NFL Week 15 Predictions

Following a loss on Thursday night its time for the remainder of the picks for Week 15 of the NFL. Season-wise I now sit at 132-79 and that is with last nights loss, the first of Thursday night as the 49’ers rallied past the Hawks. Away we go with the remainder of week 15 of the NFL.

Dallas at Atlanta – We start the week off with a huge game with major playoff implications as the Cowboys travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons Saturday night. Too bad 90 percent of the country won’t see this game since its on a network no one gets. Tony Romo showed he is human last week in a 42-17 loss to the Saints at home, throwing for just 249 yards and two picks. The big story here is that the Falcons could be without both starting running backs – Warrick Dunn and Jerious Norwood, meaning that it is going to come down to Michael Vick really having to get the job done on his own. Atlanta at 7-6 needs a win, as do the Cowboys one game up on the Giants. Dallas puts a huge dent in the Atlanta playoff hopes. Dallas 24 Atlanta 17

Washington at New Orleans – The Saints are in control of the #2 seed in the NFC at 9-4, and can win the division with a win over the Redskins. Drew Brees continues his push for MVP, and last week had another big day vs the Cowboys with Deuce and Reggie helping out as well, and FB Mike Karney scoring three times. The Redskins put forth a good effort at home vs the Eagles last week, but fell short and are simply playing out the stretch. Skins QB Jason Campbell has shown some promise, throwing for six TD’s and five picks in four starts. The Saints defense has been solid in their three-game winning streak, allowing just 13 points a game, and that should be enough here. New Orleans 27 Washington 13

Tampa Bay at Chicago – Chicago’s numbers at Solider Field should be enough to cement a win here – 31.3 points on offense while allowing 14.7 on defense at home. The Bucs are a team hoping just to make a decent showing here, with an offense that has not scored a TD in the last 11 quarters. Two things to watch here is Rex Grossman, and how he continues to play after a better showing Monday night vs the Rams, and the Bears defense, which did show some cracks in allowing a season high 433 yards Monday night. This one is set up to be ugly early, and I don’t think the Bucs stand much of a chance here. Chicago 23 Tampa Bay 3

Miami at Buffalo – Two 6-7 teams that still have an outside shot at the playoffs match up at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday as the Dolphins battle the Bills. Miami’s defense was on fire last week in a 21-0 shutout over rival New England, while the Bills pulled out some big plays in a 31-13 road win at the Jets. Miami’s defense allowed the Pats just 189 yards, and that has to be a concern to a Bills team that at times has been unable to produce much offense. The Dolphins offense is led by the rebirth at QB for Joey Harrington, and Sammy Morris, who filling in for an injured Ronnie Brown ran for 123 yards last week. The Bills will need a solid outing on defense, and J.P. Loseman will need to not make mistakes. Last week at the Jets he was 10-for-15 for 157 yards and one TD. Buffalo has won three of four, and I think they have just enough to get the season sweep here. Buffalo 17 Miami 14

New York Jets at Minnesota – Many think that the Jets have the best shot at the wild card in the AFC with their remaining schedule, but last week they blew a huge chance to improve that with a 31-13 loss at home to the Bills. Sunday they travel to the Metrodome to take on a Vikings team that at 6-7, also have a shot to be a wild card after last Sunday’s win in Detroit over the Lions. The Vikings close out with this battle vs the Jets, then games at Green Bay and St.Louis at home. Minnesota has the leagues best rush defense, allowing just 54 yards a game, and held Detroit to minus 3 yards on the ground last week. That sets up for Jets QB Chad Pennington to be busy throwing the ball, last week he was shaky at best in the loss to the Bills, throwing two picks and 182 yards along with a TD. Look for Minnesota to grind it out with banged up RB Chester Taylor and Artose Pinner, and for the Jets to make too many mistakes to gain a road win. Minnesota 20 New York Jets 13

Jacksonville at Tennessee – Is any team hotter right now than the Tennessee Titans? The Titans have won four straight, winning last week in OT over the Texans when QB Vince Young ran in a TD for the clincher. This week at home they battle a Jaguars team coming off a 375-yard performance on the ground in a statement making 44-17 beating of the Colts last weekeend in Jacksonville. The Jags are second in the league in rushing, only trailing the Falcons, while the Titans do allow lots of yards on the ground – 140 a game. They also provide huge matchup problems for the Titans, and showed that in the first game the two teams played back on November 5th in Jacksonville – beating Tennessee 37-7. It’s been a great rookie season for Vince Young, but I think the Jags running game is too much here to overcome for the Titans. Jacksonville 29 Tennessee 17

Houston at New England – The Patriots are starting to look like just another team in the NFL, losers in three of their last six, and last week were awful in a 21-0 shutout loss in Miami in which Tom Brady threw for just 78 yards. They also have been a turnover machine, giving the ball up 11 times in the last three games. Even with all of that, they should be able to rebound this week as they take on the 4-9 Texans at Foxboro. New England is just 4-3 at home, but the later in the season it is, the harder it is to win there, and Houston is not good at all on the road, going 2-5 and one of those wins was over the Raiders. They have lacked on offense the last few weeks, and last week in a loss at home to the Titans and the week before in a win over the Raiders were outgained by a total of 356 yards. Houston will need to force turnovers and get an early lead, but even with that I think the Pats realize that they have to start playing better – and will here. New England 24 Houston 10

