2016 NFL Predictions Week Fifteen
We saw the Patriots nearly lose it at the end on Monday night against the Ravens and saw Dallas get swept by one of their division rivals nearly 24 hours earlier. They should still be sitting on top of the conference when the smoke clears out. New England's toughest game for the rest of the season would be this week in Denver while the Cowboys have a tough game next Monday against the Lions.
Every game this week features at least one team who is, mathematically, still in playoff contention. The hedges will be trimmed by the end of the week.
Rams @ Seahawks: The Rams fired Jeff Fisher on Monday leaving a short week of preparation for interim head coach John Fassel. Seattle should feel better playing at home after the disappointing showing last Sunday. The Seattle secondary shouldn't fear Jared Goff.
Dolphins @ Jets: Miami can breathe a sigh of relief that Ryan Tannehill's injury isn't as severe as it seemed. He will still be out, however, for an extended period time giving the temporary reins to Matt Moore. The Jets defense coming to life in the fourth quarter in last week's comeback win should lead to some inspirational effort early in the Meadowlands. They'll face a better running attack in the Dolphins backfield but Moore would prove to be ineffective.
Browns @ Bills: The Bills couldn't find any room running the ball last week, while they also had trouble defending it. Le'Veon Bell flat out embarrassed them. This could be a game where Cleveland pulls off the unexpected but I don't see them scoring enough points against the Bills defense.
Lions @ Giants: A game worthy of our attention with a lot on the line for, not only Detroit and New York but, other teams within the conference. Matthew Stafford has led his team to game-winning drives eight times and the defense has played well to contribute to their current five game winning streak. Eli Manning, however, will come up big in the Nobody-Believes-In-Us Bowl.
Eagles @ Ravens: It will be asking a lot from Carson Wentz to pull out a victory in Baltimore against Terrell Suggs and Zach Orr. What started out as a surprising story in the first month of the season, the Eagles offense has struggled scoring in the past month.
Steelers @ Bengals: Pittsburgh can't afford to let emotions or extra curricular activities get the best of them here. They are a game up on the Ravens already and face them one last time on Christmas Day. The Bengals will keep it close and heated in this division match-up.
Colts @ Vikings: Adrian Peterson is expected to make his return against Indianapolis after suffering a torn meniscus in Week 2. Don't expect a big game out of him as the offensive line has been struggling creating holes but the passing game should get a boost with Peterson on the field. Andrew Luck will need to play better for the Colts to continue to be in playoff contention. Last week's loss to Houston could very well have sealed their fate.
Packers @ Bears: Chicago has a slight lead over Green Bay (93-92-6) in this age-old rivalry. The Packers throttled the Bears on a Thursday back in October and fell in a slump for the next month. They've won three in a row since while the Bears have lost four of their last five games.
Titans @ Chiefs: The Chiefs defense limited Oakland's 2nd rated scoring offense to 13 points last Thursday. Kansas City had a little over a week to prepare for the Titans offense which would ultimately be the difference. Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray will have a difficult time finding the end zone.
Jaguars @ Texans: Houston has to take advantage of Jacksonville. Despite all the losses, they still have the lead in the AFC South. They can't afford to lose with their playoff hopes more than likely coming down to week 17 at Tennessee. Don't count out Blake Bortles just yet.
Saints @ Cardinals: Drew Brees has had a tough two game stretch throwing for six interceptions and no touchdowns. He might get a touchdown pass here but will have a tough outing against the 2nd rated pass defense. Carson Palmer should have a better performance in the sun after the monsoon he faced last week in South Beach.
49ers @ Falcons: The Falcons shouldn't look past San Francisco having already lost three home games this season, especially with Tampa Bay creeping up to them in the standings. Julio Jones should take another game off as he might not be needed here. The Falcons defense should make quick work of the suddenly struggling 49ers passing offense.
Patriots @ Broncos: A rematch from January's AFC Championship game. Hopefully the Patriots defense and special teams were addressed and fixed as it nearly lost them the game last Monday. The Broncos 29th rated run defense would be a problem against LeGarratte Blount.
Raiders @ Chargers: The Raiders should bounce back after their loss in Kansas City with the help from their defense and Derek Carr. The injuries to the Chargers should be a factor as well. A possible return for guard Kelechi Osemele should help out Latavius Murray pick up yards on the ground too. Without Melvin Gordon, San Diego will be put in a difficult situation.
Buccaneers @ Cowboys: The Buccaneers are your current leader for longest win streak this season after the Cowboys loss last Sunday night. A 4.3 yards per carry average that Tampa Bay is surrendering should give Dallas better chances converting on third down. Jameis Winston will keep the game close.
Panthers @ Redskins: Another prime-time game for Kirk Cousins to show more proof of his reasons to get the contract of security from Washington (or possibly someone else). From Jamison Crowder to Vernon Davis, the Panthers defense will have a hard time covering Washington's weapons.
2016 NFL Season: 101-75-2
Last Week: 12-4