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Week 15 NFL Picks

Rob Gronkowski has been unstoppable for the New England Patriots. Tim Tebow has been nearly unbeatable for the Denver Broncos. This week they meet in the thin air of Invesco Field. Who blinks first?

Last Week:  13 – 3 – 0
Season:      131 – 77 – 0

Thursday Night (8:20PM ET)

Jaguars at Falcons
Please, NFL TV Partners, no more Jaguars in prime time. Thanks. (By the way, I posted my pick for this game on Thursday night via 4thanddone’s Facebook page. You should go and check it out. And while you’re there, you can like us. Please?)

Saturday Night (8:20PM ET)

Cowboys at Buccaneers
Dallas must shake off last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Giants. Even Tampa Bay is capable of pulling an upset, especially in front of a national audience. On the other hand, the Buccaneers are as lost as any team in the NFL right now, so they’re exactly what the Cowboys needed. If Dallas wants to prove they’re not just a bunch of big name underachievers on a popular team, this is their chance. Beat the Eagles and Giants, and Dallas is in. Simple in theory, difficult in execution. COWBOYS If I were Charles Barkley; Cowboys -7

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Panthers at Texans
This screams of a letdown game for the Texans for three reasons. 1. They’ve rallied around T.J. Yates and defeated the favored Falcons and Bengals in consecutive weeks. Hosting a bad team makes it easy to lose focus. 2. Wade Philips left the team temporarily due to medical reasons. 3. The Texans are currently the top seed in the AFC and could be patting themselves on the back. See, everything points to Houston overlooking the talented Panthers. However, the Texans have overcome a slue of injuries this season and never really got sidetracked, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Carolina’s defense can’t protect a lead, so a slow start would hardly doom the Texans. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Texans -6

Redskins at Giants
Last Sunday’s season-saving win over the Dallas Cowboys proved Eli Manning can score enough points to beat just about anyone on any given Sunday. Unfortunately, Sunday’s win also proved New York’s defense will most likely need Eli Manning to score a ton of points to beat anyone on any given Sunday. Mike Shanahan has been humiliated throughout his comeback in Washington D.C., but at least his team is still competing for him. Certain coaches in Tampa and Buffalo can’t say the same. GIANTS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +7

Dolphins at Bills
There was a time when a late season matchup between these proud franchises went a long way in determining the champion of the AFC East. Nowadays, these matchups often decide who stays out of the basement. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; Bills -1.5

Seahawks at Bears
I think it would be easy to pick Seattle based on their play in recent weeks. However, Seattle has that whole “coming off a short week, west to east for an early game” thing working against them. More importantly, this is Chicago’s season. If they can’t win this one, they’re essentially out of the playoffs. As bad as Caleb Hanie is, I think a 10-0 4th quarter lead holds up against Tarvaris Jackson and the Seahawks. BEARS If I were Charles Barkley; Bears -3.5

Saints at Vikings
Getting the Saints away from home gives teams the best chance at slowing down Drew Brees and stealing a victory. Unfortunately, getting the Saints away from their dome only to put them in your dome eliminates close to 95% of that advantage. (I just remembered the Saints lost in St. Louis, so you can ignore that last point.) Seriously, watch Percy Harvin this week. Kid is amazing. Funny how he and Tim Tebow played together at Florida and now both are excelling at their respective positions in unconventional ways. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -7

Bengals at Rams
Translation: Congratulations, Cincinnati Bengals! You’ve been awarded a late season bye week from the NFL Scheduling Committee. Enjoy your week off. (Please don’t copy and paste this into countless emails if the Rams actually show signs of life and win. One per person would enough.) BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -6.5

Titans at Colts
The Colts keep saying they’re going to get a win. As a courtesy, someone should remind them they only have three weeks left … and they suck. TITANS If I were Charles Barkley; Titans -6.5

Packers at Chiefs
Green Bay is all but locked in at #1 in the NFC and injuries are beginning to have an impact, so you got to wonder if Mike McCarthy inconspicuously calls off the dogs. I know players put a lot of weight into an undefeated season, but coaches are wired to win titles. I’m not saying McCarthy will just give up. I simply believe he’ll consider it if injuries continue to mount or if the Packers find themselves trailing later in the 2nd half. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -14

Game to Watch: Redskins at Giants
Game on Call: Seahawks at Bears (slim pickings)

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Lions at Raiders
I can’t wait until the Lions lose this game. I really can’t. I never disliked a team outside of the NFC East this much. And to be fair, I have no issues with the Detroit offense. I enjoy watching Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. However, I can’t stand their coach and the attitude he projects on his team, most notably, his defense. RAIDERS If I were Charles Barkley; Raiders +1

Patriots at Broncos
I’ll be in Utah this Sunday, so I’ll experience a Tim Tebow miracle in his own backyard. (Ok, more like across the street, but you get the point. And yes, Most Utah-ians are Bronco fans.) Needless to say, I’m excited to see what happens in this one. Even if Tom Brady is lights out and marching up and down the field, I think Tebow has a chance because he should be able to move the Denver offense against such a lousy defense. New England has prided itself on limiting points this season but even that has failed as of late. Besides, Tebow is one of the NFL’s greatest threats inside the red zone. I actually like the Patriots to win, but who am I to doubt Denver’s mojo? BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; Broncos +7

Jets at Eagles
With a 5-8 record and little hope of making the playoffs, the Eagles should focus on other goals. For example: Going 3-0 against the Ryan boys would be a tremendous accomplishment. Considering the Eagles could be eliminated before kickoff, I have no idea what to expect from this game. If Andy Reid wants to regain some public favor, he should probably avoid dropping to 1-6 at home. You know I have to pick the home team, although the Eagles giving 3 is absurd. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Jets +3

Browns at Cardinals
Thanks, but no thanks. CARDINALS If I were Charles Barkley; Cardinals -7

Game to Watch: Patriots at Broncos
Game on Call: Jets at Eagles

Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)

Ravens at Chargers
Alright, Philip Rivers, if you’re really back then convince us by tagging the Baltimore defense for 250+ yards and a few touchdowns. Crushing the Jaguars and Bills was a nice reminder of how good you can be, but you still have a lot of ground to make up for your dismal play through week 12. I have no idea who’s winning this one because I still don’t know exactly how I feel about Baltimore. I guess I’ll go with Rivers. CHARGERS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers +2.5

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Steelers at 49ers
It’s been so long since Monday Night Football offered an intriguing matchup, I might not remember to tune in. Except that’s a lie. I always tune in because I’m a junkie. I even watched an hours worth of Rams-Seahawks. Anyway, if Roethlisberger can play and move around, the Steelers will win. If Roethlisberger can’t go, then I think San Francisco’s defense prevails. Since this is a Monday game, Pittsburgh will know if Baltimore had lost or won before the day starts. I think the Steelers just sit Roethlisberger if Baltimore wins Sunday. STILL DECIDING

*****

If I were Charles Barkley
Last Week: 9 – 6 – 1
Season:     103 – 97 – 8

[Programming Alert: Like I said, I’ll be in Utah next week, so I don’t know what I’ll be able to get done. You may need to read something else while you use the restroom.]

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