Week 15 NFL Picks: Back Patriots to Cover -14 at Home vs. Titans

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 9:48 PM GMT

The last time these two teams met in New England the Patriots won 59-0. Could another blowout be in store for your Week 15? How should we place our NFL picks on this game?

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NFL Pick: Patriots -14
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

It’s Week 15 in the NFL and we have some teams jockeying for playoff position, and others for draft position. That is certainly the case in this game, as we have the 11-2 New England Patriots hosting the 3-10 Tennessee Titans. Oddsmakers don’t expect the Titans to have much of a shot in this one, giving them money line NFL odds of near +900 to entice any action on them. The spread line is quite a bit more generous, with Tennessee being gifted 15.5 points by 5Dimes. The O/U total is listed at 47 at the same site.

 

New England Patriots
It must be noted that the Patriots clinched the AFC East for the seventh consecutive time in Week 14, but they are still playing for home field advantage in a tight race atop the AFC with the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos.

New England is coming off of a game in Houston where they righted the ship, smothering the Texans 27-6 after losing back-to-back games at Denver and at home to Philadelphia. The defense was particularly impressive, holding the Texans to just 189 total yards and 3.6 yards per play. They won the time of possession battle 35:14 to 24:46 as well. However, the Patriots lost bruiser RB LaGarrette Blount for the rest of the season in the game, as he left in the second quarter with a hip injury.

With Blount out for the season, New England has signed former Bronco RB, Montee Ball, to the practice squad, and had a visit with free agent RB Steven Jackson. As it stands, only running backs Brandon Bolden and James White are on the active roster. White has been quite impressive catching balls out of the backfield in lieu of also injured running back, Deon White.

The injury to Blount comes just as the Patriots got TE Rob Gronkowski back from a knee injury. Gronk was able to contribute immediately upon his return, logging a 4 catches on 4 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown. He was the Patriots leading receiver in the game against the Texans.

 

Tennessee Titans
The Titans are definitely playing for draft position, and are currently in search for a new head coach and likely a new GM as well. Interim head coach, Mike Mularkey, had success getting the Titans to at least put out max effort in their losing games, but that changed last week against the Jets. It was apparent that many players were making “business decisions”, and Mularkey was put on notice about the lack of effort from his club.

The Titans are also dealing with injuries, most recently losing DE Derrick Morgan for the season as he will undergo shoulder surgery. Not only that, but Dexter McCluster broke his wrist in the Week 14 game against the Jets and will also be gone for the season. This means that demoted RB and former Gonzaga Prep star (minutes from my house), Bishop Sankey, will be placed back in the starting role. Sankey doesn’t have much to show for in 2015, rushing just 41 times for 166 yards and a touchdown. He’s averaged 4.0 yards per carry on the ground. Sankey was a healthy inactive in Week 14 against the Jets.

The last time the Patriots met Tennessee at home the Pats won 59-0, so they are definitely able to cover a 14-point spread. The only danger is that the Titans players have been embarrassed in the film room from their play against the Jets and have their jobs to play for, possibly giving them some extra motivation. This is one of those games where the hook is going to affect my decision. If you can get the Pats at -14, take them, but if your book hangs 14.5 out there, pass on the line. I’m personally teasing them down to 8 points in a few plays, which I think is a lock. Either way, taking the Pats in this one is the Week 15 NFL pick.