NFL Week 15 brought us slightly closer to the end of the NFL Regular Season. The most important game had the most exciting finish as the New England Patriots pulled off a 3-point win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. Check out a recap of that game as well as a recap of every other game in NFL Week 15.
2017 NFL Week 15 Recap
Thursday, Dec. 14
Denver Broncos -2.5 at Indianapolis Colts +2.5
Indianapolis held a 10 to 7 lead going into the second half of their game versus the Denver Broncos this past Thursday on Dec. 14. The Broncos came up huge in the third quarter. Denver outscored Indianapolis 15 to 3 on their way to a 25 to 13 win.
The star for the Broncos in this one? Former Houston starting QB Brock Osweiler. Osweiler ended up completing 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards. He threw 2 TD passes. Trevor Siemian had already thrown an interception before he got hurt.
Result: Broncos 25, Colts 13
Saturday, Dec. 16
Chicago Bears +5.5 at Detroit Lions -5.5
The Bears went into Detroit in good spirits. In Week 14, Chicago had beaten Cincinnati 33 to 7 in Cincinnati. Why not believe that they could hang with the Detroit Lions? Hang the Bears did, but it wasn’t enough for Chicago to challenge for the win.
The key in this game turned out to be Detroit’s defense. The Lions’ D picked off Bears’ rookie QB Mitch Trubisky 3 times. The Bears also committed 13 penalties. You can’t beat a quality NFL team on the road by turning it over 3 times and committing 13 penalties. Not going to happen.
Result: Lions 20, Bears 10
L.A. Chargers -2 at Kansas City Chiefs +2
Man, I was wrong about this game. The Chiefs ended up as a slight 1-point favorite. I thought the Bolts might dominate the Chiefs. The exact opposite happened. The doesn’t tell the whole story.
There was actually a moment in this game where the Chargers had a 13 to 10 lead. KC’s defense kept the Chargers from scoring another single point. KC’s offense went crazy. Alex Smith returned to his efficient ways under center while rookie RB Kareem Hunt rediscovered his mojo.
Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a TD. Are the Chiefs back? I think so.
Result: Chiefs 30, Chargers 13
Sunday, Dec. 17
Houston Texans +11.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars -11.5
Most NFL fans saw this one coming a mile away. The Jaguars are just too talented for the Houston Texans. Once again, Jacksonville’s defense dominated. T.J. Yates, Houston’s third string QB, completed 12 of 31 for 128 yards, a TD, and an interception. The Texans rushed for 87 total yards from 21 carries.
But as well as the Jags’ D played, that’s not what impressed me most about the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15. QB Blake Bortles completed 21 of 29 passes for 326 yards. He threw 3 TD passes. Bortles has been hot.
If the Jags have a passing attack, they can win the Super Bowl.
Result: Jaguars 45, Texans 7
Baltimore Ravens -7 at Cleveland Browns +7
For a moment, it appeared the Browns, again, might be on the doorstep to a win. Cleveland had a 10 to 3 lead in the second quarter. Then, the Browns, again, figured out that they were the Cleveland Browns. What happened? Baltimore scored 14 points in the second quarter.
After the Ravens scored 10 points in the third quarter, it was all over. Baltimore beat Cleveland 27 to 10. The Browns have only two more shots to garner a win this season.
Result: Ravens 27, Browns 10
Green Bay Packers +3 at Carolina Panthers -3
The Packers got within 7 points because of Aaron Rodgers. Sure, Aaron threw 3 interceptions in this game. Let’s be honest, though. The Panthers were going to put up points against the Packers’ D no matter what Rodgers did. Aaron knew that as well. That’s why he started pushing ala Brett Favre.
Because Green Bay isn’t likely to make the playoffs, the stats involving the Panthers in this game are much more important. Carolina’s defense once again allowed a team to score over 20 points against it. That’s a straight month where opponents have scored 20 points or more against Carolina’s D.
Result: Panthers 31, Packers 24
Miami Dolphins +3.5 at Buffalo Bills -3.5
Buffalo reverted back to their early season form in this game. The Bills rushed for 116 total yards from 30 carries. QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 224 yards and a TD. Buffalo scored 24 points.
The Dolphins scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to get within 8. It just wasn’t enough. Miami QB Jay Cutler threw 3 interceptions. Without the interceptions, Miami might have stayed much closer in this game. One thing to note about the Dolphins is that RB Kenyan Drake rushed for 78 yards and a TD.
At least the Fins have found their starting running back this season even if the season was over before it began.
