Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 15 Preview and Picks

Patriots vs. Broncos

The Broncos are looking to continue their current win streak. They will go for their seventh straight against the Pats in Denver.  After a shootout in Minnesota, they returned to their typical ways of playing last Sunday.  They were trailing all game, Tebow was only 3-16 before the fourth quarter, and had a 13.5 QB rating.  It looked like he might actually lose.  Until he went on a typical fourth quarter Tebow tear.  He took advantage of a lazy Bears defense and picked them apart.  He led receivers with his throws and looked like he was in control of the game.  He completed 13 of 17 passes in the fourth quarter and overtime for 130 yards and a TD.  Will we see it again this week?  If Tebow wants to pull off another victory he is going to have to take advantage of the wounded and weak Patriots defense.  He will have to make throws that he usually makes in the fourth quarter, all game long.  If he can execute and mix in McGahee and his own running game, then this has all the makings of another huge win for Tebow and the Broncos.  The Broncos are going to have to bring their A game on defense as well.  They have been playing at a very high level, but they are going to have to step it up even more.  They need to keep close from the beginning and not let Brady pull too far ahead.  They will need to be creative in the way they attack the Patriots and Brady.  It is impossible to pick against Tebow right now.  He is bringing out the best in his teammates, and making them believe that they can beat just about anyone.  For what it's worth, the Patriots have lose their last three games in Denver.  I like the Broncos to stun the Pats in Denver.  In terms of the spread on this one, the Pats are 8-2-1 against the spread in their last 11 road games, and the Broncos are 1-4-1 against the spread in their last 6 home games.  I think the Broncos are an excellent option getting 7 points in this matchup.
Broncos (+7.5)

Redskins vs. Giants
The Giants are now on top of the division and will win it if they win out.  They have been piling up the offensive numbers, but their defense, much like Dallas, has been questionable.  The Redskins have a pretty good defense, so it might be a challenge for the Giants to break through. They have the big play capability however, and that should be enough against the Skins.  The Giants are back to using Jacobs and Bradshaw.  On the season, they both have 130 carries, Bradshaw has 490 yards and 5 TDs, and Jacobs has 480 yards and 7 TDs.  Most the season it has been one or the other playing.  They are at their best when Bradshaw is the main back and Jacobs is complimenting him.  Look for a return to that type of run game.  The Giants need to use the run game a bit, even though it will be tempting to just air it out all day to Cruz and Nicks.  They should win this game by a TD at least.  If they don't win by at least a TD, then the Redskins will have probably upset the Giants at home.
Giants (-7)

Packers vs. Chiefs
The Chiefs will be making a change at QB if Orton is healthy enough to go.  It won't make a difference though.  The Packers can't be stopped right now and are simply embarrassing teams.  Even with the loss of Jennings, they are going to destroy KC.  Finley is going to be used as the number one guy now in the offense, so look for a huge game from him.  The Raiders are a decent team that the Packers dismantled last week, so to think that the Chiefs, no matter who their QB is, can stay close is ridiculous.  The Packers move to 14-0 this week in Kansas City.
Packers (-12)
Jets vs. Eagles
The Jets need this game.  If they run the table, they make the playoffs.  If they prepare and limit what Vick does then they have a shot to win this one on the road.  This is a playoff type game, in a playoff atmosphere.  If the Cowboys and Giants win before this game, then maybe the Eagles lose some of their motivation, as their season will be officially over.  If both teams lose however, then the Eagles are going to be coming out playing their best football of the year because they will still have a chance at the playoffs.  If all is lost though, I see Jackson and others shutting it down and making it easy for the Jets.  The Jets need to do their best to control McCoy.  They have not been special controlling the run this year.  They are ranked 14th in rushing yards allowed this year, giving up 109 per game.  They need to step up here and I think they will.  The Eagles have given up 115 rushing yards a game, 18th best in the league.  They have a difficult task with the physical Shonn Greene running for the Jets.  He is on a great streak as of late, and when he gets hot, the Jets get hot.  In the last three week he has put up an average of 98 yards per game, with four TDs rushing.  He also led the Jets last week in receiving yards with 58.  I think he has another big game in Philly and leads the Jets to another victory.  Sanchez is coming off a big game last week and in interviews this week, he sounds more focused than ever.  He has been playing great and this week has to play error free football to win the game.
Jets (+3)

