NFL Week 15 Predictions

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

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Last Week: 10-6
2013 Season: 90-105-10

A 10-6 week started slowly, as SkoodSports was merely 5-5 after the 1:00 PM games (and Thursday night’s snoozefest). But, a strong latter portion of Sunday afternoon followed by a sweep of the primetime affairs gave this prognosticator one of his better weeks of the season and opened up the fleeting possibility of a .500 campaign.

San Diego Chargers (6-7) AT Denver Broncos (11-2)

The Spread: Denver by 10
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: Denver, 37-30
The Rationale: Road teams on Thursday night are an impressive 6-8 this season (only 10 teams are .500 or above overall away from home). The Chargers’ hopes of keeping this game close rose exponentially with the loss of Wes Welker. The Broncos’ receiver suffered his second concussion in under a month and will not play on Thursday.

Washington Redskins (3-10) AT Atlanta Falcons (3-10)

The Spread: Atlanta by 7
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Atlanta, 24-13
The Rationale: Does FOX even need to send a broadcasting crew to this game? Let’s be honest; no one is watching. The Redskins are in full on tank mode (and humorously do not have their first round pick). Mike Shanahan is trying to get fired. Kirk Cousins is starting under fire. This matchup of disappointing 2012 playoff teams promises to be a real dud.

Chicago Bears (7-6) AT Cleveland Browns (4-9)

The Spread: Cleveland by 2
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 20-17
The Rationale: I doubt the Bears see the amount of offensive success that they experienced against Dallas on Monday. But, Josh McCown has been playing lights out and Cleveland continues to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory. The “mistake by the lake” will continue to be a morose environment. Chicago can’t stop the run. But, Cleveland has no one that can take advantage of it. If only Josh Gordon could play running back, too.

Houston Texans (2-11) AT Indianapolis Colts (8-5)

The Spread: Indianapolis by 6
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Indianapolis, 26-13
The Rationale: Houston has lost 11 consecutive games and will be playing once again under interim coach Wade Phillips (who led the team during Gary Kubiak’s absence last month). Indianapolis has struggled with injuries and continues to look like less of a threat come January. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t get their ninth win against a lackluster Texans squad.

New England Patriots (10-3) AT Miami Dolphins (7-6)

The Spread: New England by 2
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 26-23
The Rationale: The Patriots might get a referee’s call or two to help them grab a victory here much like last week. But, if everything is equal, the Dolphins are the better bet at home. New England’s defense is ravaged by injuries and cannot stop the pass (as evidenced by last week’s 391 yard, 3 touchdown day by Jason Campbell). Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill has completed at least 60% of his passes in every game since week eight. No Gronk = no Super Bowl for the Patriots. It might also mean a game on Wild Card weekend should Cincinnati get even with them in the standings.

Seattle Seahawks (11-2) AT New York Giants (5-8)

The Spread: Seattle by 7
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle, 31-17
The Rationale: You’ve got to give credit to the Giants. This is a team that started 0-6 and could have just tanked it for the remainder of the season. Granted, that might have been a better move with regards to the future. But, the Giants have gone 5-2 in their last seven and are not nearly as bad as they looked in the first two months of the season. Couple that with the fact that the Seahawks are playing back-to-back road games, where they are much more inferior, and you might see the Giants put up a fight. Hold that thought. This is still Eli Manning facing a turnover inducing Seahawks’ defense.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) AT Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)

The Spread: Philadelphia by 5
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Philadelphia, 24-20
The Rationale: This week’s Sports Illustrated sees Nick Foles grace the cover. That’s enough for me to think that the Eagles are in trouble against Minnesota. The S.I. cover jinx has long tortured the souls of those who appeared on it. Hopefully, for Philadelphia’s sake, they avoid this pitfall. Getting away from the supernatural; Philadelphia should not have too much of a problem putting up points against Minnesota. The only problem could come from the Vikings’ special teams. Most notably rookie WR Cordarelle Patterson, who has been electric in the return game. The Eagles gave up two return touchdowns in the snow last week. The only way I see Minnesota keeping this one close is if Patterson sets their offense up in good field position. He might do just that. I will be at this game, as I’m making the trek up to Minneapolis on Saturday.

