There’s just four weeks left in the 2021-22 NFL regular season, every matchup counts, so even if Week 15 doesn’t pit the best teams in the league against each other head-to-head, there’s plenty of important outcomes to be decided.
The 9-4 Tennessee Titans will look to keep up in the race for the AFC’s #1 seed as they host a 6-6-1 Pittsburgh Steelers squad that just wants to stay in the conference’s wildcard race. That complicated wildcard race features five teams with identical 7-6 records, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos, who square off on Sunday afternoon.
On the NFC side, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons can complete an unlikely accession to 7-7 if they can knock off Jimmy Garroppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in Levi’s Stadium. With the increasing possibility that the NFC will have a .500 or even sub-.500 team qualify for the postseason, Tuesday’s meeting between the 6-7 Philadelphia Eagles and 6-7 Washington Football Team will also be an important one to watch.
Speaking of the fact that game will be played on Tuesday, the NFL as forced to move three games with over 125 players across the league testing positive for COVID-19 over the past week. With player availability potentially affecting the outcome of games, but with the list of players in COVID protocols rapidly changing, pardon me if I gloss over a major player being unavailable for any of these games.
To debate or discuss these picks, be sure to join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Week 1: 6-10
Week 2: 12-4
Week 3: 11-5
Week 4: 12-4
Week 5: 13-3
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 9-4
Week 8: 9-6
Week 9: 5-9
Week 10: 9-4-1
Week 11: 12-3
Week 12: 6-9
Week 13: 9-5
Week 14: 12-2
Overall: 130-63-1 (68%)
While it didn’t take too many bold selections, I was able to go 12-2 in my Week 14 picks, missing only on upsets with the Rams beating the Cardinals and the Ravens falling to the Browns. The strong showing elevates my prediction rate to 68% on the season.
In Week 14 I incorrectly predicted:
- Ravens over Browns
- Cardinals over Rams
See Also: 2021-22 NFL Season Predictions
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
- Playoff Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
Thursday Night Football
Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)
Line: Kansas City Chiefs (-3.0)
Chargers win 30-24, Chargers win ATS
Saturday Night Game
Sak Sports Blog Game of the Week: New England Patriots (9-4) at Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
Two red-hot AFC squads clash on the first Saturday game of the season, with Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts hosting Mac Jones and the New England Patriots. Will Jonathan Taylor continue to run all over the opposing defense, or will Bill Belichick and the Patriots be able to limit the damage? Mac Jones attempted just three passes in the Patriots last win over the Bills, and while he’ll obviously throw the ball a bit more indoors, he may not need a flashy day to put the Patriots on top at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Patriots win 26-23, Patriots win ATS
Tennessee Titans (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)
Line: Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.0)
It’s been a few weeks since the Tennessee Titans have looked great, but they have already proved they can beat good teams even without Derrick Henry. The Pittsburgh Steelers have been anything but consistent, but have become something of a second half/fourth quarter powerhouse, nearly erasing Minnesota’s 29-point lead last Thursday night. Another late barrage might be enough to down the Titans, but if that doesn’t happen, Tennessee is likely to come out on top.
Titans win 24-17, Titans win ATS
New York Jets (3-10) at Miami Dolphins (6-7)
Line: Miami Dolphins (-9.5)
Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins have won five straight games to jump from 1-7 to 6-7. Zach Wilson is just 2-7 as a starter this season, with just six touchdown passes against 11 interceptions. It shouldn’t bee too hard to see what’s coming at Hard Rock Stadium: an easy Dolphins win, evening Miami’s record at 7-7.
Dolphins win 31-16, Dolphins win ATS
Dallas Cowboys (9-4) at New York Giants (4-9)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-10.5)
Another New York team finds themselves in a bad situation against a division rival: the New York Giants will be without Daniel Jones for the third straight week, starting Mike Glennon against a solid Dallas Cowboys team. Dallas isn’t a perfect team, and a poor day from Dak Prescott almost allowed Washington Football Team to pull off an upset last week, but Dallas should have no such worries against this struggling Giants team.
Cowboys win 30-17, Cowboys win ATS
Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-12.5)
The Carolina Panthers have lost three straight games started by former NFL MVP Cam Newton, and face an even tougher opponent this week in the Buffalo Bills. The Bills record isn’t elite, but when the Bills lose, it’s to quality teams like the Titans, Patriots, and Buccaneers. Against Carolina, Josh Allen and the Bills might have a field day, reminiscent of some of their early season blowout wins.
Bills win 37-13, Bills win ATS
Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at Detroit Lions (1-11-1)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-13.0)
Man, the early slot on Sunday really has some lopsided matchups. Here, we have the Arizona Cardinals, coming off a loss but still tied for the best record in the NFL, taking on the Detroit Lions, who hold the worst record in the league. There shouldn’t be much intrigue here, and Arizona shouldn’t play down to their opponent, considering they need a win to rebound from last week’s loss to the Rams.
Cardinals win 33-17, Cardinals win ATS
Houston Texans (2-11) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Line: Jacksonville Jaguars (-5.0)
The early slot rounds out with a bottom of the barrel AFC South matchup, with two-win Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars teams facing off. Last week, I might have went with the Texans, as the Jaguars are pretty bad. But after firing head coach Urban Meyer, perhaps Jacksonville can play with a load off their shoulders and find a fun home win before the season is over.
