NFL Predictions Week 15: Teams That Won't Cover

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIDecember 15, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks rolls out to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Candlestick Park on December 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

There are two road favorites and one battle of epic underachievers bettors should beware of in Week 15 of the NFL schedule. Usually when a team is favored on the road, it owns a decided edge over the team it's facing.

That is the case in one of my showcase games, but not so much in the other. In the battle of underachievers, anything can happen, but a change at quarterback will alter things and stir the pot.

Enough with the code, here's a look at three teams who won't cover this weekend. Just beneath the analysis is a table that shows my straight-up predictions for every game on the schedule.

 

Atlanta Falcons (-6) over Washington Redskins

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half of the Chiefs 45-10 win at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Ge
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Are you ready for a full-fledged quarterback controversy in Washington? One is on the way as Kirk Cousins is set to replace Robert Griffin III as the Washington Redskins starter. Mike Shanahan made the decision to shut down RG3, and now Cousins is going to make some fans believe he's the man for the team moving forward.

His work begins against the Atlanta Falcons, who are seven-point favorites on Sunday at home, per Bovada.

Here's the problem with this matchup for the Falcons. The team is ranked 30th in the NFL against the run. With Cousins under center, the Redskins' play-calling is going to look a lot like Shanahan's schemes did when he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Those Broncos teams ran the ball a ton using a healthy amount of traps and zone-blocking strategies. With RG3's gifts, it seemed Shanahan had gotten away from this a bit. With a more physically limited quarterback like Cousins, the Skins will play smash-mouth football against a defense in Atlanta that lacks physicality and presence upfront.

Falcons won't just fail to cover. They will lose outright.

 

Seattle Seahawks (-7) over New York Giants

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants warms up prior to the start of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Call me crazy, but this feels like a trap week for the Seahawks. The team is headed into MetLife Stadium to take on a veteran, underachieving New York Giants team that may be playing for it head coach's job. After being officially assured of missing the playoffs for the second straight season, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin could be on the hot seat.

Seattle is coming off a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and the team simply isn't as good on the road—especially the offense. Russell Wilson and Co. have been held under 20 points three times this season—every instance has been away from CenturyLink Field. This will obviously put pressure on the Seahawks defense to shut down the Giants.

Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz can still be a very dangerous trio. Nicks and Cruz are on pace to eclipse 2,000 combined receiving yards this season and despite leading the league in interceptions, Manning is still capable.

In an upset, I predict the Giants knock off the Seahawks.

 

Buffalo Bills (-3) over Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 05:   Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars rushes for yardage during the game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field on December 5, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

I never thought I'd say this, but I really like the way the Jags are playing right now. Jacksonville has won three games in a row and four of their last five. For once, this is clearly not the worst team in the NFL.

Playing at home against the struggling Bills, the Jags will keep their run going, and here's why.

The constant over the last three games has been Jacksonville's running game. Over the span of the winning streak, Jacksonville has averaged 126.3 yards per game on the ground. Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging 88 yards per game during that time, and he had 103 in the team's Week 14 win over Houston.

Buffalo's run defense has been slipping. Four straight opponents have eclipsed 130 yards rushing against it. Behind their solid run game, the Jags will make it four straight wins and hand the Bills a defeat.

NFL Week 15 Predictions
Thursday, Dec. 12TimeTVPrediction
San Diego at Denver8:25 PMNFLDenver
Sunday, Dec. 15TIME (ET)TVPrediction
Washington at Atlanta1 p.m.FoxAtlanta
Chicago at Cleveland1 p.m.FoxChicago
Houston at Indianapolis1 p.m.CBSIndianapolis
New England at Miami1 p.m.CBSNew England
Philadelphia at Minnesota1 p.m.FoxPhiladelphia
Seattle at NY Giants1 p.m.FoxNY Giants
San Francisco at Tampa Bay1 p.m.FoxSan Francisco
Buffalo at Jacksonville1 p.m.CBSJacksonville
Kansas City at Oakland4:05 p.m.CBSKansas City
NY Jets at Carolina4:05 p.m.CBSCarolina
Green Bay at Dallas4:25 p.m.FoxDallas
Arizona at Tennessee4:25 p.m.FoxArizona
New Orleans at St. Louis4:25 p.m.FoxNew Orleans
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh8:30 p.m.NBCCincinnati
Monday, Dec. 16TIME (ET)TVPrediction
Baltimore at Detroit8:30 p.m.ESPNBaltimore
Brian Mazique