Week 15 Sunday Preview
With three games left in the regular season, teams still in a playoff hunt can’t afford a loss. That being said, there are a number of games between clubs that are still in the hunt. Dallas is at Philadelphia tonight and the winner will take control of the NFC East. In the AFC West, Denver travels to San Diego. While first place in the West isn’t at stake, the Broncos need the win to hold on to their chance of getting home field advantage. The Chargers need the win to stay in playoff consideration.
Cincinnati is in control of the AFC North but they have to travel to Cleveland where Johnny Manziel makes his first NFL start. In the AFC East, Miami still has a slight chance of getting in, but if they lose at New England, it’s all but over. The same holds true for San Francisco, where they are in a must-win situation at Seattle.
As for my picks, I have taken a beating the last couple of weeks, so I feel I’m due. Following are my four picks for today.
Green Bay (-5.5) at Buffalo
Green Bay has been playing their best football the last month and right now they may be the best team in the NFL. They need the win to hold on to home field advantage for the playoffs. The home field advantage for the Packers is huge. Buffalo had won two in a row before a close loss at Denver last week. While some members of the Buffalo media have been critical of the Bills recently, they just don’t have a clue how much this team has overachieved. This is a very well-coached team that plays hard and is in every game.
I have said a number of times that Aaron Rodgers is one of the four best quarterbacks in the NFL, and his presence will be too much for Buffalo to overcome. Though Buffalo will try and keep it close, I feel the Packers should win by at least 7.
Washington at New York Giants (-7)
Neither team is very good, but the difference is Tom Coughlin. The Giants may be undermanned because of injuries, but they seem to always play hard for Tom. Last week, I thought Tennessee would be able to edge the Giants in Nashville and the result was New York won by a blowout.
Washington has lost five in a row, and in three of those games, the spread has been greater than 20 points. This Redskins' team seems to have hung it up, and playing with a third string quarterback doesn’t help matters. I can see the Giants duplicating their effort of last week and winning by at least 10.
Miami at New England (-9)
The Patriots have won eight of their last nine games with the only blemish being a close loss at Green Bay. Right now, I feel that the Packers and the Patriots are the two best teams in the NFL. When a Bill Belichick coached team starts to smell home field advantage, they turn up their level of play. The Pats and Denver are
The Patriots turn it up when home field is in sight.
tied for the best record in the AFC with 9-3 records. New England, though, holds the advantage because they won the head-to-head matchup. I don’t see them giving up that advantage, especially against an inconsistent Miami team.
The Dolphins have lost two of their last three, with the two losses against teams fighting for a playoff spot. I see the same thing happening today. Add to that, the Patriots have not lost at home and will want to get revenge for an opening day loss in Miami. Take the Pats and give the points.
Minnesota at Detroit (-7.5)
This is a game where Detroit has to win to keep pace with Green Bay. I have never been a big Lions' fan because I have always seen them as being undisciplined. This year’s team seems different, and they have played well as of late. In each of their last two games, they have won by 17. Add to that, the fact that this is the Lions' final home game and it gives them even more reason to come out with a needed win.
Minnesota plays hard but doesn’t have enough manpower to matchup with the Lions. The weak link of the Vikings team is the offensive line and the Lions D-Line is their strong point. That’s a huge advantage to Detroit. I can see the Lions giving Teddy Bridgewater fits and forcing turnovers. Take the Lions and give the points.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe