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Dec. 18, 2016

NFL Week 15 Predictions

by Ellie Williams, Features Editor, Ryan Handel, Opinions Editor, Nate Bodner, Sports Editor and Benjamin Yokoyama, Online Sports Editor
The NFL season is winding down, which means the playoff races are ramping up. The Seahawks became the second team to punch their ticket after a Thursday night win, following in the footsteps of their NFC counterparts the Cowboys. The Ravens are trying to scrape their way into the playoffs, one game behind the Steelers, who currently lead the AFC North, and the Broncos, who hold the last wild card spot. The Redskins sit at 7-5-1 and in 8th place in the NFC. They'll need to surpass an NFC South team to get their spot in the playoffs, either the Falcons or the Buccaneers.

Standings:
Ellie: 126-80
Nate: 124-82
Ryan: 123-83
Ben: 119-87

Rams at Seahawks
Ben: Seahawks
Nate: Seahawks
Ryan: Seahawks
Ellie: Seahawks

Ben says: The Seahawks can clinch with a win here.
Nate says: The Rams always find a way against Seattle, but with their head coach recently fired, they wonít be able to come up with the tricks to win.
Ryan says: The Rams are a complete mess after an ugly blowout loss and the firing of their coach.
Ellie says: Without their head coach the Rams donít stand a chance.

Dolphins at Jets
Ben: Dolphins
Nate: Dolphins
Ryan: Dolphins
Ellie: Dolphins

Ben says: The Dolphins lost Ryan Tannehill, but Matt Moore can lead Miami to victory against the lowly Jets.
Nate says: Fins are closing in on a playoff appearance, and they wonít let the floundering Jets get in their way.
Ryan says: If you can barely beat the 49ers, you don't stand a chance against the half-decent Dolphins.
Ellie says: Matt Moore has the experience and enough tools around him with Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry to take down a struggling Jets defense.

Browns at Bills
Ben: Browns
Nate: Bills
Ryan: Bills
Ellie: Bills

Ben says: Believeland!
Nate says: 0-16, here they come
Ryan says: I hear the Cavaliers are having a good season.
Ellie says: Poor Browns

Lions at Giants
Ben: Giants
Nate: Lions
Ryan: Giants
Ellie: Giants

Ben says: The Giants are only one game clear of the wild card, so they're going to need an extra push to secure it.
Nate says: Stafford has emerged as the most clutch QB of 2016, winning 8 of 9 games after trailing in the fourth quarter. The Lions will come up clutch again.
Ryan says: The Lions have looked strong recently but I can't trust Stafford with his injured finger.
Ellie says: The Giants have momentum after beating the Cowboys and should have a good week against a hurting Matt Stafford.

Eagles at Ravens
Ben: Ravens
Nate: Ravens
Ryan: Ravens
Ellie: Ravens

Ben says: The Ravens need to win this to try to vault themselves into the playoffs, and the Eagles have been a pushover.
Nate says: Ravens defense will rebound this week. The Eagles have no pass protection for Wentz, and have really been struggling the past few weeks.
Ryan says: The Eaglesí hot start was clearly a fluke.
Ellie says: Eagles offense wonít be able to move the ball past the solid Ravens D-Line.

Steelers at Bengals
Ben: Steelers
Nate: Steelers
Ryan: Steelers
Ellie: Steelers

Ben says: At least the Bengals won't lose in the first round of the playoffs this year.
Nate says: The Bengals will have no answer to any part of the Steelers offense.
Ryan says: No A.J Green, no problem for the Steelers.
Ellie says: Roethlisberger and Bell are a combination the Bengals canít slow down.

Colts at Vikings
Ben: Vikings
Nate: Vikings
Ryan: Vikings
Ellie: Vikings

Ben says: The Vikings have Peterson back and are ready to roll into the playoffs.
Nate says: The Colts will be unprepared for Minnesota this week, as they will be facing bitter cold and possible snow that the Vikings will be much better prepared for.
Ryan says: Adrian Peterson is back and ready to dominate.
Ellie says: Petersonís return will inspire a win against a faltering Colts team.

