Most of the NFL has something to play for win Week 15 with 17 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot. Here are my recommendations for some NFL picks on special props.
A.J. McCarron 'Over/Under' 225.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Throws, .5 INTs
Cincinnati's McCarron, a two-time national champion at Alabama, will make his first NFL start Sunday at San Francisco in place of Andy Dalton, who is likely out the rest of the regular season with a broken right thumb suffered while attempting a tackle on one of his interceptions. Alabama is obviously the marquee college football program in the nation right now. But that wasn't the case for a while before Nick Saban when there and the Tide don't exactly churn out NFL quarterbacks. No QB from Alabama has won an NFL start since 1987, when Jeff Rutledge did so on Nov. 15 at Philadelphia. Since then, five Alabama quarterbacks have been drafted without winning a start: Mike Shula, Jay Barker, Brodie Croyle, Greg McElroy and McCarron. Not exactly a group of Hall of Famers there. John Parker Wilson played four years in the NFL as an undrafted free agent but never started. McCarron was 22-for-32 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and two picks in relief of Dalton last week vs. Pittsburgh. He goes against a 49ers defense that ranks No. 27 against the pass in allowing 268.0 yards per game. The Niners have given up 18 TDs and picked off nine passes.
NFL Free Picks: 'UNDER' yards & 'OVER' the other two.
Will The Bengals Win A Playoff Game?
Both options are -120 on NFL odds. Obviously this prop took on added relevance with Dalton's injury. We still don't know if he will be ready for the postseason, although he didn't need surgery. Dalton also has been terrible in his postseason history with a 0-4 record. Cincinnati hasn't won a postseason game since 1990, the longest drought in the NFL. It's hard to project who Cincinnati might play in the postseason because we don't know which seed the Bengals will be. My guess would be No. 3 because I don't expect them to beat Denver next week with McCarron. So New England would be No. 1 and presumably the Broncos No. 2. That would leave the Bengals hosting the final AFC wild-card team. Right now that would be the Jets, but the red-hot Chiefs and surging Steelers are also in play there.
NFL Free Pick: No. Even if Dalton's back, he won't be fully healthy. I'd take Pittsburgh or Kansas City winning in Cincinnati.
Will Russell Wilson Throw At Least 3 TD Passes Week 15?
Will Wilson Throw An Interception?
That Seattle's QB will throw the three TD is +200 with no at -300 on NFL odds. That Wilson throws an interception is +150 with no at -200. Wilson is making a late NFL MVP push, although Carolina's Cam Newton is going to win the award. Wilson had five touchdowns and no picks in last week's rout at Baltimore and now has four straight games with at least three touchdowns and no picks. In a statistic that shocks me, that ties the longest streak in NFL history along with Tom Brady (2007), Peyton Manning (2013-14) and Aaron Rodgers (2014). Seattle hosts Cleveland this week and the Browns have put top cornerback Joe Haden on season-ending injured reserve. The Browns rank No. 22 against the pass, allowing 254.0 yards per game. They have allowed 26 touchdown passes and picked off only eight.
NFL Free Picks: Yes & yes -- on a tipped ball. Seattle should be throwing a lot because it's on its third-string running back due to injuries.
Will Doug Baldwin Have 2 Or More TDs In Week 15?
Yes is +300 and no -500 for the Seahawks receiver. Wilson has been going nuts of late and thus so has his new top receiver in Baldwin. In the past five games, Baldwin has 30 receptions for 515 yards and nine touchdowns. Baldwin is the only receiver in the past 10 seasons to have eight touchdown catches over three weeks. Three TD balls came at Baltimore this past Sunday of 14, 22 and 16 yards. He's not even putting up crazy yardage with only two 100-yard games on the season.
NFL Free Pick: Roll the dice on yes. As noted above, the Browns aren't strong against the pass.