Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 15 game

Mike Renner makes spread picks and score predictions for every Week 15 game of the NFL season.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 15 game

As with every week, I’ll be giving a primer of all Week 15 games, as well as highlighting the key matchups. I’ll give you my picks and how confidence level for each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

A positively graded prediction means that I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way.

Here are against-the-spread picks and scores for every NFL game:

Buccaneers at Rams (-2.5)

I could see this game going a few different directions. The Rams’ offensive line (ranked in the bottom 10 for run blocking) might actually have a chance this week against a Bucs’ defense that boasts only two starters in the front seven that have positive run defense grades. On the other side, Case Keenum is still the starter, and the Rams’ offense can be brutally inept at times. Jameis Winston is grading out as a top-10 quarterback at the moment, and is already a guy I’d feel comfortable with to not completely lose his cool against a talented and aggressive defense like the Rams’ unit.

Prediction: Buccaneers 20, Rams 17
Confidence grade: -1.5

Jets (-3.5) at Cowboys

Apparently, people haven’t seen the Cowboys play with Matt Cassel at quarterback. They are averaging a cool 15.2 points per game in his starts, and is facing a defense that is third in the NFL in points per drive. Moreover, the Jets starting three-down linemen are among the top 10 at their positions for run defense grade, so the Cowboys’ offensive line won’t be able to overpower them on the ground. I don’t see how this is close.

Prediction: Jets 24, Cowboys 10
Confidence grade: +1.5

Bears at Vikings (-5.5)

The Vikings have not been playing their best football of late, with losses in three of their last four games, but they should have a more favorable matchup with the Bears coming to town. Linval Joseph practiced this week, and that will be enormous going up against Hroniss Grasu, one of our lowest-graded centers this year in less than half a season of playing time, but it’s not their defense that I’m worried about. The Vikings have put up over 21 points in only five games this season, with the last time being Week 10. The Bears are no defensive juggernauts, with negative team grades in run defense and pass coverage, but they’ve been much better of late, allowing 18.7 points per game since these two teams last met in Week 8.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Bears 17
Confidence grade: -1

Falcons at Jaguars (-3)

Who would have thought after Week 5 that the Jaguars would ever be favored in this game? Six straight losses will do that, though, as the Falcons have gone from NFC South contender to playoff longshot. That being said, the Jaguars’ secondary doesn’t quite have the talent to shut down Julio Jones without seriously altering their defense. The weak secondary, combined with a defensive line that has one positively-graded player against the run, makes me think the Falcons’ offense will get back to form and put up enough points to down the Jags on the road.

Prediction: Falcons 31, Jaguars 27
Confidence grade: +0.5

Texans at Colts (OFF)

I don’t see how the Colts’ offense will be able to move the ball with an injured Matt Hasselbeck at the helm (if he is able to start) against this Texans’ defense. The Texans’ front seven is scary good, and with all the double-teams J.J. Watt faces, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney have blossomed into two of our top 10 3-4 outside linebackers. On the other side of the ball, Indy will almost have to have Vontae Davis follow DeAndre Hopkins, or risk getting burnt to a crisp. Jalil Brown has proven—with a -6.1 grade in 229 snaps—that he’s not the answer to the Colts’ cornerback woes, either.

Prediction: Texans 24, Colts 14
Confidence grade: -1

Panthers (-5.5) at Giants

The Giants’ offense looks like they have the ability to score on the Panthers, but it’s their defense that really worries me in this one. Specifically, Giants safeties Landon Collins and Craig Dahl. Collins owns the worst coverage grade among safeties, while Dahl is also in the bottom 10. Cam Newton throws deep on 14.9 percent of his attempts, and is accurate on just over 50 percent of them. He’s also the highest-graded quarterback in the NFL over the past five weeks. None of that adds up to anything good for the Giants’ defense.

Prediction: Panthers 31, Giants 21
Confidence grade: -1

Titans at Patriots (-14)

The Patriots’ offense (and their gargantuan spreads) are back. Rob Gronkowski came back last week, and the offense started to click, but now they have Julian Edelman back—look out, Tennessee. The Titans’ secondary isn’t awful, with a coverage grade a tad below average, but you better be a top-five unit if you realistically expect to shut down the Pats at full strength. The question becomes, how many points can the Titans score to keep pace? My answer: not enough. Their offensive line has looked dreadful of late, with nobody outside of Taylor Lewan playing close to average football. The offense will fall on Marcus Mariota to move the ball, and he’s not at that level quite yet.

Prediction: Patriots 35, Titans 17
Confidence grade: -0.5

Bills (-1) at Redskins

Both teams might be 6-7, but the Bills’ playoff hopes are on life support, while the Redskins control their own destiny. I seemingly say it every week, but the Redskins’ defensive line is extremely talented, and the defense has looked much better as a whole since they got Keenan Robinson and Trenton Robinson out of the starting lineup. The thing is, their inside linebackers are still a huge issue, and I don’t trust Mason Foster or Will Compton to tackle LeSean McCoy in space. It’s really a tossup for me, so I’ll side with the quarterback that’s playing better, and that’s Tyrod Taylor.

