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It’s time for a quick run through our week fifteen picks picks, but first there the small matter of our very tight trivia competition.

In how many consecutive seasons did the Jaguars make the playoffs in their first five years in the league?

I’m really not sure about this one, I think I have a vague feeling that after the first year the Jaguars were surprisingly successful for an expansion team, but this is another of those you have to know questions and I don’t. I’m going to go for three seasons as that’s the number that popped into my head first, but I feel like I have a one in four chance of being right and I’m not happy that I’ve plucked the right number out of the air.

‘This is going to be one of those ‘one way or the other’ questions where it’s either more than you might think, or none. I think I’m going to go high, but I don’t think it will have been all five years, so I’ll guess at 4. Complete guess though!’

Bears @ Packers (-4.5)

The Green Bay Packers may have three more wins and be playing at home but I’m not sure there is this much difference between the two teams and so with Mitch Trubisky playing better I am going to grab the points.

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

Patriots @ Bengals (+9.5)

This is a really awkward pick because the New England Patriots are unlikely to lose three games straight, and could well beat the Cincinnati Bengals by ten points or a lot more, plus the number has moved so that this actually offers value to pick the Patriots but the Bengals haven’t lost by more than eight points in four weeks.

Gee’s Pick:        Bengals
Dan’s Pick:        Patriots

Broncos @ Chiefs (-10.5)

The Kansas City Chiefs have not been healthy all year and whilst Patrick Mahomes will play, he suffered a hand injury last week so whilst I like the Chiefs to win the game, going against a Denver Broncos team who are on a two game win streak I am going to back the division rivals to keep the game within eleven points.

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

Buccaneers @ Lions (+3.5)

I hate this particular line as we know the Detroit Lions are really struggling, you don’t lose six games in a row if things are going well, but looking at the lines this is an advantageous number to pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The issue there is that I have no faith in them given their inconsistencies and so if I do pick them I am beholden to Jameis Winston. If I had the option to, I would run a mile from picking this game, but I don’t so I guess I have to pick the Bucs…

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

Texans @ Titans (-2.5)

Both the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans have an 8-5 record so this is the first of a huge pair of games between these two teams that could well decide the fate of the AFC South. The Texans have been up and down this season, as they have been for most of head coach Bill O’Brien’s tenure, whilst the Titans have won four straight and are one of the form teams of the NFL at the moment. I’m going take the team I think have been consistently better.

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

Dolphins @ Giants (-3.5)

The New York Giants come into this game as slight favourites, which is surprising given that they have lost nine straight games, although they did take the Eagles into overtime last week. However, they are welcoming the Miami Dolphins who only have one more win and are a lot worse by DVOA, but I think if you ask anyone following the league you would rather be in the Dolphins situation than the Giants. The Dolphins are not built for winning this season but Brian Flores looks like the real deal as a coach and so that sways me in this one.

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

Eagles @ Washington (+5.5)

This is a strange game where thanks to the long-standing problems of the franchise in the nation’s capital, it is likely that there will be more Philadelphia Eagles fans in the crowd than home fans. It does seem that Washington has stabilised under Bill Callahan, but this doesn’t mean that they are a good team. However, neither are the Eagles, who through injury and loss of coaching staff look a pale imitation of the team that won a Super Bowl two seasons ago. This seems a lot of points to be laying on the road for a team who needed overtime to beat the Giants last week, but Washington have picked up some injuries as well as lacking roster talent. The numbers say take the Eagles so that’s what I’m gong to do, but I really don’t want to.

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

Seahawks @ Panthers (+5.5)

Teams who fire their coach often get a bounce, but this very much did not happen last week for the Carolina Panthers who clearly held Ron Rivera in high regard. This week they welcome a Seattle Seahawks team who got beat badly by the Rams last week. I’m concerned about this number of points but I think the Seahawks are in a much better place right now and will be looking to make amends for last week’s showing.

Gee’s Pick:        Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:        Seahawks

Browns @ Cardinals (+2.5)

I don’t want to pick the Cleveland Browns laying points on the road, but I think I am going to have to as the Arizona Cardinals have fallen from a promising 3-3-1 to 3-9-1, although they have faced a lot of good teams. That said, the nearest they cam to covering this line was against the Buccaneers and they failed that so I’m going to hold my nose and back the Browns.

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

Jaguars @ Raiders (-6.5)

I hate this line, I have no faith at all in either team right now, but whilst this is a lot of points for a team like the Oakland Raiders to be laying, the Jacksonville Jaguars have lost five straight by seventeen or more points and so in the end there’s only one team I can bring myself to pick.

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

Vikings @ Chargers (+2.5)

The LA Chargers are the eighteenth ranked team by DVOA and the Minnesota Vikings are the seventh ranked team. The LA Chargers have very little home field advantage and Philip Rivers has not been playing well. The Vikings may have lost four games, and should still install more confidence but something about Kirk Cousins makes you worry but with the Vikings only need to win by a field goal I’m going to go with who I think is the better team.

Gee’s Pick:        Vikings
Dan’s Pick:        Vikings

Falcons @ 49ers (-10.5)

I hate this line as the San Francisco 49ers have proved themselves to be one of the best teams in the NFL and are coming off an amazing win away at the Saints. They have also just lost their starting centre for the season and I wonder if this is too many points. The problem is that the Atlanta Falcons are not a good team, but have won three out of their last five games. This is the first non-divisional game they have played since their bye week, which only makes that last period harder to evaluate. I’m not as convinced of the gap between these two teams as I was between the Ravens and Jets and having got away with one enormous points cover I’m not going to tempt fate again, although I can absolutely see the 49ers proving me wrong.

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

Rams @ Cowboys (-1.5)

The Dallas Cowboys are not a good football team right now, but they only have to be better than the Eagles to make the playoffs. I’m not sure the Rams are going to make the playoffs despite having a better record, but they seem to have found something in the last few weeks and so with a line as close as this I’m going to back the better coach.

Gee’s Pick:        Rams
Dan’s Pick:        Cowboys

Bills @ Steelers (-2.5)

This could be an ugly game to watch as both teams have strong defences and limited offences, but I respect both coaches and this should be a truly competitive game. I’m seeing this line as getting an extra point and a half and so for that reason alone I’m going to back the Bills but Mike Tomlin has done an excellent job with his team and it would not surprise me at all if the Steelers actually won.

Gee’s Pick:        Bills
Dan’s Pick:        Bills

Colts @ Saints (-9.5)

The line I am seeing online has actually come down a little, and so by my process that should mean backing the Indianapolis Colts, but I am really not sure about that. Given the retirement of Andrew Luck the Colts have been impressively competitive thanks to a well-constructed roster but the only game they have won in the last six weeks was against the Jaguars as key injuries are hampering them as well as kicking woes. On the other hand, the New Orleans Saints are definitely a good team as their 10-3 record clearly demonstrates, but the points worry me. The Saints scored a lot against the 49ers last week but also gave up a lot and so I don’t know if they can beat this line. I’m going to reluctantly take the points, but I don’t feel great about it.

Gee’s Pick:        Colts
Dan’s Pick:        Colts

 

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.