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NFL Pro Football 2010 Week 15 Picks

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Pro Football Week 15 Picks - late games

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 15 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | December 16-19

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, December 16

San Francisco 49ers at San Diego Chargers (-9, 45) 8:20 pm - This is a must-win scenario for San Francisco, because the Rams play the Seahawks in week 17, meaning that unless they tie, one of those two teams is guaranteed a win, and they're both a game ahead of the 49ers in the standings at 6-7.

The 'Niners can still get to 7-9 with a loss here (win their last two games - at St. Louis and home vs. Arizona), but it sets up a situation in which they may lose a tie-breaker.

Then, there's the Chargers, who still trail the Chiefs by a game in the AFC West. Their final two games are on the road against Cincinnati and Denver, both winnable games. But, KC is at St. Louis on Sunday and then has Tennessee and Oakland at home. Wins in all three games keeps them in front of the Chargers, guaranteeing the AFC West title.

Both teams have a great deal to play for here, and the 49ers have not given up hope and may have played their best game of the season last week, dominating the Seahakws, 40-21. So too, San Diego, blitzing KC, 31-0. Chargers have a huge offensive edge and are home, so a two-TD win would not be out of the realm of possibility.

Prediction: Chargers 27 49ers 14


Sunday, December 19

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-1 1/2, 40) 1:00 pm - The season has been over for the Bangals many moons ago, and officially hit the skids now that TO is blaming the coaches. How typical of the biggest cry-baby in the league. Cleveland has three more wins than the Bengals and have allowed almost 100 fewer points. The Browns actually have a chance to finish the season at 8-8, which would be a major accomplishment and obviously something for which the players and management should be aiming.

The Browns won their first meeting, 23-20, and will have their defense dialed in against a division foe. Cleveland should romp these guys. Period.

Prediction: Browns 31 Bengals 13


Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (-6, 45) 1:00 pm - Both teams have been mathematically eliminated from the post season, so this one is just for pride. Obviously, the Cowboys are playing better, but Washington head coach doesn't really like losing, and this is still a grudge match.

For all the people saying that the Dallas defense has improved, a glance at their last three games shows they've allowed 30, 35 and 30 points to New Orleans, Indy and Philly, respectively. Wile those are some of the best offensive teams in the league, Dallas still didn't stop them effectively at any point. Washington isn't exactly going to blow anyone away, but their defense is still better than what the Cowboys put on the field, so expect the Redskins to play close to the vest and win on a late score.

Prediction: Redskins 23 Cowboys 20


Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-1 1/2, 47 1/2) 1:00 pm - The Texans have collapsed late in games - Monday night in OT - so often they have pretty much played themselves out of playoff contention - only one win since their bye in week seven - but still have the kind of offense which can wear down a defense, plus they already beat the Titans, 20-0, on November 28, though Tennessee was having serious issues at the time.

With Kenny Britt and Kerry Collins both back in the lineup, are once again competitive, as witnessed in their 30-28 loss to Indy last week, but that was their 6th straight loss. Tough call, but the Titans should manage a win at home, where they're just 2-5, as Houston is 2-4 on the road.

Prediction: Titans 27 Texans 24


Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-5, 48 1/2) 1:00 pm - Put up or shut up for both teams. The Colts are hanging onto playoff hopes like drowning men, and the Jaguars already took their measure earlier in the season, 31-38, but this one is indoors where Peyton Manning is in his confort zone and no doubt will drive the Colts to multiple scores.

Jacksonville, however, has found a winning formula, emerging victorious in five of their last six outings and taking the lead in the scrambled AFC South at 8-5. A win here clinches the division for them, and with a history of close games between these two teams (5 of their last 6 meetings have been decided by 4 points or less), one should expect the Jags to hang with the Colts the entire 60 minutes.

Prediction: Jaguars 28 Colts 26


Kansas City Chiefs at St. Louis Rams (-3, 42 1/2) 1:00 pm - Matt Cassell is still listed as questinable and appears to be a game-time decision as to whether the QB will start following appendectomy surgery 11 days ago. This line seems to suggest that Cassell won't start, with the Chiefs opting for Brodie Croyle instead. If that's the case, the Rams, who are tied with Seattle at 6-7 in the NFC West, would stand a better chance. It's also worth notig that St. Louis is 4-2 at home this season, while the Chiefs are a sub-par 2-5 on the road. A loss would put the Chiefs in a tie with the Chargers, who already beat San Francisco on Thursday and are 8-6. San Diego would win tie-breakers with the Chiefs if the two teams end up tied in their division. While both teams have ample reasons to be motivated, the Chiefs should prove the better team, especially if Cassell starts. Draw a line through KC's 31-0 beating last week and they appear suited to get an essential win.

