Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 15

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Last week: 12-4 (.750)

Season record: 132-76 (.635)

THURSDAY

San Diego Chargers (6-7) at Denver Broncos (11-2), 8:25 p.m.

The Skinny: After throwing four touchdowns against the Titans last week to up his season total to 45, Peyton Manning doesn’t look like a quarterback who is bothered by the cold weather. But will the cold affect the Chargers? It didn’t affect the Dolphins at Heinz Field on Sunday, did it?

Prediction: Broncos, 45-31

SUNDAY

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Steelers (5-8), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: After losing back-to-back games to the two teams in front of them for the second wild-card playoff spot, the Steelers have all but eliminated themselves from post-season contention. The Bengals, despite a 3-4 road record, will make it mathematically official.

Prediction: Bengals, 31-21

Chicago Bears (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Who needs Jay Cutler? The Bears certainly don’t, or, at least, they didn’t last week when Josh McCown threw four touchdowns in a rout of the Cowboys. Show some empathy for the Browns. That pass interference call in the end zone is among the worst ever made by an official.

Prediction: Bears, 23-17

New England Patriots (10-3) at Miami Dolphins (7-6), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Patriots, who scored two touchdowns in the final 61 seconds to beat the Browns, were the benefactor of that phantom pass-interference penalty. It’s probably only right that they might get paid back against the Dolphins, who have won two in a row.

Prediction: Dolphins, 28-24

Washington Redskins (3-10) at Atlanta Falcons (3-10), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: It took 13 games, but the Redskins finally did what they should have done a long time ago – shut down RG3 for the season. They were doing him a disservice by playing him on a bad knee, and he was doing them a disservice by trying to play. A matchup of 2012 playoff teams gone sour.

Prediction: Falcons, 24-21

Houston Texans (2-11) at Indianapolis Colts (8-5), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Starting 2-0 and losing 11 games in a row is no way to keep a job, and Gary Kubiak didn’t. That streak might not get any better against Indianapolis, even though the Colts have lost three of their past five games and allowed at least 38 points in each of those defeats.

Prediction: Colts, 34-20

Buffalo Bills (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Don’t look now, but the Jaguars are tied for the AFC’s longest winning streak (three in a row) and have won four of their past five games. Believe it or not, they have not been mathematically eliminated from wild-card contention. But, then, neither have the Bills.

Prediction: Jaguars, 29-19

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Vikings have lost just two of their past five games, but their latest defeat was unusually cruel – in the final 4 seconds to the Ravens. The Eagles have won a league-high five in a row and are tied with the Chiefs for the NFL’s best road record (5-1).

Prediction: Eagles, 27-23

Seattle Seahawks (11-2) at New York Giants (5-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Seahawks have already clinched a playoff spot and remain in control of the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, despite last week’s loss in San Francisco. That was also their first conference loss in nine games. The Giants’ bounce-back from 0-6 has lost its bounce.

Prediction: Seahawks, 28-24

San Francisco 49ers (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The 49ers won a big game with division-rival Seattle to remain in solid possession of a wild-card playoff spot. But they don’t want to negate that by getting surprised in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs have been, well surprising, winning four of their past five games.

Prediction: 49ers, 20-15

New York Jets (6-7) at Carolina Panthers (9-4), 4:05 p.m.

The Skinny: With all their issues and horrible play on offense, it seems improbable at best and ridiculous at worst that the Jets are only a game behind a wild-card playoff spot. That, though, may change against the Panthers, who had their eight-game win streak ended in New Orleans.

Prediction: Panthers, 24-12

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) at Oakland Raiders (4-9), 4:05 p.m.

The Skinny: The Chiefs ended their three-game slide with an emphatic road win against the Redskins, and they get to try it again against the Raiders. The Chiefs are tied for the league’s best road record (5-1) and held the Raiders to seven points in the first meeting.

Prediction: Chiefs, 23-13

Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (7-6), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Packers haven’t played a game at AT&T Stadium since they beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. But, unlike that game, they will do so without Aaron Rodgers….again. The Lions and Bears are keeping the Packers relevant in the NFC North race. The Cowboys are not doing a good job of keeping themselves relevant in the NFC East.

Prediction: Cowboys, 34-20

New Orleans Saints (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (5-8), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Saints are coming off a game in which they put up 31 points against the league’s stingiest defense (Carolina). The Rams are coming off a game in which they allowed 30 points to the Arizona Cardinals. But all three of the Saints’ losses are on the road.

Prediction: Saints, 28-27

Arizona Cardinals (8-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-8), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: In two seasons with teams of which not much was expected, Bruce Arians has compiled a 17-8 record. The Cardinals have won four of their past five games to remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot. They can’t afford to lose now.

Prediction: Cardinals, 23-21

MONDAY

Baltimore Ravens (7-6) at Detroit Lions (7-6), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: The Ravens are back to their old tricks, finding ways to win in games where it appeared they would lose. The winning touchdown with :04 remaining against the Vikings is the latest example. The Lions need a win if they want to stay tied for the division lead.

Prediction: Lions, 24-20


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