PFT’s Week 15 picks


With three weeks left, MDS now has to make up four games.  With only one disagreement this week, it won’t be easy for him to do it.

That’s a shame.

Last week, I swept our two disagreements (thanks, Steelers and Seahawks) en route to a 12-4 mark.  MDS went 10-6.

For the year, I’m now at 137-71 (65.8 percent).  MDS comes in at 133-75 (63.9 percent).

For all picks in this weekend’s games, keep scrolling.

Cardinals at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams’ defense is playing great football lately, with two straight shutouts. Granted, Oakland and Washington aren’t exactly the NFL’s hottest offenses, but I don’t care who you’re playing — it’s hard to hold other teams scoreless for eight straight quarters in today’s NFL. The Cardinals’ offense has struggled with Drew Stanton at the helm, and I think they’ll continue to struggle in St. Louis.

MDS’s pick: Rams 17, Cardinals 10.

Florio’s take:  The Rams have pitched a pair of shutouts.  The Cardinals are hoping not to get shut out of the playoffs.  I used to the captain of the Arizona bandwagon.  I’ve now bought stock in the once and future L.A. Rams.

Florio’s pick:  Rams 20, Cardinals 17.

MDS’s take: If Julio Jones is healthy enough to play, he’ll have a big game against the Steelers’ bad secondary. But the Steelers’ offense is rolling right now, and the Falcons’ defense is a mess. I like Pittsburgh to win a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 38, Falcons 28.

Florio’s take:  The last three times these teams have played, the games have gone to overtime.  Once, it was a tie.  Once, the Falcons won.  Once, the Steelers won.  This one also will be tied.  At the opening kickoff.  After that, a Steelers team that won by 21 in Cincinnati will finally start to show real consistency with the playoffs looming.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 27, Falcons 20.

Jaguars at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens just need to win out to make the playoffs. Facing the Jaguars is a good way to start. Baltimore will roll in this one.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 33, Jaguars 16.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens have finally begun finding their way out of the weeds.  The Jags have gotten comfortable snoozing in them.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Jaguars 10.

Packers at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills’ pass rush might be able to rattle Aaron Rodgers and make this a closer game than most people would think. In the end, however, I think the Packers manage to win a competitive game.

MDS’s pick: Packers 20, Bills 17.

Florio’s take:  Kyle Orton vs. Aaron Rodgers.  Kyle Orton.  Versus Aaron Rodgers.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 37, Bills 17.

Buccaneers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Panthers have beaten the Bucs without Cam Newton once this season, and they can do it again. Carolina remains in contention in the NFC South while Tampa Bay remains in contention for the first overall pick in the draft.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs didn’t think it was funny the last time they saw Derek Anderson, and they won’t think it’s funny again.  Panthers get a step closer to an unlikely division title, and the Bucs get a step closer to an unexpected top-three draft pick.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 23, Buccaneers 17.

Bengals at Browns

MDS’s take: Can Johnny Manziel provide the Browns’ offense with a spark? That’s the big question for this game, and I think the answer is yes.  Manziel will make enough plays with his arm and his feet, and the Browns’ defense will do well enough against Andy Dalton, that Cleveland’s playoff hopes will stay alive.

MDS’s pick: Browns 21, Bengals 14.

Florio’s take:  Last month, the Browns beat the Bengals by 21, with Brian Hoyer under center.  This month, it would be fitting if it goes the other way.  But Johnny Football will make his debut as an NFL starter only once.  Throw in the extra motivation that Manziel may have from the remarks of Marvin Lewis, and the 2014 Browns may not be done just yet.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 24, Bengals 21.

Texans at Colts

MDS’s take: If the Colts win, they clinch the AFC South, and that’s exactly what I expect to see. I have some doubts about how well Indianapolis will do in January because I’m not sold the Colts have a good enough defense or running game, but there’s no doubt that Indianapolis will be playing a home game in January.

MDS’s pick: Colts 34, Texans 20.

Florio’s take:  The Texans have never won at Indianapolis.  Next year, we’ll be saying the same thing.  Even if it’s not pretty for the Colts to get to where they need to be at the end of the game, they’ll find a way.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 30, Texans 21.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Could the Raiders do the unthinkable and sweep the Chiefs this season? I’m not seeing it. Kansas City is still fighting for a playoff spot and should beat Oakland easily.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take:  A loss at Oakland sparked a three-game losing streak that threatens to keep Kansas City out of the postseason.  A loss to Oakland at home would clinch it.  Surely, the Chiefs won’t let it happen.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Raiders 17.

Dolphins at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Patriots clinch the AFC East with a win, and they’ll get it against the Dolphins, who are a good team but have a tough road to the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 21, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take:  This year, the Dolphins commenced their late-season, playoff-missing slide a little earlier than last year.  It continues against a Patriots team that needs only to sweep its division rivals to nail down home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 31, Dolphins 20.

Washington at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants have already blown out Washington once this season, and I think they’ll do it again. The way Washington is playing, I might not pick them on the road against anyone.

