NFL Picks: Week 15

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Week 15 NFL Picks

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

There are three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season and there’s one thing that we know; there are no elite teams in the league. There are a lot of very good teams but there’s not that one team that everyone is pointing to as the overwhelming favorite. Here’s a quick look at some of the teams who most think will be playing late into January; including strengths and weaknesses.

New England Patriots- They are the best offense in the league but have questions on defense; especially in the secondary.

Houston Texans- The Texans are the most balanced team on offense but they have suffered some key injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

Baltimore Ravens- After a 9-2 start, the Ravens are struggling on both sides of the ball. They fired their offensive coordinator on Monday and that once proud defense ranks in the bottom third of the league. On the positive side, they should get Ray Lewis back this week.

Denver Broncos- They rank in the top five in both offense and defense but haven’t beaten another one of the elite teams yet. They get another chance on Sunday when they take on the Ravens.

New York Giants- When they play well, the Giants might be the best team in the NFL. When they don’t play well, they are terrible. Consistency has been a problem for the Giants.

Green Bay Packers- The Packers are leading the NFC North and doing just enough to win but they just don’t look right.

Atlanta Falcons- They are 11-2 but they struggle almost every week, and just got beat handily by the Carolina Panthers.

San Francisco 49ers- The Niners still have one of the best defenses in football but have a budding quarterback controversy.

There are a couple of other teams like the Seattle Seahawks or Indianapolis Colts that are playing well, but will have to win three road games in the playoffs to make a run. It’s not impossible but unlikely.

The point is this; every good team has strengths and flaws. The team that eventually wins the Super Bowl will be the one who gets the right matchups, and the one who covers their weaknesses the best.

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Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles won their first game since September on Sunday and the Cincinnati Bengals lost a game that they had to have. Because of that loss; the Bengals cannot afford another one to a bad Eagles team. However that’s what’s going to happen. They are traveling on a short week and the Eagles get their second win in a row.

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New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants are rounding into playoff form; the Giants are winning and the Falcons are starting to feel the pressure. The game is in Atlanta but it doesn’t matter. Give me the team that knows how to win big games in December and January, and that’s the Giants.

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St. Louis Rams at Minnesota Vikings

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, there’s a big game in Minnesota this Sunday when the Vikings host the St. Louis Rams. Both teams are alive in the wildcard chase and need this game desperately. The Rams are on the right track and their fans should be encouraged for the future but the Vikings get the win. They are at home and they have Adrian Peterson.

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Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The dog game of the week has the Jacksonville Jaguars traveling south to take on the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are not very good but the Jaguars are awful. I’ll take the Dolphins.

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Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Three week ago this one has all the makings of a showdown for the division title but now it is about the Chicago Bears staying alive. The Green Bay Packers can win the NFC North and put a huge dent in the Bears hopes for the playoffs, and they will. It will be close but one team has Aaron Rodgers, and the other one has Jay Cutler. I’ll take Rodgers.

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Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have won four straight and are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but the Cleveland Browns are just as hot. For our purposes I am assuming that Robert Griffin III is going to play; if he does then I’ll take the Redskins in a close one. Even if he doesn’t play; give me the Skins. No straddling the fence here.

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Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens host the hottest team in football when the Denver Broncos come to town. The Broncos are rolling and the Ravens have lost two straight, and their defense is really struggling. Everything points to a Broncos win and that’s the way I’m going, but it will be tight. The Broncos win on a late field goal.

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Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Luck has had a terrific rookie season as the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts and now he gets his shot at the Houston Texans. As great as Luck has been; he has be prone to mistakes and the Texans will force a few this Sunday. The Colts are much better with Luck but they are not ready to compete with the Texans.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The game has no real playoff implications but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints could be a lot of fun to watch. Both teams feature offenses that can score and defenses that don’t stop too many people. It will be back forth but I’ll take the Saints just because they are at home.

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Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The second bow-wow game of the week has the Detroit Lions taking on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals may not be able to score if there was no defense on the field and their defense is awful too. Other than those two things, the Cardinals are in great shape. The Lions are terrible too but they are better than the Cardinals, so I’ll take the Lions.

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Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow the San Diego Chargers are still on the fringe of the playoff race and they have a winnable game with the Carolina Panthers coming to town. The Panthers won their “Super Bowl” last week in beating the Falcons, so they are due for a letdown. Combine that with the fact that they are traveling to the west coast and you have the makings for another Chargers win.

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Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are the talk of the NFL this week and rightfully so; they are playing very well. Having said that; this is a dangerous game versus the Buffalo Bills. The Seahawks did win their last road game but history says that they are a completely different team away from the Northwest. I’ll go with the Seahawks but I’m not real comfortable with the pick.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

This is a must-win game for both teams and they are going in different directions. The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of a huge road win and the Pittsburgh Steelers got their lunch handed to them at home by a bad Chargers team. I’ve said it all year; these are not the same Steelers that we all remember and their fall from the playoffs continues with a loss to the Cowboys.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in one of the great rivalries of all-time but the only thing they are competing for this season is draft position. Both teams are awful and have nothing to play for but they told me I have to pick every game. I’ll take the Chiefs just because I don’t want to take the Raiders. It’s a little like voting these days; pick the team that is the better of two bad choices.

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San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots play their second big game in six days when they host the San Francisco 49ers. It is the classic strength vs. strength matchup; the Patriots offense vs. the Niners defense. They say defense wins but the 49ers haven’t seen an offense like the Patriots, and they won’t have an answer. The Patriots hang 30 on the Niners in an easy win.

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New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

Brian J. Myers-USA TODAY Sports

As bad as the New York Jets have been; they are still in the playoff race and not like the Chargers who need a million different things to happen. The Jets will be favored to win out and if they do; they finish 9-7 and that may be good enough to get them in. The problem is they are the Jets and they are going to lose to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.

Last week’s record- 12-4 Overall record- 66-23-1

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