Jaguars win 23-15, Jaguars win ATS
Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Denver Broncos (7-6)
Line: Denver Broncos (-3.0)
While neither the Cincinnati Bengals nor Denver Broncos would make the playoffs if the season ended today, both teams are in a five-way tie in the AFC wildcard race at 7-6, with room for only two of the five teams in the postseason. Whichever team wins this game will have an instant boost and fighting chance at ultimately making the playoffs (and for Cincinnati, the AFC North lead is also within reach.)
Neither team has been a model of consistency this season, and both are 2-2 in their last four games. Denver is coming off a big 38-10 win over the Lions last week, but Joe Burrow and company will likely give Denver a harder time, and in my opinion, come out on top.
Bengals win 27-26, Bengals win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
Line: San Francisco 49ers (-9.0)
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons aren’t a very good team, but have been fortunate enough to somehow come in to Week 15 at 6-7, largely by narrowly outlasting bad teams. But Atlanta hasn’t beaten a team as solid as the San Francisco 49ers this season, and San Francisco isn’t even the cream of the crop. Jimmy Garroppolo and the 49ers should cruise to a steady home win, unless Atlanta’s offense turns this game in to a shootout.
49ers win 30-20, 49ers win ATS
Green Bay Packers (10-3) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
Lamar Jackson is questionable against the Green Bay Packers after suffering an ankle injury last week, and the Baltimore Ravens may be wise to hold him out and preserve him for the team’s playoff push. Tyler Huntley has done an admirable job in relief of Jackson, but overall, Baltimore has not been playing their best football over the last five weeks, with a 2-3 record. Even more alarming is the fact they’ve only eclipsed 20 points once in the last five games.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are actually a middle-of-the-road team in terms of scoring (25.2 PPG, 14th in the NFL) but excel defensively (20.9 PPG allowed, 6th-best in the NFL.) Whether its Huntley or Jackson under center, the Ravens might have their hands full with a solid Green Bay team.
Packers win 27-18, Packers win ATS
Sunday Night Football
New Orleans Saints (6-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11.5)
If the New Orleans Saints were at full strength, with a healthy Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas, this could have been a great late-season NFC South matchup. After all, New Orleans is just one of three teams to defeat Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. But with Taysom Hill at quarterback, and with the Saints going 1-5 since Winston was lost for the season, this likely won’t be a great Sunday Night Football matchup.
Buccaneers win 34-17, Buccaneers win ATS
Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) at Cleveland Browns (7-6)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-1.0)
This game is a mess to predict for a few reasons. Despite both being in the thick of the AFC playoff race, neither the Las Vegas Raiders nor Cleveland Browns are trustworthy teams right now. Derek Carr and the Raiders are 1-5 in their last six contests after a promising 5-2 start, and the offense has scored just 24 points over the last two weeks. The Browns haven’t been as bad, alternating wins and losses for eight straight weeks, and often participate in low-scoring affairs.
This game was moved due to Cleveland being ravaged by positive COVID-19 tests, and even with the push from Saturday to Monday, there will be key players missing for the Browns, likely headlined by Baker Mayfield. Between Cleveland’s roster issues and their trend of alternating wins and losses, a Raiders win seems like the most likely scenario on Monday afternoon.
Raiders win 26-16, Raiders win ATS
Minnesota Vikings (6-7) at Chicago Bears (4-9)
Line: Minnesota Vikings (-6.0)
In the regularly scheduled Monday Night Football matchup, the Minnesota Vikings look to keep up in the NFC Wildcard race over an ice-cold Chicago Bears team. Justin Fields and the Bears did put up a season-high 30 points last week, but it wasn’t nearly enough in a 45-30 loss to the Packers. Chicago is 1-7 in their last eight games, and the bleeding likely won’t stop against Kirk Cousins and the Vikings.
Vikings win 33-19, Vikings win ATS
Seattle Seahawks (5-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Line: Los Angeles Rams (-6.0)
The Los Angeles Rams hadn’t looked great in the second half of the season, but last week’s win over the Cardinals made the team seem like a relevant contender once again. On paper, Los Angeles is well-equipped to beat an underperforming Seattle Seahawks squad, but as the team with the most positive COVID-19 tests in the league, Los Angeles may not be at full strength on Tuesday. Like the Raiders-Browns game, I’ll go with the less-impacted team, even if it means a bigger upset in this scenario.
Seahawks win 26-23, Seahawks win ATS
Washington Football Team (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
Line: Philadelphia Eagles (-8.0)
On paper, these teams match up very closely and should produce an exciting football game. But alas, like the Rams and Browns, Washington has had a slew of players test positive for COVID-19, and even while the game has been pushed back two days, the team won’t be at full strength. In that case, Jalen Hurts and the Eagles should be able to win at home to even their record at 7-7.
Eagles win 26-17, Eagles win ATS
- 2021-22 NFL 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
- 2021-22 NFL Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 13, Week 14
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Header Photo: Via Sports Illustrated