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It must be a strange week to have your family running round doing Christmas things whilst you prepare for a game of football, particularly if you’re playing on Christmas day, but time to get our picks sorted for the week as I do my own preparations. It appears that there is always one more thing to do…

Gee:      Week 15   9-7                     Overall   106-118
Dan:      Week 15   7-9                     Overall   102-122

Falcons @ Panthers (+2.5)

The Panthers are coming off a win against Washington having largely played better in recent weeks, although things are still not quite right on offence. However, the Falcons are on a real roll at the moment and so despite giving away points on the road, I am going to back them against the Panthers.

Gee’s Pick:          Falcons
Dan’s Pick:          Falcons

Dolphins @ Bills (-3.5)

The Dolphins are finding a way to win this season, whilst the Bills have been erratic but are also coming off a win from last week. The Bills got theirs off the back of another strong running performance from LeSean McCoy where he racked up one hundred and fifty-three yards, hitting one hundred and fifty yards for the second time this season. This is not a great sign for the Dolphins who rank twenty-second in rush defence by DVOA, but I have more trust in the Dolphins and think they will at least keep this game closer than four points.

Gee’s Pick:          Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:          Dolphins

Washington @ Bears (+2.5)

After their poor loss against the Panthers, Washington have to win this game to keep their outside shot at making the playoffs alive, but the Bears are a tougher prospect than their record might suggest. There are some signs on defence that there are things to build on, and Matt Barkley has earned himself another contract somewhere in the NFL, if only as a backup quarterback. However, I think that Washington are the better team and so once again I find myself giving up points on the road.

Gee’s Pick:          Washington
Dan’s Pick:          Washington

Chargers @ Browns (+6.5)

The San Diego Chargers rank one place lower than the Bills by DVOA, but are on a three game losing streak as they travel to Cleveland. I have been saying for a couple of weeks that the Browns best chance of a win would be this game, although no team is going to want to be the one who loses to this Browns team. However, getting this number of points is tempting, and with the Chargers coming across the country to play in the cold I see a low scoring game, that makes me think the Browns will cover even if they don’t win.

Gee’s Pick:          Browns
Dan’s Pick:          Browns

Vikings @ Packers (-6.5)

The Vikings had Adrian Peterson return last week, but things took a dramatic turn for the worse as they lost heavily to the Colts with Andrew Luck throwing for two hundred and fifty yards with touchdowns. Things don’t get any easier this week as they are on the road to face a resurgent Green Pay in Lambeau Field. I think that the Vikings will likely lose this game, but the Packers only just beat the Bears by three and this line has me worried, I want to pick the Vikings but their capitulation has me worried and so whilst I don’t expect a repeat performance, I can’t bring myself to pick them.

Gee’s Pick:          Packers
Dan’s Pick:          Packers

Titans @ Jaguars (+4.5)

The Jaguars may have an interim head coach, but I’m not sure how much of a boost they will get given their standard of play all season, after all it is not like you can fix Blake Bortles’ throwing mechanics in a week, especially as he’s carrying a shoulder injury. So fans of the Titans might dread this pick as I always seem to be wrong when it comes to the Titans this year, but I see them winning this one fairly easily and covering this line.

Gee’s Pick:          Titans
Dan’s Pick:          Titans

Jets @ Patriots (-16.5)

This is a tough one for me to predict as the Jets have lost two of their last four games badly, including to the Dolphins last week who were starting their backup quarterback. Yet this is a huge line and as good as the Patriots are, I can’t quite bring myself to pick them in this case. I hope that I’m not making a mistake, but I can’t bring myself to back a team to win by seventeen points, there’s just too much to go wrong!

Gee’s Pick:          Jets
Dan’s Pick:          Patriots

Colts @ Raiders (-3.5)

This is a confusing game to me as the Colts are coming off a huge win against the Vikings, whilst the Raiders have had more than their share of close/comeback wins this season. The Colts could follow up with another good performance, but I am not convinced about the way their team is constructed and so I am going to put my faith in the team with the better record and hope the extra half point at home doesn’t bite me.

