Week 15 NFL Predictions: Favorites That Will Dominate Sunday

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 24: Injured Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears watches from the sidelines during a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 24, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

Three more critical NFL weeks are all that stand between the vast amount of teams still in playoff contention and the actual postseason.

Wild Cards and division titles hang in the balance, and the best way to clinch a spot at the table is by taking care of business as a favorite. While there will likely be some upsets during Week 15, there will also be some favorites that dominate and take another step toward the playoffs. 

Let’s dig into a few of them. Lines are courtesy of Vegas Insider.


Chicago Bears (-1 at Cleveland Browns)

It’s not every day that getting one’s starting signal-caller back from injury creates a rift in the fanbase, but that may be what is happening for the Chicago Bears.

After Josh McCown destroyed the Dallas Cowboys secondary with his arm in Week 14 and won three of five starts, Jay Cutler returns to the Chicago lineup. He will be going up against a stingy Cleveland defense that ranks eighth in the NFL in opposing passing yards allowed and fourth in opposing rushing yards allowed.

Fortunately for the Bears, the offense won’t have to score every possession like it did against Dallas (not counting the final kneel) because the Browns are simply not built to exploit Chicago’s putrid rush defense. Cleveland is a mere 28th in the NFL in rushing yards, which will help the Bears’ league-worst rush defense look rather ordinary in Week 15. 

Ordinary will be enough to win comfortably in this one.


Cincinnati Bengals (-2 at Pittsburgh Steelers)

Pittsburgh’s loss to Baltimore on Thanksgiving night felt like something of a last stand for the Steelers and their playoff hopes. The ensuing loss to Miami in Week 14 all but killed Pittsburgh’s slim chances. 

Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) talks with Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10 at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credi
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

To make matters worse, the Bengals are seventh in the league against the pass, which is the one thing the Steelers do well. Ben Roethlisberger will have trouble finding open receivers under the lights even without Leon Hall on the field.

Cincinnati is on the opposite side of the spectrum having won three straight. In fact, the Bengals have only lost twice in the past nine games, and both defeats came in heartbreaking fashion in overtime. Cincinnati will stake an early lead and then ride its solid rushing attack against Pittsburgh’s 24th-ranked rushing defense.


Seattle Seahawks (-6.5 at New York Giants)

If there’s one thing Seattle doesn’t do a lot of it is lose.

The Seahawks are 11-2 and looking for home field throughout the playoffs, but they took a rare L at San Francisco in Week 14 and once again have to go on the road to face the middling Giants.

The good news for Seattle fans is that this one could get out of hand early. The Seahawks are third in the league in rushing yards and first in the league in opposing passing yards allowed. That is a perfect combination to grab an early lead behind Marshawn Lynch and prevent Eli Manning from coming back through the air.

Look for Manning to throw two more interceptions and the Seahawks to roll.

Week 15 Spread Picks
Road TeamHome TeamSpreadPick
Buffalo BillsJacksonville JaguarsBUF -2BUF
Washington RedskinsAtlanta FalconsATL -7WAS
Houston TexansIndianapolis ColtsIND -5.5IND
New England PatriotsMiami DolphinsPICKNE
Philadelphia EaglesMinnesota VikingsPHI -5.5PHI
San Francisco 49ersTampa Bay BuccaneersSF -5SF
Kansas City ChiefsOakland RaidersKC -5KC
New York JetsCarolina PanthersCAR -11CAR
Green Bay PackersDallas CowboysDAL -7DAL
Arizona CardinalsTennessee TitansAZ -3AZ
New Orleans SaintsSt. Louis RamsNO -6.5NO
Baltimore RavensDetroit LionsDET -6BAL
Vegas Insider


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