Here are my picks for the NFL’s Week 15:
**THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11**
Mike Ditka’s Game Of The Week: New Orleans Saints 7-6 at Chicago Bears 7-6 – 8:15 p.m. (Line: Bears by 3)
The Saints are simply awful on the road.
RJ’s Pick: Chicago by 8
**SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14**
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-4 at Atlanta Falcons 8-5 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Falcons by 3)
Major playoff implications in this one. A loss by Atlanta pretty much ends their playoff hopes, while a win by Tampa Bay could propel them back into first place in the NFC South.
RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 6
RJ’s Game Of The Week: Pittsburgh Steelers 10-3 at Baltimore Ravens 9-4 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Ravens by 2)
This game will probably have a 7-6 or 10-9 final score.
RJ’s Pick: Pittsburgh by 1
Denver Broncos 8-5 at Carolina Panthers 10-3 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Panthers by 7)
The Panthers are 7-0 at home this season.
RJ’s Pick: Carolina by 13
Washington Redskins 7-6 at Cincinnati Bengals 1-11-1 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Redskins by 7)
Jason Campbell has had two bad games in a row, and the Redskins are now nearly out of playoff contention. The Bengals have scored a combined total of 16 points in their last three games.
RJ’s Pick: Washington by 11
Tennessee Titans 12-1 at Houston Texans 6-7 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Titans by 3)
The Texans have won three straight, and have gone 6-3 after starting the season 0-4. The Titans have the best record in the NFL.
RJ’s Pick: Tennessee by 10
RJ’s Mismatch Of The Week: Detroit Lions 0-13 at Indianapolis Colts 9-4 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Colts by 17)
What do Rod “I believe in the invisible” Marinelli and the detainees at Gitmo have in common? They’re both gonna get released from a hellish existence in January!
RJ’s Pick: Indianapolis by 40
Green Bay Packers 5-8 at Jacksonville Jaguars 4-9 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Packers by 1.5)
A matchup of two very disappointing teams. The Packers have lost three straight, and the Jaguars have lost four in a row.
RJ’s Pick: Green Bay by 5
San Diego Chargers 5-8 at Kansas City Chiefs 2-11 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Chargers by 5.5)
Norv Turner vs. Herm Edwards = epic fail.
RJ’s Pick: Kansas City by 2
San Francisco 49ers 5-8 at Miami Dolphins 8-5 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Dolphins by 6.5)
Who would have predicted before the season began that the Miami Dolphins would be entering Week 15 tied for first place in the AFC East? Even the most sycophantic Tuna-worshipers thought they were going to suck.
RJ’s Pick: Miami by 3
Buffalo Bills 6-7 at New York Jets 8-5 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Jets by 7)
The Bills have lost seven of their last nine games. They’ve managed to score just three points in each of their last two contests. The Jets have dropped two straight.
RJ’s Pick: New York Jets by 12
RJ’s Lame-Game Of The
Year Week: Seattle Seahawks 2-11 at Saint Louis Rams 2-11 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Seahawks by 3)
The Rams have a -225 point differential, worst in the league by far. They are also winless against divisional opponents.
RJ’s Pick: Seattle by 9
Minnesota Vikings 8-5 at Arizona Cardinals 8-5 – 4:05 p.m. (Line: Cardinals by 3)
Will Tarvaris Jackson or Gus Frerotte be starting under center for the Vikings in Week 15? We don’t know, as of this writing. But we do know that the Cardinals are 5-1 at home this season.
RJ’s Pick: Arizona by 6
New England Patriots 8-5 at Oakland Raiders 3-10 – 4:15 p.m. (Line: Patriots by 7.5)
There is no reason to suspect the Patriots will lose this one.
RJ’s Pick: New England by 14
New York Giants 11-2 at Dallas Cowboys 8-5 – 8:15 p.m. (Line: Cowboys by 3)
The Cowboys are fighting for a Wild Card spot. The Super Bowl champion Giants are trying to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs (something they didn’t need last year, but it doesn’t exactly hurt).
RJ’s Pick: Dallas by 7
**MONDAY, DECEMBER 15**
Cleveland Browns 4-9 at Philadelphia Eagles 7-5-1 – 8:30 p.m. (Line: Eagles by 14)
It would be hilarious if the Eagles end up missing the playoffs because they tied Cincinnati back in Week 11, which was partly the result of their veteran starting QB not understanding one of the fundamental rules of the game. And by “hilarious,” I mean “likely to incite riots at The Linc sometime around 4:00 pm EST on Sunday, December 28.”
RJ’s Pick: Philadelphia by 9
* * *
WEEKLY RESULTS (2008):
Week One – 9-7
Week Two – 10-5
Week Three – 10-6
Week Four – 7-6
Week Five – 9-5
Week Six – 6-8
Week Seven – 11-3
Week Eight – 9-5
Week Nine – 10-4
Week Ten – 11-3
Week Eleven – 8-8
Week Twelve – 8-8
Week Thirteen – 8-8
Week Fourteen – 11-5