Week 15 is here and we have two teams from Pennsylvania already ticketed for the playoffs with their division crowns. The Patriots, Jaguars, Vikings, Saints, Rams can join them this week if things break their way (the easiest being wins by New England and Minnesota giving them their respective divisions or the Jaguars only having to win to at least secure a wild card spot). Will that happen? Here are some Week 15 picks!
Last Week: 10-6
Thursday, December 14th, 8:26 e.t.
Denver Broncos (4-9) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-10)
We open the 15th week with a stinker of a game in Indy. The Colts just got done playing in a blizzard in a losing effort (albeit in overtime) while the Broncos dominated the Jets by pitching a shutout with their defense getting its mojo back. I think that will carry into this week as Denver does have some playmakers on that side of the ball that can make life tough on Jacoby Brissett and company.
Denver 18, Indianapolis 10
Saturday, December 16th, 4:30 e.t.
Chicago Bears (4-9) @ Detroit Lions (7-6)
The Lions are fighting for their playoff lives right now and they almost let a 14-point second half lead slip away against a poor Buccaneer squad but nevertheless they are still alive. They will have to win at home over Chicago to keep the dream going, which I think they will, but it wop’t be easy. Detroit’s weakness right now is passing defense, something that the Bears do not specialize in taking advantage of , and that is the difference.
Detroit 27, Chicago 21
Saturday, December 16th, 8:30 e.t.
Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
This is a massive AFC West tilt with the winner of this game in prime position to take the AFC West. In fact, I’d say the winner is pretty much assured of it. There aren’t many teams hotter than the Chargers right now and I can see them taking out the Chiefs in KC, but I like the home team here. They are finding big plays on offense and a lot of that was a byproduct of them being able to run the ball. LA is not good at stopping the run, so that could prove to be their downfall.
Kansas City 30, Los Angeles 27
Sunday, December 17th, 1:00 e.t.
New York Jets (5-8) @ New Orleans Saints (9-4)
The Saints were clipped by the Falcons last week on Thursday night and now things are tight in the NFC South. I think New Orleans is the best team in that division still and they will need to prove it by taking advantage of a Jet team without its starting quarterback at home. They will, handily in fact.
New Orleans 40, New York 17
Houston Texans (4-9) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
The Jaguars will clinch a playoff berth with a win over Houston and I think it will. They are playing in front of a home crowd that is suddenly making Jacksonville a tougher place for opposing teams to play. The Jaguar defense is number one in the NFL in total yards, turnovers, and sacks. They are dominant and the Texans offense leaves a lot to be desired at this point. The Jags get into the post-season for the first time since 2007.
Jacksonville 26, Houston 7
Arizona Cardinals (6-7) @ Washington Redskins (5-8)
The Redskins, once upon a time, were a frisky team that was capable of beating anybody on their best day. Now, they have suffered far too many injuries to remain relevant and have been eliminated from playoff contention as a result. The air has come out of the balloon and normally it is not right to pick the Cardinals traveling to the east coast, but I’m doing it here. Washington hasn’t much to play for and that is a depressing scene.
Arizona 28, Washington 19
Miami Dolphins (6-7) @ Buffalo Bills (7-6)
The Bills gutted out a tough victory in the snow over the Colts and now they will remain home to take on a Dolphin team that upset the Patriots on Monday night. Tyrod Taylor is slated to start this game and I think that will help against a Miami team that has a very inconsistent offense. In the end I still don’t trust that unit to go into what might be another snowy game and get the job done.
Buffalo 17, Miami 10
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) @ Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
The Vikings are home with a chance to win their division by getting a victory over a downtrodden Bengal team that just got waxed at home by the Bears of all teams. That will not bod well for them. The Vikes have a great team and an awesome home field advantage. That will help them overwhelm the Bengals.
Minnesota 38, Cincinnati 14
Baltimore Ravens (7-6) @ Cleveland Browns (0-13)
The clock is ticking on the Browns. Will they get a win in 2017? I’m not so sure they will, certainly not here against the Ravens. Baltimore did lose to the Steelers last week but the one sign of encouragement was that the offense came to play for the second straight week. If this team can get that unit going then they will be a tough out for any team. I like them to keep it rolling on offense against the Browns on Sunday.
Baltimore 27, Cleveland 17
Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) @ New York Giants (2-11)
The good news for the Eagles is they can clinch a first round bye with a win over the Giants here. The bad news is they will be doing it without Carson Wentz. I’m not sure how far the team can go in January without #11, but I do know they can get by the Giants who appear to be in full-on tank mode here. Give me Philly on the road.
Philadelphia 22, New York 13
Green Bay Packers (7-6) @ Carolina Panthers (9-4)
Here is a fun NFC battle. The Panthers just notched their biggest win of the season beating the Vikings 31-24. Now they will host a Packer team that is still on the fringe of the playoffs and they get Aaron Rodgers back. The timing could not be more perfect for the Pack either as they will have to win out to even have a shot. That road begins here. I like Rodgers to pick up where he left off and bring more hope to Green Bay with a close win.
Green Bay 26, Carolina 24
Sunday, December 17th, 4:05 e.t.
Los Angeles Rams (9-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
Another big contest in the NFC takes place up in Seattle as the West is likely going to be decided with the outcome of this game. With a Seahawk win they will sweep the Rams and put all the pressure on them while a Ram win would really put the ‘Hawks in a precarious position. I’m taking Seattle here because they just don’t lose big home games like these. Also, the Eagles ripped apart the LA secondary in the passing game. Look for Russell Wilson to do the same.
Seattle 31, Los Angeles 27 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***
Sunday, December 17th, 4:25 e.t.
New England Patriots (10-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)
Finally we have a massive AFC match-up and this one is a doozy. The winner will, more likely than not, be the number one seed on the season and thus making them clear favorites to make it to the Super Bowl. The Steelers offense really got it going against the Ravens late last week while New England’s was stuck in the mud against the Dolphins. I really hate picking against the Patriots late in the year but I think I am going to. It is time for the Steelers to finally step up and win that big game against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Pittsburgh 36, New England 33 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***
Tennessee Titans (8-5) @ San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
It is very easy to jump on the Jimmy G train as he has opened up his Niner career with a 2-0 record. The Titans are the better team record-wise but I’m not sure how much better of a team they actually are than San Fran and that is really telling. I don’t trust the Titans or Mariota at this point so I am going to pick the 49ers to pull off their third straight win.
San Francisco 24, Tennessee 20
Sunday, December 17th, 8:30 e.t.
Dallas Cowboys (7-6) @ Oakland Raiders (6-7)
The Raiders were a no-show on the road in Kansas City last week and they have not been a good offense this season. That all starts with the protection being provided by the offensive line. That is a huge reason why there has been such a drop-off from last year to this. The Cowboys have been playing the football we all had become accustomed to seeing over the past year and that should continue here in their last game without Ezekiel Elliot.
Dallas 31, Oakland 21
Monday, December 18th, 8:30 e.t.
Atlanta Falcons (8-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
Week 15 wraps up with a divisional game in Tampa. The Falcons just notched a massive win over the Saints last week and will be able to keep that train rolling against one of the worst secondaries in the league. The most encouraging thing from Atlanta is that their defense finally made some big plays and that will need to continue if this team hopes to make any noise past January this year.
Atlanta 35, Tampa Bay 17