Our 10-6 record from Week 14 Confidence Pool play is misleading because it wasn’t even as good as that. Two of our big favorites, Steelers and Patriots, were upset, although our top play, the LA Chargers, did come through. Let’s check out Week 15 where we rate our most confident straight up pick from (16) all the way to our least confident (1). The point spread on each game is in parentheses but these picks are not against the spread.
Week 14 Straight Up Record: 10-6 (79 of possible 120)
16. Jaguars: Redskins at Jaguars (-7½): The best online sportsbooks, found all in one place at Sportsbook Review, have installed the slumping Jacksonville Jaguars as north of a touchdown favorite over the Redskins. You know what means? Washington has to be really, really bad. And guess what? The Skins are!
15. Rams: Eagles at Rams (-9): So do you think the Rams might be just a teensy, weensy, PO’d about their loss to Chicago last week? Do you think they’ll be held to a pair of field goals this week? Do you like being asked rhetorical questions? Rams roll.
14. Vikings: Dolphins at Vikings (-7): Minnesota is clinging to their tenuous hold on the NFC’s sixth and final playoff spot, while the Dolphins are still reveling in the Miracle in Miami. Trick plays won’t get it done this week for the Fish as the Vikes know an easy target when they see one.
13. Texans: Texans (-7) at NY Jets: While we hesitate to rank a road team this high, we must consider the caliber of opponent. The Jets rallied to beat the Bills last week, but Buffalo is not a playoff-bound team and these Texans come to play.
12. Ravens: Bucs at Ravens (-8): Baltimore has a real chance at winning their division, while the Bucs have an even better chance at seeing a near-empty stadium in their last regular season home date with the Falcons. Ravens D will give Jameis Winston nightmares after this one is done.
11. Falcons: Cardinals at Falcons (-9½): In another example of how bad an opponent is, we submit for your consideration the woeful, hapless, and any other pejorative adjective you care to use to describe the Arizona Cardinals. So bad in fact that the best online sportsbooks have installed a 4-9 Atlanta team as close to double-digit favorites! Absurd – right? Ah, no it’s still not enough.
10. Broncos: Browns at Broncos (-4): Football is fun again in Cleveland and the fans deserve at least that much after years of futility. That said, the Brownies are still not up to the task of taking down the Broncos at Mile High on Saturday night.
9. Saints: Saints (-7) at Panthers: Many believe this to be a slam dunk for the Saints on Monday, but divisional road games are tricky. Nevertheless, all we need for the purposes of this pool is the Saints to win and not necessarily cover. They can do that.
8. Bengals: Raiders at Bengals (-3): The Cats have lost five straight but at least they showed some life in a 26-21 loss to the Chargers last week, while the Raiders scored their biggest upset of the year with a victory over the Steelers. Always fade a weak team coming off a big win.
7. Titans: Titans (+2½) at Giants: We realize the Giants have a little mojo going after staggering to a 1-7 start but the Titans defense will contain Eli and win this one outright as slight road dogs.
6. Bears: Packers at Bears (-7): Consider us skeptical of this game as Chicago is coming off a huge win over the Rams while Green Bay look refreshed last week after dumping their head coach. Bears get a narrow win here.
5. Patriots: Patriots (-1½) at Steelers: Pats have dominated Pittsburgh over the last several years and they will be none too happy about their finish last week when the Dolphins stunned them with a miracle finish.
4. Seahawks: Seahawks (-5) at 49ers: The Niners are proving to be plucky as the season winds down but Seattle is too tough and has too much to lose to drop this one in the Bay.
3. Bills: Lions at Bills (-2½): Bills have the top-rated pass defense (imagine that) and if the Lions can’t pass, they can’t win.
2. Cowboys: Cowboys (+2½) at Colts: Two teams trending in the right direction but one has to win and we’ll take the one with the better defense.
1. Chargers: Chargers (+3½) at Chiefs: Tough to back a team playing on the road at Arrowhead but the Bolts will get revenge from their Week 1 loss to the Chiefs and have won nine of their last 10 and are undervalued in the final Thursday night game of the season.