NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 15

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

L.A. Chargers @ Kansas City (-3½)

The Chiefs beat the Ravens, 27-24, at Arrowhead Stadium and clinched a playoff spot. Patrick Mahomes passed for 377 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Chiefs improved to 11-2.

"Patrick made some incredible plays," Andy Reid said, "most notably a no-look pass. Now, I've heard of a lot of coaches who prefer not to look when their quarterback makes a pass, but never the quarterback himself.

"We signed Kelvin Benjamin after he was released by the Bills. We expect him to contribute immediately. He's hungry to make an impact. And he's just hungry."

The Chargers nipped the visiting Bengals 26-21, as Michael Badgley kicked 4 field goals, including a franchise record 59-yarder.

"I think we may have found our kicker of the future," Anthony Lynn said. "Of course, being the 'kicker of the future' here means you'll be around for three weeks, maximum.

"This will be a contest featuring two of the NFL's best offenses. Where does that leave the defenses? In damage control. And we know the Chiefs are good at that. Mention the name 'Kareem Hunt' and the Chiefs organization shudders. That is a big problem for the Chiefs. It's the most F'd up 'situation' since 'Jersey Shore.'"

Chiefs win, 31-29.

Houston @ N.Y. Jets (+6)

The Colts upset the Texans, 24-21, in Houston, snapping Houston's 9-game winning streak. The Texans lead in the AFC South is now only two games.

"It's not the end of the world," Deshaun Watson said. "If anything, it's a wake-up call. That's why Bill O'Brien has stressed the importance of being 'woke.' Trust me, nothing gets this team fired up like hearing Coach O'Brien say words like 'stay woke.' Usually, it's the players saying 'stay woke,' and it happens when Coach O'Brien gives one of his motivational speeches."

The Jets beat the Bills, 27-23, in Buffalo as Sam Darnold engineered the game-winning drive that culminated with Elijah McGuire's 1-yard run with 1:17 to go.

"Sam showed great poise in the game," Todd Bowles said. "He's the future of this franchise. And his future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades. My future's probably not that bright; it seems that I'll be wearing 'bye-focals.'"

Texans win, 26-17.

Cleveland @ Denver (-3)

Cleveland beat the Panthers, 26-20, to improve to 5-7. The Browns kept their dim playoff hopes alive, while handing Carolina its fifth-straight defeat.

"That's right," Baker Mayfield. "We're still alive for a playoff berth. That's something Hue Jackson's never been able to say in December, or October, for that matter. Hell, not even late September.

"The Browns search for a head coach continues. In the meantime, Gregg Williams is doing a fine job as interim head coach. But I think his sketchy background basically nixes any chance he has of getting the job. So, he's been 'deliberately knocked out' of job consideration. But if he recommends someone that we eventually hire, then Gregg will be awarded with a bonus for his role as headhunter."

The Broncos fell 20-14 to the 49ers at Levi's Stadium and are now 6-7.

"We're still mathematically alive for a playoff spot," Vance Joseph said. "Do I really think we have a chance? I hate math, so you do the math."

Broncos win, 21-20.

Arizona @ Atlanta (-8½)

The Cardinals lost 17-3 to the visiting Lions as Josh Rosen threw a costly third-quarter interception that was returned 67 yards for a touchdown by Darius Slay. Arizona is 3-10, tied for last in the NFC West with the 49ers.

"Josh has potential," Steve Wilks said, "but he has to cut down on his mistakes. Josh could be the next Kurt Warner. Or, he could be a complete failure. Who knows? If the latter is the outcome, then Josh could be bagging groceries in Iowa, or worse, he could have Brenda Warner's hairdo."

The Falcons lost their fifth straight, tumbling 34-20 in Green Bay. Atlanta scored on their opening drive, but didn't score until the fourth quarter.

"That's two whole quarters without points," Matt Ryan said. "That's what happens when a offense goes 'stagnant.' That's a slight bit different than when our offense goes 'stag,' which is an offense going the entire season without a defense."

Falcons win, 27-23.

Detroit @ Buffalo (-2½)

The Bills lost to the Jets, 27-23. Josh Allen rushed for 101 yards and a score, but threw 2 interceptions.

"Josh is a running quarterback," Sean McDermott said. "He's good at running the ball, but not very good at running the offense.

"Josh broke Michael Vick's record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a three-game span. That's a record Vick held for a term of about 12 years. I guess that was 'Bad Newz' for Vick."

"We recently cut Kelvin Benjamin. He was actually pulling his weight, but that seemed to be the problem."

The Lions beat the lowly Cardinals 17-3 in Arizona, as a strong rushing game and opportunistic defense led the way.

"It wasn't pretty," Matt Patricia said, "but whoever said the NFL was a beauty pageant? If the NFL was a beauty pageant, then the Lions long history of constant failure would earn them the title of 'Mister Congenital.'

"Matthew Stafford has struggled this season. And as everyone knows in this league, it's all about 'What have you done for me lately?' In Matthew's case, it's a question of 'what have you done for me ever?'

