Week 15 NFL Picks: Teams That Will Win Pivotal Matchups on the Road

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 09:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during the game against the San Diego Chargers on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Turns out, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have much more in common than we thought.

Both quarterbacks have ties to Indy of course, but both will also share the same tall task in Week 15. That is leading their team to a critical late-season road win. 

The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts are two of the AFC's best teams this season, and each will be visiting another winning team on Sunday afternoon. Manning's Broncos will be in Baltimore looking to win their ninth straight game overall, while Luck's Colts will be in Houston attempting to inch closer to the AFC South lead.

But don't expect either one to emerge with a W this weekend.

Instead, here are the teams set to win pivotal December matchups on the road in Week 15.


Green Bay Packers

Green Bay already annihilated the Chicago Bears once this season and will be the favorite to win again in the eyes of many, even though Week 15's NFC North clash should be much more competitive. 

After all, there is a whole lot on the line on Sunday in Chicago. The Bears trail the Packers by one game in the division, and the Pack can clinch the division and a playoff berth with a win at Soldier Field. Therefore, I like Aaron Rodgers and company to prevail on the road this weekend.

Green Bay is 4-0 against the rest of the division and has won seven of its last eight games entering Week 15, while Chicago has lost four of its last five and is fielding a banged-up quarterback in Jay Cutler. Cutler was picked off four times and sacked seven times in his last outing against the Packers. 

It won't be easy silencing the Bears on the road, but Green Bay has looked to be the best team in the NFC North this season, and I expect them to confirm that notion this Sunday, winning 23-16.


New York Giants

The Atlanta Falcons have to lose at home at some point this season, don't they?

Sure, the Falcons are nearly impossible to beat inside the Georgia Dome, but that doesn't mean they can't be exposed for the second straight week by the New York Giants this Sunday afternoon. Don't let Atlanta's 6-0 home record fool you, because they've lost road games at New Orleans and at Carolina, two teams with losing records in 2012.

That's why I'm riding with the New York Giants this weekend. Tom Coughlin's erratic squad knows that it must continue to string together victories if it's to avoid surrendering the NFC East division lead to the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys, and that should be enough to inspire the G-Men in Week 15.

Obviously the Falcons won't roll over that easily at home, so expect New York to escape by the narrowest of margins. Something in the ballpark of 20-17, Giants.


Pittsburgh Steelers

In a Super Bowl XXX rematch, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys will square off from Jerry's World in Week 15 in a matchup with mighty playoff implications. 

Both teams enter with identical 7-6 records, and the loser will have zero room for error the rest of the way. Unlike Super Bowl XXX though, this time around the Cowboys won't be the ones celebrating when it's all said and done. Dallas is a mediocre 3-3 at home this year, and the Steelers, of course, boast a championship pedigree.

After being embarrassed at home by the San Diego Chargers last week, expect Ben Roethlisberger and the offense to come out firing on all cylinders, looking to prove a point almost. 

I expect the score to be almost identical to that of Super Bowl XXX but flipped in favor of the visiting Steelers. Pittsburgh, 27-17.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter