NFL Week Fifteen Predictions

Dec. 16, 2011, 3:10 p.m. | By Jacob Buchholz, Langston Taylor, Molly Nicholson, Eli Schwadron | 12 years, 4 months ago

Tebow: the man, the myth, the legend

During Denver's victory over Chicago last week, a Broncos fan holds up a sign that reads, "What would Tebow do? Just win!!" Photo courtesy of ESPN.

Tim Tebow. You can love him, hate him, make fun of him for his seemingly perfect persona, whatever – but you can't deny that the man's a winner, plain and simple. The Broncos have won six straight games and are atop the AFC West after another comeback win, this time against the Bears in overtime.

On that note, let's see which of our experts decide to pick Tebow against Tom Brady and the Patriots in week fifteen. Jacob has led all year long, and he'll look to pull away from the pack after another set of games.

Eli: 121-70
Langston: 127-64
Jacob: 142-49
Molly: 128-63

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons
Eli: Falcons
Langston: Falcons
Jacob: Falcons
Molly: Falcons

Eli says:
Matt Ryan threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Carolina last week. Atlanta should put up a lot of points against a poor Jacksonville defense.
Langston says:
Matt Ryan has been throwing like crazy recently, and Jacksonville doesn't have enough to stop him. Atlanta will take this home game easily and stay in playoff contention.
Jacob says:
The Falcons are making their playoff push, having won three of their last four and six of their last eight games. They still are not blowing teams out like they should against their weaker opponents but they are a winning team in playoff position. At the same time, the Jaguars are coming off a 27-point win against the Bucs and they won't be easy to stop.
Molly says:
Matt Ryan has been on fire lately, and the Falcons' run defense is on point, which will shut down MJD, killing any chance of a Jaguars win.

Saturday, December 16, 2011

Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eli: Cowboys
Langston: Cowboys
Jacob: Cowboys
Molly: Cowboys

Eli says:
Dallas blew a twelve-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the Giants last week. The Cowboys should bounce back against a Tampa Bay team that got embarrassed by Jacksonville 41-14 last week.
Langston says:
This week, Dallas gets the perfect remedy for any team who loses two in a row and gives up their spot atop the division: getting to play the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay hasn't won a game in two months and only one of their last seven losses has been even close. The Cowboys will win big and at least remain even with the Giants in the standings.
Jacob says:
The Bucs showed their true colors last week in a blowout loss to the Jaguars, which marked their seventh loss in a row. Tampa Bay has the third worst point differential in the league and they are at the bottom of the NFC South. The Cowboys like to keep it close, and they might do so against Tampa, but a win is a near certainty.
Molly says:
The Buccaneers are disappointing this year, and the Cowboys' two-game losing streak means that Dallas is due for a win.

Sunday, December 17, 2011

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
Eli: Texans
Langston: Texans
Jacob: Texans
Molly: Texans

Eli says:
T.J. Yates has looked surprisingly good through the past couple of games. His 300 yards and two touchdowns earned Houston its first division title ever in a 20-19 win over the Bengals last week. The Texans' success will continue against Cam Newton and Carolina.
Langston says:
T.J. Yates has adequately filled in for Matt Schaub, a job that has been made easier by the greatness of Houston's defense. The Texans give up just 275 total yards per game, the fewest in the NFL, and are first in the NFC in turnover differential at +10. Don't expect the Panthers to score more than once or twice.
Jacob says:
The Texans had all the makings of a Super Bowl team until Matt Schaub got hurt. That shouldn't have been too bad, as they still had Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart on the bench. Then he got injured, and now, it's third string rookie quarterback T.J. Yates who's taking over. Even with all the adversity they have faced, the Texans clinched their first ever playoff berth last week and it was in big part thanks to Yates. Regardless of who is at the quarterback position, the Texans will win.
Molly says:
To put it frankly, the Panthers aren't the best team in this match-up, especially with their poor defense.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants
Eli: Giants
Langston: Giants
Jacob: Giants
Molly: Giants

Eli says:
The 'Skins played their best game of the season in week one against the Giants, beating New York 28-14 at FedEx Field. Sunday's game will be a completely different story. Eli Manning is at the top of his game and he'll find his receivers time and time again against Washington's secondary.
Langston says:
New York came from behind to beat the Cowboys and take a share of first place in the NFC East, while Washington botched their comeback attempt against the Patriots. Washington has improved since discovering that Roy Helu is a monster, but they've still only won one road game this year.
Jacob says:
It's just not the year for the Redskins. It hasn't been in a little while and it probably won't be for a little while. The Giants are having an up-and-down year highlighted by a quarterback on pace to break Dan Marino's single season passing record. Manning can lead the Giants past the Redskins without much trouble.
Molly says:
Eli Manning is leading a powerful offense, and the Giants' defense goes straight for the quarterback, which is bad news for Rex Grossman because he pretty much sucks under pressure.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Eli: Bills
Langston: Dolphins
Jacob: Dolphins
Molly: Dolphins

Eli says:
Buffalo played horrendously last week, falling 37-10 to the Chargers. But the Bills are 4-2 at home, while the Dolphins are 1-5 on the road. When two evenly matched, mediocre teams go head-to-head, home field advantage can make all of the difference.
Langston says:
Buffalo's six-game losing streak has cost them their playoff chances, while Miami has managed to rise, at least, to mediocrity. Don't forget that Miami wiped the floor with the Bills in Week 11. I wouldn't expect a blowout in Buffalo, but the Dolphins are the better team right now.
Jacob says:
The Dolphins can take some momentum into next season by ending on a high not but first they have to beat the Bills, Patriots and Jets. None of the three will be easy but the Bills are definitely the worst of the three.
Molly says:
No idea.

