Week 15 NFL Picks: Colts Trying to Stun Texans, Steelers Fading

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

I cracked the 10-win mark last week, improving my record to 120-87 on the season. I have three more weeks to get it together, but I already have one more loss than I had all of last season. Ouch. Let's see how things go in Week 15.

Week 15 Games Explanation Pick
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Not Bungling it This Time: The Bengals and Eagles headed in opposite directions last week, but in the long term, I don't see Philadelphia being able to avoid their lack of motivation, which leads to too many big mistakes (wide open plays, turnovers, etc). Against A.J. Green and company, that will be disastrous. Bengals 20, Eagles 17

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Just Shy of the Division: Can the Colts do it? They control their own destiny when it comes to possibly winning the division, and the Texans are coming off of a humbling loss to the Patriots. Is it wrong that my confidence has waned a bit on the Texans due to getting outclassed by some of the league's better teams? The Colts have been deemed lucky by some, but that's part of the game. I think Houston locks up the division this week as they get back to the ground game. Texans 24, Colts 17

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Offensive Coordinator Wasn't the Problem: No one can stop the Broncos right now. They are clicking on offense, defense, and special teams. This is an intriguing matchup because they are facing a top seed from a division, but Baltimore is starting to turn into the mess I thought they would be. The Broncos will continue to roll and humilate the Ravens on the way. Broncos 31, Ravens 16

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'Phinal' Playoff Push: After a couple of hot weeks, the Chad Henne buzz is wearing off a bit, although he still isn't doing too bad. The buzz surrounding the Dolphins has died a bit too, although they can still make a run at things if they win out. They won't, but they'll get a win this week. Dolphins 23, Jaguars 17

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Headline: This is a very compelling matchup. The Rams have surprised me by getting back into the playoff race with wins over the 49ers and Bills, while the Vikings have risen from the dead via the legs of Adrian Peterson. The problem comes in trying to find the offensive playmaker for the Rams. While the Vikings don't have multiple weapons, they do have Adrian Peterson. Vikings 17, Rams 14

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Nothing to Fight For: I was wrong about the Saints, because I thought after their quarter-season surge that they'd end up making the playoffs. Drew Brees gets to feast on a poor pass defense this week, but I'm sure the Buccaneers are thinking the same thing about the Saints' defense. Tampa Bay has really had trouble closing games lately, which is uncharacteristic compared to the early games of Josh Freeman's career. Saints 34, Buccaneers 27

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Exposing for Two Straight Games: While the Giants outclassed the Saints last week, the Falcons were busy getting it handed to them by the Panthers. Atlanta's run defense has to be a big concern, and it's the reason I'd still label them as postseason pretenders at this point. The Giants will hand the Falcons their first home loss of the season. Giants 28, Falcons 24

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For All the Marbles: For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff game for the Bears. Chicago has lost four of their past five games, and they've already fallen to the Packers once this year. Losing this week would remove any chance of them winning the division. Winning, however, puts them in a tie (but still behind) record-wise with two games to go. Chicago's defense hasn't been creating the turnovers they were earlier this season, and the Packers are getting their defenders back. Packers 28, Bears 14

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Toronto-Bound Advantage: The Seahawks should be a much better road team than they are. Fortunately for Seattle, Buffalo doesn't have home-field advantage this week since the game will be played in Toronto. The Seahawks will have Richard Sherman this week, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing if he has to serve a suspension into the playoffs. Seahawks 24, Bills 20

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Non-Contenders on Top: The Panthers and the Chargers arguably played their finest games of the season in Week 14, but it's too little, too late. The Chargers are technically still alive in the wildcard race and they've had some nice runs to close out seasons, so I'll take them to get it done at home this week. Chargers 20, Panthers 17

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At Least They Can't Rally This Time: I wasn't confident in the Cardinals before, but now there's no way I'm picking them after how pathetic they were in a 58-0 loss to the Seahawks last week. That has to be the worst loss in my lifetime. Detroit's offense has been clicking, but they have blown lead after lead. Fortunately, they're facing a team that can't rally this week. Lions 21, Cardinals 13

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"With the First Pick...": If it weren't for fantasy football (and specifically, Jamaal Charles), this game would be irrelevant to the majority of the football world. Actually, considering the fact that it could determine who gets the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft, I guess you could say it's one of the most relevant games for 2013. I think the Chiefs will pull a slight upset here. Chiefs 21, Raiders 20

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The Fall of the Steelers Continues: If Cleveland is able to beat Washington this week, Browns fans will be huge supporters of the Cowboys for the second week in a row. Dallas seems to have found their rallying mojo over the past several games, and the Steelers are a complete mess despite getting players like Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu back. Cowboys 28, Steelers 23

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Game of the Week: We've seen some combinations of elite teams square off this year, only to see the outcome be a lopsided victory. That won't be the case this time around. As much as I think Alex Smith got the shaft, I'd love to see how Colin Kapernick does against the Patriots' defense. When push comes to shove, I have to go with New England -- they're scoring an outrageous number of points per game and have the home field edge. Patriots 34, 49ers 24

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Intriguing Prime Time Affair: When you just look at their records, this sounds like a terrible Monday Night Football matchup. I'm actually intrigued about this game for two reasons, though. First, I believe this will be the first time I've seen the Titans (and Jake Locker) for a full game all season, which is always a plus. Second, the Jets are still very much alive in the postseason race, despite always being in turmoil. For the outcome, I'll go with the Titans -- who almost beat the Colts last week -- to get it done against a less competent team. Titans 27, Jets 17

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Griffin or Cousins? The dynamic of this game changes completely depending on whether Robert Griffin III plays or not. Unfortunately, I feel like we're going to be playing a guessing game until game time. I'll have my full scouting report of the Redskins posted on Friday, followed by my game prediction on Saturday.

TBD



Survivor Pick:
I am 10-4 in survivor, riding a seven-game winning streak after the Seahawks beat the Cardinals last week (close game, eh?). The teams I've used are GB, HOU, PIT, NO, DEN, NYJ, and SEA. This week, I'll go with the Dolphins over the Jaguars.

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