wEEK 15 NFL Picks

By: Grant Poarch


Monday Night Football really screwed us last week, didn’t it? We were 8-5 on the money line and 7-6 on the spread going into the games. After the Titans’ and Giants’ upset wins, that brought my overall record on the week to 8-7 on the money line while bringing down the spread record to 7-8. With that, my overall record on the season is 126-82 on the money line and 107-101 on the spread. While both of those are still positive, we are looking for more than that. This week, it is time to cook as now there are not meaningful college football games to focus on so all eyes are on the league. With that said, fade me at your own risk and tail me at your inevitable benefit. The odds listed are provided by DraftKings.

12/16 (Saturday Early Afternoon Game): Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals (-3, O/U 38.5), 1:00PM EST, NFL Network

            On paper, these two teams should be dead by now. Both starting quarterbacks are out for the year and both quarterbacks are considered their franchise’s quarterback. On one hand, the Vikings have been floating above water with a 3-2 record since Kirk Cousins got hurt against the Packers. On the other hand, Cincinnati is 2-1 without Joe Burrow.

            So, the question is, which backup do I have more faith in? Is it Minnesota’s Nick Mullens or Cincinnati’s Jake Browning? In this one, I’m going to go with Jake Browning. Cincinnati is hot right now and just made Indianapolis look like a JV team.

            With this game being at home for the Bengals and with Nick Mullens leading the other side, I can’t help but pick Cincinnati in this one.

Prediction: Cincinnati wins, Cincinnati covers -3

12/16 (Saturday Late Afternoon Game): Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts (-1.5, O/U 42), 4:30PM EST, NFL Network

            Mitch Trubisky will once again be the starting quarterback for the Steelers this week. Not only that, Pittsburgh is coming off a loss against the Patriots where they gave up three touchdowns to Bailey Zappe.

            Pittsburgh isn’t the only team in this matchup that looked weak a week ago. Last week, the Colts got destroyed by the Jake Browning lead Cincinnati Bengals.

            With both outcomes considered, I don’t know what to do in this game. What I do know, however, is that Mitch Trubisky is awful and Gardner Minshew is low key a baller. Indianapolis will bounce back this week and continue to prove why Mitch Trubisky had no business being drafted in front of Patrick Mahomes.

Prediction: Indianapolis wins, Indianapolis covers -1.5

12/16 (Saturday Night Game): Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions (-4, O/U 48), 8:15PM EST, NFL Network

            Who would’ve thought after the first few weeks of the season that it was possible for the Broncos to win six of their last seven? Denver is hot right now but going against Detroit is no easy task.

            Denver brings a defense in this game that has allowed less than 23 points in eight straight games. That defense will likely give up more than that this week as the Lions are ranked 7th in the league in points per game. On the other hand, Detroit’s defense is going to allow a lot of points too as they gave up 28 points to the Saints and Bears in back to back weeks.

            One reason for Detroit’s struggles is their offensive turnovers. They have turned the ball over three or four times in three of their last four games. I know that looks confusing, but read that sentence again and you will understand how much the Lions have given the ball away. That doesn’t look too good for Detroit when you consider they are playing against a Denver defense that has two or more takeaways in five of their last six games.

            I may look stupid for this prediction but I’m riding with Broncos’ country.

Prediction: Denver wins, Denver covers +4

12/17: New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints (-6, O/U 37.5), 1:00PM EST, FOX

            I’m glad the Saints are favored by a touchdown but I don’t really understand it. Tommy Devito just lead the Giants to an upset win over the Packers while Derek Carr had 37 yards passing against the then 1-11 Panthers going into the fourth quarter.

            This game will be closer than the spread indicates because of New York’s rushing attack. They face a Saints’ defense that has struggled against the run and that is especially true against quarterbacks. New Orleans will have their hands full when they have to stop Saquon Barkley and Danny Devito.

            In the end, I see the Saints coming out on top. New York’s rush defense is equally as bad as New Orleans’. With Taysom Hill likely returning to the lineup, the Saints will have an entire other dimension to their rushing attack. It won’t be as easy as it should be but New Orleans will come out on top.

Prediction: New Orleans wins, New York covers +6

12/17: Chicago Bears @ Cleveland Browns (-3, O/U 37.5), 1:00PM EST, FOX

            Justin Fields against Joe Flacco, who could ask for more? Fields balled out against the Lions and Flacco came off the couch aa few weeks ago and looks like he hasn’t missed a step.