Saints vs. Vikings
The Saints struggle away from the confines of New Orleans.  This one however, is in a dome, thus making it more like their home turf.  They are playing a struggling Vikings team who have lost five straight games, and are only 2-11 on the season.  The Saints just hung on long enough last week in Tennessee, but the Vikings aren't the Titans, and won't be able to stay close.  They are expecting to get Peterson back, but who knows how effective he will be.  Ponder has been practicing this week so he should be back at QB for the Vikings.  For the Saints, Jimmy Graham had been hurting before the game on Sunday with back pain.  He received treatment on his back, and was a full participant in practice this week, so look for him to be at full strength this week.  The Saints will win this one on the road and continue to battle for the first round bye in the  NFC.
Saints (-8)

Seahawks vs. Bears
The Seahawks are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive and the Bears are trying to get back in the playoff picture.  Seattle has the best running back in football right now.  Lynch is running over every team he faces, and there is no reason to think he won't continue in Chicago.  The Bears are struggling on offense and look like they can barely make a first down, yet alone score a TD.  I like the Seahawks in this one against an injured Bears squad.
Seahawks (+3.5)

Dolphins vs. Buffalo
I think Buffalo will end their losing streak at home against the Dolphins.  After the firing of Sparano in Miami, the Dolphins might have lost the reason to battle the rest of this season.  Both these teams will be doing no more than playing spoiler to other teams as the season winds down.
Buffalo (even)
Panthers vs. Texans
The Panthers are coming off a tough loss at home against the Falcons.  They led the game 23-7 at halftime and then gave it away after half, giving up 24 unanswered points. The Texans on the other hand, pulled off a stunning comeback against the Bengals in Cincinnati in the final seconds of the game to win 20-19. Yates has been able to keep his team in the game and get a couple wins since taking the reigns at QB.  Houston is trying to stay in the lead of the AFC, as they are currently in first place.  This is a great matchup, as Houston has the 3rd best passing defense and 4th best rushing defense.  The Panthers on the other hand have the 8th most passing yards, and 5th most rushing yards.  It will be interesting to see if Newton can take apart the Houston defense in this game.  If he can, then it will be close, if not, they Carolina doesn't stand a chance.  The Panthers defense is awful, so Yates and Foster have an opportunity to put up big numbers.  Foster might get 150 yards rushing and over 50 yards receiving.  I think Cam has a good game and keeps them close.
Panthers (+6)

Titans vs. Colts
The Titans are sitting in 7th place in the AFC, one spot out of the playoffs.  They might not have Hasselbeck in this game, but against the Colts, will still win.  The Titans have too much to play for to give one up to the winless Colts.  Looks for Chris Johnson to have a big game, especially if Locker gets his first career start at QB.
Titans (-7)

Bengals vs. Rams
The Bengals are continuing to disappear in the end of the season, now losers of 4 of their last 5.  They had a brutal last second loss to Houston in their last game but now go against a bad St. Louis team.  The only way I see the Rams winning is if Steven Jackson has a monster game running the ball.  The Bengals however are 7th in the league against the run, allowing 100 yards even to their opposition.  If they control Jackson, then they win this game easily, and rebound from a handful of tough losses.
Bengals (-7)

Lions vs. Raiders
If the Lions want to hold on to the last playoff spot then they need to beat the reeling Raiders on the road.  The Raiders will be without McFadden again and on the other side, the Lions look like they will be getting Kevin Smith back at runningback.  The Lions should win this game easily and continue to cling to the 6th spot in the NFC.
Lions (-1.5)

Browns vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals are a great team at home, and the Browns are a bad team period.  Cleveland will also be without McCoy this week after taking the viscous hit from Harrison last week against Pittsburgh.  Seneca Wallace will most likely get the start for Cleveland.  The Cardinals are 4-2 at home this year, and should handle the Browns easily this week.  
Cardinals (-6.5)

Ravens vs. Chargers
The Chargers have put together a couple wins and are hoping to continue their modest two game win streak at home against the Ravens.  The Ravens have won four in a row and sit in a tie atop the AFC standings for best record, at 10-3.  Baltimore has a tough task on the road against a Chargers team that has finally found some confidence.  I think this is a great test for the Ravens, but I don't think they get it done.  If they do, it will be a close one, so I will take the Chargers getting 3.
Chargers (+3)

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