NFL WEEK 15 PREDICTIONS
The AFC West title could come down to this Thursday night matchup in Kansas City. The Chiefs went to overtime last week. QB Patrick Mahomes has been absolutely outstanding. The Chiefs beat the Chargers in Week 1 38-28. Can they do it again? The Chiefs are 6-0 at home. Yes, they can… Kansas City 33, LA Chargers 30.
Houston’s nine-game win streak stalled last week as the offense sputtered and the defense allowed 399 yards passing. Still at 9-4, the Texans hold the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Jets? They ended a six-game losing streak last week, but they beat the Bills (4-9). The Texans haven’t lost consecutive games since September. Don’t expect it to happen again… Houston 22, NY Jets 17.
Don’t look now, but the Browns have won three of their last four games and aren’t the worst team in the AFC North. They face a tough task this week in playing at Denver. The Broncos let one get away last week in San Francisco. Denver is still clinging to the hopes of the playoffs. The Browns haven’t beaten the Broncos since 1990, so don’t be surprised… Cleveland 28, Denver 27.
The Cardinals just aren’t very good on offense. They average just 13.7 points per game. Atlanta, which has lost five straight, isn’t all that much better. While the Falcons can move the ball and score, the defense leaves much to be desired. Atlanta QB Matt Ryan has 4,076 yards passing and Julio Jones 1,429 yards receiving, but stats don’t win games. This game is Atlanta’s to lose… Atlanta 34, Arizona 17.
The Lions won for the first time in three weeks when they beat Arizona last week. The offense was awful as the Lions got a 67-yard interception return from Darius Slay. The Bills (4-9) aren’t very good on offense either. They average just 15.3 points a game. It’s probably not a good thing that Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen (1,429 yards passing) is the team’s leading rusher with 490 yards. Playing at home might be an advantage… Buffalo 17, Detroit 16.
Before the Bears took control of the NFC North, they lost in Week 1 to Green Bay. The Packers, now 5-7-1 after a win over Atlanta last week under interim head coach Joe Philbin, look to put another chink in the Bears’ armor. Don’t expect Chicago to go down easily. They are 5-1 at home and prior to an upset loss to the Giants, the Bears had won five straight… Chicago 28, Green Bay 27.
Remember when the Bengals were 4-1? Yeah, no one else does either. The Bengals have put together an epic collapse losing their last five straight. Now, they entertain the 3-10 Raiders who beat Pittsburgh last week. Can they pull an upset again? Likely not. Cincinnati has won the last two games in the series, including the last game played in Cincinnati (2012). The Bengals get the edge in the cold… Cincinnati 23, Oakland 20.
The Cowboys have won five straight and are now one game away from clinching the NFC East. A win in any of their final three games or a Philadelphia loss gives the Cowboys what was once unthinkable. The Colts are no slouches. They have won six of their last seven games including a very impressive 24-21 win over AFC South leader Houston last week. Colts are 4-2 at home. Cowboys 2-4 on the road. Call it an upset if you like… Indianapolis 28, Dallas 24.
The Dolphins beat the Patriots at home again last week. Is there any chance Miami can establish some consistency and make the postseason? It’s unlikely this week since head coach Adam Gase and company travel to Minnesota. The Vikings are a formidable opponent but, more importantly, the Dolphins don’t do well away from home. Miami is just 1-5 on the road this year… Minnesota 23, Miami 20.
For those not paying attention, the New York Giants have won four of their last five games. They have done so by making rookie RB Saquon Barkley the centerpiece of their offense. Barkley now has 1,124 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. The Titans have one of the better defenses in the league giving up just 19.5 points a game. Tennessee has won two straight and at 7-6 still has a shot at the playoffs. The Titans are only 2-5 on the road. Tennessee has won five of the last six against the Giants though… Tennessee 21, NY Giants 17.
Injuries have proven too much for the Redskins who once were in control of the NFC East. Four straight losses leave Washington at 6-7 and likely headed home for the playoffs. A year after playing in the AFC championship, Jacksonville has just one win in its previous nine games. Neither team is playing very well and both will likely start backup quarterbacks again. Someone has to win, right? Jacksonville 13, Washington 10.
The Ravens came oh so close to pulling the upset over Kansas City last week. QB Lamar Jackson continues to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Jackson only passed for 147 yards last week but threw two touchdowns. He also rushed for 71 yards. Tampa Bay is just not good on defense. The Bucs give up nearly 30 points a game and are just 1-5 on the road in 2018. Baltimore can still make the playoffs… Baltimore 34, Tampa Bay 28.
The Seahawks control their own playoff destiny. They beat the 49ers just two weeks ago, 43-16. This time, they must travel to San Francisco where the Niners beat Denver last week. Tight end George Kittle had a monumental day with 210 yards receiving. San Francisco is just 3-10 and Seattle is on its way to the postseason… Seattle 29, San Francisco 22.
Pittsburgh has lost three straight. New England lost to the Dolphins last week on the ‘Miami Miracle.’ The Patriots have beaten the Steelers five times in a row including last year’s win at Heinz Field. All four of New England’s losses have come on the road. If Steelers RB James Conner doesn’t play, Pittsburgh is in trouble… New England 34, Pittsburgh 31.
The Eagles chances at defending their Super Bowl championship from last year are all but over. A loss by Philadelphia or a win by Dallas gives the Cowboys the NFC East title. At 6-7, Philadelphia needs a miracle to make the postseason and that starts with a win over the 11-2 Rams. Not going to happen… LA Rams 38, Philadelphia 28.