            This week, I see the Bears going back to what we know them to be. They will get boxed by this solid Cleveland defense. Justin Fields will have trouble handling the Cleveland pass rush. Last week, the Browns sacked Trevor Lawrence four times and hit him 12 times. Hopefully, Fields doesn’t get hit that badly but I don’t have faith in that.

            Give me the better team in this game. Cleveland will defend home field and make us scratch our heads once again at how this team is in the playoff race.

Prediction: Cleveland wins, Cleveland covers -3

12/17: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5, O/U 41.5), 1:00PM EST, CBS

            I can’t tell if Green Bay is a solid team or not. Two weeks ago they beat the Chiefs and last week they lost to the Giants. If the Packers are going to have a chance this week, they cannot allow the rushing game to do what they did to them last week. Last week, the Giants rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The good thing for Green Bay is that they don’t have to face Saquon Barkley this week.

            Another good thing for the Packers is that they are playing against a Tampa secondary that allowed Drake London to get 172 yards receiving. Jordan Love is going to have a field day if that is any indication for this week.

            I don’t know what’s going to happen in this one but I’m going to guess a regression to the mean is coming. Tampa beat Atlanta and Green Bay lost to the Giants. I know that isn’t great logic but Go Pack Go this week.

Prediction: Green Bay wins, Green Bay covers -3.5

12/17: Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans (-3, O/U 38), 1:00PM EST, CBS

            If C.J. Stroud can’t play because of his concussion, this will be an easy win for the Titans. That’s what you would think on paper, however other things happen in reality. Regardless, this is a division game so things should be close. Tennessee shocked the world on Monday night with a 28-27 win over the Dolphins.

            In this one, will Houston’s offense be able to keep up with Tennessee? That sounds strange but there are several reasons why this is the case this week. The first being that Houston’s defense just got torched by Zach Wilson. Will Levis isn’t a great quarterback but with that soft coverage he can have success as well. Beyond that, Derrick Henry has scored two touchdowns in three straight games.

            To make things worse for the Texans, C.J. Stroud is questionable for this game due to a concussion he suffered last game. According to rotowire.com, Stroud still hasn’t practiced as of today (Thursday, 12/14). If he cannot play, the Texans are forced to turn to Davis Mills. Beyond Stroud, Nico Collins and Noah Brown may also miss this game.

            Due to the injuries and lack of coherent defense as of late, I see the Texans falling in Nashville.

Prediction: Tennessee wins, Tennessee covers -3

12/17: New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (-8.5, O/U 39.5), 1:00PM EST, CBS

            Last week, it seemed like these two teams changed bodies. Zach Wilson led the Jets to a huge win over the Texans while Miami got upset by the Titans. I figure that both teams will regress back to the mean of what they have been this season in this one.

The last time these two matched up, Miami won 34-13. A big reason for that was Miami’s rush offense. In that matchup, they ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns. If Tua, Tyreek, and the rest of the passing game are given that rushing attack, this one will be over quickly.

That’s how I see this one going. As much fun as it is to say the “J-E-T-S” chant, that will be few and far in between as Zach Wilson is going to struggle to keep up with Tua Tagovailoa.

Prediction: Miami wins, Miami covers -8.5

12/17: Kansas City Chiefs (-8) @ New England Patriots, O/U 37, 1:00PM EST, FOX

            If this game is like last week for Patrick Mahomes, I will be getting popcorn and gladly watching another temper tantrum. Let me clarify that I am not a Mahomes hater. I simply am someone who enjoys comedy and his outburst was hilarious.

            Let’s just say that I would be shocked if this game comes down to a similar situation. Although the Chiefs have struggled more than normal this year, they should not play a close game against a Patriots’ team that is one of the worst in recent memory.

            While the Patriots did win on the road in Pittsburgh last week, the Steelers had Mitch Trubisky playing quarterback. New England isn’t going to be as fortunate in the opposing quarterback department this week.

            Look for Kansas City to take their frustrations out in this one as they will man handle the Patriots.

Prediction: Kansas City wins, Kansas City covers -8

12/17: Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ Carolina Panthers, O/U 35, 1:00PM EST, FOX

            Carolina just might be one of the worst teams of all time. Last week, they held the Saints to 200 yards of offense but they lost by 22 points. How in the world is that possible? If Carolina is that bad on offense again there is no way they cover the number.

            While Atlanta isn’t the greatest, they are at least semi-competent. That has proven to be good enough to beat Carolina time and time again this season. I don’t how much in terms of content as to why I believe Carolina will lose but I don’t need any based on how they have played this year. The Panthers stink and that won’t change this week even in a divisional game.

