Prisco's NFL Week 15 Picks: Cowboys will squeak by the Bucs, Patriots drop Broncos

Big December games in the NFL are always fun.

Let's hope those on the slate this week live up to the expectations since it didn't happen last week.

Last week's schedule looked to be loaded with big games matching good teams, but aside from a few of them we had a bunch of duds. There are a lot of good matchups in Week 15, including the Detroit Lions at the New York Giants, the New England Patriots at the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Dallas Cowboys.

That's four games with huge playoff implications. Let's hope they live up to what we expect to see, which wasn't the case last week.

My picks to win those four games are the Giants, Patriots, Chiefs and Cowboys. But I think they all will be close.

Now for all of my picks:

Los Angeles at Seattle

The Rams will be without Jeff Fisher, who was fired Monday. Does it matter? This team is a disaster and now must face a team coming off a bad loss on the road on a short week. The Seahawks unload on a team that has beaten them three times in a row.

Pick: Seahawks 28, Rams 10


Miami at New York

The Dolphins will start Matt Moore here for the injured Ryan Tannehill. He is capable of winning here, but the Jets will be focused against their rivals. Even so, I don't see Bryce Petty beating the Dolphins -- even at home.

Pick: Dolphins 21, Jets 17


Green Bay at Chicago

The Packers have righted things the past three weeks and have a real shot to make the playoffs, but they have to win out. It starts here. This won't be easy, but Aaron Rodgers is riding high now. It stays that way. Packers take it.

Pick: Packers 27, Bears 18


Tampa Bay at Dallas

This is an enormous game for both teams. For Tampa Bay, it's a proving ground. For the Cowboys, it's a chance for Dak Prescott to get back on track. I think the Cowboys win the game, but it won't be easy.

Pick: Cowboys 23, Bucs 20


Jacksonville at Houston

The Texans beat the Jaguars on the road, and they've been much better at home. What is Jacksonville playing for now? Nothing, That matters. The Texans push to a division title.

Pick: Texans 21, Jaguars 13


Cleveland at Buffalo

Is this the week the Browns win? Nope. The Bills haven't played well lately, but they will be good enough here for Rex Ryan, who might be out soon. The Browns lack talent. They aren't winning.

Pick: Bills 31, Browns 14


Philadelphia at Baltimore

The Ravens are still in the wild-card hunt, but they can't afford another loss. The Eagles are playing out the string, but did look better last week. Motivation is in play here and the Ravens' defense will be the difference.

Pick: Ravens 20, Eagles 14


Tennessee at Kansas City

This is a big game for both teams. The Titans are in the AFC South race, while the Chiefs have the lead in the AFC West. The Titans will go into Arrowhead and keep it close. The Chiefs will find a way late.

Pick: Chiefs 21, Titans 20


Detroit at New York

This game has big playoff implications for both teams. The Lions have to see how well Matthew Stafford will play with the injured finger. The Giants looked good on defense last week against the Cowboys, and that carries over here. Giants take it.

Pick: Giants 27, Lions 21


Indianapolis at Minnesota

The Colts blew a home game last week, and now must travel to face a tough defense in their place. Andrew Luck wasn't good against the Texans, and this won't be easy. Vikings find a way to squeak out a close one.

Pick: Vikings 20, Colts 17


New Orleans at Arizona

The Saints are playing consecutive road games and didn't play well last week at Tampa Bay. Arizona hasn't looked right all season, but they will show up on defense here and get the best of Drew Brees.

Pick: Cardinals 31, Saints 21


San Francisco at Atlanta

The 49ers competed last week, but this is a long trip against a team pushing for a division title. The Falcons looked good last week without Julio Jones. He is expected back. That matters. Falcons big.

Pick: Falcons 30, 49ers 14


New England at Denver

The Patriots, and especially Tom Brady, impressed against the top-ranked Baltimore defense Monday night. But this is a tough turnaround and the Patriots struggled here in the AFC Championship Game last January. They will fare better today. Brady stays hot -- even against this talented defense.

Pick: Patriots 24, Broncos 17


Oakland at San Diego

The Chargers have a lot of injuries, including to running back Melvin Gordon, which changes their team. Philip Rivers will compete, but he is shorthanded here. The Raiders will have been off for 10 days. They rebound from the loss to the Chiefs.

Pick: Raiders 28, Chargers 22


Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

This once looked like it would be a big game for the division race, but the Bengals have no chance now. Even so, I expect them to show up against a team they hate. The Bengals will keep it close, but the Steelers will pull it out even playing consecutive road games.

Pick: Steelers 23, Bengals 17


Carolina at Washington

The Panthers showed some life last week against the Chargers. But this is a tough game against a team still in the playoff race. Look for the Redskins to get some big plays down the field to pull this one out. Kirk Cousins plays well.

Pick: Redskins 30, Panthers 20


Prisco's season totals: 125-81-2 straight up, 92-106-10 against the spread

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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