NFL Picks Week 15: Panthers could be upset in New York

New York Giants v Miami Dolphins

Week 14 is all done with some surprising scores but we're onto Week 15 with some largely straightforward games.

Others are more intriguing with the Panther possibly facing an upset, the Bills facing Washington and their strong home record with a divisional match-up in the NFC North.

So let's get to it.


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Big match-ups:

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants

The Panthers are a perfect 13-0 with a great balance across the offence, defence and special teams. Oh, and did I mention MVP-in-waiting, Cam Newton?

They have brushed aside most teams except for the Saints when we saw a quarterback shootout between Cam and Brees in New Orleans - a not too dissimilar match-up to this week's. New York came off a big win at Miami to stay in the hunt for the playoffs by a joint lead in the NFC East by treating the road game as a post-season performance.

Their offence torched the Dolphins but this week they face the third-ranked defence in the NFL who will aim to shut down Odell Beckham Jr - something Miami did spectacularly was genuinely funny how bad their coverage was. The Giants need only take heart from their performance at home to the Pats (except for the final two minutes) where they should have won.

In fact, Big Blue has a remarkably good record against perfect teams, preventing the '98 Broncos and '34 Bears from reaching 14-0; and then, of course, the 18-0 Pats in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants defense must be on top form to stop the run - where Carolina is ranked second - from the RBs and Cam (especially after that showing vs Lamar Miller) while its O-Line needs to keep Eli up to put on another elite performance like last week where he was nearly perfect.

Winner: A potential upset but Panthers will take this one, but don't bet against the Giants - they love this situation

Buffalo Bills @ Washington

Buffalo are one of the many up and down teams at the moment but on offence and defense they have more than enough to beat Cousins and his team in DC. Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy are a formidable triple threat, and their high-quality defensive pass rushers, on paper at least, should be able to stuff Washington's O-Line.

The Bills have won big games on the road already this year, at the Jets springs to mind, and there is no reason why they can't do it again this week - providing they cut out the penalties, c'mon four false starts?.Washington is seeking to move away from the Giants and lead the NFC East outright as their rivals face two extremely hard games in two weeks against the Panthers and at Minnesota.

Washington Redskins v Chicago Bears

DC had a big, yet surprising, win on the road in Chicago last week - no I didn't see it coming either - taking the game by a field goal.

They can be dangerous when they want to be, but the can also quite easily be damned ugly and the Bills' secondary should be able to handle Washington's passing attack because neither Jordan Reed nor DeSean can win the game on their own. I think the Bills will take this game, and who knows - Rex could do a favour to the Giants and Tom Coughlin.

Winner: Bills

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

The Bears are a good team that needs more talent to go places that the city wants and this franchise is crying out for - is it with a new, young QB? Maybe. RB? Again, maybe - Matt Forte looks like he'll be leaving.

Somehow, Da Bears lost at home to Washington - I still don't know how - who have a pretty poor road record. Kicker Robbie Gould is suffering from the yips, but there is still enough talent on this team to cause the Vikings some trouble.

Based on last week in Chicago however, AP could have a field day and Teddy should see a strong performance provided his line keeps him up but this guy could be elite in a few years - the QBs to take over from Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Roethlisberger, Brees, Manning and Smith & Rivers look good.

The Bears have knocked off the Packers this year at Lambeau, but this should be a rivalry game too far.

Winner: Vikings

The Rest:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St Louis Rams (TNF)

There is a simple for my picking the Bucs here, they have a passing attack and the Rams don't.

I think Todd Gurley is going to be having back injuries in the future based on his rookie year because he could end up carrying this team..a lot.

Winner: Bucs

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New York Jets @ Dallas Cowboys

The Jets' defence vs Matt Cassel should result in a tough day for Dallas while Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will be a terror in the end zone as they become a legit case for the best one-two receiver duo in the League.

The Jets take this game and put Dallas out of the playoff window - do they start looking for a new and healthy QB in the draft? That time is coming sooner than you think.

