NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 15

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

L.A. Chargers @ Las Vegas (-3)

The Colts smashed the Raiders, 44-27, at Allegiant Stadium. Vegas couldn't stop the Colts offense, and 3 turnovers compounded the Raiders troubles.

"I was mystified as to how a team could play so bad," Jon Gruden said. "So I called my brother Jay for an explanation.

"I fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther just hours after the loss. Obviously, I needed a 'Paul' guy. But we didn't send Paul away without giving him a proper sendoff. It was called a 'responsible party.'

"We certainly don't intend to let the Chargers treat us like the Colts did. They're coming to Vegas; most that do leave as losers. I'm talking about gamblers, not visiting teams, because we're 2-4 in Vegas. Anyway, the Chargers are going to find out why they call it the 'craps' table, and it's got nothing to do with a sick Lyle Alzado locker room prank back in the early '80s."

The Chargers bounced back from their crushing 45-0 loss to the Patriots with a 20-17 win over the visiting Falcons. Michael Badgley's 43-yard field goal as time expired won it for L.A.

"We just couldn't dwell on the Patriots game," Anthony Lynn said. "Sometimes, you just have to block memories from your mind. Personally, I've forgotten about that Patriots game, plus 9 others."

Raiders win, 33-21.

Buffalo @ Denver (+4½)

The Bills handed the Steelers a 26-15 defeat in Buffalo on Sunday night. After a slow start, the Josh Allen-to-Stefon Diggs connection propelled the Bills one step closer to the AFC East title.

"Josh is playing at an MVP level," Sean McDermott said. "He can beat you with his arm and with his legs. In Buffalo, they call that 'double murder.'

"We were thrilled to get Stefon in a trade with the Vikings. He was just happy to get out of Minnesota. You know things must be bad when you can't wait to leave Minnesota where you play indoors for Buffalo where you play outdoors."

The Broncos beat the Panthers 32-27 in Charlotte, led by Drew Lock's 4 touchdown passes, a career high.

"Before that milestone," Vic Fangio said, "Drew's career 'high' was simply playing at an altitude of 5,280 feet. He's matched that record several times.

"Drew has the talent, and the work ethic to be a great quarterback. Some question, though, whether he has that 'It' factor. He's got more than the 'It' factor; he's got the 'INT' factor."

Bills win, 24-17.

Carolina @ Green Bay (-8½)

The Panthers lost 32-27 to the Broncos, who moved the ball at will against Carolina, who were without several players due to COVID issues.

"We fined several players for breaking COVID protocols," Matt Rhule said. "In their defense, it is hard to put on a mask with a thumb up your ass.

"We've been without Christian McCaffrey for 9 games this season. He's our best player, so we really miss him. But we can't worry about that. We just have to mind our P's and Q's; Christian has to mind his P's, Q's, D's, and O's."

The Packers outlasted the Lions 31-24 at Ford Field and clinched the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers passed for 3 touchdowns and ran for another.

"Aaron is in the zone," Matt LaFleur said. "He's thrown for 36 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. That's a touchdown to interception ratio of 9. By comparison, Brett Favre's career ratio was 1.51, which is slightly higher than Favre's 'texting a D-pic to not texting a D-pic' ratio, which is 1."

Packers win, 33-21.

Detroit @ Tennessee (-8½)

The Lions lost 31-24 to the visiting Packers and fell to 5-8.

"The Packers seem to always have our number," Matthew Stafford said. "They do a better job of 'owning' us than the Ford family.

"Darrell Bevell has brought some life back to this team. More specifically, he's replaced some life, because Matt Patricia sucked the life out of this team. But we wish Matt nothing but the best in his future endeavors. He's probably on some team's short list for a defensive coordinator job, and the job of supervising the In-School Suspension program that comes with it."

Titans win, 30-21.

Houston @ Indianapolis (-7)

The Texans lost 36-7 to the Bears at Soldier Field. Deshaun Watson was sacked 6 times and passed for only 219 yards and 1 touchdown.

"Our offense made the 2020 Bears defense look like the 1985 Bears defense," Watson said. "In other words, we set defenses and offenses back 35 years."

The Colts demolished the Raiders 44-27 in Las Vegas, powered by 2 touchdowns apiece from Jonathan Taylor and T.Y. Hilton. Indy is 9-4, tied with the Titans atop the AFC South.

"Our offense was really clicking," Frank Reich said. "And Philip Rivers is playing as well as he has in years. Philip's got multiple years left in him if he chooses to keep playing. In other words, he's 'got a lot of life left in him,' which was also the case after he had his first child."

Colts win, 34-21.

San Francisco @ Dallas (+1½)

The Cowboys beat the Bengals 30-7 in Cincinnati in Andy Dalton's return to Cincinnati. Dalton passed for 2 scores and the Dallas defense forced 3 turnovers.

