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I saw an article this week that emphatically stated that only four teams have a chance to win the Super Bowl this season: the Rams, Saints, Chiefs, and Patriots. On the surface, it’s hard to go against that notion. But let’s be honest – how many people would’ve given the Eagles consideration last season after Carson Wentz tore his ACL? All season I’ve been touting the Steelers as a darkhorse Super Bowl contender despite their poor start. But I’ll give you another team to absolutely keep an eye out for…the Los Angeles Chargers. When star RB Melvin Gordon is healthy, they have all of the components necessary to make a deep playoff run: future Hall-of-Fame QB, a dynamic rushing attach, excellent pass catchers, and a very underrated defense. Regardless of what happens against Kansas City on Thursday night…the Chargers will be a very tough out for likely the #4 seed (Pittsburgh / Baltimore) in the first round of the AFC Playoffs and I wouldn’t want to play them at any point. Let another team do the dirty work and take them out.
Week 15 NFL Picks
Last Week: 9-7 Straight Up (SU), 9-7 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 138-68-2 SU, 108-100 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
Los Angeles Chargers 27, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 24 (ATS: Chargers +3.5)
This has the making of a really competitive game and what I thought would’ve been a shootout. But the over/under in Vegas is only 53 which seems low…and as I always say, there’s a reason the hotels in Vegas are so elegant. As for the game itself, I have a funny feeling that Philip Rivers pulls a rabbit out of his hat to win this one. Chargers and under is the play!
Houston 26, NEW YORK JETS 16 (ATS: Texans -6.5)
The Texans need to bounce back after last week’s crushing home loss to Indy. Even though the Jets won in Buffalo last Sunday, I don’t see them putting up much resistance in this one.
DENVER 24, Cleveland 19 (ATS: Broncos -3.5)
The Browns will be a trendy pick this week…but I’m on the opposite side. Denver bounces back after the BAD loss to San Francisco to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Next year Cleveland will be a lot of people’s pick to win the AFC North.
JACKSONVILLE 20, Washington 13 (ATS: Redskins +7.5)
How the heck is anyone supposed to accurately pick this game between two teams that are out of it? Give me the home team but I kind of like the Redskins with the points.
CINCINNATI 24, Oakland 17 (ATS: Bengals -3.5)
Another meaningless game here that only matters for draft positioning. Give me the home team.
ATLANTA 30, Arizona 17 (ATS: Falcons -8.5)
About the only intrigue in this game is whether Julio Jones can light up Patrick Peterson. Otherwise both teams are simply playing out the string.
Tennessee 26, NEW YORK GIANTS 24 (ATS: Titans +2.5)
This is the one game this week I struggled with. The Titans demolished Jacksonville last week and still are clinging to AFC playoff hopes. For the Giants, will OBJ play and if not, is Saquon Barkley enough to carry them to a home victory? Titans keep their hopes of playing in January alive with a tight victory.
MINNESOTA 27, Miami 20 (ATS: Dolphins +8.5)
The Vikings, my preseason Super Bowl pick, have been an incredible disappointment this season. Apparently Kirk Cousins WASN’T worth that giant guaranteed contract. I’m thinking Minnesota bounces back but Miami keeps it slightly closer than Vegas expects.
CHICAGO 27, Green Bay 17 (ATS: Bears -5.5)
Listen – I would love for my Packers to pull off the upset and keep their remote playoff possibilities alive. But after the way Chicago choked in Week 1, I don’t see any way they don’t exact revenge this Sunday.
Dallas 23, INDIANAPOLIS 20 (ATS: Cowboys +3.5)
Is there a hotter team in the NFL right now than the Cowboys? I can’t think of one. And it’s always fun to pick against my old radio pal Jeffry O’Brien’s Colts…so this line seems like a gift.
BALTIMORE 30, Tampa Bay 14 (ATS: Ravens -8.5)
I expect the Ravens to absolutely crush the Bucs this week…only giving 8.5 is a gift. Lamar Jackson and company have a legitimate shot at the AFC North title and this game won’t slow their pursuit one bit.
BUFFALO 20, Detroit 16 (ATS: Bills -2.5)
Unless you’re a Bills or Lions fan, there’s absolutely no reason to watch this football game. No fantasy implications either. Move along…
Seattle 24, San Francisco 16 (ATS: Seahawks -5.5)
The Seahawks smashed the 49ers two weeks ago…why wouldn’t the same result happen again this weekend? It will be closer but the 5.5 point spread seems a bit too light.
PITTSBURGH 30, New England 27 (ATS: Steelers +2.5)
Must win game for both teams…Pittsburgh to hold on to their lead in the AFC North and New England for the opportunity to secure a 1st round playoff bye. I’ve been on the Steelers all season and I’ll stick with them in a very tough game. If they lose on Sunday combined with a likely loss in New Orleans next week, they’re in DEEP trouble.
LOS ANGELES RAMS 38, Philadelphia 20 (ATS: Rams -8.5)
No Carson Wentz…banged up secondary…not a good formula for the Eagles to win this one. LA gets back on track after last week’s dud in Chicago.
New Orleans 30, CAROLINA 27 (ATS: Panthers +6.5)
Call me crazy considering they’ve lost five in-a-row, but I expect Carolina to keep this one very competitive throughout in order to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. New Orleans wins on a Wil Lutz field goal as time expires to all but end the Ron Rivera-era in Charlotte.
Week 15 Fantasy Football Guidance
‘Boom & Crush’ Record (15+ PPR fantasy points from a non-must start player)
Last Week: 3-0
‘Be Careful’ Record (12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 2-1
Boom & Crush:
QB: Josh Allen (BUF vs. DET)
RB: Lamar Miller (HOU at NYJ)
WR/TE: Josh Gordon (NE at PIT)
QB: Andrew Luck (IND vs. DAL)
RB: Nick Chubb (CLE at DEN)
WR/TE: Mike Evans (TB at BALT)