NFL Week 15 Predictions: Latest Odds and Picks Against the Spread
The pride did indeed come before the fall.
I had started to get comfortable with my picks. After months of doubting myself and wondering where the touch had gone, I gleefully pointed out that it had been awhile since my last sub-.500 outing.
I won't be making that mistake again.
Thus, my NFL Week 14 picks against the spread are all about believing. You have to believe in yourself to succeed in life, so I'm not giving up yet!
Yea, even I can't get behind that.
Click through for this week's picks.
All lines provided by footballlocks.com.
Last Week's Record: 5-11
Season Record: 98-108-2
CINCINNATI BENGALS (-3) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Foles is not a dangerous NFL quarterback based solely on a great performance against a terrible secondary.
Improving? Certainly, but there is quite a bit of work left.
And don't start comparing him to the big three yet. Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck were all entrenched in starting roles in college, giving them a leg up when it comes to readiness.
Also, I'm going to give the Cincinnati Bengals the benefit of the doubt for last week. The NFL needs the Dallas Cowboys to be interesting.
Thus, I'll lay the three points.
NEW YORK GIANTS (+1.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sorry, Atlanta Falcons fans. I just can't do it.
And it has everything—and nothing— to do with last week. The loss to the Carolina Panthers felt inevitable. We've been waiting weeks to find out what this team is.
Now, the Falcons have a rematch with the champs to further define themselves. They don't look ready.
Plus, the New York Giants are ready to start the throwing-punches stage of their annual rope-a-dope act.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-2.5) vs. Chicago Bears
We're still awaiting confirmation regarding Jay Cutler's neck, but we couldn't be more clear about this Green Bay Packers team. They're rounding into shape at the perfect time, and Aaron Rodgers will certainly be ready to brawl for the NFC North belt.
His numbers against the Detroit Lions weren't overly impressive. They didn't have to be. He continuously made the right play and earned the win.
The Bears—well, that's an entirely different story. Jason Campbell is only good enough to lose, and the rest of the team, including the first-string quarterback, seems to be following suit.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+6.5) vs. Cleveland Browns
While the Department of Justice is conducting an investigation to confirm, I can report with 100 percent confidence that the Cleveland Browns have, in fact, won three in a row.
That's great. I'm happy for Cleveland. I really am.
But that doesn't mean I'm laying 6.5 points.
The Washington Redskins have been doing work of their own. Even if Robert Griffin III can't go, I'll take Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon to keep it close with a playoff berth on the line.
Minnesota Vikings vs. ST. LOUIS RAMS (-3)
Count me among those who believe that momentum matters. And the St. Louis Rams have the feel of a team that's going to be good next year.
Heading into the offseason with a charge that electrifies the atmosphere surrounding the organization cannot be a negative.
Jeff Fisher is onto something. They're undefeated in a solid division and playing everybody tough at home.
I'll take the Rams giving three. Mainly because how much longer can we realistically expect Adrian Peterson to defeat the opponent and his quarterback?
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+7) vs. Miami Dolphins
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been killing me. But I can't quit them.
I'm sticking to the belief that the passing attack has one more decent game in them. Last week, I didn't consider that the Jets have one of the best passing defenses in the league, so I'll give the Jags a pass.
That's not the case with the Miami Dolphins. Besides, Miami isn't good enough to lay a full touchdown to anyone.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+3) vs. New Orleans Saints
I've picked both of these teams the last two weeks and lost all four games. Neither team is on my good side right now, a fact that will surely motivate each team.
All jokes aside, I'll take Greg Schiano's motivational skills over Joe Vitt's. I used to believe that Drew Brees was enough to keep this Saints team going. I was wrong.
Considering both have excellent offenses and terrible defenses, I'll take the better coach.
DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens
After the Houston Texans' loss to the New England Patriots, the possibility of grabbing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs doesn't seem so remote.
Like a shark, when Peyton Manning smells blood in the water, his senses sharpen. Rest assured that his teammates will follow suit.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens are the AFC equivalent of the Chicago Bears. They don't appear to have any direction, and firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron only confirms that belief (not that it wasn't the right move).
Can't you see Manning doing his best Kirk Cousins impression to win this one?
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+8.5) vs. Houston Texans
I'm not willing to say that I overrated the Houston Texans. Although, the expectations of a romp to the Super Bowl should probably be throttled back.
They'll be looking to make a statement at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Not for the league, but for themselves.
Despite that, I'm not giving Vegas 8.5 points. Can't do it.
For all of Indy's flaws, Andrew Luck is certainly capable of sneaking in a backdoor cover or even staying close throughout.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-5) vs. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are the couple that has children and bickers a bit, but seems to be as well-adjusted as any other family. Then, suddenly, Dad is moving out and the parents are splitting.
In other words, the Bills are sneakily stinky. You knew they weren't good, but you didn't really have any idea regarding their ineptitude.
Conversely, the Seattle Seahawks are building steam towards the playoffs. A second straight road win will do wonders for this team's confidence.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (+3) vs. San Diego Chargers
Who do you believe in?
Two teams with coaches that are on their way out and both cruised to impressive wins last week.
Each has a quarterback who has been hounded by the media all season.
Each signal-caller put up big performances to cause those impressive wins.
Vegas wasn't built on stupidity. There's nary a half-point to latch onto, so I'll take the three with Cam Newton.
It's just more fun that way.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (Pick 'Em) vs. Dallas Cowboys
Total gut call.
This is another matchup of two eerily similar teams. It's downright scary in some respects.
Both have ridiculously leaky offensive lines.
Both boast one top-notch pass-rusher.
And both have extremely talented receiving corps.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+2.5) vs. Oakland Raiders
I have very few set-in-stone rules for life. I like to assess situations as they are presented and not let past prejudices hastily color my decision.
However, this Oakland Raiders team has inspired me to etch one in stone. Regardless of the opponent, I will never pick a team on a six-game losing streak that is laying any number of points.
The only way I revisit this rule is if two such teams are facing off. That's how much I believe in this particular rule.
DETROIT LIONS (-6) vs. Arizona Cardinals
Both teams sit a 4-9, but each has a different feel.
The Arizona Cardinals are cooked. They've averaged three points per game over the last two weeks and suffered the worst loss in franchise history in Seattle.
The Detroit Lions have fallen apart at the end of games. They could easily be 7-6 if they got out of their own way or had more than one capable defensive back.
The Cards won't be mounting any late-game comebacks, regardless of Detroit's secondary, with their quarterbacks. Lay the six.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+4) vs. New England Patriots
Because Jim Harbaugh is a much better coach than Gary Kubiak.
Because the San Francisco 49ers bring a much healthier defense to Foxboro than the Houston Texans did.
Because the odds are against a second straight blowout win over a good team.
Because it's four points and I smell a field-goal game.
Because I want to believe it will be an entertaining game and that I won't get my hopes up for nothing.
New York Jets vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (-1)
You don't really expect me to start believing in this New York Jets team, do you?
I know they are only a game under .500, but do Jets fans actually believe in this team? Do they even want to?
As for this particular game, the Jets' ability to stop the pass is irrelevant. Jake Locker does that all by his lonesome.
I'll essentially take the points with the home team only giving one.