The Saints have already clinched the NFC South. They take on the Panthers in the first of two meeting this season over the next three weeks. New Orleans beat Carolina twice last year scoring 31 points in each victory. Carolina has lost five in a row since starting the season 6-2. The Panthers defense over the last five weeks has been awful. Now, they have to face Drew Brees and one of the most potent offenses in the NFL… New Orleans 31, Carolina 28.
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2018 NFL Football Season
Tampa Bay @ St. Louis
The Bucs didn’t do themselves any favors when they lost to New Orleans last week. At 6-7, Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes are all but gone. They travel to St. Louis where the Rams are coming off a win over Detroit, their first after five straight losses. Running backs Todd Gurley and Tre Mason give the Rams a powerful one-two punch… St. Louis 20, Tampa Bay 17.
NY Jets @ Dallas
It’s a special Saturday night edition of the NFL featuring two teams headed in opposite directions. The 8-5 Jets are right in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt while the Cowboys are watching their season go right into the tank. Dallas has still not won a game without Tony Romo, who is out for the rest of the season. Jets head coach Todd Bowles needs this win. New York plays Buffalo and New England to close the regular season… NY Jets 33, Dallas 19.
Chicago @ Minnesota
The Vikings cannot afford to lose ground in the NFC North. Minnesota lost a close game to 11-2 Arizona last week but is still a legitimate contender. The Vikings defense is solid and RB Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing. Teddy Bridgewater continues to improve at quarterback, but the Bears Jay Cutler (19-of-31 for 315 yards and two TDs) can be dangerous. At home, the Vikings take care of business… Minnesota 27, Chicago 24.
Atlanta @ Jacksonville
The Falcons’ season continues to spiral out of control. They were 6-1 after a 10-7 win over Tennessee in late October. Atlanta has not won since. To make matters worse, their seventh loss in a row last week was a 38-0 demolishing by the unbeaten Carolina Panthers. The Jags, on the other hand, erupted for 51 points in a win over Indianapolis. It seems hard to believe that Atlanta could lose eight in a row, but Jacksonville is getting better…and they are at home… Jacksonville 28, Atlanta 27.
Houston @ Indianapolis
The Colts have fallen apart. A 51-16 loss last week to Jacksonville puts their playoff hopes in peril. Without starting QB Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis offense is not the same. The Texans were on a roll, a four-game win streak until they ran into Buffalo and New England. The winner of this game takes control of the AFC South. Houston DE J.J. Watt has a broken hand, but Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t… Houston 24, Indianapolis 17.
Carolina @ NY Giants
Can anyone beat Carolina? Three more weeks to an unbeaten regular season. The Giants can’t seem to win a close game. QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr are one of the league’s best passing combinations, but they have not faced a defense like Carolina’s. The Panthers have stifled receiver after receiver this season. Expect them to do it again… Carolina 37, NY Giants 24.
Denver @ Pittsburgh
The Steelers can’t afford another loss. QB Big Ben Roethlisberger and company took down AFC North Division leading Cincinnati last week. Now, they face AFC West leader Denver. The Broncos are coming off a 15-12 loss to Oakland, the first with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. Osweiler was pressured heavily by the Raiders. Pittsburgh will do the same… Pittsburgh 33, Denver 30.
Kansas City @ Baltimore
The hottest team in the NFL is the Kansas City Chiefs. You know things are going well when you don’t play well and still beat San Diego 10-3. Last week’s win over the Chargers was the Chiefs seventh in a row. They will take on a Baltimore team that cannot wait for the offseason. The Ravens (4-9) lost to Seattle last week 35-6. Without QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore’s offense is listless… Kansas City 24, Baltimore 10.
Green Bay @ Oakland
Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary touchdown pass to defeat Detroit has recharged the Packers, who defeated Dallas 28-7 last week. Green Bay is now in first place in the NFC North and in control of its spot in the postseason. They will visit Oakland, which pulled a big upset of Denver last week. The Packers need a win before facing Arizona and Minnesota to close the season… Green Bay 31, Oakland 27.
Cincinnati @ San Francisco
The Bengals will play with A.J. McCarron at quarterback after Andy Dalton fractured a thumb in last week’s loss to the Steelers. The good thing for Cincinnati is that they play the 49ers. San Francisco has a hard time scoring and isn’t very good on defense either. Even though he is a backup, expect McCarron to do just enough to give the Bengals a win… Cincinnati 23, San Francisco 17.
Buffalo @ Washington
After an ugly win over Chicago last week, the 6-7 Redskins are now in control of the NFC East, a division that no one seems to want to win. QB Kirk Cousins is playing very well and will have to do so again against a pretty stout Buffalo defense. Can the Washington defense slow down Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy? The Bills will make this one very interesting… Washington 24, Buffalo 23.
Arizona @ Philadelphia
The Eagles can still win the NFC East. They will have to beat Arizona on Sunday night if they are to keep pace with Washington and the Giants. That may be too tough a task. The Cardinals have the league’s best offense and are playing very well on defense. Even at home, the Eagles won’t be able to overcome… Arizona 34, Philadelphia 27.
Detroit @ New Orleans
After three straight wins, the Lions thought they might have a shot at the playoffs. Then, the Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary hit, and that was on a Monday night. The Lions lost last week to the Rams and are now 4-9. The Saints beat Tampa Bay last week to end a four-game losing streak. Detroit doesn’t fare too well on Monday night… New Orleans 33, Detroit 27.