NFL Week Fifteen predictions

Dec. 17, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron, Josh Zipin, Pratik Bhandari | 16 years, 1 month ago

The greatest NFL rivalry of all time is important again...

Dallas vs. Washington. Nothing else matters.

Photo: From left to right: Josh, Abe, Phil and Pratik.

Pratik 118-74-0
Abe 119-73-0
Phil 113-79-0
Josh 125-67-0

Last Week

Pratik 11-5-0
Abe 11-5-0
Phil 11-5-0
Josh 11-5-0

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tampa Bay (9-4) at New England (8-5) - 1:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
New England New England Tampa Bay New England

Pratik says: Rule of thumb: Never bet against Tom Brady in December in Foxborough.

Abe says: I wanted to pick Tampa, but it's just too cold and too late in the season for the Bucs to have any success against New England's finest. In this battle of TBs, Tom Brady wins it big.

Phil says: Bill Belichick's defense just can't handle a Cadillac. The two young guns - Williams and Chris Simms - blow past this 26th ranked defense.

Josh says: In the frigid weather, Tom Brady shows his mettle, leading the hot Patriots past the equally fiery Buccaneers.

Kansas City (8-5) at New York Giants (9-4) - 5:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Kansas City Kansas City New York Kansas City

Pratik says: Larry Johnson is just way too good and I believe that Kansas City's dominant offensive line will be able to neutralize New York's great defensive front. If the Giants can't get pressure on Trent Green, he will make them pay by exploiting their weak secondary.

Abe says: The Giants are looking shaky, and Kansas City heads into their second straight matchup with an NFC East squad. Last week they lost a heartbreaker to the Cowboys, but this week the Chiefs ride into the Big Apple and topple the Giants. Eli Manning may be New York's quarterback of the future, but his accuracy has been off lately. Manning misses high all too often, making him easy to pick off.

Phil says: The Chiefs couldn't afford to lose last week to the likes of Dallas. They have been exposed and will fall again to Manning and the G-men.

Josh says: The Chiefs struggled to beat the gritty Eagles last week while the Chiefs got unlucky to lose to Dallas. The Chiefs should rebound and beat the Giants in what looks like a shootout.

Denver (10-3) at Buffalo (4-9) - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Denver Denver Denver Denver

Pratik says: Buffalo has no chance of winning this game.

Abe says: Denver scares me on the road, and their inconsistency may come back to bite them in terms of playoff standings, but nonetheless they win this one in Buffalo. The Bills may be the only NFL team with nothing left to play for; they are too bad to contend for the playoffs and too good to enter the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.

Phil says: Denver maintains their lead in the AFC central by pounding Buffalo's last ranked run defense into smithereens.

Josh says: Who is quarterbacking the Bills these days? Whoever it is isn't doing a good job. Willis McGahee has quieted down. In complete contrast, the Broncos look very strong with Jake Plummer at quarterback. He's learned to manage games instead of trying to make a big play on every play. This pick is just so obvious.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Arizona (4-9) at Houston (1-12) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona

Pratik says: As I said before, Houston isn't going to risk missing out on Reggie Bush by winning any more games.

Abe says: Hold up, Houston! Someone better do some investigating, because that potential game-winning field goal by Kris Brown was shanked so far wide it could have hit Dom Capers in the face (which probably would have worked out well for the Texans). Reggie Bush, welcome to town...

Phil says: Just call this the Bush bowl; the most important match up of the worst teams you may ever see. Loser secures Reggie Bush and after watching the Texans blatantly miss a last second chip shot field goal last week, it seems they will do whatever it takes.

Josh says: There haven't been many less appealing games to watch all year. The star power in this game is about as bright as the Texans' future. Need I say more?

Carolina (9-4) at New Orleans (3-10) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina

Pratik says: If Carolina is going to establish itself as a great team, they've got to be able to win the games they're supposed to win, like this one.

Abe says: Steve Smith got jacked up last week in Tampa Bay. Fortunately for the Panthers, he's okay...and they're playing the Saints, who have the worst turnover-takeaway ratio in the league and the most demoralized team in football. And for the record, I agree with Aaron Brooks' comments about the way the NFL handled the Saints this season, and the fact that he has been benched for this week solidifies my opinion that Saints' owner tom Benson is a money-loving jerk with no feelings for his players or the city of New Orleans.

