PFT’s Week 15 picks

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Well, I’m finally gaining some ground.

Not much, but some.

A stellar 14-2 weekend could have been 15-1, but for that late collapse by the Cowboys.  In that moment, a three-game win over Rosenthal slid to a one-game edge.

I’m nine back with three weeks to go.  For the season, he’s 142-66.  I’m 133-75.

This week, we disagree on four games.  This is my last chance to make a push.

Hopefully, God likes me better than him.

Jaguars at Falcons

Florio’s take:  If the Falcons can’t beat the Jaguars, the Falcons have no shot at winning at New Orleans on December 26.  And if the Falcons can’t win at New Orleans on December 26, the Falcons won’t have to worry about another one-and-done performance in the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 31, Jaguars 16.

Rosenthal’s take: The Jaguars are back in prime time! Atlanta is a 10-point favorite, which seems crazy until you look at the state of the Jags. An undrafted rookie and journeyman will cover Roddy White and Julio Jones.  At wideout for Jacksonville: Chastin West and Jarrett Dillard. Interim coach Mel Tucker isn’t playing with a stacked deck.

Rosenthal’s pick: Falcons 28, Jaguars 13.

Cowboys at Buccaneers

Florio’s take:  The best way for Dallas to avoid blowing a close game late in the fourth quarter is to never allow it to be close in the fourth quarter.  If this one gets too out of hand, Tampa coach Raheem Morris could be the fourth coach to go before Christmas.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 34, Buccaneers 17.

Rosenthal’s take: The Bucs are slump busters. The Panthers defense couldn’t stop anyone, but they could stop the Bucs. Jacksonville’s offense couldn’t score on anyone, but they could score on Tampa. This game is exactly what Jason Garrett and the ‘Boys need.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 40, Buccaneers 27.

Dolphins at Bills

Florio’s take:  Nothing takes the steam out of a team that is playing hard down the stretch to try to save its coach’s job than the coach losing his job.  The Bills end a six-game losing streak with their sixth, and likely last, win of the season.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 28, Dolphins 21.

Rosenthal’s take: It’s weird and a little sad that J.P. Losman’s status decides my pick. If Matt Moore is out, I like Buffalo. Bills fans will happily tell you not to bet on J.P. Losman in Buffalo. (Especially with Jake Long out.) If Matt Moore starts, I like the Dolphins. (Can we make conditional picks, Florio?)

Rosenthal’s pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 17.

Seahawks at Bears

Florio’s take:  If the Bears had Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, they’d be the clear pick to win.  But they don’t, and if they can’t beat the Chiefs at home without these key players, they’ll have a rough time handling an underrated Seahawks team.  The bell continues to toll for the Bears, whose only remaining hope will be to do to the Packers on December 25 what the Dolphins did to the Bears in 1985.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 14, Bears 7.

Rosenthal’s take: Bears fans swore Chicago could go 4-2 or 3-3 at worst with Caleb Hanie to close the season. They haven’t won a game yet. Seattle, meanwhile, has won four of five because of a physical defense and running game. After this game, the Seahawks will have a better chance to make the playoffs.

Rosenthal’s pick: Seattle 16, Bears 13.

Panthers at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Texans keep losing key components.  And the Texans just keep winning.  This one won’t be easy without defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, but the Texans simply continue to find a way.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 34, Panthers 24.

Rosenthal’s take: If Cam Newton and T.J. Yates faced off last year, Yates’ team would not be favored by a touchdown. Things change quickly. The Texans are a defense tough enough to withstand the loss of their best pass rusher. They can survive losing their playcaller for a week or two.

Rosenthal’s pick: Texans 21, Panthers 17.

Titans at Colts

Florio’s take:  It’s time.  Call it a gut feeling.  Call it a hunch.  Call it clinical insanity.  But it’s time for the Colts to win a game.  Especially since this very well could be their last chance to avoid going 0-16 and getting everyone not named Jim Irsay fired.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 19, Titans 17.

Rosenthal’s take: The Colts look likely to face three straight rookie quarterbacks. Unfortunately, Jake Locker isn’t a huge downgrade from Matt Hasselbeck. The Titans offense is different with Locker, but not necessarily worse. The Titans are just mediocre enough to let the Colts make this interesting.

Rosenthal’s pick: Titans 24, Colts 21.

Packers at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Interim coach Romeo Crennel could go a long way toward securing the permanent job by winning his first game.  He likely wishes Todd Haley had lasted one more week.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 35, Chiefs 10.

Rosenthal’s take: The Chiefs have enough secondary talent to give the Packers offense some issues. Kansas City certainly upgrades this week at quarterback with Kyle Orton. And that ends the portion of this preview where I try to convince myself this game will stay interesting.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 31, Chiefs 14.

Saints at Vikings

Florio’s take:  From epic NFC title game to overhyped season opener to Cornell-Hofstra slaughter.  Les Steckel gets closer and closer to getting off the hook.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 34, Vikings 14.

Rosenthal’s take: Drew Brees is peaking at the right time. The Vikings are peeking at the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.  This is the game where Brees makes sure he wins the yardage crown for the season.

Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 33, Vikings 17.

Redskins at Giants

Florio’s take:  After the Redskins beat the Giants in Week One, safety Antrell Rolle said that Washington would win five out of 100 games between the two teams.  More recently, Rolle dropped that number to one.  Though we’re not ready to agree with a 99-percent success rate, we’re comfortable with 50.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 28, Redskins 14.

Rosenthal’s take: A Giants’ loss Sunday could make next week’s Jets-Giants game almost inconsequential. A win against the Redskins would guarantee Big Blue a “win and in” scenario in Week 17 against Dallas. Washington is feisty, but they are one-win-in-seven-games feisty. Rex Grossman is just good enough to get you beat.

Rosenthal’s pick: Giants 33, Redskins 28.

Bengals at Rams

Florio’s take:  It won’t be easy to keep a young Bengals team focused and motivated after losing a heartbreaker to the Texans.  But the Bengals are playing the Rams.  The Rams.  Yes, the Rams.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 34, Rams 14.

Rosenthal’s take: Despite winning seven games last year, the Rams are on pace to have the worst five-year run of any team in NFL history. Steve Spagnuolo coached the worst NFL team in 2009 and the second worst team this year. It may not be fair, but it’s hard to imagine any coach surviving that combination.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 23, Rams 13.

Lions at Raiders

Florio’s take:  The Lions have struggled lately, but the Raiders have struggled more.  Neither team may make it to the postseason after promising starts, but the Lions have at least shown a recent ability to find a way to win.  Plus, while he’s not as dominant as he was in 2010, the return of Ndamukong Suh should help.  The ongoing absence of Darren McFadden doesn’t.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 24, Raiders 20.

Rosenthal’s take: These are two desperate teams that peaked too early. At least the Lions are getting players back: Ndamukong Suh, Kevin Smith, and cornerback Chris Houston all look likely to return for Detroit. The Raiders might get Denarius Moore back. The Lions win that trade.

Rosenthal’s pick: Lions 27, Raiders 24.

Browns at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  Though a little too late, the Cardinals have found their groove, regardless of whether Kevin Kolb or John Skelton is playing quarterback.  With a couple more wins, they’ll be one of the teams we’re all picking to make the playoffs in 2012.  The Browns, on the other hand, continue to be the Browns.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 30, Browns 17.

Rosenthal’s take: Skeltonmania is sweeping the nation. The Cardinals are 4-1 in the former Fordham quarterback’s games, winning insane, inexplicable games late in the fourth quarter. They are 2-5 without him. Skelton fever could last into the playoffs. I’d bet on a 9-7 team making the playoffs and the Cardinals should be 7-7 after this one.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cardinals 22, Browns 13.

Patriots at Broncos

Florio’s take:  The list of “thou shalt nots” now includes a line regarding picking against Tim Tebow.  New England’s defense stinks, and Denver’s defense is good enough to keep it close.  If the Broncos keep it close, the guy who says God has spoken to him will overcome the once little-known sixth-round pick who possibly struck a deal with the devil.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Patriots 23.

Rosenthal’s take: The Patriots defense can barely slow down Grossmania, so Tim Tebow should have a big day. Tom Brady should be even better. There are weak spots in this Broncos’ secondary that Brady can exploit, especially at safety. This result will test Florio’s Tebow man-crush.

Rosenthal’s pick: Patriots 31, Broncos 27.

Jets at Eagles

Florio’s take:  The Dream Team is waking up too late, but not late enough to crush the dreams of Team Rex.  And that will make next week’s Giants-Jets game even more intriguing.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Jets 23.

Rosenthal’s take: The Eagles won last week, but Michael Vick looked very rusty. The offensive line got pushed around. The Jets are not a defense you want to face when your passing game is out of synch and your line is not recognizing blitzes. The Dream should finally die for good, to the delight of many Eagles fans.

Rosenthal’s pick: Jets 22, Eagles 10.

Ravens at Chargers

Florio’s take:  The Ravens finally realize the connection between beating inferior foes and hosting home playoff games.  Chargers fans finally realize that they could have a new coach and G.M. in 2012.  Both could be very happy after Sunday night.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Chargers 17.

Rosenthal’s take: This is Norv’s last stand, and he has a shot to win. Philip Rivers’ pinpoint accuracy returned the last two weeks. So did his pass protection. This is a dangerous game for the Ravens, but it’s hard to imagine Rivers’ rag-tag linemen holding up against the Baltimore pass rush.

Rosenthal’s pick: Ravens 27, Chargers 24.

Steelers at 49ers

Florio’s take:  When the Steelers enter the red zone at Heinz Field, giant ketchup bottles unleash their contents onto the scoreboard.  When the 49ers get into the red zone on Monday night, the Steelers will be putting ketchup on Frank Gore’s legs and Alex Smith’s arm.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, 49ers 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The Cowboys’ 3-4 defense gave the 49ers problems. Baltimore’s 3-4 defense ate up the 49ers line. Arizona’s defense – coordinated by former Steelers coach Ray Horton – allowed two first downs to the 49ers in the second half last week. You see where I’m going with this one.

Rosenthal’s pick: Steelers 13, 49ers 10.

60 responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks

  1. Good Lord. Both have picked a Hawks win. I… I may need to sit down for a while. Does this mean they’ve actually done some research on the team this time, and not ‘whoever’s the opposition’? Surely not…

  2. Every week I look at this and think to myself, “Wow, this is formatted terribly.” For the sake of easy reading, don’t bold both the games and each writers take, one or the other.

  3. Steelers gonna crush 49ers. They’ll get a real look at what a true defense that does it year in & year out! Not just for 1 year! Steel curtain baby!

  4. Aw, man, why’d you have to both go and pick Seattle? It always seems we do better flying under the radar.

  5. @RexCanCoach

    Rex Ryan has to ask the fans in New Jersey to be nice to Sanchez. What do you think is going to happen when he takes the field in Philadelphia? No amount of hand holding is going to protect the guy.

  6. “Hopefully, God likes me better than him.”

    OR…he doesn’t like either of you and has abandoned you to whatever fate you have created for yourselves.

  7. “When the 49ers get into the red zone on Monday night, the Steelers will be putting ketchup on Frank Gore’s legs and Alex Smith’s arm.”

    What is this, I don’t even

  8. @damnsureis

    I cannot disagree, Eagle fans are going to be all over Sanchez. He gets it pretty bad in Foxborough also. I can only hope that Sanchez treats this game like a road playoff game, otherwise he will implode.

  9. i think u guys need to highlight the teams in a different color so i dont have to sit here for 10 minutes trying to look for my team

  10. 9ers win this and ill be 50yardline front row behind the WR and Oline bench to see it live.

    9ers defense (best in the league) will keep it close and sp teams wins it


  11. musiccitymiracle says
    LOL at Colts pick.

    Remember “any given Sunday”, I mean the Rams beat the Saints with Jay Feeley at QB.

  12. Mr PFT manages to recover a small portion of his family home from his employee. Enough room to sleep at least, if not cook and bathe.

  13. Both of you are picking the Steelers? Have you seen Roethlisberger play in primetime this year?

    Here is how the Steeler offense did.
    Colts — 16 points w/o the Polamalu fumble recovery score.
    Chiefs — 13
    Browns — 14

    And the Niners don’t suck.

    If the Niners can get 15 points they’ll win.


  14. Although the Jets stink, they are a match-up nightmare for the Birds. All it will take is a long Jets TD drive running the ball right into the middle of the Eagles’ soft D to make the crowd go bonkers. From there it’s just a death spiral. The players will pack it in (if they haven’t already) and then take to Twitter Monday to cry about the fans as they continue to diappoint at home.

  15. Broncos will not beat pats that’s for sure. Pats defense is bad against passing and tebow well can’t pass..

  16. Putting your defense against Michael Vick is a good warm up for facing Eli Manning next week on XMas eve.

    The question is, will Mark Sanchez be alive by that point?

  17. the niners have played 3 elite qbs this year and gave up 1,135 passing yards in those games. 380 yards a game!!!

    the niners have played 2 elite defenses this year and scored 6 and 13 pts with an average of 200 yards each game. (and that is counting the bengals as elite which they are clearly not)

    They went 3-2 in those games and should have lost to philly if it wasn’t for Ronnie browns ridiculous pass. Now that plate glass window (Frank Gore) is ineffective because he hit his wall this team is in trouble.

  18. mattsffrd says:
    Dec 15, 2011 2:18 PM
    “the Steelers will be putting ketchup on Frank Gore’s legs and Alex Smith’s arm”

    that doesn’t even make sense…

    It means that the Steelers (who are from Pittsburgh, where Heinz ketchup is made, hence Heinz Field) are gonna feast on both Gore and Smith. Get it?

  19. A stellar 14-2 weekend could have been 15-1, but for that late collapse by the Cowboys.

    You should not be counting on my Cowgirls – they are schizophrenic in December…

  20. siouxyaya17 says:
    Dec 15, 2011 1:34 PM
    Every week I look at this and think to myself, “Wow, this is formatted terribly.”
    Your right siouxyaya17. I think they should just bold face the teams, not the two guys picks.

  21. I look at each guys pic and their total. Rosenthal has 142. Chris Carter has 146 and Tom jackson has 143. Accu score has and ‘Pick-em has 143.

    I take all those media types and Excel spreadsheet them… and look at all their ‘differences’….

    it keeps me in the lead… (I have 140). I guess no one in my ‘league’ is smart enough to check these guys out !

    THanks ! Notice all the rest of the ‘experts’ (on ESPN are lousy… I listen less and less to these guys especially when they guest star on Mike and Mike…

    Not sure what else to listen to going to work and returning home… except Christmas music !

  22. niners lost their 3 games this year by a total of 16 points. two on the road and one at home. steelers offense put up 13 points vs the chiefs and 14 vs the browns. niners defense always tunrs it up a notch when theyre at home and willis may be back for this game. niners 16-10

  23. yordaddy says:
    Dec 15, 2011 2:00 PM
    9ers win this and ill be 50yardline front row behind the WR and Oline bench to see it live.

    9ers defense (best in the league) will keep it close and sp teams wins it


    Niners going to have to get to the endzone first. And Ben doesn’t gift wrap turnovers.

    Steelers 27
    49ers 6

  24. Please correct your ‘records’ against the Las Vegas point spreads. This is just a fake record of picks made by the media. In real betting circles
    ATS is the real record. I know you’ll say NOT for betting purposes BUT why else post picks!!??
    Get real boys.

  25. I am surprised that either of you think the Titans-Colts game would be close. The Titans played New Orleans down to the wire last week and moved the ball very well. Only 4 teams have held the Saints below 25 points this season as did the Titans.

    For the record, The Saints scored 62 against the Colts and they stopped passing in the third quarter.

    The Titans will manhandle the Colts.

  26. As much as I dislike the jets (Pats fan) they have been running the table since everyone counted them out after their 5th loss. I still think they will run the table the rest of the year and be in as a wild card. They are just shutting their mouths and playing.

  27. You pick the Lions to win but say they won’t make the post season? If they win this one, they’re pretty much in. If they get 2 more, it’s a lock.

  28. This just in,
    Rookie receiver Tori Gurley turned down an offer earlier this week to sign with the Minnesota Vikings to instead stay on the Packers’ practice squad.

    The Vikings offered him a spot on their active roster.

    Gurley, who has been on the practice squad all season, said the Packers offered him a raise.

    “If you look statistically, their season is going to be over in three weeks,” Gurley said of the Vikings. “We’re already locked to have a playoff spot.”

    Gurley, an undrafted free agent from South Carolina, said he has had other calls this season from teams who have expressed an interest in signing him to their active roster but has turned them down.

    “I’m learning from some of the best receivers in the game right now,” Gurley said. “The way our offense is clicking, the grass isn’t going to be greener on the other side. So just learning and taking it one day at a time, my opportunity is going to come.”

    LOL, The Vikes try to sign ANOTHER Packer. Fail.

  29. Jessethegreat says:

    Niners going to have to get to the endzone first. And Ben doesn’t gift wrap turnovers.

    Agree with the endzone prob.

    Ben doesn’t need to wrap anything THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE WILL TAKE IT AWAY

    Sp teams will help us out. And our defense will score

  30. hrmlss says:Dec 15, 2011 4:50 PM

    Tori Gurley and Shaky Smithson will probably be battling to be our new no.5 once Driver retires, saves us a draft pick so we can address defense in the draft, Ted is a slick mo fo.

  31. Colt win? You may as well pick the Packers to lose. Tebowmania might face a setback, but I thought so last week too. Steelers will most likely win, for all you 49ers fans you shouldn’t get too excited about a shutout win over the Rams when you lost to the Cardinals. Giants and Jets show no signs of stopping there opponents show little signs of winning. Cowboys will be fine if they can grow a fourth quarter. Lions better hope refs are old and blind especially with Suh back. Ravens defense will tear apart the oline of the Chargers. Another week closer to the playoffs.

  32. eaglesfan2286 says:
    Dec 15, 2011 4:09 PM
    Revis has never covered desean Jackson speed before!


    Mike Wallace anyone?

  33. yordaddy says:
    Dec 15, 2011 5:02 PM
    Jessethegreat says:

    Niners going to have to get to the endzone first. And Ben doesn’t gift wrap turnovers.

    Agree with the endzone prob.

    Ben doesn’t need to wrap anything THE BEST DEFENSE IN THE LEAGUE WILL TAKE IT AWAY

    Sp teams will help us out. And our defense will score
    So you’re claiming the Cardinals, who just beat the 49ers, are better than the Steelers this year? If SF D can’t stop Arizona they are not stopping Pitt. Try to hype them up all you want, but SF D is not better than Pitt or Balt D’s.

  34. Santa Claus won’t have to post in Pittsburgh, because Steeler fans have been lying awake in bed every night praying for the Chargers.

    Matt LeVoir blocking Suggs? Not gonna work.

  35. The Eagles are also a matchup nightmare for the Jets. They have a lot of speed on both sides of the ball and that makes them dangerous.

    I’d laugh at the Broncos over the Pats prediction if Denver wasn’t some sort of Kryptonite for that organization going back 30+ years.

    Steelers-Niners boils down to this: no Ben, no chance.

  36. The Teabag delusion ends this week. Hes managed to win a few games against teams that simply choked at the end… but I doubt NE will afford him that luxery. Expect a huge blowout.

  37. jessethegreat says:
    And Ben doesn’t gift wrap turnovers.

    Unless he’s playing the Ravens. Ask Ed Reed and T-Sizzle about that.

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