NFL Week 15 Picks Against the Spread for Every Game
Last week, my picks went 4-11-1, by far the worst week I've had picking games all season. Not only does that leave me below the general break-even mark of 52.38 percent on the season, but I'm also six games below .500 at 96-102-10.
That's 48 percent accuracy, in case you left your abacus in the other room. It's also not very good.
With only 48 regular-season games remaining, I would need to correctly pick 32 games to reach our break-even mark of 52.38 percent. I'd have to go 11-5 over the next three weeks to make that happen.
Let's see how close I can get. Home teams are listed in ALL CAPS. Here we go.
Jacksonville +11 over ATLANTA
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This really is a good week for nationally televised games, even with Jacksonville clogging up the airwaves in the Thursday night slot.
Look, I get that some of you are Jags fans, and that's fine, but your team is boring and the only reason you made three appearances in prime time this season was so Wayne Weaver could remind everyone that the team was for sale.
This line is already at 12.5 depending on where you're looking, but I do like the Jags on defense. They can bring a good game at any time, and I don't like the Falcons' chances of pulling away.
TAMPA BAY +6.5 over Dallas
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This should be a fun Saturday night matchup that most of you won't be able to watch (thanks, NFL Network!); the Cowboys and Buccaneers at least showcase enough talent on offense that should make this game interesting.
A weak showing from Tampa Bay here might be enough to cost Raheem Morris his job. His team sits at 4-9 and his players are speaking out against him. All he has to do is ice his own kicker this weekend and it's a done deal.
Washington +7 over NEW YORK GIANTS
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The Redskins took advantage of a weak Patriots defense to beat the spread last weekend at home. Can this team, which has lost eight of its last nine games, do it on the road?
The Giants play up (or down) to the level of their competition. They haven't beaten a team by more than a touchdown since Week 3. Their running back tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw has been banged up of late.
While commentary regarding their four-game losing streak might have been embellished (they played three teams currently leading their respective divisions), the Giants were still losing.
The Redskins have more than their share of issues, but I don't expect the Giants to cover here.
Green Bay -14 over KANSAS CITY
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If you had to make an argument for Kansas City here: they're a top-10 passing defense, and the Packers' output against units like this have been a net negative.
Though the Packers did hang 45 on San Diego (currently seventh in pass D), they were shut out in the second half by the Rams (eighth) and "only" scored 27 against Detroit (ninth). That prospect could make covering a two-touchdown margin difficult.
The Chiefs also just fired Todd Haley, but the level of inspiration that move would bring to the team is questionable. The quantity and magnitude of injuries the Chiefs have faced this season can't be erased by a different guy giving the speeches in the locker room.
Plus Kansas City is useless on offense.
Tyler Palko couldn't score against a Conference USA defense, and they can't run the ball. This should be another blowout win for Aaron Rodgers, and it shouldn't be close.
New Orleans -7 over MINNESOTA
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I've told you before that Indoor Drew Brees is superior to Outdoor Drew Brees; Indoor Brees averages over a touchdown pass more per game and more than half an interception less. He's chasing Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season (5,084).
Brees, at 4,368, still needs a couple big games to reach that mark.
The Vikings did nearly mount an improbable comeback against Detroit last week after the Lions jumped to an early 21-0 lead. But don't expect the Saints to take their foot off the gas like Detroit did.
Seattle +3.5 over CHICAGO
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How does Pete Carroll manage to make everything so sexy? Two years after abandoning one of the most fawned-over programs in college football, Carroll seems to finally have found his stride in the northwest.
This will actually be the third time these teams have met in just over a year. Matt Hasselbeck led the Seahawks to a win in Week 6 of last year, but Jay Cutler had the upper hand when these teams met in the NFC playoffs.
Seattle is hot, having won four of its last five, and the injured Bears are still reeling from their brush with Tebowmania. I'm taking the points in what should be a low-scoring game.
Miami over BUFFALO (No Line)
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It sure was nice of Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland to fire Tony Sparano during the team's winning streak in November. Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles has been considered one of the hotter head coaching prospects for a couple of years now, and he'll show his wares for Miami in their last three games.
Matt Moore practiced on Thursday and it appears that he will play, despite suffering a head injury against the Eagles last weekend.
While Sparano and the Dolphins never got their act together, the Bills conversely opened their season 5-0. But newly anointed franchise quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled and Buffalo hit the proverbial wall. Losing Fred Jackson, who was on pace for a monster season, didn't help.
After losing six straight, the Bills officially eliminated themselves from playoff contention last week. Both teams are waiting for next year, but expect Bowles and the Dolphins to get a head start this weekend.
HOUSTON -6.5 over Carolina
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Am I the only guy that hasn't started his holiday shopping yet? Just curious.
INDIANAPOLIS +6.5 over Tennessee
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The Colts beat the spread for the second straight week when they scored a last-minute touchdown on the Ravens. Credit Dan Orlovsky, who went 30-for-37 (!) passing against New England and went 7-for-11 on that last drive in Baltimore.
The Colts are a covering machine now.
The Titans are still in the playoff hunt, but it looks like Jake Locker might get the start after Matt Hasselbeck sat out practice yesterday. We'll have to wait and see whether Hasselbeck can go on Sunday, or whether the rookie will make his first career start on the road against an improving Colts team.
Cincinnati -6.5 over ST. LOUIS
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Does Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton deserve to make the AFC's Pro Bowl team?
Philip Rivers has been awful this season, and nobody else has been healthy for most of the year. And then there's you-know-who, a guy who wasn't even considered good enough to start for his own team in the first month of the year.
Detroit -1 over OAKLAND
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The Lions head west to face a Raiders team fresh off a blowout loss at Lambeau Field.
Detroit's petulant pass rusher Ndamukong Suh returns to action this weekend. I wonder how many people he'll stomp on this week. I guess it would depend on how many guys try to untie his shoes.
DENVER +6 over New England
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I really hate the idea of pinning a win-loss record to a quarterback. It makes more sense to say that "The Broncos are 7-1 with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback" than to act like Tebow is taking the mound for the Rockies and contributing directly to his defense.
I hated it before people started doing it with Tebow and I hate it now.
So you'll excuse me if I say "The Broncos are 6-1-1 against the spread with Tebow starting." And they've been getting points in all but two of those games. And now we're getting six points against the worst passing defense in the entire NFL? Praise Jesus!
New York Jets +3 over PHILADELPHIA
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Michael Vick's return to action last week against Miami was negligible; it was the Philly defense that knocked Matt Moore out of the game and Tony Sparano into the unemployment line. Attribute most of that to the absence of Jake Long, who might be the best left tackle in the NFL right now, despite playing for a rudderless (finless?) Dolphin team.
The Jets have won three straight, in large part to Shonn Greene's long-awaited ascension to prominence, with 295 yards rushing yards and four touchdowns in that span. Rex Ryan's team struggled earlier in the season, but they're getting hot at just the right time.
ARIZONA -6.5 over Cleveland
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Arizona is 4-2 at home, and not even Colt McCoy's dad will be watching this game. Let's move on.
Baltimore -2.5 over SAN DIEGO
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This is Norv Turner's fifth year as head coach of the Chargers, which seems insane to me. And according to Wikipedia, Turner's mark of 47-30 makes him the winningest head coach in Chargers history!
But to be fair, we know how Wikipedia can be. Wiki probably also said that Turner was married to Anderson Cooper and that they have a summer cottage on the moon. So there's that.
SAN FRANCISCO over Pittsburgh (No Line)
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What a great game to end the week. I'm picking the team playing at home whose quarterback didn't have his leg wrenched in last week's Thursday night game.