PFT’s Week 15 picks

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Last week, I managed to claw a chunk out of the three-game lead MDS developed the prior weekend. This week, there’s no way I can gain ground.

In picking the outcomes of the 16 games coming up in Week 15, MDS and I agree on each and every game.

Yes, I was tempted to change a couple of my picks while loading them in. But it’s critical to maintain the integrity of and public confidence in this contest. Given our performance this year, it’s pretty much all we have going for us.

For the week, I was 11-5 and MDS was 10-6. For the year, he’s 132-76 (63.4 percent), and I’m at 130-78 (62.5 percent).

Buccaneers at Rams

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have some good young players who have shown flashes of promise this season. On Thursday night, I think the best young players on the field will be Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley, both of the Rams, and St. Louis will win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Rams 17, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: It could be the last game ever played in St. Louis, at least until the next time they pilfer a team from another city. The uniforms look like ketchup and mustard; the outcome could be be something that no one relishes. (Try the veal. With relish.)

Florio’s pick: Rams 24, Buccaneers 20.

Jets at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Jets’ pass defense is good. The Cowboys’ pass offense is not. Dallas will be shut down offensively.

MDS’s pick: Jets 20, Cowboys 6.

Florio’s take: When the schedule came out, it seemed likely that this late-season prime-time game would have postseason implications for one of the two teams involved. We just thought it would be the other team.

Florio’s pick: Jets 23, Cowboys 13.

Chiefs at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are playing some of the best football in the league right now, and the Ravens are playing some of the worst. Kansas City should win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take: For a trap game to be a trap game, the trap has to be sufficiently potent to operate as a trap. The Ravens are missing the spring, and the cheese has gone rancid.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Ravens 13.

Texans at Colts

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is any good, but someone has to win the AFC South, and I think it’s going to be Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 21, Colts 20.

Florio’s take: The Texans have never won in Indianapolis. Ever. Then again, the Texans have never played the Colts on their home field after Indy gave up 96 points in back-to-back games. Even with T.J. Yates at quarterback, it’s time for the Texans to do what they’ve never done before.

Florio’s pick: Texans 20, Colts 17.

Falcons at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Falcons are cratering, and the Jaguars are improving. This would have seemed crazy a couple months ago, but the Jaguars are the better team right now and should win at home.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 24, Falcons 17.

Florio’s take: It’s battle of former Seahawks defensive coordinators, and essentially a playoff elimination game. With the Jaguars winning by 35 and the Falcons losing by 38, how can I pick Atlanta? (And now Atlanta will win.)

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 30, Falcons 23.

Bears at Vikings

MDS’s take: If the Vikings win out, they win the NFC North. I’m not sure if they’re going to do that, but they’re at least going to stay in contention with a win over the Bears.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 23.

Florio’s take: Not a great opponent? Check. Not a prime-time game? Check. It’s looking like 150 yards or more for Adrian Peterson, a ninth win, and a big step closer to the No. 6 seed.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Bears 20.

Titans at Patriots

MDS’s take: The easiest game on the board to pick. Even with the Patriots struggling through several injuries, they shouldn’t have any trouble with an overmatched Titans team.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Titans 20.

Florio’s take: In 2009, the Patriots beat the Titans 59-0. Could this be worse? Maybe, but I’ll play it a little more safely.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 45, Titans 10.

Panthers at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants desperately need this win. The Giants have a history of beating undefeated teams in big games. Could they do it? Well, they could . . . but I don’t think they will. The Panthers will survive in a close game.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Giants 17.

Florio’s take: The Giants could beat the Panthers, and it wouldn’t be a shock. But Carolina seems to be firing on all cylinders, the Giants are too inconsistent, and the Panthers likely will be able to take New York’s best shot, if the Giants are able to apply it.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 34, Giants 20.

Bills at Washington

MDS’s take: Does anyone want to win the NFC East? Someone has to, but I have a feeling that there will be a three-way tie for first at 6-8 after Washington loses on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bills 21, Washington 20.

Florio’s take: They have the same record, but the Bills are the better team on both sides of the ball. If they uncharacteristically play with discipline, they should be able to pull back to .500.

Florio’s pick: Bills 23, Washington 20.

Packers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders turned in an impressive second-half comeback win over the Broncos on Sunday, but I don’t think they can do it two weeks in a row. The Packers’ offense is going to be too much for the Raiders’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Raiders 21.

