Can you believe we are already in Week 15?! This season has flown by and we are now at the point where wins and losses can make or break everything. There are lots of big games this week, such as Browns at Texans, Steelers at Jaguars and the MBL Live Game, Chiefs at Bills. And with very little decided up until this point, there are a bunch of teams still in the race. Last week I went 9-7, moving my regular season record to 40-24. Now, let’s dive in and learn what Sklamberg Seez!
San Francisco 49ers (4-9) at Los Angeles Rams (5-8): These two divisional foes are playing again for the second time in 3 weeks. In that game, Niners QB Arsenio Sapp threw the game away, with his 5 INTs. Somehow, they only lost by 9, but if he gets this turnover happy again, a similar outcome can be expected. The Niners also need to figure out how to get the running game going because it is not good when your QB has the most rushing yards on your team. Sapp also has 3 rushing TDs, the rest of the team has 4 combined. The Rams have also been underperforming this season. Some of the blame can be assigned to Baggs and his 25 INTs. I think the deciding factor will be which Gurley shows up to this game. Some weeks he averages 85-100 yards, while others, he barely gets to 40 yards. In another close affair, the Niners will get some revenge beating the Rams on the road, as Sapp bounces back. The team will also get some much needed support from their running backs. Niners win 24-23.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-12) at Arizona Cardinals (2-11): This game features the two worst scoring offenses in the league. The Cardinals have only scored above 14 points in 3 of their 13 games, while the Bengals have scored that many or more in 7 of their 13 games. However, the biggest difference between these two teams is that the Cardinals play much better defense, allowing around 250 yards per game and 22 PPG compared to the Bengals who give up a whole 100 yards more per game and 34 PPG. For that reason, I think the Cardinals, along with being at home, will take this game over the Bengals, as their defense will be the difference maker in this low scoring affair. Cardinals win 16-13.
Cleveland Browns (11-2) at Houston Texans (8-4-1): In my GOTW, the Browns travel to Texas to take on a surging Texans squad. The Texans have put up 30 or more points in their past 8 games, while going 6-1-1 in that same stretch. However, their opponent has done a great job playing defense and holding the opponent’s offense in check. The Browns’ defense is led by their star safeties Charles Searles and Jabrill Peppers. Searles has 4 INTs in his past 3 games, while Peppers has 5 INTs on the year. This will be a fun one to watch as the prolific Texans offense takes on the stout Browns defense. But with how confident the Texans have been playing lately, I see them getting enough offense to get the victory over the Browns. Texans surprise the Browns winning 27-21.
Los Angeles Chargers (6-7) at Denver Broncos (11-2): Playing without their top RB last week against the Chiefs, the Broncos struggled to put up points. Unlike their opponent, the Chargers have started to play up to the level everyone around the league expected. RB Melvin Gordon has seemed to have found a second wind and is running better as of late, which is important for this Chargers squad that relies on winning battles in the trenches. If the Chargers can contain Broncos RB David McIntyre and force QB Julius Stewart to win the game, they should be in good shape, as Stewart has struggled to throw the ball effectively in has past 8 games. In that stretch of games, he has only thrown over 200 yards once (201 in the week 8 game), while throwing for under 100 yards twice. This is not something you expect out of a QB for a team that has already clinched the division and has aspirations of advancing far into the playoffs. However, I feel Stewart will turn it around in this game, as they end the Chargers win streak. Broncos win 38-17.
MBL Live Game! Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) at Buffalo Bills (8-5): Both these teams have suffered devastating injuries recently. The Chiefs lost their starting QB last week, while the Bills will be without their top 2 running backs. The loss of the two running backs for the Bills will be something to watch, as they depend on running the ball to win games. Their third string running back, who played for the Chiefs last season, DeShaun Gore, has played admirably in his two games filling in. He has scored two rushing TDs and rushed for over 100 yards in the two games combined. However, this KC defense is sneaky good, especially with Marcus Peters still locking down the opponent’s top receiver. Expect him to have his hands full as he will follow the speedy Bills receiver, Pearson Cole around the field. But that is why he is paid over $21,330,000 this season, to cover the opponent’s top receiver and lock him down, which he will this week. The Chiefs defense will be able to control the game, while rookie RB Jaylen Valentine erupts for his best game of the season. Chiefs win 23-17.
