NFL Week 15 Picks: Favorites That Will Fail to Cover the Spread

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 09:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

No matter the size of the spread, picking against favorites is never an easy thing to do.

But without fail, week after week, favorites do not cover the spread. Big spreads, small spreads, it doesn't matter—failure doesn't discriminate.

Week 15 will be no different, as a number of teams in the NFL who walk into Sunday afternoon's slate of action as favorites will walk out having failed to live up to the odds.

Let's take a look at three of those teams now.

All spread info courtesy of


Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) vs. New York Giants

It's a battle between two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when New York's Eli Manning and Atlanta's Matt Ryan go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome.

Ryan has been solid over the past three games, completing 68.4 percent of his passes (78-of-114) for 860 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, while Manning has completed only 59 percent of his passes (58-of-98) for 788 yards, eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Despite a banged up backfield, the Giants have averaged 132 rushing yards over their last four games. Explosive rookie David Wilson, who picked up 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground last week against New Orleans, will give a Falcons defense that is allowing 127 rushing yards per game fits.

Conversely, the Falcons don't have much of a running game to talk about, with the combination of Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers gaining only 35 yards on 11 carries in the Falcons' 30-20 loss to Carolina in Week 14.

This one is going to come down to which QB makes fewer mistakes, and there isn't a QB in the NFL who is more adept at going on the road and winning tough games than Eli Manning.

The last time these two teams met, the Giants routed Atlanta in the NFC Wild Card Game by a score of 24-2.

It won't be nearly as lopsided when the two teams meet on Sunday, but the result will be the same.


St. Louis Rams (-2.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings

Welcome to the Adrian Peterson show.

Peterson has once again established himself as the best running back in the NFL through the first 14 weeks of the season with 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground—and doing it without any semblance of a passing game to give him more room to run.

Over his last seven games, Peterson has carried the ball 152 times for 1,101 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 7.2 yards per carry and 157 rushing yards per game.

Tampa Bay, which has the best run defense in the NFL, was powerless to stop Peterson, who averaged more than eight yards per carry. Against a St. Louis run defense that ranks 13th against the run, Peterson is going to run wild.

St. Louis will put some points on the board, but Peterson will prove to be too much for the Rams to handle.


Houston Texans (-9) vs. Indianapolis Colts

While Indianapolis' rookie QB, Andrew Luck, has been shaky of late, completing less than 50 percent of his passes in back-to-back games and throwing 10 interceptions over his past five games, Houston's secondary has been getting scorched by opposing quarterbacks.

Despite having the best record in the AFC at 11-2, the Texans have not been able to shake the Colts and clinch the AFC South.

While Houston's pass rush will get to Luck—he has been sacked 10 times in his last three games—his ability to stand strong in the pocket and make tough throws while under pressure will keep the Colts in this game all afternoon, making it impossible for the Texans to cover the big spread.