Well I am back on Bleacher Report, and while I am not exactly going to be conventional by beginning an NFL picks segment in Week 15, I felt the urge to put something out there. Here are my picks for all 16 games:
Thursday 8:20 PM
Indianapolis Colts (-3) over Jacksonville Jaguars: It becomes very tough picking games in the latter part of the season because of the unpredictability of playing time. Personally, I think the fear of the Colts sitting players is being a little over-hyped this week. It is only Week 15, the Colts still want to go undefeated, and if they are going to rest players and risk their first blemish, they do not want it to come against their division rivals. The Jags always play the Colts tough, and they are at home, but I do not see Garrard being able to win this game through the air. I will take Peyton and the Colts to cover on Thursday night.
Saturday 8:20 PM
Dallas Cowboys (+7) over New Orleans Saints: December has not been a joyous time of year for Dallas as of late. The so-called "monkey" on the players' backs is now probably more the likes of a large chimpanzee, a gorilla, or perhaps even the abominable snowman (if you want to get into the holiday spirit). While I am not going to call a straight Dallas win, I do think they make the seven points come in handy this week. New Orleans has looked shaky against two bad teams and the Cowboys are playing for their playoff lives and probably Wade Phillips' job. I will take the 'Boys and the seven points.
Sunday 1:00 PM
Atlanta Falcons (+5) over New York Jets: Much of this depends on the status of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner who are both listed as questionable on the injury report. Without either one of them, the Falcons fought the undefeated Saints to the final whistle and I expect them to beat the Jets and eliminate their playoff hopes. Even if the Falcons do not end up winning this game, I think their veteran defense will force enough turnovers to keep them in a tight game. I will take the points and the road team again.
Philadelphia Eagles (-9) over San Francisco 49ers: The Niners are just 1-5 on the road and this is not the game I expect them to come close to changing that. With the division in their grasp, the Eagles will make sure this game does not get too close. Do not expect another seven turnovers from the opponent either, I do not like San Fran on either side of the ball in this one. Philly covers at home.
Houston Texans (-10.5) over St. Louis Rams: The Texans put a drubbing on the Seahawks last week, so why is there any reason to think they do not do the same to the Rams this week? Quite frankly, there are not many opponents that would not cover against St. Louis, and Houston is a pretty good squad. Give the points on the road.
New England Patriots (-7) over Buffalo Bills: Really like this matchup for the Pats. Giving only seven points to a pretty bad Bills that has been riding a high under their interim coach Perry Fewell. I am looking for Brady and Moss to respond to the critics with a big day. New England is a pretty good bet to cover in this one.
Chicago Bears (+10.5) over Baltimore Ravens: This was a tough pick, but in the end with potential for sloppy weather, I will take the points. While the Bears have been terrible on the road this season, Cutler and Forte should be able to put up just enough points to keep the game relatively close. Keep an eye on the weather for this one, snow could really limit both offenses and make that 10.5 look a lot nicer.
Miami Dolphins (+3) over Tennessee Titans: Should be a great game with a lot of ground work. This one is really too close to call so I will take the points with a Dolphins team that is playing very well lately. You can throw on Tennessee and Chad Henne has been playing very well lately throwing to Bess and others. On the other side, Young may not be available so keep a close eye on his status.
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) over Cleveland Browns: Arrowhead is always a tough place to play, and I think it makes the difference in this one. Jamaal Charles should have his way with a bad Brown defense. Do not fear what Cleveland did last week to Pittsburgh, expect them to come back down to earth in this one. Chiefs win at home.
Arizona Cardinals (-12.5) over Detroit Lions: After a very sloppy performance last week, I expect the Cardinals to come out and be extra focused to execute. Do not expect much resistance from the Lions. Stafford will turn it over a couple times, Warner will pick apart the Detroit D, and the Cardinals will not let another week pass without clinching the NFC West. Arizona wins by at least two TDs.
Sunday 4:00 PM
Oakland Raiders (+14) over Denver Broncos: The Raiders have been keeping games close this year, and I do not see Denver putting up enough points to win by more than two touchdowns. Moreno should run well, but it will not be quite enough to cover 14 points. Take Oakland on the road.
Cincinnati Bengals (+6.5) over San Diego Chargers: This is the most intriguing game of the week to me. I think Cincinnati really has something to prove after being dominated by the Vikings last week. They have a chance to redeem themselves against San Diego, who is arguably playing the best football in the league right now. While it is truly a sad situation, I think the Chris Henry situation will motivate the Bengals and I expect them to completely shut down the Chargers' running game and then move onto stopping Rivers. Ochocinco scores, loses in a fight to Merriman and the Bengals get within a touchdown.
Green Bay Packers (+1) over Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers just are not the same team that won the Super Bowl last season. Meanwhile, the Packers are playing great football and are getting a point in this matchup. The key is how well the Packer offensive line protects Rodgers. If they do an adequate job, expect the Green Bay offense to click. I will take the away team and the points.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Four of Seattle's five wins have come at home, and Tampa Bay is just not a very good football team. Do not expect much from the Buc's offense, even against a poor Seahawk defense. Seattle should be able to cover the 6.5 at home.
Sunday 8:20 PM
Minnesota Vikings (-9) over Carolina Panthers: This is a tough game to pick, but I think Minnesota should be able to get a double-digit win in Carolina. The Vikings should be tough for the Panthers to run on, and the return of Antoine Winfield in the secondary will make the difference here. Expect a couple of INT's for the Viking defense and a big day from AP.
Monday 8:30 PM
New York Giants (-3) over Washington Redskins: I am quite surprised to see the Giants only giving three, even in Washington. The Redskins have played well as of late, but keeping within three of New York is too much to ask here. As long as they still have playoff hopes, the Giants will play hard. Look for them to put up somewhere in the 27-35 range in Washington.