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NFL Week 15 picks, early game open thread

Outcomes in key matchups could shake up the playoff outlook in Week 15

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023 NFL playoff picture starting to come into focus, every game becomes even more important, and the stakes are higher than ever as we hit Week 15. From the marquee matchups to the under-the-radar games that could have a big impact on the playoff race, I’ll share some thoughts and give you my pick for who will come out on top. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into some football talk!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

Jordan Love tricked us. Thanksgiving day he played amazing football against the Detroit Lions and then he followed that up with another great game against the Kansas City Chiefs and suddenly the Packers were on a three-game winning streak... and then they lost to the New York Giants. Their season isn’t over, but the NFC is very crowded with teams standing at 6-7, and the Buccaneers are one of them. Not all 6-7 records are created equal — Tampa Bay would be in the playoffs as a division winner if the tournament started today while the Packers are third in the NFC North. Neither team can afford to lose this one.

I’m rolling with the cheese heads for the win. The Packers NEED this game.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

The Jets just had their best offensive performance of the season after blowing out the Texans 30-6. Quarterback Zach Wilson had 301 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But will this offense show up against the Dolphins? Miami has dominated almost every team this season and it’ll take the Jets’ defense being near perfect to stop or contain this Dolphins high powered offense. I just don’t see how the Jets can keep up with Miami even though Zach Wilson just had the best game of his career. I’d like to see him repeat that performance.

Logic is telling me to take the Dolphins, so I’m going with Miami to get things together after a tough loss last Monday.

New York Giants at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

There’s not much to say here. The Giants got lucky last week against the Packers. The Saints are simply the better team even though their records only separate them by one game.

Beware of Alvin Kamara. The Saints keep marching on with a win and hope the Buccaneers & Falcons lose.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

C.J. Stroud missed practice all week as he was unable to clear concussion protocol, so he’s out for this game. That’s the most important piece of information you need to know about this game. Case Keenum starts in his place. Rookie quarterback Will Levis has impressed and he’s making people around the country fall in love with his style of play. He brings an excitement to that team and fan base because he has no quit in him.

Titans win.

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

It appears the Bill Belichick era may be coming to an end in New England. Reports are that Robert Kraft made the decision earlier in the season to move on from the all-time great coach. This could end up one of two ways on Sunday. The Patriots rally behind their coach and try to win games for him on his way out, or it will be a distraction and they’ll continue to spiral until the season ends. Either way, it doesn’t matter in this game. The Chiefs aren’t going to lose three games in a row, and if they were, it wouldn’t be to the Patriots.

Andy Reid gets his team back on track, Chiefs win in a blow out. Take the points.

San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m. EST (CBS)

Kyler Murray came back and injected some life into the Phoenix community. Cardinals fans haven’t had a ton to root for this season, but they’ve at least been able to see their star QB make his return and entertain. The 49ers are still the best team in football in my opinion, and I don’t see this game being particularly close.

The 49ers win this one in a blowout.

Washington Commanders at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. EST (CBS)

Matt Stafford has come alive and is having another impressive season. The injuries to his best receiver early in the season, along with some other key injuries are key reasons the Rams’ record is 6-7. They were on a three-game winning streak until they ran into Lamar Jackson and Ravens, but over those games Stafford has thrown 11 touchdowns to two interceptions. He’s played at an elite level and he’s not about to slow down.

The Rams will dominate at home. Here’s to a win for the home team.

Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars, 8:20 p.m. EST (NBC)

Jacksonville dodged a bullet with Trevor Lawrence’s ankle injury. But it didn’t help much against the Cleveland Browns after he turned the ball over three times. Lamar Jackson is still doing crazy things on a football field every week, and the Ravens are in prime position to take the top seed for the AFC this season. The Jaguars won’t be the team to provide any resistance to that goal.

Ravens will win by double digits.

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