Continuing our round up of the week 15 games lets take a look at the late games and pick some winners.
DENVER BRONCOS @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS - BRONCOS WIN
It is a must win game for the Chargers. They sit 8-5 in the schedule and another defeat would be a hammer blow to their playoff chances. The Chargers need to pull something out of the bag here against Denver. The template for how to do this is well known to the Chargers who have done it in the past. The key will be to chew up the clock on offense by leaning heavily on Ryan Matthews and the run.
I don't think it will work though. Peyton Manning has had a down few weeks. Last week he failed to even throw a touchdown. This week though is the game where Peyton gets back to being Peyton. The weather will be nice and warm in San Diego and both Julius and Demaryius Thomas are a week closer to full fitness.
San Diego will make a game of it but the Manning and the Broncos will come out on top.
NEW YORK JETS @ TENNESSEE TITANS - JETS WIN
Does anyone care about this game? Jets and Titans fan. Maybe, but a dark cynical part of me thinks that, with an eye on next years draft, neither set of fans would be too upset to lose this one.
So both teams stink. The Jets are an unwashed day old pair of socks. The Titans meanwhile are something furry and unrecognizable stuck at the back of the fridge. The Jets have problems but they at least have some good pieces. Harvin and Decker are a good wide receiver pair. Whilst the defensive line get after the QB reasonably well and pretty much stops the run. The Titans meanwhile are wholly uninspiring from top to bottom.
It won't be pretty but Rex Ryan's New York Jets will run and field goal kick their way to another win here.
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MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ DETROIT LIONS - LIONS WIN
If I were a Vikings fan I would be hopeful for the future. Mike Zimmer has been impressive in his first season as coach and both on defense and offense they seem to be a good draft and some free agency signings from being a contender.
The Lions meanwhile must be hoping that their time is now. The defense has been great all season and the offense has really started to click as Calvin Johnson has come back from injury.
Vegas has placed the spread at Lions -7.5, no doubt in part because they are thinking that the Vikings' strong pass defense will make things difficult for Matthew Stafford and his wide receivers. I doubt it will be that close though. In part because I don't see the Vikings secondary shutting Megatron down but also because I see Joique Bell having a pick game against a Vikings team that is poor against the rush.
At home the Lions will take care of business.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - SEAHAWKS WIN
A year ago this was the NFC title game. This season though the game is an opportunity for the Seahawks to effectively bring an end to the Harbough era in San Francisco.
Over the last three weeks Kaepernick has completed just 17.6% of passes thrown at least 15 yards or more downfield. That is the second worst in the NFL. On the road in Seattle against a Seahawks defense that is once again looking dominant that stat is only going to get worse.
The Seahawks are going to destroy the 49ers here.
DALLAS COWBOYS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES - EAGLES WIN
The Eagles were too good for Dallas when they played in Dallas. Heading up north into Lincoln Financial Field that isn't going to change.
The difference last time was the Eagles defense and special teams. The offenses were fairly well balanced but the Cowboys defense found itself completely unable to keep McCoy, Maclin, Sanchez, Sproles and Matthews in check. There is really no reason to think that the story will be any different this time around.
The Eagles will win and the margin of victory will be double digits.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ CHICAGO BEARS - SAINTS WIN
The Saints are the toughest team in the league to get a grip on. They go on the road, beat the Steelers and look dominant doing so. Then they play a very poor Panthers team in the Superdome and implode.
What will they do on the road in the cold of Chicago against a Bear team that is almost equally capricious?
As you might guess from the tone of the above paragraphs I don't have great deal of faith in either team. Doubly so since both teams have been dealing with off the field issues.
The Saints have been attempting to shake things up by swinging the axe with Joe Morgan being waived and 10 players being "called individually into coach Sean Payton's office for review". The Bears meanwhile have had an offensive co-ordinator give a tearful apology to the team for attacking the quarterback in public.
Neither team is in good shape. In the end though I'm taking Drew Brees ahead of Jay Cutler.
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