August 2, 2021


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

NFL Week 15 picks: Chiefs beat Saints; Steelers bounce back against Bengals

The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to (O/U = over/under). Last week’s record 10-6 (.625); season 140-167-1 (.676).

Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread would have been 4-12 (.250); season 107-96-56 (.527).

Times are Pacific.

Bills (10-3) at Broncos (5-8)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Bills by 6. O/U: 511/2.

The Broncos are young and full of potential, but too up and down. Josh Allen is playing at an MVP level for the Bills, whose defense struggles with consistency but can play really well at times.

Prediction: Bills 35, Broncos 24

Panthers (4-9) at Packers (10-3)

Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Packers by 81/2. O/U: 511/2.

This could be a bit of a shootout, especially if D.J. Moore is back for the Panthers. Green Bay’s defense is vulnerable, but the Packers have too many weapons and Aaron Rodgers is too good.

Prediction: Packers 34, Panthers 27

Jaguars (1-12) at Ravens (8-5)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Ravens by 13. O/U: 471/2.

The Ravens looked great in a thriller at Cleveland on Monday, finally playing with the explosiveness that defined them last season. The Jaguars can hang tough now and again but can’t stop the run.

Prediction: Ravens 34, Jaguars 17

Patriots (6-7) at Dolphins (8-5)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Dolphins by 11/2. O/U: 411/2.

Bill Belichick routinely schools rookies, even the astoundingly impressive QB Justin Herbert. But Tua Tagovailoa is backed by a smothering Miami defense, and Patriots will struggle to move ball.

Prediction: Dolphins 24, Patriots 18

49ers (5-8) at Cowboys (4-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 707.

Line: 49ers by 3. O/U: 45.

The season is slipping away for banged-up 49ers, but they should be able to run over Cowboys. If Raheem Mostert can’t go, Jeff Wilson will have a big day. Kyle Shanahan will carve up a bad Dallas D.

Prediction: 49ers 28, Cowboys 21

Texans (4-9) at Colts (9-4)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Colts by 71/2. O/U: 51.

Even if they get Brandin Cooks back, the Texans don’t have much left. You can’t run on the Colts, and they still have a swarming pass defense. Indianapolis rushes four and gets to the quarterback.

Prediction: Colts 33, Texans 24

Lions (5-8) at Titans (9-4)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Titans by 11. O/U: 511/2.

The Lions can’t stop the run, and Tennessee is going to want to run it all game. It doesn’t look as if Matthew Stafford is going to play. If he did, maybe the game wouldn’t be so lopsided.

Prediction: Titans 35, Lions 21

Buccaneers (8-5) at Falcons (4-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Buccaneers by 6. O/U: 491/2.

Where did Matt Ryan go? The Falcons don’t run, and even though their defense is better under Raheem Morris, it’s not good enough. Tampa Bay has kicking issues, but Buccaneers are just better.

Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 27

Bears (6-7) at Vikings (6-7)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Vikings by 3. O/U: 461/2.

The Bears have scored 30 and 36 in consecutive weeks, so that makes this interesting. But you never know which Mitch Trubisky you’re going to get. That said, the Vikings are better all the way around.

Prediction: Vikings 28, Bears 24

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Seahawks by 51/2. O/U: 441/2.

Could be game of the week, especially if Alex Smith can play. The Seahawks have been better on defense since they started blitzing with Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams. A lower-scoring slugfest.

Prediction: Seahawks 21, Washington 17

Eagles (4-8-1) at Cardinals (7-6)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Cardinals by 6. O/U: 491/2.

Now that teams have gotten a glimpse of Jalen Hurts, they know what they’re facing. Hurts will need to throw better to outduel Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. Interesting game, but go with home team.

Prediction: Cardinals 28, Eagles 20

Jets (0-13) at Rams (9-4)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Rams by 171/2. O/U: 431/2.

With a spot in the playoffs up for grabs with a win, Sean McVay makes sure his players don’t overlook the league’s only winless team. Rams’ defense is smothering and Jared Goff has a big day.

Prediction: Rams 38, Jets 9

Chiefs (12-1) at Saints (10-3)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 715.

Line: Chiefs by 3. O/U: 511/2.

The Saints have won a lot but haven’t scored like crazy with Taysom Hill at quarterback. If Drew Brees returns, he won’t be the same … at least not yet. Hard to match Chiefs in a scoring contest.

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Saints 28

Browns (9-4) at Giants (5-8)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Browns by 6. O/U: 441/2.

The Giants have looked decent at times, but Daniel Jones doesn’t look healthy and will be vulnerable to the Browns pass rush. Cleveland is coming off a heartbreaker, and should bounce back.

Prediction: Browns 27, Giants 23

Steelers (11-2) at Bengals (2-10-1)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.


Line: Steelersa by 13. O/U: 40.

Ben Roethlisberger virtually always plays well in home state of Ohio, and has the weapons to carve up the struggling Bengals. Pittsburgh regains footing and heads into postseason on upward trend.

Prediction: Steelers 35, Bengals 18