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PFT’s Week 15 picks

Dolphins AP

Last week was a good week.  But not as good as it could have been.

With a 14-1 mark through Sunday’s games and a 3-0 record in the disagreements with MDS, a Cowboys win would mean a 15-1 week, a four-game sweep of MDS, and a six-game deficit with three weeks to go.

But the team that once went 15-1 for a full season thumped the Cowboys, and the gap was only narrowed by two games.

Through 14 weeks, MDS now has an eight-game lead.

For the week, I was 14-2 and he was 12-4.  For the year, he’s 138-70.  I’m 130-78.

This week, we differ once again on four games.  All of our prognostications appear below.

Chargers at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Chargers can put a lot of points on the board, but Peyton Manning will carve up a weak San Diego defense, and the Chargers won’t be able to keep up. Denver takes another step toward home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 38, Chargers 28.

Florio’s take:  The sun won’t be shining on a night when critics will have another chance to stick the narrative that Peyton Manning struggles in the cold where the sun doesn’t shine.  A week after thrashing Eli Manning’s team, Philip Rivers and company will be reminded that Peyton’s squad currently is a lot better.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 42, Chargers 24.

Redskins at Falcons

MDS’s take: This terrible game is interesting to draft watchers and to friends and family of Kirk Cousins, but not to anyone else. Atlanta is bad, but they haven’t totally quit on their season like Washington has, so I’ll go with the Falcons.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 27, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  A pair of 2012 playoff teams currently are jockeying for the first pick in the draft.  The Rams, who hold Washington’s first-round selection, are rooting for their old NFC West rivals to wake up and take down Kirk Cousins and company.  If anyone actually shows up at the Georgia Dome, they may be pleased with the results.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Redskins 13.

Bears at Browns

MDS’s take: Jason Campbell and Josh Gordon can put up some points against this Bears defense, but I expect Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, and Brandon Marshall to put up more points against Cleveland’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Bears 24, Browns 21.

Florio’s take:  Two of the best young wideouts in the NFL meet in Cleveland.  Josh Gordon will once again have a big game in a loss.  Alshon Jeffery will once again have a big game in a win.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 24, Browns 20.

Texans at Colts

MDS’s take: Injuries are killing the Colts, and I think they’re going to be one-and-done in the playoffs. But they’re still better than the Texans, who are marching toward the first overall pick in the draft.

MDS’s pick: Colts 27, Texans 20.

Florio’s take:  If it wasn’t for teams that currently are in Houston or that used to be in Houston, the Colts would be winless since beating the quarterback who used to be in Indy.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 28, Texans 17.

Bills at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Credit the Jaguars for the way they’re continuing to play hard after a lot of teams would have quit, but I think it comes to an end on Sunday, when EJ Manuel will thrive on the scaled-back offense that the Bills’ coaches are giving him.

MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Jaguars 24.

Florio’s take:  For the second straight week, the Bills visit a team that started the season 0-8.  For the second straight week, the Bills will fall victim to that team’s stunning turnaround.

Florio’s pick:  Jaguars 24, Bills 10.

Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: In one of this week’s few games matching up two teams with realistic playoff hopes, the Patriots will remind the Dolphins who owns the AFC East.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take:  A couple of teams in the AFC East get together in a game that profoundly impacts a couple of teams in the AFC North.  The Dolphins will continue an unlikely run to January, which is bad news for the Ravens — but good news for the Bengals, who are trying to catch New England for the No. 2 seed in the conference.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 28, Patriots 27.

Eagles at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Eagles are rolling right now, and although the Vikings have been playing competitive football, they don’t have the personnel on defense to stop Philadelphia’s offense. This should be an easy win for the Eagles.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Vikings 14.

Florio’s take:  The three-win Vikings have three opportunities to play spoiler.  Spoiling the next-to-last game at the Metrodome will be an Eagles team that has won five in a row and is 5-1 on the road.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Vikings 20.

Seahawks at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants’ defense couldn’t stop the Chargers last week and they won’t be able to stop the Seahawks this week. Throw in a couple of Eli Manning interceptions against a great Seahawks defense, and this game won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 35, Giants 14.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks make their first of two visits to MetLife Stadium.  Next time, they’ll be playing an AFC team there.  And it won’t be the Jets.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 40, Giants 21.

Saints at Rams

MDS’s take: The Saints bounced back nicely from their blowout loss to the Seahawks by blowing out the Panthers. New Orleans will win another blowout on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Saints 34, Rams 16.

Florio’s take:  Taking the Saints out of the Superdome increases the chances of beating them.  Putting them in a different dome against a so-so team decreases the chances of beating them.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 30, Rams 20.

