Thursday, December 16, 2010

JC's Take: NFL Week 15 Picks

JC's Take: NFL Week 15 Picks

Hey everyone, welcome back for my Week 15 picks. Lots of good games this week so lets get right to it!

San Francisco 49ers vs San Diego Chargers
Both of these team are coming off of big wins this past week. The 49ers took care of Seattle, and have come within a game of the lead in the NFC West, even at 5-8. The Chargers shutout the Chiefs 31-0 and are also a game back in their division. It seems like the Chargers may have gotten their traditional December swagger back. The 49ers, meanwhile, still have Alex Smith at QB. While he played well last week, I find it hard to bank on two straight solid performances from him. The Chargers still have one of the best offenses in the league, as well as one of the best defenses. I like the Chargers here to continue their run back to the top of the AFC West.

San Diego 31  San Francisco 17

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals
The Battle of Ohio is pretty much the Battle of Blah this late in the season. Probably nobody thought the Browns would have a better record than the Bengals this late in the season. I'm surprised it took this long, but the wheels are finally coming off in Cincy. T.O. is calling out the coaches and management for the bad season. Still no word from Ochocinco, but I think he knows better by now to keep his mouth shut. Colt McCoy should be back at QB for the Browns this week, and that's good news for them. Jake Delhomme is not a great QB, and should probably consider retirement at the end of the year. If McCoy starts, I like the Browns chances. Their still trying, where as I'm sure the Bengals packed it in three weeks ago.

Cleveland 20  Cincinnati 17

Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys
I'm sure people who love this classic NFC East rivalry thought this game would mean more this late in the season. Instead, both teams are floundering. The Redskins are in disarray, and Donovan McNabb may not even start this week. Just another great investment by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. The Cowboys are keeping games competitive, but fell short last week against Philadelphia. They were torched by Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson. Good news for the Cowboys is that the Redskins hardly have any weapons on offense for the Cowboys to worry about. The Boys win this one at home.

Dallas 30  Washington 20

Houston Texans vs Tennessee Titans
This game could easily be called the Disappointment Bowl. The Texans came into this season with high expectations, but they've again faultered into mediocrity. The Titans were in first place in the AFC South at the midway point, but they've lost six straight and their seems to be a schism growing in the locker room. The Texans played hard on Monday night but couldn't finish the deal against the Ravens. The Titans almost cameback against Indy but couldn't pull it off. If I had to pick a winner, I guess I'd go with Houston since they seem to still be trying. And keep an eye out for Andre Johnson vs Cortland Finnegan Round 2.

Houston 23  Tennessee 16

Kansas City Chiefs vs St. Louis Rams
It's not time to hit the red alert button in Kansas City, but I might be worried if I scored zero points against San Diego, even with Brodie Croyle at QB. Now they have to go to St. Louis and play a young Rams team that is very good at home. Matt Cassel is back practicing with the Chiefs, and he is expected to play this week. That's good news for them. The Rams are still in first in the NFC West, but they need to keep winning to maintain that spot. They also need to hope Sam Bradford doesn't hit a rookie wall late, but I don't think he will. I like the Rams to step up here and attempt to take control of the NFC West race.

St. Louis 27  Kansas City 23

Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins
Just when you think the Dolphins are dead, they come back with a great defensive performance against the Jets. There offense still needs some work, and I think it will keep them out of the playoffs again, but their defense is good. Cameron Wake is an absolute beast and a nightmare for any coach to gameplan against. The Bills won an ugly game last week against Cleveland. They continue to beat lesser teams, so it will be interesting to see how they do in these last three weeks against three good AFC teams, all divisional rivals. Unfortunately, I like the Dolphins to win here. They know they need this win to keep playoff hopes alive. The Bills are without Lee Evans at WR the rest of the year, which will probably hurt their offense even though he hasn't been a factor recently. But the Dolphins win a close one.

Miami 26  Buffalo 21

Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
All the Bucs do? Beat lesser teams. Nothing wrong with that, especially if it gets you into the playoffs. The Bucs are right in the thick of things in the NFC Wild Card race. Josh Freeman is growing leaps and bounds this year at QB and looks to be a mainstay under center for the Bucs. The Lions upset the Packers last week in an ugly 7-3 contest. It was more of an abberation then anything. Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the game, and the Lions dealt with the inexperienced Matt Flynn at QB. Either way, I like the Bucs to win this week and stay in the playoff race. They'll be in it until the end.

Tampa Bay 28  Detroit 14

Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers
Ugh. This is one of those games when you feel bad for the announcers calling it, because you know it means they are the low men on the totem pole. I bet the Panthers wish they had Jay Feely under center this season, because he looked better than any other Panthers QB this season. I feel bad wasting space on this game. Lets give the Panthers win number two on the year.

