NFL

NFL Week 15 Picks: Predictions for Remaining Games After Thursday Night Football

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIDecember 14, 2013

Week 15 of the NFL season is already here, and the playoff picture is beginning to shape up as the regular season winds down.

Things got quite interesting after Thursday Night Football, as the San Diego Chargers came up with a surprising 27-20 win over the Denver Broncos.  While the Broncos are still the top team in the AFC, it's certainly interesting to see them cooling off this late in the year.

Below is a complete list of predictions for Week 15 after Thursday's game, followed by a breakdown of a few intriguing games to watch.

Week 15 NFL Predictions
AwayPredictionHome
Washington Redskins17-28Atlanta Falcons
San Francisco 49ers24-14Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks35-13New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles31-17Minnesota Vikings
New England Patriots28-20Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills23-10Jacksonville Jaguars
Houston Texans23-28Indianapolis Colts
Chicago Bears27-20Cleveland Browns
Kansas City Chiefs28-13Oakland Raiders
New York Jets13-31Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers20-30Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals23-13Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints30-23St. Louis Rams
Cincinnati Bengals21-17Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens20-24Detroit Lions

 

New England Patriots (10-3) at Miami Dolphins (7-6)

Date: Sunday, Dec. 15

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Prediction: 28-20, Patriots

The AFC East could have two playoff teams this season, but that might not be the case after this week.  The New England Patriots are 10-3 and still have a chance at grabbing the No. 1 seed in the AFC, while the Miami Dolphins are 7-6 and looking to jump over the Baltimore Ravens for the last wild-card spot.

This will be the Patriots' first test since losing Rob Gronkowski once again.  The offense struggled at the beginning of the season without him, but at the same time they were also without Danny Amendola, who is back in the lineup.  

However, the Patriots could be without several other weapons this week as well.  According to the team's injury report, both Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) and Aaron Dobson (foot) were limited in practice on Friday and are listed as questionable.

The Dolphins have struggled with consistency this season, but they've still won their last two games.  Ryan Tannehill has played well these past two weeks, throwing for 531 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.  However, the Dolphins need to find ways to keep their quarterback upright, as they've allowed 47 sacks this season, more than any other team in the NFL.

The Patriots may not be the same offensively without Gronkowski, but I still expect them to outplay the Dolphins.  Miami's offense can't keep up with Tom Brady, even if he doesn't have all of his weapons.

 

Washington Redskins (3-10) at Atlanta Falcons (3-10)

Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) throws the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Chiefs won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Sunday, Dec. 15

Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

Prediction: 28-17, Falcons

Neither of these teams are going to the playoffs, but this game between the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons will be interesting to watch for other reasons.

First, the Redskins will not be starting Robert Griffin III this week, or for the rest of the season.  According to the NFL on ESPN Twitter account, RGIII will be shut down, making Kirk Cousins the starter this Sunday.

Even if Cousins plays well, it will be the defense of the Redskins that will likely keep the team from winning.  The defense allows 31.3 points per game, which is more than any other team in the NFL.  It will be hard for them to stop the Atlanta Falcons, even without Julio Jones.  Matt Ryan can still make big plays in the passing game, and that's bad news.

This game will be important in terms of draft order, but if the Redskins lose, it will only help the St. Louis Rams, considering they traded away a few first-round picks for the No. 2 overall pick in 2012, when they took RGIII.

With how bad their defense is, I just can't see the Redskins winning this one.  The Falcons have been bad as well, but Ryan should lead his team to a victory.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)

Date: Sunday, Dec. 15

Time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Prediction: 21-17, Bengals

There's a chance that the Cincinnati Bengals could grab a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed in the AFC, but they're going to have to take down the Pittsburgh Steelers in order to make that a legitimate possibility.

This game is going to depend a lot on how well Andy Dalton plays.  He's had a strong season, throwing for 3,419 yards, 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, but as you can see below, his numbers are very different in wins and losses.

Andy Dalton in Wins vs. Losses
Comp %YardsTDINTRating
Wins64.02,319217103.0
Losses58.71,1004963.1
ESPN.com

The Steelers have an average defense, giving up 342.5 yards and 24 points per game, but they've also given up 56 total points in their last two games against the Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, which were both losses.  

That hasn't kept Ben Roethlisberger from continuing his hot streak, however.  Over the past four games, he's thrown 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  But the Bengals could change that, as opposing quarterbacks are posting just a 78.0 passer rating against them.

Dalton should have a good game this week, and with the defense playing so well, the Bengals should grab their 10th win of the year.

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