Fearless Rick's NFL Football Picks - Week 15 early games

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WEEK 15 NFL Picks

All times Eastern

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Week 14 Results: Coin: 6-9; Rick: 9-6
Cumulative: Coin: 83-104-7; Rick: 94-93-7

Thursday, December 15

Los Angeles at Seattle (-14, 39), 8:25 (NBC-NFLN-Twitter) - The way the Seahawks were manhandled by the Packers in Green Bay last week, coming out of the midwest bruised and busted in a 38-10 defeat, one would think Seattle is limping toward the NFC West title. That is a somewhat correct assessment, because at 8-4-1, the Seahawks have not displayed the kind of week-in, week-out mastery of which champions are made.

Their longest win streak of the season is just three games (twice), and they're 1-2 in the last three weeks, having scored a total of 15 points in road losses to Tampa Bay and Green Bay. This is a home game, however, where the Seahawks are 6-0. This is also the second meeting between the Rams and Seahawks, the first game going to LA, by the score of 9-3. Since then the Rams are 3-8, but they are also 3-4 as road warriors this year. Fans and line-makers may have short memories, but players and coaches do not. Look for at least a cover by the Rams and maybe a surprising upset.

Coin Flip: Seattle

Rick's Pick: Rams 13 Seahawks 10

Saturday, December 17

Miami (-2 1/2, 38 1/2) at NY Jets, 8:25 (NFLN) - Both teams were winners in overtime last week, the Dolphins slipping by Arizona, 26-23, while the Jets came from behind to upend the hopeless and hapless 49ers, 23-17.

The results may be similar, but the level of competition was certainly not, which is reason number one why the Dolphins demand respect in this AFC East clash. Winners of seven of their last eight, Miami appears headed down to the final week of the season (when they will host New England) in a potential run to reach the playoffs.

Coming in at 8-5, the Dolphins have plenty of company for the wild card spots, whereas the Jets are a dismal 4-9. The first meeting this season between these two went to the Dolphins, 27-23. A similar result is expected, despite the change in venue.

Coin Flip: Miami

Rick's Pick: Miami 20 NY Jets 16

Sunday, December 18

Philadelphia at Baltimore (-6, 41 1/2), 1:00 pm (FOX) - Following their late October bye week, the Ravens have been surging, posting a 7-6-1 mark, including Monday night's 30-23 loss at New England.

On the other hand, the Eagles continue to implode. They're now 5-8, with a 1-6 mark in road games. Fortunately for them, this will be their last away venture of the season, but it is likely to result in yet another loss. Baltimore still has hopes for the playoffs and their NFC East rivals from just up I-95 aren't going to derail the Raven express.

Coin Flip: Philadelphia

Rick's Pick: Ravens 31 Eagles 17

Cleveland at Buffalo (-10, 43), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Buffalo was virtually eliminated from playoff contention last week in their 27-20 home loss to Pittsburgh. Though the win was by a mere touchdown, the game was almost never in doubt after the Steelers took control in the second quarter.

During this or coming weeks the ills may change starting QBs and/or their head coach, so anything could happen in this Lake Erie rivalry. The Browns are still the favorites to pick first in the draft, but they may get an unwelcome win after their little bus ride up I-90.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Rick's Pick: Browns 24 Bills 20

Green Bay (-7, 43 1/2) at Chicago, 1:00 pm (FOX) - Conventional, old-school wisdom says that divisional underdogs of seven or more points at home cover at a rate approaching 67%, and this game certainly fits the billing. While the Packers looked awesome and unbeatable when smashing the Seahawks at home last week, 38-10, Aaron Rodgers limp was noticeable and the Chicago defense is not exactly awful, ranking 8th overall and 15th in points allowed, at 22.3 per game. Green Bay allows 24.0 (21st).

Green Bay won the first meeting on October 20, 26-10, but it can be argued that the Bears have played a little better since then. They're 2-4 since the Green Bay loss, and 3-10 overall, all of their wins coming at home. This is not to say that the Bears pose a significant threat to Green Bay's playoff hopes, but they do stand somewhat in their way.

Coin Flip: Chicago

Rick's Pick: Packers 24 Bears 20

Jacksonville at Houston (-6, 40), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Following their 22-17 win over Indianapolis last week, the Texans are on track to capture the AFC South again, though the Titans are tied with them at 7-6 and threatening the pecking order in the NFL.

The Jaguars are turning in yet another forgettable season, their losing streak reaching eight after the Vikings dumped on them, 26-15. Worse, the Jaguars are a miserable 1-5 on the road, their only win away from home being a one-point victory at Chicago. Ugh! Houston should breeze to a win here.

Coin Flip: Houston

Rick's Pick: Texans 28 Jaguars 9

Pittsburgh (-3, 44 1/2) at Cincinnati, 1:00 pm (NBC) - Coming off a pair of impressive wins - 32-14 over the Eagles, 23-10 at Cleveland, the Bengals host the 1st place Steelers in a must-win situation. If Cincinnati is to have any hope of reaching the playoffs, it is by winning the AFC North, a daunting task considering their 5-7-1 record coming into this game.

Pittsburgh continued to roll through the schedule, winning their fourth straight, 27-20, at Buffalo, after four straight losses in October and early November. The Steelers hold a slight statistical advantage over the Bengals, a team they handled 24-16 in week two. Considering the importance for both teams, the relatively healthier Steelers should make this their fifth straight victory.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Rick's Pick: Steelers 21 Bengals 10

Tennessee at Kansas City (-5, 43), 1:00 pm (CBS) - 5-1 at home this season, the Chiefs are in a dogfight with Oakland for the AFC West title. The Titans have surprised many in the league by continuing to stay in contention with Houston and Indy in the AFC South. Currently 7-6, the Titans are tied with Houston for the division lead, but have a heady task ahead.

Both teams are playing quality football at the right time making this one of the best match-ups of the weekend and a must take on the points. Tennessee's 13-10 win over Denver last week was monumental and their defense has found its best footing at the right time. KC is no easy beat, but the Titans have proven they belong.

Coin Flip: Kansas City

Rick's Pick: Chiefs 22 Titans 20

Indianapolis at Minnesota (-3 1/2, 45 1/2), 1:00 pm (CBS) - Here's a contest between two teams on the cusp of the wild card and/or their respective divisions. The Colts have been somewhat of a disappointment at 6-7, while the Vikings have held their own at 7-6 without the services of RB Adrian Peterson (missing since week two) and QB Teddy Bridgewater (ruled out for the season in preseason). Since their 5-0 start, the Nikes are a mere 2-6, inconsistent on both offense and defense, but mostly on offense.

Indy is allowing 25.6 points per game (25th), which should help out Minnesota's ailing offense. Tough call, considering the spread and the critical situation for both, but the Viking defense should lead Minnesota to a win.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Rick's Pick: Vikings 27 Colts 20

Detroit at NY Giants (-4, 43), 1:00 pm (FOX) - One of the best games on this week's slate pits the Sunday night victors over Dallas hosting the comeback kids, aka the Detroit Lions. Detroit improved to 9-4, their lead in the NFC North now two games over the 7-6 Packers and Vikings.

Also at 9-4, the Giants have won despite severe limitations in the run game, but their defense has been stellar over their last eight games, seven of them resulting in victories. The Giants are also 6-1 at home this season, making this one tough pick, but the Lions seem capable of defying logic and the odds, so, even if they lose, it shouldn't be by much.

Coin Flip: Detroit

Rick's Pick: Lions 26 Giants 23

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