LOS ANGELES, December 10, 2014 — With three weeks to go in the 2014 NFL regular season, virtually everything is up for grabs. Nobody has clinched a playoff berth. There is no one dominant team and no one bad team assured of the top pick in the draft. Five teams are 2-11, and a multitude of teams are 10-3 and 9-4. Bitter division rivalries take place in the NFC East and NFC West, while the AFC West, AFC East and AFC South offer those games on a lesser scale. Expect the picture to become more muddled, not more sorted out. This is exactly how the late Pete Rozelle wanted the NFL to be. With that, here is the NFL 2014 Week 15 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads by FootbalLocks.com and all times Eastern.
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (-4.5) — The Cardinals have struggled in event weeks while the Rams have pitched consecutive shutouts. At home, the Rams can compete with anybody. Their defense has finally gelled into a Jeff Fisher defense, which spells trouble for Drew Stanton. Rams win, but fail to cover.
Sunday, December 14, 1:00 p.m.
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-10) — The Raiders shocked the world by beating the Chiefs three weeks ago, but this time the Chiefs get revenge. The Chiefs offense tends to stagnate until the pressure is on, giving the Raiders a chance to beat the high point spread. Chiefs win, but fail to cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens (-13.5) — The Jaguars are a bad team and the Ravens are a good team. Jacksonville may get a garbage touchdown late to beat the spread. Ravens win, but fail to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Atlanta Falcons — Atlanta showed what it can do when the offense gets clicking, giving Green Bay all it can handle. This is the Atlanta offense that has been missing most of the last couple years. With a division berth on the line, the Falcons get the job done. Upset special, Falcons win outright.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-6.5) — Andrew Luck seems to get off to very slow starts, good for a first quarter sack-fumble-touchdown. With J.J. Watt on the other side of the ball, Houston could keep it close before Luck and T.Y. Hilton get going. Colts win, but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (Pick ‘em) — The Browns dominated the Bengals in Cincinnati due to their defense. In the Dawg Pound, forget the Cleveland quarterback controversy. This game is about the Cleveland defense. Browns win.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7.5) — The Dolphins are an average team up against a New England team clicking on all cylinders. This could get ugly early. Patriots cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-3.5) — The Panthers 31-point blowout win over New Orleans was tempered by the news of Cam Newton being injured in a car crash. The football world prays for Newton’s recovery, as Carolina prepares to easily dispatch woeful Tampa Bay. Panthers cover.
Washington at New York Giants (-6.5) — Both teams are awful, but Tom Coughlin teams never quit. Meanwhile, it seems Washington may have to go to the local grocery store and see if they can find a guy stocking shelves who can play quarterback. Giants cover.
Green Bay Packers (-5) at Buffalo Bills — The Packers are in the hunt for home field throughout the playoffs while the Bills are fighting for their playoff lives. Aaron Rodgers has looked unstoppable, but the Buffalo defense could give football fans the upset of the week. Upset special, Bills win outright.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-7.5) — Minnesota has quietly gotten to a 6-7 record while the 9-4 Lions have a chance at the division crown. Jim Caldwell’s defense has been playing well, and at home that will be too much for Minnesota to handle. Lions win, but fail to cover.
New York Jets (-1.5) at Tennessee Titans — Both teams are awful. Both teams have quarterbacks unable to get the job done. Rex Ryan wants to go out in a blaze of glory, and this could be the game to do it. Jets cover.
Denver Broncos (-4) at San Diego Chargers — After losing at home to New England, San Diego has another chance to prove that they are not playoff tomato cans. They will fail again. San Diego has traditionally played well against Peyton Manning over the years, but now Denver has a running game to complement their passing attack. Broncos win, but fail to cover.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10) — Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the reeling and dysfunctional 49ers went into Seattle and stomped all over them and forced Richard Sherman to shut up in front of his home fans? It would be, but it will not happen. San Francisco is wounded, and Seattle will go in for the kill. Seahawks win, but fail to cover.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) — The Eagles blasted the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Now they get Dallas at home. With the division on the line, expect Chip Kelly to put the pedal to the medal as he does. Eagles cover.
Monday, December 15, 8:30 p.m.
New Orleans Saints (-3.5) at Chicago Bears — Both teams are awful, but the Saints at 5-8 still have something to play for in the heinous NFC South. Despite getting shellacked by 31 points at home, the Saints find an opponent in the Bears who are even more pathetic. Jay Cutler could again throw touchdown passes to both teams. Saints cover.