Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 15

Peterson runs vs the Niners 

While braggings not my style, even I’m impressed with the 15-0 mark on the picks from a week ago, taking my yearly mark to 114-88-2. Last year I pulled off a perfect week, then stunk it up the next week, so I’m a bit concerned about the big games Sunday that could ruin my run at pick’em glory. Here’s my take on week 15, already sitting at 0-1 from last night’s Broncos loss at Houston.

Cincinnati (-9) at San Francisco

Two teams that are looking more ahead to 08 than what’s left of 07. Shaun Hill will start for the 49’ers, and even the Bengals ugly D should have enough to stop him. Cincy is so hot and cold you can’t figure them out week to week, but they should have more then enough against the lackluster 49’ers to take home a road win and improve to 6-8. Niners should start playing youngsters and taking a look at what they may have in 2008. Cincinnati 27 San Francisco 13

Seattle (-7) at Carolina

The Hawks have been rolling, winning five in a row and looking like a team that could play a bigger role than we once thought in the NFC Playoffs. Right now they have wrapped up the West and the #3 seed, so they even with three weeks left they could start to relax a little too much, which is a concern. The Panthers actually won their last home game, but were squashed last week by the Jags 37-6. I see another solid day from Matt Hasslebeck and the Hawks offense, and another long day for Vinny and the Panthers. Seattle 24 Carolina 10

Buffalo at Cleveland (-5.5)

As far as east coast games go Sunday, you have to start thinking about the weather. In Cleveland they are saying that we could get as much as 8 inches of snow by kickoff, which would hinder both these teams, more the Browns than the Bills, big time. The Browns have been great at home, going 5-1 and scoring 35.8 points per game in their home wins. This won’t be as easy with the weather being an issue, but you can expect to see a lot of Jamal Lewis and the Browns D knowing they have to step it up. Tough game to figure out, but the Browns are the better team and the Bills have yet to beat a team with a winning record. Cleveland 21 Buffalo 13

Tennessee (-4) at Kansas City

The Titans need a win in the worst way after the collapse last week vs the Chargers to keep any playoff hopes alive. They’ll get it here against a Chiefs team that has dropped six straight and hasn’t won since week 6. Last week the Chiefs ran for 16 yards, and it could be as bad here against a good Titans front four. Albert Haynesworth hasn’t practiced this week, but should play, and the Titans D should lay the smack down on the Chiefs offense, and their offense should have enough to get a win and keep postseason hopes alive. Tennessee 20 Kansas City 7

Baltimore (-6) at Miami

Last shot in my opinion for the Fins to get in the win column, as the Pats and Bengals have clear advantages in the Dolphins last two games they play. The Ravens are itching to get back on the field after last weeks awful 44-20 loss to the Colts on Sunday night. The Ravens are only putting up 11.4 points per game in their last five road games, and they have to start fast vs the Fins to avoid any upset thoughts. Look for Willis McGahee to run wild vs the Fins poor run defense. Sorry Miami, even Cleo Lemon can’t help you here. Baltimore 17 Miami 9

New York Jets at New England (-25)

The “Spygate” rematch should be nothing more than a cakewalk for the Pats, who are clearly on the road for an undefeated season. BUT, the weather in New England could make things interesting, as snow could force the Pats to rely on running the ball more than they want too, but again, the Pats are way too talented to lose this game, and while the weather will be a factor, the Jets will be impacted as well to the point where they won’t be able to do much on offense to keep up. New England 31 NY Jets 14

Arizona at New Orleans (-5)

Both teams still have playoff hopes, as the Cards enter at 6-7 as well as the Saints at 6-7. The loser here is likely done, while the winner will have to win their last two in order to make it to the postseason and likley will need help. The Saints took care of business Monday night vs the awful Falcons, and without Reggie Bush they will throw more to open up the run game for Aaron Stecker to get some carries. The Cardinals played terrible last week vs the Hawks, and are hoping for the return of Anquan Boldin to help out a very up and down offense. The Saints D will be the key here, and they should be able to do enough to stop Kurt Warner and the Cards. New Orleans 27 Arizona 20

