John Halpin’s Week 15 NFL Picks


Lose Carson Wentz, get Aaron Rodgers back. What a weird season we’re having.

On to the Week 15 picks, with selections being both straight up and against the spread unless noted otherwise. If you have any questions, catch me on Twitter (@jhalpin37).

(Home team in CAPS.)

Week 14 records: 8-8 SU, 8-8 ATS

Overall: 127-81 SU, 103-97 ATS

COLTS (+3) over Broncos

As noted by Rotoworld’s Raymond Summerlin, teams playing on Thursday following an overtime game since 2007 are 3-16 against the spread. But, two of those wins (Packers over Bears in Week 4, Redskins over Giants in Week 12) have been this season. Let’s make it three in a row – there’s no way I’m laying points with the Broncos on the road. They’re awful.

The pick: Colts win and cover

LIONS (-6) over Bears

I have no idea what happened to the Bears last week. I figured they were already in the tank after losing five in a row, and then they went and blew out the Bengals on the road. However, their offense still isn’t very good, and their defense has been crushed by injuries. Another road win? Nah.

The pick: Lions win and cover

Chargers (-2) over CHIEFS

The Chargers have won seven of nine after starting the season with four consecutive losses. But now we’re going to make them a road favorite in a crucial divisional game? Yeah, sure. I’m all in.

The pick: Chargers win and cover

REDSKINS (-4.5) over Cardinals

The ‘Skins might be in a death spiral after getting walloped in consecutive road games against the Cowboys and Chargers. The Cardinals have won two of their last three, but are 2-4 on the road, beating only the Colts and pre-Garoppolo 49ers. Let’s go for a close Washington win.

The pick: Redskins win, Cardinals cover

JAGUARS (-11) over Texans

It sounds like the ferocious Jags’ D will face third-string quarterback T.J. Yates. What odds can I get on the Texans scoring negative points?

The pick: Jaguars win and cover

PANTHERS (-3) over Packers

With Rodgers back under center, the spread dropped quite a bit. As much as we all love A-Rod, expecting him to return after an eight-week layoff at his usual level of greatness against one of the league’s better defenses seems … unlikely. I can’t say it would shock me, but I’ll take the Panthers at this small number.

The pick: Panthers win and cover

SAINTS (-16) over Jets

SIXTEEN POINTS? You betcha. With QB Josh McCown done for the season, the Jets will start Bryce Petty, who threw three touchdowns against seven interceptions in six games last year. This game is a mismatch.

The pick: Saints win and cover

Eagles (-7.5) over GIANTS

Minus Carson Wentz, the Eagles still have a very good defense, a good offensive line and plenty of weapons at the skill positions. They should beat the fading Giants, but giving more than a touchdown on the road with a backup QB is asking a lot.

The pick: Eagles win, Giants cover

Ravens (-7) over BROWNS

Every time the Browns play at home, I say, “This is the week!” And then it’s not. However, their home games have generally been closely contested (save for a bad loss to the Bengals in Week 4). This is their last game in Cleveland for the season. Can I? Should I? OK, fine.

This is the week!

The pick: Browns win and cover

BILLS (NL) over Dolphins

Wednesday morning’s news suggested that QB Tyrod Taylor (knee) will return for this game, so the spread will be available soon. I’m taking the Bills at anything less than seven points.

The pick: Bills win and cover

VIKINGS (-11) over Bengals

The Vikings are 5-1 ATS at home, and should be angry after losing to the Panthers. The 5-8 Bengals have nothing to play for after their Week 14 debacle against the Bears. Their offensive line is terrible, and their defense seems to be fading. Why should this game be close?

The pick: Vikings win and cover

Rams (+1.5) over SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks haven’t been invincible at home this season, losing to the Redskins and Falcons, and winning by the skin of their teeth against the 49ers and Texans. This game could go either way, but the Rams are the better team.

The pick: Rams win and cover

STEELERS (+3) over Patriots

The over-under is only 53.5? I thought it would be close to 60. Expect videogame offense in this one.

Oh, and HOW IN THE WORLD ARE THE STEELERS A HOME UNDERDOG?

The pick: Steelers win and cover

49ERS (-2) over Titans

I don’t want to say I told you so about the Titans, but … well, yes I do. Marcus Mariota has been bad, with 10 TDs and 14 INTs. They’re 2-5 ATS on the road, and over the last two months they’ve padded their record with close wins over mediocre-to-bad teams. Jimmy G and the suddenly frisky Niners are gonna take them down.

The pick: 49ers win and cover

Cowboys (-3) over RAIDERS

In five games without Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys have scored seven, nine, six, 38 and 30 points. They’re getting healthier, and appear to be surging. The Raiders, on the other hand, got crushed by the Chiefs last week, haven’t beaten a good team in two months, and figure to be without WR Amari Cooper (ankle). As much as I hate to say it, the Cowboys could make the final two weeks of the season interesting.

The pick: Cowboys win and cover

Falcons (-6) over BUCS

This spread started at 4.5, and jumped to six as nearly 70 percent of the early money went to the Falcons. The Bucs actually haven’t been bad at home, going 3-3 with close losses to the Patriots and Lions. They’re more likely to screw things up late than take a bad beating.

The pick: Falcons win, Bucs cover

SURVIVOR PICK

We had the Steelers last week. Close one, eh?

The Saints, Vikings and Jaguars are all double-digit favorites, and we’ve still got all three in our pocket. The Saints look like the best bet, AND have a tough home Week 16 matchup with the Falcons. Let’s take Drew Brees & Co.

Previous selections:

Week 1: Bills (win)

Week 2: Ravens (win)

Week 3: Panthers (loss)

Week 4: Seahawks (win)

Week 5: Eagles (win)

Week 6: Broncos (loss)

Week 7: Rams (win)

Week 8: Bengals (win)

Week 9: Texans (loss)

Week 10: Lions (win)

Week 11: Chiefs (loss)

Week 12: Patriots (win)

Week 13: Chargers (win)

Week 14: Steelers (win)

 

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