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Week Fifteen Sunday and Monday Picks

December 17th, 2017

I’m not off to such a great start with week 15.

Three games in, I’m 1-2 both straight up and against the spread.

Let’s see how much worse it can get.

Here’s what not to expect in the remaining 13 games.

Philadelphia (-7.5) at NY Giants
I think there’s a decent chance the loss of Carson Wentz doesn’t catch up with the Eagles until mid-January. I’m confident it won’t catch up with them this week. The Giants run defense is so bad, I’m not sure Nick Foles will actually need to attempt a pass. Still, it’s a division game. So let’s say Philadelphia by just a touchdown.

Green Bay (+3) at Carolina
The return of Aaron Rodgers makes this one interesting. But even if Rodgers were completely healed, I’m not sure I’d see the point of bringing him back at this point in a season. I just don’t see a path to the playoffs for Green Bay. Or a path to a win here. Panthers by a field goal.

Cincinnati (+10.5) at Minnesota
The Vikings are two wins away from a first round bye, and perhaps three wins away from clinching home field advantage through the NFC playoffs. They should have no trouble getting one of those wins here. Minnesota by 17.

Miami (+3.5) at Buffalo
The Dolphins won their Super Bowl on Monday night when they caught the Patriots short handed and sleepwalking. The Bills are pushing for a spot in the actual postseason. I think it adds up to the Bills coming out ahead by a touchdown in a game they might otherwise have needed to dig deep to win by a point.

Houston (+11) at Jacksonville
The Jaguars started turning heads by stomping on the Texans in Houston way back in week one. I expect them to make it clear that they aren’t just kidding with yet another beatdown here. Jacksonville by 21.

NY Jets (+15.5) at New Orleans
YepThe only way the Jets are getting another win before September is if the Patriots end up locked into a seeding and give them a gift in week 17. They’re certainly not likely to compete with a Saints team that’s in a battle for the NFC South title and in the hunt for a first-round bye. New Orleans goes to the ground after building a comfortable lead and as a result wins by “only” 18.

Arizona (+4.5) at Washington
Bad news: If you care about this game or either of the teams involved in it, you’ve already lost. Racists by three.

Baltimore (-7) at Cleveland
The Browns have two more chances this season to avoid an 0-16 finish. They could conceivably pull off an organic win next week in Chicago. Or they could get a gift in week 17 when they visit the Steelers — if Pittsburgh is locked in to a postseason seeding by then and takes half the game off. One might note that I didn’t discuss the possibility of a Browns win here in their final home game of the 2017 campaign. That’s because there is no such possibility. The Ravens take the first of three easy steps toward a postseason berth with a win by a margin of at least 20.

LA Rams (+2.5) at Seattle
With a win here, the Rams can move on from contenders for most improved NFC team to serious contenders for the conference championship. I think Los Angeles logs a pair of key takeaways and makes the magic happen. Rams by two.

New England (-3) at Pittsburgh
Another huge game in which I think turnovers make the difference. That accords a slight advantage to the Patriots. New England by seven.

Tennessee (-3) at San Francisco
The Titans can prove nothing by winning this game. But they can disprove just about everything by losing it. Too bad for them. 49ers by six.

Dallas (-3) at Oakland
It’s the end of the road for the Raiders, who haven’t been able to get out of their own way all season. Cowboys by four.

Atlanta (-6) at Tampa Bay
The Falcons may well end up missing the tournament. They’re almost certainly not going to make it out of the wild card round. And they may actually get a bit of a scare here. But I don’t see them losing. Atlanta by three.

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