NFL Game Picks: Week 15
NFL Game Picks: Week 15
It’s a good time to be a Pennsylvania football fan. On Sunday, both the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their respective divisions with wins. There’s plenty more clinching to do, though, as we enter the final three weeks of the 2017 season.
Here’s a look ahead at what’s in store for Week 15:
Denver Broncos (4-9) @ Indianapolis Colts (3-10)
A week after experiencing a crushing defeat to Miami, the Broncos rebounded by shutting out the Jets. Football is weird. Football was weird in Buffalo, too, as the Colts lost in overtime 13-7 in the heavy snow. With both of these teams officially out of the playoff race, there’s really nothing left to play for. This game is a toss-up.
The pick: Indianapolis, 16-13.
Chicago Bears (4-9) @ Detroit Lions (7-6)
Again, football is weird. Chicago loses five in a row, then puts up 33 and holds the Bengals to just seven points. It won’t matter though, as Chicago is also officially out of the playoff race. However, the Lions are not. The NFC is so competitive that the Lions are probably going to need to win out to have a shadow of a chance. The road to the playoffs starts with a win on Saturday.
The pick: Detroit, 27-16.
Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)
Saturday’s doubleheader ends with one of the most crucial games in deciding the fate of the AFC. The fall from grace vs. the rise to stardom. The Chargers are riding a four-game win streak. The Chiefs picked up a much-needed victory over Oakland last Sunday to hold on to the division’s top spot. So, who takes this one? It’s anyone’s guess.
The pick: Los Angeles, 24-23.
Miami Dolphins (6-7) @ Buffalo Bills (7-6)
The Bills are still in it. After Sunday’s overtime win over Indianapolis, and a little help from the Steelers, Buffalo is holding onto the sixth seed in the AFC at the moment. Their next challenge is to defend their spot by taking down the Dolphins, who just shocked the football world by knocking off New England. This one could be Week 15’s hidden gem.
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) @ Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
No one’s perfect. Case Keenum’s streak of games with a passer rating of 100 or higher was shattered in last Sunday’s loss to Carolina. The Vikings can just as easily pick up the pieces, though. They’ll be taking on a battered Bengals team that looks just about finished with 2017. A Minnesota win here would be just one step closer to that coveted playoff bye week.
The pick: Minnesota, 33-17.
Baltimore Ravens (7-6) @ Cleveland Browns (0-13)
Even with Josh Gordon back, the Browns just can’t get it done. After leading Green Bay by 14 points, the Browns allowed the Packers to come back and win in overtime. Baltimore acted similarly by blowing a big lead to the Steelers, hurting their playoff chances in the process. However, the Ravens should get back on track by beating the Browns next week.
The pick: Baltimore, 28-14.
Green Bay Packers (7-6) @ Carolina Panthers (9-4)
Did Brett Hundley do enough? Aaron Rodgers is returning for this game, which will be a huge boost to Green Bay’s playoff hopes. This doesn’t change the fact that they still have a tough road ahead with games against Carolina, Minnesota, and Detroit. But with a little bit of Rodgers magic, the Packers may still be able to pull this one out.
The pick: Green Bay, 30-22.
New York Jets (5-8) @ New Orleans Saints (9-4)
Josh McCown more than exceeded expectations with the Jets this year, so it’s sad to see him go down the hand injury. The Jets’ season is just about done, but New Orleans is still in the thick of it. Two wins over Carolina helps, but that Thursday night loss in Atlanta is looming large right now. A win here would be one step closer to securing the NFC South.
The pick: New Orleans, 34-14.
Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) @ New York Giants (2-11)
Ouch. Carson Wentz is out for the season. That has to sting. There’s still a saving grace for Philadelphia, though. It’s that the rest of the team is still really good. Will they have the same success with Nick Foles under center? Probably not. But they should still be Super Bowl contenders just the same. This should be an easy win.
The pick: Philadelphia, 26-14.
Arizona Cardinals (6-7) @ Washington Redskins (5-8)
Another game between an eliminated team and soon-to-be-eliminated team. As a result, there’s no real implications here. But congrats to Larry Fitzgerald, who passed Randy Moss last week to become the NFL’s third all-time receiving leader. Back to this game: it’s another toss-up. Maybe the Redskins have the advantage because they’re at home? It doesn’t matter that much anyway.
Houston Texans (4-9) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4)
How time changes everything. A year ago, the Texans were playoff-bound while the Jaguars still resided at the bottom of the AFC South. Now, a battered Texans team have lost six of the last seven games while the Jaguars have done the opposite: winning six of their last seven games. The Jaguars are in a good position to take the AFC South title. A win here would certainly help.
The pick: Jacksonville, 39-10.
Los Angeles Rams (9-4) @ Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
Playoff implications aplenty! Not only will this game likely decide the winner of the NFC West, but the loser may be finding themselves on the outside of the playoff picture come early January. Yes, that’s right: The Rams, at 9-4, are not safe. This game is more meaningful to Seattle, who would likely face elimination with a loss, so the edge goes to Russell Wilson and crew.
The pick: Seattle, 28-24.
Tennessee Titans (8-5) @ San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
Sunday’s loss to Arizona gives the AFC South to Jacksonville, but Tennessee can regain it with a Week 17 win over the Jags. Until then, the Titans need to keep on winning to keep pace. That may prove difficult next Sunday against rising star Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers, who are riding a two-game win streak. This one could be closer than many expect.
The pick: Tennessee, 19-14.
New England Patriots (10-3) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)
Game of the week? Game of the year? Call it what you will, there’s no doubt that this one’s a biggie. Tom Brady and company are coming off a surprising loss to Miami, but a win would hand them control of the AFC. A win for the Steelers would guarantee a first-round bye and likely the first overall seed. It’s not a primetime game, but everyone will be watching this one.
The pick: Pittsburgh, 31-29.
Dallas Cowboys (7-6) @ Oakland Raiders (6-7)
It’s too bad that this is the Sunday night game and not the Steelers-Patriots matchup because this is clearly far less interesting. Yeah, Dallas is still technically in it, but they pretty much need a miracle to reach the playoffs. Oakland, with a worse record, actually has a slightly better shot to win the close AFC West, but not by much.
The pick: Oakland, 20-14.
Atlanta Falcons (8-5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
Big win for the Falcons, who basically kept their season alive with a win over New Orleans last Thursday. They can rest a little easier against a terrible Tampa Bay team, but not much easier. There’s no doubt that other contenders like Carolina, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Detroit are going to bring the pressure, so the Falcons need to keep their feet on the gas pedal.
The pick: Atlanta, 23-9.
DJ Bauer is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.