Winner: Jets

Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots

Marcus Mariota may be the future face of the league out of all the QBs drafted in the last two years, but he'll be needed a desk for this game to study Tom Brady on how to be a great. Gronk is playing and this will tell as he'll bully the Titans' secondary.

We may as well pencil-in the Pats to win the AFC East next year too and take the record for most consecutive division titles won by one team in NFL history.

Winner: Patriots

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

Kansas' defence vs Matt Schaub? Hahaha, expect at least one pick six in this game.

Yes, the Chiefs staggeringly only scored 10 points against the Chargers but their defence won't be phased by the Ravens and Schaub.

The Ravens are all over the place and have key injuries across the roster - no chance.

Winner: Chiefs

Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts

The Colts actually led against the Jags at half-time last week, 16-12...and then that was it, they didn't score another point.

The offensive line crumbled against Jags, so can you imagine what will happen against JJ Watt? I daren't (cringes at the thought).

Frank Gore will again be shutdown and Hasselbeck will be knocked down multiple times.

Winner: Texans' D should seal it with DeAndre Hopkins having a big game

Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Who saw that score coming from the Jags? I didn't, the NFL didn't and I'll bet you didn't.

Blake Bortles however is starting to look like a franchise guy - someone to build around for years to come.

They won't put up the same figures this week but they'll still get the win and eliminate the Falcons from the play-off picture...what a collapse from Atlanta.

They were 5-0! 5-0!

Winner: Jags

Green Bay Packers @ Oakland Raiders

Yes, the Raiders are looking more and more solid - almost like a team that's getting ready to head to the play-offs soon but I can't see them taking this one, even if Khalil Mack repeats his heroics.

The Packers are top of the NFC North and they won't give that up and are now looking to cement their play-off spot and as high a seeding as possible for the post-season.

Plus, Eddie Lacy had a huge game last week and will be bruising this week as the running game has returned for the Packers.

Winner: Packers

Cleveland Browns @ Seattle Seahawks


Please, too easy - this will be a blood bath.

Winner: Seahawks

Cincinnati Bengals @ San Francisco 49ers

Just because the Bengals are without Dalton doesn't their play-off chances are hurt, I mean I never saw them getting the Super Bowl for a start and Dalton has traditionally flopped in the post-season, but the Steelers are the team to fear in the AFC.

AJ McCarron had a good game on his first NFL start despite that pick six but he faces a far, far, far, far, far easier opponent this week with the 49ers.

Never thought we'd say this a few years ago, the Niners suck.

Winner: Bengals

Miami Dolphins @ San Diego Chargers

This is a complete dead-rubber game; nobody cares, both teams' seasons are done and serious work is needed.

They Dolphins' secondary was all over the place against the Giants and the Chargers have some talent of their own on both sides of the ball

Winner: Chargers, I don't know why but as I said, no one cares about this game

Denver Broncos @ Pittsburgh Steelers

You'd think this would be up in the 'big match-ups' section but I can only see this going down as a Steelers win.

Yes, the Brockos (still for the time being) have the number one defence but Pitt has put big numbers up against top 10 defences this season; 30 on Seattle (ranked second) and 33 on Arizona (ranked 10th).

Basically, the Steelers can score on anyone, anywhere - Denver can't (see last week).

Winner: Steelers - if they get in the play-offs, good luck facing them

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles

Straight off the bat, I'm backing the Cardinals (I still think they're the best team in the NFC) against Philly for a simple reason...they're better.

Plus, as a Giants fan, I need the Eagles to lose but that doesn't affect my judgement at all.

I know Chip's team beat the Pats, but I can't see that performance coming from this team again this year.

Winner: Cardinals

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints (MNF)

The Saints got a win last week - I found that a surprise, but still - and they are fancied for another this week for the simple reason that they're at home (no wind for Drew).

The Lions had a hangover loss last week against the Rams with Matt Stafford being sacked three times, which won't happen this week and will allow him to stay on his feet and get the win for Detroit.

Winner: Lions

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