49ers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Give Greg Schiano a lot of credit for the way he got his team to turn things around late in the season, but Mike Glennon is going to struggle against a tough 49ers defense, and San Francisco will win.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  What once appeared to be a cakewalk for the Niners becomes a tougher task.  Tough enough for the Niners to stumble.  If Jim Harbaugh thought last week’s win over the Seahawks was a three-and-a-half-hour root canal, he’ll think this week’s game is a three-and-a-half-hour encounter at the bottom of the pile with Steelers center Cody Wallace.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 17, 49ers 16.

Cardinals at Titans

MDS’s take: Arizona’s defense will miss injured cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, but the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Titans offense still won’t be able to do much of anything. The Cardinals will win and keep their playoff hopes alive, although they look like they’re going to be the best team to miss the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals make only their second trip ever to Tennessee, where they lost in 2009.  This time, they get the job done.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 24, Titans 21.

Jets at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Jets’ offense had a surprisingly effective game last week against the Raiders, but the Panthers are not the Raiders. This will be a blowout.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 34, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  The advice given by Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to his twin brother Rex  regarding beating the Panthers consisted of this:  Get a time machine, go back to 2006, and sign Drew Brees.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Jets 17.

Chiefs at Raiders

MDS’s take: Give Kansas City credit for consistency.  The Chiefs have been destroying bad teams all season long. They’ll do it again on on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 36, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs are locked in to the No. 5 seed.  The Raiders are locked in to irrelevance.  Advantage playoff team.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Raiders 20.

Packers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Packers are pessimistic about Aaron Rodgers‘ chances, and that makes me pessimistic about the Packers’ chances. Although the Cowboys’ defense is bad enough that a Matt Flynn-led Packers offense can score some points on them, the Packers’ defense is every bit as bad, and a Tony Romo-led Cowboys offense will score more.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 31, Packers 28.

Florio’s take:  Jerry Jones said there’s no one he’d rather have running his defense than Monte Kiffin.  Maybe Jones meant to say he’d rather have no one running his defense than Kiffin.  Anyone could coordinate the Cowboys defense to hold down the Packers, if they again don’t have Aaron Rodgers.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Packers 14.

Bengals at Steelers

MDS’s take: If Antonio Brown had kept his foot inbounds on the Steelers’ wild last play on Sunday, Pittsburgh would be right in the thick of the playoff race and this would be a very big game. Instead, the Steelers are all but eliminated, and the Bengals should cruise toward the AFC North title.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals roll back into Pittsburgh with the better team and better prospects for the balance of the season and beyond.  The bigger question is whether Cincy can finally win in the postseason.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 17, Steelers 14.

Ravens at Lions

MDS’s take: The NFC North is wide open for the Lions, and yet the Lions aren’t playing like a team that wants to take it, with losses in three of their last four games even though they had fourth-quarter leads in all three. And yet I believe the Lions are going to show up on Monday night and make a statement against a Ravens team that is also fighting for a playoff spot.

MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Ravens 21.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens know how to get the playoffs.  The Lions know how to not get to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 30, Lions 27.

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39 Responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks”
  1. zam0854 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:34 AM

    Bengals need to make a statement in this game that says,”this is our division for the next decade”

    These are some dark times for Steelers fans, dark times.

  2. zam0854 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:36 AM

    AND

    Megatron may go ‘Josh Gordon’ on the Ravens this weekend.

    Lions win BIG

  3. southpaw2k says: Dec 12, 2013 10:36 AM

    Once again, I am caught in a classic “head vs. heart” dilemma for the Ravens game this weekend. Florio was exactly right – the Ravens know how to turn it up to make a playoff run, while the Lions know how to shoot themselves in the foot. I still remember the last game of the 2000 season, when all the Lions had to do was beat the Bears, and they were in the playoffs. Naturally, they lost.

    Heart: Ravens 27, Lions 20

    Head: Lions 30, Ravens 21

  4. sonoco says: Dec 12, 2013 10:37 AM

    And Florio picks against the 49ers again . . . shocked . . . not

  5. steelersaregodsteam says: Dec 12, 2013 10:40 AM

    Week in and out we have to prove the haters wrong. As an extension of God, we will make the playoffs this year at 8-8. From there, well, history shows what will happen. 7 rings. Oh, let the jealousy pour. We paddle in the ocean of your tears. Steelelujah!

  6. heyguru1969 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:44 AM

    So in other words, MDS extends his lead by another 4 picks. Mike, you’ll look at these picks again in another 24 hours and have a what-was-I-thinking moment. Have a beer or three.

