2020 Week 15 NFL Game Picks & Locks
LAC (4-9) @LV (7-6) / LV -3.5
- A game that we would expect to be relatively close and substantially high scoring could take a turn the other way as the status of both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams is up in the air for the Chargers. If this were to occur, we should absolutely expect a lower scoring game for the Chargers and potentially some struggles from Justin Herbert as he would be without his top two WR's. Now for what it's worth the Chargers do have a lot of talent at other skill positions so we don't expect a blowout here, but when the spread is relatively low to begin with even two absences like this could make a big impact. Giving credit to the Raiders though, we would actually still expect them to win this game regardless as they are, even if it's not by much, the better executing and coached team. Neither one of these defenses is all that scary so if the Chargers have their playmakers available a pretty safe bet could be taking the over on the point total. In the meantime though, we expect a big game from Josh Jacobs which will stabilize this Raider offense and give them a further advantage. If Allen and Williams miss this contest we also suggest the Raiders on the spread.
BUF (10-3) @ DEN (5-8) / DEN +6.5
- Both of these teams are coming off big wins last week, but undoubtedly what the Bills did vs the Steelers was the more impressive feat of the two. Compared to what the Broncos faced defensively vs the Panthers last week, the Bills are definitely a tougher unit. We should also add that the offensive explosion we saw from Denver in Week 14 isn't what we are accustomed to from them and more than likely it was an outlier and not a trend. With that being the case, and the fact that the Bills are loaded offensively and almost a lock to put up around 30 points we think that Denver will really struggle keeping up in this game. In fact, we actually think that this game could be one of the several blowouts of the week as the passing attack of Denver can't compete with that of Buffalo and the Bills also happen to have a BIG advantage at QB. Maybe this one starts out close but we fully expect the Bills as the better team, and a true contender, to pull away late.
CAR (4-9) @ GB (10-3) / GB -8.5
- Another week, another absence from Christian McCaffrey for the Panthers. Silver lining, at least the Panthers get D.J. Moore back in this game but at the end of the day will it really matter? Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level and right now there isn't a defense alive that can stop Davante Adams. Translation, this is going to be a long day for the Panthers. Giving credit to Carolina however, they have hung tough vs upper echelon competition before and have avoided being blown out the majority of the season. When you pair that with a GB defense that can be inconsistent it translates to probably another relatively competitive game with high scoring upside , but at the end of the day the Packers are too good, have the better QB and the slightly better defense. GB outright is a very safe bet, on the spread is where this is interesting. Carolina has lost by double digits only twice this season and we think they can stay in this game and get some points late so we like them on the spread.
TB (8-5) @ ATL (4-9) / ATL +5.5
- Heading into Week 15 the status of Julio Jones is yet again up in the air for Atlanta and if we had to guess we probably would bet on Jones being absent. As we have said before this is a huge issue for the Falcons as Matt Ryan takes a big time statistical hit with Jones out of the lineup. Pair that with a suspect defense and a loaded Tampa offense and this could be another blowout game contender. Making matters worse is the hits Ryan takes and his poor decision making all of which the Bucs defense has the ability to take advantage of. In all honesty, the way we see this one is either the Bucs struggle offensively and come out slow but ultimately still win or they completely dominate the Falcons from start to finish. Either way the end result is the same and that is a Bucs victory. And even if Ronald Jones misses this game we still have confidence that the Bucs have enough advantages offensively where they will survive. With the spread at currently under a TD, we are looking at a clean sweep from the Bucs in this game, regardless if Julio Jones plays or not.
CHI (6-7) @ MIN (6-7) / MIN -3.5
- In their first meeting a few weeks ago the Vikings came out victorious vs the Bears in a rather close and low scoring game. This might be a boring prediction, but for the most part we expect the same type of game flow here. We continue to say this, but in games where Dalvin Cook is bottled up that's where the Vikings struggle or barely win. And wouldn't you know it in his career, Cook averages close to 5 yards per carry, vs the Bears however that number drops to less than 3 yards per carry. The takeaway from this is that the Bears have historically done a very good job of limiting Cook. That's not to say that Minnesota can't win by airing out the football, that's actually exactly what they did the last time around but even then the game was close throughout and the Bears were never really out of it. Pair this with the recent success the Bears have had utilizing David Montgomery and we actually like their chances of an upset in this game. Yes, the Vikings offense has more talent and the better QB, but Trubisky will face yet another favorable defensive matchup and that could be what puts the Bears over the top here. In reality, we believe these teams are probably pretty close to overall ability and we like the Bears to win and split this series.
