PFT’s Week 15 picks

Getty Images

With three weeks left, MDS has taken the lead.

By correctly picking the Panthers to beat the Chargers, he finished 12-4. I picked the Chargers, which has left me at 11-5 and one game back with 48 more games to pick.

This week, we disagree on two of the prime-time games, including the biggest game of the weekend. Every pick for Week 16 appears below.

Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Jeff Fisher era is over, but the losing is not. The Seahawks aren’t playing their best football right now, but they’re playing well enough that they should easily dispatch a Rams team that’s been through a rough week.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 10.

Florio’s take: Jeff Fisher’s non-excuse for losing this one would be that the Rams fired their head coach only three days before the game.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 35, Rams 13.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: Despite losing Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins will remain in the playoff hunt thanks to their easy schedule. They shouldn’t need Tannehill to beat the Jets.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 10.

Florio’s take: Matt Moore was the team MVP in 2011, and he has the experience to get it done with limited time to prepare. The Jets got an unlikely win in San Francisco; they can take another night off, like they did against the Colts.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Jets 17.

Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: The Bears are playing better than anyone could have expected given that three quarterback injuries have left them with Matt Barkley, who wasn’t even on the roster four months ago. Still, they’re not playing well enough to beat the Packers.

MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Bears 17.

Florio’s take: The Bears would surely love to play spoiler for their biggest rivals, but the Packers are firing on all cylinders. And a one-legged Aaron Rodgers would still run rings around a fully-functioning Matt Barkley.

Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Bears 17.

Jaguars at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans aren’t a particularly good team, but they keep finding ways to beat their divisional opponents, and that should be enough to win the AFC South.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Jaguars 14.

Florio’s take: The Texans are making a push for another short stint in the playoffs. The Jaguars had a short stint with relevance in 2016.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 13.

Browns at Bills

MDS’s take: If Rex Ryan wants to avoid Jeff Fisher’s fate, beating the Browns is a must. He’ll have his players ready to play.

MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: It would be fitting for the suddenly dysfunctional Bills to become the first team to lose to the Browns in more than a full year. And if this one were being played in Cleveland, the Browns would be the pick. The Bills will find a way to win this one, despite their best efforts to find ways to lose it.

Florio’s pick: Bills 23, Browns 16.

Eagles at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens are still fighting for a playoff spot, while the Eagles appear to be pretty much out of fight. I like Baltimore to win this one handily.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 30, Eagles 13.

Florio’s take: Baltimore knows that stakes: Run the table, get to the playoffs. They’ll have an easier time against the team from the eastern side of Pennsylvania.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 23, Eagles 10.

Titans at Chiefs

MDS’s take: In a game with AFC playoff implications for both teams, I like the Chiefs to maintain first place in the AFC West with a solid victory.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 27, Titans 17.

Florio’s take: It’ll be 11 degrees on Sunday in Kansas City. For a young quarterback who grew up in Hawaii, that’s probably too much for an overachieveing team to handle.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 20, Titans 10.

Lions at Giants

MDS’s take: This may be the most intriguing game on the schedule. Both the Lions and the Giants still have an outside shot of earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. But both teams are still at risk of missing the playoffs entirely as well. I’ll pick the Giants to win a close game at home.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Lions 23.

Florio’s take: A pair of 9-4 teams get together with plenty at stake. The Lions will keep it close, but home-field advantage plus the confidence that comes from sweeping the Cowboys is the difference for the Giants.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Lions 20.

Colts at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Colts threw away their best chance to win the AFC South last week. This week I think the Vikings will finish them off, while keeping their own playoff hopes alive.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 17, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: A pair of underachieving teams meet in a de facto elimination game. Both eventually will be eliminated. The Colts get eliminated a little sooner.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Colts 17.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Steelers are closing in on the AFC North title, and they should take care of business in Cincinnati.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 37, Bengals 21.

Florio’s take: The Bengals have improved in recent weeks, but the Steelers are hitting their stride and the Bengals are simply playing out the string. This time around, the Steelers won’t need a pair of 15-yard penalties to snatch a season-extending win.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Bengals 20.

Saints at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have had disappointing seasons: When the schedule came out, few thought this would be a meaningless game in the NFC playoff race. I think the Cardinals are playing a little harder down the stretch, however, and will pull out this game at home.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 21, Saints 14.

Florio’s take: Pride is on the line, but not much more, as a pair of potential contenders punch another stop on their way to getting the season over with. David Johnson is the difference.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Saints 24.

49ers at Falcons

MDS’s take: This is the easiest game on the board to pick, as the Falcons are fighting for the NFC South title and the 49ers are a mess.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 38, 49ers 14.

Florio’s take: An old-school NFC West rivalry isn’t nearly as compelling as it once was, with the 49ers losing 12 in a row. The Falcons can’t afford a hiccup, given the unlikely ascension of the Buccaneers.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, 49ers 17.