Indianapolis Colts (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (5-8): This is a tricky game, as both the Colts and the Ravens are playing better as the season winds down. The Colts got off to a 2-6 start, while the Ravens started 0-5. The big question is, will the Ravens be able to bounce back from the Steelers rout? I don’t think they will, as the Colts have been playing great offensively, scoring 28+ points in 4 of their past 5 games. Ravens QB Andrew Luck has had a rough go about it this season, and I see them continuing. Only 3 TDs and 6 INTs in the past 4 games won’t cut it. QB Josh Dobbs will have himself a great game, as the Ravens fail to rebound from the big loss. Colts win 35-20.
New York Giants (9-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-9): The Eagles have been a bit of a surprise the last two weeks, winning by an average of 27.5 points. The Giants are coming off a win over the Cowboys, that featured a Giants offense that did next to nothing. If it was not for the defense forcing 6 TOs, the Giants may not have won this game, but onto the present game. Throughout the majority of the season, the Giants have thrown the ball well, excluding last week, and the Eagles have struggled to defend the pass. This has the feelings of a blowout in favor of the Giants. But with how the Giants played last week compared to the Eagles, I think this one will be a close one that the Giants win, due to a great 4th quarter performance. Giants win 27-24.
Green Bay Packers (3-10) at Detroit Lions (11-2): The old division rivals meet again, with both teams trending in opposite directions. The Lions have their sights set on winning the division. However, these Packers are no slouch. 6 of their first 7 games were decided by less than 10 points, but the wheels have appeared to have fallen off the bus as of late. In their first matchup, QB Christian Barber played pretty well, but the 2 INTs hurt, as the Lions went on to the 31-17 win. It is tough for any team to stop the Lions high octane offense, and the Packers will have their troubles in this game. Rodgers and company will perform well, while the Packers will try and keep up with the Lions, but will run out of steam. Lions win 36-15.
Carolina Panthers (2-11) at Atlanta Falcons (7-5-1): While the Falcons have missed the presence of one of their star WRs, Kelcy Ford, WR Dion Burse has done a fabulous job even without his dynamic partner on the opposite side. He had his best game of the season when the Falcons played the Panthers, catching 10 passes for 241 yards and 2 TDs. And he may have another chance at a similar stat line, as the Panthers have allowed 44 PPG on average over the past 3 games. Plus, the Panthers own the worst pass defense in the league, allowing over 300 yards per game. However, QB Heath Joyce, with his gunslinger mentality, will have something to say about it. Unlike his previous games, INTs will not be an issue in this one, but Joyce and McCaffrey will not be able to overcome the defensive woes. Falcons win 37-24.
New England Patriots (6-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-8): The Patriots are still holding onto slim playoff hopes, as they go into Miami. The Pats will have a battle on their hands, as their #7 pass offense faces off against the #5 Phins pass defense. While the Dolphins have not been able to force too many turnovers, their CBs Nate Cowart and Kyle Fuller have done a good job holding opponent’s top receivers to check. In this game, the Pats will have a tough time throwing the ball through the air, but RB Isaiah Crowell will play lights out, leading his Pats to the victory, while the Dolphins struggle to do anything offensively. Pats win 30-10.
Washington Redskins (6-7) at New York Jets (11-2): I can see the cracks starting to form in this Redskins team. They lost their past two games against divisional opponents. The Jets are back on their winning ways, but suffered a bit of a bump along the road, as RB DeShaunta Bussey got injured and will be out the rest of the regular season. Jets fans should not fear because their spark plug backup RB Tarik Cohen can fill in while Bussey gets healthy. He averages 6.9 yards per carry and can be used in the passing game. The Redskins have struggled to play good defense and that will be apparent in this game, as Cohen will run all over the Redskins defense, supplying a different kind of running attack. Powell is also a couple weeks removed from his return from an injury, so he will be ready to take up some more workload. Powell and Cohen will lead this Jets team over the Blake and Brennan led Redskins D. Jets win 31-14.
