PFT’s Week 15 picks


Three weeks remain, and I’ve gradually built the lead back to four games.

But MDS has a chance to trim the gap down to one, if he’s right and I’m wrong on the three games on which we disagree.

And yes, Raiders fans, after four weeks of picking your team to lose, getting the exact score of two games right, missing a third exacta by one point, and correctly predicting the Raiders’ point total in all four games, MDS is picking your team to win this week.

Our picks on all Week 15 games appear below.  (Then again, where the hell else would they be?)

For last week, I eked out the win, 11-5 to 10-6.  For the year, I’m 134-73-1, a 64.4 percent accuracy rate.  MDS is 130-77-1, which keeps him at 62.5 percent.

Bengals at Eagles

MDS’s take: I’d been saying for weeks that the Eagles have given up on the season and wouldn’t win another game this year, and they proved me wrong with a spirited effort on Sunday, beating a Buccaneers team with playoff aspirations. So can they do that twice in a row? I don’t see it. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins will lead a defense that will make life miserable for Nick Foles.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles have now won more recently than the Phillies.  At least that can’t change until April.  Between now and then, the Eagles will change, plenty.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Eagles 17.

Giants at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Falcons are still the favorites to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but I think the Giants are the better team. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Giants win in Atlanta in December and then do it again in January.

MDS’s pick: Giants 30, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take:  The Falcons need a win to prove they can win in the playoffs.  The Giants need a win to help ensure they’ll get to the playoffs.  This one feels like the NFC version of Texans-Patriots.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 31, Falcons 21.

Broncos at Ravens

MDS’s take: Baltimore’s decision to fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron strikes me as a desperation move. The Ravens know they’re not as good as the three elite teams in the AFC, and the Broncos are going to demonstrate that on Sunday in Baltimore.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens don’t match up well against Peyton Manning.  They never have.  Throw in a flat-tire offense that the Ravens are trying to change while the car is moving, and the late-season slide continues.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 28, Ravens 20.

Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win, and I think they’ll do just that. Lovie Smith has said from his first day as the Bears’ coach that his No. 1 goal is to beat Green Bay, and Smith’s seat will get even hotter when he fails to do that on Sunday at Soldier Field.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Bears 13.

Florio’s take:  If Jay Cutler doesn’t play, who’ll shove J’Marcus Webb when this one starts to go south?

Florio’s pick:  Packers 24, Bears 13.

Redskins at Browns

MDS’s take: The Redskins have been red hot lately, but the Browns are better than people give them credit for. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins, the Redskins’ quarterback is going to have a tough time against Cleveland’s defense, and I like the Browns to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Browns 13, Redskins 10.

Florio’s take:  With or without RG3, the Redskins have found their groove and they’ll continue to push for the playoffs.  Still, this one could be the toughest challenge yet, notwithstanding wins over the Ravens, Giants, and Cowboys.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 24, Browns 21.

Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans don’t have much time to lick their wounds after the epic beating they took in New England, but Houston is a more complete team than Indianapolis and should put the Colts away and clinch the AFC South.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Colts 17.

Florio’s take:  The Texans may have never won in Indy, but they’ve finally figured out how to beat Indy in Texas.  Besides, the Texans need the win to stay ahead of the Pats for the top seed — and the Colts for the division crown.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 28, Colts 17.

Jaguars at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is particularly good, but the Dolphins at least look like they’re going in the right direction, while the Jaguars look like they need to be torn apart and rebuilt from the ground up.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take:  The Jags’ travel expenses will be low.  Their offensive output will be even lower.  And no one will notice.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 20, Jaguars 10.

Buccaneers at Saints

MDS’s take: Drew Brees will turn in a big game against a depleted Buccaneers secondary, and the Saints will put together a solid win, too late for it to matter in the playoff race.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Buccaneers 21.

Florio’s take:  Not long ago, both of these teams had a real shot at the postseason.  Now?  Not.  Though the Bucs have held their own in the Bayou in recent years, the Saints will be buoyed by their bounty victory.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Buccaneers 23.

Vikings at Rams

MDS’s take: Raise your hand if you actually predicted before the season that this Week 15 game would have playoff implications for both teams. I’m betting on both of these teams falling just short, but I’m impressed that Jeff Fisher and Leslie Frazier have their teams playing well into December. I see the Rams’ defense forcing Christian Ponder into three interceptions and the Rams ending the Vikings’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, Vikings 16.

Florio’s take:  I broke from my vow to never pick the Vikings again this year after their Week 11 bye, and it turned out to be a smart move.  For a change.  So why not do it again?  The young Rams remain inconsistent, and they’re due to lay an egg like the one they popped out against the Jets last month.  Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson is making a run at history.  What better way to take a big chunk out of the gap between A.P. and E.D. (that nickname isn’t as cool as it used to be) than to do it against the team with which he set the record?

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Rams 13.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Neither team is playing particularly well, but at least the Lions are playing competitively. The Cardinals aren’t doing anything right.

MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Cardinals 6.

Florio’s take:  Something’s gotta give when a pair of crappy teams get together in Arizona.  The Lions are the lesser of two evils, thanks to the fact that they have the better of the two starting quarterbacks.  By far.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 31, Cardinals 17.

Seahawks at Bills

MDS’s take: Seattle catches a break here, as a bad road team is going not to Buffalo but to Toronto, where the pro-Bills crowd won’t be quite as raucous. The Seahawks strike me as a team peaking at the right time, and they’ll beat Buffalo handily.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Bills 17.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks are getting better on the road.  Especially when the road is more like the semi-neutral site that is Toronto.  The push continues for a playoff berth — and possibly the NFC West crown.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 33, Bills 20.

Panthers at Chargers

MDS’s take: Give credit to both of these teams: Late in a tough season, when it would be easy to mail it in, they’re both playing hard. So this should be a pretty good game, something you can’t often say about a December game when both teams have losing records. A big game from Philip Rivers will win it for the Chargers.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Panthers 28.

Florio’s take:  Ron Rivera returns to San Diego, with inside information about the Chargers’ offense and a quarterback who seems to be finding his stride, again.  Sunday’s upset by San Diego over the Steelers was an aberration; the Panthers’ unexpected win over Atlanta wasn’t.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Chargers 20.

Steelers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: This might be the best game on a great NFL Sunday because both teams are desperate. Then again, the Steelers were desperate last week, too, and they laid an egg. Pittsburgh looks like it’s fading down the stretch.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, Steelers 13.

Florio’s take:  It’s a rematch of three prior Super Bowls, and each team’s ability to pursue another Super Bowl appearance rides on the outcome.  It’s hard to overlook that ugly home loss by the Steelers — and it’s even harder to ignore the sense that the Cowboys are finding a way to pull together after Saturday’s tragedy.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Steelers 17.

Chiefs at Raiders

MDS’s take: This might be the worst game on a great NFL Sunday because both teams have nothing to play for other than possibly getting the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. I like the Raiders to win and the Chiefs to take another step toward the top pick.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 21, Chiefs 13.

Florio’s take:  It’s the latest renewal of a once-great rivalry, and it continues to disintegrate.  If the Raiders can win at Arrowhead, they can hold serve at home.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 17, Chiefs 7.

49ers at Patriots

MDS’s take: In a potential Super Bowl preview on Sunday night, I think the Patriots will show they’re playing at another level from the rest of the league. Tom Brady will have a big game against a good 49ers defense, and Bill Belichick will have something up his sleeve for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  Another prime-time home game against a playoff-caliber team, another big win for a Patriots team that is poised to make another assault on a championship.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 34, 49ers 24.

Jets at Titans

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Jets are particularly good, but none of the teams they’re playing in December are particularly good, either. So I like the Jets to win this one, and probably win out to earn a surprising 9-7 record and even an outside shot at an AFC wild card berth.

MDS’s pick: Jets 14, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  The Jets keep moving toward an unlikely playoff berth.  The Titans keep moving toward an inevitable house cleaning.  Mittens off for Bud Adams!

Florio’s pick:  Jets 14, Titans 10.

61 responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks

  1. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Giants win in Atlanta in December and then do it again in January.”
    Giants a few yrs back lost to the Pats during the 18-0 season and went on to win Superbowl against them. Last year Giants lost to the Packers & 49ers in the regular season and went on to beat them in the playoffs. There is a pattern here and I think the same may happen again Sunday.

  2. I think the 49ers will again surprise a lot of people by establishing the NFC as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. This game is your preview everyone.

  3. Cleveland fans need to know their roles and shut their mouths. The Redskins have the best owner, HC, QB, RB, LT, MLB and K in professional football. Add to that 2 top 5 WRs and a calvalcade of classy. lunchpale hardworking players like Kerrigan, Wilson, Paulsen etc. and it’s not hard to see why the Redskins are the hottest team in the NFL and God’s favorite football team. If RGIII can’t go, then Cousins won’t have a problem vs a vastly overrated Browns defense. With RGIII, Redskins win by 28. With Cousins Redskins win by 14. Another week, another victory.

  4. Logicalvoice says:

    Cleveland fans need to know their roles and shut their mouths. The Redskins have the best owner, HC, QB, RB, LT, MLB and K in professional football. Add to that 2 top 5 WRs and a calvalcade of classy. lunchpale hardworking players like Kerrigan, Wilson, Paulsen etc. and it’s not hard to see why the Redskins are the hottest team in the NFL and God’s favorite football team. If RGIII can’t go, then Cousins won’t have a problem vs a vastly overrated Browns defense. With RGIII, Redskins win by 28. With Cousins Redskins win by 14. Another week, another victory.

    This moron states the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on this site (ever). Yet they all get through the censors and posted. Whereas in the past I have wrote posts that are nowhere near as absurd and they get censored and not posted! Please block logicalvoices from ever posting again! Because of him and him alone I want nothing more than for the redskins to fail miserably! I am not a browns fan by any stretch but Richardson is better than Morris, joe Thomas is leaps and bounds better than anyone on their OL, Phil Taylor is better at DT and Haden is way better than any of their corners (especially Hall)!

  5. Ive never had a problem with the Redskins, and I could care less about the Browns. But due to logicalvoicesays extremely insightful argument…I hope they lose by 40. Go Brownies.

  6. I’m still confused as to how the Browns are a hot team, seriously they beat the two doest teams in the league in the Raiders and KC, that doesn’t make you a hot team at all. And this Browns D that’s going to slow down the Skins offense is 18th against the run, 21st against the pass, and 24th in total yards. If you seriously think that D is going to stop a top teir offense then your crazy, the Redskins offense isn’t the Raiders or the Chiefs. Not to mention the Browns offense is one of the worst in the league. Morris will have a field day against this D, and Griffin is going to throw all over them.31-17 is going to be the score. And the Skins will push on to the playoffs.

  7. As and Eagle fan, I am to the point where I hope for the same thing every week. See improvement from the young guys, and lose a close game.

    Don’t want to see them getting blown out, but what is the difference really between 4 and 5-7 wins? Just a lower draft slot

  8. The NFC being the dominant conference and favorite to win the SB is a bit of a myth. As a whole the NFC has a better record against the AFC because the AFC has more BAD teams. Most Power Rankings currently have NE and Denver as the top two rated teams. Those rankings also have 5 AFC and 5 NFC teams in their respective top 10s, the teams pretty much assured of taking the top 5 seeds in each conference. The top 5 teams in the AFC are 10-7 against the NFC. The NFC may win the SB, but as of now it’s wide open.

  9. Packers @ Bears will be a closer game than either predict. I would not be surprised to see the Bears step it up on defense and beat the Pack at home, winning the turnover battle.

  10. Also, has anybody else picked up on the fact that the Pats got both the toughest opponents at home? This is a season-spanning theme for Tom-Tom.

  11. Ever hear Patton Oswalt’s routine about the KFC Famous Bowl? “A failure pile in a sadness bowl”

    Ladies and gents, the Chiefs at Raiders this Sunday in the Sadness Bowl!

    The best thing the Raiders could do is lose out, so this is their cue to win out and screw up their draft position. The Oakland Raiders: even when we win, we lose!

    Raiders 22 – Chiefs 19

  12. I like the confidence in the Packers, gents, but I think it’s going to be a close game. GB hasn’t been starting strong lately on offense, and even without urlacher, I don’t see that changing against a stout defense. Earlier in the week I picked gb over chi 27-17, but I’m amending it because this is actually a bigger game for the bears.

    Packers 20, Chicago 17.

    Mason Crosby in overtime to win.

  13. redskins this, redskins that, rg3 amazing, morris best rb ever, shanahan’s schemes, thanks to our amazing owner, redskins cant lose, how can you have the skins only winning by 7?

    Like i said in prior posts, if someone woke up from a coma and read all of these comments, you’d think the skins are chasing the dolphins and pats undefeated regular season records. You guys are 1 game over 500 and are still having a parade. make it stop already. A team that is about 20 games under 500 over the past decade, a team that has had a division rival win more superbowls in the past few years than they have had actual playoff appearances. They have improved, wonderful, but give it a rest already. Even non nfc east fans are disturbed by all this.

  14. As a Packers fan I think the final score will be the Packers winning, but by only one score over the Bears.

    I also think the 49ers match up well against the Patriots. At the very least I expect that one to be close, and a 49ers win wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Last note, the Giants will embarrass Atlanta.

  15. logicalvoice is just trying to get a rise from everyone. No sane person really believes what he says. It’s pretty funny; just laugh at him and forget it. You can laugh even more when they have to bring in Rex Grossman at QB due to injuries.

  16. Some great games this weekend and I’m obviously geared up for the Sunday-Nighter. This is a hungry Pats team at home under the lights where they rarely falter. The 9ers are gonna have to bring their best effort out east…. I still see a San Fran victory though.

  17. Everyone and their mother is picking the Giants. Listen to me as a life-long Giants’ fan….go to your 401Ks, take out some coin and put in on Atlanta. Guaranteed win this week.

  18. 42-14 Packers over The Bears. I see The Packers running for 155-170 yards as a team to continue the resurgence of the running game.
    Aaron Rodger has a 350 yard 3TD game. Defense get 1 Packer score. Meanwhile, Bears score 1 TD in the 1st quarter. Then again late when it really doesnt mean much.

    I just see this game as a mismatch. Green Bay is getting healthy, when Chicago is not.

  19. Also, has anybody else picked up on the fact that the Pats got both the toughest opponents at home? This is a season-spanning theme for Tom-Tom.

    The only thing Gillette has going for it is the cold weather come December.

    Isn’t it one of the quietest stadiums in the league?

    You don’t lose because you are playing in NE, you lose because you are playing Tom Brady.

  20. I certainly understand picking against the Bears, but Cutler has said he’s fine and that he’ll play. Why are we pretending that he might not?

  21. funny, you both rank the Chiefs better in your rankings, but now pick the raiders to win, no contradiction there.

  22. The sudden respect for the Browns by PFT is hilarious. It’s not a great team of course. It’s a young and talented team. If you were a football expert like these people claim to be, they would have noticed that talent earlier and discussed the Browns in an intelligent way.

    The team is young and has a future, but that makes issues like losing Joe Haden for 5 games a real issue. Young teams stumble.

    Now they are 5-3 with Haden in the lineup and PFT has joined the bandwagon. But seeing production from players like Richardson, Weeden and other young players should not be a shock. A real pro football pro would have recognized that instead of dogging them as the worst team in the NFL.

    I have no idea if they will beat Washington, but this is a physical football team, and we’ll see if Shanahan continues to commit coaching malpractice by calling plays for RG3 to run outside the pocket.

  23. I find it amusing that you are all downing the Skins and their entire fanbase over one homer troll in the comment sections. The majority of Skins fans know that the Browns will not be an easy opponent. The team will take the Browns seriously and I hope it’s a good game. Good luck to Browns & Skins.

    PS. The Browns will be a playoff contender very soon. I hope the new owner doesn’t make the mistake of firing either Heckert or Shurmur. Those two guys have done great things in a short amount of time.

  24. And the steelers were NOT desperate last week. All they had to do for a guaranteed spot was win 3 of 4, including the bengal game. Now this cowboy game doesnt even matter since they can just win the last two and get in guaranteed.

  25. How often does the road team win on Thursday night? I don’t know the answer, but traveling and playing on a short week has to be tough on the visitors. If the defense comes to play this will be a contest in Philly.

  26. Pittsburgh a desperate team?

    Not really…just a legitimate contender trying to get healthy.

    Dallas game is meaningless for the Steelers, unless Baltimore loses out..I’m rooting for no more injuries.

    Steelers win the next two at home vs Cinci and Cleve and they are the #6 seed.

  27. Brady going up against the team he grew up rooting for…plus the man he threw a ton of TDs to in Moss. Brady is known for gearing up for statement games and this will be one of them, that’s why he was preparing so early.

    The Niners have something to prove in order to continue to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the NFL. So statement game for both teams.

    Cold weather not an issue for the Niners…unless it’s a snowbowl like the Raider/Pats superbowl.

    One of 2 big SNF games for the Niners and both on the road. So I have no problem with being tagged as the underdog. That’s the smart bet and the Niners play well as the underdog. Looking forward to a close and competitive game and hopefully it will be with a Niner victory!

  28. The Patriots vs 49ers game is definitely a preview of this years Superbowl. My thoughts on this game have changed drastically because of one move made by Harbaugh… Replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick. In my eyes, this was one of the biggest mistakes made by the 49ers coach. Yes, Smith has not always been spectacular, but this year he has been a solid Quarterback making very few mistakes. Kaepernick is a great scrambling, strong armed QB and is definitely the future of the San Francisco 49ers. One thing though, he is young and inexperienced and this will be his downfall, he’s not ready to take the reins. Alex Smith was doing a great job and was primed to lead the team through the playoffs and to a championship. Now, I hate to say it, but Tom Brady and the Patriots are going to run right over the 49ers this week and in the Superbowl where these two teams will meet again. Bad move by Harbaugh.

  29. logicalvoicesays says:
    Dec 13, 2012 10:18 AM
    Cleveland fans need to know their roles and shut their mouths. The Redskins have the best owner, HC, QB, RB, LT, MLB and K in professional football. Add to that 2 top 5 WRs and a calvalcade of classy. lunchpale hardworking players like Kerrigan, Wilson, Paulsen etc. and it’s not hard to see why the Redskins are the hottest team in the NFL and God’s favorite football team. If RGIII can’t go, then Cousins won’t have a problem vs a vastly overrated Browns defense. With RGIII, Redskins win by 28. With Cousins Redskins win by 14. Another week, another victory.


    When is the last time you had a CAT scan?

  30. Vikings 19, Rams 20.

    I’m a Vikings fan, but it’ll come down to Ponder having to throw the ball in the 4th quarter and he won’t be able to get it done….

  31. The QB who desecrated his body which is god’s temple with tattoos is going to have a very bad night!

  32. Way to early to look ahead but if your right; SF @ SEA next week would be for the Division lead in NFC West……….Here’s hoping your right…….

  33. I think Baltimore wants the 4 seed. They are going to take this time to work on their offense and work in their new coordinator, and then hope to play Indy in the first round as opposed to Pittsburgh (likley 6 seed), which will probably go to Denver,if Denver remains the #3 seed. That’s a better matchup for Baltimore. Then they will hope that Houston remains the #1 seed and they play the Texans in Houston. After that, they hope for Pittsburgh to upset Denver and NE and they would host the AFC Championship and avoid a game against NE in NE. So, what I am saying is that if Baltimore struggles with Denver, they will switch to recon mode in case they have to play them again in the playoffs, and lay down and accept the loss. The point spread will likely reflect this. If it’s a pickem’ or Bmore is favored, bet the house on Denver.

  34. “Pittsburgh looks like it’s fading down the stretch.”

    Wow, what an absurd, lazy statement to make. One week after the Steelers beat the Ravens using their 3rd string QB, they lose to the Chargers. Since when is losing one game in a row “fading down the stretch” by any definition? Gee, no typical bias there. Not.

  35. Atlanta will lose big! They are not ready and want be until a coaching change and for big mouth Roddy white to keep his stupid mouth shut. I remember the Falcons who won games and was quite about everything and now you can’t keep mr whites mouth shut.

  36. The SF/NE game should be exciting and fairly close, unless Brady catches fire and blows them away. I expect the Giants to beat Atlanta easily. I have a feeling Seattle will win out. Pack should get by Bears, in a close one. Broncs will beat Ravens. Skins at Browns, with a beat up Rg3, is a tough call; I dunno. Texans will beat Indy, Improving Panthers over SD and Cowboys best Steelers in a close one.

  37. The Pats will put an epic smackdown on the 49r’s and pretty much every team they face for the rest of the year. They are scary good. The only team that has a chance to beat NE… maybe Denver if they meat in the AFC championship game.

  38. Steelers fading down the stretch?
    This is a team that got off to a 2-3 start. And even though they’ve played a ridiculously weak schedule, the Steelers are only 7-6. I’d say “the fad” started several weeks.
    The Steelers have played so many awful teams this season, they’ve turned into one.

  39. Have to agree that I think the Patriots will beat the 49ers as they are rolling at the moment. Said on my blog a couple of weeks ago that I thought the Patriots would be the team to beat in the AFC despite the Texans better record.

  40. Flashback a week ago. Most did not see the crushing defeat of the Texans in Foxboro coming. AJ got his, but Schaub and Watt were largely ineffective as was Foster. Gore is no Foster and Crabapple is no AJ but both lines and the SF D is great. pats by 10 anyway. All w/o Gronk.
    On Monday, Hothead Harbaugh will whine about officiating with veins popping from his over-rated head..
    Back to the bay with tails between legs. Confidence Shattered!

  41. How much does florio hate the lion’s defense? How in the world are the cardinals going to score two tds? defensively I suppose. I guess their QB can only miss a wide open fitzgerald so many times…

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