  7. ratsfoiledagain says: Dec 12, 2013 10:53 AM

    Florio has been writing some kind words for the Seahawks as of late.

    Is this the kiss of death for them?

    I remember him lambasting Seattle on a continual bases not too long ago.

    Wonder what’s changed.

  8. beardinals says: Dec 12, 2013 10:53 AM

    “Florio’s take: The Ravens know how to get the playoffs. The Lions know how to not get to the playoffs.”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

  9. ddeblois4949 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:55 AM

    Yeah right, Florio… Tampa Bay is tougher than Seattle!!!

  10. bsreed says: Dec 12, 2013 10:56 AM

    So the 49ers, who just beat the best team in the league, are going to lose to the Bucs, a terrible team playing OK latley?

    Right (not a 49ers fan).

  11. citizenstrange says: Dec 12, 2013 11:01 AM

    This week’s home game against the Bengals will be the Steeler’s “Super Bowl.” But just like last week’s home “playoff game” against the Dolphins the Steelers will lose.

    The last time the Steelers won a playoff game was after the 2010 season, January 23rd, 2011. They beat the Jets 24-19. They would have lost 17-19 if not for William Gay’s fumble recovery touchdown.

    The elite Big Ben Roethlisberger was 10 of 19 for 133 yards with ZERO touchdowns and TWO interceptions and a quarterback rating of 35.5. That’s the performance that got him into the Super Bowl. Seriously.

    On the other hand the much maligned Mark Sanchez was 20 of 33 for 233 with TWO touchdowns and ZERO interceptions and a quarterback rating of 102.2.

    When the Steeler defense doesn’t carry Roethlisberger on its back and drag him across the finish line the Steelers don’t win. That is just how good Big Ben is.

    This will be three years in a row without a playoff win for the Steelers — starting with getting Tebowed — and there are none in the foreseeable future.

    Not as long as Bottom Third Ben (through 2015) and Twelfth Man Tomlin (through 2016) are with the team.

  12. 23rdusernameused says: Dec 12, 2013 11:07 AM

    Matt Elam will eat his words and Calvin will have 2 or more TD’s! Lions win easily!

  13. thedoubleentandres says: Dec 12, 2013 11:14 AM

    As a Broncos fan I gotta say Im kinda nervous bout this Chargers game….had the same feeling jus before the Colts game

  14. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 12, 2013 11:22 AM

    Are these picks made in secret by both parties based on who each person really thinks will win, or is there only an objective to win the head’s up game?

  15. johnelwayishorsefaced says: Dec 12, 2013 11:32 AM

    These guys get their picks right about half the time so I wouldn’t lose much sleep over it if they’re picking your team to lose

  16. shlort says: Dec 12, 2013 11:38 AM

    Might want to change that Packers – Cowboys pick. Rodgers is taking first team reps this week, which would lead a person to think the Packers assume he will be medically cleared to play this week. Just a thought.

  17. weepingjebus says: Dec 12, 2013 11:38 AM

    The only reason either the Giants or the Cowboys might win another game this season is that both still have games against the Redskins.

  18. linemanguy74 says: Dec 12, 2013 11:44 AM

    Picks mean nothing with the way games are being called by the “officials”

  19. coachbeck says: Dec 12, 2013 11:45 AM

    It’s like a yearly thing …. Bengals eliminate Steelers from the playoff race.

    Mark your calendars

  20. blacknole08 says: Dec 12, 2013 12:00 PM

    I can see a Matt Flynn lead Packers going into Dallas and lighting up that defense. The month of December has not been good to Dallas. Packers 34 Cowboys 24.

  21. steelcurtainn says: Dec 12, 2013 12:20 PM

    Steelers are going to light up some points this week keeping there playoff hopes alive. Steelers 30 Bengals 20

  22. usdcoyotesfan says: Dec 12, 2013 12:40 PM

    Packers 91 Cowboys 7

  23. JSpicoli says: Dec 12, 2013 12:45 PM

    If I want to know what you guys pick, I’ll just look at the spreads and picks the favorites. It is about what you do.

  24. mayers59 says: Dec 12, 2013 1:29 PM

    Calvin Johnson won’t go Josh Gordon on the Ravens, He will go MEGATRON on the Ravens! Which is even more hurtful.

  25. johngaltwho says: Dec 12, 2013 1:39 PM

    I just dont see the Packers without Rodgers being competitive. To be honest, I’d feel better if Tolzien were in and this was his 5th week in a row as he has more upside than Flynn as a backup.

    That being said, the Packers still have a path to the playoffs and it comes with some not so hard to imagine good fortune. Packers lose to Dallas, Lions lose to Ravens, Bears lose to Philly, Rodgers returns and Pack win the last two including in Chicago and the Vikings, yes, the Vikings beat Detroit to finish the season.

  26. bengalsucker says: Dec 12, 2013 1:40 PM

    MDS’s take: If Antonio Brown had kept his foot inbounds on the Steelers’ wild last play on Sunday, Pittsburgh would be right in the thick of the playoff race and this would be a very big game. Instead, the Steelers are all but eliminated, and the Bengals should cruise toward the AFC North title.
    —————————

    Not true. Ben’s lateral was an illegal lateral. So had he stayed in bounds, they would have reviewed every single lateral completed on that play and would have found that Ben’s was illegal. Either way, no score. Quit dwelling on it. Bengals will roll them this week.

  27. icebowler says: Dec 12, 2013 2:32 PM

    So the Bears are benching the NFC offensive player of the week (and arguably the past month). Joe Haden is licking his chops.

  28. steelcity333 says: Dec 12, 2013 2:55 PM

    It’s like a yearly thing …. Bengals eliminate Steelers from the playoff race.

    Mark your calendars

    If one and possibly two years makes something a yearly thing, then what do you call the yearly poundings the Steelers gave the Bengals throughout the last 2 decades?

  29. tooz72 says: Dec 12, 2013 3:17 PM

    i would be shocked if the Chefs upset the Raiders

  30. tictoccpthook says: Dec 12, 2013 3:32 PM

    Florios at least gives the hurting Steelers a closer game in a loss. Steelers are going nowhere this year, but they can still beat the Bengals. The AFC North’s best chance (slim as it is) to win the Super Bowl this year is the Ravens. A repeat. If not the Steelers, then why not our best rival. That doesn’t mean the Steelers will help them get there, they will have to do it despite another loss to Pittsburgh. Hopefully the Brown’s will comply. For now, the Steelers have to plan on improving the defense within salary cap for next year.

  31. kimbo71006 says: Dec 12, 2013 3:36 PM

    The advice given by Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to his twin brother Rex regarding beating the Panthers consisted of this: Get a time machine, go back to 2006, and sign Drew Brees.

    ______________________________

    Now THAT was funny, and I’m a Saints fan.

  32. tictoccpthook says: Dec 12, 2013 4:22 PM

    Oops, our Steelers already gave the Ravens what they wanted, and the only thing the Browns can do is beat the Jets (no problem). Ah next year.

  33. coachbeck says: Dec 12, 2013 5:32 PM

    Yes steelcity this year will make it yearly. Call it a foreshadowing statement lol.

    Maybe Cowher should come back and teach Tomlin how to draft.

  34. 49erfan44 says: Dec 12, 2013 10:25 PM

    The buc game is the definition of a trap game. But the 49er D should hold serve against Glennon.

  35. jrcoop says: Dec 12, 2013 10:40 PM

    steelersaregodsteam says:

    Week in and out we have to prove the haters wrong. As an extension of God, we will make the playoffs this year at 8-8. From there, well, history shows what will happen. 7 rings. Oh, let the jealousy pour. We paddle in the ocean of your tears. Steelelujah!
    ———————————————————
    Last week you lost to the Miami Dolphins,,, at home,,, in a snow storm,,, on a call that usually goes your way… It would appear God has forsaken thee. Time to go wander in the wilderness for another 40 years.

  36. jbarge says: Dec 13, 2013 7:51 PM

    How will Elam eat his words? For the entire 5 minute interview he had nothing but respectful things to say about Megatron. The media bated him into saying he was old, which out of context provides fuel for a fire. When are these players going to learn to quit talking to the media?

  37. legendaryordinance says: Dec 14, 2013 1:31 AM

    Why do people always have to get on here and cry like little girls about events that already passed and cannot be changed? Bengals do need to make a statement, but they won’t. Steelers are good as gone as far as playoffs are concerned. another dismal season under coach Todd Haley. Next year doesn’t look too promising either with so many veterans either retiring or getting cut due to cap issues.

  38. geezohman says: Dec 15, 2013 7:54 PM

    I get a kick out of people who state their team will kick butt. NO one knows which team will win, which ref will screw up a call, which QB will chock… its Sunday night, Tenn gave Ari a run for their Money, New Orleans got their butt kicked, and on and on.

    So wake up people… BRAG after the game other wise.. ‘hope’ your team wins.

  39. seahawksbmx says: Dec 16, 2013 8:57 PM

    steelcurtainn says:
    Dec 12, 2013 12:20 PM
    Steelers are going to light up some points this week keeping there playoff hopes alive. Steelers 30 Bengals 20
    ——-
    Wow, can I (privately) get the MegaMillions numbers from you? Nice call!

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