finish the game with an easy win while only scoring seven in the second half. While both the Titans' defense and offense looked atrocious, expect Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to have big bounce-back weeks and make this an epic high-scoring game. This has all the makings for a shootout in which both teams put up 30-plus points.

Cincinnati Bengals +2.5 @ Chicago Bears

Until that Monday night game, the Bengals had the honor of winning the craziest Week 1 game over the Vikings in overtime. The Bears' defense, which is supposed to be their strength, looked awful against the Rams, including one of the most blown coverages you'll ever see on Cooper Kupp's long touchdown. It was simply an awful week for the Bears. I don't think it gets any better until they remove Dalton and promote Justin Fields. If they don't do that prior to game time, the Bengals will run away with this one.

Los Angeles Rams -3.5 @ Indianapolis Colts

Coming out of Week 1 the Rams looked great on both sides of the ball. Matthew Stafford had a great first game, going 20 for 26 with three touchdowns. The Colts... They didn't look that great on either side of the ball. While Carson Wentz's overall numbers didn't look bad, most of the yardage and one of his two TDs came in the fourth quarter as they were chasing from two or more scores back, never actually threatening to win the game. I'm leaning towards the Rams winning this in a blowout and would consider alternate spreads.

Arizona Cardinals -3.5 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Kyler Murray appears to be a man on a mission to avenge last season's bitter ending after absolutely torching the Tennesee Titans in Nashville. The Vikings' defense, who hasn't been as formidable as years past, is going to have their hands full with Kyler. Last week they allowed Joe Burrow to complete nearly 80% of his passes, and Burrow isn't a threat to run nor has a receiver as talented as DeAndre Hopkins. If the Vikings offense doesn't step up and make this a shootout, things could get ugly in Phoenix.

Dallas Cowboys + 3.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers

Dak Prescott looked great in Week 1 and if there were any issues with his shoulder after throwing 58 times, he had 10 days to get healed up again and ready for the Chargers. I can almost guarantee, whenever the Cowboys go to play either Los Angeles team in their stadium, that there will be more Cowboys fans than LA fans. So while they aren't playing in Jerry World, they'll have more fan support. My concern for Justin Herbert and the Chargers is their efficiency in the red zone. His most potent weapons in Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler become less effective as they get closer to the goal line. That leaves Jared Cook and Mike Williams as your bigger bodies in the red zone, which isn't ideal. The Cowboys have a decent chance to win this one outright, but you can take the points for some cushion.

Long-Shot Parlay

  • Cowboys ML (+160)
  • Titans +6.5 (-105)
  • Steelers ML (-225)
  • Rams -3.5 (-110)

Five Props To Consider

  • Calvin Ridley OVER 6.5 receptions (+115)
  • Tyrod Taylor OVER 34.5 Pass Attempts (-105)
  • Aaron Jones OVER 88.5 combined yards (-115)
  • Nick Chubb OVER 17.5 carries (-120)
  • James Robinson OVER 9.5 carries (-125)

All five of these props have an excellent chance at hitting. I like the idea of wagering a three-leg prop parlay with the last three props listed (Jones, Chubb and J-Rob). Thanks me on Monday.

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