NFL Predictions Week 15: Picks and Projections for Top Underdogs' Upset Bids

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

With just three weeks remaining in the 2019 NFL season, one would think that surprises are in short supply. However, as the Denver Broncos proved with their one-sided upset of the Houston Texans in Week 14, there can be some surprises left.

The reality is that even in a top-heavy year—12 teams have already been eliminated from the postseason—upsets can happen in any matchup. That is likely to hold true in Week 15.

Here are the top upset possibilities of the week. We'll also run down the full schedule and check out the latest odds and over/unders from Caesars.


NFL Week 15 Lines, Over/Unders and Predictions

New York Jets (+14.5, 45.5) at Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore 31-20

Chicago Bears (+4.5, 40.5) at Green Bay Packers: Green Bay 24-22

Houston Texans (+3, 50) at Tennessee Titans: Tennessee 27-24

New England Patriots (-9.5, 40.5) at Cincinnati Bengals: New England 23-16

Denver Broncos (+9.5, 46) at Kansas City Chiefs: Kansas City 31-23

Seattle Seahawks (-5.5, 48) at Carolina Panthers: Seattle 27-20

Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5, 40) at Washington Redskins: Washington 26-20

Miami Dolphins (+3.5, 46.5) at New York Giants: New York 27-25

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3.5, 47.5) at Detroit Lions: Tampa Bay 28-22

Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 48) at Arizona Cardinals: Cleveland 26-24

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5, 46) at Oakland Raiders: Oakland 26-21

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5, 45) at Los Angeles Chargers: Minnesota 24-22

Atlanta Falcons (+11, 47.5) at San Francisco 49ers: San Francisco 31-20

Los Angeles Rams (-1, 49) at Dallas Cowboys: Los Angeles 30-26

Buffalo Bills (+2, 36.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers: Buffalo 25-18

Indianapolis Colts (+9.5, 46) at New Orleans Saints: New Orleans 30-18 

Seth Wenig/Associated Press


Miami Dolphins (+3.5) at New York Giants

The Miami Dolphins are an underdog on the road. Given their lackluster season, this shouldn't come as a surprise. However, Miami has been playing a better brand of football than the New York Giants as of late.

Eli Manning and the Giants had a valiant effort against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, losing in overtime. The Dolphins beat those same Eagles two weeks ago and have won three of their last six games. New York hasn't won since Week 4.

The combination of Manning, running back Saquon Barkley and some quality pass-catchers could still give New York enough firepower to handle the Dolphins. However, the Giants defense—which is ranked 28th in scoring and 27th in yards allowed—is a liability.

If quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wideout DeVante Parker get into a rhythm, it could be a long day for the Giants.


Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) vs. Cleveland Browns

Unless there is a huge disparity in talent levels, home underdogs are usually an enticing pick late in the season. There is a disparity between the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals, but Cleveland has made a habit of playing down to the competition this season. The fact that the Browns only narrowly escaped the Cincinnati Bengals at home should be proof enough.

The main factor here is the poor coaching of Cleveland's Freddie Kitchens. The first-year head coach has regularly upped the degree of difficulty for his own team this season. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, he has also created a disconnect on the offensive side of the ball:

"There's a disconnect between offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who answers for the offense every Thursday and has jokingly called it his weekly 'dentist appointment,' and Kitchens, who calls the plays on game day with input from Monken, quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley, and some say even inactive quarterback Drew Stanton."

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has gotten solid production out of rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and the offense. Arizona's league-worst defense (414.7 yards per game allowed) will be an obvious problem in this matchup. However, if the game devolves into a shootout, Kingsbury and the Cardinals will have a good shot at pulling off the upset.


Buffalo Bills (+2) at Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers remain in the AFC playoff race almost entirely because of their defense. The unit has allowed just 18.6 points and 310.9 yards per game; as a result, the team has won seven of its last eight games.

Seeing Pittsburgh as a home favorite over the Buffalo Bills isn't a surprise.

However, Buffalo has a tremendous defense of its own—just 16.3 points per game allowed—and a strong rushing attack that travels well. The Bills should have a good chance to pull off the upset here.

The variable will be Bills quarterback Josh Allen. When the second-year man plays efficient football, Buffalo is hard to stop. When he doesn't, strong team performances can still result in losses.

Against the white-hot Baltimore Ravens, for example, Allen completed just 43.6 percent of his passes, took six sacks and fumbled twice, losing one. Buffalo lost by a touchdown.

A good day from Allen should be enough to get Buffalo a win and a guaranteed spot in the postseason.