NFL Week 15 Predictions

After an extremely hectic Week 14, Week 15 has the makings of an even better week, with so many intriguing matchups. Let’s predict all the action ahead in Week 15!

Chargers (10-3) at Chiefs (11-2) TNF

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Photo Cred: latimes.com

We get the game of the week early this week, as the Chargers and Chiefs will face off in an extremely important divisional matchup. A win for the Chargers would put them in a tie with the Chiefs, and although Kansas City would still have the tiebreaker due to a better divisional record, the Chiefs have a tough matchup in Week 16 at Seattle. Therefore, it’s crucial for Kansas City that they win this game to lock up the division. The Chargers will give the Chiefs a run for their money, but at the end of the day, Kansas City will come out victorious. The Chiefs may have the greatest home field advantage in football. They’re 24-6 in their last 30 regular season home games, undefeated this season, and are beating teams by an average of 14 points at Arrowhead Stadium this week. While the Chargers have the talent to matchup with the Chiefs, they don’t execute consistently like Kansas City does. They also fell flat in the first half of their first primetime game of the year in Pittsburgh in a game in which they needed to Steelers to fall apart in order to win. Add in that the Chiefs won 38-28 when these two teams met up in Week 1 in Los Angeles when Patrick Mahomes was making just his second career start, and it all adds up to a Chiefs victory. Prediction: Chargers 27 Chiefs 32

Texans (9-4) at Jets (4-9)

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Photo Cred: metlifestadium.com

We have football on Saturday! In the first of two games this Saturday, the Texans will look to bounce back after a rough loss to the Colts against the Jets, who are coming off of a comeback road win against the Bills. Those roles will flip this week. Despite that disappointing loss, Houston is still a team filled with dynamic talent on both sides of the ball. The Jets have none at either side. Furthermore, the Texans come in with the 3rd ranked rush offense, and that’ll be trouble for New York and its 27th ranked rush defense. On the other side of the ball, the Jets have one of the league’s worst offenses and stand no chance against the Texans’ talented defense. Houston needs a win badly to keep hopes of a first round bye, while the Jets still look finished despite last week’s win. The final result should fool nobody. Prediction: Texans 24 Jets 14

Browns (5-7-1) at Broncos (6-7)

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Photo Cred: sports.yahoo.com

Can the Browns keep rolling? Cleveland has won three of its last four, with the only loss coming on the road against the Texans. Meanwhile, what happened to the Broncos? After three straight wins, the Broncos looked like a playoff contender, but lost to the previously 2-10 49ers. Without corner Chris Harris or receiver Emmanuel Sanders, their playoff hopes are practically dead, but they’ll still be able to pick up a victory in this game. The Browns are a young team led by a rookie quarterback, and that’s always trouble when traveling on the road to play in a primetime game (Saturday Night) in a place as hard to play as Denver. Plus, the Broncos still have a dynamic rushing attack led by Phillip Lindsay, who’ll run all over Cleveland’s 28th ranked rush defense. Still, home/road splits tell you everything you need to know about this game. The Browns are 4-2-1 at home, but just 1-5 on the road, with the only road win coming against the Bengals. Meanwhile, Denver has beaten the Steelers and Seahawks at home, and have kept the Chiefs and Rams to one possession in the Mile High. The Browns are an awful road team, the Broncos are a terrific home team, and I don’t see any reason to expect that to change this weekend. Prediction: Browns 17 Broncos 23

Titans (7-6) at Giants (5-8)

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Photo Cred: titansonline.com

At 7-6, the Titans may need to win out in order to secure the final AFC wildcard spot that is up for grabs. Therefore, this road matchup with the Giants is a game they have to win Although the Giants are somehow favored, Tennessee is the better team and will keep their season alive. In their 30-9 win over the Jaguars on Thursday Night last week, running back Derrick Henry broke on to scene. He’ll have another stellar performance this week, facing a weak New York front seven that has allowed 121.8 rushing yards per game. With Henry and the running game rolling, the Titans will be able to have control of this game and will win the time of possession battle. That’ll put pressure on Eli Manning and the Giants offense, which is troubling for New York considering Odell Beckham Jr. will be sideline with a quadriceps injury for a second straight week. It may not be pretty, but Tennessee will still find a way to pick up a huge road win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Prediction: Titans 22 Giants 17

