Week 15 was full of exciting finishes and intriguing storylines. The Giants learned the hard way that DeSean Jackson is a force to be reckoned with; with the game knotted at 31, DJ returned a punt 65 yards for the go-ahead Philly touchdown as time expired. Meanwhile, Tim Tebow made his first career start for the Broncos and put up solid numbers, scoring two touchdowns. And on Monday night, Brett Favre made a surprise start against the Bears but was quickly knocked out of the game by Chicago's rookie defensive end Corey Wootton. Favre is doubtful for Sunday's game versus the Eagles.
With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, teams are gearing up for the playoffs, which means our experts are perfecting their picks and getting ready for the post-season as well. Eli and Blake went 8-7 in week 15, while Melissa went 7-8. Eli has led all season long and hasn't faltered to date, but Blake and Melissa aren't finished yet.
Sunday, Dec. 26
New England Patriots (12-2) at Buffalo Bills (4-10)
Sitting at 12-2, the Patriots are at the top of the NFL. Quarterback Tom Brady is having an MVP season and will guide the Patriots to an easy win over the Bills.
The Pats are the best team in the NFL, and Tom Brady is the league's most valuable player. The Bills fared well against the Dolphins last week in a 17-14 win, but they'll have a hard time keeping up with New England's high-octane offense.
New England should be able to demolish their division opponent Bills. Expect big games from both quarterback Tom Brady and receiver Wes Welker.
New York Jets (10-4) at Chicago Bears (10-4)
With a 10-4 record, the Jets are still fighting for a playoff spot. Coming off of a good game against the Steelers, New York's offense is playing well and will dominate the Bears.
Chicago crushed Minnesota on the road in week 15 thanks to Jay Cutler's three touchdowns and solid production out of Matt Forte. Meanwhile, the Jets got back on track with a 22-17 win over Pittsburgh. New York's defense hasn't looked as good as it did last year, so I think the Bears will pull this one out at home.
The Bears are simply better than the Jets.
Baltimore Ravens (10-4) at Cleveland Browns (5-9)
Coming off a great win against New Orleans last week with a stellar performance from running back Ray Rice, the Ravens will run over the Browns. Baltimore's defense has remained one of the best while the Browns have quarterback issues and a weak offense; this combination can't be good for Cleveland.
Baltimore is tied for first in the AFC North and looks to clinch a playoff spot this week against an easy foe in Cleveland.
Baltimore's defense will stuff Cleveland and keep their running game at bay for yet another week.
Tennessee Titans (6-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
The Titans have fallen apart this year. Look for running back Jamal Charles to have a big game.
Tennessee beat Houston last week behind Chris Johnson's 130 and a score. Although KC boasts a better record at 9-5, the Titans should come out on top as long as they can keep Jamaal Charles in check.
Kansas City proved me wrong last week, as Matt Cassel came back from his surgery and led his team to a 'W.' He'll do it once again, as the Chiefs win on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (6-8)
Both teams are fighting for a spot in the playoffs. The 49ers' defense will perform well against a weak Rams offense.
The Rams fell to Kansas City last week, dropping to 6-8 on the year. Sam Bradford struggled, completing just 21 of 43 passes and scoring no touchdowns. The 'Niners were blown out by San Diego last week 34-7, but I'm confident they'll rebound in week 16 against an easier opponent in St. Louis.
The 49ers quarterback situation is so confusing and the 'Niners' offensive play is way too inconsistent. Mike Singletary, start saying your goodbyes. Rams win.
Detroit Lions (4-10) at Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Quarterback Chad Hennings and the Dolphins are having a good season and will keep it up in week sixteen. On top of that, the Lions are too inconsistent.
The 4-10 Lions beat a tough Tampa Bay team last week in overtime. Third string quarterback Drew Stanton threw for 252 yards and running back Maurice Morris rushed for 109 yards and a score. Brandon Marshall had a huge game for the Dolphins, hauling in 11 receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown, but his team fell to the lowly Bills. Detroit improves to 5-10 after beating Miami on the road.
The Lions have won two straight, surprisingly enough, and Miami's been all over the place this season. In an upset, I'll take Detroit.
Washington Redskins (5-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)
The Jaguars are still fighting to get to the playoffs. David Gerard has been playing well past few weeks and will help Jacksonville get the 'W.
The 'Skins have lost four straight, and the Jags have won three of their last five. Jacksonville rides Jones-Drew to a blowout of Washington at home.
The Jags want to make the playoffs, while the Redskins are looking forward to next season. Jacksonville's got this one.
San Diego Chargers (8-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-11)
With an 8-6 record, the Chargers have a top 5 defense. On the other end of things, Quarterback Phillip Rivers is having a great season. The Chargers will prove that they are an all around better team than the Bengals.
