Movie quote of the day:
“I am 12.”
– Carlos, “The Benchwarmers” (2006)
Here are the matchups for week 15:
Week 14 record: 11-5 (68.7 percent)
2016 record: 124-82-2 (60.1 percent)
All-time record: 276-187-2 (59.6 percent)
Los Angeles Rams (4-9) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)
Line: SEA -15
Both of these teams are dealing with some adversity going into this game. Los Angeles fired its head coach, Jeff Fisher, on Monday and Seattle got embarrassed by Green Bay on Sunday. The Rams have always found a way to play well against Seattle in recent years, but I think the Rams are a dumpster fire right now. Los Angeles is struggling to do anything right and the team won’t have its head coach for the rest of the year. I have to go with the Seahawks. They’re coming off a bad loss and they have more talent than the Rams. Plus, the Seahawks win the NFC West with a win tonight, so, there’s a lot on the line.
Prediction: Seahawks 24, Rams 13
Miami Dolphins (8-5) at New York Jets (4-9)
East Rutherford, N. J.
Line: MIA -2.5
I doubt Ryan Tannehill is going to play this game – and he might not play the rest of the regular season. This is going to be a very difficult game for the Dolphins to win without Tannehill though. The Jets have a very good defensive line and I think it could give Matt Moore fits. I feel like this game could be an upset. The Jets are coming off a road win and Todd Bowles just might be coaching for his job. However, the Jets are down to their third-string quarterback and Miami’s defense is pretty good. I feel like the Dolphins’ defense will be able to force some turnovers and give their offense a short field. I like Miami to win a close one.
Prediction: Dolphins 21, Jets 19
Green Bay Packers (7-6) at Chicago Bears (3-10)
Line: GB -5.5
Don’t look now, but Green Bay is starting to heat up. The Packers’ defense is getting healthier, Jordy Nelson is looking like his old form, a run game is starting show with the emergence of Ty Montgomery, and Aaron Rodgers has been en fuego in his last four games. However, I’m still not ready to buy in to Green Bay. This is the oldest rivalry in the NFL and I think Chicago will have some tricks up its sleeve to try to knock off Green Bay. I still think the Packers are going to win, but with the game in Chicago, I feel like it’s going to be a close one.
Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 20
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Houston Texans (7-6)
Line: HOU -6
I’m done betting against Houston against AFC South opponents. The Texans are undefeated in the division, including sweeping Indianapolis – who I considered the best team in the division – and have already beat Tennessee once. There’s no way I can see Jacksonville going into Houston and winning. The Jaguars are a mess and one of the worst teams in the NFL. I expect Houston to win this game.
Prediction: Texans 30, Jaguars 23
Cleveland Browns (0-13) at Buffalo Bills (6-7)
New Era Field
Buffalo, N. Y.
Line: BUF -10
I’ve always believed that Cleveland would win a game at some point this year, but it’s looking less and less likely. I still think it can happen but I don’t think this team is good enough to win a game on the road. Buffalo isn’t a great team, but the Bills are better than the Browns. Plus, Rex Ryan is possibly coaching for his job and the Bills are still in the playoff hunt. They still have a lot to play for and they really need a win.
Prediction: Bills 27, Browns 16
Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6)
M&T Bank Stadium
Line: BAL -5.5
I’m officially off the Philadelphia bandwagon. The Eagles have taken a nosedive after starting the regular season 3-0 – losers of eight of their last 10 games. Baltimore has a very tough defense especially at home – giving up just 13.1 points per game. The Eagles haven’t scored more than 20 points on the road since the beginning of November. I think the Ravens’ defense is too tough and I expect Carson Wentz to struggle – and the Ravens to get the win.
Prediction: Ravens 21, Eagles 16
Tennessee Titans (7-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
Kansas City, Mo.
Line: KC -5.5
I really like the Titans but they won’t win this game. Marcus Mariota has had a great season, but I don’t feel like he has enough weapons on the perimeter to score on Kansas City’s secondary. The Chiefs are a tough team with a good defense, and Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. Plus, Kansas City has the better coach and has had extra time to prepare for this game. I expect Alex Smith to pick apart the Titans’ subpar secondary on the way to a win.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Titans 20
Detroit Lions (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4)
East Rutherford, N. J.
Line: NYG -4
I say this as a Packers fan, hopefully this is when we start to see Detroit’s decline. The Lions have played a really soft schedule and haven’t dominated against lesser opponents. Also, Matt Stafford is banged up and I think he’ll struggle to make plays against the revamped Giants’ defense – which ranks No. 7 in points per game. I think the Giants are getting hot and have proven themselves to be a NFC-title contender, and I haven’t been that impressed with Detroit either.
