NFL Picks Week 15: Predicting Which Teams Will Cover and Which Won't
NFL Week 15 Picks are hot off the presses as division and wild card races come down to the last couple of weeks.
Week 15's storylines will be dominated by two key matchups, as the Patriots and Packers face off with playoff positioning and berths at stake. While the biggest game of the week is in the Meadowlands, as the Eagles and Giants meet with the NFC East lead and possibly a first-round bye on the line.
So with that in mind, here are the picks from Week 15.
(all lines according to bodog.com)
San Francisco at San Diego
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Line: Chargers -9
Why San Diego will cover: The Chargers play their best football in December and are very much alive in the AFC West race. Philip Rivers is having an MVP-type season, his receivers are coming back and the running attack is starting to straighten out.
Why San Francisco will pull the upset: The 49ers are desperate to stay alive in the NFC West, have won five of their last eight games and are ninth in the league against the run. But really the only chance San Francisco has is to shut down Rivers.
Prediction: Chargers 27, 49ers 13.
Houston at Tennessee
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Line: Titans -1.5
Why the Titans will cover: Tennessee is pretty much playing for pride (as in Houston), and the Titans remember what Houston did to them a couple of weeks ago. Expect for Chris Johnson to get a lot of carries against the porous Texans defense.
Why the Texans will pull the upset: Andre Johnson will be motivated to have a big day against Cortland Finnegan and the Texans made Tennessee a passing team a few weeks ago. If the Texans can do that again, they have a good chance.
Prediction: Titans 20, Texans 13
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
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Line: Colts -5
Why the Colts will cover: Peyton Manning got out of his funk and had a nice day against the Titans. Jacksonville's defense is porous, especially in the air and Manning could have a very big day against the Jaguars' secondary.
Why the Jaguars will pull the upset: Jacksonville controls their own destiny when it comes to the AFC South title. A win this week and the Jags are in great shape. Maurice Jones-Drew is also liking his chops to be facing Indy's run defense.
Prediction: Jaguars 27, Colts 24
Kansas City at St. Louis
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Line: Chiefs -3 (Bodog doesn't have a line yet)
Why the Chiefs will cover: It all depends on Matt Cassel. If he can play after coming back from his appendectomy, then the Chiefs are the favorite and should win. If he doesn't play, then St. Louis has a much better chance. It will depend on whether the Rams can stop Jamaal Charles, too.
Why the Rams will pull the upset: The Rams are a gutsy bunch who know a division championship is in their grasp, led by a very impressive rookie quarterback in Sam Bradford. If the Rams can get the home fans behind them, they can very well pull the upset.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Rams 17
New Orleans at Baltimore
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Line: Ravens -1.5
Why the Ravens will cover: Baltimore will look to make a statement after almost blowing the game at Houston on Monday night. The Ravens have the better running game and can control the clock against the Saints. Baltimore's defense can also take away a lot of the Saints' weapons.
Why the Saints will pull the upset: The Ravens had major issues with Houston's offense, and while the Texans have a very good offense, the Saints are much better. Unless the defensive backs can shut down the receivers, Drew Brees could have a big day.
Prediction: Saints 31, Ravens 20
Arizona at Carolina
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Line: Panthers -2.5
Why the Panthers will cover: It's not often where a 1-12 team is favored by two-and-a-half. But Arizona has been that bad at times, especially on defense. There have been questions about Jimmy Clausen and whether he's the future. He could be poised for a big game this week.
Why the Cardinals will pull the upset: Arizona's starting a rookie quarterback, but they still have Larry Fitzgerald and he's expected to get a lot of balls thrown his way. He's still a big playmaker who can swing games towards Arizona.
Prediction: Panthers 17, Cardinals 13
Cleveland at Cincinnati
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Line: Bengals -1.5
Why the Bengals will cover: The Bengals' defense could have a very big day against the Browns' offense, especially if Jake Delhomme is back under center for Cleveland. Plus, Cincinnati could exploit the Browns on offense. And, the Bengals have to win eventually. Right?
Why the Browns will pull the upset: Cleveland's been playing inspired football since the first month of the season and could easily have six or seven wins right now. Plus the last time the Bengals were expected to win a game, Buffalo dropped 49 on them.
Prediction: Browns 17, Bengals 10
Buffalo at Miami
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Line: Dolphins -5
Why the Dolphins will cover: Miami plays tough defense and can run wild on the Bills' low-ranked run defense. But that's if the Dolphins don't get pass-happy as they tend to sometimes. They are the more talented team though.
