NFL Week 15 Picks: Playoff Contenders That Will Suffer Setbacks

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2011

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11:  Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears looks into the stands before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The postseason race in the NFL is one of the most intense that we have seen in recent years. There are a few teams that have already locked up a spot in the second season, but for the most part we still have a lot of questions that need answering. 

For some teams, the answers will not be the ones that they were hoping to find. It is a harsh reality that they are going to have to come to terms with sooner rather than later. 

After contending for so long, it is hard to think of the season as being lost, but that is what happens when you struggle down the stretch. 

Here are three teams with playoff aspirations that will falter in Week 15. 


Seattle Seahawks vs. Chicago Bears (-3.5)

I still think of the Bears as playoff contenders because technically they are, but you could see the writing on the wall as soon as Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down with injuries. 

Seattle, on the other hand, has emerged from the depths of despair to get back into the playoff race. This game could turn out to be a de facto elimination game because of various tiebreaker scenarios. 

Right now, it is hard not to like Seattle. The offense, particularly Marshawn Lynch, is hot. The defense is bending but not breaking. They will go on the road and steal a win from a reeling Chicago team. 

Seahawks 20, Bears 14


Detroit Lions (-1.5) vs. Oakland Raiders

This game had a lot of appeal a month ago, but with both teams struggling right now, a lot of the luster is gone. 

The Lions have lost their edge on defense and resorted to dirty tactics that end up with defensive tackles getting suspended, though Ndamukong Suh does come back this week. 

The Raiders have lost their way in the last two weeks. Carson Palmer is a mess and the rest of the offense isn't so hot either. 

It is hard to declare either team a favorite in this game considering how bad they have looked, but I trust the Lions' offense to produce enough points to win this game. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have been lights out all year, and that trend will continue. 

The Raiders will see their hopes in the AFC West take a huge hit with their third straight loss. 

Lions 31, Raiders 23


Baltimore Ravens (-1) vs. San Diego Chargers 

Speaking of disappointing AFC West teams, how about those Chargers?

They are finally showing signs of life after 11 weeks of underachieving, but their efforts will prove to be too little too late when they go up against the Ravens on Sunday night. They are just two games back in the division, but they would likely have to win out to have a chance, and that won't happen. 

The Ravens went through a lull in the middle of the season when they lost to Jacksonville and Seattle, but four consecutive victories have them back on the right track. They will pick apart an overmatched Chargers team. 

Ravens 27, Chargers 20