James Salinas Game Notes - NFL Week 16

James Salinas - NFL Week 16 (3-0) Overall: 26-18-2 (59% ATS)

(Photo Courtesy: Tom Fox - Dallas Morning News)

Game: Dallas @ Philadelphia (O/U 46)

Selection: Under 46

Score: DAL 9 - PHI 17

Result: W

Notes: The propaganda medium that is the NFL injury report can be a challenge to navigate for sports fans and sports bettors alike. Dallas QB Prescott reportedly did not throw a meaningful pass during practice this past week due to what is suspected to be a rotator cuff contusion in his throwing shoulder. Despite this inactivity Prescott was not listed on the Cowboys' final injury report, hence the importance of practice reports that detailed his participation as limited and the social media scribes reporting that no passes were delivered all week due to the injury. A rotator cuff injury would negatively impact Prescott's ability to push the ball down the field with velocity and accuracy, which will limit the Cowboys ability to exploit a suspect Philadelphia secondary. The Eagles will also be offensively challenged in the passing game as their starting WR trio this week will consist of 2 rookies and practice squad player. This is essentially a playoff game with the winner taking control of the NFC East title and the #4 playoff seed, so expect a low offensive output by both teams and bet the total UNDER 46 as the play.

Game: Arizona @ Seatlle (-9)

Selection: Arizona (+9)

Score: Arizona 27 - SEA 13

Result: W

Notes: Although the ARI/SEA contest is a division game, this scheduling matchup sets up for a less than inspiring effort from the Seahawks. Regardless of the outcome this Sunday, the Seahawks will be the NFC West Division champs by beating SF in a Week #17 season finale showdown. Couple the poor scheduling spot with a Seattle roster that is severely riddled with nagging injuries to key defensive playmakers LBs Wagner & Kendricks, DL Clowney & Woods (suspension), DBs Griffin & Diggs. Expect several backups to take the field in what is essentially a meaningless Week #16 game for Seattle. The Seahawks will hope to get through this game without further injury on defense while executing a vanilla offensive game plan in lieu of the follow week's game. The Cardinals and rookie QB Murray will look to build upon the previous week's beat down of Cleveland by finishing the season with positive momentum and bring a spirited effort on Sunday so take the Cardinals +9 as the bet.

Game: Green Bay @ Minnesota (-5.5)

Selection: Green Bay (+5.5)

Score: GB 23 - MIN 10

Result: W

Notes: This late in the NFL season the number of teams competing for a coveted playoff spot narrows to just a few. Tiebreaker scenarios can run deep and scoreboard watching becomes the norm as games scheduled early are correlated with later scheduled contests. The MNF matchup between GB/Minn fits that scenario as the Packers need one win to clinch the division and a Vikings win secures a wild-card berth. However, prior to kickoff on Monday the Vikings may have already made the playoffs with a Rams loss on Saturday night at SF (which I expect will happen). If the Rams do lose the Vikings' playoff anxiety will have been relieved and there may be a subconscious let down on Monday night as the reality of winning the division hinges on GB losing both to Minnesota and the inept Lions the following week. As for the matchup Minnesota has already shut down dynamic RB Cook for the remainder of the regular season and his backup Mattison has yet to practice this week. QB Cousins has benefited greatly from the infusion of Gary Kubiak's zone run game as Cousins has been tremendous making throws out of play action. Without the threat of a running game, Cousins will be forced into hero-ball mode so expect some plays made on the back end of the Packer defense setting up QB Rodgers with short fields to exploit a vulnerable Minnesota secondary. With the NFC North division title in reach for Green Bay, I'll side with the decision making ability of Rodgers (24-2 TD/INT ratio) and bet the Packers +5.5.


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