The Baltimore Ravens host the Green Bay Packers in one of the marquee NFL games of Week 15 but the Ravens may not have star QB Lamar Jackson. He suffered a right ankle sprain in Sunday’s 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns, which puts a major question mark over the final four games of the regular season for Baltimore. Here’s a look at two sure losers around the league in Week 15 – both underdogs.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-7)
The Jets were beaten in Week 11 by the Dolphins 24-17. Tua Tagovailoa, who threw a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin early in the fourth quarter, finished 27 of 33 for 273 yards and touchdown passes to Gaskin and Mack Hollins with one interception.
With the game tied at 14, Tagovailoa was facing heavy pressure when he got a throw off to Gaskin, who held onto the ball to put the Dolphins ahead 21-14 with 10:15 left despite getting hit by both C.J. Mosley and Elijah Riley in the end zone. The drive was helped by a roughing the passer penalty on John Franklin-Myers on third down from the 6, when Tagovailoa’s pass to Gaskin fell incomplete.
Receiver Jaylen Waddle had a 1-yard TD run for Miami, which took the all-time series lead for the first time since 2000 by going up 56-55-1 in the head-to-head matchup. Joe Flacco was the Jets’ starting QB then but it will be rookie Zach Wilson in this one.
The Jets (3-10) were officially eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday’s 30-9 home loss to the Saints, extending their league-high active playoff drought to 11 years. First-year coach Robert Saleh was blunt about his team’s current standing, but optimistic about the future: “Does it suck right now? Sure, I feel you. Nobody in this locker room wants to lose football games.” He went on to say this is “the crappy part” of rebuilding, but added that the young players are learning. “We’re going to flip it,” he said.
The Jets were held to three Eddy Piñeiro field goals in the loss. Wilson finished 19 of 42 for 202 yards leading an injury-depleted offense as the Jets were held without a touchdown for the third time this season. New York’s top two wideouts — Elijah Moore and Corey Davis — were placed on injured reserve earlier this week, RB Michael Carter (high ankle) remains sidelined, RB Tevin Coleman (concussion protocol) was out and Austin Walter was active but couldn’t go on game day because of illness.
Miami comes off its bye week on a five-game winning streak. The Fins have put running backs Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin on the COVID list but both still might be cleared in time if they are vaccinated. Phillip Lindsay is the only healthy running back on Miami’s roster.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+10)
Dallas beat the Giants 44-20 in Week 5. Dak Prescott threw three TD passes. He finished 22 of 32 for 302 yards to boost his passer rating to 116.9 despite an interception when linebacker Lorenzo Carter tipped a fourth-down pass and caught it and a botched snap for a lost fumble when the Cowboys were in scoring range early.
Giants QB Daniel Jones left on a cart after a concussion while trying to score running wide from the 1-yard line in the second quarter. His backup, Mike Glennon, was 16 of 25 for 196 yards with a late 3-yard touchdown to Devontae Booker and two interceptions.
It might be Glennon starting this game as Jones missed Sunday’s loss at the Chargers with a neck injury he suffered against Philadelphia on Nov. 28. Rookie receiver Kadarius Toney missed a third straight game with an oblique injury.
The Giants, who trailed by as many as 30 points before adding two late touchdowns, fell 37-21 to the Chargers in Los Angeles. Glennon completed 17 of 36 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He was strip-sacked by Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa for another turnover. Glennon also recorded the first rushing touchdown of his career with 1:18 left in the game.
Saquon Barkley rushed for a season-high 64 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 31 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
Dallas beat Washington 27-20 on Sunday to all but wrap up the NFC East Division. The WFT had only 224 yards of total offense and to two third down conversions on 14 attempts. The return of defensive end Randy Gregory and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, combined with fellow defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence coming back last week, has suddenly given the Cowboys a formidable pass rush. Dallas recorded five sacks and nine quarterback hits overall in the game while limiting Washington’s Tyler Heinicke to only 122 passing yards and a 55.8 passer rating.
A stagnant offense nearly let down a dominating defense. Prescott was intercepted twice, including one that was returned for a touchdown to cut the game to one score. The running game was better but not explosive, especially with the absence of Tony Pollard, who was out injured. Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins was ejected in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch while trying to defend Prescott. Collins might be suspended for a game.
Expert picks: Dolphins and Cowboys
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