The New England Patriots entered Monday Night Football without Jakobi Meyers, Damien Harris, Isaiah Wynn, and Jalen Mills. They proceeded to lose DeVante Parker, Jack Jones, Devin McCourty, and Rhamondre Stevenson (twice) to injury in the contest. And yet, they somehow beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-13 to remain in the playoff hunt.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals lost Kyler Murray on the third play from scrimmage to a non-contact knee injury. Undoubtedly, that shook teammates and Cardinals fans alike. They looked relatively flat from that point on, while the Patriots’ pass rush kept Colt McCoy in trouble all night.
Rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris stepped up, both notching their first career rushing touchdowns. Matthew Judon and Josh Uche combined for four-and-a-half sacks. Kyle Dugger stripped all-world DeAndre Hopkins, and Raekwon McMillan picked up that loose fumble for a touchdown return. Kendrick Bourne saw a season-high five receptions in Meyers’ absence.
It was hardly inspiring football, but there were absolutely bright spots. On a two-game losing streak, the Patriots were in a must-win predicament, on the road, and facing injury challenges. And they found a way to win.
On the betting front, we were coming off a rough 2-6 in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills. As we were also in a must-win spot, it was deflating to lose Kyler Murray on the third play and Rhamondre Stevenson later in the first quarter. We had Murray for over 36.5 rushing yards and Stevenson for five or more receptions. Stevenson found his way back to the field in the second quarter for just long enough to tease me with two receptions but exited for good shortly after that.
Fortunately, we salvaged the evening as we cashed our other two plays to finish 2-2 for the week. DeAndre Hopkins hauled in seven receptions to beat the over 6.5 number, and our play of the day hit as well. Up against the worst defense in the NFL against tight ends, we needed Hunter Henry to hit over 29.5 receiving yards. We predicted “Mac Jones connecting with Henry on a couple of seam routes throughout the game against this weak unit,” and that’s exactly what we got. Henry finished the evening with three receptions and 70 yards, including two long seams.
Moving on to Week 15, these are the player props I’m in love with.
Top 4 Player Prop Bets for Week 15: #4
Patriots K Nick Folk over 6.5 kicking points (-135) – DraftKings Sportsbook
Nick Folk has reached six or fewer points only twice in his last six games. On those two occasions, he missed two field goals and one field goal. Drilling those would have put him north of seven points in both cases. The opportunities have been there, and they will be again on Sunday. Folk has only had two other misses this year, so I’m taking my chances on him making good on those opportunities on Sunday.
With a betting total of 45 points, Vegas (the casinos, not the team) expects points in this one. The Raiders have the fourth-worst passing defense in the league, allowing 254.5 passing yards per game. They have the eighth-worst scoring defense, allowing over 24 points per game. They have only 25 sacks on the season, ranking them in the bottom quarter of the league. When Mac Jones has time to throw, he looks good. Meanwhile, the Patriots are the worst team in the NFL in touchdown percentage in the red zone. You do the math here.
I expect Folk to notch two field goals and tack on at least two XPs, for eight-plus total points.