"That had to be a satisfying win for Andy," Mike McCarthy said. "It's not often you experience the ecstasy of improving to 4-9 by beating a 2-9 team. If Andy has a bucket list, it's likely he still hasn't checked anything off of it.

"We're still right in the thick of the NFC East race. Then again, who's not?"

San Francisco wins, 27-20.

NY Jets @ L.A. Rams (-17)

The Rams whipped the Patriots 24-3 on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defense dominated with 6 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown.

"As they say," Sean McVay said, "'Defense wins championships.' As they also say, 'The offense that scores only 3 points makes it possible for the defense to win championships.' That may be a reference to a recent Super Bowl, or so I'm told.

"There's too much on the line to take the Jets lightly. But that doesn't necessarily mean we'll take them seriously."

The Jets fell to 0-13 after a humiliating 40-3 loss to the Seahawks at Lumen Field. New York's offense struggled, while Seattle piled up over 400 total yards.

"We did have a 3-0 lead," Adam Gase said. "And much like when we had the lead against the Raiders, we were soon 'all out blitzed.'"

Rams win, 31-16.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (+4)

The Buccaneers vanquished the visiting Vikings 26-14, led by Tom Brady's 2 touchdown passes and a defense that sacked Kirk Cousins 6 times. Tampa is 8-5, second in the NFC South.

"Tom may be 43-years-old," Bruce Arians said, "but he's not done telling his story. I think he has another chapter to write. If he wins his seventh Super Bowl, it will pass Warren Sapp's as the most famous 'Chapter 7' in Tampa history."

Buccaneers win, 28-21.

New England @ Miami (-2)

The Patriots managed only 220 yards of total offense in a 24-3 loss to the Rams on Thursday night. Cam Newton struggled and was benched in the fourth quarter.

"I guess the Rams can say they got revenge for losing Super Bowl LIII," Bill Belichick said. "Good for them. I guess to the Rams, the word 'revenge' has a nice ring to it. And that's probably the closest they'll get to a 'ring' of any kind.

"Cam is still our No. 1 quarterback, but only because of his jersey."

The Dolphins intercepted Patrick Mahomes 3 times, but it wasn't enough as K.C. left Miami with a 33-27 win. Mahomes passed for 393 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"The Chiefs offense really knows how to stretch a defense," Brian Flores said. "They make you cover every inch of the field. The Patriots offense? They also know how to stretch a defense — their own.

"With no fans allowed in the stadium, we don't have much of a home-field advantage. It's so quiet, you can practically hear everything. So, 'Hard Rock Stadium' has become 'Easy Listening Stadium.'"

Miami wins, 24-17.

Chicago @ Minnesota (-3)

The Bears spanked the visiting Texans 36-7 to end a six-game losing streak. Mitch Trubisky passed for 3 touchdowns, and David Montgomery rushed for 113 yards and a score.

"That's the kind of offense Bears fans have been waiting to see around here," Matt Nagy said. "And Houston's is the kind of defense this Bears offense has been waiting to see around here."

The Bucs beat the Vikings 26-14 in Tampa, snapping Minnesota's two-game winning streak. The Vikings out-gained the Bucs, but 4 missed kicks by Dan Bailey doomed Minnesota.

"That really puts a damper on our playoff aspirations," Mike Zimmer said. "Much like Dan Bailey's kicking. If you put Dan Bailey and Blair Walsh on a rocket ship to the moon, guess what? I would not miss ... them."

Vikings win, 26-21.

Seattle @ Washington (+5½)

The Seahawks hammered the visiting Jets, 40-3. Russell Wilson tossed 4 touchdown passes as Seattle improved to 9-4.

"That was like shooting fish in a barrel," Wilson said. "That's called getting 'schooled.'"

Washington took over sole possession of first in the NFC East with a 23-16 win over the 49ers.

"We are by far the most dangerous 6-7 team in the NFL," Ron Rivera said. "Actually, we're probably the only dangerous 6-7 team in the league.

"I'm sure the Panthers are having second thoughts about firing me. And second thoughts are about the closest to first the Panthers will get this year."

Seahawks win, 27-24.

Jacksonville @ Baltimore (-13)

The Ravens outgunned the Browns 47-42 in Cleveland, as Lamar Jackson rushed for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns and added a passing score.

"It took Lamar awhile to really go off on a team," John Harbaugh said, "but he really 'unloaded' on the Browns.

"Did Lamar have the leave the game because of cramps, or was it something else? Some say he went to the locker room to receive intravenous fluids. Others say Lamar went back to release intra-anus solids."

The Jaguars lost 31-10 to the visiting Titans, who dominated in handing Jacksonville its 12th straight loss.

