Ace Picks: Week 15

during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.Here are my picks for Week 15…

SUNDAY GAMES

Pittsburgh @ ATLANTA – Don’t look now but Atlanta is starting to get it heated up just in time for a playoff push. The Steelers are the most inconsistent bunch, and on the road, taking on a hot Matt Ryan I think is a recipe for disaster. It will be close, but the Falcons take one at home. Pick: ATLANTA.

Jacksonville @ BALTIMORE – Jacksonville’s defense has been looking better of late, but they’re heading into Baltimore where the Ravens are solid favorites, and for good reason. Flacco just plays better at home against inferior opponents, and coming off a loss last week this is a must win. Pick: BALTIMORE.

Green Bay @ BUFFALO – The Bills looked pretty dead for most of that game last week, but they showed some spark in the end. If they can just get the running game going… and that’s exactly what they will do against that poor run defense that Green Bay drags out there every week. It will also keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. Bills in a close one to stay alive for playoff contention. Pick: BUFFALO.

TAMPA BAY @ Carolina – Remember week one when Derek Anderson took care of business against a porous Tampa Bay defense and staked the Panthers to a 1-0 record? Well, here we are again and Anderson once again gets the start against the rival Bucs, but I don’t see a quality encore. The Buccaneers have played better of late defensively, and Anderson has been on the bench cooling off. Pick: TAMPA BAY.

Cincinnati @ CLEVELAND – The demise of the Bengals was a bit premature, but after they got crushed by the Browns earlier this season it’s easy to see why this game is a must-have, and also why they just don’t match up well with the team from across the state. Besides, Johnny Manziel is finally starting, and you know the Browns have more versatility with him at quarterback. Pick: CLEVELAND.

HOUSTON @ Indianapolis – Sure, Andrew Luck doesn’t lose often at home, but that defense has sprung a leak, and I think Houston’s defense can certainly limit that Colts offense. Plus I like the way Fitzpatrick is playing since being reinstated as the starter (I know, I can’t even believe I just said that), so I see Houston winning a shootout in this one. Upset special. Pick: HOUSTON.

Oakland @ KANSAS CITY – Lightning isn’t going to strike twice in this one. Follow the pattern with me. Oakland has its first win of the season three weeks ago against this very same Chiefs squad, then loses in record fashion 52-0 to St. Louis, then wins again against the hapless 49ers. That means they will lose this week against the Chiefs who have had some time to figure out why they lost last time. Feed Charles the ball. ‘Nuff said. Pick: KANSAS CITY.

MIAMI @ New England – I know. I know. New England rarely loses at home in the regular season, and definitely rarely to another AFC East team, but Miami did beat them earlier this season and needs this game to help its playoff hopes. I think New England has played better on defense since that first Miami game, but Miami has picked up its offensive prowess too. I think the Dolphins defense plays better than the Patriots offense, which makes the difference. Upset special. Pick: MIAMI.

Washington @ NY GIANTS – Thank God the Giants get to play the Redskins twice this season. Count two wins in the book, which sadly is half their entire win total so far this season. They aren’t much better than the Redskins, but their counterparts in D.C. are already off on the golf links, at least in their minds. I think the Giants take it, but it will be closer than most think. Pick: NY GIANTS.

DENVER @ San Diego – Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning, and they’ll need him in this one. You know they desperately want that top spot in the conference and it is still up for grabs if they can win out, which is exactly what they will do, come hell or high water. I think they use the same formula that beat the Chargers in their first meeting, and Philip Rivers looks ordinary in this one. Pick: DENVER.

NY JETS @ Tennessee – Talk about a tossup. I think both teams are equally as horrible, but something about Geno Smith’s performance last week gives me hope that he can make something happen against a bad Tennessee defense, while nothing about Tennessee’s game last week gives me any confidence in them, even at home. Pick: NY JETS.

Minnesota @ DETROIT – I just don’t see where Minnesota has enough weapons to hang with a Detroit team that is playing well on both sides of the ball right now, and in Detroit no less. They might hang tight early, but I think Detroit opens it up in the second half and leaves Minnesota in the dust. Pick: DETROIT.

SAN FRANCISCO @ Seattle – So the 49ers have been playing pitiful football. Kaepernick looks utterly lost. They just lost at Oakland. Seattle crushed them in San Francisco on Thanksgiving. This game is in Seattle. Those are all the reasons the 49ers should lose this one, but somehow I see the eking out a win instead. Their backs are against the wall, and they played Seattle tough in Seattle the last time they were in town. I see this one shaping up as the defensive battle most people thought the first meeting would be, and San Fran wins it on the final drive. Pick: SAN FRANCISCO.

Dallas @ PHILADELPHIA – Dallas has shown me absolutely nothing between Thanksgiving and now to make me think they have what it takes to beat Philadelphia, especially in the City of Brotherly Love. Their defense can’t hang with the Eagles receivers, which is what will have to happen to keep this one close. I think it will be closer than Thanksgiving was, but that’s about it. Eagles take it to just about seal up the NFC East. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.

MONDAY NIGHT

New Orleans @ CHICAGO – Both of these defenses are horrendous, but if I had to pick I’d say the Saints defense is worse, and the Saints offense is in shambles right now, a hit-or-miss squad that seems to miss more than it hits. On the road against Chicago I see them misfiring more than hitting on all cylinders, and I see Jay Cutler picking apart that defense. Pick: CHICAGO.

The Fantasy Ace

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