NFL Week 15 Picks: Early Predictions for Biggest Games of the Weekend

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) talks with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after a Broncos win at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos won 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Although Week 15 will not feature as many marquee matchups as past weeks, almost every game will be important for postseason purposes.

Even with only three weeks remaining in the regular season, there are still a great deal of teams that have a chance to reach the playoffs. Of course, one bad loss at this point could be the end of that hope.

Therefore, every single team has pressure to perform well in the upcoming weekend. Here is a look at those that will, as well as a complete breakdown for the best battles of Week 15.

NFL Week 15 Picks
San Diego ChargersDenver BroncosBroncos
San Francisco 49ersTampa Bay Buccaneers49ers
Washington RedskinsAtlanta FalconsFalcons
Chicago BearsCleveland BrownsBears
Houston TexansIndianapolis ColtsColts
New England PatriotsMiami DolphinsDolphins
Philadelphia EaglesMinnesota VikingsEagles
Seattle SeahawksNew York GiantsSeahawks
Buffalo BillsJacksonville JaguarsJaguars
Kansas City ChiefsOakland RaidersChiefs
New York JetsCarolina PanthersPanthers
Green Bay PackersDallas CowboysCowboys
Arizona CardinalsTennessee TitansTitans
New Orleans SaintsSt. Louis RamsSaints
Cincinnati BengalsPittsburgh SteelersBengals
Baltimore RavensDetroit LionsLions


San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:   Knowshon Moreno #27 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Thursday night games have not been all that exciting in recent weeks, but this week should be different. The Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives and have the skill to at least make this matchup close.

At 6-7, San Diego is only one game out of a playoff spot. Philip Rivers still ranks first in the league in completion percentage and now has a legitimate downfield target in Keenan Allen. This connection should fare well against a defense that ranks 29th in the league against the pass.

Of course, the Chargers defense has struggled as well this seasonespecially against the pass. Peyton Manning should be able to utilize his weapons through the air and move the ball with relative ease.

Even with's Jeff Legwold reporting that Wes Welker could be out with a concussion, Denver has enough depth at receiver to complete its perfect home season and move to 8-0 on the year at Sports Authority Field.

Prediction: Broncos 42, Chargers 31


New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 02:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots calls a play during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 2, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

A win in this game will clinch the division for the Patriots, but the Dolphins will not go away too easily.

Both teams showed a great deal of resolve in Week 14 with narrow comeback victories. The Patriots scored two touchdowns in the final minute to beat the Cleveland Browns, while Miami overcame a fourth-quarter deficit against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This type of mental fortitude will be necessary once again, as this game is likely to be a tough back-and-forth battle as well.

New England has struggled defensively in recent weeks, especially against the run. Additionally, the squad has turned the ball over eight times in the last four games, which has caused plenty of problems offensively.

With Miami capable of putting pressure on the quarterback and forcing turnovers, the team is capable of pulling off this upset victory.

Prediction: Dolphins 28, Patriots 27


Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

The Ravens have won three games in a row to put themselves back into playoff position after a poor start to the season. However, all three of those wins came at home, where the team is 6-1 this season.

It will be a much bigger challenge to win on the road, where the Ravens have only put together a 1-5 mark to this point. The return of Dennis Pitta will continue to be a nice boost to the offense, but Joe Flacco will still have to prove he can lead his team to victories on the road.

Meanwhile, the Lions will be happy to play indoors this week after struggling through a blizzard in Philadelphia in Week 14.

Fortunately, the return home will reignite this talented offense, which played so well against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving.

The Ravens will not be able to sustain drives in this game and will need some big plays in order to get into the end zone. This will not happen often enough and the Lions will earn a much-needed victory on Monday night.

Prediction: Lions 31, Ravens 20


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