Thursday, December 12, 2013

NFL Week 15 Picks and Viewing Guide

There's not a strong library of compelling matchups in Week 15.

You've got two games where both competitors will be watching football instead of playing come January.  You've got games where one of the teams needs a pick-me-up after last week.  And you've got teams who would love to head into the last two weeks resting players instead of fighting hard for playoff spots.

Please Note: Picks are for entertainment purposes only, and 1230 FOX Sports Radio/North Country Sports Radio will not be held responsible if you use our picks for other purposes.

Thursday Night Football: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos - on NFL Network - The Denver Broncos could be rather interested in the Kansas City/Oakland game with a win, as a loss by the Chiefs would clinch the west for Payton Manning and the Broncos.  The Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives, as that Week 1 collapse against the Houston Texans is coming back to hurt them now.  But with the home field advantage, the Broncos should have no troubles dealing with the Chargers.

Pick: Denver Broncos

Sunday Games
Early Games
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants - on FOX 23 (Cable Channel 7) - The Seahawks suffered a setback when the 49'ers showed that home field matters in their 19-17 win last week.  The Seahawks know that the New Orleans Saints are breathing down their proverbial necks and want to make sure the 12th man is on their side come next month.  A big chance comes as the Seahawks play where they hope to be playing come the first Sunday in February as they face the New York Giants.  After getting out of an early-season hole, the Giants have now suffered two losses in their last three games and have now assured them a spot on the outside looking in come next month.  Eli Manning has one more touchdown than he does interceptions in the last 5 weeks, a key stat that could come back to haunt him as the Giants look not to be booed on their own stage.  But knowing East Rutherford, NJ, they'll be regardless.

Pick: Seattle Seahawks

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars - on 1230 FOX Sports Radio, AM1230 - Sportswriters and media members in Western New York mentioned that the Buffalo Bills left their game in Toronto.  It could also be argued that the Buffalo Bills are still on the bye week after suffering back-to-back losses against the #3 and #4 team in the NFC South.  EJ Manuel had the worst game of his professional career against the Bucs, getting picked off 4 times as the Bills as a collective unit looked nothing like the team that shined proudly against the New York Jets. The Jacksonville Jaguars are showing that they are trying to fight, winning their last three games.  It will either become a breakout game for Buffalo, or one that will showcase what needs to be fixed come the offseason.

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins looked confident in September.  Not so much these days. Pick: New England
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts - Houston continues their freefall.  Pick: Indianapolis
Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings - After last week's snowbowl, one almost wished the Eagles would be outside again.  Minnesota, however, will be happier indoors.  Pick: Minnesota
San Francisco 49'ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The 49'ers last week proved that they are still a team to watch out for.  The Bucs looked good against Buffalo, but will find the competition harder this time around.  Pick: San Francisco
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns - Quick turnaround for the Bears, who have a QB controversy in the best way possible after last week's sparkling performance by Josh McCown.  Cleveland nearly pulled the upset against New England.  Pick: Chicago
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons - The Redskins are a mess.  Enough said.  Pick: Atlanta

Late Games
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers - on CBS-6 Albany WRGB - The Carolina Panthers had the opportunity to prove themselves as a top contender in the NFC, however all that has been silenced since their double-digit loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football.  The New York Jets suffered three straight losses before getting back on track with a win against Oakland.  Geno Smith looked better, but he's been picked off in 8 out of his last 10 games.  And with a stingy Carolina Panthers defense looking for a statement game after last week, it could be a long game ahead for Smith and the Jets.

Pick: Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys - on FOX 23 (Cable Channel 7) - Both teams are in the hunt for the playoffs, and a loss may not be disastrous for either squad.  But both teams need a win.  Aaron Rogers remains questionable for the Packers, and it'd be really nice if he was able to return for them to sculpt their playoff bid.  They narrowly beat Atlanta last week, lost to Detroit on Thanksgiving and tied Minnesota.  The Dallas Cowboys defense needs a pick-me-up after allowing Chicago to score on every possession except for the last, which was only halted due to the clock reaching double-zero at the end of the game.  The winner makes their playoff chances stronger.  The loser, gasps for air and holds for help.

Pick: Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders - If Denver wins on Thursday, they'll be watching this game exclusively to see whether or not their team can clinch the West.  But unfortunately for the Broncos, the Chiefs play the Oakland Raiders.  Pick: Kansas City.
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans - The Arizona Cardinals look to help their Wild Card potential while the Titans hope to forget what happened to them the last two weeks.  Pick: Arizona
New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams - Although the Saints have a hard time winning away from the Superdome, Drew Brees shouldn't have a tough time fending off the Rams defenders.  Pick: New Orleans

Sunday Night
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers - on Channel 13 - The Pittsburgh Steelers looked like they were rolling back into the playoff race, but then back-to-back setbacks against the Baltimore and Miami has put them back into the "In The Hunt" category.  However, the same story happened to Cincinnati earlier in the season - back-to-back losses to those two teams before rattling off three straight wins to be on the verge of a playoff spot.  And remember, these are the Bengals who knocked off New England earlier in the season in a driving rainstorm.

Pick: Cincinnati Bengals

Monday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions - on ESPN - Two 7-6 teams facing different fates face off on Monday night.  Baltimore is hoping for some help by way of the Steelers on Sunday night so they can put pressure on Cincinnati, currently two back of the division leaders.  Detroit has the edge against Chicago, but would like to keep pace with them should the Bears win, or take the outright lead should they lose.  Detroit will be very happy to be back indoors after the 8" snowfest in Philadelphia last week, but that indoor environment did little to aide them as they lost to Tampa Bay three weeks ago.  Baltimore has won four of their last five, with that 5th being a tight overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, to put them in a better position to make the playoffs.

Pick: Baltimore Ravens

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