Week 15 NFL PicksPosted: December 20, 2015
Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.
[Home team in caps. All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus.
New York Jets (-3.5) vs. DALLAS
Derek: There’s no way I’m taking Dallas unless I get 10 points or more. While I acknowledge that the NFL could be celebrating Star Wars week with a trap, I’ll pick the Jets with confidence.
Will: Add me to the list of people who didn’t realize that there’s a Saturday night game this week. I suppose I would have picked the Jets, but I’m afraid I must recuse myself.
MINNESOTA (-6) vs. Chicago
Derek: Minnesota has lost two in a row, but the Bears haven’t lost by more than six since Week 3. Surely the Vikings will win and keep their playoff hopes alive, but the Bears cover.
Will: It’s December and it’s finally starting to get cold in the Midwest. I’ll take the team from farther north. Minnesota.
JACKSONVILLE (-3) vs. Atlanta
Derek: It’s a battle of former Seahawks defensive coordinators! This should be a fun fourth quarter. The Falcons might be the coldest team in the league, and I have no interest in backing them. I’ll take Jacksonville.
Will: This game offends me. Jags.
INDIANAPOLIS (-2) vs. Houston
Derek: According to Football Outsiders, the Texans have a 46% chance of winning the AFC South while the Colts have a 45.4% chance. I’m not a mathematician, but I imagine the odds of victory will rise considerably for whoever wins this game. And I just don’t understand why the Colts are favored after their last two performances. Houston wins.
Will: A banged up Matt Hasselbeck going against a pissed off Texans defense? Houston.
Kansas City (-7) vs. BALTIMORE
Derek: We’ve got one of the hottest teams in the league playing one of the coldest. Let’s not overthink this. Chiefs cover.
Buffalo (-1.5) vs. WASHINGTON
Derek: We’ll never know what to expect from either of these teams, so I’m just going to default to the home underdogs.
Will: Sure, that sounds good.
NEW ENGLAND (-14) vs. Tennessee
Derek: The Titans have gotten torched through the air over the last few weeks, and that happened facing Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Those guys aren’t Brandon Weeden bad, but they also aren’t Tom Brady good. I’ll say ol’ Tommy lights it up in a big Patriots victory.
Will: I wish I had the balls to take the Titans. Alas, I do not. Pats.
Carolina (-4.5) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
Derek: I can see it already. The Giants win the NFC East, then upset the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs en route to beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It all starts with the Giants handing Carolina their first loss.
Will: In the Year of the Dab, I’ll take Cam over Eli. Panthers.
SEATTLE (-15) vs. Cleveland
Derek: Now that we’re here, I can think of only one way to pick this game: SEAHAWKS BY 50!!!
Will: How dare you. Seahawks by 14.5. Browns cover.
Green Bay (-3) vs. OAKLAND
Derek: This is one of the toughest picks of the week, which would have been wacky to think at the beginning of the year. Though the Packers have won two in a row, they were outplayed in most of the Detroit game and beating Cassel’s Cowboys isn’t much of an accomplishment. I may very well regret this, but I say Raiders cover.
Will: I feel like franchises’ true colors come out in December. That does not bode well for the Raiders. Packers.
SAN DIEGO (-1.5) vs. Miami
Derek: The only reason to tune into this one is to see if the Dolphins have more fans in attendance even though they’re on the other side of the country. I’ll take the points and hope I never find the answer.
Will: This game is so dumb. I love the Dolphins.
PITTSBURGH (-6.5) vs. Denver
Derek: And this was the toughest pick of the week. Most would agree the Broncos have the best defense in the league, while in my opinion the Steelers have the best offense in the league. Pittsburgh has been able to score on pretty much anyone when Roethlisberger is healthy, especially at home. I don’t think the Beast Incarnate Brock Osweiler will be able to keep up. Steelers cover.
Will: It feels a little too easy to take Pittsburgh, but I can’t think of a great reason not to. The Steelers have scored 30-plus each of the past five weeks. Denver has held three of their last four opponents to 15 points or less, but those three were the Raiders, Chargers, and Bears. I hope Brock gives ’em a scare, but I’m not holding my breath. Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati (-6) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Derek: I, for one, am pretty excited to watch AJ McCarron vs. Blaine Gabbert. You can’t prove that I’m not. I don’t think McCarron is enough of a drop-off from Dalton to seriously consider picking the Niners. The Bengals have the advantage in pretty much every matchup and I say they cover.
Will: I watched the Cleveland Browns play San Francisco last week. I watched the Cleveland Browns play Cincinnati the week before. I know the transitive property doesn’t work in football, but there is no way the Bengals don’t cover this.
Arizona (-3.5) vs. PHILADELPHIA
Derek: As much as I’d love to see Arizona lose this game, they’re very close to clinching the NFC West and a first round bye. They should be able to score a great deal on the burnable Eagle secondary. Cardinals take care of business.
Will: The Cardinals are kicking the most ass and getting the least attention. Perhaps hammering a nail into Chip Kelly’s coffin will attract some eyes. Cardinals.
NEW ORLEANS (-3) vs. Detroit
Derek: It’s a rough night of television on Monday. You’ve got this game no one cares about, and it won’t even be worth flipping over to wrasslin’ because the Christmas week episode is almost always terrible. Let’s just go with the points.
Will: Points it is. I cannot wait for this season to end.