Week 15 NFL Pointspread Picks

Last week: 10-6.  Season totals: 110-97-1, Pct. .531.  Best Bets: 21-21, Pct. .500.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.


JACKSONVILLE 16 (+4), Indianapolis 10 - Meet the new boss - same as the old boss?  Jim Caldwell insists that all "healthy" Colts starters will play - then he releases an injury report with 29 names on it!  The playoff-desperate Jaguars might as well be playing the Bucs or the Rams.


NEW ORLEANS 49, Dallas 31 (+7) - Are the Cowboys crazy enough to even consider having DeMarcus Ware play in this game?  With the tie-breakers keeping them honest (any tie between New Orleans and Minnesota goes to the Vikings), the Saints should beat both Dallas and the spread for the sixth straight time in the series.


N.Y. JETS 17, Atlanta 7 (+5) - And it does not matter whether Matt Ryan and/or Michael Turner play or not, as neither has helped Atlanta much on the road; and after the home team lost and non-covered the first four Jets-Falcons games ever played, it's 5-0 straight up (by a combined 115 to 44) and 4-0-1 against the spread since.

New England 16, BUFFALO 13 (+7) - Much has been made of New England's 0-5 record in the other team's building this year, but those five teams are 48-17 among them compared with 44-60 for the other eight Patriots opponents.  Still, both of the other two teams that took double-digit winning streaks over division rivals into this season non-covered in both 2009 meetings (Chargers over Raiders and Steelers over Browns; and the Pats didn't cover at home against the Bills in Week 1), so take the points.

PHILADELPHIA 31, San Francisco 20 (+9 1/2) - There is a serious letdown in the offing for the 49ers after that inexplicably easy Monday night win, after which they face a short week and a coast-to-coast trip into the cold weather, where they're 4-9-2 against the line dating back to 1998.  They have also allowed 120 points in their last three vs. the Eagles, and can't see how their patchwork secondary is going to keep DeSean Jackson from running away and hiding from them.

Arizona 27, DETROIT 0 (+10 1/2) - If Matthew Stafford was playing I might have been tempted to at least take the points here given the home team's eight-game win streak in this series both straight up and against the spread.  But it will be Daunte Culpepper at quarterback again, and he's 4-14 against the spread as a starter since leaving Minnesota.  On the other side of the quarterbacking coin, Detroit's passer-rating-allowed this year is all the way off the FM dial, at 108.8.

BALTIMORE 31, Chicago 6 (+10) - Not only have the Bears quit, but Brian Urlacher has been reduced to directing snide personal attacks at Jay Cutler and Matt Forte from his "vantage point" in the injured-reserve ranks - and the road team hasn't won a Chicago vs. Baltimore-nee-Cleveland game since 1972, and is a half-point removed (a ten-point Bears win at Chicago as a 10 1/2-point favorite on opening day 1986) from not having covered since then either.

Miami 21 (+3), TENNESSEE 17 - Vince Young's hamstring can't possibly be anywhere near fully healed by Sunday, and can't help but be impressed at how the Dolphins elegantly side-stepped the letdown threat and won in Jacksonville the week after knocking off New England.

Houston 26, ST. LOUIS 7 (+10) - When Cleveland won at home last Thursday night, the Rams inherited the NFL's longest-active home losing streak, at eleven games; and Steve Spagnuolo has reached the maudlin-confidential stage, casting his lot with his third-string quarterback and cutting offensive guard Richie Incognito, a four-year starter.

KANSAS CITY 24, Cleveland 17 (+1) - A team wins one game and all of a sudden they're respectable?  The Chiefs aren't good, but they're better than Cleveland - and should win here so long as Matt Cassel evades a repeat of his four-interception blunderfest against Buffalo.

DENVER 20, Oakland 10 (+11 1/2) - JaMarcus Russell's approval rating has sunk so low that "T.J." Cable has gone with Charlie Frye at quarterback in Bruce Gradkowski's injury-forced absence, and even signed former first-round uber-bust (or would "unter-bust" be more technically accurate?) J.P. Losman.  But the Raiders have covered five of their last seven in mile-high country and their power running game might make just enough headway facing Denver's 3-4 to keep this close enough for Oakland to cover.

SAN DIEGO 34, Cincinnati 17 (+7) - It seems as if the Bengals lost their best friend when they ran out of games within the AFC North, where they went 6-0 straight up and 4-2 against the spread.  They're 3-4 and 2-5, respectively, in the rest of their games, and it's simply impossible to go against the Chargers in December.

PITTSBURGH 27, Green Bay 20 (+1) - Just sticking with a loser: The Packers, who have not won in Pittsburgh since 1970!

SEATTLE 28, Tampa Bay 10 (+7) - Burying bad teams has not been a problem for the Seahawks this year, and it doesn't figure to be a problem this week taking on a team coming off three straight losses to backup quarterbacks, and won't be facing one here.

Minnesota 21, CAROLINA 16 (+7) - These two teams have played each other eight times all told - yet incredibly only once at Carolina, and the Panthers won that game by 25 four years ago.  Meanwhile, Brett Favre has a 61.9 passer rating as an ex-Packer in December and the Vikings are just 2-2 both ways on natural grass this year, compared with 9-0 straight up and 7-2 against the spread on artificial turf.


WASHINGTON 17 (+3), N.Y. Giants 13 - It does say something for the Redskins that they could have given up a long time ago, but haven't - enough to save Jim Zorn's job?  After a 5-0 start, the Giants have morphed into one of the year's most bitter disappointments.