Florio’s take: Oakland stole one last week despite having a pathetic offensive output in the first half. The Packers, fully emerged from their November slumber, should be able to avoid letting the Raiders steal one like they did in Denver.

Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Raiders 16.

Browns at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Seahawks may be playing the best football of any team in the NFL right now. They’re going to destroy the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 41, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: Yes, Johnny Manziel has played in more hostile environments. But not with a talent gap like this one.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 44, Browns 20.

Broncos at Steelers

MDS’s take: Brock Osweiler got more credit than he deserved when Denver won a few games after he took over for Peyton Manning. The Broncos will lose their second straight game on Sunday, and we’ll start hearing calls for Manning to return.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: Brock Osweiler or Peyton Manning, it doesn’t matter. The Steelers offense has found its groove, making it good enough to outscore a Denver team that relies on its defense to support a so-so offense.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 34, Broncos 21.

Dolphins at Chargers

MDS’s take: There’s very little reason for anyone to care about this game, but I figure Philip Rivers will play pretty well and San Diego will win.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 23, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: If the Chargers can’t find a way to make it work for what could be the last game they ever play in San Diego, maybe they should fold, not move.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 27, Dolphins 21.

Bengals at 49ers

MDS’s take: If Andy Dalton were healthy, I’d say Cincinnati wins this one easily. With Dalton injured, however, I think Cincinnati will struggle for four quarters before pulling out a late, close win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  A week after losing a trap game to the Browns, the 49ers are reminded that they are the trap game. The Bengals are good enough, even with A.J. McCarron, to avoid stepping in it.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 20, 49ers 13.

Cardinals at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles have played much better on defense and special teams the last couple weeks, but their offense remains problematic. I don’t think they can score enough to keep up with the excellent Cardinals offense.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals are the new America’s Team, with five prime-time games this year. They’re 4-0 so far. Make it five.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Eagles 26.

Lions at Saints

MDS’s take: The NFL schedule makers probably thought this would be a Monday night matchup of two teams fighting for NFC playoff spots, but they thought wrong. It’s a game that there isn’t much reason to watch, but one the Saints should win.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Lions 24.

Florio’s take: Tanks fer nuttin’, April schedule release.

Florio’s pick: Saints 24, Lions 17.

92 responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks

  1. I think the Raiders are better than you think. Raider will beat the Pack to keep their slim playoff hopes on life-support.

  2. Seriously? I don’t care how good the Steelers receivers are, they aren’t putting up 28 or 34 on the Denver D. They may very well win the game, but not by putting up that many points.

  3. Eagles and Giants both pull off big upsets, proving that some pride still exists in the NFCE. Cowboys and Redskins lose because, well, their owners are Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder.

  4. “…a Denver team that relies on its defense to support a so-so offense.”

    That’s a very generous description of Denver’s offense. I would’ve gone with “anemic.”

  5. “The Packers, fully emerged from their November slumber”

    Huh? They were only ahead of the hapless Cowboys 14-7 with less than 5 minutes left in the game lat week. (The Cowboys are 1-8 without Romo this year) How is that fully emerging from their slumber? They lost two home divisional games to two bad teams. The Packers are still overrated.

  6. .
    Pittsburgh’s passing attack versus the Broncos excellent secondary is an interesting game within the game.

    Trap game – Green Bay at Oakland
    .

  7. jlstaud says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:20 AM
    Seriously? I don’t care how good the Steelers receivers are, they aren’t putting up 28 or 34 on the Denver D. They may very well win the game, but not by putting up that many points.

    —-

    Please!!!!

    NE put 24 on them in Denver without there top two WR playing.
    You don’t think the Steelers can put 28 on them at a home ?

  8. The Cardinals are “America’s Team”? Thats rich. Don’t you have to actually have good fans IN your area to have them outside of it? I mean i know nobody is actually from the Phoenix area, and the average age of a fan is 64, but the people that live there now because its sunny, they have thinning skin, and they can drive from parking lot to parking lot all day and shop dont really think they are America’s Team do they?

  9. Everybody keep predicting Arizona to kill the Eagles. We will keep reading this and show up and pull the upset. Pressure and sack palmer a few times and he will fold

  10. As a texans fan, I fully expect the Colts to blow us out. O’Brien can’t win big games, and our offense is atrocious (no QB, no RB, no TE, no O-Line, and one really good receiver).

