NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 15

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

San Francisco @ Seattle (+3½)

The Panthers pounded the Seahawks on the ground, rushing for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns to power a 30-24 Carolina win. Seattle fell to 7-6 and are two games behind the 49ers in the NFC West.

"The Panthers rush attack went 'Beast Mode' on our defense," Pete Carroll said. "And as a result, fittingly and much like Marshawn Lynch would do, it made me utter a string of profanities on national television.

"You could say we have a 'suspect' defense. And that may explain the 'Wanted: Defense' posters that started appearing around here after the dissolution of the 'Legion of Boom.'"

The 49ers creamed the Buccaneers 35-7 at Levi's Stadium as Brock Purdy outdueled Tom Brady. Purdy passed for 2 touchdowns and ran for another, while Brady had one pass TD and tossed 2 interceptions.

"The 'Purdy Boy' outplayed the 'Pretty Boy,'" Kyle Shanahan said. "If this game took place in a courtroom setting, Brady would have pleaded no contest. If Brock retired right now, he would give Tom a lesson on when to go out on top.

"Our game plan against the Seahawks is simple: we're going to run the ball against their pathetic run defense, which I sarcastically refer to as the 'Legion of Room.' And we'll sprinkle in some play-action passes throughout the game. Collectively, I call that offense the 'Business in the front, Purdy in the back.'"

San Fran wins, 24-22.

Baltimore @ Cleveland (-3)

The Ravens nipped the Steelers 16-14 in Pittsburgh, relying on their defense and running game after second-string quarterback Tyler Hundley left the game with a concussion.

"Our training staff may be the most overworked in the league," John Harbaugh said. "We've popularized the term 'running a trainer,' which, by definition, is 'when multiple trainers line up and service an injured player one after the other.' For more in-depth information, check Urban Dictionary."

The Browns lost 23-10 to the Bengals in Cincinnati. Cincinnati limited Nick Chubb and the Cleveland running game, and Deshaun Watson could only generate one score through the air.

"Deshaun is still working out the kinks in his game," Kevin Stefanski said. "According to his treatment program, he's also working out the kinky in his game."

Ravens win, 17-16.

Indianapolis @ Minnesota (-4½)

The Colts had a Week 14 bye, and hope to bounce back after their 54-19 shellacking at the hands of the Cowboys in Week 13.

"Obviously," Jeff Saturday said, "we've got a lot to work on. But I think it's important to stay positive. I'm a big believer in positive reinforcement. So I want everyone to join me in encouraging Matt Ryan ... to seriously consider retirement.

"We obviously need our quarterback of the future. If there's another Peyton Manning out there, we need to find him. Our current quarterback play has us saying 'Uncle.' And what do you know? Peyton is the uncle of Arch Manning, who is only 17 and at least four years away from becoming an NFL quarterback. So, if we can go four or so more years on our current trajectory of starting a different bad quarterback each year, we just might be in line to get Arch."

The Vikings lost 31-23 to the Lions at Ford Field. Kirk Cousins passed for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Minnesota defense surrendered 330 yards and 3 TDs through the air to Jared Goff. At 10-3, the Vikes are still 4 games up on the Lions.

"Mike Zimmer would have been disgusted by our defensive performance," Kevin O'Connell said. "Of course, there's very little that didn't disgust Mike. And Mike's biggest weakness as a head coach was his inability to hide that disgust.

"But I'm not at all like Mike. I hide my disgust very well. And, unlike Mike, I like offense. And that's good, because 99% of my job is devising an offense that can score more than our defense gives up."

Vikings win, 26-23.

Miami @ Buffalo (-7)

The Bills earned a tough 20-12 win over the visiting Jets, avenging their Week 9 loss to the Jets. Josh Allen passed for a score and rushed for another as Buffalo improved to 10-3.

"That was a hard-fought win," Allen said. "That Jets defense is no joke. Zach Wilson, on the other hand, is a joke, and is his own punchline.

"The 'Bills Mafia' will be fired up for this game. If there's a table anywhere nearby, somebody's going through it. If Mike McDaniel is going through a table, it will obviously be a table of contents. That fella's a nerd."

Tua Tagovailoa struggled to a 10-for-28, 145 yards, 1 touchdown night as the Dolphins fell 23-17 to the Chargers at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night. The loss dropped Miami to 8-5, and they are two games behind the Bills in the AFC East.

"I'm not sure why Tua struggled so much," Mike McDaniel said. "Much like Tua's last name, it's hard to say."

Bills win, 29-14.

Atlanta @ New Orleans (-4)

The Falcons return after a Week 14 bye with a new starting quarterback. Arthur Smith named Desmond Ridder starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.

"This offense needs a spark," Arthur Smith said. "Marcus Mariota might say our playbook needs a spark, to set it on fire.

"Marcus is a team player, and I know he's not going to pout. He'll offer his full support to Desmond. And I'm guessing Marcus' first piece of advice to Desmond will be to throw out everything you know about passing the football, because that will be the only thing you throw."

The Saints also had a Week 14 bye and despite a 4-9 record, they are only two games behind the NFC South-leading Buccaneers at 6-7.

