Five crazy things to know from Ravens’ wild win over Browns plus NFL Week 15 picks, power rankings
Here’s everything you need to know about the NFL for Dec. 15
Guys, I’d like to apologize in advance if I overuse the word poop in today’s newsletter, but let’s be honest, I don’t think there’s anyway around it after what went down in Cleveland on Monday night, and a lot went down, if you know what I mean.
In what was easily the craziest NFL game of the year, Lamar Jackson beat the Browns (both figuratively and literally). Jackson led Baltimore to 10 points over the final 1:53 to help push the Ravens to a 47-42 win. This game might not have been so close if Jackson had played more than two minutes of the fourth quarter, but he didn’t and that’s because he spent nearly the entire fourth quarter in the locker room battling cramps (or if you ask Twitter or Robert Griffin III, he spent the quarter sitting on the toilet trying to get out a dump).
I’ve been on Twitter since 2008 and I’ve never seen so many poop jokes in my life. It’s like everyone had been saving their poop jokes for the past 12 months, just so they could get them all out in one night. I feel dirtier, but happier for having been on Twitter last night.
If you didn’t watch the game, I’ll be covering it in-depth here, so don’t worry. All you need to know is that it was completely bonkers. Alright, let’s get to the rundown. As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. You can even share it from the bathroom.
1. Today’s Show: Ravens win thriller over Browns
For Tuesday’s podcast, not only do you get me, Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson, but we also had a special guest in the form of resident Browns homer Josh Edwards, and let me just say that this was the perfect day to have on a resident Browns homer. As an homage to Lamar Jackson, we all agreed to go the entire podcast without using the bathroom.
If you’re wondering what we talked about on the podcast, it mostly focused on the game. Here are three quick highlights from Baltimore’s win:
- Lamar Jackson was clutch. I have no idea if Lamar jackson actually had bowel issues, but whatever happened in the Ravens locker room in the fourth quarter, it fixed him. Over the final two minutes of the game, the Ravens had two possessions and both ended with a score, thanks to Lamar, who went 5 of 6 for 83 yards and a TD. Those numbers are ridiculous when you consider that he had gone just 6 of 11 for 80 yards for the entire game before the two-minute warning. Jackson also rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
- Baker Mayfield made one mistake and it was costly. Mayfield played out of his mind in this game, but he did make one big mistake and it cost the Browns big time. With Baltimore leading 28-20 in the third quarter, Mayfield got picked off near his own end zone. Baltimore’s Tyus Bowser returned it to Cleveland’s 1-yard line and the Ravens would end up scoring on the next play. In a game where every point mattered, Mayfield’s interception ended up making a big difference.
- Justin Tucker has ice in his veins. Tucker is the best kicker in the NFL — and he might even be the best kicker in NFL history — and he proved it once again by nailing a 55-yard field goal with two seconds left to give Baltimore the win. If you want to watch and admire the field goal like I have done multiple times over the past 12 hours, feel free to click here.
As for the podcast, we spent most of our time debating two things and one of those things had to do with whether Lamar Jackson actually had a cramp or if he just had to go No. 2. We also talked about the playoff picture and how we all now think the Ravens are now going to make the postseason following their wild win.
To listen to today’s episode — and subscribe to the podcast — be sure to click here.
2. Five crazy things from the Ravens-Browns game
I could probably have spent the entire newsletter recapping this game, but I won’t do that to you. For one, I think we have a limit on how many times I’m allowed to used the word poop, and also, Pete Prisco would be highly upset with me if I didn’t share his power rankings.
With that in mind, let’s take one last look at Baltimore’s win by going over five crazy things that happened:
1. Lamar’s bathroom break. One of the hottest debates on Twitter right now is whether Lamar Jackson left the game to poop during the fourth quarter. The Ravens quarterback claims he had cramps, but whatever it was, he turned into Superman after fixing the problem. Jackson’s issue kept him out for the entire fourth quarter, but then he miraculously recovered just in time to return at the two-minute warning. It was truly impeccable timing and that’s because the Ravens were trailing 35-34 and facing a fourth-and-5. If they didn’t convert, the game likely would have been over. Not only did Jackson convert, but he converted by throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown, who had previously dropped three passes in the game. It was the craziest play of a crazy day for Lamar.
2. Teams combine to make history. The Browns and the Ravens combined for NINE rushing touchdowns, which is something that none of us have ever seen before. I take that back, it actually has happened two other times in NFL history, but both of those came in 1922, so if you were alive 98 years ago, then this was probably just another game for you. The rushing touchdowns came from Lamar Jackson (2), Nick Chubb (2), Gus Edwards (2), J.K. Dobbins, Kareem Hunt and Baker Mayfield. I mean, you know things are getting out of hand when even Baker gets a rushing TD.
