Hammering it Out: Week 15 Predictions

After 14 weeks of football, here are the current Playoff standings.


1. Houston Texans

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. New England Patriots

4. Denver Broncos

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

6. New York Jets


1. Green Bay Packers

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. New Orleans Saints

4. New York Giants

5. Atlanta Falcons

6. Detroit Lions

Now to the picks.

Thursday Night Football: Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons (-11.5)

Despite scoring 41 points against the hapless Buccaneers defense last week, Jacksonville’s offense is bottom of the league. Atlanta is a pretty balanced team fighting to hang on to a Playoff spot, is playing at home, but has yet to blow out a team since playing the Colts (surprise, surprise). -Jared

Jared – Falcons win by 11 or less, tie, or lose

Travis – Falcons win by 12 or more

Saturday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6.5)

Different week, same story for both teams. Tampa Bay doesn’t have the talent to hang with Dallas on the scoreboard, but just about anybody is capable of out-coaching Jason Garrett. Tony Romo is on a torrid streak of great play and it doesn’t appear like Tampa Bay can put enough pressure on Romo to make a difference. -Jared

Jared – Cowboys win by 7 or more

Travis – Dallas by 7 or more

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-0.5)

Miami may still be starting Matt Moore at quarterback, but Buffalo has stunk the place up since Fred Jackson went down. Both teams got beat last week and really don’t have much to play for. That said, this game will be played the right way. Miami has a better defense and offensively haven’t struggled nearly as bad as Buffalo has lately. -Jared

Jared – Dolphins win

Travis – Dolphins win

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears (-4.5)

Let’s be real about this. Chicago is backsliding and could use the improved draft position to draft an offensive lineman. Seattle actually looks like they can make some noise in the Playoffs and outside of needing a better quarterback don’t appear to be laying down for anyone. -Jared

Jared – Bears win by 4 or less, tie, or lose

Travis – Seattle wins, ties, or loses by less than 5

Cincinnati Bengals at St. Louis Rams (+4.5)

After watching St. Louis get beat up by Seattle on Monday night, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Cincinnati is going to come in and do the same thing. St. Louis has all but locked up the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and while Cincinnati doesn’t necessarily have much to play for, a win is a win. -Jared

Jared – Bengals win by 4 or more

Travis – Bengals by 5 or more

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (+13.5)

Kyle Orton will get his first start in a Chief uniform Sunday and of course it’s against his former NFC North rival Green Bay Packers, who will be without Greg Jennings. I have absolutely zero doubt that Green Bay will struggle to score. Timing should be a kink that Kansas City will be trying to work out during the game, but by then it won’t matter. -Jared

Jared – Packers win by 14 or more

Travis – Packers by 14 or more

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (+6.5)

While I expect the Colt offense to put up a little better fight than they did last week, I expect the same from the Titans. Whether it’s Matt Hasselbeck or rookie Jake Locker, the deciding factor will be how the Indianapolis defense handles Chris Johnson, who has come on lately and shown why he was given a big contract. -Jared

Jared – Titans win by 7 or more

Travis – Titans by 7 or more

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (+7.5)

This game is sort of a trap for New Orleans. After playing a close game last week, both teams come in possibly a little winded. The difference is that the Vikings may be returning Adrian Peterson, who would be fresh and ready to run. While I by no means expect New Orleans to lose, this game could be closer than expected. -Jared

Jared – Saints win by 7 or less

Travis – Saints by by 8 or more

Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-7.5)

Always an interesting game, the Giants come in after winning a nail-biter against the Cowboys last week, whereas Washington played all 60 minutes against New England. I expect a close game here, but a rather predictable result. -Jared

Jared – Giants win by 7 or less

Travis – Giants by 8 or more

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans (-6.5)

Carolina is not in a position to go to the Playoffs and Houston really doesn’t need to get banged up against a team that really isn’t much of a defensive threat. Cam Newton, per usual, could be a big factor on the ground because Houston’s defense is top tier against the run and pass. -Jared

Jared – Texans win by 6 or less

Travis – Texans by 7 or more

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (+1.5)

The Lions appear poised to scratch and claw (giggity) into the Playoffs and simply put, Oakland doesn’t have enough healthy offensive players to keep up with Detroit should they get hot. -Jared

Jared – Lions win by 2 or more

Travis – Lions by 3 or more

Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)

In this Sunday’s “Must Miss Game of the Week”, Arizona is coming in off a couple stunning upsets (Dallas and San Francisco) and is getting good play from backup quarterback John Skelton. Frankly, with or without Colt McCoy, Cleveland is about as exciting to watch on offense as competitive knitting is on television (I’m sure it’s on television somewhere, isn’t it?). -Jared

Jared – Cardinals win by 7 or more

Travis – Cardinals by 7 or more

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (+6.5)

The Tebowing won’t stop this week, but the winning will. New England can score pretty much at will on offense, something Denver has been relegated to doing only in the final 10 minutes of a game. I expect more of the same, except this time, Goliath looks more like 40 points to overcome. Down goes David. -Jared

Jared – Patriots win by 7 or more

Travis – Broncos win, tie, or lose by less than 7

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)

If you read my results banter from last week, I said the Eagles were poised to make it an interesting Playoff race, didn’t I? Hmm. The Jets can lose this game and still make the Playoffs, while the Eagles are poised to swoop in (I can’t help myself) and steal a spot. -Jared

Jared – Eagles win by 3 or more

Travis – Jets win, tie, or lose by less than 3

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers (+2.5)

Philip Rivers looks like a man on a mission after starting off the season like a man determined to wind up coaching middle school football in southern California. If San Diego can find creases in the Baltimore defense, this one could get interesting as the Chargers are going to have to bolt (heh) into the Playoffs off of big-time, late-season wins. -Jared

Jared – Ravens win by 2 or less, tie, or lose

Travis – Ravens win by 3 or more

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers (-1.5)

I can see how traveling cross-country to play one of the best teams in the NFL might seem a little daunting, but when that team just lost to Arizona, I have a hard time seeing how this game becomes anything but the game of the year. -Jared

Jared – 49ers win by 1, tie, or lose

Travis – Niners win by 2 or more

This is what football is all about. Those last three games of the week are going to be darlings.