2017 NFL Week 15 Preview

 

NFL Week 15 promises to be the most important yet. There are so many questions to be answered this week in the professional football league. Can the Philadelphia Eagles survive without QB Carson Wentz? Which team is the best in the AFC West? The L.A. Chargers or the Kansas City Chiefs? Can Dallas continue to challenge for a wildcard playoff berth? Will the Seattle Seahawks bounce back from their terrible Week 14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Keep reading for preview and picks for every game in NFL Week 15!

2017 NFL Week 15 Preview

Thursday, Dec. 14

Denver Broncos -2.5 at Indianapolis Colts +2.5

The Broncos dominated the New York Jets in Week 14. The key for Denver is to not turn the ball over. When Denver’s offense doesn’t have any turnovers, the Broncos defense is plenty good enough to stop most offenses in the NFL.

One of the offenses that Denver’s defense should have no trouble taking apart is the Indianapolis Colts’ offense. The Broncos figure to garner at least 2 turnovers. My guess, is that Denver QB Trevor Siemian plays under control. I think the Broncos roll to an easy win.

Best Pick: Broncos -2.5 

Saturday, Dec. 16

Chicago Bears +5.5 at Detroit Lions -5.5

The Chicago Bears looked fantastic when dominating the Cincinnati Bengals 33 to 7 in Week 14. Detroit has the slight upper hand due to the fact that QB Matthew Stafford has completed over 80% of his passes in the last couple of weeks.

Stafford should have a tougher time completing passes against Chicago’s defense, which played great when holding the Andy Dalton to A.J. Green combo in check this past Sunday. This game could go either way. I must take the points because the Bears looked so formidable in Week 14.

Pick: Bears +5.5

L.A. Chargers -2 at Kansas City Chiefs +2

This is the best of my best picks in Week 15. I’m not sold on Kansas City having turned things around. Just because the Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders 26 to 15, it doesn’t mean that KC is a mirror image of the team that started out the season winning 5 straight.

KC is most definitely not that team. You know what impresses me? Winning 7 of 9 and having your QB record 4 straight 100+ QB ratings. That’s what impresses me.

The Bolts should have no trouble covering a -2 spread on Sunday.

Best Pick: Chargers -2

Sunday, Dec. 17

Houston Texans +11.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars -11.5

The Houston Texans are likely to bench back-up QB Tom Savage. Savage suffered an apparent concussion in Week 14. Even with Savage, it would have been difficult to see the Texans score more than 16 points versus Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have scored 30 points in their last 2 games. Scoring 30 against Indianapolis doesn’t mean much. Scoring 30 against the Seattle Seahawks, like what the Jags did in Week 14, means a ton.

Pick: Jaguars -11.5

Baltimore Ravens -7 at Cleveland Browns +7

Cleveland blew their chance to win a game this season. The Browns had Green Bay on the ropes. What more can you ask for if your the Cleveland Browns then to have a 14 points lead going into the fourth quarter? What happened? The Packers tied the game in regulation. Then, the Browns gave up a TD to Green Bay in overtime.

I don’t believe the Browns have any shot of keeping it close versus the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15. The Ravens were a couple of points away from upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road this past Sunday night. I’m siding with Baltimore.

Best Pick: Ravens -7

Green Bay Packers +3 at Carolina Panthers -3

72% of NFL handicappers are willing to lay the points in this game. In some sportsbooks, the line has gone all the way up to Green Bay +6. The key for the Packers is whether or not QB Aaron Rodgers plays. If Rodgers plays, he should have no trouble beating up a Carolina defense that made Drew Brees look great a couple of weeks ago.

If Rodgers doesn’t play, the Panthers could blow out the Packers on Sunday. I’ll go with Rodgers not playing.

Pick: Panthers -3

Miami Dolphins Off at Buffalo Bills Off

The betting line is off because Vegas odds makers aren’t sure if Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor plays. Whether Taylor plays or not won’t effect my thinking about this game. The Miami Dolphins looked exceptional versus the New England Patriots in Week 14.

The key for Miami’s amazing win? RB Kenyan Drake. Drake rushed for 114 yards from 25 carries. He’s become the Fins’ top running back. Drake’s performance versus the Pats wouldn’t be that important if not for the fact that Buffalo is terrible at stopping the rush.

Drake could have a monster game. If he does, it won’t matter what the point spread is. The Dolphins will cover.