Why the Bills will pull the upset: Buffalo's had so many near misses that the Bills could very easily have at least three more wins. Ryan Fitzpatrick leads a very underrated Bills passing attack that could take advantage of a weak Miami secondary.
Prediction: Dolphins 27, Bills 14
Detroit at Tampa Bay
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Line: Buccaneers -6
Why the Buccaneers will cover: We kept waiting for the Buccaneers to fall, but so far they haven't. A win this week and the Bucs will have a winning season for the first time since 2007. They have a very good young runner in LeGarrette Blount and a very good young quarterback in Josh Freeman that can slice the Detroit secondary.
Why the Lions will pull the upset: If nothing else, the Lions play very hard for Jim Schwartz and could very well pull the upset against a depleted Tampa defense that wasn't setting the world on fire when healthy.
Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Lions 17
Washington at Dallas
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Line: Cowboys -6
Why the Cowboys will cover: This is the Dallas team that we expected to see all season under Jason Garrett. The offense is showing it can put up points and Jon Kitna can put up big numbers, especially since Washington's defense can look spotty at times.
Why the Redskins will pull the upset: Washington needs a win to save face after the tough loss last week. If nothing else the offense can put up big numbers against Dallas' secondary, which is still struggling and struggling mightily.
Prediction: Cowboys 34, Redskins 20
Philadelphia at New York Giants
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Line: Giants -3
Why the Giants will cover: Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are running wild the last few weeks and no one's been able to stop them. If they have a big day against the Eagles, it'll make Eli Manning's job a heck of a lot easier against the Eagles' secondary.
Why the Eagles will pull the upset: The Giants kept Mike Vick contained most of the time in the first meeting. It was the Eagles' defense that stepped up and forced turnovers. If the defense can force even a couple against the Giants, it can go a long way.
Prediction: Giants 21, Eagles 17
Atlanta at Seattle
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Line: Falcons -6
Why the Falcons will cover: Atlanta has the running and passing game running on all cylinders and are finding ways to win ball games. More and more people around the league are realizing just how good they are. Plus when Seattle loses, it loses bad. All seven Seahawks losses have been double-digit margins.
Why the Seahawks will pull the upset: Seattle's still in the playoff race and tied for first in the division, and a big home win against one of the two best teams in the League would go a long way. Plus, Atlanta needs to show it can win in a hostile environment in the elements.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Seahawks 13
Denver at Oakland
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Line: Raiders -6
Why the Raiders will cover: Oakland needs a win to keep its hopes of making the playoffs alive, and has the running game that can run wild over the Broncos. We saw that from the first meeting, when the Raiders laid half-a-hundred on the Broncos at Invesco.
Why the Broncos will pull the upset: They'll be reminded of that early-season debacle. And you know that if the Broncos are going down and missing the playoffs, they wouldn't mind taking the rival Raiders with them.
Prediction: Raiders 31, Broncos 20
New York Jets at Pittsburgh
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Line: Steelers -5.5
Why the Steelers will cover: The defense is playing phenomenally and the Steelers as a whole seem to have their swagger and confidence back. They know that if they win out, they're set up for the AFC North title, a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Why the Jets will pull the upset: Rex Ryan laid into the defense for not playing well enough against Miami. They're a proud group and will want to show the football world that they are as good as they say they are. This would be a heck of a way to show it.
Prediction: Steelers 20, Jets 9
Green Bay at New England
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Line: Patriots -5.5 (Bodog doesn't have a line available yet)
Why the Patriots will cover: Tom Brady and the New England offense looks unstoppable, the defense is playing much better, and all of a sudden the Patriots look like a Super Bowl after demolishing two division leaders. It's hard not to see them slowing down at any point the way they're going.
Why the Packers will pull the upset: Aaron Rodgers playing gives the Packers a better chance. The Packers defense is pretty good as well and will give the Packers a better chance than most think.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Packers 10
Chicago at Minnesota
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Line: Bears -4 (Bodog hasn't set a line for the game yet)
Why the Bears will cover: Chicago isn't as bad as the Patriots score might indicate. The Bears' defense is still a pretty formidable foe, especially against the run. And if Tarvaris Jackson is starting at quarterback, then the Bears can focus on stopping Adrian Peterson and making Jackson beat the secondary through the air.
Why the Vikings will pull the upset: The Vikings' defense can put pressure on Jay Cutler and Jackson is a better quarterback then he showed on Monday night against the Giants. Expect the Vikings to lean on Peterson and Toby Gerhart heavily.
Prediction: Bears 24, Vikings 14