NFL Week 15 Picks: Last-Minute Look at Weekend's Marquee Matchups

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 08: Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts  at Paul Brown Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Week 15 got started in impressive fashion as the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos played a highly entertaining bout under the national microscope of Thursday Night Football.

Even better, the .500 Chargers pulled off the upset on the road over their divisional foe, not only dropping the Broncos to 11-3 but opening up a can of AFC playoff worms as it pertains to not only the wild card, but the No. 1 seed.

The best part? We are just getting started.

Week 15 still has plenty of action sure to be worth the price of admission. This means the playoff implications are only going to get crazier by the time the week concludes.


NFL Week 15 Predictions
Away Home Prediction
Washington Redskins Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons
Chicago Bears Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears
Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins
Philadelphia Eagles Minnesota Vikings Philadelphia Eagles
Seattle Seahawks New York Giants Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers San Francisco 49ers
Buffalo Bills Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders Kansas City Chiefs
New York Jets Carolina Panthers Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans
New Orleans Saints St. Louis Rams New Orleans Saints
Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh Steelers Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens Detroit Lions Detroit Lions
Chris Roling's predictions.


Miami Dolphins Shock New England Patriots

Dec 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are ripe for an upset.

First of all, tight end Rob Gronkowski is lost for the season, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Second, the Patriots have looked wobbly as of late and needed a late comeback in Week 14 to beat 4-9 Cleveland by one point.

The Dolphins were forced to travel to Foxborough in Week 8 and lost, 27-17. But quarterback Ryan Tannehill is excited for a rematch, per Sean Grimm of the team's official website:

Well obviously it’s the same team for the most part. (Aqib) Talib will probably be back and maybe someone else is gone, but you’re playing a team for the second time, obviously they are going to have a little bit different of a game plan. We are going to have a little bit different of a game plan. That’s the beauty of playing division games, you get to play each other twice a year and it’s about fixing the things that you didn’t do well last time and evolving your game plan so that its not the same exact game.

Tannehill should be excited. His line is protecting him better (four sacks in last two games), and the team has won two straight. At home against a depleted and drained New England team, Miami comes up big to stay in the playoff hunt.

Prediction: Dolphins 17, Patriots 14


Cincinnati Bengals Finish Off Pittsburgh Steelers

Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) high steps into the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY S
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC now if a few teams drop a game while they win out.

That journey begins on Sunday Night Football. These two are familiar with each other under the national microscope—they met in Week 2 on Monday Night Football, where Cincinnati defended its home turf with a 20-10 win.

The Bengals have won three straight on the heels of a defense that ranks in the top 10 against the pass (No. 7) and rush (No. 5). Pittsburgh has dropped two in a row by less than a touchdown each and continues to lack for answers.

Tony Dungy, by way of Joe Reedy from the Cincinnati Enquirer, put it best:

The Steelers are especially weak against the rush and rank in the bottom 10 with an average of 120.2 yards allowed per game. This is great news for Cincinnati's rookie running back Giovani Bernard, who had the best rushing game of his career last week against Indianapolis as he gained 99 yards on 12 carries.

Bernard tallied 65 total yards and two touchdowns as the main reason the Bengals upended the Steelers last time. Expect a similar line and result here as the rolling Bengals keep it moving with a season sweep of their heated rival on the way to the postseason.

Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 23


Detroit Lions Overcome Baltimore Ravens

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions runs for a third quarter touchdown while playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens share an identical 7-6 record before their clash on Monday Night Football.

Things are strange for Baltimore. Last week, the Ravens needed a 22-point fourth-quarter performance to beat 3-9-1 Minnesota, 29-26.

Running back Ray Rice is still ineffective at just three yards per carry. Quarterback Joe Flacco is not doing anything to help and has thrown 18 touchdowns to 17 interceptions this year.

While the Ravens have won three straight and the Lions have lost three of four, there is reason to believe Detroit can pull through at home.

For one, the Ravens are putrid away from home and have a 1-5 record in that regard. Secondly, the Ravens will have no answer for Calvin Johnson (75 receptions, 1,348 yards and 12 touchdowns), who will surely be motivated after Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam took shots in Megaton's direction earlier in the week, per the Associated Press' David Ginsburg via the Detroit Free Press:

He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be. He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.

Yeah, not the best idea. It will take Baltimore's best game of the year to notch its second road win of the season and stay alive in the playoff race. That simply will not happen.

Prediction: Lions 28, Ravens 23 


Follow Chris_Roling on Twitter


    Report: Jags Exploring FA QBs, Severing Bortles' Contract

    NFL logo

    Report: Jags Exploring FA QBs, Severing Bortles' Contract

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Winners & Losers from Marcus Peters Trade

    NFL logo

    Winners & Losers from Marcus Peters Trade

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Ex-Dolphins OL in Custody After Post with Gun

    NFL logo

    Report: Ex-Dolphins OL in Custody After Post with Gun

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Chiefs Trading CB Peters to Rams

    NFL logo

    Report: Chiefs Trading CB Peters to Rams

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report