MDS’s pick: Giants 34, Washington 10.

Florio’s take:  A late-season winning streak for the Giants could have been enough to save some jobs.  If it had started sooner.  Instead, the end is coming in New York.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Washington 13.

Broncos at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Broncos clinch the AFC West with a win, and I think they’ll get it. What’s so impressive about Denver right now is that it’s winning not with big games from Peyton Manning, but with a good running attack and a good run defense. That’s going to make the Broncos a tough team to beat in January.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 14.

Florio’s take:  The Broncos need to find a higher gear on offense if they hope to go deep into the postseason.  On Sunday, they will.  The running game has blossomed and the passing game is ready to flourish again, especially with tight end Julius Thomas ready to return after three weeks off with an ankle injury.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 30, Chargers 23.

Jets at Titans

MDS’s take: This game matters only in that both teams are still in the hunt for the first overall pick in the draft, and both teams are sure to be interested in Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. If you’re a fan of either the Jets or the Titans, you should probably root for your team to lose on Sunday so that it can win a higher draft pick. I think the Titans’ fans will go away happy because the Jets will win.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  The loser wins on draft day.  The winner loses.  So everyone wins.  And everyone loses.  And no one cares.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 13, Titans 9.

Vikings at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions conclude their season with three straight divisional opponents, and they have a simple path to the playoffs: Win two games and they’re a wild card, win three and they win the NFC North. They should get it started with a big win on Sunday, as Teddy Bridgewater will struggle against a tough Detroit defense at Ford Field.

MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings continue an unlikely push to .500, but the Lions aren’t the Lions the Vikings had dominated not that long ago.  And the Lions know they don’t have much of a margin for error if they hope to get to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 30, Vikings 21.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I think the Seahawks are going to be motivated not just to win this game, but to embarrass the 49ers. This one could get ugly, as the Seahawks are peaking and the 49ers are collapsing.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, 49ers 3.

Florio’s take:  In this crazy year of upside-down outcomes, it would be fitting for the 49ers to chase a loss to the woeful Raiders with a win over the defending Super Bowl champions who are peaking once again.  But even in a season of surprises, the Seahawks slipping up against a sliding San Francisco team still goes beyond any plausible outcome.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 23, 49ers 10.

Cowboys at Eagles

MDS’s take: Philadelphia can’t actually clinch the NFC East on Sunday night, but it can come pretty close by taking a one-game lead and completing the season sweep over Dallas. That’s what I’m expecting to see, as Chip Kelly will get his offense straightened out and the Eagles will score plenty on the Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 35, Cowboys 21.

Florio’s take:  Last time around, the Cowboys weren’t ready to be competitive after only three days off — especially with a quarterback who never practices on the third day after playing.  This time, the Cowboys have had extra rest and the Eagles have to be wondering whether they can compete with the best teams in the conference.  Last week’s loss to the Seahawks suggests they can’t, which could make it harder for them to match the intensity that the Cowboys will bring to Philly while chasing their elusive 10th win.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 30, Eagles 27.

Saints at Bears

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been major disappointments, but the difference is the Saints still have something to play for in their lousy division. I like New Orleans to take this one.

MDS’s pick: Saints 20, Bears 13.

Florio’s take:  The up and down Saints can’t win at home, can’t lose on the road.  But they’re still tied for first place, and they’ll either be trying to keep pace with the Falcons or to move ahead of them with a win against the team for which coach Sean Payton played quarterback during the 1987 strike.  Eventually, the Bears may need a replacement for their current quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Bears 24.

70 responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks

  1. Take the over on the hawks niners point spread. Vegas has it as 10 but the hawks will win by 20. That team is disappearing faster than niner fans on these comment boards.

  2. 10 days off, an attitude and a rested QB. This is pretty much it, for the division. This game will tell everyone a lot. Let’s see if we can go 7-0 on the road!

  3. Vikings will shock the Lions.

    Bridgewater quietly has been getting a lot better. Lions enter this trap game.

  4. The Redskins game with the New York team will probably be closer than the projected scores here.

  5. Of the 9 Raiders v Chiefs games since 2010 the Raiders are up 6 – 3 over them.

    Doesn’t really mean anything other than that when these 2 teams get together records really don’t matter. Especially with the spoiler role being in effect this week.

  6. Time for Watt to rid my Texans of this Colts’ curse.

    Foster is running the ball well, and our defense is leading the league in takeaways.

    Time for an upset.

  7. Seahawks will top the power rankings next week on their way to another SuperBowl title. I told you last year. I’m telling you this year. Seattle is the best team in a decade.

  8. Jim Harblaah will take his punk QB with him to the Raiders and the 49ers will get Derek Carr in return.

  9. I don’t buy that the Cowboys weren’t ready for Thanksgiving. They play on Thanksgiving EVERY year. It should already be built into the team schedule. It should have been the Eagles that weren’t ready going on the road in a short week.

  10. I sure hope the Packers don’t take the Bills lightly. With that defense they are scary. I still think Rodgers ends up outscoring them but I doubt it will be easy.