Packers at Bears
Ben: Packers
Nate: Packers
Ryan: Packers
Ellie: Packers

Ben says: The Packers have found their way again even though it might've too late to push into the playoffs.
Nate says: Aaron Rodgers found his footing last week after a tough few weeks. He should torch the Bears this week.
Ryan says: No one plays better in the bitter cold than Aaron Rodgers.
Ellie says: The Bears have been a disappointment all season.

Titans at Chiefs
Ben: Chiefs
Nate: Chiefs
Ryan: Chiefs
Ellie: Chiefs

Ben says: Alex Smith just knows how to guide a team. He doesn't score a ton of points but he is a bonafide winner.
Nate says: The Chiefs top tier defense, led by all-pro defensive end Justin Houston and shut down corner Marcus Peters will be too much for Mariota to handle this week.
Ryan says: The Titans took down the Broncos last week, but the Chiefs have a much more capable quarterback and running game than Denver.
Ellie says: Titans are a good team, Chiefs are a great team.

Jaguars at Texans
Ben: Texans
Nate: Texans
Ryan: Texans
Ellie: Texans

Ben says: Houston somehow keeps winning games.
Nate says: The Jags nightmare season will continue this week, despite the immense problems facing the Texans.
Ryan says: Not many quarterbacks have played worse than Osweiler this year, but Bortles has.
Ellie says: Jacksonville hasnít figured out a way to win yet.

Saints at Cardinals
Ben: Saints
Nate: Cardinals
Ryan: Saints
Ellie: Cardinals

Ben says: I don't know how the Saints have been so bad this year, but it's not Drew Brees' fault.
Nate says: Brees has been awful in the past few weeks, and as of right now, the Cardinals are still in the NFC playoff race.
Ryan says: The Cardinals are a mess, and the Saints are still dangerous offensively.
Ellie says: Running back David Johnson will be too much to handle for a suspect Saints defense.

49ers at Falcons
Ben: Falcons
Nate: Falcons
Ryan: Falcons
Ellie: Falcons

Ben says: That Falcons offense can't be stopped.
Nate says: Falcons high powered offense is going to run right over Kaepernick and the 49ers.
Ryan says: The Falcons will steamroll the 49ers as they push towards the playoffs.
Ellie says: The 49ers are having a historically bad season and wonít pull out a win against the 8-5 Falcons.

Patriots at Broncos
Ben: Patriots
Nate: Patriots
Ryan: Broncos
Ellie: Patriots

Ben says: The Pats are just winners, and they want to be the first in the AFC to clinch a playoff spot before they start benching people.
Nate says: The Broncos offense has been ineffective recently, Siemian has been bad, and the ground game has been even worse. The Pats offense will simply outperform Denver.
Ryan says: For some reason, Denver always seems to play Brady and the Patriots very tough.
Ellie says: Patriots are still probably the best team in the nfl.

Raiders at Chargers
Ben: Raiders
Nate: Raiders
Ryan: Raiders
Ellie: Raiders

Ben says: If the Raiders can win this game they are Super Bowl contenders, after learning to regain momentum.
Nate says: Injuries have just piled up for the Chargers. First string RB, second string RB, first WR, top pass rusher, top cornerback, and the list goes on. Teams just canít win without that many key players.
Ryan says: The Raiders will rebound against the crippled Chargers
Ellie says: Derek Carr should be healed by now.

Buccaneers at Cowboys
Ben: Cowboys
Nate: Cowboys
Ryan: Buccaneers
Ellie: Cowboys

Ben says: I wish the Cowboys would lose but I know they won't.
Nate says: The Dallas offense will regain top form this week against the Bucs questionable secondary.
Ryan says: The Bucs are on fire now and Jameis WInston will lead them to an upset of the NFCís best team.
Ellie says: Dak Prescott will recover from an off week and be playing at his best.

Panthers at Redskins
Ben: Redskins
Nate: Redskins
Ryan: Redskins
Ellie: Redskins

Ben says: Kirk Cousins will completely exploit the subpar Panthers cornerbacks.
Nate says: The Panthers secondary is extremely shaky, so expect Desean Jackson and the Skins receivers to torch them.
Ryan says: The Redskins will pummel the Panthersí defense, which may be missing Luke Kuechly.
Ellie says: Going with my gut here.



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