"That's great news," Dennis Allen said, "while at the same time sad news. I'm embarrassed as the head coach that I'm responsible for this. It would be smart for me to put a bounty on myself, then resign, and thus collect that bounty.

"Now, if lightning does strike twice and we make the playoffs, that would be two more lightning strikes than those that have hit Drew Brees".

Saints win, 27-20.

Philadelphia @ Chicago (+8½)

The Eagles blasted the Giants 48-22 at MetLife Stadium. Jalen Hurts passed for 2 touchdowns and ran for 1 TD as the Eagles rushed for 253 yards as a team.

"Jalen is building his resume for the league's Most Valuable Player," Nick Sirianni said. "To his credit, he's really 'applied' himself this year.

"We clinched a spot in the playoffs, but our goals are so much higher. We want to win the NFC East, capture a first-round playoff bye, win the NFC title, and win the Super Bowl. But what we really want, understandably, is to have our poles greased. Just to clarify, by 'our,' I mean the city of Philadelphia's, although any form of pole greasing will be acceptable."

The Bears had a Week 14 bye and host the Eagles with a fully healthy Justin Fields. At 3-10, Chicago has the worst record in the NFC.

"We don't have much to play for," Matt Eberflus said. "We can play the role of 'spoiler,' which in years past here in Chicago is a role that's been played almost exclusively by the head coach.

"We're looking forward to 2023. We've got a lot of draft picks and a lot of cap space. Currently, we have a lot of crap space."

Eagles win, 31-24.

Detroit @ NY Jets (+1)

The Jets offense struggled against a motivated Bills defense in a 20-12 loss to the Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mike White was sacked 4 times and was knocked out of the game twice.

"Mike actually left the stadium in an ambulance after the game," Robert Saleh said. "Joe Flacco sometimes arrives at the stadium in an ambulance.

"Mike is showing the kind of toughness and resilience that has made him a cult hero. Zach Wilson is also showing his own brand of toughness. If you think being benched is hard to handle, try dating women who are going through menopause."

The Lions kept their playoff hopes alive with a 31-23 win over the Vikings at Ford Field. Jared Goff passed for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"No longer are people embarrassed to say they're Lions fans," Dan Campbell said. "Why, even famous private detective Thomas Magnum can be seen in his Lions gear, which is a pair of booty shorts embossed with the Lions logo. And much like my call to throw a crucial third down pass to offensive lineman Penei Sewell, Magnum P.I. is letting it all hang out."

Jets win, 22-17.

Pittsburgh @ Carolina (-1½)

The Panthers rushed for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 30-24 win over the Seahawks in Seattle.

"We live and die by our running game," Steve Wilkes said. "Our passing game just kills us.

"We're just a game behind the Bucs for the lead in the NFC South. And if we win our remaining four games, we'll win the NFC South. But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. That should be no problem, because we have loads of experience not getting too far ahead of our opponents."

Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game early with a concussion, and Mitch Trubisky was ineffective in relief as the Steelers lost 16-14 to the Ravens in Pittsburgh. Trubisky threw 3 interceptions and Pittsburgh dropped to 5-8.

"Mitch and I both struggled," Mike Tomlin said. "He struggled playing quarterback, and I struggled playing him at quarterback. Mitch as our quarterback is like the opposite of Troy Polamalu's Head and Shoulders, because Mitch is 'always not working.'"

Panthers win, 19-14.

Dallas @ Jacksonville (+4½)

The Cowboys avoided Houston's upset bid with Ezekiel Elliott's 2-yard touchdown run with 41 seconds left. Dallas was a 17-point favorite, but struggled before finally putting away the Texans 27-23.

"I don't think we were looking past the Texans," Mike McCarthy said. "Why would we? Everybody knows that when you look past the Texans, there's nothing to see, because no one's behind them, except for every team in the 2023 NFL Draft.

"There are going to be games in which we don't play our best. What's important is getting ourselves in postseason form. What you want is to be peaking at the right time, unlike Jerry Jones, who was peeking at the wrong time."

Trevor Lawrence ripped apart the Titans defense for 369 yards passing and 3 touchdowns in the Jaguars 36-22 win in Nashville. Jacksonville is 5-8, two games behind Tennessee in the AFC South.

"Trevor's talent is exceeded only by his inconsistency," Doug Pederson said. "His physical gifts are very apparent, like his hair. Trevor has all the tools. The Cowboys also have all the 'tools.' The 'tools' in this case are any members of the Jones family."

Jacksonville wins, 27-24.

Kansas City @ Houston (+14)

The Texans nearly stunned the heavily-favored Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, but couldn't hold on and lost, 27-23.

"We had the Cowboys on the ropes," Lovie Smith said. "They were nervous. Especially Jerry Jones. You could say that unlike that photo of Jerry at school in Little Rock back in 1957, he could hardly look."

The Chiefs built a 27-0 lead and held on to beat the Broncos 34-28 in Denver. Patrick Mahomes passed for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns, including an underhand pass that Jerrick McKinnon turned into a 56-yard touchdown.

"Patrick makes the extraordinary look ordinary," Andy Reid said. "Russell Wilson also makes the extraordinary look ordinary, but only when you watch highlights of him from 5-10 years ago."

