Week 15: Lion Lowdown’s NFL Picks

James Gullett ((Last Week 3-2) This Season 30-19)

Bears at Lions
Pick: Lions 24-17
Reason: The Lions are going to be weak on the O-Line this game but that’s not exactly news to this team. The Lions beat the Bears this year already on the road so this home game should not be too big of a problem. As long as the Bears star RB Howard does not get going, the Lions don’t have much to worry about.

Bengals at Vikings
Pick: Vikings 28-13
Reason:  Vikings are going up against the Jackal and Hyde Bengals. No team in the NFL has been so hot or not this season. Between the Vikings great passing game and a strong defense, I don’t see how the Bengals can win even with a strong game from AJ Green.

Packers at Panthers
Pick: Panthers 28-24
Reason: Rodgers coming back is a huge help to the Packers. Not only do they get their best player back but their worst player gets to come off the field. However, they do still have a bad defense and have to face the former MVP, Cam Newton. The Panthers beat a very strong team last week in the Vikings. I believe the Panthers can do it again this week against a strong Packers team.

Patriots at Steelers
Pick: Patriots 31-28
Reason: The Steelers are a very difficult team to beat at home. Big Ben has found his stride, current MVP candidate, Antonio Brown, might surpass Calvin Johnson‘s all-time receiving yards in a year mark, and that’s all before even mentioning the best RB currently in the NFL in Bell.

However, the one thing the Steelers don’t have is Tom Brady, and that can be the difference maker. Brady always played his best in big games. After the offense went nowhere last week, you better believe he fixed that this week in practice.

Rams at Seahawks
Pick: Rams 31-17
Reason: The Rams are on the road versus the Seahawks and the 12th man. The good news for Rams fans is that Seattle will need a 12th man to stop this high powered offense after all the injuries to that Seattle defense.

The Rams defensive line will keep Wilson on the run all game long, and by the end of the game, the Rams very balanced offense will take this one on the road.

Jace Osborn-Sweet ((Last Week 3-2) This Season 28-21)

Bears at Lions:
Pick: Lions 27-24
Reason: This game is a must-win for Detroit, but the Bears run game tore apart this Lions defense last time they faced one another. Now with that said, I expect Stafford to pull it out yet again to a lesser team in the 4th.

Bengals at Vikings
Pick: Vikings 28-13
Reason: The Vikings are a top team in the NFL. Showing that week in and week out. This defense is top-5 as well as the offense keeping them in the driver’s seat. Expect the better team to come out here and take the win.

Packers at Panthers
Pick:  Panthers 28-20
Reason: Rodgers is back, the Packers are in playoff talks, and it sounds like the story of the season yet again is Aaron Rodgers. On the other side of the ball, the Panthers offense is going to be too good for the Packers to handle. Rodgers is a top QB, but I also expect there to be a few miscues being his first game back from a collarbone break in the same season.

Patriots at Steelers:
Pick:  Steelers 31-27
Reason: This could very well be game of the week, two top-tier teams going toe to toe. Tom Brady is facing some hot takes with the loss to the Dolphins and Antonio Brown in the MVP conversation. I expect the Steelers to put up big numbers against the subpar Patriots secondary and ultimately come out with the win.

Rams at Seahawks:
Pick: Rams 35-31
Reason: This could also very well be the game of the week. MVP leader, in my opinion, Russell Wilson will go against the vaunted Rams pass rush. The injured Seahawks defense has to go against a top offense with Todd Gurley and Jared Goff at the helm. I expect a good one, but the Rams should take this one.

Tyler Bantle ((Last Week 2-3) This Season 9-12)

Bears at Lions
Pick: Lions 27-14
Reason: The Lions are 100% the better team, but they need to show improvement in their weak areas to win the game handily. This means running the ball consistently enough to take some pressure off of Matthew Stafford, while also slowing down the run of the Chicago Bears and forcing rookie Mitchell Trubisky to beat them with his arm. Ziggy Ansah is getting healthy, Jarrad Davis is fresh off two consecutive strong performances, and new safety transfer Quandre Diggs is playing great at the back end. As for the running game, it hasn’t worked in 10 years. Maybe more reverses and read options? I’m out of ideas. Lions win, they’re the better team.

Bengals at Vikings
Pick: Vikings 33-17
Reason: I will be rooting for the Bengals hard, but this matchup does not bode well. The Vikings pass rush against a weak Bengals O-line sounds like a long day for Andy Dalton. AJ Green being shadowed by Xavier Rhodes all day is not good either. Meanwhile, Case Keenum just had his worst game of the year and will surely be looking to bounce back and keep the Teddy Bridgewater fans at bay.

Packers at Panthers
Pick:
Packers 27-23
Reason: I can’t believe it has come to this, where I have to pick the Packers to win a close road game near the end of the season. However, the name Aaron Rodgers changes everything. Having seen it too many times just how good he is, there’s no question there will be little rust when he goes behind center for the first time in 8 weeks. Carolina has scraped by in big games thanks to Cam Newton’s late heroics with his legs. As much as the GB secondary is depleted, Clay Matthews and that front will keep him in the pocket and force him to use his arm instead. I’ll take Rodgers over Cam in an arm battle any day.

Patriots at Steelers
Pick:
Steelers 34-28
Reason: Has anyone noticed that Tom Brady hasn’t been the same the last few weeks? It seems like the Achilles injury has altered his practice schedule and hindered his movements a bit. Getting Gronk back this week will help, yes, but this Patriots offense simply is not explosive enough to stay with the 3 B’s of Pittsburgh.

Rams at Seahawks
Pick:
Rams 27-23
Reason:The Seahawks are reeling. Too many injuries to their defense gives me little confidence that they can slow down the Rams electric combo of Goff and Gurley. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson plays great when he’s being creative and on the move, but this Rams defense is similar to the Jaguars defense. Lots of strength up front to create pressure, and lots of ball-hawking defensive backs looking to change the game. Close game, but too many mistakes by the Seahawks on both sides of the ball will lead to yet another loss under the 12th man’s watchful eye.

Walker Kelly ((Last Week 3-2) This Season 10-6)

Bears at Lions
Pick: Lions 24-20
Reason: Chicago is coming off of a blowout win at Cincinnati and the Bears played well against Detroit just a few weeks ago. That being said, the Lions simply have a more talented roster. Detroit should win this game, and I believe they will behind the arm of Stafford and the secondary.

Bengals at Vikings
Pick: Vikings 28-14
Reason: Cincinnati appears to have given up on the season. They failed to show up last week against the Bears, and this week’s test is much more difficult. Minnesota played poorly against Carolina on Sunday and still nearly won. The Vikes are better in every phase of the game and should win comfortably at home.

Packers at Panthers
Pick:
Packers 34-31
Reason: Carolina has a bad secondary. A-a-ron Rodgers is back. Need I say more? The Panthers will be burned on defense by Rodgers, and they don’t have the offensive firepower to make up for it. Give me Green Bay in a road upset.

Patriots at Steelers
Pick:
Steelers 36-30
Reason: This Pittsburgh offense has hit its stride. Roethlisberger is playing great, Bell and Brown are their typical dominant selves, and even Jesse James is getting in on the action. New England will find it difficult to defend the multitude of weapons the Steelers possess, leading to another Pittsburgh victory.

Rams at Seahawks
Pick:
Rams 27-26
Reason: Special teams was the deciding factor for me in this game. The offenses should be able to move the ball well due to the multitude of injuries on both defenses. Therefore, it comes down to special teams, where the Rams are one of the best teams in the league. Greg Zuerlein and Johnny Hekker will play important roles in a Rams road.

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