Patriots at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos’ excellent pass defense should hold Tom Brady in check, but the Patriots’ defense won’t yield many points, and New England will win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 16, Broncos 13.

Florio’s take: The Bill Belichick/Tom Brady Patriots have struggled in Denver, but Trevor Siemian falls closer to the Danny Kannell/Tim Tebow category than Jake Plummer/Peyton Manning/pre-Texans Brock Osweiler.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Broncos 20.

Raiders at Chargers

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the Chargers in the upset, as I think they’re better than their record suggests, while the Raiders aren’t quite as good as their record suggests. But with the Raiders playing for the playoffs and the Chargers playing for nothing, I’ll say Oakland makes a big play in the fourth quarter to turn the game.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Chargers 21.

Florio’s take: In their final visit to San Diego, the Raiders give the locals another reason to not be upset about the team’s looming relocation.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chargers 17.

Buccaneers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Bucs are one of the hottest teams in football right now, but I think Dak Prescott is going to bounce back from a rough game last week and turn in a big game this week.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 31, Buccaneers 24.

Florio’s take: The Buccaneers have made far more accomplished quarterbacks look like rookies this year. What will they do to a rookie? We’ll know it when we see it.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Cowboys 23.

Panthers at Washington

MDS’s take: Carolina is long since out of it, while Washington remains in the thick of the playoff race. Washington will be motivated to turn in a big performance in a must-win game.

MDS’s pick: Washington 28, Panthers 20.

Florio’s take: With their own playoff hopes dashed, the Panthers would love to do the same to Josh Norman’s.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Washington 24.

51 responses to “PFT’s Week 15 picks

  1. The league’s only saving grace at this point is a playoff qualification structure that keeps nearly all teams on their toes until the final few weeks of the regular season. So look for Goodell to screw it up by adding more weeks to the season and more below average wild card slots. I would bet all fourteen of my dollars that there is a PowerPoint to this effect in his office right now.

  2. Special Teams Matter – Message to my favorite team, the Patriots. If they cough it up like they did against Baltimore, they will lose in Denver. Play mistake free and account for Von Miller like you did Suggs and we’ll all feel better.

  3. Dolphins 16 Jets 10 low scoring game until Petty throws a pick and gives Miami the lift that it needs. Chiefs 31 Titans 17 Arrowhead has to be the hardest place to play in the league. Even though Titans did outclass the Broncos, the Chiefs have a better offense and a better defense. Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, I think the Patriots will lose this week to the Broncos 23 to 17. Broncos are desperate and their defense will hit Tom Brady enough times to win the game. However, the Patriots will win the rest of their games and will secure a first round bye only question is will the Chiefs slip up? I’d love to be wrong, but Denver with their backs up against the wall is a dangerous team much more so than the Ravens are.

  4. I worry about my Lions against a team like the Giants, or against anyone really, but the Lions have been playing for 60 minutes. Anything can happen. Still, that offense needs to score TD’s.

  5. How do you get someone to give their Sunday and go outside to freeze while watching the Browns vs. the Bills?

    It’s like be sentenced to the Soviet Gulag!

  6. Bears game has “trap” written all over it as Packers look ahead to Vikings and Lions.
    Still, the Ty Montgomery “Running Backs? We don’t need no stinking Running Backs!” experiment is going pretty well, so maybe the Pack will escape.

  7. Florio’s take: It’ll be 11 degrees on Sunday in Kansas City. For a young quarterback who grew up in Hawaii, that’s probably too much for an overachieveing team to handle.

    Florio’s pick: Chiefs 20, Titans 10
    That can’t possibly be your main reason to pick the Chiefs over the Titans.

    1. The Titans won last week when Mariota had 6 completions for 88 yards.
    2. It will be his coldest game ever, but he played 3 years at Oregon, which is not exactly the sunshine state.
    3. The main focus of their offense is DeMarco Murray. I don’t think he grew up in Hawaii.
    4. The Chiefs rushing defense isn’t doing well (27th in Rushing YPG allowed).

  8. This Bucs vs Cowboys game is going to be extremely entertaining. Very excited to see how this one plays out against two of the leagues best. Slight bias here, but i’m going with the hot hand Bucs 31 Cowboys 20. Think Winston has his 2015 eagles game come out on the big stage.

  9. Denver will find a way to hold serve against New England. That altitude is the single greatest home field advantage in sports.

    But I don’t see New England losing home field advantage until they can officially mail it in against the Dolphins.

    This means I expect some upsets, like Tennessee over Kansas City and the Chargers over the Raiders.

  10. The Patriots will pitch a shut out on Sunday. I don’t see how the Broncos score any points. Also Blunt will rush for over 120 yards. The game will get ugly for the Broncos.

