Prisco's Picks: Week 15

 
 
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WEEK
15
 
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017
 
Denver
Broncos
21
This isn't a very good Thursday night game, but the Broncos at least showed they have some fight last week in beating the Jets. I think that carries over here with Denver coming up with a big defensive effort to win on the road.
Indianapolis
Colts
13
 
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017
 
Detroit
Lions
28
The Bears are playing consecutive road games after beating up on the Bengals Sunday. The Lions are still alive in the playoff chase, which will show up in terms of motivation. Matt Stafford has a big day.
Chicago
Bears
23
 
 
Los Angeles
Chargers
26
This game will likely decide the AFC West winner. The Chargers are rolling and the Chiefs bounced back against the Raiders last week. But the Chargers are a much better team than Oakland and I think their pass rush will get after Alex Smith. Chargers win a road game.
Kansas City
Chiefs
20
 
Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017
 
Miami
Dolphins
28
The Dolphins impressed by beating the Patriots Monday night, including a good showing by Jay Cutler. That was good Cutler. Can it continue? I think it does here, provided there isn't another Buffalo blizzard. This is essentially a playoff game, with the loser out. I think the Dolphins will win it.
Buffalo
Bills
20
 
 
Carolina
Panthers
23
This should be the return of Aaron Rodgers for the Packers from his missed time with a shoulder injury. How effective can he be in his first game back? The Panthers were really good on defense last week against the Vikings, and I think that will be the case in this one. Cam Newton and the Panthers win it.
Green Bay
Packers
17
 
 
Baltimore
Ravens
21
This is a classic be-careful game for the Ravens. They are coming off a physical game with the Steelers and now head back out on the road. That's tough. The Browns almost beat the Packers last week, and they will play another solid game. The Ravens will win it late, but it's close.
Cleveland
Browns
18
 
 
Jacksonville
Jaguars
27
This will be T.J. Yates at quarterback for the Texans. That's not a good thing against Jacksonville's defense. Blake Bortles is playing well, and I think that will continue. The Jaguars lock up a playoff berth by winning big.
Houston
Texans
20
 
 
Minnesota
Vikings
27
The Vikings are home after three straight on the road. The Bengals seemed to fold up shop last week. Minnesota's defense will control this game and the Bengals are banged up on defense, so Case Keenum and the Vikings should have success.
Cincinnati
Bengals
17
 
 
New Orleans
Saints
34
The Jets will be starting Bryce Petty in this game, which will make it a lot tougher. They are also playing consecutive road games outside the division, which is even tougher for a team playing out the string. The Saints will be rested after playing last Thursday. This will be ugly.
New York
Jets
10
 
 
Philadelphia
Eagles
20
The Eagles will be starting Nick Foles for the injured Carson Wentz, which will be a challenge for the offense. The Giants haven't done much on offense this entire season. This should be a low-scoring game with the Eagles defense coming up big.
New York
Giants
13
 
 
Washington
Redskins
27
This is a long trip for an Arizona team that is basically eliminated, barring a miracle. The Redskins looked terrible against the Chargers, but they will bounce back this week. Look for Kirk Cousins to play well in front of the home folks.
Arizona
Cardinals
17
 
 
Seattle
Seahawks
26
This will likely decide the division title. The Rams have a one-game lead, but I think Seattle is good in this type of spot. They will respond to a bad showing in Jacksonville by looking like the team that showed up against the Eagles two weeks ago.
Los Angeles
Rams
20
 
 
New England
Patriots
35
This is the game of the week and will go a long way to deciding the top seed in the conference. The Steelers have been winning, but they have had major issues on defense. That's why Tom Brady and company will put up a big number and win this one. It will be a shootout, fun to watch, but Brady has dominated the Steelers and will do so here.
Pittsburgh
Steelers
31
 
 
San Francisco
49ers
21
This is a second straight road game for the Titans, who lost at Arizona last week. They aren't playing well, especially on offense. Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 as a starter for the 49ers, and I think that gets to 3-0 here. The Titans have problems.
Tennessee
Titans
17
 
 
Oakland
Raiders
34
The Raiders were awful last week at Kansas City, but I expect a bounce-back game here. Derek Carr put the blame for that loss on him, and I think he responds. The Raiders will score a bunch of points to win a shootout.
Dallas
Cowboys
30
 
Monday, Dec. 18, 2017
 
Atlanta
Falcons
28
The Falcons need this game to have a chance to win the division. They haven't looked like the 2016 team at all this season, but maybe this is a chance to get it going. The Bucs have defensive issues. Look for Matt Ryan to beat his former offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter.
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
21