Thursday, December 13, 2012

NFL - Week Fifteen Preview

With just three weeks left in the 2012 NFL season, it's put up or shut up time for several teams on the "playoff bubble" around the league.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys face each other in a huge showdown in Big D this Sunday afternoon.
Both squads are 7-6 and in dire need of a win to keep playoff hopes alive, although the Cowboys are more backed into a corner than Pittsburgh is at this point.
The Chicago Bears (8-5) host the Green Bay Packers (9-4) in a NFC North division battle that will give the division crown to the Packers if they beat the Bears in Soldier Field.
Green Bay has been surging, having won seven of eight games while the Bears have gone in the opposite direction, losing four of their last five games to drop out of first place in the division race.
The Sunday Night Football Game could very well be a Super Bowl 47 preview between the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
San Francisco leads the NFC West at 9-3-1 and has a hungry Seattle team hot on their heels at 8-5 while Patriots have already clinched the AFC East division and are looking to secure possible home field advantage through the playoffs with their 10-3 record, having won seven in a row coming into this game.
There are many matchups that will make or break several teams this week, so here's a capsule style look at the action around the NFL with the Heftyinfo predictions following up.

Cincinnati (7-6) at Philadelphia (4-9) - The Eagles finally broke through with a win last week and face a Bengals team that MUST WIN in tonight's final Thursday Night Football Game of 2012 to keep alive their playoff hopes.

Green Bay (9-4) at Chicago (8-5) - Green Bay dominated the Bears  in Lambeau Field in Week Two and may do the same this Sunday in the Windy City.

New York Giants (8-5) at Atlanta (11-2) - Suddenly the Falcons don't seem so invincible any more and the Giants are getting it rolling late in the season once again as they did last year on their way to a Super Bowl title.

Washington (7-6) at Cleveland (5-8) - RG3 says he will be ready to lead the 'Skins in this one. Both teams have been red hot, so something has to give on the shores of Lake Erie this Sunday.

Minnesota (7-6) at St. Louis (6-6-1) - The loser of this game will be OUT of the NFC Playoffs picture.

Jacksonville (2-11) at Miami (5-8) - The battle of Florida. Is it really worth fighting for?

Tampa Bay (6-7) at New Orleans (5-8) - Two "also rans" just playing out the string.

Denver (10-3) at Baltimore (9-4) -  Broncos' QB Peyton Manning has a history of dissecting the Ravens defense. This is a HUGE game with a possible first round playoff bye week at stake... take Peyton and the Broncos.

Indianapolis (9-4) at Houston (11-2) - The Texans were given a big piece of humble pie last week at New England while the Colts have won three straight and seven of eight. Can they keep it going in Houston this Sunday?

Seattle (8-5) at Buffalo (5-8) - Beware of the "trap" game Seattle. The Bills could spring the surprise here against a hot Seahawks team.

Detroit (4-9) at Arizona (4-9) - Can the Lions get a win on the road against a team that lost 58-0 last week?

Carolina (4-9) at San Diego (5-8) - Can the Chargers make their annual December run and finish at .500 again this year?

Pittsburgh (7-6) at Dallas (7-6) - The Steelers and the Cowboys. With playoff implications riding on the game. It doesn't get any better than that. Actually it does because neither of these two is going very far even IF they make the playoffs.

Kansas City (2-11) at Oakland (3-10) - Why bother?

San Francisco (9-3-1) at New England (10-3) - Two of the BEST teams in the NFL go at it in "prime time" this Sunday night. (Take the Patriots)

New York Jets (6-7) at Tennessee (4-9) - The final Monday Night Football Game this season and the Jets are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot in the AFC so it stands to reason they will win this game, right? Not necessarily.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week 15  . . .    (Home teams are listed in BOLD)

Philadelphia over Cincinnati
Green Bay over Chicago 
Atlanta over New York Giants
Washington over Cleveland
St. Louis over Minnesota
Miami over Jacksonville
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
Denver over Baltimore
Houston over Indianapolis
Seattle over Buffalo
Detroit over Arizona
San Diego over Carolina
Pittsburgh over Dallas
Oakland over Kansas City
New England over San Francisco
Tennessee over New York Jets

Last Week's Record:  9-7


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