North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

NFL Week 15 Picks

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With their home loss to the Dallas Cowboys last night, the New Orleans Saints are no longer undefeated.

And they may be the better for it.

The pressure to go perfect in the regular season, something which only happened twice in the past 40 seasons, is something that can derail a team late in the year. Do you keep going for the 16-0 and keep your starters in for the meaningless games after you’ve clinched home-field? Is it worth the risk of injury, the fatigue factor, the chance your team could be spent in the playoffs?

It’s not that losing is a good thing, but sometimes it has a silver lining. The pressure’s off the Saints now – and the team can focus on the postseason, not the record book.

Week 15 Picks follow:Home team in CAPS

Cleveland over KANSAS CITY: Both teams are pretty awful, but I like some of the players on the Browns a little more, especially since KC only has one win at home.

NY JETS over Atlanta: If Falcons QB Matt Ryan wasn’t listed as questionable, I’d consider this game a lot closer. But as it is, I like the Jets a lot here: hosting a warm-weather team that’s missing a major part of it’s offense and is only 1-5 on the road.

TENNESSEE over Miami: These two teams have really fascinated me this season; the Dolphins turned from the wildcat to a more traditional running attack almost seamlessly (again, more proof the wildcat relies more on a great offensive line then anything else) while the Titans look completely different from the listless team using their unis at the beginning of the season. Here I like the Titans, who are still battling for a playoff spot (A win moves them back to .500 and within sight of a wild card spot).

BUFFALO over New England: It’s not really an upset if everybody’s talking about it, I think. If anything, it’ll jinx it. But even with so many voices saying the Bills could upset the Pats, I still think it can happen. The Patriots don’t seem to be clicking like they did any of their Super Bowl years; Brady is playing hurt; Randy Moss is beset by controversy again, rightly or wrongly; the Pats are banged up. I like the Bills to steal one here.

Arizona over DETROIT: Well, at least by playing at Ford Field, neither team will have to worry about that huge snowstorm clobbering the eastern US.

Houston over ST. LOUIS: Well, at least the Texans get an easy slate of games to finish the season.

DENVER over Oakland: The Raiders are going with another QB from the past, Charlie Frye. The weird thing about the Raiders right now is just how effective these QB’s look, probably because  of how poorly JaMarcus Russell was playing for them. Is there a football version of VORP? Russell has to be off the charts.

Cincinnati over SAN DIEGO: The Bengals defence, which I was a big fan of even last week, wasn’t sharp last week. Still, they held Adrian Peterson to under 100 yards, something that Baltimore couldn’t do. When you consider that Peterson ran 26 times – the most he has this season – it doesn’t seem quite as bad. I still think they can handle most of what the Chargers will run at them. It’s the passing defence that concerns me. Still, I like their chances here.

BALTIMORE over Chicago: Not even a snowstorm will stop the demolition of the Bears here.

PHILADELPHIA over San Francisco: I don’t care how great QB Alex Smith’s are, he’s not going to win against a stingy Eagles defence.

Green Bay over PITTSBURGH: It hurts me to say this, but the Steelers are finished. It’s probably only a temporary thing – injuries seemed to derail the season –  but either way, it’s over. A Green Bay win would all but lock up a wild card for them, too.

SEATTLE over Tampa Bay: Both of these teams have to be looking to the offseason. I’d be surprised if either of their coaches return next year.

Minnesota over CAROLINA: Not sure how this became the flex game. I guess anything can happen, but I pretty much expect the Vikings by a margin here.

NY Giants over WASHINGTON: The NFC East is really tight right now, a lot moreso then I thought it would be. Dallas is hanging in, Philly looks like the best team in the division but the Giants aren’t far behind. A win here would do a lot to help their playoff chances.

Last Week: 10-5

Written by M.

December 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm

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