Play action or Pass week 16: Motivate me

The Texans are playing for Bill O'Brien's job. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Motivation is a stat that fails to show up in the box score or in the spread, but unquestionably you see it with the on-field performances in the closing weeks of the regular season.

Week 16 brings us various spots that we look to take advantage of using motivation as an angle we can capitalize on.

We currently sit at:


1. Patriots 11-3

2. Steelers 11-3

3. Jaguars 10-4

4. Chiefs 8-6

5. Titans 8-6

6. Bills 8-6

Trailing behind them and still in contention.

Ravens 8-6

Chargers 7-7

Raiders 6-8

Dolphins 6-8


1. Eagles 12-2

2. Vikings 11-3

3. Rams 10-4

4. Saints 10-4

5. Panthers 10-4

6. Falcons 9-5

Trailing behind them and still in contention

Lions 8-6

Seahawks 8-6

Cowboys 8-6

Playoff Seeding Motivation


Philadelphia has clinched the NFC East and a first-round bye. The Eagles will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Raiders, or a tie combined with a Vikings loss/tie, or a Vikings loss. How much motivation will Oakland have after the tragedy of last Sunday night? After being on the wrong side of the most bizarre first down measurement "paper gate," Derek Carr fumbled Oakland's playoff chances out of the end zone for a touchback. Although they aren't mathematically eliminated, the Raiders would need to win out and have multiple scenarios to play out in order to punch a ticket into the postseason. Cross-country travel, on a short week vs. a non-conference opponent, where will the fight for the Raiders come from? Offensive tackle Donald Penn held a streak of 174 straight games played, but this Christmas, he will be at home. To lose your left tackle, Derek Carr's blindside, while traveling into a hostile environment, to play against a defense that underachieved the prior week isn't the ideal situation. Yes, these are professionals, but at the same time they are human, and with the dream being basically crushed by Carr's fumble, how can we expect the Raiders to get up for this game. How can Oakland salvage some kind of motivation going into the off-season? A trip to L.A in week 17 vs. the Chargers with the chance to play spoiler could be the remedy. Look for the Raiders to sleepwalk through this game with the season finale serving as some type of redemption game.

Job security motivation

Texans +10

"We have a great relationship; Coach OB is fun to play for. He's very tough on you. He wants you to be successful. I would love to have coach OB back, and I'm ready to have him with me for my whole career." These were the words of new found leader Deshaun Watson, amidst of all the talk of Bill O'Brien's future with the team. When Watson, the future of the team, comments about who he would like to play for and shows that he is in Bill O'Brien's corner, it has to bring a sense of motivation from a coaching standpoint as well as a perception of optimism in the locker-room. When asked about his quarterbacks support, the QB whisperer O'Brien said “I appreciate all the support that anybody — I think that’s just the way I think any of us are. People support you, it’s a nice thing. But we’ve got to focus on Pittsburgh, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” The Steelers are coming off a wild finish in a matchup they had circled all year. By now, we all know about the Jesse James catch being overturned, and the catastrophic mistake Ben Roethlisberger made, so where is the mental state of the Steelers locker room? They are still playing for a first-round bye week, and they lead Jacksonville by a game, but the Jaguars face off a day earlier vs. the 49ers. Will the outcome of that game factor into this final score? Tomlin has been very inconsistent as a double-digit road favorite losing outright on five occasions in his tenure. In road games the Steelers have been favored in this year they are 2-4 ATS. Take Houston to keep it close enough to leave the back door open.

Winning Mentality Motivation

49ers +4

Since handing the keys to Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have played like an inspired team. San Francisco is 3-0 straight up and 2-0-1 ATS with Garoppolo at quarterback. San Fransisco averages 5.9 yards per play on offense with Garoppolo, surpassing the league average of 5.4. The stat that jumps out is the improvement on defense. When you think of the Jaguars, you automatically think defense. The Jags hold opponents to 4.9 yards per play. During the last three weeks, the 49ers have held opponents to the exact same number. Since changing quarterbacks, the 49ers have improved on both sides of the ball giving merit to our theory of motivation in the locker room. This team is playing like a 3-0 squad, not one that resembles the 4-10 record they hold in 2017.


Seahawks +3

Seahawks/Cowboys over 47


Rams/Titans under 49

Teaser 7- point


10-point teaser

Chiefs PK/ Eagles+1/Patriots -1.5

Eagles+1/Seahawks-Cowboys over 37/Chiefs PK

Play action or Pass went 8-1 in week 15 bringing our yearly record to 41-28-1. 59.4%

Most Bet teams

Browns 74%

Panthers 73%

Chiefs 70%

Giants 70%

Eagles 67%

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz

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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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