Prediction: Bills 23, Redskins 20
Confidence grade: -1

Chiefs (-7.5) at Ravens

I’m not sure that it matters if Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen starts for the Ravens this week; their offense has almost no chance against the Chiefs’ defense. Kansas City is legitimately a top three defense in the NFL at the moment, and that usually doesn’t bode well for backup quarterbacks. I don’t see how Baltimore scores more than 10 points this weekend.

Prediction: Chiefs 20, Ravens 10
Confidence grade: +0.5

Browns at Seahawks (-15)

This is the highest line of the week, and I can’t say it’s unjustified. Johnny Manziel has yet to prove anything other than that he’s exciting to watch, and the Seahawks’ offense has been a juggernaut of late. I’m taking the Browns to cover, though, as I think Thomas Rawls’ injury is going to hurt this offense quite a bit. He was a top-five graded running back at the time of his injury, and was really carrying a Seahawks line that is ranked 27th in run blocking. Without him, I don’t believe they expose the Browns’ weak run defense, and Cleveland at least makes a game of it.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Browns 14
Confidence grade: -1

Packers (-3.5) at Raiders

The Raiders’ defense has seen a nice little turnaround of late with their defensive line, led by our highest-graded edge defender, Khalil Mack, dominating the opposition. Mack himself is dominant enough to side with the Raiders here, as both Green Bay tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are nursing injuries this week and were limited participants in practice. Aaron Rodgers has had a bit of a down year, and when he faces pressure, his completion percentage drops to 41.9 percent, and his yards per attempt to only 5.7.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Packers 23
Confidence grade: -0.5

Broncos at Steelers (-6.5)

Denver’s Chris Harris, Jr., Aqib Talib, and Bradley Roby all grade among the top 25 cornerbacks in the NFL, and can hold their own against Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton. Brock Osweiler has had his struggles, but so has the Steelers’ defense, which is in the bottom 10 as a team for both run defense and pass coverage.

Prediction: Steelers 24, Broncos 21
Confidence grade: +0.5

Dolphins at Chargers (-2)

I can’t pick the Chargers, even at home, with as many holes as they have. They have little talent along their defensive front to expose the Dolphins’ weak offensive line. And on the other side of the ball, the Chargers have the lowest pass blocking grade in the NFL, while the Dolphins have had more pressures without blitzing than any other team this year. With six total points in their last two games, the Chargers aren’t likely to turn it around this week.

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Chargers 17
Confidence grade: 0

Bengals (-4.5) at 49ers

I wrote earlier this week about how much the Bengals will miss the Andy Dalton, but they are still a vastly more talented team than the 49ers, and Cincinnati still fields a defense more than capable of shutting down the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL. Combine that with the fact that the 49ers are graded 19th overall in run defense, and facing the third best run blocking line, and I see the Bengals taking it handily.

Prediction: Bengals 20, 49ers 13
Confidence grade: 0

Cardinals (-3.5) at Eagles

The Eagles have the lowest-graded receiving corps, and they’ve struggled against man coverage all year long. The Cardinals have a top-three secondary that can play man coverage every snap if they want to. The Cardinals also have PFF’s highest graded passer in Carson Palmer, and he hasn’t had a negatively graded game all season long. This one is a no-brainer.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, Eagles 17
Confidence grade: +1.5

Lions at Saints (-3)

Outside of last week’s debacle in St. Louis, Matthew Stafford has been playing markedly different football from Week 6 and on, and the Lions’ offense has more than enough to carve up this Saints’ defense. Brandon Browner already owns the lowest grade we’ve ever given to a cornerback, and he’s going to have to cover either Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate. I don’t see how this ends well for him—or the Saints.

Prediction: Lions 31, Saints 27
Confidence grade: +0.5


Season Record: 118-90 (105-101-2 ATS)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Taylor Yelton

    Jets (-3.5) at Cowboys…

    Prediction: Browns 17, 49ers 13

    Might want to revisit this.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I know Mike has supported the Cardinals strongly in these picks most of the season and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a “no brainer” pick, the price Redbird fans are being asked to pay seems more than reasonable.
    Broncos may have the best defense in the league so can’t pass them up when offered 6.5.

    • Pete

      Broncos lose to the Steelers…no surprise .Carolina loses to the Giants……big surprise

      • crosseyedlemon

        and if the Browns beat the Seahawks we will put Pete in charge of calling in the CSI team.

  • SkolBro

    I’d pick the raiders but the Packer’s Refs will be too much for them. SKOL!

    • crosseyedlemon

      So if the Packers flew refs in from Green Bay where did the Raiders fly their refs to? Complaining about the officiating before the game has even started is pretty lame.

    • Bwigbwadbwob

      Funny and ironic that a queen’s fan would berate the officials. Purple O lIne holds more than anyone and rarely, if ever, gets called for it.