Welcome to my Week 15 NFL Picks & Previews. Last week I went 13-3, putting my overall record at 125-81-1 (126-81-1 with Week 15 TNF). As we approach the end of the regular season, many teams, contenders included, have been decimated by injuries. Some teams have been able to adjust, while others have fallen behind due to injuries. More injuries have occurred in the past week. Which contenders will be able to adjust? Which contenders will fall short? Keep reading to find out what I think, and as always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
Lock of the Week
QB Carson Wentz won’t do quite as well with WRs Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor all sidelined. But he’ll rely on the TE duo of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to lead the Eagles past an underrated Redskins defense. Most teams would be able to put up a fight against a 20 point performance. But without RB Derrius Guice, Washington’s offense will appear anemic against an above average Philly defense. This will allow the Eagles to win with ease.
Upset of the Week
Even with QB concerns, expect Jacksonville to pull off an upset, as RB Leonard Fournette has a day up against a depleted Raiders front seven. QB Gardner Minshew will put up a decent performance as well, but will struggle with consistency. Minshew and Fournette’s success should be enough for the Jaguars victory. QB Derek Carr and his offense will make this close, but expect them to fall short against a middle of the pack Jags defense.
The Other Games
|Posted to Twitter Thursday
||Expect QB Lamar Jackson and his offense to thrive against a depleted Jets defense. However, this will be a run heavy game, as Jackson and RB Mark Ingram lead the way for the Ravens. Meanwhile, RB Le’Veon Bell will have a strong game for the Jets. But a struggling QB Sam Darnold will fail to keep up with Jackson as the Jets fall short.|
|This game will go how most of New England’s games against bottom of the barrel teams have gone. The Pats defense will hold Cincy to just 1 TD. But this won’t exactly be a field day for QB Tom Brady and his WRs. Until he finds some more help at WR, don’t expect the Pats to drop 30+ points on any defense, even the Bengals.|
|Even against an aging Giants defense, Miami will struggle to put up points. WR DeVante Parker will be the lone sign of hope for this offense, as the run game struggles without RBs Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. Meanwhile, RB Saquon Barkley will lead the way for the Giants against an inexperienced Dolphins front seven as QB Eli Manning takes the back seat in his first victory of 2019.|
|Look for Houston to win with ease here, especially with WR Will Fuller V slated to play. The Titans will put up some points, but QB Ryan Tannehill will struggle against a Texans front seven that is still good despite the losses of DE J.J. Watt (injured) and OLB Jadeveon Clowney (traded). RB Derrick Henry will put up a decent game, but it won’t be enough.|
|The Broncos will put up more of a fight here than most people expect. The run game will thrive against a flawed Chiefs defense. Denver may even take this game to overtime, as their defense limits QB Patrick Mahomes and his receivers. But Mahomes and the Chiefs will find a way to victory against a team that is highly unlikely to make the playoffs.|
|Look for QB Aaron Rodgers and his offense to edge out a victory as the Packers sweep Chicago, even against a strong Bears D. Meanwhile, QB Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense will make this close, but they will fall short against a young Packers D.|
|Without WR Mike Evans, the Buccaneers will struggle to put up enough points for victory. Even without QB Matthew Stafford, the Lions offense will do alright against an inexperienced Tampa Bay, leading the way for a Detroit victory.|
|This will be a pass heavy game, as the WRs thrive against two of the weakest secondaries in the league. With their WRs wide open, QBs Russell Wilson and Kyle Allen will both have very strong games. But Wilson’s experience will give him the edge over Allen and Seattle the edge over Carolina, even on the road.|
|With unmotivated WR Odell Beckham Jr. covered by CB Patrick Peterson, QB Baker Mayfield will struggle to connect with his receivers. This will allow QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals to edge out a victory at home. Against a banged-up Browns defense, Murray will thrive, throwing for 200+ yards and multiple TDs.|
|Expect the Minnesota defense to step it up here, holding aging QB Philip Rivers and the Chargers to just 1 TD. Meanwhile, the combo of RB Dalvin Cook and WR Stefon Diggs will just be too much for LA’s defense to handle, and their success will allow the Vikings to win comfortably.|
|QB Jared Goff and his receivers will put up enough points here to take down Dallas, even without TE Gerald Everett. QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott will look alright against the Rams D. But they will be prevented from scoring too much, especially with CB Jalen Ramsey shutting down Prescott’s favorite target, WR Amari Cooper.|
|The 49ers offense has been dominant all year, and the Falcons defense will struggle to contain them. Meanwhile, with WR Calvin Ridley out for the season, QB Matt Ryan will lack the weapons to keep up with San Francisco.|
|Without WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, this will be close, as Buffalo will shut down Pittsburgh’s other WRs with ease. But QB Duck Hodges will lean on RB James Conner and TE Vance McDonald to help the Steelers to victory. However, an underrated Steelers D will nail in the win, shutting down the Bills run game, and significantly limiting QB Josh Allen.|
|Expect a dominant game out of QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara, and WR Michael Thomas against a rather inexperienced Colts defense. QB Jacoby Brissett and his offense will find a way to put up some points and make this a bit competitive. But it won’t nearly be enough to give the Colts any kind of chance at a victory.|
That’s all for my picks this week. Stay tuned for more posts soon.