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Eli: Seahawks
Langston: Bears
Jacob: Seahawks
Molly: Seahawks

Eli says:
The Seahawks are winners of two straight thanks to the one-man wrecking crew that is Marshawn Lynch. Meanwhile, the Bears, the latest team to get Tebowed, have lost three games in a row. Caleb Hanie simply can't play. Seattle improves to .500 on the year.
Langston says:
Despite their inexplicable loss to the Broncos, the Bears are a lot better than the Seahawks. Chicago will bounce back with a home win.
Jacob says:
The Bears have lost three in a row without Cutler, while the Seahawks are hitting their stride. Seattle has won two in a row and four out of its last five. Technically still alive in the wild card hunt, the Seahawks can win a big one against the Bears.
Molly says:
The Bears have a good defense, but their offense has taken a toll because of injuries. The Seahawks also have Marshawn Lynch.

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Eli: Saints
Langston: Saints
Jacob: Saints
Molly: Saints

Eli says:
I don't have to take any time to Ponder this match-up. It should be a Brees for New Orleans.
Langston says:
The Saints, like the Ravens, only seem to lose to bad teams (the exception, of course, being the Packers). Minnesota certainly is a bad team, but I can't expect New Orleans to lose this game. Lil Breezy's got this game.
Jacob says:
The Saints are the second best team in the NFC without question. Yet they are faced with similar faults as the Ravens. The Saints are undefeated at home; they have three losses on the road, including to the Rams and the Buccaneers, by no means good teams. On the road they have a zero point differential, and at home it's +129. But the Vikings still won't beat them.
Molly says:
Is this even a prediction?

Cincinnati Bengals at St. Louis Rams
Eli: Bengals
Langston: Bengals
Jacob: Bengals
Molly: Bengals

Eli says:
The Rams are awful. This should be an easy win for the Bengals as long as they give Cedric Benson 20+ carries and don't turn the ball over.
Langston says:
St. Louis is awful. Cincinnati, on the other hand, is a good team with a difficult schedule; their losses have come to the Steelers twice, the Ravens, the Texans, the 49ers and the Broncos. If they weren't in the AFC North, they'd have a much better shot at the playoffs. But they do, and will have to play Baltimore again before the season is over. At least they can play the Rams this week and Cardinals next week.
Jacob says:
I keep on waiting for the Rams to show a hint of last year but it has yet to come. What I have seen is an embarrassment to the NFL. I don't see any reason to believe that the Rams will win another game all year.
Molly says:
The Rams are just terrible. I really don't know what else to say. If they do win, someone will have to pick my jaw off the ground.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Eli: Titans
Langston: Titans
Jacob: Titans
Molly: Titans

Eli says:
I know what's on the Colts' wish list for the holidays…and they're not going to get it this Sunday. Titans win.
Langston says:
I don't really care which team is playing the Colts – I'm picking that team no matter who it is.
Jacob says:
The Titans can stay on the brink of the playoffs with a win here. The Colts, well, I'm doubtful that they can make the playoffs, but a win would certainly be nice. Unlikely that they get it here.
Molly says:

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Eli: Packers
Langston: Packers
Jacob: Packers
Molly: Packers

Eli says:
Why is there a 'd' in Rodgers? Determination? Domination? Double-U (as in W, as in win?)
Langston says:
It won't matter much if the Chiefs start Tyler Palko or Ricky Stanzi; they won't beat the Packers either way. This year, Aaron Rodgers has thrown 39 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions, and Green Bay's defense is underrated. Every game, they do their job, which is basically to hold their opponents until A-Rod gets them the lead and not give it up too quickly afterwards. The Packers have lived up to their hype as the best team in the NFL.
Jacob says:
If only the Colts got to play the Chiefs one more time maybe they wouldn't go winless. Instead, it's the undefeated Packers who get to play the Chiefs. I'll go with the Packers.
Molly says:
This is the easiest week of predictions yet.