3. Points, points and more points. If you only watched the final two minutes of this game, then you still saw enough to call this the best game of the year. Over the final two minutes, the two teams combined for 20 points with the Ravens scoring 13 of them via a touchdown, a two-point conversion, a field goal and a safety. The Browns also scored a touchdown. This was the most points scored in the final two minutes of a game since 2013, when the Ravens and Vikings somehow combined for 28. The 20 points brought the game total up to 89, which made it the highest scoring game of the 2020 season and the third-highest in the history of Monday Night Football.
4. Ravens flagged for 15 men on the field. Although it might sound like I’m making this up, I swear, I am not. If Lamar hadn’t taken a bathroom break in the fourth quarter or if the Ravens had lost, they might have been laughingstock of the NFL because of this play. They didn’t get caught with 12-men on the field for even 13 or 14, they got caught WITH 15. And the best part is that the refs DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski had to challenge the play before the penalty got enforced. If you want to know what it looks like when a team has 15 players on the field, just click here.
5. Bad beat for Browns bettors. The Browns closed as a 3.5-point underdog at most sportsbooks, which means, anyone who bet the Browns looked like they were going to win some money after Justin Tucker’s field goal gave Baltimore a 45-42 lead with two seconds left. but then something crazy happened. On the ensuing kickoff, the Browns ran a multi-lateral play that ended with Jarvis Landry stepping out of the end zone for a safety. Not only did Browns fans have to watch their team lose in the most unimaginable way possible, but then to add insult to injury, they also lost their bet. If you want to watch the lateral play, click here. It was the first game to end with a safety since 2016. That safety also gave the game a 47-42 final score, which is the first time in NFL history that score has ever happened.
3. Pete Prisco unveils his Week 15 power rankings
I knew 2020 was crazy, but I didn’t think it was “It’s going to make Pete Prisco look like a genius” crazy, but that actually might be happening this year. Back in August, Prisco’s preseason prediction was that we would be getting a Packers-Chiefs Super Bowl this year and although that hasn’t happened just yet, I’m starting to feel like Prisco might end up being right.
Of course, the reason I brought that up just now is because the Packers and Chiefs are the top two teams in Prisco’s Power Rankings this week. Prisco has the same top five teams as he did last week, they’re just in a different order:
- Chiefs (Same as last week)
- Packers (Up two spots from last week)
- Bills (Up two spots from last week)
- Steelers (Down two spots from last week)
- Saints (Down two spots from last week)
I’m not going to spoil the rest of the power rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets:
- The Browns had the biggest drop this week of any team in the AFC as they fell FIVE spots from sixth all the way down to 11th. I’m guessing last night’s game ended past Pete’s bedtime, because that’s the only way to explain why he would drop the Browns so far after losing the wildest game of the 2020 NFL season. In the NFC, the biggest drop went to the Falcons and Panthers, who both fell four spots.
- If you’re not on the Chicago Bears bandwagon, maybe you should be and that’s because Prisco definitely is. Following their offensive outburst against the Texans, Prisco moved the Bears up NINE spots, which was the biggest jump made by any team this week. The Bears moved from 26th to 17th.
- I think Prisco has finally given up on the Dolphins. After spending multiple weeks in his top 10, he’s finally dropped them out. The Dolphins fell three spots to 13th, which makes them the eighth best team in the AFC according to Prisco. The problem for the Dolphins there is that the eighth best team in a conference doesn’t make the playoffs.
- In a surprise to no one, the Jets are still ranked last.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco’s Week 15 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.
4. Breech’s Week 15 NFL picks
If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s time for my weekly picks. I generally write my picks after the Monday night game, so if all my picks are wrong this week, I blame the fact that I stayed up until 3 a.m. reading Lamar Jackson poop memes. The lesson I learned last night is never stay up until 3 a.m. reading poop memes.
Anyway, here are two of my main picks for the week.
- Chiefs (-3.5) at Saints: The Saints have three options at quarterback for this game: Play Taysom Hill (who couldn’t beat the Eagles), play a quarterback who’s coming off 11 broken ribs (Drew Brees) or just go completely crazy and play Jameis Winston. Although I’m secretly hoping they go with Option 3, I don’t think the Saints are going to be able to keep up with the Chiefs no matter who’s at quarterback. PICK: Chiefs 30-20 over Saints.
