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Scott Shapiro's Week 18 NFL Worksheet: Taylor will close out memorable season in style

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January 5th, 2022

The end of the longest regular season in NFL history is finally here, and my oh my, what a season it has been. So much incredible entertainment on the field and so much turmoil off of it. Some seasons are easy to forget. Not this one. Hopefully, the run to the Super Bowl will be as fun as it looks on paper.

We're onto Week 18, where there are a number of meaningful games, as well as several that involve teams just playing out the string. The final slate of contests is often extremely tough to predict, but as always, I will give it my best shot.

Team Most Likely to Win by 14+ Points: Buffalo Bills

Sun, January 9 2022, 9:25 PM

BUF Bills

Moneyline

-1250

Spread

-16.5

Total

O 42.5

NY Jets

Moneyline

+700

Spread

+16.5

Total

U 42.5

The Jets have had a disappointing first season under new head coach Robert Saleh. They have just four wins heading into Week 18 and come off a gut-wrenching loss last Sunday to the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now they must head upstate to take on a Bills squad that needs a victory to clinch the AFC East title. Look for Josh Allen to pick apart one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL early and for Devin Singletary to finish things off late on the ground. Buffalo rolls.

Underdog of 6+ points Most Likely to Spring an Outright Upset: Philadelphia Eagles

Sun, January 9 2022, 1:15 AM

PHI Eagles

Moneyline

+225

Spread

+7

Total

O 42.5

DAL Cowboys

Moneyline

-286

Spread

-7

Total

U 42.5

Dallas comes off a tough loss at home to the Cardinals, so the Cowboys should be ready to play, despite having no chance to earn the No. 1 seed in the conference and already having locked up the NFC East.

It remains to be seen whether the Eagles will rest some of their starters, having clinched a Wild Card berth, but expect them to play hard regardless. The Eagles were dominated by their bitter rival, the Cowboys, on national television in Week 3, in a contest I am certain they have not forgotten.

They are a far better squad now than they were early in the season and should give “America’s Team” all they can handle in the regular-season finale.

RB/WR/TE Most Likely To Score 2 Touchdowns: Jonathan Taylor

Sun, January 9 2022, 6:00 PM

JAX Jaguars

Moneyline

+650

Spread

+15.5

Total

O 44

IND Colts

Moneyline

-1115

Spread

-15.5

Total

U 44

What a season it has been for the second-year running back. The 41st overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft leads the league in rushing yards (1734) and rushing touchdowns (18), and he gets a juicy matchup in a must-win game to close the regular season.

Expect head coach Frank Reich to put the ball in Taylor’s belly early and often, which should lead to multiple trips to the end zone for the former University of Wisconsin star.

Quarterback Most Likely to Throw for 400 Yards: Justin Herbert

Mon, January 10 2022, 1:20 AM

LV Raiders

Moneyline

+132

Spread

+3

Total

O 49.5

LA Chargers

Moneyline

-162

Spread

-3

Total

U 49.5

Herbert has backed up an amazing rookie campaign with an extremely solid second year as the signal caller in Los Angeles. The 6'6" Oregon native has thrown for 35 touchdowns and over 4,600 yards, and faces a Las Vegas defense that is very beatable on the back end.

If the Raiders score enough to push the Los Angeles offense and the Chargers can protect Herbert, it should be a big day through the air for the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Defense Most Likely To Pitch a Shutout: Washington Football Team

Sun, January 9 2022, 6:00 PM

NY Giants

Moneyline

+230

Spread

+7

Total

O 38

WAS Football Team

Moneyline

-286

Spread

-7

Total

U 38

It has been a disappointing season, to say the least, for Washington. The team lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the season opener and the defense has taken a huge step backward after being one of the best units in the league in 2020.

The good news for the WFT is they face the Giants to close the year. New York has posted 10 points or fewer in each of its last three games and is likely to send out Jake Fromm on Sunday. The G-Men will once again struggle to find the end zone.

My Week 18 ATS Plays of the Week:

  • San Francisco (+4)
  • Over Philadelphia/Dallas (42.5)
  • Under Washington/New York (38)

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