Prediction: Atlanta wins, Atlanta covers -3

12/17: Washington Commanders @ Los Angeles Rams (-6.5, O/U 49), 4:05PM EST, CBS

            Washington fans are likely already looking forward to the draft more so than their next game each week. The Commanders lost four straight games going into their bye week last week. They are now 4-9 and are a miracle away from a playoff berth. Things shouldn’t get any easier against the Rams as Los Angeles is 4-0 against teams below .500.

            Although their record doesn’t reflect it, the Rams can be a dangerous team. Last week, they took the Ravens to overtime thanks in part to Matt Stafford’s near 300 yard and three touchdown performance. That bodes poorly for Washington as they give up the most yards per attempt in the league with 8.1 yards per attempt.

            Make no mistake. Washington will extend their losing streak to five thanks to Frat Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Puka Nacua.

Prediction: Los Angeles wins, Los Angeles covers -6.5

12/17: San Francisco 49ers (-13.5) @ Arizona Cardinals, O/U 48, 4:05PM EST, CBS

            Once again proven last week, San Francisco is a freight train. Anyone in their way at this point is essentially screwed out of any chance of winning the game. Don’t get this game twisted. This one features a three-win team against the current Super Bowl betting favorite.

            As it relates to the play on the field, Arizona is one of the worst defenses in the league. How in the world are they going to stop all the weapons from San Francisco? Like every other week, Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffery are going to have their way.

            Last time these two faced, Kyler Murray did not play. While he is a much better option for Arizona than anyone else they have, he doesn’t play defense. The Cardinals may have some offensive success of their own in running the ball but they have no prayer of stopping San Francisco’s offense.

Prediction: San Francisco wins, San Francisco covers -13.5

12/17: Dallas Cowboys @ Buffalo Bills (-2, O/U 50.5), 4:25PM EST, FOX

            This might be the most interesting game of the week. I’ve gone back and forth on who I think is going to win all week. I feel like if this game was in Dallas or on a neutral field, I would take Dallas and feel really good about it. With it being in Buffalo, the confidence dwindles a little.

            With that said, Dallas is the better team. Dak Prescott is playing with his hair on fire this year and is poised to lead the Cowboys on a deep playoff run. That sounds weird to say but the Cowboys look different this year. I would have predicted Buffalo to win if Dallas had lost to Philadelphia. After that, I was convinced that this team is legitimately good.

            One reason the Cowboys will win this game (besides Dak) is their defense. They are facing Josh Allen who leads the league in interceptions thrown. If he is not careful with the ball, this game could get very ugly. While I don’t see a disaster class coming, I see Dallas getting one or two opportune turnovers and getting sacks in the clutch. This may make me look dumb but I’m rocking with the Cowboys in a big game once again.

Prediction: Dallas wins, Dallas covers +2

12/17 (SNF): Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars, O/U 43.5, 8:20PM EST, NBC

            Baltimore seems to find a way to win every week when things look bleak. Last week, they had an electric ending as they returned a punt return for a touchdown to end the game. The Ravens are coming into this game on a three game winning streak. On top of that, they have won seven of their last eight games.

            On the other side, the Jaguars have lost two games in a row and they just lost a game to Joe Flacco. Trump did say once that Flacco is an elite quarterback but that was a long time ago. Flacco was on his couch a few weeks ago and he tried out for a television gig. All that didn’t matter though as he still was able to take down Jacksonville, The Jaguars are a good team but damn was that impressive on Flacco’s part. If he can do it, I’d imagine the Ravens can win this one as well.

             Duval County will be on fire for this primetime game but Baltimore is scorching hot at the moment and they will be able to handle the heat in this one.

Prediction: Baltimore wins, Baltimore covers -3.5

12/18 (MNF): Philadelphia Eagles (-4) @ Seattle Seahawks, O/U 47.5, 8:15PM EST, ABC/ESPN

            After the first part of the season, it looked like the Eagles were untouchable. Now, after a rare two game losing streak, Philadelphia looks human once again. To be fair, the Eagles did play the 49ers and the Cowboys whom they already defeated earlier in the season. Good news for Philadelphia, though, is that they have the easiest schedule in the league to end the year. On top of that, they are still -300 (massive) favorites to win their division despite the recent loss to Dallas.

            With all that said, Philadelphia still needs to win this week. They likely will as they face a Seattle team on a four game losing streak. To make things worse, Geno Smith is questionable for the game and Seattle’s defense is on an awful streak as of late.

            I would be stunned if the Eagles drop their third in a row. This one won’t be easy as Seattle is never a push over home environment. On the same note, the Eagles aren’t push overs and they will remind us why they are contenders on Monday night.

Prediction: Philadelphia wins, Philadelphia covers -4

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