  11. Detroit 16
    GIANTS 24
    Tampa bay 26
    Dallas 20
    Do you hear the footsteps Dallas they are getting loud
    Go GIANTS!!!!!!!
    Not really. 2 game lead with 3 to go. Maybe they can hear footsteps but they are way off in the distance and we are at the finish line. Dallas has to go 2-1 in the final 3 and there would be nothing the Giants could do about it. Conversely is the Giants go 2-1 they are screwed. 2-1 is likely considering the last 2 are away against their own division.

    PS-giving that Giants offense 24 points is pretty gracious considering they have only hit that number 4 times….And the Lions have only given that much up 3 times all year.

  12. Expect BB, JM, MP, & TB among others, to have a little extra gas in the tank as they work to correct for last year’s disappointing loss.

    It was far and away the real Super Bowl

    Matt Patricia rolled out some nice D schemes last week, this should be fun.

    Dante Scharnecchia will need some of that extra gas to keep Denver’s pass rush off balance.

    Bill will be going for his Christmas stocking early to challenge NFL’s official tilt against NE.

    I have it on good authority (ok, I’m guessing) that Josh is scheming nifty new plays to compensate for losses in the receiver corps.

  13. Broncos 21-17. They will force two turnovers and convert them into points, and that will be the difference. They will also do a good job of containing LeGarrette Blount.

  14. Packers – Bears — pick ’em.

    If Green Bay wins, it ties up the all-time series between the teams. That has not happened since, what, 1921?

  15. Can’t wait to have Barkley make you eat your words, Flobie. Look for California boy Rodgers to look like Brett Favre did in his last game at Soldier Field- shell-shocked and ready to retire.

    Bear. Down.

  16. Raiders are 10-3. Like Parcells said you are what your record says you are. Geeks like to look at point differential – it’s like the popular vote, meaningless. Stop the crying.

  17. The Vikings are underachieving with the loss of their starting quarterback, running back, their offensive line and a few defenders?

    The ones who are underacheiving are the preseason superbowl media favorite Packers.

  18. New England has the 7th ranked rushing offense and Denver has the 28th ranked rushing defense. That will be the difference between this Sunday and the AFC championship. Back in January NE went into that game with the wilted husk of Stephen Jackson. They have Blount, Lewis, and White all healthy this time around. Once Denver has to focus on the run that will soften up the defense enough for Brady to do enough damage to keep it out of reach for Denver at the end.

  19. It would be classic Browns to scrap out a win in 1 of these last 3 games and lose the 1st overall pick to the 49ers.


  20. Brutally cold in both Chicago and Kansas City this weekend. Regardless of who wins, is there not a case to be made that the games will be low scoring and fairly close?

  21. Florio would Pick the Packers vs, the 85 Bears. He’s so in the bag for wanting to hang with Arron Rodgers it’s laughable. The Packers are a joke without Sharon Rodgers. With a flat tire in one leg and the other leg slightly deflated, the Bears defense should bring plenty of heat in what could be the coldest game in history.

    If Mariotta from Hawaii can’t handle the cold, eh expects the Dram King known as Sharon Rodgers to to do better? Good stuff!

  22. There’s a lot of money to be made looking at Florio’s pick in the Lions game and then doing the opposite.

  23. It’s funny that posters can come on here and make wild, false insinuations. But I post thought provoking comments and they get removed.

    Time to go to a new sports blog!

  24. tformation says:
    Dec 15, 2016 12:54 PM
    Can’t wait to have Barkley make you eat your words, Flobie. Look for California boy Rodgers to look like Brett Favre did in his last game at Soldier Field- shell-shocked and ready to retire.
    Bear. Down.
    It’s great to finally see a Bears fan on this site, besides the insightful Bassplucker. But Favre’s last games in Soldier field were as a Vacuous Viking, so I’m missing your point.

  25. Dak Prescott is the surprise of the year in the NFL, EXCEPT for my Buccaneers!! If this game had been earlier in the year, the Bucs would have lost to a HOT Prescott. However, it’s flipped now and the Bucs are HOT, while Dak is cooling down quickly. Too much time to look at film and to find his weaknesses and the Bucs defense is getting stronger by game. They made Drew Brees look like RGIII instead of a future HOF’er.

    I don’t think it will be that close, about 24-13, Bucs!!

  26. The Lions have won their last game of the 2016 season, barely, against the hapless Bears no less. Most High School JV teams could beat these Bears like a rented mule. Oh so close, you almost had it. Oh well, maybe next year, or not.
    The Queens are falling faster than the snow and temperatures in Minnesota. Their fortunes are heading south like the ducks and geese. They may eek out a win against the Colts, but thats about it. Oh well, maybe next year, or not.
    The Bears still suck, Thats all there’s to it, plan and simple. Oh well, maybe next decade, or not.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.