Result: Bills 24, Dolphins 16
Cincinnati Bengals +11 at Minnesota Vikings -11
I had faith that Cincinnati might play well. Yeah. I was wrong. Minnesota dominated from the outset. The big takeaway for me in this game is that Case Keenum has become Troy Aikman. The former Dallas Cowboys hall of fame QB never posted huge stats. All he did was lead the Boys to win after win after win.
That’s Keenum. In Week 15, he completed 20 of 23 passes for 236 yards. He threw 2 TD passes. If Minnesota does make it to the Super Bowl this season it will be because Keenum continues to flourish under center.
Result: Vikings 34, Bengals 7
New York Jets +16 at New Orleans Saints -16
We all knew giving up 16 points to an okay NFL opponent like the New York Jets was ridiculous. Just because Josh McCown wasn’t playing it didn’t mean that the Jets were doomed. I still picked the Saints at -16. Why? Because I wasn’t thinking even though I felt that QB Bryce Petty had a good chance of showing up. Petty did show up…in spots. He ended up throwing 2 picks.
The Saints scoring 31 points in this game illustrates why New Orleans should be tough to handle in the playoffs. The Saints had less than 90 rushing yards before Mark Ingram scampered for a 50-yard TD late in the fourth quarter.
How did the Saints build the lead over the Jets? QB Drew Brees threw for 281 yards and 2 TDs. It’s pick your poison with New Orleans.
Result: Saints 31, Jets 19
Philadelphia Eagles -8 at New York Giants +8
Before we all start going crazy over the fact that Philly back-up QB Nick Foles threw 4 TD passes against the New York Giants, let’s take a deep breath. Yes, Foles looked great in this game. However, the Eagles’ D allowed Eli Manning to complete 37 of 57 for 434 yards and 3 TDs.
What it means is that the Giants abandoned the rush early in this game and Manning still went nuts. That’s just not a great sign for the Eagles heading to the playoffs.
Result: Eagles 34, Giants 29
Arizona Cardinals +4.5 at Washington Redskins -4.5
Washington beat Arizona by 5 points. They scored 20 points to Arizona’s 15 in a game that only meant something to sports bettors and fantasy football owners. Washington should have already started contemplating their 2018 quarterback situation.
Result: Redskins 20, Cardinals 15
L.A. Rams +1.5 at Seattle Seahawks -1.5
Did anyone see this coming? I know the Seattle Seahawks didn’t. The Rams rushed for 244 yards. Todd Gurley II rushed for 152 yards. He scored 3 rushing TDs. That’s not even the real story of this game.
The real story is that the Rams’ defense only allowed Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson to throw for 142 yards and a TD. Wilson rushed for 39 yards. Like Jacksonville’s offense, if the Rams have a defense, they could (yes, I’m writing this with a straight face) win Super Bowl 52.
Result: Rams 42, Seahawks 7
New England Patriots -3 at Pittsburgh Steelers +3
The most important game in NFL Week 15 turned out to be the most exciting. Pittsburgh appeared to have won the game after TE Jesse James caught a pass from Ben Roethlisberger and fell into the end zone. Upon further review, the ball touched the ground before James had complete control over it.
Then, Pitt decided to try and throw a slant to Eli Rogers. The Patriots intercepted the pass to beat the Steelers 27 to 24. Roethlisberger could have kneeled down instead of forcing the pass to Rogers. If he had done that, there’s a better than 95% chance that Pitt scores 3 points to tie the game.
Result: Patriots 27, Steelers 24
Tennessee Titans +2 at San Francisco 49’ers -2
The Tennessee Titans continued their slide. Tennessee lost straight up to San Francisco. That made it 2 losses in a row. The Titans next 2 games are against the Rams, who must continue winning, and Jacksonville, who also must continue to win. There’s a chance Tennessee finishes at 8 and 8 after going to 8 and 4 only 3 weeks ago.
The San Francisco 49’ers have now won 3 games in a row.
Result: 49’ers 25, Titans 23
Dallas Cowboys -3 at Oakland Raiders +3
Oakland had Dallas on the ropes in this one. With less than 4 minutes left, the Raiders were driving for a go ahead TD. But, then, QB Derek Carr extended the football in hopes of getting it past the pylon. Carr ended up fumbling the football out of the end zone.
Dallas got the ball back. They ran out the clock for the win.
Result: Cowboys 20, Raiders 17
Monday, Dec. 18
Atlanta Falcons -6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6
The Atlanta Falcons managed to keep their playoff hopes alive by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 to 21 this past Monday night. The road to the post-season only gets harder for the Falcons from here. Atlanta must play the Saints in Week 16. Then, they must play Carolina in Week 17.
Result: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 21