Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 15
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Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-9), 8:30 p.m., Thursday
The Skinny: The Bengals had their four-game winning streak ended by blowing a late lead against the Cowboys. But, with nothing to lose now, the Eagles played free and easy and beat Tampa Bay on the last play of the game. Those carefree teams are tough to beat in pressure situations.
Prediction: Eagles, 24-17
Steelers (7-6) at Dallas Cowboys (7-6), 4:25 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Steelers road record includes victories against the Bengals, Giants and Ravens. But it's their other body of work that is much more disturbing -- road losses to the Raiders, Titans and Browns and last week's listless performance against the Chargers.
Prediction: Cowboys, 24-20
Denver Broncos (10-3) at Baltimore Ravens (9-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Broncos have won a league-best eight games in a row and already clinched the AFC West. But they are still in the hunt for a first-round bye and a possible No. 1 seed, so they are not about to back off now. Can the Ravens lose three in a row?
Prediction: Broncos, 24-23
New York Giants (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (11-2), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: One thing the Giants have proved in a season of inconsistencies is that they can hammer any team at any moment. Just ask the Saints. They get another chance to prove it against the Falcons, who have the NFC's best record despite last week's loss in Carolina.
Prediction: Giants, 30-27
Green Bay Packers (9-4) at Chicago Bears (8-5), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: One thing the Packers know how to do is take care of their division opponents. They have won 11 games in a row against NFC North teams, including the past four against the Bears. The Pack have been a pain in Jay Cutler's neck.
Prediction: Packers, 23-21
Washington Redskins (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (5-8), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Who would've thought these would be two of the hotter teams in the league? The Redskins have won four in a row and are a game back in the NFC East. The Browns are trying for their fourth win in a row, a streak that began against the Steelers.
Prediction: Browns, 20-17
Indianapolis Colts (9-4) at Houston Texans (11-2), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: This time last year the Colts were 0-13. Look at em now -- six fourth-quarter comebacks, 8-1 in one-possession games, 8-2 since Bruce Arians stepped in for Chuck Pagano. People are really going to take a look if they can win in Houston.
Prediction: Texans, 34-24
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Miami Dolphins (5-8), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Dolphins could be one of those surprise teams to watch in 2013, and the reasons are rookie QB Ryan Tannehill and a defense that can pressure the pocket. The only surprise here would be if the Fish lost to the Jaguars.
Prediction: Dolphins, 27-16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) at New Orleans Saints (5-8), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Saints had their "Bountygate" player suspensions vacated last week, which was only slightly better news than their 52-27 loss to the Giants. That should at least help put a little hitch back in their step.
Prediction: Saints, 34-28
Minnesota Vikings (7-6) at St. Louis Rams (6-6-1), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Christian Ponder has won seven of his past eight starts indoors and Adrian Peterson is averaging 157.3 yards in his past seven games. It is inconceivable to think that the Rams could somehow overcome that offensive proficiency. But ...
Prediction: Rams, 21-20
Detroit Lions (4-9) at Arizona Cardinals (4-9), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Detroit's 4-9 record is a whole lot different than Arizona's 4-9. For starters, the Lions haven't lost nine in a row, just five. And, at no point have they been shutout, 58-0, as the Cardinals were last week by the Seahawks. Ugh.
Prediction: Lions, 31-26
Seattle Seahawks (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-8), 4:05 p.m., Sunday in Toronto
The Skinny: In any other year, Russell Wilson would be hailed as the league's top rookie QB. He has 10 TDs and a 116.9 rating in his past five games, during which the Seahawks are 4-1 and have taken command of the second wild-card spot.
Prediction: Seahawks, 28-20
Carolina Panthers (4-9) at San Diego Chargers (5-8), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Which victory was more surprising -- Carolina's 10-point win over Atlanta or the Chargers' thumping of the Steelers? Those were the two biggest upsets of the week. The Chargers get another chance to prove they are better than their record indicates. In other words, under-achievers.
Prediction: Chargers, 34-23
Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) at Oakland Raiders (3-10), 4:25 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Chiefs have an uncanny knack of playing well in Oakland, winning eight of the past nine games in that dump of a stadium. But, no matter how bad the Raiders have performed during a six-game losing streak, they did something the Chiefs couldn't do -- beat the Steelers.
Prediction: Raiders, 17-16
San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) at New England Patriots (10-3), 8:30 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Patriots have won 20 consecutive games at home in December, perhaps none more emphatically than Monday night's 42-14 bashing of the Texans. The Patriots lead the NFL with 427 points; the 49ers have allowed the fewest points (184). Someone's average will suffer.
Prediction: Patriots, 23-19
New York Jets (6-7) at Tennessee Titans (4-9), 8:30 p.m., Monday
The Skinny: It has been suggested that the Jets have a nice shot at a wild-card spot because they finish the season with three games against teams with losing records. But, in case you haven't noticed, the Jets have a losing record, too.
Prediction: Titans, 23-20
First Published December 12, 2012 5:47 pm