  11. The only way the Vikings beat the Lions is if the Lions give them the game. If the Lions have 1 turnover of less they will win. Ziggy Ansah is going to eat Matt Kalil’s lunch again.

  12. I am tired of everyone complaining that the Cowboys only had 3 days to prepare for the Thanksgiving game against the Eagles. The Eagles only had 3 days as well, and one of those days was a travel day.

  13. The Dolphins secondary is hampered by injuries. They don’t have the personnel to keep up with all the Patriots offensive weapons on the road.

  14. Packers will not put up 37 on the Bills defense just like someone on here said the Broncos would put up 40. Packers may win in a close one, but Buffalo has the best front four in the NFL and best pass rush in the NFL. And the Bills will score against the Packers….that defense isn’t very good. Broncos defense is way better and the Bills scored 17. Game will be a close one either way.

  15. I believe the Eagles only had 3 days off before the Thanksgiving game too, plus had to travel. The cowboys defense is terrible and will get worked again. Stop making excuses for them, they play at home on thanksgiving every year.

  16. As a Cards fan I start to feel better when everyone starts doubting my team….They play much better with a chip on their shoulder. They only lost those two games when everyone STARTED to believe they were for real. Feeling good about tonight.

  17. I hate to agree, but I think the Chargers have a tough game to beat the Broncos. I do think the Niners and Chiefs are winnable games, though, but I don’t see a deep playoff run. I hope I get proven wrong!

    Bolt Up!

  18. I’m thinking the Rams take down the Cards. That defense is downright nasty. The Cards won’t be able to establish a running game and Stanton will be running for his life.

  19. Hope the Cardinals can pull off a win tonight to more less shore up a playoff spot. Cause with a Seattle & albeit fading SF to close the season it could get really dicey. Would be a shame for them to miss the playoffs after that 9-1 start. Not gonna be easy tho, STL is rolling and visiting teams records on the short week is abysmal.

  20. The Steelers won their last game of the season against the Ben-Gals. Sorry…your season’s over, Pittsburgh.

    You’re closing out 0-3…

  21. This isn’t Orton vs Rodgers. It’s the Bills vs the Packers. Last time I checked Rodgers won’t be covering Bill’s receivers. Last time they played Orton’s TEAM won.
    Disclaimer: I’m a Packer fan….

  22. Dolphins NEED to keep it close & knock Brady around & it’ll be a Fins win but I’m sure Philbin will choke against the division rival like he always does!!! FIRE PHILBIN!!! TRY TO WIN GO FINS!!!

  23. Regarding the Browns – the guy who’s never even played the Bengals will beat them, while the guy who beat them 24-3 a month ago is on the bench?

    Bengals win this one, and Pettine has egg on his face.

  24. As a Pats fan, you come to appreciate not just wins, but artistry. Like the time the Bills beat us 31-0 to start the season, and then we ended the season at 14-2 by beating them … 31-0. Won a SB that year too, as I recall. If you think Belichick hasn’t had Miami circled on the schedule after the week 1 loss, think again.

  25. Cowboys over Eagles is a good pick, Florio. Teams that play Seattle have lost the following week seven straight times. The Seattle defense takes two weeks to recover from.

  26. What is everyone going to when the Steelers win?
    I think it will sound something like….Waaaaa waaaaa waaaaaa

  27. I suppose that this week Packer fans should hold their noses and hope the Heidis win.
    Can’t see it happening in Detroit though…

  28. Eagles just had their ten game home winning streak snapped last week in a most brutal way by a true champion.
    They will not lose two in a row and Dallas will not be 7-0 in road games Sunday night.
    Eagles win with points to spare.

    Regarding the Cardinals it’s not a question of if they can win but more of how than can win. The Rams are a huge roadblock for them.
    Rams win this game in a punishing way.

    If the Cardinals lose and a win by the Seahawks puts Seattle into first place with a win in front of a home crowd there is nothing from the 49ers, past or present, can prevent Seattle from a win.
    Seahawks win with defense showing the way again.

  29. Lol what happened to thursday’s game?

    You know, the one where both you guys picked the Rams to win! lol

  30. Last time around, the Cowboys weren’t ready to be competitive after only three days off — especially with a quarterback who never practices on the third day after playing. This time, the Cowboys have had extra rest and the Eagles have to be wondering whether they can compete with the best teams in the conference. Last week’s loss to the Seahawks suggests they can’t, which could make it harder for them to match the intensity that the Cowboys will bring to Philly while chasing their elusive 10th win.


    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Don’t forget that the Eagles had the same amount of time off as well. Stop hobknobbing the flippin Cowgirls and making excuses as to why they are what they are. Their cinderella season is about over.

  31. My Pack are 2-2 against top ten defenses, with a last second score to not be 1-3. Buffalo is about 3rd/4th in overall defense so far this year. The Packers will need to get a +2 in turnover margin to win this game. Anything less than that, they will lose. My gut tells me they won’t accomplish the margin.

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