9-7 last week. An embarrassing performance. When making my picks last week many of the games looked like no-brainers to me. Clearly, I should have been much more careful in my analysis. I’m now 138-70 for the season and still in third place against the ESPN “Experts”. My picks for week 15 are listed below.
Bengals @ Eagles I like the Bengals. The Bengals are hot and have won 4 of their last 5 games. They lost to the Cowboys by just one point in the last seconds of the game last week. Philly has not faired as well. They have lost 8 of their last 9 games. There is no home field advantage for the Eagles as they are 2-4 at home and the Bengals are 4-2 on the road. The Bengals lead the Eagles in points fielded and have fewer points allowed. The Bengals have a 0 turnover ratio versus the Eagles’ -19 turnover ratio.
Giants @ Falcons I like the Giants. Atlanta’s loss to Carolina last week shows they are much more vulnerable than many people have expected. Carolina entered the game 3-9 and Atlanta was 10-2. This should have been a lop-sided win with Atlanta crushing Carolina. Instead the Falcons lost 30-20. The story was different for the Giants. They entered their game 7-5 facing the 4-8 Saints who have a very high-powered offense. The Giants soundly defeated the Saints 52-27. The Falcons have split their two games with the Saints. Against the Falcons, the Giants have the edge, statistically. The Giants are scoring 29 points per game and the Falcons are scoring 26 points per game. The Giants are giving up 20 points per game and the Falcons are giving up 19 points per game. The Giants have +16 turnovers and the Falcons have +6 turnovers. There is more to the story though. I like the Giants to win for three reasons. First, this is a big game and the Giants know how to prepare for and execute in big games. They beat the Niners 26-3 in San Francisco in week 6 and beat the Packers 38-10 in week 12. Second, The Giants’ last 15 offensive TDs have been scored by seven different players. This means the Giants have many offensive weapons available to them and I don’t think the Falcons can cover everyone. Third, five Giants players scored TDs against the Saints last week and I think that everyone was very happy to see Wilson have a break out game in which he returned a kick for a TD, scored a rushing TD, and ran for 100 yds. The win last week against the Saints created a lot of excitement for the Giants and this will carry them past the Falcons and into the playoffs.
Packers @ Bears I like the Packers. The Packers have won two games in a row and seven of their last eight. Chicago is struggling and has lost four of their last five games. Chicago is real tough at home with a 5-2 record at Soldier Field but the Bears are dealing with too many defensive injuries to stop the surging Packers offense.
Redskins @ Browns Redskins will win. The Redskins have won four in a row and the last two wins were against the Giants and Ravens, both are very good teams. The Redskins offense appears to be hitting its stride and the defense is confusing the heck out of QBs. The Browns have won three in a row but only the win against the Steelers showed any significant skill from the Browns.
Vikings @ Rams I like the Rams. The Rams have won three in a row and are 4-3 at home. The Vikings have won just two of their last six games and are 1-5 on the road. The Rams will need to contain Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to win this game.
Jaguars @ Dolphins I like the Dolphins. Jaguars QB Chad Henne will be looking for big win against his former team, the Dolphins, but Miami is a better team than the Dolphins, and not by much. Both teams have lost two in a row and I expect the Dolphins to break their losing streak in front of their home crowd. Jaguars starting RB Maurice Jones-Drew may return this week for his first game since week six. This would make a win more difficult for the Dolphins but their defense
is giving up a very respectable 102 rushing yards per game (9th in NFL) so I believe they can contain MJD.
Buccaneers @ Saints I like the Buccaneers. Both teams have lost three games in a row. Both teams are scoring 27 points per game. Unfortunately for the Saints, they are giving up 29 points per game versus the Buccaneers 24 points per game. The Buccaneers also have +12 turnovers and the Saints have -4 turnovers.
Broncos @ Ravens I like the Broncos to win. The Broncos have won eight in a row, have clinched their division title, and their looking for a few more wins to lockup home field advantage. The Ravens are a good team but they’ve lost two in a row and this week they replaced their offensive coordinator with their QB coach who is now in his first offensive coordinator role.
Colts @ Texans I like the Texans to win. The Texans are 5-1, have clinched their division title, they have the best record in the conference (11-2), and like the Broncos, they’re looking for a few more wins to gain home field advantage in the playoffs.
Seahawks @ Bills I like the Seahawks. The Seahawks are just 2-5 on the road but the Bills are just 3-3 at home. The Seahawks proved that they can now win on the road with a nice 23-17 OT win against the Bear two weeks ago. Seattle is making a great run at the playoffs winning four of their last five and I think they’ll beat the Bills in Buffalo.
Lions @ Cardinals I like the Lions to win. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks and the Patriots in weeks one and two and went on to a 4-0 record. Since then they’ve lost nine games in a row. The Lions have lost five in a row and are just 4-9, but I like the Lions to win because they’ve had some very close games against some excellent opponents in those five losses in a row.
Panthers @ Chargers I like the Chargers. Both teams are struggling and both teams came away with nice wins last week. I like the Chargers because they’re a little bit more consistent and they’re playing at home.
Steelers @ Cowboys I like the Steelers. They are chasing a wild card spot and this team has the experience to win at the end of the season when every game counts. One might argue that the Cowboys have won four of their last five but let’s take a look at those games. They beat the Eagles twice, like everyone should, and then won in overtime to the Browns and beat the Bengals in the last few seconds. It is true that a win is a win but I’m not impressed with the Cowboys performance in these wins. The Steelers have beaten the Giants, the Ravens, the Bengals, and the Redskins this season so I think they can beat the Cowboys.
Chiefs @ Raiders Both teams stink and I like the Raiders to win. Statistically they are a little better and they are playing at home.
Niners @ Patriots I could go into great detail about this game but I’m going to make it simple. The Patriots will win because they are very experienced at playing big games and they proved this last week when they beat the Texans 42-14.
Jets @ Titans I like the Jets. They’ve won two in a row and have an outside chance of making the playoffs. The Titans have lost three in a row and have nothing to play for.