Dolphins (7-6) at Vikings (6-6-1)

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Photo Cred: dailydolphin.blog.mypalmbeachpost.com

Despite having a better record than the Vikings, the Dolphins aren’t being given much a chance to win in Minnesota this weekend. They’re currently 7.5 point underdogs, despite just defeating the New England Patriots 34-33 on a miracle play that is being called “the Miami Miracle”. That lack of faith is validated. Miami may be 7-6, but it’s unclear what they do well. They rank in the bottom of almost every offensive and defensive category, and lack any sort of talent. The Vikings are by far the more talented team, but have failed to put it together yet. Still, in a matchup between the league’s biggest overachiever and league’s biggest underachiever, the underachiever will come out on top. Kirk Cousins has struggled this season when opposing defenses pressure him consistently, but luckily for him, the Dolphins rank 31st in the NFL with just 22 sacks this season. With all day to throw, Cousins will be able to connect with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and the league’s 25th ranked pass defense will be absolutely shredded. On the other side of the ball, Miami has no significant playmakers on offense, while Minnesota has a top five defense in the NFL. Do the math, and this looks like an easy win for the Vikings, though no such thing currently exists. Prediction: Dolphins 16 Vikings 23

Redskins (6-7) at Jaguars (4-9)

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Photo Cred: bettingsite.org

If you are a fan of offense, this game between the Redskins and the Jaguars is definitely not for you. After all, the quarterback matchup is Josh Johnson vs. Cody Kessler. Since both of these offenses are miserable, it makes sense to take the home team with the better defense. “Sacksonville” may no longer exist, but the Jags still have the second best pass defense. This is Johnson’s first start since 2011, so it’s likely he’ll have great trouble against this secondary. While Jacksonville’s offense has struggled, so has Washington’s defense, and a big game can be expected by Leonard Fournette and co. against a defense that looked like it quit last week while allowing 40 points to the Giants. By default of the Redskins’ complete lack of talent, the Jaguars will be able to pick up something that has become rare for them – a victory. Prediction: Redskins 13 Jags 20

Cowboys (8-5) at Colts (7-6)

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Photo Cred: indystar.com

In one of the more intriguing matchups of the week, the Cowboys and Colts will meet up in Indianapolis. Dallas has won five straight and can clinch the division with a win, while Indianapolis is coming off a big win at Houston and needs to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. This is a game that will come down to the wire, and one that the Colts will win. Indianapolis proved last week that even against a stellar defense like the Texans, they can put up 20+ points and have control of the game. Andrew Luck is a dark horse MVP candidate and besides a one week aberration at Jacksonville, he is as consistent as it gets. The Cowboys may have one of best pass rushes in the league, but Indianapolis also gives up the second fewest amount of sacks. On the other side of the ball, Ezekiel Elliot and Dallas’ rushing attack is dominant, but the Colts are 8th in the NFL in rush defense. Indianapolis will be able to match up and cancel out the Cowboys’ strengths, and will secure a huge win as a result. Prediction: Cowboys 20 Colts 23

Raiders (3-10) at Bengals (5-8)

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Photo Cred: bengalswire.usatoday.com

Does anyone have the nerve to actually watch this game? The Raiders have seemed more interested in tanking for a first round pick than winning, while the Bengals have lost five straight and look lost without Andy Dalton and AJ Green. They may not be happy about doing so, but it looks like Oakland may win back to back games. Believe or not, the Raiders have played well as of late. They’ve been competitive, and Derek Carr is quietly putting together another solid season. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 5, and has had a QB rating of over 100 in three of his last four games. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s defense is historically bad and won’t be much resistance for Carr and Oakland’s offense at all. The Raiders’ secondary has a lot performed well lately, and Jeff Driskel isn’t exactly the toughest competition. Both teams are so putrid that it really comes down to who the better quarterback is, and the veteran Carr is the much better option over Driskel. Therefore, Oakland is the better bet to win this game. Prediction: Raiders 30 Bengals 27

Packers (5-7-1) at Bears (9-4)