- Steelers (-12) at Bengals: In the three weeks since Joe Burrow went down with a season ending injury, I’ve noticed a few troubling things about the Bengals: They can’t score on anyone, they have questionable coaching, they have a below average quarterback and everyone on the team fumbles. When you’re trying to win football games, none of those things are ideal. The Steelers are going to roll in this game. PICK: Steelers 31-13 over Bengals.
My betting plan for the week is to parlay the Steelers money line (-800 vs. Bengals) with the Packers money line (-420 vs. Panthers) and the Chiefs money line (-185 vs. Saints), which will give me odds of +115 (Bet $100 to win $115). If you throw the Rams money line in there (-1700 vs. Jets), that will bump this up to +126. Last week, my +126 money line parlay of Chiefs-Cowboys-Seahawks hit, which means the three-team parlays are now 3-0 on the year, so I guess I’ll just keep riding this train until it crashes.
5. NFC East no longer the worst division ever
For the first 13 weeks of the season, it looked like the NFC East was going to earn the crown for the worst division in the history of the NFL, but then a funny thing happened: They went 3-1 on Sunday. Not only did the Eagles upset the Saints, but Washington and Dallas also won.
As crazy as it sounds, the NFC East is now 9-6 over the past four weeks, which is the best record of any division in football over that span.
Thanks to their hot run, the NFC East is now 19-32-1, which means the division now has a winning percentage of .365. The worst division winning percentage ever came in 2008 when the NFC West finished with a percentage of just .344. To avoid that, all the NFC East has to do is go at least 3-9 down the stretch. The good news for the four teams in the division is that there are three division games left, which means barring a tie, they’re going to pick up at least three wins. The other good news for the NFC East is that the 2008 NFC West actually produced the NFC’s Super Bowl team that year (Arizona), so although the division has been horrible this season, don’t count out the NFC East in the playoffs.
6. NFL Week 15 early odds: Rams biggest favorite they’ve been since 2001
When you have one of the best teams in football playing one of the worst teams, you get a giant point spread and that’s what we’ll be getting on Sunday when the Rams host the Jets. The Rams are currently a 17-point favorite over New York, which is notable for two reasons: For one, that’s the most the Rams have been favored by in a game since 2001 and their “Greatest Show on Turf” days. Also, this is notable, because it means the Jets have now been involved in three of the biggest point spreads of the year.
Prior to this week, there had only been three games this year where a team was an underdog of at least 16 points and the Jets were involved in two of them. Back in Week 8, the Jets didn’t cover against the Chiefs in a 35-9 loss where they were a 20-point underdog. In Week 14, the Seahawks closed as a 16-point favorite in their 40-3 win over the Jets.
NFL teams are 3-0 ATS this season when favored by 16 or more, which is good news for the Rams. Here’s a look at two other interesting games that you might want to bet on:
- Panthers at Packers (-8.5): The Panthers have nothing to play for and they have to go to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field which definitely isn’t a good thing, especially when you consider that since the start of the 2009 season, Aaron Rodgers is 19-2 in December home games and 17-4 ATS.
- Steelers (-12) at Bengals: The Steelers have absolutely dominated this rivalry over the past few years. If you’re wondering what I mean by dominated, I mean this: In the past 14 games between these two teams, the Steelers have gone 13-1 straight-up and 11-3 against the spread.
If you want to check out the rest of the early odds for Week 15, you can do that by heading here.
7. The Kicker!
At this point, I might have to just start calling this section “The Tucker.” As soon as Justin Tucker took the field last night, I yelled, “TUCKER IN, THIS GAME IS OVER.” OK, I didn’t yell that, but I should have.
The Ravens kicker proved once again why he’s the best kicker in the NFL. With just seconds left against Cleveland, Tucker nailed a 55-yard field to win the game. Not only was it a long kick, but it came on windy night in a game where the field wasn’t in great condition. I’d say that maybe 10 other kickers in the NFL could have hit that kick last night and Tucker is the only one who I would want to kick it if my life was on the line (I’m not sure why my life would be on the line in a situation where Justin Tucker is kicking a field goal, but crazier things have happened in 2020, so let’s not pretend like it couldn’t happen).
Anyway, I’ll be taking the day off tomorrow so I can re-watch Tucker’s kick all day. Since I’ll be out, that means you’ll get to hang out with our Hump Day specialist Cody Benjamin. I’m guessing Cody is going to be in an especially good mood after watching this Eagles beat the Saints on Sunday.
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Here’s everything you need to know about the NFL for Dec. 15
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