San Francisco 49ers (9-4) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)

The Spread: San Francisco by 5
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: San Francisco, 20-17
The Rationale: The Buccaneers are playing inspired football. Greg Schiano’s club is 4-1 since their disastrous 0-8 start, including impressive victories over Buffalo (27-6) and Detroit (24-21). They also kept it close in Seattle, losing 27-24 to everyone’s Super Bowl favorite. Tampa Bay’s success has been buoyed by Bobby Rainey, who continues to dominate opponents with Doug Martin out for the season. His success will be critical this week, as the Bucs play host to one of the best defenses in football. The 49ers saw their offense eek out just enough points to win against Seattle. Having to travel east and play at 1:00 PM, I see a similar scenario occurring this week for the defending NFC champions.

Buffalo Bills (4-9) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)

The Spread: Buffalo by 1
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Jacksonville, 24-17
The Rationale: It wasn’t long ago that everyone thought that Jacksonville was destined for the #1 pick. With wins in four of their last five games, the tides have turned on Gus Bradley’s bunch. Buffalo, on the other hand, is reeling, having lost five of six. If Buffalo has any hope in this game, it is going to have to be on the backs of their run game (5th in the NFL). The Jaguars have the worst running game in football. So, don’t expect Jacksonville to control the clock in this one.

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) AT Oakland Raiders (4-9)

The Spread: Kansas City by 5
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City, 30-20
The Rationale: Call me crazy. But, I think that Kansas City’s three game losing streak was the best thing that happened to them this season. Prior to their first loss against Denver on November 17th, K.C. had scored 28+ points just twice (in nine wins). Since that date, the Chiefs have totals of 17, 38, 28, and 45. Oakland has struggled defensively all season. So, don’t expect much push back.

New York Jets (6-7) AT Carolina Panthers (9-4)

The Spread: Carolina by 11
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 28-6
The Rationale: I don’t often pick a team to go without a touchdown. But, this game is an extenuating circumstance. The Jets, coming off a game in which they got their first passing touchdown in nearly two months, have a lackluster and often stagnant offense. Enter Carolina, whose defense was absolutely dominant prior to a Sunday night thrashing at the hands of New Orleans. The Panthers will be pissed, and that’s not good news for New York.

Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) AT Dallas Cowboys (7-6)

The Spread: Dallas by 7
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Dallas, 23-17
The Rationale: Dallas by 7? Never should anyone take Dallas with the points when they are favored by more than 5 and coached by Jason Garrett. The Cowboys’ coach just doesn’t understand how to win in this league. His abandonment of the running game on Monday night was just another in a long line of common mistakes made by the soon to be unemployed coach. If Aaron Rodgers were playing, the Packers would win. With Matt Flynn in, I still give Green Bay a fighter’s chance at slaying Dallas. It’s December, after all. Disappointment is a gift often given by the Cowboys to their fans.

Arizona Cardinals (8-5) AT Tennessee Titans (5-8)

The Spread: Arizona by 3
The Pick: Arizona
The Score: Arizona, 28-17
The Rationale: The Cardinals are the best team that no one talks about. Somehow, Dallas is considered a better contender than Arizona. Yes, Carson Palmer is a turnover or injury waiting to happen. But, the 8-5 Cards still boast a tremendous defense and a great coach in Bruce Arians. It looks like Mike Munchak’s days in Tennessee are numbered.

New Orleans Saints (10-3) AT St. Louis Rams (5-8)

The Spread: New Orleans by 6
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: New Orleans, 27-17
The Rationale: The only thing that gives me pause is the success of St. Louis’ pass rush and how that could trouble Drew Brees this weekend. Then, I remember that St. Louis is led by Kellen Clemens and I confidently place my hypothetical wager on New Orleans.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)

The Spread: Cincinnati by 3
The Pick: Cincinnati
The Score: Cincinnati, 28-21
The Rationale: The Bengals are the dark horse in the AFC this season. This is a team that has already defeated New England and Indianapolis. If they get the three seed, one shouldn’t be surprised to find the Bengals in Denver for a very 1980’s-esque AFC Championship Game. Pittsburgh has to win out to have any hope of a playoff berth and even that is unlikely after losing to Miami last week.

Baltimore Ravens (7-6) AT Detroit Lions (7-6)

The Spread: Detroit by 6
The Pick: Detroit
The Score: Detroit, 30-20
The Rationale: I just don’t see how Baltimore contends with Calvin Johnson in this game. The Ravens have been resilient this year. But, their inability to consistently score points puts them at a massive disadvantage against a Lions team that will be glad to be back indoors and out of the wintry conditions they experienced in Philadelphia last week.

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