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NFL Pro Football 2012 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 13-17, 2012

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Thursday, December 13

Cincinnati (-5, 44 1/2) at Philadelphia 8:20 pm - Cincinnati's confidence-shattering loss at home to the Cowboys last week has to be put aside if the Bengals plan on continuing to play an integral part in the late-season playoff hunt.

Dallas' final drive, resulting in the go-ahead TD left no time for the Bengals to respond in a 20-19 heartbreaker. The late defensive letdown and resultant loss dropped the Bengals to 7-6 and into a tie with fellow AFC North squad, Pittsburgh, whom the Bengals visit next week. With Baltimore to close out the season, the schedule makes this a must-win for Cincinnati.

Philly stunned Tampa Bay last week, winning on a final drive 23-21, as QB Nick Foles' confidence soared.

The Eagles are 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four home games, but, last week's win snapped a n eight-game losing streak and the players who aren't injured are playing hard, trying to secure spots on next year's roster.

Give the Bengals some credit, though they may miss kicker Mike Nugent, who is listed as doubtful with a right calf injury, but their defense should rebound and stifle the Eagles.

Prediction: Bengals 24 Eagles 16

Sunday, December 16

Green Bay (-3, 43) at Chicago 1:00 pm - Back in September, the Packers won the first meeting of these NFC North rivals, 23-10, and the Packers are currently riding a two game win streak while the Bears have dropped their last two, including last week's unexpected, 21-14, defeat at Minnesota.

Green Bay has won the last four meetings between these teams, including a playoff win at Chicago last January and a 27-17 win at the start of the 2011 campaign.

Very simply, the Packers have Chicago's number and will wrap up the division with a win in the Windy City.

Prediction: Packers 27 Bears 20

NY Giants at Atlanta (-1 1/2, 51) 1:00 pm - A must-win scenari exists for the 8-5 Giants, who have both the Cowboys and Redskins breathing down their backs at 7-5.

Atlanta has already clinched the division and needs two more wins to wrap up home field throughout the playoffs. While some in Atlanta may be thinking about taking it easy down the stretch, this is no time to be snoozing, because wins at Detroit next week and at home vs. the Bucs in Week 17 are not guaranteed, so both teams should be hungry and ready for this key match-up.

New York re-established its high-octane offense last week with a 52-27 rout over the Saints, ending their playoff chances and will continue their winning ways and improve on their 3-3 road record.

Prediction: Giants 30 Falcons 27

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Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3 1/2, 54) 1:00 pm - The Saints are en route to completing their worst season in years, one of the biggest NFL flops of 2012, and one wonders who well-prepared they will be facing a Tampa Bay team in the midst of the playoff scenario.

The 6-7 Bucs are on the outside looking in and will need help in order to reach playoff-land. Last week's stunning loss to the Eagles was a severe setback and Tampa's third consecutive defeat.

This looks like a toss-up which could turn on whichever team establishes a lead and demoralizes their opponent. If anybody can get ahead, it would be New Orleans, behind Drew Brees, who should be pretty loose with nothing on the line. Saints finish off Tampa's season.

Prediction: Saints 38 Buccaneers 26

Minnesota at St. Louis (-2 1/2, 38 1/2) 1:00 pm - Both teams - the Vikings at 7-6, and the Rams at 6-6-1 - are still entertaining playoff dreams, and this game should feature two of the NFL's premier running backs: Adrian Peterson and Stephen Jackson, so a low-scoring affair is in order.

The Vikings should find St. Louis artificial turf to their liking, as they play their home games on a similar surface, a big plus for the visitors.

It may be a little early for scoreboard watching, but both teams may be interested in the Bears-Packers score, as they'll need help from either Chicago or Seattle losses in order to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Vikes seem determined and a better team, while the Rams were lucky to pull out a win at Buffalo last week in a sloppy performance.

Prediction: Vikings 20 Rams 17

Washington at Cleveland (-3 1/2, 40) 1:00 pm - Latest word is that Robert Griffin III will miss this game due to injury suffered in last week's overtime win against the Ravens. While these's some concern due to the loss of one of the league's leading rookie of the year candidates, backup Kirk Cousins, another rookie - out of Michigan State - gets the start and took all the snaps with the starters in this week's practice.

Apparently, oddsmakers aren't sold on Cousins, who led the 'Skins on their game-tying drive with an 11-yard TD pass and then tied it up with a QB draw for the twopoint conversion. He then went on to lead the Redskins to their fourth straight victory in overtime.

Anybody who recalls Cousins' play at Michigan State knows he's an accurate passer and diesn't panic under pressure.

Backers of the Browns can point to their three straight wins and positive - 4-3 - record at home, but the Redskins have won four straight and are just a game behind the Giants in the NFC East. A win here puts them in good position for the playoffs.

Washington's defense needs to step up, which they are capable of doing, and Cousins won't lose this game and he might surprise a lot of folks with an outstanding performance. Even without RG3, this should be a fun game to enjoy, and getting 3 1/2 with the 'Skins is a bonus.

Prediction: Redskins 23 Browns 19

Jacksonville at Miami (-7, 37 1/2) 1:00 pm - 5-8 Miami hosting 2-11 Jacksonville is a game without luster in this all-Florida grudge match.

Miami has lost their last two, but one can hardly fault them for dropping decisions to New England and at San Francisco. The Jags could not even handle either Buffalo two weeks back or the visiting Jets last Sunday and should be looking at whether they want the first draft pick this Spring. They're currently tied with Kansas City for the worst record in the league.

Miami should pound the Jaguars senseless.

Prediction: Dolphins 27 Jaguars 6

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Denver (-2 1/2, 48) at Baltimore 1:00 pm - Sold game here with the Broncos having already clinched the AFC West and the Ravens needing one more win to clinch at least a tie with either or both Cincinnati and/or Pittsburgh.

Losers of their last two games, the Ravens split the season series with the Steelers and have a win over Cincinnati already on the books. They face the Bengals the final week of the regular season, but have the Giants next week, so they would seriously like to grab a win here at home where they are a solid 5-1 this season.

Even with the AFC West wrapped up, don't expect Peyton Manning to mail one in here. The 10-3 Broncos have won eight straight and are set up well to grab home field throughout the playoffs. Tough to take a stand against Manning when he's thinking playoff positioning. Ought to be a good one.

Prediction: Broncos 24 Ravens 20

Indianapolis at Houston (-9, 48) 1:00 pm - If the Colts watched any of Monday night's slaughter of Houston by the Patriots, they should be feeling confident about two things: 1) They can defend the Texans on the edges on runs and over the middle on passsing downs, and, 2) if Tom Brady can carve them up the way he did, Andrew Luck should have similar success.

Houston showed a lack of preparation and big game experience against the Patriots, and will be put to the test by the surprising Colts, who, behind Luck, have managed to win eight games of their nine wins by seven points or less and get to 9-4. A win by the Colts makes things in the AFC East very interesting, because these two meet again in two weeks to finish the season.

As amazing as it may seem the Colts could actually win the division. With that in mind, nine points seems a touch too many to give Indy, win or lose.

Prediction: Colts 31 Texans 29

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2012, 2013, 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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