Pittsburgh at Carolina – Two teams that had Super Bowl dreams in August are now looking to end the season on a high note in December, as the 6-7 Steelers play at the 6-7 Panthers. The Steelers have own four of five, and last Thursday against the Browns ran for over 300 yards in a 27-7 win. The Panthers will likely be without starting QB Jake Delhomme again, as his ailing thumb means that Chris Weinke, who is 1-16 lifetime as a starter, gets the nod here. Weinke last week vs the Giants threw for over 400 yards, but was picked twice and most of those yards came after the Panthers fell behind 27-7. The Steelers have won just once on the road, but have a great shot here with Hines Ward coming back and taking on a backup QB that is not very good. The Steelers are 21-6 after December 1st since 2001, and should make it win number 22 here. Pittsburgh 23 Carolina 16

Detroit at Green Bay – Brett Favre has been solid at home his whole career vs the Lions, never losing to them at Lambeau Field, and Sunday that streak should continue as the 5-8 Pack hosts the 2-11 Lions. Green Bay is just 1-5 at home this year, but have won 15 straight at home vs Detroit, and the Lions are 0-6 on the road, making this look like easy pickins for the Pack. The Lions had six turnovers last week in a home loss to the Vikings, and were negative three yards rushing. Add to that QB Jon Kitna has 26 turnovers in 13 games, and you have all the makings of another long day for the Lions on the road. Detroit has lost 12 of their last 14 road games. Green Bay 31 Detroit 20

Cleveland at Baltimore – The 10-3 Ravens look to clinch the North this week, and should be able to get there with ease as they host the limping 4-9 Browns. Cleveland allowed over 500 yards of offense last week, over 300 rushing, in a 27-7 loss to the Steelers. The Ravens made a statement with a gutsy 20-10 win over the Chiefs on the road. Baltimore has won 6 of their last 7, and is 5-1 at home this year. Steve McNair is also playing well, throwing eight TD’s in his last seven games, and has a 98 passer rating vs the Browns in his last five starts. Add to that the Browns have lost eight straight to division opponents, and you have all the makings of another bad game for the brown and orange. Baltimore 27 Cleveland 14

Denver at Arizona – The Broncos have dropped four straight, and with their once top-notch defense allowing 31 points per average in those four games, it looks as if Denver is all but done in the playoff race. On the other hand, the Cardinals suddenly seem like they care, as they have run off two straight, and beat the Seahawks last Sunday at home. Edgerrin James has run for over 100 yards the last two weeks, and Matt Leinart has thrown for five TD’s the last four games. Jay Cutler will get his third straight start for the Broncos, and while he has thrown four TD’s, he also has been sacked seven times and fumbled three times. Time for the Broncos to start looking ahead to 2007. Arizona 28 Denver 21

Philadelphia at New York Giants – Another must win for both teams, as sharing 7-6 records neither team can afford to lose if the playoffs are in sight. Both teams are also still alive for the NFC East title, as with the Cowboys loss to the Saints last week, they each trail Dallas by just one game. The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak last week, beating the Panthers, while the Eagles won in Washington 21-19. Jeff Garcia is playing well for the Eagles, and has thrown 7 TD’s and no picks in three starts, going 2-1. The Philly defense is struggling though, and the Giants, with Tiki Barber and Eli Manning playing well, should be able to move the ball on them. Barber ran for 112 last week in the win, and Manning threw for three TD’s. The Giants are a bit healthier than in the past few weeks, and they are a better team right now, and should be able to get this big home win. New York Giants 27 Philadelphia 17

St.Louis at Oakland – At 5-8, the Rams should be able to gain win number six here as the Raiders are looking solid for the number one or two pick in April’s draft. St.Louis was able to move the ball on the tough Bears defense on Monday night, but gave up two special teams TD’s and fell at home 42-27. They have dropped seven of eight since starting out 4-1. The Raiders have dropped six in a row, and in those six games have failed to score over 14 points. Last week they lost 27-10 to the Bengals in Cincy. They are last in the league in scoring at 12 points per game, and put up just 243 yards of offense per game. Look for the Rams to have an enjoyable day in the sun in Cali, while the Raiders woes continue. St.Louis 30 Oakland 14

Kansas City at San Diego – The Chargers are 11-2 and the best team in the AFC, and Sunday night they can continue their quest for the #1 seed as they host the 7-6 Chiefs. KC lost a huge home game vs the Ravens last week, and it looks as if their playoff hopes would be all but over with a loss here. LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers also want a little piece of revenge, as the last time they were on the short end of the scoreboard was in October in KC to the Chiefs. The Chargers have won 12 of their last 16 divisional games, and is 6-0 at home, winning by an average of 16 points. The Chiefs will play this one in honor of owner Lamar Hunt, who passed away this week, but that emotion will not be enough to overcome the best team in football right now. San Diego 34 Kansas City 20

Cincinnati at Indianapolis – Last Sunday’s loss to the Jags has the Colts reeling, as despite still sitting at 10-3, they have lost 3 of 4 and no longer are the #1 seed in the AFC. Monday night vs the Bengals they have a shot to start getting back to form against the red-hot Bengals, a team that needs to keep winning to become a wild card in the AFC. Indy has allowed 594 yards on the ground the last two weeks, meaning that Monday night you will see a steady diet of Rudi Johnson for Cincy. Johnson ran off 117 yards last week against Oakland, and notched his third straight 1,000-yard season. The Bengals D has only given up 17 points the last three games, including a shutout in there vs the Browns. The Colts have to find a way to get the offense back in motion, and somehow have to be able to stop Johnson and the Bengals high powered offense. I think we see the Colts finally step up here. Indianapolis 29 Cincinnati 24

 


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