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Photo Cred: NBC Sports

Oh, have the tides turned. For years, the Packers were the class of the NFC North, constantly bullying the Bears on their way to winning the division. Now, Chicago has a chance to bully the Packers and win the NFC North as a result. This is the perfect way for the Bears to win the division. Chicago has won 3 of their last 20 games against the Packers, and gave up 24 unanswered points to lose 24-23 in a primetime matchup at Green Bay in Week one. Will they finally get that monkey off their back? Indeed they will. In their first matchup, Chicago was able to overwhelm the Packers with their elite pass rush and with their offensive scheme. They may have not been up to the spotlight in primetime, but this game is in Chicago, where the Bears are 6-1 this season. Furthermore, the Packers are 0-6 on the road and will get absolutely beaten up by Chicago in the trenches. As tempting as it is to pick Aaron Rodgers as an underdog, there’s just too much working against him for him to find a way to beat the Bears once again. This is Chicago’s season, and it is the time they make a statement that they are the class of the NFC North right now and in the future. Prediction: Packers 21 Bears 24

Lions (5-8) at Bills (4-9)

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Photo Cred: ing.com

There may no tougher game to pick this weekend than this game between the Lions and Bills in Buffalo, and for all the wrong reasons. Neither team can be trusted. The Lions did everything they could to lose at Arizona last week, so it’s not like they’re playing good football despite coming off of a win. Meanwhile, the Bills continue to show flashed but can’t seem to play a complete game. After all, they just lost to the JETS of all times at home. I don’t trust either team, but I have just a little more faith that Buffalo will pull away with a victory. The Bills secondary has been amazing this season, ranking first in the league in pass defense. Against a Lions team with no perimeter threat outside of Kenny Golladay, they should continue to thrive. Same goes with their 10th ranked rush defense against a rushing attack led by LeGarrette Blount and Zack Zenner of all people. Buffalo’s offense has been much better since Josh Allen returned in Week 12, and his dual threat ability has caused problems for teams. Facing a Detroit defense that lacks team speed, expect Allen to continue to make plays with his legs. With Allen making plays and the defense doing its job, the Bills will win a close game at home for some boosted morale, since neither of these teams are even in contention for a playoff spot anymore. Prediction: Lions 16 Bills 20

Buccaneers (5-8) at Ravens (7-6)

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Photo Cred: wsnt.com

The Bucs may have blown their chance. At 5-7, they were still alive in the playoffs and were up by 11 at halftime against the Saints at home. All of a sudden, they forgot how to play football and gave up 25 unanswered to lose 28-14. A win would have put them 0.5 a game out of the last wildcard spot, but they’re now pretty much done with so many other teams ahead of them. The Ravens too, had a chance to take control of the division with a late lead in Kansas City, but they couldn’t hold the Chiefs and lost 27-24 in overtime. While both teams are coming off a disappointing loss, Baltimore is the one that still has something to play for (0.5 games out of division, leading AFC 6th wildcard spot), and I expect them to get back on track. Baltimore has the 4th ranked rushing attack in football, thanks to the dual threat ability of Lamar Jackson and the emergence of running back Gus Edwards. The Bucs have struggled as a whole defensively, allowing 29.5 points per game, and they’ll likely be overwhelmed by all the Ravens have to offer. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay could only manage 14 points against the Saints’ awful pass rush, so can the inconsistent Jameis Winston, who tends to struggle on the road, move the ball against arguably the best defense in football? It definitely doesn’t look like he’ll be able to do so, and this game should become a blowout quickly. Prediction: Bucs 10 Ravens 26

Cardinals (3-10) at Falcons (4-9)

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Photo Cred: revengeofthebirds.com

Oh my, how far the Falcons have fallen. Atlanta was seen as a Super Bowl contender heading into this season, and looked like a legitimate playoff contender at 4-4. Now, they’re 4-9 and look defeated. In this five game losing streak, they’ve been outscored by 53 points and needed garbage time touchdowns last week to finally reach 20 points. Luckily for them, or not, considering they’re in prime position for a top five pick, they have a chance to pick up a win facing a depleted Cardinals team that lost by 14 to the Lions. Arizona may have one of the worst offenses I’ve ever seen, ranking 32nd in passing yards per game and 31st in rushing yards per game. Even against a weak Falcons defense, they’re not much of a threat to put up enough points to win on the road. Ryan and Atlanta may be struggling, but they’re still a much better bet than Arizona to score the most points, which obviously means that they’re the better bet to win. I’m not sure the Falcons are covering the spread as ten point favorites, but they’ll do just enough to be a able to pick up a home victory. Prediction: Cardinals 22 Falcons 24

