Home > Uncategorized > Week Fifteen Picks

Week Fifteen Picks

December 13th, 2012

I’m short on time this week, so here’s what you get. What not to expect.

Cincinnati (-4.5) at Philadelphia
Things are considerably more interesting in the AFC North right now than fans of teams outside the division realize. A week or two ago, Baltimore not only appeared to have the division title locked up, but had the inside track for the AFC two seed. Now, it looks to me like Cincinnati might get a chance to steal the division. Sure, the 9-4 Ravens still hold a two game lead over the 7-6 Bengals and Steelers. But the Ravens host the Broncos this week and the Giants next. Both of those teams are better than the Ravens, and both have the potential to win even in Baltimore. The Ravens then finish their season with a trip to Cincinnati. The Steelers travel to Dallas this week, and that game could go either way. Then they host Cincy, before finishing with Cleveland, a team that doesn’t look great on paper, but that’s been playing good football of late. (The Browns started their current three-game winning streak with a victory over the Steelers in week 12.) If the Bengals win this game, which should be a breeze, and go on to topple Pittsburgh, there’s a possibility they’ll be looking at the opportunity to win the division with a week 17 victory over Baltimore. That might look like a lot of ifs, but it’s really just a lot of possibilities. Of course, it all has to start for Cincinnati with a victory here. And the only way they don’t get that is if their heads are filled with weeks 16 and 17. I suspect they’ll find a way to top the hapless Eagles. Cincinnati by 10.

Green Bay (-3) at Chicago
This is a dangerous game for a Packers squad that has shown no ability to protect its quarterback. The Bears need a win here not just to stay alive in the division (a Green Bay win would clinch the NFC North title), but to stay ahead of a pack of challengers for the conference six seed. They obviously know that you can get to Rodgers, so one expects that’s exactly what they’re going to try to do. The question is, can the Bears D apply enough pressure over four quarters to keep Chicago in the game? I think they can. I expect to see the Packers struggle here and I have a feeling the Bears will actually find a way to steal a win. Let’s say by two.

NY Giants (+1.5) at Atlanta
Yes, it was fairly shocking that the Falcons lost to the Panthers last weekend. But it won’t surprise anyone when they lose this one to the Giants, because, records aside, everyone knows at this point that the Giants are the better team. New Jersey by six.

Tampa Bay (+3.5) at New Orleans
Blah, blah, blah, Bountygate. These whiny, whiny Saints are enough to make you long for the whiny days of Archie “Whinemaster” Manning.” Would somebody just put this team out of my misery, already? Yeah, probably not this week. New Orleans by a touchdown.

Minnesota (+3) at St. Louis
OK, let’s see: 1,600 divided by 13 is 123; 2,106 minus 1,600 is 506; 506 divided by 3 is 169; 169 minus 123 is 46; and 46 divided by 123 is .374 (or 37.4%). Yeah, uh, it ain’t happening, AP. Rams by a touchdown.

Washington (-1.5) at Cleveland
Well, it was a nice little winning streak while it lasted. Right, Browns fans? The margin depends on whether Robert Griffin III is healthy enough to be effective, but the result is a win by the Native Americans either way. And by no less than a field goal.

Jacksonville (+7) at Miami
Ugh. Just ugh. Dolphins by 14.

Denver (-2.5) at Baltimore
In which the Ravens complete the transition from presumptive two seed to probable four seed (with an option for six seed). Which is to say, an ugly finish to a once-promising season in Baltimore continues here. Broncos by at least four.

Indianapolis (+8.5) at Houston
The Texans really, really, really need to bounce back from the beating they took in Foxborough on Monday night. This game accords them an great opportunity to do just that. I’m not sure the Texans can beat the division rival Colts twice in three weeks, but I’m confident they can do it once. At home. Though maybe by more like seven.

Carolina (+3) at San Diego
The mediocrity! The mediocrity! Home team by four.

Seattle (-5.5) vs. Buffalo at Rogers Centre, Toronto
You know you’ve got yourself a hell of a football team when a squad that’s known for not traveling well can cross the country to face you on something resembling (if only vaguely) your home turf and end up giving you five and a half. What more can one possibly say about this game? Seahawks by a touchdown.

Detroit (-6) at Arizona
The Lions defense has 30 sacks going into this game. They’ll likely have 40 coming out. And they’ll still barely manage a win (which I suppose is a step up from perpetually finding new ways to lose). Detroit by a field goal.

Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Dallas
I’m not sure I’ve ever rooted for a tie before, but that’s about the only outcome that could hurt both teams’ playoff hopes. And I really just want to get to the point where I can stop hearing about both of them. So I’m looking for a tie. Not expecting one, though. I’m expecting a narrow victory by the Cowboys. Because they’re at home. And because the Steelers look really tired to me, even though they’re probably the better team in this match. Dallas wins 17-16.

Kansas City (+3) at Oakland
The Chiefs, at -157, are the team with the worst net points in the NFL. The Raiders, at -154, are second worst. So, yeah, this one should be a barn burner. Oakland by a field goal.

San Francisco (+5) at New England
The 49ers will need to get a great performance out of their terrific defense to have a chance in this game. Because the 49ers simply don’t have an offense that can keep up with the Patriots if New England start piling up the points the way it has over the past several weeks. If San Francisco can bring some pressure, slow New England down and hold the Patriots to 17 or fewer, they have a chance. If the Pats put up as few as 24, the game is over. I expect to see the Patriots put up at least 30. So I’m taking New England and giving the points.

NY Jets (+2) at Tennessee
I’ve been saying it since the moments after their blowout loss to New England in Foxborough on Thanksgiving night: The Jets are going to win out and back into the playoffs. Here’s one more step toward the six seed. New Jersey by three.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
Comments are closed.