Chiefs win, 36-17.

Arizona @ Denver (-3)

Denver fell behind 27-0 at home to the Chiefs, and their comeback attempt fell short in a 34-28 loss. Russell Wilson threw 3 touchdowns passes, but left the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter.

"Russell played his best game as a Broncos," Nathaniel Hackett said. "Too bad no one will remember it, including him.

"We've been officially eliminated from the playoffs. I'm lucky I wasn't eliminated from the regular season earlier this year."

The Cardinals beat the Patriots 27-13 on Monday night. Kyler Murray tore his ACL on the third play of the game and is out for the season.

"We all feel bad for Kyler," Kliff Kingbury said. "He's got a long recovery ahead of him, but if he puts in the work like he does with game preparation and film study, I have no doubt he'll be ready for the 2024 season."

Broncos win, 21-14.

Tennessee @ L.A. Chargers -(2½)

The Jaguars hammered the Titans 36-22 in Nashville. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry combined for 4 turnovers, and the Jags racked up over 400 yards of offense.

"I guess former general manager Jon Robinson was not the problem," Mike Vrabel said. "Jon was just another entry on the long list of people who've been burned by A.J. Brown."

The Chargers beat the visiting Dolphins 23-17 on Sunday night. Justin Herbert passed for 367 yards and a touchdown, and the L.A. defense kept Miami's high-powered offense in check.

"Justin has carried this team all season," Brandon Staley said. "And he's done it all behind an offensive line that can't carry his jock strap. Luckily, Justin has tons of volunteers willing to carry his jock strap, including me."

Titans win, 28-27.

Cincinnati @ Tampa Bay (+3½)

Joe Burrow passed for two touchdowns to lead the Bengals to a 23-10 win over the Browns. Cincy won its fifth straight, and Burrow got his first win over Cleveland in five tries.

"Does the inability to beat the Browns constitute a 'monkey on my back?'" Burrow said. "Or would it be some hybrid half-monkey/half dog, you know, a creature that resembles your typical Browns fan? Whatever the case, it's off my back."

The 49ers defense shut down Tom Brady and the Bucs in a 35-7 San Francisco win. Brady passed for a meaningless late TD and was picked off twice.

"It's games like this," Brady said, "that make me reconsider retirement. Okay, I've reconsidered, and I'm coming back next year.

"We're leading the division, and I think if we could get hot, and every other playoff team goes ice cold, I could be looking at my eighth Super Bowl title. After all, some room just recently opened up on my actual ring finger."

Bengals win, 27-20

New England @ Las Vegas (-1)

The Raiders blew a 16-3 lead late in the fourth quarter and lost 17-16 to the Rams at Sofi Stadium. The loss severely damaged Vegas' playoff outlook.

"Our playoff hopes went from bad to 'Jim Mora, Sr.'" Josh McDaniel said. "So, if you're asking me about playoffs, please shut up.

"It's basically my fault we lost. We ran Josh Jacobs up the middle three times instead of going for the knockout blow when the score was 16-10. You may ask, 'Why not throw some passes? You know you have Davante Adams, the best receiver in the league?' I may ask in return, 'You know I have Derek Carr, maybe the 19th-best quarterback in the league?'"

New England bested the Cardinals 27-13 at State Farm Stadium on Monday night. The 7-6 Patriots currently hold the seventh seed in the AFC.

"I'm looking forward to facing my former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels," Bill Belichick said. "We had some great years together, but I see Josh has moved on to smaller and less better things."

Raiders win, 24-20.

NY Giants @ Washington (-3½)

The Eagles smashed the Giants 48-22 at MetLife Stadium. New York is 7-5-1, and has only one win in their last six games.

"That may have been our worst defensive performance of the year," Brian Daboll said. "You could say our defense has some gaping holes, and even those gaping holes have gaping holes of their own.

"I guess I can kiss that Coach of the Year award goodbye. But I think I've set this franchise up to challenge on a yearly basis for the title of 4th, or even 3rd-best team in the NFC East."

The Commanders had a Week 14 bye and will face the Giants in a crucial battle for playoff position. Washington is currently the 6th seed in the NFC race, while the Giants are 7th.

"Ask anybody when the last time the Commanders were relevant," Ron Rivera said. "They'll no doubt use Dan Snyder's favorite phrase and say, 'I do not recall.'"

Washington wins, 24-21.

L.A. Rams @ Green Bay (-7½)

Led by the newly-acquired Baker Mayfield, the Rams stormed back from a 16-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to shock the Raiders, 17-16. Mayfield's 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left won it for Los Angeles.

"We came back from the dead," Sean McVay said, "led by a quarterback who came back from the dead.

"Baker has found a new home. He's proved it's not all about the money. Why do I know that? Because the less money he makes, the better he plays."

The Packers return from their Week 14 bye with very slim playoff chances. Green Bay is 5-8 and would likely need to win out to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.

"Nothing is impossible," Aaron Rodgers said. "I mean, the University of Southern Mississippi thought getting a new volleyball facility was impossible, but Brett Favre proved them wrong."

Packers win, 23-19.

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