  11. t8ertot says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:29 AM
    Bengals will win the rest of the season and clinch the second seed, just enough time for Dalton to return to win the Super Bowl

    WHO DEY

    ————–

    Not a chance. If the Bengals are smart, they will try and entice Luck away from the Colts. The Bengals are not going anywhere with the Red Robin.

  12. So then the Eagles are equally America’s team then? 5 Primetime games (Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Cardinals, Redskins) plus a Thanksgiving Day game! Make it 6!

  13. All four NFC East teams will lose this week and it will be almost irrelevant in the standings. Skins and Eagles just need to win their last two games, respectively, and they would be in. Giants need it a little more as they don’t have two divisor games left like Philly and Washington do.

  14. “EY be the team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 26 years”

    If you’re going to talk trash, get your facts straight. 25 years. HUGE difference

  15. mandracchia says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:41 AMEverybody keep predicting Arizona to kill the Eagles. We will keep reading this and show up and pull the upset. Pressure and sack palmer a few times and he will fold
    ——————————

    Say whatever you want, but saying Palmer will fold after being sacked a few times just means you just don’t watch football (or you have putrid green blinders on).

  16. No way the Phins win any of their remaining games… total destruction

    If Ross was the least bit smart about it… Tanny would get benched, better yet cut to avoid an injury guarantee and start the long grind of repairing that miserable cap and getting a real franchise QB in Miami, Tanny is an anchor around the neck

  17. Wish my crystal ball were as clear as come of the folks’ around here.

    Florio has to account for his misses each week.

    Others here just conveniently forget ’em and bluster along.

  18. beastmode5150 says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:39 AM
    The Cardinals are “America’s Team”? Thats rich. Don’t you have to actually have good fans IN your area to have them outside of it? I mean i know nobody is actually from the Phoenix area, and the average age of a fan is 64, but the people that live there now because its sunny, they have thinning skin, and they can drive from parking lot to parking lot all day and shop dont really think they are America’s Team do they?
    =-=-=-=
    Sounds like someone is jealous that they are in second place for the second season in a row. Remember, Carson Palmer owns the Seahawks. The Seahawks only win when he is on the IR. That is why Carson defeated Seattle the last two times they played in Seattle. The Cardinals are America’s Team, and your beastmode will never play another game for the Seahawks.

  19. I love all this Steelers #1 offense talk like they’re not facing the #1 defense. Broncos have an answer for every player on their offense, and then some.

    The storyline of this game is the Broncos offense vs the Steelers dumpster fire defense.

  20. Is week 15 the week Bridgewater finally cracks double-digit TDs for the season? 9 TDs through 13 games is the lowest total for a starting QB in the last 50 years. I bet Manziel gets to 10 before TB does.

    Cutler, Jeffrey, Forte, and Zach Miller will stomp the Vikings!

  21. Florio’s take: The Cardinals are the new America’s Team, with five prime-time games this year. They’re 4-0 so far. Make it five.
    …………………….
    The Giants & Cowboys also have 5 primetime games this year. I’m really struggling to figure out why you continue to insist Arizona is America’s New Team.

  22. iloveagoodnap says:
    The Giants & Cowboys also have 5 primetime games this year. I’m really struggling to figure out why you continue to insist Arizona is America’s New Team.
    ————————

    That’s strictly a Florio term, but fact is that Arizona has overcome the East Coast bias.

    NFCE will be on primetime even if they’re all 2-8. It’s not a quality-of-football thing, but rather a matter of putting the most butts in the seats at home. Sucks, but it’s the reality.

  23. bostonfan4eva says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:40 AM
    Being a Patriots fan living in Wisconsin I tend to agree with Cody, Packers will lose this one.

    Living in Entitlement Town is exhausting!!! UGH !!!
    ———-
    Entitlement Town! HAHAHA Best and most apt moniker ever!

  24. johnniemayes says:
    Dec 17, 2015 12:03 PM
    I love all this Steelers #1 offense talk like they’re not facing the #1 defense. Broncos have an answer for every player on their offense, and then some.

    So stupid!

    I’m not a Steelers fan but to say the “Broncos have a answer for every player on their offense, and then some ” is CRAZY!!!!

    Again, NE put 24 on that D in Denver WITHOUT their top 2 WR playing.

    If you don’t think the steelers will do at least that, you’re crazy.

  25. When Florio said Manziel has played in more hostile environments then the CLINK, what environments was he referring too?

