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Week 15 NFL Pickem: Every Game Matters

December 13th, 2012 at 2:16 PM
By Chuck Chapman

Unlike the fraudulent advertising of the Bowl Championship Series which boasts that every game matters (unless you lose early enough and the right teams in front of you lose later), the NFL has an actual objective way in which its teams can qualify for the playoffs. That means that these next three weeks will feature games with extremely high stakes. 

For teams like the Indianapolis Colts, even though a playoff spot is virtually a given, they have the opportunity to finish strong and actually win the division. The difference there is playing at least the first round of the playoffs at home, a distinct advantage, versus going on the road to a hostile environment. For teams like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, it means win or go home.

For coaches and players, especially those not in the running for the playoffs, it means trying to keep one's job. Owners and general managers have a very low tolerance for employees who don't perform under pressure. The final three weeks of the NFL season is as pressure-packed as it gets.

Last week, Steven stumbled a bit early on Sunday, but rebounded to finish 9-7 (118-90 on the year). I lost three games that were decided on the final possession, but still finished a respectable 10-6 (138-70 on the year). Here's who we have winning this week:

 

Cincinnati at Philadelphia- Steven: Bengals – "Big showdown setting up next week for the inside route to the last AFC playoff spot." Chuck: Bengals- "Believe it or not, the Bengals could lose this one and still get in the playoffs by virtue of knocking off the Steelers next week. They'll win though."
 
New York Giants at Atlanta- Steven: Falcons – "Atlanta needs a win against a good team to keep confidence up for the inevitable fall that is coming." Chuck: Giants- "The Giants NEED this game and Atlanta WANTS it. I'll go with the G-men in a barn-burner."
 
Denver at Baltimore- Steven: Ravens – "Denver's three losses all came against possibly the three best teams in the league. I think they're better than Baltimore, but it's not at home." Chuck: Broncos- "The Ravens defense has been unraveling since losing Dominique Foxworth. Now they've fired their offensive coordinator. The pressure is on and we'll see if Joe Flacco can handle it. We know Peyton Manning can."
 
Green Bay at Chicago- Steven: Bears – "Green Bay's offense is hurting, and Chicago still has a defense, but no offense. Defense carries the way again with a score this week." Chuck: Packers- "Chicago has stopped turning over its opponents which has exposed a suspect offense. The Bears just might miss the playoffs."
 
Washington at Cleveland- Steven: Browns – "It's been a whlie since I've picked a huge upset, and this qualifies." Chuck: Browns- "I'm drinking me some Browns Kool-Aid…OK that sounds gross. The Browns are playing very well though. Could Pat Shurmur be the next Bill Belichick and the Browns fire him, too?"
 
Indianapolis at Houston- Steven: Texans – "The Colts would have been better off getting the first home game between these two. Division hopes go away, but still remain one win from the playoffs." Chuck: Colts- "A week ago, I'd have picked the Texans in a walk. After watching Tom Brady make mince meat of the Texans' depleted secondary, however, the Colts have a shot. And we've seen this team take full advantage of having the slightest shot."
 
Jacksonville at Miami- Steven: Dolphins – "Keep viewing contained to Floridians." Chuck: Dolphins- "Rumor has it that Tim Tebow will be flown in to be all-time QB in order to draw fans to this snoozer of a game."
 
Tampa Bay at New Orleans- Steven: Saints – "I keep saying Drew Brees can't be contained for that long, and if Tampa Bay appears to be the one team that can't contain anyone. Both teams score close to 40." Chuck: Saints- "Tampa's secondary is the only reason they're not making a playoff run. Having a poor secondary is fatal against Drew Brees."
 
Minnesota at St. Louis- Steven: Rams – "Don't forget, St. Louis is in the playoff hunt and the loser here appears to be out. Only one team has a quarterback and running back duo, and that's the Rams." Chuck: Rams- "Jeff Fisher is slowly building a very good football team just west of us."
 
Detroit at Arizona- Steven: Lions – "Arizona stinks." Chuck: Lions- "Rumor has it that the NFL will place armed guards outside each locker room to make sure both teams finish this game."
 
Seattle at Buffalo- Steven: Bills – "Seattle doesn't falter against teams it's better than, which applies this week." Chuck: Seahawks- "Pete Carroll has his men giving it the "old college try." They're a very dangerous team right now, one nobody in the NFC wants to see in the first round of the playoffs."
 
Carolina at San Diego- Steven: Chargers – "West coast trip for Carolina." Chuck: Chargers- "Two lame-duck coaches. My comment above about players playing for their jobs applies in this game."
 
Pittsburgh at Dallas- Steven: Cowboys – "The Dallas defense looked bad a week ago, but somehow this team is still around. I'm going to flip around and say they make the playoffs." Chuck: Cowboys- "Pittsburgh is battered and simply has run out of depth. The Cowboys, to their credit, are fighting for Jason Garrett."
 
Kansas City at Oakland- Steven: Raiders – "Snooze." Chuck: Raiders- "That Carson Palmer trade is looking great…for Cincinnati."
 
San Francisco at New England- Steven: Patriots – "I don't think New England's defense is this good, but at home they appear to be at least two touchdown favorites against anyone." Chuck: Patriots- "This is a game I think Alex Smith could win. Colin Kaepernick is about to get eaten alive."
 
New York Jets at Tennessee- Steven: Jets – "Such an easy schedule down the stretch for New York will keep them breathing down Pittsburgh and Cincinnati's necks." Chuck: Jets- "This one's a toss-up, but I'll take the Jets since they still have something to play for."
 
Tags: Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL

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