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NEWS | Dec. 18, 2009

National Football League: Week 15 predictions

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

Each week I'll give a brief preview of every game. I'll make my picks and keep a running tally as the season progresses to see how well (or terrible) I'm doing. Anyone who would like to email me their picks is more than welcome. For all those interested in submitting their picks, please email by Sunday at noon.

New England @ Buffalo
- This game has all the makings of a typical December game in Buffalo. It will be cold and windy with the possibility of snow showers. Suffice to say, for those fantasy owners hoping for a big game out of Tom Brady or Randy Moss, you might be disappointed. Buffalo has an underrated pass defense (25 interceptions in 13 games), so expect a relatively low scoring game.
Pick: Patriots

Arizona @ Detroit - Unfortunately for the Lions, they'll most likely be without Matthew Stafford again this week giving them not much hope of putting up points. Even if Larry Fitzgerald doesn't play, the Cardinals should be able to score at will and win this one easily.
Pick: Cardinals

Miami @ Tennessee - This game features two run-first offenses and looks to be evenly matched. Neither team wants their quarterback to throw it more than 30 times, so whichever running back, Ricky Williams or Chris Johnson, has more success will most likely come out on top. Chris Johnson is destined for a 2,000 yard season, so the edge goes to the Titans at home.
Pick: Titans

Cleveland @ Kansas City - The only reason to watch this game is if you really need a big game out of Jamaal Charles or Joshua Cribbs to stay alive in your fantasy football playoffs. The Chiefs should win this home game, especially with the return of Dwayne Bowe from suspension.
Pick: Chiefs

Houston @ St. Louis - The Rams are limping to the finish line both literally and figuratively. It's been a long season for them and now with no clear cut quarterback and Steven Jackson battling back issues, it's getting even worse. The Texans should score at will and win this one by two touchdowns.
Pick: Texans

Atlanta @ New York Jets - The Jets dominated Tampa Bay last week by playing ferocious defense and running the ball effectively. They should have little trouble shutting down a struggling Falcons offense this week, and with the return of quarterback Mark Sanchez, the Jets should have a balanced offensive attack.
Pick: Jets

San Francisco @ Philadelphia - The 49ers made their victory over Arizona on Monday night look almost easy. The formidable Cardinals offense never got in a groove, and Alex Smith and Frank Gore played extremely well for San Francisco. The Eagles have won four games in a row and might have Brian Westbrook back from injury, which makes them the likely winner.
Pick: Eagles

Chicago @ Baltimore - The Bears defense is giving up 128 rushing yards per game, which should have Ray Rice fantasy owners salivating. That, coupled with Jay Cutler being an interception machine this season, makes the Bears a long shot to win this game.
Pick: Ravens

Oakland @ Denver - Poor Raider fans ... just when their offense started showing some semblance of competency, they lose quarterback Bruce Gradkowski for the season with a leg injury. Denver is coming off a tough loss to the Colts and needs to win this game badly to stay in the playoff race.
Pick: Broncos

Cincinnati @ San Diego - The Bengals have been a good story this season and have a strangle hold on the AFC North crown, but the Chargers have been playing better than any team in the AFC lately - including the undefeated Colts. The Chargers have too much firepower on offense to lose this game at home.
Pick: Chargers

Green Bay @ Pittsburgh - The disappointing Steelers really need to turn it on if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs. The bad news for Pittsburgh is that Green Bay's running game has reemerged these last few weeks and now the Packers are capable of moving the ball effectively, both through the air and on the ground. Pittsburgh hasn't shown any heart in weeks and is impossible to pick, even at home.
Pick: Packers

Tampa Bay @ Seattle - Tampa Bay has turned the ball over at an alarming rate recently (eight interceptions the last two weeks) and has shown no sign of improvement. Seattle isn't great, but they're good enough to beat the Bucs by double digits.
Pick: Seahawks

Minnesota @ Carolina - The Vikings are excelling in all phases lately and are much too talented, and more importantly, focused, to lose a December game to the lowly Panthers.
Pick: Vikings

New York Giants @ Washington - The Giants offense certainly showed up on Sunday night versus the Eagles, but the defense was nowhere to be found. This game is crucial for the Giants if they want to leapfrog Dallas in the playoff race.
Pick: Giants

Dallas @ New Orleans - The Cowboys find themselves the losers of two games in a row and now stand just one game ahead of the Giants. The Saints, on the other hand, are clicking on all cylinders and appear to have the NFC's number one seed all but locked up. If things couldn't get worse for Dallas, they'll most likely be without their best defensive player DeMarcus Ware. The Saints are playing this one at home and are simply too hot to not pick.
Pick: Saints

Last week's record: 12-3
Season record to date: 139-64