Buffalo wins, 23-14.

Green Bay @ Chicago (-5½)

The Packers zoomed past the visiting Falcons 34-20 in Joe Philbin's debut as head coach. Aaron Rodgers passed for 2 scores, and broke Tom Brady's record of most passes thrown without an interception.

"That's right," Rodgers said. "I haven't made a mistake in over 360 passes. Ironically, one of the traits for which I'm criticized most is the perception that I can 'do no wrong.' That's not true. I'm not perfect, I just act like I am.

"Mike McCarthy returned after his firing to address the team. Afterwards, he received a standing ovation. I missed all that, thanks to my Bose headphones, which cancels out all sounds coming from McCarthy's mouth. My ears have that same power."

The Bears physically dominated the Rams in a commanding 15-6 win at Soldier Field.

"We rendered the Rams offense the 'Greatest No-Show On Turf,'" Khalil Mack said. "And Matt Nagy out-smarted, out-schemed, and out-coached Sean McVay. So much is made about McVay's incredible memory. You can best believe that's a game he won't forget."

Bears win, 23-20.

Oakland @ Cincinnati (-3)

The Raiders shocked the visiting Steelers 24-21, taking the lead on Derek Carr's 6-yard touchdown pass to Derek Carrier with 21 seconds left.

"The 'Raider Mystique' is still a powerful force," Jon Gruden said. "It made Mark Davis decide to pay me $100 million. A lot of people say that was a 'Raider Mistake.'

"To celebrate the win, Mark Davis fired general manager Reggie McKenzie. Did I have anything to do with Reggie's dismissal. My answer is 'No,' which is a word that sounds an awful lot like 'Know.' You'll also notice I answered with a wink of my eye. A wink of my eye is also how I got Mark to add an extra zero to the dollar amount of my 10-year contract."

The Bengals hung tough in a 26-21 loss to the Chargers and fell to 5-8.

"That's a winning percentage of .385," Marvin Lewis said. "That's not good. On the bright side, it's .385 higher than my playoff winning percentage.

"We've lost five in a row, and seven of our last eight. And I really don't know how to explain. I'm at a loss for words. See, I can't even win at words."

Cincinnati wins, 24-20.

After the game, Lewis is carried off the field, out of Paul Brown Stadium, and to the edge of Cincinnati city limits, but as per usual, finds his way back eventually.

Dallas @ Indianapolis (-2½)

The Cowboys took a two-game lead in the NFC East with a hard-fought 29-23 win over the Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Dak Prescott threw 3 touchdown passes to Amari Cooper, including the game-winning score in overtime.

"Amari has been well worth the No. 1 pick we gave to the Raiders," Jason Garrett said. "If the Raiders had any other players worth having, we'd gladly give up a comparable draft pick. But I'm doubt Jon Gruden has any interest in acquiring 7th-round picks.

"We're in the driver's seat in the East. Unfortunately, in the passenger seat is Jerry Jones, who's always trying to give directions.

"I tried to talk Jason Witten out of retirement. That doesn't speak well of our current batch of tight ends. And if you've watched Monday Night Football, you know Jason doesn't speak well, either."

The Colts upset the Texans, 24-21, on the road to keep their hopes of winning the AFC South alive. Andrew Luck passed for 399 yards, including 199 to T.Y. Hilton.

"We knew we had to win," Luck said. "Otherwise, the clock would have struck zero on our playoff hopes. Two weeks ago in Jacksonville, the clock and the scoreboard struck zero for us.

"Not only does this game have huge playoff implications, but it also features two of the league's most charismatic owners, Jerry Jones and Jim Irsay. When these two guys get together, it's a contest to see which has the biggest mouth. Then it becomes a contest to see who has the biggest foot."

Colts win, 27-24.

Miami @ Minnesota (-7)

The Dolphins shocked the visiting Patriots, winning on a miraculous pass play that turned a short Ryan Tannehill pass into a 69-yard TD to Kenyan Drake after two laterals.

"They're calling the play 'Co-Lateral Damage,'" Tannehill said. "It has to be the most well-known 'walk off' in Dolphins history since Nick Saban's.

"That win kept our playoff hopes alive. We could even win the AFC East. If we can beat the Vikings, it would help our cause a great deal if the Steelers could beat the Patriots. That may be asking a lot of the Steelers, because the Patriots are like Kryptonite to them. Let's face it, the Patriots aren't 'super-friendly' to the Steelers. Of course, neither are the officials. That's the catch."

The Vikings lost 21-7 at Seattle on Monday night to fall to 6-6-1. The Seahawks defense held the Vikes scoreless until a meaningless touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

"As a result," Mike Zimmer said, "I fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. He was guilty of a 'fireable offense.'"

Minnesota wins, 30-20.

Tennessee @ NY Giants (-2½)

The Titans crushed the Jaguars 30-9 on Thursday night, powered by a monster game from Derrick Henry, who rushed for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 99-yard TD run.

