Sunday, December 19, 2004

NFL: Week 15 Picks

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants… Pittsburgh (3)
The Giants have so many problems. Eli Manning is already completing less than 40 % of his passes, and the Pittsburgh blitz won’t make things easy. Ben, Duce, and The Bus roll right through the Meadowlands.

Washington Redskins at San Francisco 49ers… Washington (1)
Despite a poor record, new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has really turned around the Redskins defense. QB Ken Dorsey doesn’t have a strong arm, and Washington will try to force him to make mistakes. While San Francisco did pick up a big win last week in Arizona, I believe Washington has a slight edge in this one.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons… Carolina (1)
Momentum means everything in this game. Atlanta has pretty much wrapped up the NFC South and is playing out the string. Carolina is a red-hot football team and still needs another win to secure a playoff spot. The loss of RB T.J. Duckett will hurt the Falcons in short yardage situations. Warrick Dunn is not physical enough to carry the load. TE Alge Crumpler is absent as well for Atlanta.

Houston Texans at Chicago Bears… Houston (1)
This season, the AFC has generally performed better in games versus NFC teams. Other than that, this one is a toss-up. The Bears play bad at home and the Texans are poor on the road. Who knows?

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals… Buffalo (2)
This might be the toughest game to pick this week. For a while, I’ve been hesitant to pick Buffalo on the road. Also, the Bengals have been playing good football as of late. However, the Bills have been able to put up a ton of points recently. And the Bills desperately need a win to stay in the playoff hunt.

San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns… San Diego (3)
Cleveland is flat out playing bad football these past two months. San Diego is quickly becoming one of the safer picks in all the NFL. Cleveland is starting the inexperienced Luke McCown at QB. Even though William Green is a decent RB, the Chargers are very good at stopping the run.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions… Minnesota (1)
It’s sad to say, but even with another loss the Vikings would still be in playoff contention. Lets hope Mike Tice doesn’t include the Randy Moss option pass in the playbook this week.

Seattle Seahawks at New York Jets… Jets (1)
The Jets have struggled this year against good teams. Fortunately, the Seahawks are anything but quality at the moment.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles… Philadelphia (3)
Dallas’s slip playoff hopes evaporated when they lost to New Orleans last week. The emerging Julius Jones won’t be enough to compete with the 12-1 Eagles. Philadelphia loses only if they treat this as a meaningless late-season game.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs… Kansas City (1)
The Broncos have struggled against some very mediocre teams recently. At home, the Chiefs are a pretty good club. Kansas City could spoil Denver’s season with an upset here.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers… Tampa Bay (2)
Believe it or not, both of these 5-8 teams remain in playoff contention. Once and for all, the loser should be eliminated. New Orleans can have their good days, as evidenced by their win in Dallas, but I still think Tampa’s the better team and the correct pick this week.

St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals… Arizona (1)
Chris Chandler cannot be trusted to win a football game on the road, or even at home for that matter. Arizona finds a way to win, even after last week's loss to SF.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Green Bay Packers… Green Bay (2)
The Packers are very tough to beat at home in December. The warm-weather Jags will finally be displaced from the playoff race.

Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders… Tennessee (1)
At this point in the season, games like these are impossible to call. Mainly because the Titans offense is clicking and the Raiders secondary is shaking, Tennessee pulls off the road upset. My guess is that we see an explosive game similar to last Monday’s Chiefs/Titans tilt.

Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts… Indianapolis (2)
Peyton Manning looks to break the TD mark against a very good Ravens secondary. He might not get the TD passes, but Indianapolis will win the game.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins… New England (3)
I’m tempted to take Miami just for the hell of it. Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to this game. Beating New England would at least provide some satisfaction for this season. That being said, it’s hard to imagine New England blowing home field by losing to a two-win Dolphins team. Miami’s biggest problem is that even when they were a winning team, they always turn the ball over at inopportune times versus the Pats. A.J. Feeley has to avoid those crucial interceptions and fumbles.


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