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NFL Week 15 Predictions: Initial Vegas Odds, Lines, Spreads and Projections

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) passes against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press

Three weeks. That is all that remains until the NFL's 2019 season is over and the playoffs take center stage. That leaves precious little time for teams to make their final move up the standings to secure favorable seeds and division titles.

It also leaves little time for football bettors to gamble before the long offseason.

With that in mind, here is a look at the schedule, point spreads and a predicted winner for each game of the Week 15 slate. The spreads are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook, as of Sunday at 11:30 p.m. ET, and the bolded team represents the predicted winner against the spread.

            

NFL Week 15 Schedule, Point Spreads and Predicted Winners

New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-15), Thursday at 8:20 p.m. ET

New England Patriots (-10) at Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4) at Detroit Lions, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-5.5), Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-3), Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-11), Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Miami Dolphins at New York Giants (-4), Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) at Washington, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (-5.5), Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET

Cleveland Browns (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET

Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (-11), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. ET

Indianapolis Colts at New Orleans Saints (-9), Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET

*No lines on Seahawks at Panthers and Rams at Cowboys at time of writing

           

Game of the Week 1: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans are both 8-5 and atop the AFC South, but this is not quite a de facto division championship game because they play again in the season finale.

Houston has been one of the most difficult teams to figure out in the league, and the last two weeks were something of a microcosm. It beat the New England Patriots and was clearly the better team in Week 13 in a statement showing against the defending champions before it turned around and lost to the 5-8 Denver Broncos on Sunday.

As for the Titans, they are riding a four-game winning streak and were the biggest beneficiaries of that Denver victory. Their last three wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders have come by an average of 19 points behind an impressive Ryan Tannehill.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Since naming Ryan Tannehill the starting QB in Week 7, the Titans have the 2nd-most offensive TDs and are scoring the 2nd-most PPG (31.4) in the NFL over that span. https://t.co/1rbm9WrljB

The signal-caller has hit his stride and threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's win over the Raiders.

He will also be at home for this one—where Tennessee has won four in a row—and facing a vulnerable Texans secondary that was in the bottom five in the league in passing yards allowed per game entering Sunday's slate.

The thought here is Tannehill makes the difference and leads his team to a critical division win.

            

Game of the Week 2: Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers are underdog stories for different reasons.

Pittsburgh no longer has Antonio Brown. It no longer has Le'Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger hasn't played since a Sept. 15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks because of an injury. Replacement Mason Rudolph was benched for ineffectiveness after he made national headlines for his fight with Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.

Yet, the Steelers are 8-5 and holding on to the final AFC wild-card spot heading into the last three games.

Quarterback Devlin Hodges and a strong defense have paved the way during their current three-game winning streak, but the game against Buffalo will be a stern test.

The Bills are just one game behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East at 9-4 and feature their own stingy defense that has given up 15 points per game in the last six contests. It even impressed in a loss on Sunday by allowing 24 points to the red-hot Baltimore Ravens and MVP candidate Lamar Jackson.

Buffalo's defense is going to be the difference in this one.

While Hodges deserves plenty of credit for what he's done, the last three wins came against the 1-12 Cincinnati Bengals, 6-7 Cleveland Browns and 3-9-1 Arizona Cardinals. The Bills defense will be a far different group and will control the game from the start.

That will give Buffalo another important win as it keeps the Patriots within reach.