Prediction: Chiefs 24 Rams 20


Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-5 1/2, 41) 1:00 pm - The Bills announced that wideout Lee Evans is out for the season and on IR, so Buffalo will be without their most productive receiver. That's not very good news against a Miami defense that seems to be getting better by the week and is 6th-best against the pass. Adding to Buffalo's woes is that they allow a whopping 163.4 yards per game on the ground, easily the worst in the league.

Expect to see a steady diet of Rickey Williams and Ronnie Brown and a variety of sets in and out of the wildcat to keep the Buffalo defense off-guard. After defeating the Jets last week, the Dolphins have a path to the playoffs, though they'll need to keep winning and hope for a complete collapse by either the Jets or the Ravens.

Prediction: Dolphins 28 Bills 17


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Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6, 43) 1:00 pm - The Buccaneers are in a tough spot at 8-5, two games behind New Orleans and three back of the Falcons, so they have to win their remaining games in order to even hope to make the playoffs. Additionally, after hosting Seattle next week, they play at New Orleans in the final week of the season, where their dreams could conceivably die an ugly death.

The Bucs should have sufficient motivation to turn back the Lions, though the 6-point line is giving quite a bit. Of their eight wins, five have been by three points or fewer, and only one of those - a 31-16 thumping of Carolina - has been at home.

Detroit has played more than their share of close games, losing most of them, but continues to soldier on despite many crippling injuries. The Lions may put a very large dent in Tampa Bay's playoff plans or at least make them sweat.

Prediction: Buccaneers 20 Lions 17


Be.


Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers (-3, 37 1/2) 1:00 pm - Arizona exploded for 43 points in their win over Denver last week, ending a seven-game skid, and now find about as soft a road spot as possible. While it's amazing to see the Panthers actually favored in a game, it's worthwhile to note the Cardinals' issues with traveling East, or hitting the road at all. Since their week 1 win at St Louis, Arizona has dropped five straight road contests, by an average margin of nearly 20 points.

With the Cardinals simply awful on the road and Carolina looking for any silver lining to their horrible season, the Panthers have to be the pick in this week's worst game.

Prediction: Panthers 24 Cardinals 13


New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens (-2, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - After watching the Ravens' defense slow to a crawl last week against Houston, the Saints' offensive players should be drooling at the chance to get this game into the 4th quarter. Baltimore's defensive players are not getting any younger, and the Saints are on a six-game roll and probably tired of hearing how the patriots are now the best team in the league.

The Saints have all their offensive weapons in place and need this win to stay within earshot of Atlanta, whom they play next Sunday night. The Ravens have been exposed a couple of times the last two weeks, stumbling through the 4th quarter, though saved by a big play in their overtime win against the Texans.

Statistically, the Ravens are a point better on defense, and the Saints about 3 points more effective than Baltimore on offense. While the numbers indicate a close game, the Saints may take the Baltimore defense to the woodshed late in the game and blow it open.

Prediction: Saints 31 Ravens 21


Philadelphia Eagles at NY Giants (-3, 46) 1:00 pm - There's no game with more playoff implications than this match-up between NFC East co-leaders. The Eagles took the Giants' measure a month ago in Philadelphia, but New York has responded by winning three straight, the last two n impressive fashion, topping the Redskins, 31-7, and last week overcoming delays and a venue change to whip the Vikings, 21-3, in Detroit.

New York's plan to contain Michael Vick worked to a fair extent in their first meeting and one can rest assured that the Giants' agile defensive line will keep him in check at the Meadowlands. The Eagles have plenty of firepower, but so do the Giants, and it's difficult to imagine Philly winning this critical test, though it will be close. Both teams are likely playoff participants, but winning here gives that team a leg up on the division title.

Prediction: Giants 31 Eagles 26

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2010, 2011, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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