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NFL Week 15 Picks: Early Odds and Predictions for Every Upcoming Game

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans carries the ball against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game at RingCentral Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The AFC South title is on the line in the next three weeks. 

After the Houston Texans' surprising home loss to the Denver Broncos, they are level with the Tennessee Titans with two head-to-head matchups left, the first of which occurs in Week 15.

Mike Vrabel's team is one of the hottest in the NFL, and instead of clawing into a wild-card spot, it has a shot at a division title and a home playoff game. 

The two franchises ahead of the Titans in the AFC wild-card chase square off Sunday night, when the Buffalo Bills visit the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

If the second-place side in the AFC East wins, it will lock up a playoff spot and head into Week 16 with a chance to beat the New England Patriots for first place. 

A Pittsburgh win makes the competition more complicated, as three squads could be separated by one game heading into the penultimate week of the regular season. 

               

NFL Week 15 Schedule

All Times ET. 

Odds via Caesars; predictions against the spread in bold. 

Thursday, December 12

New York Jets at Baltimore (-15) (8:20 p.m., Fox/NFL Network)

        

Sunday, December 15

New England (-10) at Cincinnati (1 p.m., CBS) 

Denver at Kansas City (-11) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Miami at New York Giants (-4) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Houston at Tennessee (-3) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Seattle (-5.5) at Carolina (1 p.m., Fox) 

Tampa Bay (-4) at Detroit (1 p.m., Fox) 

Chicago at Green Bay (-5.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Philadelphia (-5.5) at Washington (1 p.m., Fox) 

Cleveland (-2.5) at Arizona (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

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

Jacksonville at Oakland (-5.5) (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

Los Angeles Rams at Dallas (-3) (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Atlanta at San Francisco (-11) (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Buffalo at Pittsburgh (-1) (8:20 p.m., NBC) 

        

Monday, December 16

Indianapolis at New Orleans (-9) (8:15 p.m., ESPN) 

             

Predictions

Houston at Tennessee (-3) 

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Tennessee's four-game winning streak has been aided by an increase in rushing production. 

The Titans are averaging 189.8 rushing yards per game over the last four contests and Derrick Henry has four straight 100-yard performances. 

In fact, six of his eight triple-digit ground games have come after November 1, and he could be in line for more success Sunday. 

Before holding Denver to 90 rushing yards, the Texans were gashed for over 100 rushing yards in three consecutive games. 

Since its Week 10 bye, Bill O'Brien's team allowed an average of 396.5 total yards per contest, and it conceded 118 points during that stretch.

Tennessee's defense has not been immaculate, either, as it gave up three consecutive 300-yard outings. 

The difference between the recent defensive play of both squads has been turnovers, as the Titans forced five over the last three games while the Texans produced two. 

Additionally, Houston's offense gave the ball away three times in Week 14 and the Titans only did so once. 

If Tennessee takes advantage of Houston's defensive shortcomings through Henry and Ryan Tannehill and is able to force Deshaun Watson into a few bad decisions, it could leave Week 15 with the division lead. 

Even if they win Sunday, the Titans still face a difficult path to the finish line, as they host New Orleans in Week 16 and then visit Houston in Week 17. 

If the Texans come up short, they could still earn the title by way of back-to-back victories over Tampa Bay and Tennessee. 

In that scenario, Houston would have a better AFC South record than Tennessee, which has one more divisional loss going into Sunday. 

                    

Buffalo (+1) at Pittsburgh

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 24: Shaq Lawson #90 and teammate Ed Oliver #91, both of the Buffalo Bills, celebrate after a sack during the third quarter of an NFL game against the Denver Broncos at New Era Field on November 24, 2019 in Orchard Park, N
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Buffalo has earned a good amount of respect in its last two games by beating Dallas and staying within one score versus Baltimore. In fact, three of the Bills' four losses have been by one possession.

Since Pittsburgh's Week 7 bye, it has been involved in five one-possession games, and it won its last three contests by a combined 20 points over Cincinnati, Cleveland and Arizona. 

However, the Steelers could be limited Sunday night by the Buffalo front seven.

The Bills contained the Baltimore ground attack to 118 yards and only allowed 103 rushing yards to the Cowboys. That unit could slow down a Steelers rushing game that has three consecutive 100-yard outings. 

If Sean McDermott's team stifles Pittsburgh's stable of running backs, it can focus on pressuring Devlin Hodges, who has not faced a team with a winning record since Week 5. 

In the last three contests, the third-string quarterback has been sacked on six occasions, fumbled twice and thrown an interception. 

If Shaq Lawson, Jerry Hughes and Co. limit the home side's offensive potential, Josh Allen could open up a gap on the scoreboard. 

The second-year quarterback has a trio of 200-yard outings in his last five games, and he has been more careful with the ball with just two turnovers in that span. 

Producing a clean game against the T.J. Watt-led defense that produced seven turnovers in the previous three games will not be easy, but Allen's recent numbers suggest he can do it. 

If Allen outperforms Hodges, the Bills would clinch a playoff berth and have a shot to tie the Patriots through a Week 16 win at Gillette Stadium.

A Pittsburgh loss combined with a Tennessee win over Houston would drop the Steelers out of the playoff spots due to a worse conference record than the Texans. 

                 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference