NFL Regular Season, Week 15 Picks
Only 3 more weeks of the NFL regular season left, and only 3 teams have so far clinched a spot in the playoffs, leaving 9 open spots left. We can guess who will take some of the other spots, but there are a few teams that may have a chance of grabbing the Wild Card if they continue winning. The Lions and Bears are certainly fighting it out in order to clinch their Division, as well as teams like the Panthers, Ravens, Cowboys, and Dolphins. These teams need to clinch their Division, as there are some strong teams that have better chances at getting the Wild Card spots than them. This week will certainly show us which teams want it more.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
The Chiefs have a chance of tying for Division champion with the Broncos, if they win against the Raiders and the Broncos lose this week. Either way, getting a better record will ensure them a Wild Card spot, so they can always end up with that. This match is quite well matched, with both teams performing in similar aspects. They both depend heavily on their rushing, while the rest act as backups; including the defense. The Raiders certainly have a slight advantage on offense, but the match will be decided by which team can more effectively run the ball and maintain ball possession. The Chiefs have done an amazing job throughout the season on being able to hold on to the ball, which has ultimately allowed them to win most of their games. I believe their defense will have a bigger impact than the Raiders defense, giving them the win.
We pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-4½) to win
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have a great chance this week of getting closer to a spot in the playoffs, and I believe it will start with their victory against the Jets this week. The Jets have a pretty wishy-washy team play where they don’t perform at the same level each week. Considering their QB has a weak offensive line, allowing so many turnovers, will certainly be an open door for the powerful Panther defense to put enough pressure on the Jets’ offense that they will certainly lose the ball more often. The Jets defense is pretty good at stopping the rush, but the Panthers also have a good lineup of receivers that will give them another advantage on the field. When you look at the poor offensive line of the Jets, the powerful defense of the Panthers, and mix in a good overall offense, the Panthers will take this victory and take another step closer to the playoffs.
We pick: Carolina Panthers (-11) to win
Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys certainly have been struggling this season, getting wins taken from them by small point leads. This match against the Packers will more than likely end with another loss for them. The Packers may have been having a pretty mediocre season, but this match is the perfect set up for them to win. The Cowboys defense hasn’t been performing well these past few weeks, especially against offenses that can switch between passing and running the ball. The Packers will need to take advantage of this and use Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson interchangeably in order to get around the Cowboy defense. Being able to score more with each possession is key for the Packers, as the Cowboys won’t give up the ball as easily as other teams.
We pick: Green Bay Packers to win
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
This will be a good match between offense and defense. The Bengals and Steelers have good defenses, as well as great passing offenses. The one aspect that will deny the Steelers from winning this match is the fact that they have proven to have a poor defense against rush plays. The Bengals boast an amazingly well leveled offense, having great receivers and running backs. Both teams will have a hard time advancing the ball, even maintaining possession of the ball, but the Bengals will come out on top by using BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard to advance the ball, even if it is 10 yards at a time.
We pick: Cincinnati Bengals (-3) to win
Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions
The Lions certainly have a better offense than the Ravens, making the Ravens depend on their defense to hold the Lions offense back. The Lions defense does a great job when facing teams with weak pass, but strong rush; however, when it comes to teams like the Ravens they may have a harder time scoring. The Ravens do not have a strong offense compared to other teams in the NFL, but they are able to move the ball down the field with a little more effectiveness than the Lions. The Ravens will need to make use of the fact that the Lions tend to lose the ball more often than they do, and try to pass the ball more often. Making quick ball possession changes during the game a strategy, the Ravens will have a chance to score rather than trying to make each ball possession long and drawn out.
We pick: Baltimore Ravens (+6) to win