GLS Picks: Week 15

GLS has a feeling Cam Newton and the Panthers might have what it takes to finally play spoiler in Week 15.

Well, things have taken a turn for the worse (again) after we had a losing week (again) and picked wrong on Thursday night (again). But while I don’t usually like to bitch about bad beats, we lost by half a point in three games last Sunday. Just saying…

Good news, people. This week’s picks involve one fewer mouse click than usual! Just hit play below to listen to Cam Stewart’s Red Heat Podcast Week 15 preview. And if you’re really feeling daring, try to listen and read at the same time…

Here’s the evidence…

Last week: 11-5 (5-10-1 against the spread)
2011 season: 132-76 (94-98-16 against the spread)
2010 season: 155-101 (117-119-20 against the spread)
2009 season: 175-81 (122-101-33 against the spread)
2008 season: 161-94-1 (114-112-30 against the spread)
2007 season: 174-82 (118-105-33 against the spread)

And here’s another attempt to escape…

HIGH CONFIDENCE

The Bengals’ schedule’s been a bitch, so expect Cincinnati to take advantage of a rare matchup with a horrible opponent. The Rams have lost four straight, three of those by at least 17 points. The offense has been completely inept, and now they’re probably going to be using a third-string quarterback against a stellar defense, and on short rest to boot. Last time they played at home following a Monday night game, the Rams lost to Baltimore by 30. This might not be that one-sided, but I’m not concerned about a 6.5-point spread. Bengals 27, Rams 13

Not having DeMarco Murray shouldn’t kill the Cowboys in Tampa. In fact, I don’t think there’s anything that could kill the Cowboys in Tampa. This is a Buccaneers team that has lost back-to-back games to 4-9 teams by a total of 46 points. Just unbelievable. I don’t usually trust Dallas, especially in December, but this team is far too good to slip up against a Tampa Bay squad that doesn’t appear to care. Felix Jones should produce with Murray against a terrible run defense and Tony Romo and the passing game should light up a depleted secondary. Cowboys 38, Buccaneers 13

Miami hasn’t lost in Buffalo (or Toronto) since 2007. I usually hate stats like those, but this one’s applicable because the Dolphins also crushed the Bills at home earlier this season. The depleted Bills are toast — they won’t win again this year. But Miami is playing for pride right now, and that has worked (for the most part) since Week 9. Injuries to Matt Moore and Jake Long might be why this is a pick’em, but Moore is going to play and Long’s absence might not hurt because the Bills are dead last in the league in sacks. Dolphins 27, Bills 13

Green Bay’s only a two-touchdown favorite at Arrowhead. I don’t get it. This is a Chiefs team that was crushed by the Jets by 27 last week and lost at home to Miami by 28 a few weeks ago. It’ll help that they’re at home, and it could also help that they’ll be playing their first game without Todd Haley. Kyle Orton possibly starting at quarterback also helps. But none of that is enough to make this any less than a three-score game. The league’s best defense in terms of takeaways should dominate an offense that has 10 turnovers in its last four outings. Packers 35, Chiefs 14

MEDIUM CONFIDENCE

The Panthers held Michael Turner in check last week, which clearly surprised the Falcons. Atlanta came out running, thinking it could take advantage of a statistically terrible run defense. But Carolina has improved against the run of late, which has to scare the Texans. That means T.J. Yates might have to do more than just manage the game against a scary Panthers team. Considering that Yates is probably due to come back to earth a little, that’s dangerous. Houston still won’t have Andre Johnson, either, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips — maybe the league’s coordinator of the year thus far — won’t be in the booth after undergoing a medical procedure this week. The Texans are due for a loss, and I’m going out on a limb. Panthers 28, Texans 27

The Colts simply aren’t good enough to beat anyone in the NFL. That includes Jacksonville to wrap up the season, because that game’s on the road. The defense is NCAA-caliber right now, and the offense is only moving the ball in garbage time. Tennessee’s still in the race — I don’t think they’ll slip up against a team this bad. Indy might hang around and score late again, but there shouldn’t be much doubt here. Titans 23, Colts 17

The Redskins have been respectable the last four weeks, hanging in against the Cowboys, Seahawks, Jets and Patriots. Eli Manning’s been killing it lately, but that makes me wonder when he’s going to deliver a classic Eli dud performance. Maybe it’ll come against a familiar rival — one that manhandled his team to open the season. Roy Helu and the Washington offense should be able to move the ball against a still-shorthanded New York D, while the Redskins’ solid pass rush limits Manning and Co. The desperate home team wins, but this is a field goal game. Giants 27, Redskins 24