Phil says: As if the Saints weren't bad enough, they just benched Aaron Brooks.

Josh says: Carolina was stunned last week against Tampa Bay. This week against a pathetic New Orleans team, they should take care of business and keep their division race interesting.

New York Jets (3-10) at Miami (6-7) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Miami Miami New York Jets Miami

Pratik says: Both of these teams won as underdogs last week, with Miami toppling San Diego and New York winning against Oakland. Miami had the more impressive win, so I'm going to pick them in a subpar matchup.

Abe says: Miami continues to be the NFL's most confusing team to prognosticate. Then again, they are playing the Jets this week, maybe the most disappointing team of the year.

Phil says: Miami knocked off the Chargers last week. It's good that they got that out of their system. They can go back to losing now.

Josh says: The Chargers are better than the Jets. Miami beat the Chargers last week. 'Nuff said.

Philadelphia (5-8) at St. Louis (5-8) -1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
St. Louis Philadelphia St. Louis Philadelphia

Pratik says: St. Louis is not a good team, but Philly is suffering from too many injuries, especially on offense, to challenge St. Louis. All the Rams have to do is remember to keep running Stephen Jackson to take the pressure off of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Abe says: St. Louis' defense is terrible at best, and with Philly keeping pace with the Giants last week, their squad still looks confident and can still play some D (save for that ugly performance on Monday night two weeks ago).

Phil says: Philly is just a mess. On top of missing all their talented offensive players, they also have a new distraction in Donovan McNabb's beef with the NAACP. What else could go wrong?

Josh says: In a game of teams ravaged by injuries, the tougher and better coached Eagles steal a win.

Pittsburgh (8-5) at Minnesota (8-5) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Pittsburgh Minnesota Minnesota Pittsburgh

Pratik says: Minnesota's miracle run has come against some pretty bad teams. Unfortunately for them, Pittsburgh is not a bad team, so they're going to lose.

Abe says: I will never abandon you, Brad!

Phil says: Vikings shock everyone, overcoming their sex scandal and culminate their season with a Brad Johnson led victory. Hey, it could happen.

Josh says: Pittsburgh gets a big win, slowing the Vikings. I'm jumping off the Brad Johnson train this week. The Steelers will run the ball down the Vikings' purple throats.

San Diego (8-5) at Indianapolis (13-0) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Pratik says: As long as Indy plays their starters, I truly don't believe there's a single team in the NFL that can beat them.

Abe says: At this point, Indy is simply unstoppable. If this game were being played in San Diego, I would consider this as my upset of the week, but it's not. The Colts own the RCA dome.

Phil says: Every year the core group of 72' Dolphins get together after the last undefeated team falls, to celebrate their own unmatched perfection. Many say this is the week they will finally pop the cork but I'm not sure. I could detail why the Colts are going to win and why I think they will end up going all the way but if you read this column you already know. I called it three weeks ago; the 16-0 Colts join the Dolphins.

Josh says: Indianapolis takes care of the Chargers in the first half and sits Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison for the second. Why pick against Indy?

Seattle (11-2) at Tennessee (4-9) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle

Pratik says: After LT, Shaun Alexander is the best back in the NFL. Expect the Seahawks to rip apart the young Titans.

Abe says: Tennessee's injury list is as long as the Great Wall of China.

Phil says: Shawn Alexander is the MVP and can single handedly lead a team to a win. But lucky for him he also has the best-underrated QB in Matt Hasselbeck. Seattle steamrolls their way to home field advantage.

Josh says: Matt Hasselbeck took some pressure off of Shaun Alexander last week, throwing for three touchdowns. If he can do the same this week...well, even if he can't the Seahawks will have no problem beating the Titans.

San Francisco (2-11) at Jacksonville (9-4) - 1:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville

Pratik says: Jacksonville almost came back to beat the Colts last week. They should have a field day against the hapless 49ers.

Abe says: David Garrard is a capable QB. Alex Smith is not. Therefore, the Jags take another step towards a wild-card berth in the AFC.

Phil says: Jacksonville has an amazingly easy schedule and a surprisingly good record, 9-4, that with a cakewalk like the 49ers will soon be 10-4. When will people realize how good they really are?

Josh says: I cannot, will not pick the 49ers. The only team they can compete with is the Texans...over Reggie Bush.