Prediction: Giants 23, Lions 17
Indianapolis Colts (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (7-6)
U.S. Bank Stadium
Line: MIN -4
This is probably the toughest game to pick because both teams are about equal right now. Both are very banged up with below average offensive lines, and lack of a run game. For a game like this I usually pick the home team to win. However, Sam Bradford hasn’t been very good ever since the Vikings’ bye week back in October. Andrew Luck has already gone into Lambeau Field this season and came out with a win. I feel like he’s going to do the same thing this week. Minnesota is a sinking ship and Indianapolis has the better run game and quarterback.
Prediction: Colts 24, Vikings 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)
Paul Brown Stadium
Line: PIT -3
Pittsburgh is in a similar boat with Green Bay. The Steelers are getting red hot and I think they’re a team to watch out for if they make the playoffs. Cincinnati is always a tough place to play, but I don’t think the Bengals have a good enough defense to slow down Pittsburgh’s offense. I think the Steelers are emerging as the best team in the AFC North and I’d be a fool to pick against them.
Prediction: Steelers 28, Bengals 23
New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1)
University of Phoenix Stadium
Line: ARI -2.5
New Orleans is starting to fall apart – losers of four of its last five games and have looked very bad the last two weeks. I’m surprised that the line is so close though, which makes me think Las Vegas knows something I don’t. Arizona has been very disappointing all year, but I think the Cardinals are better than the Saints right now. The Cardinals’ defense isn’t great but they have the ability to get after the quarterback – ranking in the top 10 in sacks. I think Arizona’s defense slows down the Saints’ offense just enough to win.
Prediction: Cardinals 27, Saints 24
San Francisco 49ers (1-12) at Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
Line: ATL -13.5
I’ve picked San Francisco to win the last two weeks and the 49ers have let me down, but I’m officially done picking them now. Atlanta is the far superior team in every aspect. The Falcons have the better quarterback, offensive line, run game, defense, and perimeter weapons. You never know what can happen in sports, but this game should be an easy win for Atlanta.
Prediction: Falcons 34, 49ers 17
New England Patriots (11-2) at Denver Broncos (8-5)
Sports Authority Field
Line: NE -3
On paper, this looks like an easy win for New England. However, Denver has been the toughest place to play for Tom Brady and the Patriots – having an overall record of 2-6 when playing in the Mile High City. Not only that, but Denver is the only team that Brady has an overall losing record against (6-9). However, I can’t bring myself to pick the Broncos. I’ve said for weeks that they’re about to fall apart and I’m sticking with it. I think protecting Brady against Denver’s pass rush will be a tough task for New England’s offensive line, but I don’t trust Trevor Siemian to outscore Brady. I like New England in a close, low-scoring game.
Prediction: Patriots 16, Broncos 13
Oakland Raiders (10-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-8)
Line: OAK -3
As much as I like Oakland, this is a trap game for the Raiders. They barely escaped with a win against the Chargers in week five. I think San Diego is better than its record would indicate, but Oakland has been fantastic on the road this season with a record of 5-1. The Raiders’ pass rush is too good and the Chargers’ offensive line is awful. It could be a long day for Philip Rivers. The Raiders have had extra time to prepare for this game and I think they win, but it’ll be a close one.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Chargers 23
Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Washington Redskins (7-5-1)
Line: WAS -6.5
Carolina has had some bad luck this season and I don’t expect that to change in these last few weeks of the regular season. Washington has been the better team all year. Cam Newton has really struggled and people have already started claiming his MVP season last year was a one-hit wonder. Also, the Panthers’ defense has a terrible secondary and an average pass rush. I expect Kirk Cousins to have a great day against Carolina’s defense, and the Redskins get the win because of it.
Prediction: Redskins 27, Panthers 21
Game of the week:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-2)
Line: DAL -7
Watch out for Tampa Bay because this team is legit. Jameis Winston has been really good, but the Buccaneers’ defense hasn’t given up more than 21 points to a team during their five-game win streak. I’ve never been a believer that the Cowboys are Super-Bowl contenders, and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Dallas in recent weeks. The Cowboys’ defense still isn’t very good and Dak Prescott has been awful in his last three games (499 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two picks). I’m calling the upset – Tampa Bay will win this game.
Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 19
Thanks for reading
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