Seahawks (8-5) at 49ers (3-10)

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Photo Cred: 12thmanstanding.com

When these two teams met up in Week 13 in Seattle, the Seahawks blew out the 49ers 43-16. Seattle completely dominated San Francisco in every facet, and they’ll likely do the same just two weeks later. Both Russell Wilson and the league’s best run game had a field day against this defense in their previous matchup, and it’s unlikely San Francisco will be able to slow them down much more this time around. Also, the 49ers have the league’s worst turnover differential, while the Seahawks have the second best. Turnovers killed San Francisco in that Week 13 blowout loss, and it’ll likely cost them against this week. This likely won’t be a complete blowout; Seattle just played on Monday Night and the 49ers have played well at home. Still, there’s no doubt the Seahawks will come out of San Francisco, or Santa Clara for that matter, with a win. Prediction: Seahawks 26 49ers 21

Patriots (9-4) at Steelers (7-5-1)

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Photo Cred: post-gazette.com

In this year’s annual meeting of the Patriots and Steelers, both teams come in needing a win. After a loss in Miami via the “Miami Miracle”, New England needs to win in order to keep up with the Texans for a first round bye. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has lost three straight, and with just a 0.5 game lead in the division and for a wildcard spot they desperately need to win this game in order to maintain their spot as a playoff team. When analyzing this matchup, it was clear that the Steelers were the more talented team. However, Pittsburgh has always been the most talented team between these two, but New England just does a better job of executing and finding ways to win. In fact, the Steelers have lost their last five against these Patriots, and unlike the case with the Bears and the Packers, aren’t ready to get that monkey off their back. Without James Conner, the Steelers are completely one-dimensional towards the pass. That’s a big no-no when facing a Bill Belichick coached team that is always able to take away a team’s number one threat. The Steelers defense has also been picked apart recently by Phillip Rivers and Derek Carr due to their inability to make adjustments, so it’s almost impossible they’ll fare any different against Tom Brady. This will be an extremely close game against two talented teams, but the well-coached Patriots will come away with a road win to put themselves in the driver’s seat for a first round bye. Prediction: Patriots 26 Steelers 24

Eagles (6-7) at Rams (11-2) SNF

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Photo Cred: phillyvoice.com

Coming into the season, this Sunday Night Football game between the Eagles and Rams looked like a can’t-miss matchup. Now, it looks like a complete mismatch. At 11-2, Los Angeles is the best team in the NFC and will be hungry after losing to the Bears. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is 6-7 and is without their starting quarterback and almost all of their secondary. Los Angeles’ dynamic passing attack can carve up almost anyone, and they’ll be dominant this week against corners that Philadelphia has to pull from their practice squad. That opens up the running game for Todd Gurley, and when he gets going, the Rams are almost unstoppable on offense. Meanwhile, Nick Foles takes over for the injured Carson Wentz. His 79 QB rating in two games this season against two awful defenses in the Falcons and Bucs tell you all you need to know: he isn’t a reliable quarterback. Foles will be pressured to keep up with the Rams offense, and there’s no chance that happens. As a result, Los Angeles will be able to put this game away by halftime. Prediction: Eagles 23 Rams 37

Saints (11-2) at Panthers (6-7) MNF

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Photo Cred: bostonglobe.com

In a divisional matchup, the Panthers will host the Saints on Monday Night Football. Carolina has been played good football all season long, but lately they’re having trouble finishing games. Against a Saints team that is struggling, they’re in good position to get a big win. New Orleans may have won last week, but they were down by 11 at halftime to the Bucs of all teams with just three points scored against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Speaking of poor defenses, the Saints’ mistake-prone secondary will likely have trouble against Norv Turner’s misdirection heavy offense. With so many playmakers in DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, and Curtis Samuel to go along with the dual threat ability in Cam Newton, the Panthers will have no trouble moving the ball consistently all game long. Carolina and their 7th ranked rush defense will also will be able to shut down the run, and Drew Brees cannot currently be trusted to carry the offense the way he’s played recently. Furthermore, the Panthers are 5-1 at home this season while the Saints have often looked like a different team on the road. In a primetime game, the Panthers will feed of the home crowd’s and will come away with a big victory over a divisional rival. Prediction: Saints 19 Panthers 24

 

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