SF (5-8) @ DAL (4-9) / DAL +2.5
- Nice win for the Cowboys last week vs the Bengals, but let's be honest, we all saw that coming. One win vs arguably the worst team in the NFL will not translate to long term success for Dallas this season. Even with their own fair share of injuries the 49ers are a much better offense and especially better defensively compared to the Bengals. The Cowboys have for the most part proven that unless it's vs a very favorable defensive matchup their offense and Andy Dalton can not be trusted. For that reason it's tough for us to go with the Cowboys in this game. Yes, they have plenty of offensive talent but that's been the case all season and yet here they sit with only 4 wins. To be fair though, the 49ers aren't that much better as they have an inconsistent and unproven Nick Mullens under center and a defense that shows up some weeks and others not so much. All things considered this game could go either way because it really primarily depends on what version of the two QB's involved we get. For the simple reason the we trust Mullens more than Dalton we have to pick SF here. With the spread not all that high we are treating this game as a pick'em.
DET (5-8) @ TEN (9-4) / TEN -9.5
- No Matthew Stafford expected in this game. We could honestly stop our breakdown of this game with that previous sentence and I feel like it would be enough to come to a sensible conclusion. I don't care that the Tennessee defense is a unit that isn't all that great, you still need a QB to actually take advantage of those short comings, Chase Daniel is not that guy. Compound this with the fact that the Detroit defense is even worst and this one is all but a wrap. The safe bet here is a big dose of Derrick Henry as the Titans cruise to a win. If Stafford does play however we would still take the Titans outright but would then pivot to Detroit on the spread.
HOU (4-9) @ IND (9-4) / IND -7.5
- A battle of two division rivals that are headed in opposite directions but regardless of that the Texans can still keep this game close. In fact, only a few weeks ago the Texans might have beaten the Colts if it weren't for a late botched snap. Looking at this game the status of Brandin Cooks is up in the air which could take away some firepower from the already limited Houston offense. To make matters worse, the Texans haven't improved their rush defense while the Colts have seemingly figured out their rushing attack and have been riding that to a lot of success, kind of like what we expected from the early on in the year. The revival of T.Y. Hilton should also continue as he has historically torched the Texans and this week should be no different. Despite all these things though even though it will likely be in a losing effort w like the Texans to be competitive and make the Colts sweat this game out. The simple reason for that is they have the X-factor that is Deshaun Watson and that can help mask a lot of other issues.
NE (6-7) @ MIA (8-5) / MIA -2.5
- These two teams played all the way back in Week 1 but it seems like both sides have done a complete 180 since then. The Patriots have collapsed offensively and Cam Newton looks suspect while the Dolphins have a new QB and a revitalized defense. Despite this though, the Dolphins are dealing with a plethora of offensive injuries right now which could limit their own offensive potential. The result of all of this is that this could be one of the lower scoring games of the week. Factor into this that Bill Belichick has OWNED rookie QB's and this one could really get interesting as Tua has already shown us that he can make his own fair share of mistakes. While we don't think this will be as big of a domination as when the Patriots shut down Justin Herbert it's still smart to put this game on possible upset alert. In fact, we are treating this game as a pick'em and even though the Dolphins seem like the "smart" pick on paper we would be a little nervous either way you go here. In all honesty, we would advise people to stay away from this game and if you want to bet it then either go with the Dolphins everywhere or tease that spread to around -6/7 and go with the Patriots in that scenario.
SEA (9-4) @ WAS (6-7) / WAS +5.5
- The Seahawks enjoyed their easiest game of the year last week vs the Jets but now it's time to get back to the big leagues. Yes, Washington is under .500 but they are also a team with a very stingy defense that usually forces you to play their style of football. That translates to a low scoring game with limited passing success and one where Washington usually has a chance to win late. While all of this is true let us firmly say that we believe that the Seahawks are the better team here. They have the much better offense and a QB that for the most part can find success one way or the other regardless of the defense he faces. For that reason, we have to give the edge here to Seattle as we just don't trust the Washington offense enough without Antonio Gibson and their limited long passing attack. To be fair though, the poor Seattle secondary will aid Washington in that department but we suspect that it will only be to a degree. At the end of the day we do like Washington on the spread but we are putting our money on the fact that the Washington defense will wear down as the game goes and that Wilson will be able to put Seattle in an opportunity to win late more so than Alex Smith.
