There are just three weeks left in the 2020-21 NFL regular season, as division leaders look to put a stamp on their playoff ticket, some teams desperately scramble for a seat at the table, all while the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars are lining up for the #1 draft pick.
Week 15 throws us a couple Saturday matchups, but the majority of the drama takes place on Sunday. Can the Seattle Seahawks keep the pace with the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West? Can the New York Giants reclaim the NFC East lead, or will the Cleveland Browns earn their 10th win of the season? And all eyes will be on New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, as Drew Brees returns to the field to face the 12-1 Chiefs with his 10-3 Saints.
Week 1: 10-6
Week 2: 11-5
Week 3: 8-7-1
Week 4: 10-5
Week 5: 7-7
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 10-4
Week 8: 7-7
Week 9: 7-7
Week 10: 9-5
Week 11: 7-7
Week 12: 9-7
Week 13: 8-7
Week 14: 12-4
Overall: 125-82-1 (60% correct)
After a string of mediocrity, I was able to put together a 12-4 record in Week 14 for my best week of the season so far.
Last week I incorrectly predicted:
- Texans over Bears
- Saints over Eagles
- Falcons over Chargers
- Steelers over Bills
Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)
Line: Las Vegas Raiders (-3.5)
For the second straight week, I’m writing my NFL Picks after the Thursday Night Football game. While it’s not an inspiring trend for my productivity, there is a positive side: I’m still trying. Last year, I made it through my Week 12 NFL Picks before I decided two weekly NFL columns wouldn’t fit in my schedule. This year, I have three weeks left to finish out the regular season, writing picks and Power Rankings every week.
I tweeted my pick shortly after kickoff, while the game was still scoreless:
Raiders win 30-24, Raiders win ATS
Buffalo Bills (10-3) at Denver Broncos (5-8)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-6.0)
After downing the 11-1 Pittsburgh Steelers, I crowned the Buffalo Bills as the second-best team in the NFL after Week 14, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo is favored in the tough road environment that Denver will present to them, and by all means, they should be flying home with a victory.
However, I do expect a strong effort from Drew Lock (coming off a career game) and the Broncos defense (they held the Chiefs in check in a 22-16 loss.) The Bills win, but might have to sweat out the fourth quarter.
Bills win 23-17, PUSH ATS
Carolina Panthers (4-9) at Green Bay Packers (10-3)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-8.5)
In the interest of both my time and yours, I’ll keep this one brief. The Carolina Panthers, who have lost seven of their last eight games, don’t stand much of a chance against a 10-3 Green Bay Packers team motivated by their push for the NFC’s #1 seed. Throw in the fact Christian McCaffrey is doubtful to play, and this game may not be too close.
Packers win 38-24, Packers win ATS
Sunday Day Games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.0)
At their best, Matt Ryan’s Atlanta Falcons are an offensive force. But lately, it seems they can’t turn it on every week. While Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have taken a recent slide, they’re still scoring 20+ points per game with ease, and usually only lose to bad teams. So best case scenario, the Falcons put up a fight and this is a fun one. Because either way, Tampa Bay is going over 30 points, the only question is if Atlanta will join them.
Buccaneers win 34-20, Buccaneers win ATS
San Francisco 49ers (5-8) at Dallas Cowboys (4-9)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-3.0)
The San Francisco 49ers have won just one of their last six matchups, beating the Rams while losing to the Seahawks, Packers, Saints, Bills, and Washington Football Team. I was leaning towards picking a relatively hotter Dallas Cowboys team (two wins in four weeks.) But looking at that six-game slate for San Francisco, all six teams would make the playoffs if the season ended today. The Cowboys represent a reprieve, and while it’s not my most confident pick of the week, I’ll go with the 49ers.
49ers win 26-23, PUSH ATS
Detroit Lions (5-8) at Tennessee Titans (9-4)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-11.0)
While Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions are capable of playing a quality game every now and then, there’s no reason to pick them outright against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have put up five straight games of 30 points or more, and the Lions won’t be able to keep up.
Titans win 37-20, Titans win ATS
Houston Texans (4-9) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-7.5)
Despite a stronger showing in the second half of the season, and borderline MVP-level play from Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans 36-7 loss to the Chicago Bears is reason enough not to pick them against a strong 9-4 Indianapolis Colts team.
Colts win 27-18, Colts win ATS
New England Patriots (6-7) at Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Line: Miami Dolphins (-3.0)
How often can you say this in Week 15, let alone ever, that the Miami Dolphins are easily the better team when compared to the New England Patriots. But in this nutty rivalry, where the Dolphins have historically given the Patriots a little trouble even on their down years, this time it will be the Bill Belichick and the Patriots trying to play the role of spoiler. With a 45-0 win over the Chargers followed by a 24-3 blowout loss to the Rams, this Patriots team could go either way in Week 15. I’ll go with the more sure thing: a Dolphins team that just went toe-to-toe with the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter.
Dolphins win 27-20, Dolphins win ATS
Chicago Bears (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
Line: Minnesota Vikings (-3.0)
The Chicago Bears showed signs of life and then some last week, beating the Texans 36-7. It’s too little too late for a Bears team coming off a six-game losing streak, but it certainly makes this game harder to pick. The Minnesota Vikings have been playing better as of late, though they look to rebound from a loss to the Buccaneers in Week 14.
This one’s a real toss-up, but I’ll go with the team that’s 5-2 in the last seven weeks, not the one that’s 1-6 with one impressive win.
