N.F.L. Picks Week 15: Steelers along with Patriots Battle for A.F.C. Superiority

Pittsburgh is usually still hobbled by the loss of linebacker Ryan Shazier to spinal surgery, nevertheless the Steelers proved last week of which they could succeed without him, thanks to Brown along with the offense, which has struggled against lesser team nevertheless seems to do well against tough competition. Pick: Steelers

Rams at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m., Fox

Line: Seahawks by 2

For most of the season, the N.F.C. West has been dominated by the Rams (9-4, 83 percent playoff chance). Quarterback Jared Goff’s rapid maturation along using a great season by running back Todd Gurley have made their offense something to fear. of which has helped the defense find consistency, since of which is usually spending less time on the field.

For the Seahawks (8-5, 55 percent), the ride has not been as easy. Among additional problems, they lost Richard Sherman along with Kam Chancellor to season-ending injuries along with struggled to develop a consistent running game. Their record was helped by a favorable schedule, nevertheless also by Russell Wilson’s penchant for keeping them in games they had no business being in.

Seattle’s troubles may be forgiven if of which beats Los Angeles at home, which might move of which into a tie for the division lead. Neither team has an advantage in terms of Week 16 along with 17 opponents, so a win might give Seattle about a 50-50 shot at a division title.

of which said, the Rams have Robert Woods, the team’s best wide receiver, back, along with if Jared Goff can deal with the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field, he should carve up Seattle’s injury-depleted secondary with passes to Woods, Sammy Watkins along with the rookie standout Cooper Kupp. Pick: Rams

Chargers at Chiefs, 8:25 p.m. (Saturday), NFL Network

Line: Chargers by 1

After four games, the Chiefs (7-6, 40 percent) had a four-game lead over the Chargers (7-6, 69 percent). Their seasons have gone in different directions since then, along with San Diego is usually the road favorite using a chance to steal the A.F.C. West. Because of which’s on a Saturday night, of which game might receive less attention than of which deserves, nevertheless the Chargers are coming in using a four-game winning streak, along with the winner should be the favorite to win the division, based on coming opponents. Pick: Chargers

Bengals at Vikings, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Vikings by 10.5

There are few coaches as familiar with each additional as Marvin Lewis of the Bengals (5-8, <1 percent) along with Mike Zimmer of the Vikings (10-3, >99 percent). Zimmer was previously Lewis’s defensive coordinator, along with they have known each additional since the 1980s. In their first game against each additional as head coaches, Zimmer is usually at an almost comical advantage. A loss last week put Minnesota behind Philadelphia for the top spot inside N.F.C., nevertheless a manageable schedule along with Carson Wentz’s injury could open the door for the Vikings to get back to of which or, at the very least, get a first-round bye. The Vikings have enough players on the injury report to make a double-digit spread too high to pick them, nevertheless they should win. Pick: Bengals

Packers at Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Panthers by 3

Aaron Rodgers, sidelined since he broke his collarbone in Week 6, is usually being thrown right into the deep end, with the Packers (7-6, 9 percent) clinging to a tiny chance of generating the playoffs. In a similar situation last season, when the Packers essentially needed to win out, Rodgers delivered, along with his history suggests no one should bet against him. A game on the road against the Panthers (9-4, 79 percent) is usually one Green Bay should lose, nevertheless in Rodgers’s career, of which is usually the type of game he tends to win, along with inside most exciting way. Pick: Packers

Second-Tier Games

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Nick Foles, right, will take over at quarterback for Philadelphia, nevertheless the Eagles are likely to rely on Jay Ajayi, left, along with the rest of the team’s running backs to carry the offense.

Credit
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Eagles at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox

Pick: Eagles by 7.5

The Eagles (11-2, clinched N.F.C. East) were Super Bowl favorites, nevertheless with Carson Wentz out for the season of which is usually hard to know what to make of them. Nick Foles is usually one of the better backups inside N.F.L., nevertheless until he has been truly tested in Philadelphia’s offense, of which is usually an open question as to whether the Eagles are still among the N.F.C.’s best.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo of the Giants (2-11, eliminated) said of which Foles was a Great enough passer to hold his own, nevertheless of which people might be focusing too much on the passing game of a team of which has LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi along with Corey Clement at running back.

“I don’t think of which’s going to change all of which much for us because you’ve got to stop of which run game,” Spagnuolo told reporters. “of which definitely didn’t matter who was handing of which off.” Pick: Eagles

Jets at Saints, 1 p.m., CBS

Pick: Saints by 15

The Saints (9-4, 91 percent) lost last week, along with have dropped two of their last three, nevertheless of which is usually probably not yet time to worry. A 3-point loss can be chalked up to playing on the road along with to a concussion forcing Alvin Kamara out of the game, nevertheless today they will be home, Kamara has returned along with they have a soft opponent inside Jets (5-8, <1 percent).

The Jets were fairly entertaining in recent weeks, with Josh McCown airing of which out along with being rewarded for his aggressiveness, nevertheless he is usually out for the remainder of the season using a broken hand, along with the team is usually left using a choice of Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg. Regardless of which Jets quarterback receives more playing time, the Saints should win, even if the point spread is usually too large to pick them. Pick: Jets

Cowboys at Raiders, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Pick: Cowboys by 3

No one might mistake the defense of the Raiders (6-7, 5 percent) for of which of the Jaguars or Vikings, nevertheless of which represents more of a challenge than the Cowboys (7-6, 6 percent) have faced in either of the last two weeks. Dallas scored 68 points in those games, which indicates the offense has adjusted to life without Ezekiel Elliott, nevertheless of which is usually not clear how much of which was helped by inferior competition.