Right now, Seattle is much better than Chicago. That’s why I’m surprised to see the Bears as more than a field goal favorite against a Seahawks team that has won four out of five. I know, it’s in Chicago, but the ‘Hawks have actually been decent away from home this year, winning two of their last four games away from home. I don’t think either team scores much at all, but the Seahawks are the hotter, more talented team right now, with the better quarterback and running back. I don’t know how the Bears will react to that tough loss to Denver, but I think it’s more likely to be a negative response than a positive one. Seahawks 13, Bears 10

LOW CONFIDENCE

The Saints aren’t the same on the road, and the Vikings have been very solid at home. Sure, New Orleans is at least in a dome on carpet, but that was also the case when they somehow lost to the Rams in St. Louis earlier this year. With Adrian Peterson coming back to the Minnesota lineup to face a Saints defense that has given up 4.9 yards per carry, I’m thinking we’ll have a tight game on our hands at the Metrodome. Saints 27, Vikings 23

San Diego should probably be favored Sunday night. Based on how they’ve played thus far in December, I don’t know how Vegas isn’t backing the Bolts at home. As our guy Joe Fortenbaugh pointed out yesterday, 80 percent of the public is behind the Ravens, but the public doesn’t know what it’s talking about. San Diego has been the best team in football this month, and while Baltimore has also been hot, I’m taking the Chargers to play spoiler and prevail at home. Chargers 23, Ravens 20

Not expecting a blowout in Arizona. Firstly, I think the line (Cards by 6.5) is a bit inflated based on a Cardinals hot streak that has contained quite a lot of luck. They needed overtime against St. Louis and Dallas and barely squeaked past the Rams in their other meeting. The Cards aren’t that good. Secondly, they’re a pass-first team with a shaky quarterback situation (Kolb or Skelton?) going up against a really solid pass defense, led by should-be All-Pro Joe Haden. I don’t trust Beanie Wells to necessarily dominate on the ground, although I do expect them to do just enough to win. (I can also see Cleveland actually performing better on offense with Seneca Wallace.) Cardinals 20, Browns 17

The Jets are quietly streaking. Three in a row, but all against weak competition, and now they’re without defensive leader Jim Leonhard. Without Leonhard on the road last December, the Jets defense gave up 55 points to the Steelers and Bears. They could have similar troubles against a potent Philly offense that is getting healthy again. I don’t trust Mark Sanchez against that Philly defense, but Shonn Greene will keep the Jets in it against a bad run defense. Still, I think they fall short in a close game. Eagles 24, Jets 21

CLUELESS

A lot of variables at play in San Francisco, so I’d recommend waiting to put money on Steelers-49ers. We don’t know if Ben Roethlisberger will play, and it’s not looking a whole lot better for LaMarr Woodley and Maurkice Pouncey. Plus, we already know that James Harrison will miss the game due to a suspension. The 49ers might not have Patrick Willis, but there are a lot more questions surrounding the Steelers than San Fran. How important is Big Ben? If he plays, I think the Steelers win. If he doesn’t, I think the Niners win and cover. I doubt Roethlisberger will be healthy enough to go — I’ll play it safe and take San Francisco by a field goal. 49ers 17, Steelers 14

On paper, New England should beat Denver. But the games aren’t played on paper blah blah blah. The point is that what the Broncos are doing isn’t completely tangible or quantifiable. At this point, I’d have a very hard time betting against the Broncos, at home, against arguably the league’s worst defense. That’s why I definitely can’t take the Patriots to cover a touchdown spread. All that said, I’m a man of numbers, and I try my best not to buy into hype. Luck has been on Tim Tebow’s side, but that doesn’t mean it’ll stay with him indefinitely. The Pats prevail in another too-close-for-comfort affair. Patriots 30, Broncos 27

Injuries might cross each other out in Oakland. The Lions are without a slew of defensive stars, but should at least have Kevin Smith and Chris Houston. The Raiders are without a slew of offensive players, but should at least have Denarius Moore back. The Lions are desperate, but they’ve been killed in back-to-back road games, and Oakland is just as desperate. That said, the Raiders have lost two of their last three home games and have been dominated in their last two outings overall. The point I’m making is this is the toughest game of the week to predict. Stay away. But since I have to pick someone, I trust Oakland’s banged-up offense more than Detroit’s shorthanded defense. Home team by a field goal. Raiders 27, Lions 24

Comments (4)

  1. The Broncos are going to score 27 points? I would put it more in the range of 13 to 20 points, although that could be wishful thinking (I’m a Patriots fan).

    • I dunno, Joe, we are talking about the league’s 32nd-ranked defense and Tebow looked pretty decent against that weak Minnesota secondary.

      • Except that the Patriots are #14 (in the top half of the league) in the most important stat, points allowed, #13 against the run, and #4 in interceptions. It will be an interesting game ;-)

  2. Coach B better put an end to Tebow’s 15 minutes of fame …

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