Each and every week of the 2013 NFL season has been impossible to predict, and that trend will continue in Week 15 with some surprising upsets. Here are the picks (both straight up and against the spread) and a breakdown of the upsets that are sure to happen this weekend.
|Week 15 Picks|
|Away Team||Home Team||Pick||ATS Pick|
|Washington Redskins||Atlanta Falcons||Atlanta Falcons||ATL -6|
|San Francisco 49ers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB +5.5|
|Seattle Seahawks||New York Giants||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -7|
|Chicago Bears||Cleveland Browns||Cleveland Browns||CLE +1|
|Houston Texans||Indianapolis Colts||Indianapolis Colts||HOU +5.5|
|Buffalo Bills||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jacksonville Jaguars||JAC +2.5|
|New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||NE Pick|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Minnesota Vikings||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -6.5|
|New York Jets||Carolina Panthers||Carolina Panthers||NYJ -10|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Oakland Raiders||Kansas City Chiefs||KC -5.5|
|Arizona Cardinals||Tennessee Titans||Arizona Cardinals||TEN +3|
|New Orleans Saints||St. Louis Rams||New Orleans Saints||NO -6.5|
|Green Bay Packers||Dallas Cowboys||Dallas Cowboys||DAL -6.5|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Pittsburgh Steelers||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT +2.5|
|Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions||Baltimore Ravens||BAL +6|
|All spreads courtesy of VegasInsider.com|
Baltimore Ravens (+6.5) over Detroit Lions
The Baltimore Ravens have struggled mightily as the defending Super Bowl champions, but they’ve quietly won three games in a row. Granted, those games were all at home, but the Ravens offense has been better in those games.
In addition, the return of tight end Dennis Pitta has given Joe Flacco a go-to target in tough situations. The running game—or lack thereof—is still a problem, but the Detroit Lions secondary can be exposed.
The Lions are the 25th-ranked pass defense in the NFL, and Baltimore has an underrated receiving corps now that Pitta is back in the mix.
|Detroit Lions Pass Defense|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||Yards Per Attempt||Passer Rating Allowed Per Game|
This game is going to be a shootout, and a very good Ravens defense will carry Baltimore to a crucial road win.
Prediction: Baltimore 31, Detroit 27
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2) over Cincinnati Bengals
|Andy Dalton's Last 5 Games|
Furthermore, Dalton’s struggles have largely come on the road.
|Andy Dalton Home and Away|
In Week 15, Dalton and the Bengals travel to Heinz Field to play a Pittsburgh Steelers team looking to play spoiler.
Ben Roethlisberger has been in excellent form and leads a dangerous Steelers offense that is averaging 28 points per game in its last four contests. Pittsburgh has been relying on the passing game, and Roethlisberger has rewarded that faith due to better offensive line play.
|Steelers Sacks Allowed|
|Games||Sacks Allowed||Sacks Per Game|
Antonio Brown, the league’s leader in receptions, will create problems for a Bengals defense that is missing cornerback Leon Hall, and the Steelers will help out their archrival Ravens by beating Cincinnati at home.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 23, Cincinnati 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5) over San Francisco 49ers
This is a classic trap game for the San Francisco 49ers. They’re flying across the country to play a game at 10 a.m. on their West Coast clocks. To make matters worse, they’re doing this after the most important game of their season last week when they beat their NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks.
In addition, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are actually playing pretty well right now. The Bucs are second in the league with a turnover differential of plus-13, and their defensive front (led by Gerald McCoy) will pose some problems for a Niners offensive line that could be without starting guard Mike Iupati.
Mike Glennon has been playing well recently, passing for 2,052 yards and 15 TDs since taking over as the starter.
With playmakers on both sides of the ball, Tampa Bay will be able to jump on the Niners early and pull off the upset.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, San Francisco 17