Gee’s Pick:          Raiders
Dan’s Pick:          Raiders

49ers @ Rams (-3.5)

So the Rams get a chance to play having had a decent amount of time under their interim head coach, but I’m really not sure how much can be done about their offence, which had misfired all season. The problem is that the 49ers have hardly looked much better having lost their last twelve. The Rams have at least won some games, and have recognisable players on defence that are good, but a three and a half point line looks like a lot when you consider their record. In the end I do have more faith in the players the Rams have and so very reluctantly I’m backing the Rams to cover this line at home.

Gee’s Pick:          Rams
Dan’s Pick:          49ers

Buccaneers @ Saints (-2.5)

So partly this game is about which Saints team is going to turn up, the one who has scored more than thirty points seven times this season and who beat the Cardinals last week, or the team who lost to the Buccaneers two weeks ago and who could only manage eleven points. I’m not sure that they will struggle that badly again this week, but having kept the game close against the Cowboys, I think the Buccaneers will get back to winning ways this week.

Gee’s Pick:          Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:          Saints

Cardinals @ Seahawks (-8.5)

This is a hard game for me to pick as the Cardinals have been hard to predict other than David Johnson is going to put up monster numbers, whilst the Seahawks look to be heading into the playoffs as a dangerous but wounded team. No one would fancy playing the Seahawks at home, but they are possibly not the same team right now thanks to injury and so it is hard for me to predict them to win by nine.

Gee’s Pick:          Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:          Cardinals

Bengals @ Texans (-2.5)

I am really not sure what to expect from the Bengals in the offseason, but the lack of discipline last week was both familiar and deeply frustrating. They have kept games close this season, but have failed to capitalise and this week they travel to Houston to face a Texans team who benched Osweiler on the second quarter last week and looked better for it. With Savage at the helm of the offence, and Jadeveon Clowney beginning to terrify quarterbacks this season I think the Texans might well get the win. I will be delighted to be wrong on this one, and certainly the Bengals have kept a lot of games close, but having lost to the Steelers last week and with the Texans at home I think I back the Texans to win.

Gee’s Pick:          Texans
Dan’s Pick:          Bengals

Ravens @ Steelers (-5.5)

This is the big game of the week for me as the result will go a long way to settling who will win the AFC North and this is a real rivalry. The Steelers passing game hasn’t looked quite right in recent weeks, but Le’Veon Bell has been carrying the load for the Steelers’ offence whilst the defence does enough to win. The Ravens are struggling on offence, but have a defence that ranks second in the league by DVOA and first against the run. I see this has being a tough close game and so when I’m getting this many points I feel I have to pick the Ravens.

Gee’s Pick:          Ravens
Dan’s Pick:          Ravens

Broncos @ Chiefs (-4.5)

I am really not sure about this game as there appears to be an understandable divide in the Broncos dressing room between a defence that ranks first in the league by DVOA despite a rushing defence that is only twenty-fourth, and an offence that has misfired badly all season. The Chiefs wobbled against the Titans last week, but could have easily won that game and will be looking for revenge. They have the speed to make plays on offence, but the line worries me in this game. It took overtime and a field goal to separate them last time, and I just can’t quite bring myself to back the Chiefs to win by five.

Gee’s Pick:          Broncos
Dan’s Pick:          Chiefs

Lions @ Cowboys (-7.5)

The Cowboys got back to winning ways last week against the Buccaneers after their blip against the Giants, but this week they welcome a Lions team who have specialised in late game heroics. I’m not sure that the Lions can win this game, but I suspect that Matthew Stafford will have an easier time indoors in Dallas with his injured finger than he had in New York the previous week, and I’m just not sure if the Cowboys are going to win by eight or more when they have only managed that twice in the last eight weeks.

Gee’s Pick:          Lions
Dan’s Pick:          Lions

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