Cincinnati (10-3) at Detroit (4-9) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Pratik says: Carson Palmer and Company should roll right over the Lions.

Abe says: Yes, Jeff Garcia is better than Joey Harrington, but I'd take Carson Palmer's backup - Jon Kitna - over both of them any day.

Phil says: Bengal's are going to clinch a spot this week. The Lions are just in the way.

Josh says: Detroit Basketball! That is the city's successful sports team. The highlights of other teams against the Lions are getting old so I think the Lions should pull out of the league for the rest of the season.

Cleveland (4-9) at Oakland (4-9) - 4:05 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Cleveland Cleveland Oakland Oakland

Pratik says: Ugh...please don't watch this game. It may cause you harm. I'll pick the Browns simply because they aren't playing with a rookie QB leading their offense.

Abe says: Marques "As Much Talent as a Toilet" Tuiasosopo will likely get another start this week. As the name suggests, he isn't very good. If I were Norv Turner, I would hand the reins over to rookie Andrew Walter at quarterback - it's time to see what the kid can do, for the good of Oakland's future.

Phil says: Here is a matchup of confused coaches. Norv Turner is on his way out and not using Moss isn't helping. The real importance of the game is whether or not Turner can hold his job for another week.

Josh says: I really like picking the Raiders at home. Cleveland somehow managed to hang with the Bengals last week, but their true lack of talent should be shown today.

Dallas (8-5) at Washington (7-6) - 4:15 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Washington Washington Washington Washington

Pratik says: I'm biased. Besides, that's all you can go on since both of these teams are so evenly matched.

Abe says: If Roy Williams turned around right this second, I think Santana Moss would still be running by him. Moss burned the 'Boys in week 2, and should have similar success this week. The key to this rivalry? The running game, and Clinton Portis is about to get big. Seriously, if the Redskins can commit to the run and effectively utilize their blitz packages on defense, this game is a no-brainer.

Phil says: First series sweep in over a decade? Without a starting cornerback lets just pray.

Josh says: Not only is it the best rivalry in football, and not only did the Redskins steal a win from the Cowboys earlier this year, it's a must win game for both teams. Washington has to win and I have to root for them. Thus I pick the Redskins.

Atlanta (8-5) at Chicago (9-4) - 8:30 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Chicago Chicago Chicago Atlanta

Pratik says: Chicago gets the edge because of their extreme cold-weather/wind home field advantage. Also, Vick might still be suffering from the aftereffects of that late hit he took last week.

Abe says: Guess what? It's cold in Chicago, and Michael Vick is banged up. Plus, the Bears have something to prove after being dominated by the Steelers last week. I guess this pick could be considered an upset, but in my mind the Bears are just better.

Phil says: The Bears defense and Kyle Orton haven't failed at home yet. Why start now? The Bears D will contain Vick and the offense will sputter as a result.

Josh says: Kyle Orton's inconsistent play makes it hard to pick against the Falcons. Even if Mike Vick can't go for Atlanta, Matt Schaub is still a better quarterback than Orton. The Falcons also have Alge Crumpler. The only man I've ever respected with that name.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Green Bay (3-10) at Baltimore (4-9) - 9:00 p.m.

Pratik's Pick Abe's Pick Phil's Pick Josh's Pick
Green Bay Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore

Pratik says: Thank you so much Mr. Tagliabue. This is exactly the type of game we were expecting for Monday Night, two ugly teams that would have trouble beating most college teams. I pick Green Bay simply because Kyle Boller is bound to throw the game away somehow.

Abe says: At home on a Monday night, any team should be able to step up and play hard. Yes, I realize that this is the Ravens we're talking about, but they do have a guy on their team named "Prime Time."

Phil says: Both the Ravens and Packers have had disappointing seasons and are out of the playoff race. This one is only for the die-hards, which both teams still have plenty of. Baltimore still has the defensive talent to dominate but really, who cares?

Josh says: If not for some Kyle Boller miscues in the red zone, the Ravens would've beaten the Broncos last week with a few field goals. Against a much weaker defense, the Ravens can definitely get a "W." Their defense has been playing much better as of late and they should bottle up the GB offense.

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Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »

Pratik Bhandari. Pratik Bhandari is (now) a 5'6" SENIOR who (still) weighs about 125 pounds. He came from India, which could explain his diminutive stature and lived there for three years before moving to Albany, the capital of New York believe it or not, and finally to … More »

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