In a week that features a lot of one-sided matchups, fans might have to look toward point spreads to keep things interesting. Fortunately, a few safe picks could lead to success in Week 15.
NFL Pickwatch has compiled the predictions from close to 100 experts, and they are in agreement about most of the schedule. Only one game (New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins) features a confidence rating of less than 79 percent.
On the other hand, it is much tougher to pick games against the spread. This is especially true at the end of the season when teams are no longer capable of sneaking up on anyone.
Still, the oddsmakers have left a few easy lines that could be considered locks heading into Sunday. Here is a look at every pick against the spread, followed by the safest picks of the week.
Note: All spread info courtesy of Vegas Insider as of Dec. 13.
|Washington Redskins||Atlanta Falcons||ATL -7||Redskins|
|San Francisco 49ers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||SF -5||49ers|
|Arizona Cardinals||Tennessee Titans||ARI -3||Titans|
|New Orleans Saints||St. Louis Rams||NO -6||Saints|
|Seattle Seahawks||New York Giants||SEA -7||Seahawks|
|Chicago Bears||Cleveland Browns||CHI -1||Bears|
|Houston Texans||Indianapolis Colts||IND -5.5||Colts|
|Buffalo Bills||Jacksonville Jaguars||BUF -2||Jaguars|
|New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins||NE -1||Dolphins|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Minnesota Vikings||PHI -5||Eagles|
|New York Jets||Carolina Panthers||CAR -11||Panthers|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Oakland Raiders||KC -4.5||Chiefs|
|Green Bay Packers||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -7||Packers|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Pittsburgh Steelers||CIN -2.5||Bengals|
|Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions||DET -6||Lions|
Spread info via Vegas Insider
Carolina Panthers (-11) vs. New York Jets
This guy's a scary athlete. And when you meet him, he's scary because it's like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I just remember that when we were in the preseason. I'm like, 'Who's going to tackle that guy?' He's about as good looking an athlete at quarterback as I've ever seen, and he can throw. He's got a bazooka for an arm. The kid's just ridiculous. It's Calvin Pace back there.
Despite a poor performance in Week 14, everything said about Newton is true. Even with a good defense, the Jets will have a hard time "tackling that guy" or even slowing him down through the air.
Meanwhile, the Panthers still have the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL and are going against a quarterback in Geno Smith who has an embarrassing 53.7 quarterback rating on the road.
While this spread is a large one, New York has a tendency to go down hard when it loses. The team's seven losses have been by an average margin of 20 points, and the only single-digit loss came in Week 2.
The Panthers will set out to redeem themselves after losing to the New Orleans Saints in their last game. The Jets will pay for this and lose in a blowout.
Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) at Oakland Raiders
After three losses in a row, the Chiefs got back on track with a blowout win over the Washington Redskins. In that game, they scored touchdowns off passes, runs, punt returns and kick returns to complete a dominant all-around effort.
This is bad news for opponents who are hoping that they had fallen off after a 9-0 start.
Even if Justin Houston is unable to return from his elbow injury, the Chiefs should still put a lot of pressure on young quarterback Matt McGloin and force him into plenty of mistakes.
Meanwhile, the Raiders defense should inspire no confidence this week after allowing a big game out of Geno Smith in Week 14. In fact, only three teams have allowed a better passer rating to opposing quarterbacks than Oakland this season.
The efficient Alex Smith should put up big numbers against this struggling unit and help the Chiefs move to 6-1 on the road this season.
Chicago Bears (-1) at Cleveland Browns
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Jay Cutler—not Josh McCown—will get the start at quarterback on Sunday:
Bears HC Marc Trestman makes it official, names Jay Cutler as starter Sunday in Cleveland.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 12, 2013
This caused plenty of debate, as McCown has been performing well in relief, throwing 13 touchdown passes to only one interception. However, Cutler has more natural talent and should be able to utilize the weapons around him.
As NFL on ESPN points out, the Bears had the best wide receiver duo in the league entering the week:
Most combined Rec yds by teammates this season: CHI Marshall/Jeffery 2,283 DEN D. Thomas/Decker 2,237 CLE Gordon/Cameron 2,225— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 11, 2013
While Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden can shut down many players, he will not be able to stick with both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears have had a real problem stopping the run. However, the Browns cannot take advantage of this with the league's No. 28 rushing offense.
The Bears should remain in the division race with a big road win in Week 15.
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