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (-4)

Again, remember the weather and what it does to teams. The Steelers have already played their share of games with not so good conditions at home (remember the Ravens and Dolphins games), and here vs the Jags they should be able to run the ball and use their solid play action to do some things vs the Jags defense. Marcus Stroud out is going to hurt the Jags, who need to take some shots vs the Steelers and get a lead on them like the Pats did a week ago. Pittsburgh knows it can’t afford to lose here, and with Troy Polamalu back, they should have enough to get it done. Pittsburgh 24 Jacksonville 16

Green Bay (-7.5) at St.Louis

Everything that the Pack could want has happened except a pair of Cowboys losses to put them in the #1 spot in the conference instead of the two hole. Oh well, they still will have a great shot to be in the NFC Title game and challenge the Cowboys in a rematch. The Rams are 3-10 and have nothing top play for, but should put up a decent fight here for their fans that still care. Nevertheless, look for Brett and company to walk away with their 12th win against two losses. Green Bay 34 St.Louis 21

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-10)

For the second straight week the Bucs have a shot to clinch the weak NFC South, and this time they’ll get it. Atlanta had a tough week, losing 34-14 to the Saints Monday, having their coach quit on Tuesday, and then having to talk about it all week. It’ll be interesting to see if they decide to put on a better showing for interim coach Emmit Thomas, or if they just give up. Jeff Garcia will be back for the Bucs, who are 5-1 at home but their last four games have been decided by 7 or less. Don’t worry, this one won’t be nearly as close. Tampa Bay 23 Atlanta 10

Indianapolis (-12) at Oakland

The Colts have gotten back on track from their mini-two game losing streak to the Pats and Chargers, and now look like the team we thought, minus Marvin Harrison. Peyton Manning and Anthony Gonzalez look a lot more on the same page, and the defense has stepped up and started to beat people up like last season. Look for the Raiders to try their best to respond after last week’s beating in Green Bay, but at the same time they don’t have nearly enough weapons to match up with the Colts. Indianapolis 34 Oakland 14

Philadelphia at Dallas (-10)

Last week in Detroit the Cowboys survived a scare, but when you’ve only lost one game sometimes that happens. Tony Romo and the boys should have a field day here at home, where they seem to be even more under control and the offense seems more in sync. The Eagles hopes of the playoffs died last week with a home loss to the Giants, and they are undermanned here vs a Cowboys team that has every intentions of making it to Glendale. No hiccups here for the Cowboys, they should roll. Dallas 41 Philadelphia 27

Detroit at San Diego (-11)

It’s do or die time for the Lions, who likely with the collapse last week vs the Cowboys will be dying here. The Chargers seem to have found their groove, and with a win here will clinch the AFC West. They are running better, and last week showed poise in pulling out a huge OT win over the Titans in a game in which they trailed late 17-3. Look for more offense this week from the Chargers and for the Lions to play free and easy as they try everything to hang, which in the end they won’t be able to. San Diego 30 Detroit 13

Washington at New York Giants (-4)

The Giants continue to look strong as the #5 seed in the NFC, and vs the Redskins at home with Todd Collins at QB they should have more than enough to keep up the pace. Eli Manning and the team was able to pull out a big road win in Philly Sunday, and with Plax playing, but playing well on a bad ankle, the team will always have that downfield threat. Look for Washington to try and play it safe on offense with Collins not taking many chances and the focus to be on the running game. That plays right into the Giants hands as they win another big game. NY Giants 20 Washington 10

Chicago at Minnesota (-9)

The Vikings have found their offense in their four-game winning streak, putting up games of 29, 41, 42 and 27 points. Versus a Bears defense that is vastly overrated, look for Minnesota to continue to mix up the pass and run, with of course the focus on running Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson. The Bears are looking ahead to 2008, as their loss last week vs the Redskins took them out of basically any postseason hopes, while the Vikings can smell January football. Minnesota 26 Chicago 14

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