New Orleans Saints (9-4) at Chicago Bears (1-12): After losing their 8 game win streak, the Saints have started another win streak and will look to make it 2 in a row against a team that has lost 12 straight. Ross Bonham put on a show in their last game against the Bucs, and he will have a chance for another one this week, as the Bears allow just under 345 yards of offense per game. The real strength of this Bears team is their offense, but it is hard to win games when the defense cannot get stops, which will be apparent in this game. However, Bonham will not be the reason the Saints will win. Over the past 4 games he has played, RB DeVonte Christian has 6 rushing TDs. He will play terrific against this Bears team, who will focus on stopping Bonham and the passing offense. I do see the Bears putting up a fight, but without an effective run game, the Bears will not have enough to overpower the Saints. Saints win 34-23.
Seattle Seahawks (11-2) at Dallas Cowboys (6-7): The Seahawks are coming off a thrilling victory over the Browns that went down to the final seconds. However, the Cowboys potentially played their worst game of the season, as they turned the ball over 6 times, but somehow only lost by 15. Their defense played great, which is the reason why that game was so close, but they will have their hands full, as MVP candidate, Deric Bradford comes into Dallas, looking to enhance his resumé. He already has 15 rushing TDs to go along with 1,237 yards. But in this game, he is facing the best rush defense in the league, that allows only 48 yards per game. I however think the Seahawks will be ready for this, and Bradford will have a decent game, doing enough so that the team does not have to become one dimensional. The Cowboys will try and bounce back from their disappointing performance a week ago, but the Seahawks defense will be too much for the offense, as they will struggle to get anything going. Seahawks win 28-13.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5): With both teams fighting to stay in the division and playoff race, the Jags top rushing attack will face off against the stout Steelers defense. The Steelers dominated the Ravens last week in all facets of the game. They had over 300 yards of offense, while the Ravens only managed 171, including 12 rushing yards. This will be something to watch, as the Jags rely on the run offensively. If they cannot run the ball effectively, they often look lost. However, QB Daniel Shirley is trying to show everyone that he can play too. He has thrown 6 TDs to 1 INT over the Jags past 4 games. Unfortunately for them, the Steelers also do a great job defending the pass and forcing turnovers. They have forced an astonishing 42 INTs through 14 games, including returning 8 for TDs. MLB Devae Sims is leading the way for the team with 8 INTs, while CB Artie Burns leads the secondary with 7 INTs. In this game, the Steelers will stuff the Jags run game and force them to throw, where they will force Shirley into multiple bad throws. Steelers win this one 42-27.
Tennessee Titans (5-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9): This game will be a battle of strengths and a battle of weaknesses. The Bucs boast a prolific passing attack, but struggle to run the ball, while the Titans bring in the leagues 4th best pass defense, but the 27th best rush defense. LB Deron Enunwa has been vital to the Titans pass defense this season, as he seems to constantly be in the backfield, sacking the QB or causing pressure. However, he has cooled as of late, only getting 2 sacks in his past 5 games. But the Bucs pass protection has been a bit of a question mark this season, as Greenway has been sacked 45 times already. If the Bucs want to win this game, they will have to focus on stopping Enunwa, not letting him get to the QB. Bucs QB Greenway is no slouch at QB and has plenty of weapons around him. This game will be high scoring, but QB Jameis Winston will get the last laugh over his former team, as the Titans will get their 6th win of the season.Titans win 34-31.
Minnesota Vikings (9-4) at Oakland Raiders (6-7): After losing their past 3 games, the Vikings will try and right the ship, as they start a 3 game road trip against a tough Raiders squad. Lately, the Vikings have really struggled to stop the run, which is a strength of the Raiders. RB Sherman Lucas has already rushed for over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. He has been the lifeblood of this offense, and he will need to be in this game, as Mariota has really struggled the past two weeks, throwing 0 TDs and 8 INTs. A strength of this Vikings team has been forcing opposing QBs into making tough decisions quick. They have intercepted 27 passes, taking 6 back for TDs. While the Raiders will target the worst rushing defense in the league, the Vikings will force enough turnovers to end their 3 game losing streak. Vikings RBs, Jay Ajayi and Dalvin Cook will combine to rush for over 200 yards in this game, leading their team to a much needed victory. Vikings win 23-20.