NFL Week 15 Picks: The Plot Thickens

Russell BennettContributor IDecember 13, 2011

NFL Week 15 Picks: The Plot Thickens

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    Hear ye, hear ye, Week 15 is upon us. Last week we (yeah, you're all part of my team now, deal with it) went 13-3, not bad at all, but there's always room for improvement.

    This week, we're all in for a treat, as the playoff race is even tighter and I'm sure we'll get to see even more teams throw their entire season away.


Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

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    Let it be known, I have a soft spot for alliteration. Jacksonville Jaguars. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

    Last week the Jaguars, and Maurice Jones-Drew in particular, went absolutely berserk and destroyed a truly pathetic Buccaneers team, while the Falcons ground down the upstart Carolina Panthers.

    While the Jaguars will certainly have confidence heading into this game after last week's bludgeoning, the Falcons have a lot more going for them than the Jaguars' previous opponent, and they should pull off a win at home against one-dimensional Jacksonville.

    The Pick: Atlanta

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    One of the advantages of writing here at Bleacher Report is that I now know how to spell "Buccaneers."

    In this horrible game we will witness two teams who have defied all preseason expectations by losing spectacularly. OK, that may be a bit harsh for the Cowboys, but Tampa Bay is not even competitive.

    The Cowboys, while they do have a decent record, consistently find ways to hand their division over to someone else (most recently the Giants).

    The Cowboys will bounce back and win this one on account of Tampa Bay being completely pathetic, but I seriously doubt their playoff chances.

    The Pick: Dallas

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans

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    The Carolina Panthers are so close to winning every week—they are the best bad team in football.

    However, they're going to take their lumps once again, as the Texans unleash the two-headed Tate-Foster monster to chase Cam Newton off the field.

    I have it from a good source that the NFL is not planning on changing the rules anytime soon to allow for quarterbacks to score points from the sidelines; if this is, in fact, the case, Carolina should seriously consider upgrading their defense.

    Is it just me, or do the Texans remind anyone else of last year's Packers, or the 2007 Giants? They are finding ways to to deal with numerous injuries and winning tough games on the road, which in my opinion, make them a scary team to face in the playoffs. Keep an eye on Houston.

    The Pick: Houston

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

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    So I really don't know if Sexy Rexy Grossman is starting again or not, but I threw his picture up anyways (kind of like how he doesn't know if his receivers are open or not, but throws the...yeah, alright you got it).

    The Giants, fresh off of ripping out Dallas' heart, need to win this game to prove that they are a legitimate playoff team and deserving of the NFC East title.

    The Redskins need a game.

    The Pick: New York Giants

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

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    Wow, I've been dreading this one. I don't know who either of these teams really are—and I don't know if anyone else does either.

    The Bills started strong, but are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and have given up at least 23 points in all of those games. WOW.

    The Dolphins, on the other hand, started 0-7 but have recently put together some nice victories; unfortunately, all the losses caught up with head coach Tony Sparano, and he has (finally) been fired.

    Though the Dolphins have only won one away game this season, I think they will score enough points on the porous Bills defense to get a "W" for their new coach (whoever he is).

    The Pick: Miami

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears

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    Writing about the Bears makes me sad. One injury and they are basically out of contention—I guess that's why you shouldn't run a ridiculously complex system that you can't just plug backup players in to. I don't know.

    What I DO know is, I won't pick the Bears until they prove they can score more than 10 points.

    And come on, Seattle isn't THAT bad.

    The Pick: Seattle

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings

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    This game perfectly illustrates why the Vikings should play outdoors. Their run game and pass-rushing defense combined with December NFC North weather would give the finesse-based Saints fits.

    However, unless the Vikings shovel some snow into the stadium, all I can see happening is the Saints dissecting them like they do everyone else.

    The Pick: New Orleans

Cincinnati Bengals at St. Louis Rams

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    I'll be brief: The Bengals are decent, their defense is pretty good, Steven Jackson can't do it all by himself.

    The Pick: Cincinnati

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

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    By far the hardest title of the week to spell, this game showcases the winless, Manning-less, hopeless Colts against the (possibly) Hasselbeck-less Titans.

    I kind of want to pick the Colts just because this is their best remaining shot to avoid an 0-16 season, but they've already lost to the Titans 27-10, and I really don't see a whole lot changing, even if Hasselbeck is out.

    As long as the Colts are ranked 30th in rushing defense and can't score points, they won't win a game.

    The Pick: Tennessee

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs

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    I need Rodgers to pass for five touchdowns and run for three or four more so I can win my fantasy league.

    The Pick: Aaron Rodgers

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders

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    It's finally here. Penalty Bowl 2011.

    Both of these teams WERE pretty good, and I guess the Lions still are in a way, but they're not quite the dominant team we saw at the beginning of the season.

    The Raiders, on the other hand, seem to have regressed a few years, to a dark period of time I like to call 2003-09.

    After watching Oakland commit five or six or however many penalties in the first half of the first quarter against Green Bay, there is literally no way i can pick them here.

    To paraphrase something my brother said the other day, "At least the penalties the Lions make put people out of the game."

    The Pick: Detroit

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

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    I STILL think it would have been great if Tebow had gone to the Patriots (no, not in the first round, what, are you crazy?) Imagine ol' Belichick running him in gadget plays and eventually grooming him to be Brady's successor. It's not too far-fetched, right?

    Anyways, the Broncos have been a sensational story this season, but they haven't managed to beat a team with an offense like New England's yet.

    And nor will they. Sorry, it's just not going to happen.

    That being said, if Denver is down by 10 with two minutes left again, I'm going to come back to this article and change my prediction.

    The Pick: New England

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles

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    I'm not sure why, but I'm looking forward to this game. As much as I like to make fun of both teams, it's always neat to watch an explosive, creative offense match up with an explosive, creative defense.

    The Eagles figured it out last week against Miami, and I can honestly say that I think they will get it going against the off-and-on Jets, and come up with a big win at home.

    The Pick: Philadelphia

Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals

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    Cleveland is having another horrible season. Despite Peyton Hillis' impressive 2010 season and Colt McCoy's projected growth as a started, the Browns haven't been able to get it going offensively and have dropped game after game.

    Down in the desert, the Cardinals defeated the mighty 49ers last week and showed a type of grit and resilience that they may not even have known they had. I like them at home against the woeful Browns.

    The Pick: Arizona

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers

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    With questionable losses to the Jaguars and Seahawks, the Ravens are...still one of the best teams in the league.

    I think that the Chargers' reputation as one of the "good" teams of the past few years is going to hurt them here, as it might make the Ravens actually play them hard—too hard for the Chargers to handle.

    While San Diego has won two straight, their recent offensive fireworks haven't exactly been against quality opposition.

    The Pick: Baltimore

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers

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    What a game! Two of the best defensive teams in the league go at it in a hard-hitting contest on Monday night. DON'T MISS THIS GAME.

    I think that the Steelers match up well against the Niners, who have shown a susceptibility to the deep pass and have struggled to score against good defenses, two things which perfectly describe the Steelers.

    But you know what? I'm going to throw logic to the wind and root, root, root for my home team.

    The Pick: 49ers

    That's all for now! See you next week