Pick: Dolphins

Cincinnati Bengals +11 at Minnesota Vikings -11

Minnesota is good enough to beat Cincinnati by 11 points. I’m not sure it’s wise to give up that many points, though. Yes, the Chicago Bears dominated the Bengals’ defense. That was a home loss that Cincinnati suffered, though.

I’m not saying Minnesota doesn’t win. It’s just difficult to lay that many points against a veteran NFL team with a decent QB and one of the top wide receivers in the league. Also, the Vikings defense is great at stopping the rush. It’s not so great at stopping the pass.

Pick: Bengals +11

New York Jets +16 at New Orleans Saints -16

Like Minnesota versus the Bengals, there’s no reason to believe the Saints can’t cover a -16 spread against the New York Jets. The difference is that the Bengals have WR A.J. Green on their team. The Jets have nobody close to A.J. It’s difficult for me to lay this many points. However, that’s what I’m going to do.

The Saints’ offense should rock and sock the Jets even if RB Alvin Kamara doesn’t pass the concussion protocol.

Pick: Saints -16

Philadelphia Eagles -8 at New York Giants +8

There are plenty of NFL analysts who believe the Eagles still have a shot at the Super Bowl even though QB Carson Wentz is out for the rest of the season. I’m not one of them. The Eagles defense was horrible versus the Rams offense in Week 14. The Rams, in many ways, lost the game. Philly didn’t win it.

The Giants looked better against Dallas until they melted down and gave up 20 points in the fourth quarter. If the Giants can play a complete game, they might win this straight up. Here’s another Week 15 game where I must take the points.

Pick: Giants +8

Arizona Cardinals +4.5 at Washington Redskins -4.5

Washington has the look of a quitter. It makes some sense. Washington isn’t going to resign QB Kirk Cousins. They’ve got 8 losses. What’s the point of even trying to win games?

Arizona can’t quit. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians won’t allow his team to quit. The Cardinals are much better suited to win this game straight up than Washington is of covering the spread. I’ll take the points just in case, but Washington should drop its third straight on Dec. 17.

Pick: Cardinals +4.5

L.A. Rams +1.5 at Seattle Seahawks -1.5

The Rams can bounce back from their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 by taking down the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Week 15. The problem the Rams are going to have is that Seattle lost to Jacksonville last week.

Of the two NFC West rivals, I much prefer Seattle to bounce back from a loss than the L.A. Rams to bounce back from a loss. Seattle should pick it up big time in front of their fans. They’re the pick.

Pick: Seahawks -1.5

New England Patriots -3 at Pittsburgh Steelers +3

New England is supposed to bounce back from bad losses. It doesn’t get any worse for the Patriots losing 20 to 27 to the Miami Dolphins. The thing about it is that New England just didn’t look good.

The Patriots must now contend with a Pittsburgh offense that can pretty much do whatever it wants. The Steelers have a great rushing attack. Big Ben has settled down. Antonio Brown still plays wide receiver for the Steelers.

I think Pitt is a best pick. Go for the moneyline if you feel daring. Pitt should beat New England straight up in Week 15.

Best Pick: Steelers +3

Tennessee Titans +2 at San Francisco 49’ers -2

Tennessee is a mess of a team. Before Week 14, the Titans were one of the worst 8 and 4 teams of all time. After losing straight up to Arizona, Tennessee is now one of the worst 8 and 5 teams of all time. San Francisco has won 2 in a row. I don’t see why they can’t make it 3 in a row.

Pick: 49’ers -2

Dallas Cowboys -3 at Oakland Raiders +3

The Dallas Cowboys needed 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Giants 30 to 10. The Boys shouldn’t need 20 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Oakland Raiders 30 to 10. Oakland is pretty much out of the running for a playoff spot.  The Raiders haven’t battled with any urgency yet this season. Why would they start doing so with only 3 weeks left in the season?

Dallas has a shot at a wildcard berth. I think the Cowboys roll over the Raiders this Sunday.

Best Pick: Cowboys -3

Monday, Dec. 18

Atlanta Falcons -6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6

The Atlanta Falcons head to Tampa Bay with big hopes of maintaining their 1 game lead over Detroit, Green Bay, and Dallas for a wildcard berth. Tampa Bay would like nothing more than to end Atlanta’s chances of making it to the postseason.

Over 70% of handicappers are so far laying the odds. I’m not one of them. I think Tampa Bay has a good chance of beating Atlanta straight up in this. I’m taking the points.

Pick: Buccaneers +6