With just three weeks remaining in the 2015 NFL Season, there are many games with significant playoff implications, and the chance for many teams to secure their playoff fate. But there are many races that may go down to the wire like the AFC South, NFC East and AFC wild cards, and every win matters. Earlier this week we discussed which teams we think have the best chance of making the playoffs, but now once again it’s time for the G&G staff to put our money where our mouth is and make our Week 15 predictions. Play along with us by making your picks below!
The Playoff Battles:
Broncos at Steelers (-6)
This may be the game of the week; one of the best offenses in the league hosting one of the best defenses. The Broncos need to keep winning to secure a first round bye, while the Steelers can’t afford any more losses or they may miss the playoffs entirely. The G&G staff was split on this one, but ultimately, I think 6 points is too much to give the Steelers. I expect this game to be a nail biter. I’ll roll with the Broncos and the points.
The Picks: Gillette, Katz – Broncos; Gumas, Schwartz – Steelers
Texans at Colts (-1)
A few weeks ago, it looked like both of these teams were back on track. Matt Hasselbeck was playing well, the Texans defense was humming, and these two teams even seemed in the Wild Card mix. But now, it’s obvious that only one of these two can head to the playoffs, with the winner of this game the more likely team to advance. In what is effectively a pick ’em, I trust the best player in this game to make the plays needed to win, so I’ll roll with the Texans.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Schwartz – Texans; Katz – Colts
Cardinals (-3.5) at Eagles
We’re in for a treat on Sunday night. Two of the hotter teams in the NFC square off, as the Cardinals hope to boost their Super Bowl chances by inching closer to a first round bye, and the Eagles hope to stay afloat in the NFC East. Yes Pete, the Eagles are wearing their all blacks, and Sam Bradford is starting to play better. But Carson Palmer is playing at an MVP level, and the Cardinals are arguably the most well-rounded team in the NFL. I’ll roll with the Red Birds.
The Picks: Gillette, Katz – Cardinals; Gumas, Schwartz – Eagles
Panthers (-5) at Giants
In a somewhat similar matchup as the game we just talked about, one of the NFC powers squares off against an NFC East team fighting for its life. The Panthers are adamant about playing for history, but the Giants need this game more to keep pace in the NFC East. This game will feature the best one-on-one matchup of the week in Odell Beckham Jr versus Josh Norman, which is reason enough to watch this one as a casual fan. But, I’m on record pointing out Cam Newton as my MVP, so it would be tough for me to pick against an inconsistent Giants team.
The Picks: all on the Panthers
Bills (-1) at Redskins
The Bills need a lot to go there way to still make the playoffs; they’ll likely need to win out and see some major upsets of either Kansas City or Pittsburgh. But they’re not dead yet, and that’s why my colleagues are rolling with them. I’ve struggled all year picking Redskins games, but Kirk Cousins plays much better at home. I LIKE THAT.
The Picks: Gillette – Redskins; Gumas, Katz, Schwartz – Bills
The One Team Still Matters Games:
Jets (-3) at Cowboys
We get Saturday Night Football! In Jerry World no less! But the Cowboys have been a mess all year, and the Jets need this one. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been playing good football, so I trust him to make enough plays to handle the ‘boys.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Schwartz – Jets; Katz – Cowboys (classic Katz home-dog pick)
Bears at Vikings (-5.5)
The Vikings have been struggling of late, but are coming off some extra rest after a near upset of the Cardinals last Thursday. They appear to be sitting pretty for a playoff spot, but need to keep winning if they still want a chance at the NFC North crown. The Bears certainly won’t lie down with a chance to hurt a division rival’s playoff chances, but I expect the Vikings to take care of business at home.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Katz – Vikings; Schwartz – Bears
Packers (-3) at Raiders
The Packers’ offensive struggles of late are well documented, and Khalil Mack may be the hottest defensive player in football. But Eddie Lacy seems primed for a late season resurgence, and the Packers need this game much more than the Raiders. I think this Raiders team is headed in the right direction and will put up a fight, but the Packers will find a way to win this game.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Katz – Packers; Schwartz – Raiders
Bengals (-4.5) at 49ers
A game that last week would have appeared to be a blowout now has major intrigue, as AJ McCaron makes his first career NFL start in place of the injured Andy Dalton. But McCaron won’t have to carry the load by himself- he’s surrounded by a great offensive line and skill players like AJ Green, Tyler Eiffert and a solid RB tandem. I think Cincinnati proves why they were in the Super Bowl conversation with Dalton and put away a lesser San Francisco team.
The Picks: all on the Bengals
Falcons at Jaguars (-3)
Earlier this year I would have expected this game to matter… for Atlanta. But the Jaguars are still in the AFC South mix, and come into this game after scoring 90 points the last two weeks. I think their offense will be too much for a struggling Falcons team to handle.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Schwartz – Jaguars; Katz – Falcons
The Potential Blow Outs:
Chiefs (-7.5) at Ravens
The talk from Baltimore media this week has been very heavily focused on signing Ryan Mallet and his “growing up” this year… three more of these before I can mercifully put away the Ravens gear until draft day.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas – Chiefs; Katz, Schwartz – Ravens
Titans at Patriots (-14)
Two touchdowns is a huge spread. But New England bounced back from their two game losing streak with a dominating win in Houston last week, and will look to stay hot at home against an inconsistent Titans team. Mariota has had a great rookie season, but he’s not ready to compete with Brady.
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Katz – Patriots; Schwartz – Titans (to cover)
Browns at Seahawks (-14.5)
Johnny Football has played alright this season, and may be playing as an audition for some other team at this point. But Seattle is absolutely bludgeoning teams right now, and Russell Wilson may be playing QB better than anyone right now.
The Picks: all on the Seahawks
The Fantasy Football Matchups:
Week 15 means it’s fantasy football playoffs, and these two games have plenty of big name fantasy players. But other than that, you likely won’t tune into these unless you root for one of the teams, or if you’re bored on Monday Night.
Dolphins at Chargers (-1.5)
The Picks: Gillette, Schwartz – Dolphins; Katz, Gumas – Chargers
Lions at Saints (-2.5)
The Picks: Gillette, Gumas, Katz – Lions; Schwartz – Saints
Enjoy the games!
Last week 7-8-1, This week 1-0-0, Overall 102-100-7