"You could call that a 'great day' for me," Henry said. "You could also call it a 'good year' for me. You could also call it a 'good day for running backs in Tennessee' and a 'bad day for tackles in Jacksonville.'"

The Giants blasted the Redskins 40-16 at FedEx Field. Saquon Barkley rushed for 170 yards a long touchdown, and Eli Manning passed for 3 scores.

"We were playing without Odell Beckham, Jr.," Pat Shurmur said. "More importantly, the Redskins were playing with Mark Sanchez."

Titans win, 22-19.

Washington @ Jacksonville (-6)

The Jaguars lost 30-9 to the Titans on Thursday night and fell to 4-9. Jacksonville surrendered 238 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns to Derrick Henry.

"'Surrendered' is the key word," Doug Marrone said. "We just gave up. It was obvious. One of the officials even threw a 'white flag.'"

The Redskins were smashed 40-16 by the visiting Giants. Mark Sanchez threw 2 interceptions and was sacked 5 times before being pulled for Josh Johnson early in the third quarter.

"That was the worst display of football I've ever seen," Jay Gruden said. "Then the second half started.

"Josh will be our starter moving forward. That's because Sanchez was our starter moving backward."

In his most shocking action yet, Jalen Ramsey shows up on Sunday in a San Francisco 49ers uniform, because you dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Jaguars win, 28-10.

Tampa Bay @ Baltimore (-8)

The Buccaneers lost 28-14 to the visiting Saints, who avenged a Week 1 loss at home to Tampa. The Bucs held a 14-3 lead at the half, but went scoreless the remainder of the game, while their defense couldn't stop the Saints.

"Jameis Winston will have his hands full with the Ravens defense," Dirk Koetter said. "That's not good. It's bad news whenever Jameis has a 'handful.'"

The Ravens lost 27-24 in overtime to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Lamar Jackson passed for 2 touchdowns and added 71 yards on the ground before leaving with an ankle injury.

"Lamar is entrenched as our starter," John Harbaugh said. "That makes Joe Flacco the backup. Joe is certainly not happy about having to sit. You can tell by his 'resting bench face.'

"We are the team you don't want to see in the playoffs, if you like exciting football."

Ravens win, 30-14.

Seattle @ San Francisco (+6)

The Seahawks easily handled the visiting Vikings, 21-7, on Monday night, led by a strong defense and a rushing attack that went for 214 yards.

"Our plan was to run it right at the Vikings defense," Pete Carroll said. "We can run on anyone. We are the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense. That means we're in 'Best Mode.'

"We know the 49ers will be tough at home. Levi's Stadium is the house that blue jeans built. And when I say the 49ers are 'sons of britches,' I say it with the utmost respect."

Seattle wins, 24-16.

New England @ Pittsburgh (+2½)

The Dolphins stunned the Patriots, 34-33, winning on a last play pass that involved two laterals and ended with Kenyan Drake scoring the winning touchdown. New England fell to 9-4 and is currently the AFC's No. 3 seed.

"I'm literally stunned," Bill Belichick said. "I'm also laterally stunned.

"I'm not sure why we had Rob Gronkowski on defense for the final play. I guess to defend the backward pass, we needed our 'ass-backward' team on the field. Rob looked like he was incapable of making a tackle. I guess Rob should have reported as 'tackle eligible.'"

The Steelers lost 24-21 at Oakland, as Chris Boswell slipped attempting the potential game-tying 40-yard field goal. Pittsburgh still has a half-game lead over the Ravens in the AFC North, due to Baltimore's loss at Kansas City.

"They say football is a game of inches," Mike Tomlin said. "Actually, it's a game of feet. We worked out a few kickers during the week, because Boswell's job isn't on solid footing."

Patriots win, 27-24.

Philadelphia @ L.A. Rams (-9½)

The Eagles lost 29-23 in overtime at Dallas, all but ending Philly's hopes of returning to the playoffs to defend their Super Bowl title. The Eagles trail the Cowboys by two games with three to play.

"And just think," Doug Pederson, "we had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs last season. This year, it looks like we're going to have 'home advantage' throughout the playoffs."

The Bears intercepted Jared Goff 4 times, as the Bears overwhelmed the visiting Rams 15-6. Chicago held the Rams to only 214 yards of total offense.

"That Bears defense would have made Buddy Ryan proud," Sean McVay said. "Our offense would have made Jeff Fisher satisfied."

Rams win, 32-23.

New Orleans @ Carolina (+6½)

The Saints stormed back in the second half to beat the Bucs, 28-14, and clinched the NFC South crown.

"Consider our Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers avenged," Drew Brees said. "And, as they say, 'Vengeance is a dish best served as cold champagne.'"

The Panthers lost, 26-20, to the Browns and have now dropped five in a row.

"Now is the time," Ron Rivera said, "when you separate the men from the boys. Lately, that distinction has been best observed on the scoreboard."

Saints win, 27-23.

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