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
Eli: Lions
Langston: Lions
Jacob: Lions
Molly: Lions

Eli says:
Detroit's offense looked solid in a 34-point performance in week 14, but the defense looked a bit shaky, giving up 28 points to Minnesota. I'm counting on Matt Stafford's arm to get it done in the Motor City. Ndamukong Suh is back after serving his two-game suspension, so that'll be an added bonus for the Lions on Sunday.
Langston says:
Toss-up. Ndamukong Suh's return gives the Lions the edge they need to secure this road win and maintain second place in their division.
Jacob says:
The Raiders are plunging. Only a few weeks ago they were on top of the division, now it is unlikely that they compete for the wild card. The Lions will be one step closer to reaching the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Molly says
I have a feeling Matt Stafford is going to stomp all over the Raiders' mediocre secondary. Plus, Carson Palmer has thrown way too many picks.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos
Eli: Broncos
Langston: Broncos
Jacob: Patriots
Molly: Patriots

Eli says:
Don't question Tebow's skill. Just sit back and watch the magic unfold.
Langston says:
Is it crazier to pick against Tom Brady or Tim Tebow? Right now, I'll have to go with Tebow. The dude doesn't lose. Plus, the Patriots' defense has been shaky all season long, and almost gave up their lead in Washington last week. The Broncos will find a way to win, again.
Jacob says:
The most intriguing game of the week, as is the case every time Tim Tebow steps on the field, will end in a blowout win by the Patriots. The last time the Broncos lost it was by 35 points to the Lions. Their wins are against mediocre teams and the Jets. And frankly, I just hate the Broncos.
Molly says:
Tom Brady may not have the defense to back him up, but after last week against the Redskins, I'm hoping the coaches realized what fans around the country have known for weeks: the defense needs to be fixed. I know Tim Tebow is the talk of the town, but I don't think he can pull out another Mile High miracle.

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Eli: Jets
Langston: Jets
Jacob: Jets
Molly: Jets

Eli says:
New York is far and away the better team at this point in the season. The Jets should handle the inconsistent Eagles on the road.
Langston says:
Don't be impressed by New York's three straight wins – they were over Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City. Still, the Jets are better than the Eagles. NYJ will take this one, but next week's game against the Giants will be a much bigger challenge.
Jacob says:
The Jets really are a good team. They still do have Mark Sanchez so they won't be going very far anytime soon but the rest of the team is good enough to propel them to the playoffs and past the inconsistent Eagles.
Molly says:
Michael Vick has been pretty banged up this year, and he's not playing the way he was projected to be playing. Plus, the Jets have gotten back to running the ball effectively, which is more bad news for the Eagles because it's one of their biggest weaknesses defensively. Also, good luck getting through the Jets' secondary.

Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals
Eli: Cardinals
Langston: Cardinals
Jacob: Cardinals
Molly: Cardinals

Eli says:
Arizona upset the 49ers last week and will carry that momentum into Sunday's 4:15 game against the Browns. Plus, Cleveland stinks.
Langston says:
These two teams' records were drastically different a few weeks ago, but three straight losses for the Browns and wins for the Cardinals have tied them up at 4-9. Arizona has been playing much better, and is finally getting some of their close games to go their way.
Jacob says:
The Cardinals beat the 49ers last week. The Cardinals beat the Cowboys the week before that. Earlier on the season they also beat the Eagles and only lost to the Ravens and the Giants by one score each. At the same time, they have lost to the Redskins and the Vikings, as well as escaped two close losses to the Rams. I can't get a tab on this team, but against the Browns, it's a safe bet that they'll win.
Molly says:
I expect Beanie Wells to have a big game this week, and because Colt McCoy is suffering from a concussion from the vicious hit last Thursday (thanks James Harrison), the Browns aren't looking too lucky.

Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers
Eli: Ravens
Langston: Ravens
Jacob: Ravens
Molly: Ravens

Eli says:
Tough one. The Chargers looked like a much-improved team in last week's 37-10 win, but Baltimore has played well all season long. I'll go with the safer pick here.
Langston says:
The Chargers have the second-worst turnover margin in the AFC, and the Ravens' defense won't make this stat any better. Expect a couple picks and a fumble or two in San Diego on Sunday.
Jacob says:
The Ravens are the top team in the AFC right now. They have wins against the Steelers, 49ers, Texans and Jets. They also managed to beat the Browns on the road, something which they had struggled at all year. Even on the road, Baltimore will come out on top in this one.
Molly says:
The Chargers may be on a roll lately, but I always faith in my team!

Monday, December 19

Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers
Eli: Steelers
Langston: 49ers
Jacob: Steeles
Molly: 49ers

Eli says:
The 49ers struggle against good defenses. Pittsburgh wins in this battle of two 10-3 teams.
Langston says:
Game of the week. These two defenses will deal out some pain on Monday Night. San Francisco will use last week's loss to the Cardinals as the extra motivation they need to break just a couple more tackles than Pittsburgh and hang on for the win.
Jacob says:
The 49ers lost to the Cardinals last week and they have lost two out of their last three. Their miracle of a season is coming to an end, and that end will be sped up with a tough loss to Pittsburgh.
Molly says:
I refuse to pick the Steelers for one more week, so I'm going with the 49ers. It only helps that Big Ben is hurt, and James Harrison is suspended.

Jacob Buchholz. More »

Langston Taylor. More »

Molly Nicholson. GO RAVENS! I would want nothing more than to be sitting on a beach watching the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl. More »

Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »

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