  26. “It could be the last game ever played in St. Louis, at least until the next time they pilfer a team from another city.”

    Someone is really bitter that his prediction is and has been falling apart for months now.

  27. Why doesn’t anyone wanna play against the Seahawks? Especially fans of the NFC Least, declaring that their team at 6-10 is the best in NFC. Stick a fork in them, cause they are done, or one and done.

  28. Let the games unfold…. Denver has a D that will have something to say about this game. Quite possibly the best D in the league. That counts for something! Keep Ben off the field and control the clock… GO BRONCOS

  29. johnniemayes says:
    Dec 17, 2015 12:03 PM
    I love all this Steelers #1 offense talk like they’re not facing the #1 defense. Broncos have an answer for every player on their offense, and then some.

    The Steelers will have the answers for Denver’s offense, that’s for sure. Not the other way around. I believe it will be a fairly close game, maybe lower scoring, but Pittsburgh will come out on top, 20-16.

  30. Even though I hate the cowboys, please stop calling the cardinals “America’s Team”. It makes no sense. The cardinals can’t even fill half their stadium with their own fans let alone have a national following. They are a great team and I give them respect for that. But the “America’s Team” title is kind of a reach.

  31. afty2001 says:Dec 17, 2015 11:16 AM

    Florio, I don’t think you’ve picked the Colts to win a game all year.

    —-

    Which means he’s over .500, right? That makes him better than the Colts…

  32. I think the Raiders are better than you think. Raider will beat the Pack to keep their slim playoff hopes on life-support.
    _____________________________________
    Newsflash. Your all world QB and stud wr managed 125 yards of total offense last week. Beating the Pack, not gonna happen.

  33. The Packers are rejoicing in their win over the Cowboys, they JUUUUUST might get caught napping in Oakland. We all know the NFCN is coming down to the week 17 game with Minnesota… Just to play each other again the following week!

  34. America’s Team is now the Panthers!

    I agree with all the predictions except two:

    Texans 0
    Colts 0

    Broncos 21
    Steelers 20

    What fun that would create. Three NFCE teams at 6-8, and 2 AFCS teams at 6-7-1 with the Jags at 6-8. And the Panthers, Cards, Hawks, Pats, Bengals and Broncos roll merrily along, with the gap between the 6th and 7th best team in the NFL remaining as big as the Milky Way galaxy.

  35. skinnylegspeytonmanning says:
    Dec 17, 2015 1:42 PM

    I think the Raiders are better than you think. Raider will beat the Pack to keep their slim playoff hopes on life-support.
    _____________________________________
    Newsflash. Your all world QB and stud wr managed 125 yards of total offense last week. Beating the Pack, not gonna happen.
    _________________________________
    And the GOAT qb from the Packers only put up 77 yards passing against the same defense a few weeks ago.

  36. Picking all the same is ridiculous. Don’t be afraid to pick an upset for once. They come in 40% of the time as evidenced by your 60% success rate (picking strict favorites each and every week).

  37. whereyaat says:
    Dec 17, 2015 12:01 PM
    beastmode5150 says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:39 AM
    The Cardinals are “America’s Team”? Thats rich. Don’t you have to actually have good fans IN your area to have them outside of it? I mean i know nobody is actually from the Phoenix area, and the average age of a fan is 64, but the people that live there now because its sunny, they have thinning skin, and they can drive from parking lot to parking lot all day and shop dont really think they are America’s Team do they?
    =-=-=-=
    Sounds like someone is jealous that they are in second place for the second season in a row. Remember, Carson Palmer owns the Seahawks. The Seahawks only win when he is on the IR. That is why Carson defeated Seattle the last two times they played in Seattle. The Cardinals are America’s Team, and your beastmode will never play another game for the Seahawks.
    —–

    Fact 1: You never answered my Question.

    Fact 2: Carson palmer has maybe 1 year left, then what do you do?

    Fact 3: No Seattle fan will ever be jealous of a Cardinals “Fan” whatever that is. What is there to be jealous of exactly? That you are in first place in week 15? Super, enjoy that, we will enjoy the march to the THIRD STRAIGHT superbowl, with possibly ANOTHER ring.

  38. whereyaat says:

    Cardinals 87, Eagles 19. You can take it to the bankkkkkkkk!

    ——————————————————————

    Don’t forget to post a pic after the game of you eating your hat.

