TheDC sports columnist Andy Hayes: Week 15 NFL picks

Andy Hayes Contributor
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7-9 last week. 109-99 overall.

  • SF @ SD (-8.5). Funny that San Fran could get crushed in SD tonight and still be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the NFC Worst…at 5-9. SD 31, SF 20.
  • Balt @ NO (-2.5). Balt leaving Andre Johnson wide open several times on that final drive in regulation Monday night against Houston, was positively shocking. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a WR more wide open than Johnson on that one-handed catch over the middle down by the Balt end zone. Shockingly bad defense – if there is one guy you account for it’s Andre Johnson. I’ve since learned that the Balt players were confused about which kind of prevent defense to be in – so they went with the “prevent victory” option. This will be a good game. Balt 23, NO 20.
  • Ariz @ Car (-2.5). I’m more interested in Carolina’s match-up next week at Pitt when we’ll find out whether or not it’s possible for a team to end up with negative points. Car should win and cover in this one as long as AZ’s prolific scorer Jay Feely doesn’t go nuts again. Car 23, AZ 20.
  • Cleve @ Cincy (-1.5). TO’s recent disparaging comments about the coaches, owners – everyone in the organization – were just plain…true. It’s not often that I go out of my way to support TO and what he says (and no, he shouldn’t have said it publicly), but he’s absolutely right. Especially about the crappy coaching in Cincy. Marvin Lewis has to be gone after this year. Cleve 20, Cincy 16.
  • Wash @ Dal (-6.5). There is some broader context for the the decision to cut P Hunter Smith after last week’s holding disaster: in terms of gross and net average, he has been one of the worst punters in the NFL this year. Still, the decision to cut him now after keeping him for 13 games (of weak punting) is ridiculous. If Shanahan is trying to create a culture of perfection, he and Dan Snyder need to set a better example at the top.   Dal 34, Wash 20.
  • Jax @ Indy (-5.5). Two weird teams this year. Hard to know which teams will show up for this one. I would personally like to see the dysfunctional, unplayoff-like Jax team face off against the 4-pick Manning Colts. Final score 6-3. But that won’t happen – this will be as good a game as any this weekend. Indy 31, Jax 30.
  • Buff @ Mia (-5.5). Surprising stat of the week: both of these teams are 3-2 in their last 5 games. (Of course, Buff is still an awful 3-10 overall.) Miami has lost 5 of 6 at home this year and 2 of its last 3. This could be a decent game. Mia 24, Buff 17.
  • Phil @ NYG (-2.5). Lost in all of Michael Vick’s awesomeness this year (and perhaps BECAUSE of his awesomeness), has been the outstanding play of RB LeSean McCoy. He is playing top notch ball. He is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, he’s 28 yards shy of 1000 rushing yards, and importantly, he has a gaudy 70 receptions (putting him at #9 in the NFL overall). Impressive year, impressive player. Phil 27, NYG 24.
  • KC @ StL (-1.5). If StL wins this one, there is a very good chance that they will gain breathing room in the NFC West playoff hunt (as Sea and SF will likely lose). But the Chiefs have played extra hungry a few times this year and I can’t help but think they will be ready for this one. As much as I would love to have Steven Jackson on my team running over opponents, Jamaal Charles can take one to the house at absolutely any moment of any game. My guess is that he will be the difference in this game. (Important note – I’m assuming Matt Cassel plays – if he doesn’t, StL wins 20 to 13.) KC 26, StL 20.
  • Det @ TB (-6.5). The pass rush by Detroit’s defensive line last week was so good that it totally shut down a powerful Packer offense. And most of the game, they did it with just 4 rushers (occasionally 5). Sure, it’s easy for a team to play defense when they know their opponent has zero running game – but it was still an admirable effort that TB needs to pay attention to. However, the difference for Detroit this week is that TB has at least a decent running game – and I think that difference will be enough for TB to prevail. If Lions’ QB Shaun Hill comes back (which he apparently may now), Detroit covers. If he doesn’t they won’t. Assuming he does come back: TB 20, Det 17.
  • Hou @ Tenn (-1.5). Let me guess – Houston won’t show up in the first half, Gary Kubiak will threaten to kill each and every player at half time, they’ll come out in the second half and dominate only to fall short at the very end in another heartbreaking loss. A battle here of to-be-canned-coaches. Tenn 27, Hou 24.
  • Atl @ Sea (+6.5). How can Seattle be #31 in rushing with Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington? Even with a horrid O-Line that group should be able to get more yards than they do. And importantly, it’s not like the run game is just playing second fiddle to Hasselbeck and a prolific pass offense – because the pass offense sucks too. Alt 31, Sea 24.
  • Den @ Oak (-6.5). Oak played an inspired game last weekend in Jax only to lose on a rather deflating great play by MJD in the final minutes. If they can muster some motivation for this one, they should roll a lifeless Denver team. Oak 33, Den 23.
  • NYJ @ Pitt (-6.5). Imagine what might have happened if the Jets’ cheater Sal Alosi had done what he did the other day to Pitt’s James Harrison. Alosi would be dead. Pitt 27, NYJ 10.
  • GB @ NE (-9.5). Difficult to pick this game without knowing if Rodgers is going to play. He is not scheduled to practice all week, but that doesn’t mean much at all considering that Rodgers knows the plays better than Mike McCarthy. More concerning is that he hasn’t been participating yet in the film study of NE. My guess is that he doesn’t play. If Rodgers plays this could be a better game than most think and I would say the Packers cover. If he doesn’t, a victory by the Packers would have a Miracle on Ice feel to it. (Interesting stats – the Pats are #1 in the NFL in points scored per game at 31.9 and the Pack is #1 in fewest points allowed per game at 14.5.) NE 31, GB 20.
  • Chic @ MN (+1.5). I have a theory: the Metrodome roof collapse wasn’t just about heavy snow…it was something far more sinister. What that dramatic video you saw on Fox failed to capture was Zygi Wilf throwing machetes at the roof from his helicopter moments before the collapse. Funny that within the last couple days in the news, there was an announcement that a new Vikings’ stadium proposal would be put forward in January. Coincidence?  MN 24, Chic 23.
Tags : nfl
Andy Hayes