Vikings win 24-18, Vikings win ATS
Seattle Seahawks (9-4) at Washington Football Team (6-7)
Line: Seattle Seahawks (-5.0)
Seattle, Washington versus Washington D.C.. This one was set to be a fun one, with a red-hot Washington Football team taking on a Seattle Seahawks capable of dominance but also showing signs of weakness. But with Alex Smith out for Week 15’s matchup due to injury, I feel like the Seahawks are simply the safer bet. I’ll take Russell Wilson over Dwayne Haskins any day.
Seahawks win 33-17, Seahawks win ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-13.0)
The Baltimore Ravens need to pretty much run the table to guarantee a playoff spot (or lose a game or two and get some help.) Their schedule sets them up nicely here with the 1-12 Jacksonville Jaguars. Though the Jaguars have given some of the league’s best (Packers) a hard time, and nearly see victory every week (overtime loss to Vikings,) I don’t think the Ravens will be the team they beat. Lamar Jackson has historically put up video game-like numbers against poor competition, and assuming Baltimore doesn’t let up, this one could get ugly.
Ravens win 42-19, Ravens win ATS
New York Jets (0-13) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-17.0)
Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams are coming off a 24-3 victory where they overwhelmed the New England Patriots in every facet of the game. What Los Angeles is about to do to Adam Gase’s New York Jets is going to be criminal.
Rams win 48-12, Rams win ATS
Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-6)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-6.5)
This is a tough one, and should be a very interesting game on Sunday afternoon (though it will likely be overshadowed by the next game on this list.) Jalen Hurts is coming off an impressive first NFL start where he upset the 10-2 New Orleans Saints. The Arizona Cardinals have been on a recent skid, but bounced back with a win over the New York Giants. When Arizona is playing well, they look like one of the best teams in the NFL.
I think Hurts and the Eagles will give the Cardinals a good fight. But at the end of the day, with the Eagles defense being tasked with stopping Kyler Murray instead of Taysom Hill, I think the result will be a little different than last week.
Cardinals win 33-24, Cardinals win ATS
GAME OF THE WEEK: Kansas City Chiefs (12-1) at New Orleans Saints (10-3)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-3.0)
Just in time for this premiere matchup, Drew Brees is reportedly ready to suit up again as the New Orleans Saints starting quarterback. The 12-1 Kansas City Chiefs have played quite a few close games , but come out on top, well, 12 out of 13 times. On the other hand, the Saints (with Brees) will be the toughest competition Kansas City has faced all year.
While a home victory with their future Hall of Fame quarterback at the helm is certainly possible, I’m not going to get caught picking against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. What I expect here is a back-and-forth shootout, akin the 49ers 48-46 win in New Orleans that took place one year and one week ago.
Chiefs win 45-38, Chiefs win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Cleveland Browns (9-4) at New York Giants (5-8)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-6.5)
I’m still not high on the 9-4 Cleveland Browns, even though I can’t point to too many reasons why. They’ve beaten a good team (Tennessee) and even their 47-42 loss to the Ravens last week was impressive from an offensive standpoint.
This matchup would be much juicer with Odell Beckham Jr. lining up against his former team, but he is of course out for the season. New York needs a win desperately as they lost their lead in the NFC East after a defeat to the Cardinals last week.
The outcome of this game will largely depend on Daniel Jones ability to take advantage of a Cleveland defense that, again, just let up 47 points. The Giants don’t need 40 and probably won’t even need 30 points, but New York needs to put the pedal to the medal early. I’m going with the Giants in an upset, potentially reclaiming the NFC East (if the Alex Smith-less WFT falls to the Seahawks.)
Giants win 27-24, Giants win ATS
Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.0)
The last game of the week is an easy one, and largely a skippable Monday Night matchup. Sure, it would have been fun to see Joe Burrow in primetime, but with the rookie out, the Pittsburgh Steelers should absolutely roll to a bounceback victory after two straight losses. The victory would secure the AFC North for the Steelers.
Steelers win 33-16, Steelers win ATS
- 2020-21 NFL Predictions: Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Midseason Predictions: Final Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Picks: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
- NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9, Post-Week 10, Post-Week 11, Post-Week 12, Post-Week 13, Post-Week 14
- NFL MVP Watch: Quarter Season, Half Season, Three-Quarter Season
- How Much is Saquon Barkley Worth to the Giants?
- Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr’s Second Year in Cleveland
- Quarterback Dilemma in Chicago: Nick Foles vs Mitch Trubisky
- 2019 Preseason Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, Super Bowl Matchup
- 2019 NFL Playoff Bracket Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
- Grading the Russell Westbrook-John Wall Trade
- Minnesota Timberwolves Select Anthony Edwards First Overall in the 2020 NBA Draft
- James Harden Wants Out of Houston, Prefers Brooklyn Nets
- “Run it Back:” Anthony Davis to Re-Sign with Los Angeles Lakers
- Who is 76ers Guard Shake Milton?
- 2019-20 NBA Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, MVP and Finals Matchup
- Re-Selecting the 2020 NBA All-Stars
- Top Five Duos in the NBA Bubble
- Track Review: Give No Fvk by Migos featuring Young Thug and Travis Scott
- Track Review: @ MEH by Playboi Carti
- Review: Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert
Travel and Hiking
- Stumptown, Rose City, “Weird”: My Portland 2020 Day Trip
- Hike: Mount Beacon Fire Tower Out-and-Back
- Hike: Breakneck Ridge Loop
Header Photo Credit: Via Saints Gab