Helping matters for Dallas is usually Sean Lee, the team’s standout linebacker, who recently returned via an injury. If Demarcus Lawrence can put consistent pressure on Derek Carr, along with Lee can take care of the middle of the field, the Cowboys’ improving secondary should shut down Oakland’s vertical threats. Pick: Cowboys

Texans at Jaguars, 1 p.m., Fox

Pick: Jaguars by 10.5

The Jaguars (9-4, >99 percent) have clinched the franchise’s first winning season since 2007, along with can clinch a playoff berth using a win of which week (they could clinch even if they lose or tie should they get help via various teams). There is usually no reason their success should stop any time soon: They will face teams using a combined record of 15-24 inside final weeks. First up are the Texans (4-9, <1 percent), who do not present much of a challenge. Justifying an enormous point spread using a volatile offense led by Blake Bortles along with Leonard Fournette is usually difficult, nevertheless the Jaguars’ defense is usually just of which Great. Pick: Jaguars

Titans at 49ers, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Pick: 49ers by 2

If you had told fans of the 49ers (3-10, eliminated) a few weeks ago of which the team might be favored at home against the potentially playoff-bound Titans (8-5, 83 percent), there might have been some Great laughs had. nevertheless of which is usually the effect Jimmy Garoppolo has had on San Francisco since he took over as starting quarterback. He is usually 2-0 since a trade freed him via his apprenticeship in fresh England, nevertheless of which may be premature to expect the 49ers, who have 10 wins over the last three seasons, to be favorites against a team of which has eight of which year. Pick: Titans

Bottom-Tier Games

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Josh Gordon has been great for the Cleveland Browns in his return via a long suspension, nevertheless the team still struggles in nearly every facet of the game.

Credit
Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Ravens at Browns, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Ravens by 7

Beyond the career revival of Josh Gordon — which could end at any time given the troubled wide receiver’s past — there is usually not much reason to watch the Browns (0-13, eliminated). inside last two seasons, they have gone a combined 1-28, along with they have not even been generating things competitive, with just a 3-10 record in terms of beating the point spread as the underdog. The Ravens (7-6, 69 percent) are battling of which out with several additional teams for the A.F.C.’s second wild-card spot, along with the energy involved in of which alone should be enough to get them past Cleveland. Pick: Ravens

Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: N/A

Tyrod Taylor appears ready to return via a knee injury, along with of which is usually great news for the Bills (7-6, 25 percent) because Taylor’s backup, Nathan Peterman, was inside league’s concussion protocol during the week. The Bills seemingly need to win at least two of their three remaining games to have a chance at beating out Baltimore along with the various additional teams inside mix for a wild-card spot, along with since one of the three games is usually against fresh England, Buffalo’s best bet might be to win both games of which has left against the Dolphins (6-7, 11 percent). Pick: Bills

Cardinals at Redskins, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Redskins by 4

Coach Bruce Arians of the Cardinals (6-7, <1 percent) raised a few eyebrows during the week when he compared Blaine Gabbert’s intelligence on the field to Peyton Manning along with Andrew Luck’s. Arians, who coached both of those quarterbacks, said: “Yeah, he’s up there. To play at of which level in seven offenses is usually not easy, along with he’s had success, especially in of which offense. nevertheless yeah, he’s up there with those guys mentally.”

Gabbert, 28, has an 11-33 career record as a starter in seven seasons, along using a passer rating of 72.4. Manning had 11 or more wins in a season 11 times.

The Redskins (5-8, eliminated) have a worse record than Arizona, nevertheless despite Gabbert’s intelligence, they should be favored at home. Pick: Redskins

Bears at Lions, 4:30 p.m. (Saturday), NFL Network

Line: Lions by 5.5

The Lions (7-6, 16 percent) ended a two-game losing streak using a win over lowly Tampa Bay, nevertheless of which was likely too little too late, as Detroit’s playoff hopes had all nevertheless vanished. There is usually some N.F.C. North pride at stake against the Bears (4-9, eliminated), nevertheless considering of which is usually an afternoon game on a Saturday, they could just not play of which along with insist of which they did. Pick: Lions

Broncos at Colts, 8:25 p.m. (Thursday), NBC along with NFL Network

Line: Broncos by 2.5

Somehow, the only game in Week 15 between two eliminated teams is usually one of the four of which will be played in prime time. of which is usually not like “Thursday Night Football” is usually known for its quality games, nevertheless when the fan bases of both the Broncos (4-9) along with the Colts (3-10) might most likely prefer a loss to improve their draft position, of which does not make for a compelling game. Here’s something to watch: Frank Gore is usually 59 yards short of his 12th consecutive season with 1,000 or more yards via scrimmage. (Emmitt Smith holds the record with 13.) Getting those 59 yards against Denver’s defense may be difficult. Pick: Broncos

Monday’s Matchup

Falcons at Buccaneers, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Line: Falcons by 6.5

The Falcons (8-5, 61 percent) can capture the N.F.C. South division title if they win their three remaining games, nevertheless they could easily fall into the trap of looking beyond of which game against the Buccaneers (4-9, eliminated) to crucial matchups in Weeks 16 along with 17 against fresh Orleans along with Carolina. There is usually no doubt of which Atlanta should be favored to win, especially considering Julio Jones’s tremendous game against them in Week 11, nevertheless a spread of 6.5 points on the road is usually fairly aggressive, along using a Great effort by Tampa Bay could keep things closer than of which. Pick: Buccaneers

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