JAX (1-12) @ BAL (8-5) / BAL -13.5
- Minshew mania is back! Unfortunately, that's where the reason to celebrate for Jacksonville stops as they now get to face the Ravens. While Baltimore will be without several WR's in this game due to COVID is won't really matter. The game plan has been simple since day one here for Baltimore and that is run the ball down the throat of the Jaguars and let Lamar Jackson take over. We fully expect for this game to go that way as this Jaguars defense is awful and Lamar should have his way with them. The Ravens have also gotten some defensive starters back which should help their efforts to limit the Jacksonville offense. In all honesty, the only thing you should be wondering about this game is the spread as the outright pick is a LOCK. But even with almost a 14 point number on the spread we like Baltimore here as we think their rushing success will be too much and overwhelm the Jaguars.
NYJ (0-13) @ LAR (9-4) / LAR -16.5
- Back to back easy games to predict. If you thought the Ravens were a lock to win this week then you will love the Rams as they face off vs the Jets. Simply put this is an awful matchup for the Jets in every sense of the word. If you thought last week vs Seattle was bad then don't look now because this Ram offense can have just as much success and better yet their defense is no joke. In all honesty, we don't see the Jets getting over 14 points in this game and expect the Rams to get at least 30. That translates to a win outright for the Rams and also very likely on the spread as well.
PHI (4-3-1) @ ARI (7-6) / ARI -6.5
- Great win for the Eagles last week as Jalen Hurts made his first NFL start and came out on top. This week however won't be as easy. The reason for that is that the Cardinals have an actual QB that can dissect NFL defenses. Facing Taysom Hill one week and Kyler Murray the other is a night and day difference and we expect the Eagles defense to struggle a bit here. Now to be fair, the Cardinals defense can be exposed and for that reason this game could be closer than expected. We saw what the game plan for the Eagles was last week and that is keep games low scoring and focus on rushing the football offensively. But we just don't think that this will be enough in this matchup. If the Eagles want to pull off the upset they will need to air it out and Hurts will need more than 200 yards passing. And even though it's still a limited sample size we tend to believe that the passing attack is not the forte of Jalen Hurts. For that reason we are going with the Cardinals outright but are willing to take the Eagles on the spread as this game should be lower scoring and competitive.
KC (12-1) @ NO (10-3) / NO +3.5
- This is not the matchup that you want to see if you are the Saints. The reason for that is that Taysom Hill struggles tremendously with two things (well definitely more than two...but these are the two we care about). One of those is an average defense and the other is teams that can score in bunches where Hill will have to lead the Saints back. Done are the easy matchups for the Saints where they could mask Hill as a viable QB option. Now the Saints face the best QB and offense in the NFL. And while the Saints are also talented defensively it won't be enough to slow down Mahomes. In all honesty we are shocked that the spread for this game is only 3 points. We expect the Chiefs to win this game rather convincingly and if the Saints have a chance to win late that would honestly be a shock.
CLE (9-4) @ NYG (5-8) / NYG +3.5
- Tough loss for the Browns vs Baltimore but they have a chance for a rebound this week. The Giants aren't going to be an easy out but they definitely aren't in the explosive offense department so if the Browns jump out to a lead then they should be set. For what it's worth we still aren't sold on Cleveland but the Giants have had so many issues offensively as of late that they are an even bigger risk. The problem for New York is that the offensive line has seemingly collapsed these last few weeks and the QB play has been a problem. We expect the Browns to get after the QB and create pressure throughout the game which should create a lot of great takeaway opportunities and put the offense in great field position. The spread is also low enough where we trust the Browns to not only win outright but also cover.
PIT (11-2) @ CIN (2-10-1) / CIN +12.5
- You can go ahead and add this game to the Locks of the week and potential blowout column as this is the perfect get right game for the Steelers. It doesn't matter that this is a divisional game, the Bengals are on par with the Jets in terms of bad NFL teams. And yes, we realize that the Steelers can't run the ball and that their defense is hurt but facing the Bengals is the perfect remedy for that. We expect a lot of success from the passing attack of Pittsburgh in this game and the usual struggles from the Cincinnati offense. It's simple, unfortunately without Joe Burrow the Bengals don't have a chance and you better believe that the Steelers will take advantage of this gift.
- BUF, GB, TEN, BAL, LAR, KC, PIT