clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

An Idiot's Guide to Week 15 in the NFL

I recovered nicely last week, going 11-5. It leaves me at 104-90 for the year, and gives me a little breathing room with three weeks left in the regular season. This week features a pretty decent mix of games, making for fun picks.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Note: All times Eastern.

Ten Random Thoughts

BroncosSteelers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Score: 34-24, Steelers

It's not often a 10-3 team goes on the road against an 8-5 team and finds themselves as 6.5-point underdogs. But fortunes have shifted for each of these teams. The Broncos are beginning to show holes in their armor, and will face the NFL's fifth-best pass rush with an inexperienced quarterback who has been sacked 17 times in 18 quarters. The Steelers, meanwhile, have scored 30 or more points in five straight games and are as healthy as they've been all season on offense -- assuming you don't count the players who are already on injured reserve, of course. Anyway, if Pittsburgh can get out of this game with a win, they finish up with two division road games against teams with a combined six wins. Winning out guarantees a playoff spot for the Steelers, so you know they will be bringing their best from here on out. t would also mean they went 7-1 in the second half of the season, which would be good for the second-best record during that stretch, at worst, depending on how the Chiefs finish. That would be a remarkable achievement for a team that lost its quarterback for all or part of seven different games, and which has its star running back, starting left tackle and All-Pro center shut down for the season.

Jets @ Cowboys (Saturday, 8:25 p.m.)

Score: 23-10, Jets

Sadly, both of these teams still mathematically alive for the playoffs, despite the Cowboys being guaranteed of a losing season. They need more help to secure a wild card berth than Sisyphus needed to get that dadgum boulder to stop rolling. The metaphor is pretty apt, too, given the character's personality is a pretty close match to the Cowboys' narcissistic owner, Jerry Jones.

Chiefs @ Ravens (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 27-13, Chiefs

For all intents and purposes, this game is a scrimmage for the Chiefs. In Baltimore's case, they just signed Ryan Mallett. That one fact alone should speak volumes as to the dire straits in which the Ravens currently find themselves.

Texans @ Colts (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 17-13, Colts

Brian Hoyer versus Andrew Luck may not have sounded like a marquee matchup at the beginning of the season, but how about T.J. Yates versus Charlie Whitehurst? That'll sure put butts in seats. In fairness, Matt Hasselbeck is currently expected to start for the Colts, but after being injured in two straight games, that may not last long. My advice? Brace yourself for a game featuring Yates and Clipboard Jesus.

Panthers @ Giants (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 27-17, Panthers

Part of me wants to think this is going to be a good game. And it very well may be, until the 58:45 mark. Given how well the Panthers are playing, and how likely it is the Giants will blow any lead they may have inside the last 75 seconds of a game, I's say the Giants will hit that point in the game with a three-point lead, and ultimately lose by 20.

Bills @ Redskins (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 20-17, Redskins

On paper, the Bills are the far better team. But Kirk Cousins is on fire over the last five games, it's in Washington, and the Bills get more penalties than Marines get girls. What should be a decent game that ultimately ends with the Bills winning by about a touchdown will likely end up being far closer, and much more in doubt, until the final seconds tick away.

Packers @ Raiders (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Score: 24-20, Packers

Neither of these teams is playing nearly as well as they were around week five of the 2015 season. Neither of these teams looks particularly good at this point in the season. But only one of these teams has Aaron Rodgers.

Dolphins @ Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Score: 19-10, Dolphins

Kill it. Kill it with fire. Or take me out. One or the other, just so I need not be subjected to this farce masquerading as a professional football game.

Bengals @ 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m.)

Score: 27-13, Bengals

Steelers fans are clinging to a sliver of hope that the Bengals, now bereft of their starting quarterback, will falter down the stretch and lose four straight games, while the Steelers go 7-1 in the second half of the season and come from behind to take the AFC North crown. Given how backup quarterback A.J. McCarron played last week, that may be wishful thinking -- but there is one thing playing against the Bengals: history. No quarterback who played for the University of Alabama has won an NFL game since 1987. That's 28 years of futility, for anyone counting. Is it likely to continue? No. But I am a fan of history.

Lions @ Saints (Monday, 8:30 p.m.)

Score: 23-20, Saints

At least, a potentially competitive Monday-night matchup. I didn't say good, just competitive. These two teams are both equally good and equally bad this year -- capable of blowing a team out, and being blown out themselves, and flip-flopping from one week to the next. Here's to hoping the same side of each of these shape-shifting creatures shows up Monday night, so the game will at least be remotely entertaining.

All the Rest

Buccaneers @ Rams (Thursday, 8:25 p.m.)

Score: 27-12, Buccaneers

Falcons @ Jaguars (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 33-14, Jaguars

Bears @ Vikings (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 21-20, Vikings

Titans @ Patriots (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

Score: 34-16, Patriots

Browns @ Seahawks (Sunday, 4:05 p.m.)

Score: 31-13, Seahawks

Cardinals @ Eagles (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

Score: 27-24, CardinalsT