NFL Week 15 Game Picks: Drama Central

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NFL Week 15 Game Picks: Drama Central

Week 15 Picks
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

With many soap operas canceling their drama-filled plotlines in recent years, perhaps the NFL is partially to blame with its own unpredictability running every Sunday. Several scoreboards around the league have looked similar to the one pictured above with overtime and last second heroics required to decide the victors. In that same vein, there were storylines aplenty coming into week 14 and just about every game lived up to the hype and then some.

This week doesn’t look like much will change with the playoff lives of many teams hinging on several key battles in week 15. It’s hard to believe we are down to just three games remaining in what has been a gripping NFL schedule to date, but we will soon know just which teams will be vying for the coveted Lombardi Trophy throughout the postseason in January.

Both conferences offer a multitude of scenarios and formulas for each individual team still in contention to make it to the playoffs. Whether young or old, the nerves will undoubtedly be tested in the coming weeks leading up to the tournament for glory.

No matter which season we are talking about, there is only ever one team truly satisfied when the year comes to a close. 31 others are left to wonder what might have been or if just one play had gone differently, maybe they would be the ones remembered forever as a part of pigskin lore.

As the season winds down and the competition ratchets up another notch, the controversies will get more intense and the decisions made will be even more heavily scrutinized. Jobs are on the line in these final weeks of the season and legacies will be made or broken in the matter of moments.

Buckle up, the playoffs are almost here! That’s way better than any daytime soaps. For now, just enjoy the action and check out the picks for each game on the schedule for week 15.

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Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles

Bengals at Eagles
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

There was some real fight shown by the Eagles last week while the Bengals had a bit of a hiccup against an NFC East foe in week 14 as well. This could be the chance for Philly to get another win and boost the morale surrounding coach Andy Reid who is expected to be fired as season’s end. With the Bengals on the road on a short week, don’t be surprised to see the upset here.

Eagles 24 – Bengals 21

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Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Packers at Bears
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Unfortunately for the Bears spectacular defense, their lone flaw has been brought to light in recent weeks; age. This team has so many injuries and now that the Packers have taken control of the division, don’t look for them to relent. Aaron Rodgers and company smell blood and a win here would essentially lock up the NFC North.

Packers 27 – Bears 17

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Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Colts at Texans
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Houston may still be tied for the best record in the league, but they have yet to lock up the AFC South crown thanks to the pesky Colts. They are also now just one game up on the Patriots in the AFC overall for playoff seeding purposes and the Pats hold the tiebreaker. This is a huge game for both of these clubs and their postseason aspirations moving forward. Andrew Luck has defied the odds several times this season, but J.J. Watt and company won’t let it happen this week.

Texans 28 – Colts 24

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Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Broncos at Ravens
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore made headlines early in the week by firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The timing for the move is certainly questionable this late in the game, but the team needs to rally with Jim Caldwell taking over the play-calling duties. Joe Flacco goes up against one of the all-time greats in Peyton Manning this week and unless Ray Rice carries the load for the Ravens, this will be a long afternoon for them.

Broncos 31 – Ravens 20

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Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins

Jags at Fins
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Neither of these two teams have anything left to play for in 2012, but the Jags could be in line to have the number one overall pick in the draft if they keep losing. Since Maurice Jones-Drew went out, this team has been hapless on offense and they are even more banged up now down a receiver as well. Miami doesn’t have much promise, but at least rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been improving.

Dolphins 24 – Jaguars 13

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Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns

Skins at Browns
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The main question coming into this game is clearly the health of Robert Griffin III. Cleveland is riding a three-game win streak and playing very well defensively so facing RG3 or Kirk Cousins could have a big impact on this game. Washington has other weapons regardless of which rookie quarterback is behind center however so look for their team superiority to shine through.

Redskins 23 – Browns 17

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Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams

Vikes at Rams
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Not many would have thought this mid-December tilt to have playoff implications when the season began, but as strange as it may seem, both the Vikes and Rams have a shot at making the postseason. This game comes down to which quarterback you trust more in second-year man Christian Ponder for Minnesota of third-year signal caller Sam Bradford with the Rams. Lean toward St. Louis in a tight one.

Rams 20 – Vikings 17

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Bucs at Saints
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The season has gotten away from the Saints and Drew Brees seems awfully frustrated with his play of late. Still a division game against the Bucs who are fighting for their playoff lives may bring out the best in New Orleans. Playing at home in the noisy dome, the Saints will have the momentum in their favor. This one smells like an upset due to the familiarity factor.

Saints 34 – Bucs 27

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New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons

G-Men at Falcons
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta picked a bad time to slip up last weekend while the G-Men appear to be starting one of their patented December runs. Eli Manning is clicking and more of his weapons are getting healthy. Expect the Falcons to motivated playing at home, but the Giants to have too much pressure on Matt Ryan for him to handle.

Giants 27 – Falcons 23

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Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills

Seahawks at Bills
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been one thing after another for the Bills this year and now that Fred Jackson is out again, C.J. Spiller will be forced to carry the load. Rookie Russell Wilson has been poised beyond his years, but a trip to Buffalo in the cold could really challenge the young man under center. Seattle must have this game if they want to maintain a spot in the playoff hunt and they ride Marshawn Lynch to victory.

Seahawks 24 – Bills 17

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Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers

Panthers at Bolts
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton has been just about as up and down as the Chargers this season and it’s fitting that these two teams meet after their best wins of the season. As Philip Rivers goes, so do the Bolts and if he can keep from throwing the ball to the other team, things bode well for San Diego. Something tells me that Carolina will generate some pressure on him and make the mistakes start happening once again.

Panthers 30 – Chargers 24

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Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals

Lions at Cards
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Since starting the season 4-0, the Cards have been going the wrong way (losers of nine straight) and the Lions have plenty of weapons to continue that losing streak for Arizona. Look for the Arizona quarterbacks to continue throwing the ball to the wrong colored jerseys while the Lions pile up the points in this one.

Lions 41 – Cardinals 6

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Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

Chiefs at Raiders
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. If you have interest in this one, bless your heart. Seriously. The Raiders have very little going right for them and the Chiefs have just a little bit less working in their favor. Both of these organizations will be rebuilding at season’s end, but for just one week, the silver and black taste victory.

Raiders 21 – Chiefs 17

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys

Steelers at Boys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh still has the league’s top defense, but they have been struggling of late. The Cowboys are surging a bit trying to maintain relevance in the NFC playoff race and with both teams at 7-6, the loser of this one is hurting for a postseason berth. Home field doesn’t usually mean much, but in this one, that will be all that separates the Steelers and Cowboys.

Cowboys 27 – Steelers 26

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San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots

Niners at Pats
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

A potential Super Bowl preview? That may be a bit too bold, but Colin Kaepernick appeared to find himself last weekend. The Niners have a defense that could force the Pats offense to be one-dimensional and if that happens, Aldon Smith can pin his ears back and get after Tom Brady. This is classic strength on strength showdown, 20 straight home December wins for the Pats means something.

Patriots 24 – 49ers 20

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New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

Jets at Titans
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Improbable as it may be, the Jets are still very much alive in the AFC. Mark Sanchez has been horrible, but if he can simply turn around and put the ball in the gut of Shonn Greene, this team will be fine. Jake Locker and the Titans are a mystery this year and they really gave the Colts a fight last week. Expect low scores in this one, but somehow the Jets remain in the hunt.

Jets 20 – Titans 16