NFL Week 15 Picks: Predictions for Every Game
We're dwindling down here, and there is still plenty to be decided in the 2012 NFL regular season.
Both wild-card spots in each conference are there for the taking, although in the AFC, no one seems to want the No. 6 position.
With Peyton Manning facing the Baltimore Ravens, Eli Manning taking on the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady squaring off against the San Francisco 49ers, we'll get a much clearer playoff picture at the end of Week 15.
Let's get to the picks.
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons
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The Falcons are undefeated at home this season, but they've been shaky of late. If they can't run or stop the run, they'll struggle against the NFC's elite. Eli Manning and his G-Men were totally in sync against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 and are primed to make another late-season run.
This game will feature more interceptions than some may initially believe would be the case with Matt Ryan and Manning under center, but right now, New York is the more well-rounded team and will sneak out of Atlanta with a huge road win.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
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The Packers are trending upward after a solid victory in the snow against the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football.
They're getting healthy at the right time, and it doesn't appear Aaron Rodgers has to be perfect for them to win.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have lost four of five, and Jay Cutler injured his neck against the Minnesota Vikings.
Without Brian Urlacher manning the middle of the defense, Rodgers and Co. will dice the Bears' defense en route to a win that gives them breathing room in the NFC North.
Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns
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Trap game, anyone?
It'll be easy for the clicking Washington Redskins to overlook the 5-8 Browns with NFC East games next on the schedule.
However, Cleveland has won three straight, albeit over two AFC West teams, but confidence is finally there.
Brandon Weeden, Josh Gordon and Trent Richardson formulate a trio that can't be taken lightly, and the team's defense is formidable.
If Robert Griffin III plays, the Redskins should escape with a narrow victory.
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams
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This is a battle of the NFC's most pleasant surprises, two clubs with slim playoff chances.
Adrian Peterson is a legitimate MVP candidate, and the Rams are getting by with great coaching from Jeff Fisher.
There isn't much talent disparity in this one, but Peterson is the X-factor that will ultimately carry the Vikings to their eighth win of the year.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins
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The Jaguars can't get out of their own way and are fresh off consecutive losses to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
Ryan Tannehill's Miami Dolphins are a year away from contending in the AFC, but their defensive front seven is good, and Jacksonville's offense is still one of the worst in the NFL.
With an occasional big play from their running game, Joe Philbin's club will do enough to beat the hapless Jags.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
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Just another NFC South shootout.
Neither the Buccaneers nor the Saints can stop anyone—especially through the air—and despite some recent struggles, Josh Freeman and Drew Brees should have huge afternoons.
Tampa Bay narrowly lost to New Orleans earlier in the year, and with the Buccaneers' postseason hopes all but dashed, they will get a confidence-building win.
Lots of Doug Martin, too.
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
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On the other hand, rather quietly, Peyton Manning has the Broncos on an eight-game winning streak.
In what should be a tightly contested AFC battle, Von Miller will force a huge turnover late, and the Broncos will leave Baltimore a winner.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
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Andrew Luck has led six comebacks this season, a remarkable feat for a rookie quarterback playing on a team that went 2-14 a season ago.
However, the Colts' flaws will be exposed against the mighty Houston Texans' defensive line in Week 15.
J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith and Co. will demolish Indianapolis' offensive line, and Arian Foster will wear down the Colts' defense in a rather convincing victory for Gary Kubiak's squadron.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
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Boy, how the Cardinals have fallen. From 4-0 to 4-9 in about the most abysmal way possible.
The Lions have done a great job finding ways to lose over the last month; however, they have considerably more talent than Arizona.
Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers
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Don't look now, but Cam Newton has 11 total touchdowns (eight passing) with no interceptions over the last four games.
Sure, the Panthers haven't played a quartet of elite teams, but any improvement from the remarkably talented quarterback is a good development for Carolina.
The Chargers ended a four-game losing streak in impressive fashion with a win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh, but can Philip Rivers be trusted in consecutive games?
In a mini upset, the Panthers will make more plays on offense than the Chargers in San Diego.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys
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The Cowboys were lackluster for the majority of the game against the Bengals in Week 14, but Tony Romo came through in the clutch, and Dallas came back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
This is a clash of improvisational quarterbacks and will be a game loaded with incredibly unlikely third-down conversions and big plays.
At home, with the season essentially on the line, the Cowboys' defense will make enough plays against a sporadic Steelers offense that will lead to a close victory.
Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills
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The Seattle Seahawks probably won't put up 58 on the Buffalo Bills in Toronto, but they're clearly the more talented and well-coached team.
Cornerback Brandon Browner is already suspended, and there's a chance Richard Sherman's suspension will be upheld as well.
That should help a reeling Bills offense somewhat, but Russell Wilson will make many plays against an average Bills secondary, and Chan Gailey will likely misuse C.J. Spiller once again.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
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A real AFC West barnburner.
Neither team has anything to play for, and actually, the loser will probably be better off in the long run thanks to the chance to land a better draft pick.
At home, the Carson Palmer-led Raiders will simply make more plays through the air than Brady Quinn's crew.
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots
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Super Bowl preview?
Right now, these two clubs appear to be the best in their respective conferences, with supreme balance and an enormous amount of talent on both sides of the ball.
The 49ers' front seven will be too much for Tom Brady and the Patriots to handle, and Frank Gore and the crafty Colin Kaepernick will expose some of New England's defensive flaws.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
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The Jets are alive in the AFC postseason race.
Believe it, people.
While they'll probably fall a win or two short of the playoffs, they'll get a win over the sporadic Titans in Week 15.
Gang Green's defense is still rather effective and will force Jake Locker into a handful of major mistakes.