Cincinnati's terrible. I had high hopes for them prior to the season with the addition of Terrell Owens, but with two weeks remaining the Bengals are just 3-11. They did end their 10-game skid last week with a victory over Cleveland, but don't expect any of that same success against Phillip Rivers and the Chargers on Sunday afternoon.
Chargers should be able to easily overcome the Bengals' hot and cold offense and keep themselves in the playoff race, especially with a strong performance from quarterback Philip Rivers.
Houston Texans (5-9) at Denver Broncos (3-11)
The Broncos have been struggling as of late. For the Texans, Andre Johnson is having another pro bowl season and will help motivate the Texans.
Neither of these teams is playoff-bound, but the Texans have the upper hand. Arian Foster has been a workhorse all season long and Matt Schaub has been playing great as of late. As long as their defense plays better Houston should take care of the 3-11 Broncos.
These two teams have the worst defenses ever which means it's up to the offense to win the game. I'll take Houston's Matt Schaub over Denver's Tim Tebow this week.
Indianapolis Colts (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (7-7)
The Colts are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, they need to win out, and they can do it. I believe that Peyton Manning is ready to step up to the challenge and will help try to restore the Colts to their former glory.
After struggling a little bit, Indy got its mojo back with a win over Jacksonville in week 15. Manning threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, while Donald Brown got it going on the ground with 129 and a score on 14 carries. Oakland definitely has a better squad than in recent years, but I don't see them beating the Colts.
This game might actually determine the playoff hopes for both of these teams, and I'm not sure whether either deserves to make the playoffs. The Colts have not lived up to expectations this season, but I'll take them to pull out a win.
New York Giants (9-5) at Green Bay Packers (8-6)
The Giants just came off a devastating last second loss to the Eagles and that loss with resonate with them this game. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is returning from having a concussion and will be hungry for the Giants.
Aaron Rodgers is back, and that makes a world of difference for the Packers. But the G-Men have been rolling despite a punt to DeSean Jackson gone wrong. Eli Manning threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, two of which to Mario Manningham. New York's running game is solid too, Ahmad Bradshaw has 1182 yards and eight touchdowns on the year. Green Bay drops to 8-7 with the loss.
If Eli Manning doesn't turn over the ball and the G-men's defense stuffs the Packers' offense, New York should be able to pull out the win. Plus, they need it if they want to win the NFC East.
Seattle Seahawks (6-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
The Seahawks never play well on the road. I'm picking the Buccaneers here, who are still in the playoff hunt for a wildcard spot.
The Bucs fell to Detroit last week but should bounce back with a win over Seattle. The 'Hawks are just 2-5 on the road and should have a tough time scoring points with a struggling offense. Bucs win.
Seattle's not very good away from home, so I'll take the Bucs to win in a slopfest.
Monday, Dec. 27
New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Atlanta Falcons (12-2)
This is the game of the week. The Falcons are undefeated at home and that won't change this week. Matt Ryan has had a great season and will lead the Falcons to a win in a hard fought battle against the New Orleans Saints.
Matt Ryan is 19-1 at the Georgia Dome, and as good as the defending champs are, I don't see that second loss happening in week 16. In this battle of high-powered offenses, Matt Ryan and Roddy White will be too much to handle for the Saints defense. The Falcons beat New Orleans on a Matt Bryant OT field goal on Sep. 26. They'll get the series sweep with a win on Monday night.
Led by quarterback Matt Ryan, Atlanta has soared to new heights this year, proving that they have talent on both sides of the ball. The Saints have performed fairly well, but not to the standards of Atlanta. As well as the Falcons have done, the Saints are the just the team to challenge them heading into the playoffs. I'll take the Falcons to beat the reigning Super Bowl champs on Monday night.
Tuesday, Dec. 28
Minnesota Vikings (5-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
At 10-4, the Eagles will most certainly trump the Vikings this week. Michael Vick is having a stellar season while it is doubtful whether Brett Favre will even play.
Minnesota's brutal with or without Favre. The Eagles, on the other hand, are a Super Bowl favorite and it doesn't look like anyone can stop Mike Vick. And a special PSA to all NFL punters: save yourselves the embarrassment and stop kicking to DeSean Jackson.
The Eagles roll this week as they take on the frustrated Vikes.
Melissa Haniff. Melissa loves music, One Tree Hill, traveling and experiencing new cultures. She is also a diehard Patriots, Red Wings, Pistons and University of Michigan fan...Go Blue! More »
Eli Schwadron. Eli (@eschwad) is a chill guy who likes to play basketball, watch TV and eat. More »
Blake Morgan-Gamber. Blake Morgan-Gamber is a rare specimen with two last names; she woos women and men alike with her fanciful features writing and sumptuous sports editing. But do not be lulled by this siren, though BMG is a creature of beauty, there's many amazing talents inside ... More »