"Gardner Minshew is back as starter for Sunday's game," Doug Marrone said. "But just Sunday's game. I can't commit to him long term. I can't tell you how many times I've had that said to me. When you're choosing between Gardner, Jake Luton, and Mike Glennon, no decision is the right one.

"Oddly enough, legend has it that if you chant the words 'Minshew, Luton, Glennon' three times into a mirror, Shad Khan will appear and cast you into the fires of Hell, or maybe just fire you."

Ravens win, 33-14.

Philadelphia @ Arizona (-5½)

The Eagles upset the Saints 24-21 at Lincoln Financial Field in Jalen Hurts first start at quarterback. Hurts rushed for 106 yards as the Eagles as a team amassed 246 on the ground.

"We call Jalen the 'option' quarterback," Doug Pederson said, "because he's the cheaper option.

"We can't say for sure whether or not Carson Wentz will be a part of this team next year. We have a lot of money invested in him, so we owe it to ourselves to make a sound, informed decision. Because we owe more to Carson."

The Cardinals beat the Giants 26-7 at MetLife Stadium as Arizona's defense held the Giants to 159 total yards and recorded 8 sacks.

"That win tells us a lot about ourselves," Kliff Kingsbury said, "and even more about the NFC East. Of course, who am I kidding? If we were in the NFC East, like in the good old days, we only have a one game lead in the division."

Cardinals win, 23-20.

Kansas City @ New Orleans (+3)

The Chiefs quickly erased an early 10-0 deficit at Miami and stormed back to take a 33-27 win. Travis Kelce had 8 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, and Patrick Mahomes passed for 393 yards and 2 scores.

"We clinched the AFC West title," Mahomes said. "Officially, that is. Unofficially, we clinched in back in September, before any games were played. Was there ever any doubt that we wouldn't win the West? I'll answer that with another question: Was there ever any doubt that Andy Reid wouldn't win the 1971 'Punt, Pass, and Kick' competition in Los Angeles?"

The Saints lost 24-21 to the Eagles in Philadelphia and dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the NFC rankings. The Eagles piled up 246 yards rushing and 2 TDs on the ground. If the regular season ended today, Green Bay would earn the first-round bye instead of the Saints.

"Our defense was exposed," Sean Payton said. "They played like 'S.' For that, they should have the 'S' removed from their nickname, thus making them the 'Aints.'

"And speaking of 'paper sacks,' we're gonna have to have the opposite and bring our big boy scrotums to hold the cajones it will take to slow the Chiefs offense. To do that, we'll have to show Mahomes that he can't just stand in the pocket without the threat of being hit. To do that, we'll have to make sure our defense understands the magnitude of achieving that goal. To do that, we'll have Gregg Williams surprise them with a pre-game speech littered with obscenities and promises of cash. Ironically, Gregg is 'free.'"

Chiefs win, 28-23.

Cleveland @ NY Giants (+3½)

The Browns lost a 47-42 shootout to the visiting Ravens on Monday night in Cleveland. The loss dropped the Browns to 9-4, trailing the 11-2 Steelers, and a game ahead of the Ravens in the AFC North.

"The score of 47-42 was a first in NFL history," Baker Mayfield said. "So, although the final score may have been unusual, the outcome was typical Browns.

"The AFC North is arguably the toughest division in the NFL. When you experience the rigors of the North, you learn a lot about your strengths and your weaknesses. It's both our strength and our weakness that we can only beat the Bengals."

The Giants looked awful in a 26-7 home loss to the Cardinals. The Cards dominated in the trenches; Arizona recorded 159 yards rushing, and sacked Giants quarterbacks 8 times.

"A win would have kept us in first in the NFC East," Joe Judge said. "So that was a huge game. And we sucked a large one."

Giants win, 27-24.

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (+13)

The Bills scored 23 unanswered points on their way to a 26-15 win over the visiting Steelers, who have now lost two in a row after starting the season 11-0. Pittsburgh's offense struggled, with only 224 total yards.

"It's time to go back to basics," Mike Tomlin said. "Luckily, we're already there on offense.

"Our receivers are struggling with drops as of late. And that puts Ben Roethlisberger in a pickle. He doesn't know who he can trust to catch one of his 4-yard passes.

"We practiced in pads on the Friday before our game in Buffalo. I needed to remind our guys that the key to our success is physicality. Did it work? I don't think so. It was like when LeGarrette Blount played here, because everyone got a 'contact high.'"

The Bengals fell to 2-10 with a 30-7 loss to the visiting Cowboys.

"Mike Tomlin said a few weeks ago that his team played like a JV squad," Zac Taylor said. "Well, that team would still be heavily favored over us."

Pittsburgh wins, 33-9.

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