14 December 2016

2016 NFL Predictions: Week 15

Only three weeks remain in the 2016 NFL season and we've got a cornucopia of key contests with a lot on the line. Therefore, here are my predictions for Week 15.
Last Week: 10-6
2016: 128-80
Locks: 11-3

Thursday, December 15th
Rams (4-9) vs. Seahawks (8-4-1) - NBC/NFL Network, 8:25
Los Angeles Rams (1965 - 1972)Seattle Seahawks (1976 - 1982)
Jeff Fisher is gone, finally, from the Rams after they dumped the head coach on Monday and barely a week after he received a contract extension. Even considering that extension, he's done a miserable job this season and he had to go. Now on a short week with an interim coach, John Fassel (yes, the son of the legendary Jim Fassel), they've got just about no chance here in Seattle.
Seahawks 17 Rams 3

Saturday, December 17th
Dolphins (8-5) vs. Jets (4-9) - NFL Network, 8:25
Miami Dolphins (2013 - Pres)New York Jets (1978 - 1997)
It took the Jets overtime to defeat a 49ers team that has yet to win since Week 1 so that doesn't really tell you anything about anything. The one good news for them this week is that they'll get to take on Miami backup Matt Moore (who I forgot was still on the Dolphins in all honesty) but Moore is a competant American and I think he can do just enough here to get a nice road victory.
Dolphins 20 Jets 12

Sunday, December 18th
Packers (7-6) vs. Bears (3-10) - Fox, 1:00
Green Bay Packers (1968 - 1979)Chicago Bears (1963 - 1998)
Don't look now but the Packers are firmly back in the playoff mix after winning three in a row, including beating the snot out of the Seahawks at home on Sunday. They still have work to do, mind you, and it starts here against the Bears. Yes, Chicago is terrible but they have looked a little less terrible of late with Matt Barkley under center. Look for this game to be a little closer than some think.
Packers 28 Bears 24

Jaguars (2-11) vs. Texans (7-6) - CBS, 1:00
Jacksonville Jaguars (2013 - Pres)Houston Texans (2002 - Pres)
The Texans got themselves a big league victory on the road over the Colts to take charge of the AFC South. Now they get to come home and take on a truly miserable Jacksonville ballclub. Color me surprised if Jacksonvile were to actually win this game but Houston's offense is still such a mess, maybe we shouldn't rule anything out.
Texans 14 Jaguars 7

Browns (0-13) vs. Bills (6-7) - CBS, 1:00
Cleveland Browns (2015 - Pres)Buffalo Bills (1974 - Pres)
I probably still believe that the Browns are going to get a win this season but even as Rex Ryan is on some serious thin ice with the Bills, I just don't think that Cleveland has the horses to go to Orchard Park and get that first win. But if the Bills underperform here, could very well see Ryan out the door come Monday.
Bills 21 Browns 13

Eagles (5-8) vs. Ravens (7-6) - Fox, 1:00
Philadelphia Eagles (1996 - Pres)Baltimore Ravens (1999 - Pres)
The Eagles are a rather mediocre team offensively, while the Ravens are slightly less mediocre offensively. The Eagles are a solid team defensively, but the Ravens are really good defensively. Oh, and Baltimore is at home. Carson Wentz against this defense does not feel like a particularly great matchup.
Ravens 17 Eagles 10

Titans (7-6) vs. Chiefs (10-3) - CBS, 1:00
Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)Kansas City Chiefs (1972 - Pres)
Now after winning three in a row, including this past Thursday night over the Raiders, the Chiefs are starting to make a big push to get a coveted bye in the AFC Playoffs and perhaps something more. They will face a Tennessee team that's not sleeping around either as they have won two straight, including a big win over the Broncos at home on Sunday, and now they've pulled into a tie atop the AFC South. It should be a good one at Arrowhead but I think the Kansas City defense will be the difference.
Chiefs 20 Titans 17

Lions (9-4) vs. Giants (9-4) - Fox, 1:00
Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)New York Giants (2000 - Pres)
Speaking of big games, this is a key one in the NFC as the Giants are trying to knock down a Wild Card spot while the Lions are trying to lock down the NFC North. The concern for me with Detroit is that quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been playing really well this season, is playing with an injured finger and that could affect his effectiveness. New York's defense has been looking strong and will be power them to victory.
Giants 23 Lions 21

Colts (6-7) vs. Vikings (7-6) - CBS, 1:00
Indianapolis Colts (2004 - Pres)Minnesota Vikings (1985 - 2005)
Last week's loss to the Texans at home was a tough one as it now puts the Colts in a tough position down the stretch in the divisional race. Now they get to go up to the Twin Cities and take on a Vikings team led by their strong defense. Virtually every one of their games are close affairs considering their offense isn't any good but I think the defense will be able to harass Andrew Luck all afternoon.
Vikings 16 Colts 13

Steelers (8-5) vs. Bengals (5-7-1) - CBS, 1:00
Pittsburgh Steelers (1969 - 2001)Cincinnati Bengals (1997 - Pres)
AFC North divisional contests are always fun to watch because the teams all hate each other and the games are always hard-fought. The Bengals really have nothing to play for other than to spoil Pittsburgh's playoff hopes so they'll make it interesting but ultimately, their run defense is not good enough to keep Le'Veon Bell at bay.
Steelers 23 Bengals 16

Saints (5-8) vs. Cardinals (5-7-1) - Fox, 4:05
New Orleans Saints (1967 - 1999)Phoenix Cardinals (1988 - 1993)
The playoff hopes for the Saints have completely slid down the drain as they have lost two in a row, and haven't played well in either. Now they have their second straight road contest, only this one is on the opposite side of the country from the previous and against one of the better defenses in the league. I like Arizona here.
Cardinals 26 Saints 20

49ers (1-12) vs. Falcons (8-5) - Fox, 4:05
San Francisco 49ers (1968 - 1995)Atlanta Falcons (1966 - 1989)
I'm not sold that the 49ers are going to win another game this season, after all they did just lose to a completely listless Jets team (albeit in overtime). Now they have to go across the country and play in a relatively tough road environment in the Georgia Dome against a very good offensive team. Atlanta is my Lock of the Week.
Falcons 35 49ers 14

Patriots (11-2) vs. Broncos (8-5) - CBS, 4:25
New England Patriots (2000 - Pres)Denver Broncos (1997 - Pres)
Denver is in a dogfight for a playoff spot but they have both slipped in the AFC West race and they have a tenuous hold on a Wild Card spot right now. Their defense continues to play well but their offense hasn't and that's why they have lost three of their last five. They host the Patriots whose quarterback, one Tom Brady, has been terrific of late and just torched a really good defense in that of the Ravens. Granted, that was also at home. I like the Broncos here but by a hair.
Broncos 23 Patriots 21

Raiders (10-3) vs. Chargers (5-8) - CBS, 4:25
Oakland Raiders (1995 - Pres)San Diego Chargers (2007 - Pres)
I think this could have been a prime upset opportunity in my opinion had the Chargers had been healthy but this team, seemingly outside of Philip Rivers, is hobbled and the loss of Melvin Gordon doesn't help matters. Oakland suffered a tough loss this past Thursday against the Chiefs but now after a longer off period, they should get back on the groove here.
Raiders 31 Chargers 24

Buccaneers (8-5) vs. Cowboys (11-2) - NBC, 8:30
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014 - Pres)Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)
Dak Prescott has been a revelation this season but his play has dipped off a little bit of late the last three games, going for less than 200 passing yards in each while he also three a couple of picks in the team's Sunday night loss to the Giants. They return home to take on a Tampa Bay team that has been playing well of late. The Buccaneers don't have the best of defenses and I think that will show in a loss in Arlington.
Cowboys 31 Buccaneers 28

Monday, December 19th
Panthers (5-8) vs. Washington (7-5-1) - ESPN, 8:30
Carolina Panthers (2012 - Pres)Washington Redskins (1965 - 1969)
As they have been struggled since the big home win over the Packers, Washington is now on the outside looking in in the NFC Wild Card race so they need to take care of business here against the Panthers. I ultimately think they will in Landover. Carolina did get off the schneid at home against the Chargers but they have struggled on the road this season and against good teams.
Washington 27 Panthers 21


  1. The Steelers and Bengals are in the AFC North, not South.

  2. Hi Ben
    There are a couple of potential LOTW, one of which is the Falcons destroying the 49ers but I shall choose Seattle putting the Rams to the sword for what occurred in Green Bay. I am not too concerned about Tannehill's absence for Miami because Moore has a better arm and this will help our rushing game and beat the Jets, as you also predict.

  3. I don't feel Stafford's finger will affect his throwing at all Lions will win yet another nailbiter