  39. Florio bases his determination of “America’s Team” on prime time appearances but doesn’t know that the Eagles, who are playing his America’s Team, have 6 prime time games and a Thanksgiving game this year.

  40. We might be in the NFC (L)East as you flyover states like to call us but here’s the fact…..the NFL would fold if there was no NFCE. On the other hand, if there was ONLY the NFCE, the league wouldn’t miss a step without your yawner franchises. It’s about the big city, historic franchises that we’d ALL watch if all that were on was an NFCE round robin every Sunday. That’s the truth haters.

    Oh….by the way….one of us is gonna knock out the Seahawks for you in Rd 1 and you’re all gonna be thankful.

  41. Florio’s take: When the schedule came out, it seemed likely that this late-season prime-time game would have postseason implications for one of the two teams involved. We just thought it would be the other team.
    =====================================
    I have a “Magic 8 Ball” that decides better than you.

  42. The Giants & Cowboys also have 5 primetime games this year. I’m really struggling to figure out why you continue to insist Arizona is America’s New Team

    The part about being 4-0 in them so far has something to do with it.

  43. footballfan825 says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:44 AM
    Hopefully all the teams with higher scores win their games. That would be AWESOME!!! Football!!
    ——————–
    Yeah….but this is Goodell’s NFL…I wouldn’t count on it.

  44. broncodanny says:
    Dec 17, 2015 12:53 PM

    Let the games unfold…. Denver has a D that will have something to say about this game. Quite possibly the best D in the league. That counts for something! Keep Ben off the field and control the clock… GO BRONCOS
    ————————————

    Enough with all of this Broncos “no weaknesses” defense talk.

    Any defense that lets the Browns take them to overtime is marginal, at best.

  45. Vikings fans are so cute! Haha. Talking about how bad the Packers are, then explain it with the dumbest comments ever! If Green Bay is so bad, and they blew the Vikings out a few weeks ago, what does that make the Vikings? The Vikings must really suck if the Packers beat them, right?

    Week 17 won’t be for anything. The Packers will have the division wrapped up after week 16 and take a two game lead into a meaningless finale. Week 17 will see the Vikings looking for their 9th win and needing help to get the last wildcard spot. That is the most likely scenario.

  46. whereyaat says:
    Dec 17, 2015 11:27 AM

    It’s pretty obvious that America would like to see Johnny Manziel destroy Seattle. Go Browns!
    ———-

    ahh what was that??? oh it was just a monkey flying out of my butt…..

  47. The Current Super Bowl winner is Americas team, at
    least that is what sales figures say.
    The Cowboys are no more America’s team than any of the other 32 teams the Cowboys just passed a $50 to the announcer to self promote and the people in Texas bought it.

  48. The Seahawks are playing great and Wilson will have a chance for 6 TD completions. The NFL should just close down a bunch of these woeful teams, you know who they are ! They never get better even though they all have a chance!

  49. I think ppl underestimate how hard Philly plays Arizona. If it wasn’t for one missed assignment by Williams and Allen last year on a lucky John Brown bomb, the Bird would be up 2-0 on Arian’s Cards. Don’t be shocked if they beat them. Although for me, it wouldn’t be a big surprise!

  50. So MM barged into the Pack O-coordinator’s office and grabbed away the laminated play call sheet last week and the Vikings are the ones panicking?

  51. hje118 says:
    I think ppl underestimate how hard Philly plays Arizona. If it wasn’t for one missed assignment by Williams and Allen last year on a lucky John Brown bomb, the Bird would be up 2-0 on Arian’s Cards. Don’t be shocked if they beat them. Although for me, it wouldn’t be a big surprise!
    —————————-
    And if it wasn’t for one ticky-tack defensive holding call (which wasn’t) on an interception in 2013, the Cardinals would have walked away winners from that one. But I guess you’re either new to football or only see things one way.

    PS, the John Brown, JJ Nelson et al “bombs” have happened many times since then. No luck involved.

  52. Eagles might surprise the Cardinals, but the reality is the winner of the Redskins game wins the division. Fletcher Cox lives in Eli Manning’s head, so that game should be winnable.

  53. I am still trying to figure out the basis for saying “Denver has a great defense”. Have you looked at their schedule? They’ve had one impressive performance by the defense. That was the Packer game.
    Hell, even the Chiefs avg 26 pts per game against them.
    I think they are going to get blown out by the Steelers 37-20, with a Broncos TD in garbage time.

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