Carolina 17  Arizona 13

Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks
Have you seen the Seahawks defense? In their last 5 losses, they've given up 33 points or more. That's not a good thing. Luckily for them, they play in the NFC West. So even with these numbers and a 6-7 record, they're still in a tie for first place. The Falcons are playing every bit like the best team in the NFC. You have to be worried like most teams are going on these cross country road trips. But the Falcons are too good of a football team to let that effect them. I think it'll be close because of it, but I still like the Falcons in the end.

Atlanta 31  Seattle 21

Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders
Could the Tim Tebow era soon be coming to Denver. He's getting more first team reps in practice. I think if anything, you have to give him a couple games under center to see if he is the real deal. The new coach will want to see some actual NFL game film of him. The Raiders followed up a big win at San Diego with a heartbreaker at Jacksonville. There not out of the AFC West race at 6-7, but they essentially need to win out and hope the Chargers and Chiefs faulter. Even if Tebow plays, the Broncos looked like a team that has already packed it in. Give me the Raiders in this one.

Oakland 35  Denver 23

Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings
No Metrodome again this week for Minnesota. Instead, they'll be playing at the University of Minnesota football field, which is rock hard and still covered with snow. And the Vikings have no idea who will be playing at QB. Tavaris Jackson has been put on injured reserve, and Brett Favre may not ne ready. That could mean Patrik Ramsey, who has been with the team all of four days, could start. The Bears are trying to regroup from last week's mess in the snow against New England. They're a better team than that, and I think they will show it this week.

Chicago 21  Minnesota 13

Now for the Big 5 of the week...

Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots
Aaron Rodgers holds the keys to this game. If he plays, the Packers have a chance. If he doesn't, the Pats will roll. Flynn is just too inexperienced at QB, and I'm sure Bill Belichick will expose that during the game. The offense of New England looks every bit as good as in their Super Bowl years. They have to be considered the favorites in the AFC, especially if the defense keeps playing as well as they have been. I think even if Rodgers plays, he won't be 100%, which is why I'm taking the Patriots in this one. They've been on a role as of late and I don't see that stopping anytime soon.

New England 35  Green Bay 24

Baltimore Ravens vs New Orleans Saints
The Ravens have to be concerned with their defense after that game Monday night. By the 4th quarter, they looked gased. The Texans were driving down the field on them at will. Now, they get one of the best offenses in the league in New Orleans. Drew Brees won't show any mercy on them. I'm sure the Saints have looked at game tape all week and now the key to overcoming Baltimore's defense is long sustained drives. These next two games are big for the Saints. They've played some cupcakes on their current win streak, and now play Baltimore then on the road at Atlanta. Even still, I think the Saints take this one. Their offense will be able to overcome the Ravens defense in the end, and their defense should be able to do just enough to win. Lets just hope Darren Sharper doesn't get caught by Joe Flacco on an interception return.

New Orleans 28  Baltimore 24

New York Jets vs Pittsburgh Steelers
It doesn't get any easier for the Jets. Now they have to go to Pittsburgh and play in one of the toughest venues to play in in the league. The Jets offense just looks terrible, and it all starts with the "Sanchize" Mark Sanchez. He will face a heavy pass rush from James Harrison and the rest of the Steelers defense. That could mean a heavy dose of Shonn Greene for the Jets. The Steelers, meanwhile, seems to have everything going well for them. Ben Roethisberger looks to be back in normal form, and the defense is shutting down opponents. But they too will have to worry about a heavy pass rush. The Steelers o-line isn't the greatest in the world, and the Jets should use that to their advantage. In the end, however, I think the Steelers take this one in a low-scoring affair.

Pittsburgh 17  NY Jets 12

Philadelphia Eagles vs New York Giants
This one is simple. The winner is in the driver seat in the NFC East race and a potential first round bye. Last time these two teams played, the Eagles rode the back of Mike Vick to victory. We also learned that Eli Manning can't properly slide. It helps the Giants that they have Hakeem Nicks back at WR. It also helps that their running game is back and they have a two-headed monster with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. But the Eagles an counter that on offense with Mike Vick and their big playmaker, DeSean Jackson. This is the hardest one for me to pick out of the Big 5. The Giants play well at home, but can also be beat there. I have to go with Philadelphia here. Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson make one more big play in the end.

Philadelphia 24  NY Giants 23

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts
This one has the biggest implications of all of the Big 5. The Colts HAVE to win here, no ifs, ands or buts. If they lose, the Jaguars take the division and the Colts are golfing early for the first time in years. The Jags are playing some great football recently, and seem to have destiny on their side. They should be riding the back of Maurice Jones-Drew in this one, because the Colts can't stop the run. Peyton Manning needs to keep it simple this game. Don't try to do too much. Don't force anything. He should have Austin Collie back this week, which is big. It gives him another weapon to use on offense. The Jags defense is vulnerable and Peyton should be able to take care of that. It hurts that they don't have any type of solid running game to fall back on. I see this one being high scoring, and in the end, I'll take Peyton and the Colts. They're playing at home, and they have the experience on their side.

Indianapolis 38  Jacksonville 33

That's all for today. WWE TLC PPV preview should be up late tomorrow.

Until next time,
Justin C

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