NFL 2022 Week 15 Prequel

NFL 2022 Week 15 Prequel

For Jewish football fans, the next two Sundays begin and end the Hanukkah holiday. There is nothing like starting and ending a holiday celebration with football.

Yet for fans everywhere of alls stripes, Week 15 is special for another reason. College football is over. The professionals take over the entire weekend going forward. Religious Jews can always tape the Saturday games, just as religious Christians can do when games conflict with church.

Week 15 begins the home stretch. The stakes are sky high.

In September, all 32 NFL teams are like little puppies with dreams in their eyes. This is December. Put the NFL puppies to bed. December brings the words of John Randle and Mike Singletary that ring as true as a quarterback getting his bell rung.

“This is when the big dogs come out.”

You can yap and yelp in September. In December, you better be snarling mad dog mean to win in the National Football League in December.

This is when the big dogs come out.

There is room for finesse in September. The weather is colder in December. The bodies are bruised, beaten, battered and bloodied. The best of these men will refuse to stay down. Talking does not win Super Bowls. The Lombardi Trophy is not hoisted by engaging in words. Winning teams in December bring their battering rams. December is smash-mouth offense, bone-crunching defense, and brutal, blustery football weather.

This is when the big dogs come out.

September brings sunshine and ease at moving the ball. December is a war of attrition where every yard is contested. Fourth and goal at the one is not so easy when the men in the trenches are fighting the elements of rain, snow, and cold as well as each other. Every loss brings a team closer to the season’s end short of the goal. In December, only the very strongest of the strong survive. The very strongest of those men thrive.

This is December football. These are the big dogs. This is when the big dogs come out.

With the biggest of the big dogs in mind, here is the NFL 2020 Week 15 Preview and Bettor’s Guide, with point spreads provided by and all times Eastern.

Thursday, December 15, 2022, 8pm

San Francisco 49ers (-3 1/2) at Seattle Seahawks — The Seahawks have been reeling in recent weeks and are 7-6. The 49ers are 9-4 but injuries have them starting Mr. irrelevant Brock Purdy at quarterback. The 49ers with a win would lock up the NFC West. The 49ers have the better defense, but going against the 12th Man at home is not easy. Kyle Shanahan knows offense and Pete Carroll knows defense. Both sides have offensive playmakers. Go with the desperate Seattle team at home with their backs to the wall. Upset special, Seahawks win outright

Saturday, December 17, 1pm

Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings (-4) — Despite their loss last week, the Vikings are 10-3 and at home against a bad team. Expect the Vikings playmakers on offense to strike early and often. The glow around Jeff Saturday has faded. Vikings cover


Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (-2 1/2) — Normally the Ravens would be favored, but they have now lost Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley to injury. Anthony Brown will get the start. The Ravens still have a string running game and a good defense. Deshaun Watson has not gelled yet with his new team. The Ravens have everything to play for, and John Harbaugh gets the most out of his players. Upset special, Ravens win outright


Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-7 1/2) — The 10-3 Bills can wrap up the AFC East with a win over the 8-5 Dolphins. In Buffalo cold, go with the home field. Tua Tagovailo looked off in a loss at the Chargers. The Bills have a better defense, although the loss of Von Miller to injury will hurt them. Josh Allen had a rough game at Miami, but should get his revenge. This game will tell us a lot about whether the Bills are a good team or a great team. The Dolphins defense should be good enough to prevent a blowout. Bills win but fail to cover

Sunday, December 18, 1pm

Philadelphia Eagles (-9) at Chicago Bears — The Eagles at 12-1 are the first team to have clinched a playoff spot. The Bears are a bad team. Yet Justin Fields has shown flashes of electricity at home. The Spread is too high for a road team given Fields’s athleticism. Eagles win but fail to cover

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-4) — Both teams are on life support, and Marcus Mariota just left the Falcons after being benched. He is now on injured reserve. Home field rarely matters in this series. These teams often play close games. Go with the Saints defense. Saints win but fail to cover

Detroit Lions at New York Jets (-1) — The Lions all of a sudden roared to several wins and a 6-7 record. The Jets started out strong but are 7-6 and struggling. The Lions have the offense, and Jared Goff is clicking. The Jets have the defense, but struggle on offense. Mike White has outplayed Zach Wilson. The Lions struggle away from home. In bad weather, go with the Jets defense. Jets cover

Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers (-2 1/2) — Both teams are on playoff life support. One more loss would give Mike Tomlin his first ever losing season. Kenny Pickett was knocked around last week and has not been cleared to play yet this week. The other options are Mitch Trubisky, who was awful last week, and Mason Rudolph. Sam Darnold is for the moment the man again in Carolina, but he needs more help. The Steelers will try to pound the rock. Upset special, Steelers win outright

Dallas Cowboys (-4 1/2) at Jacksonville Jaguars — The Cowboys are 10-3, but they barely survived at home as 17 point favorites against lowly Houston. Trevor Lawrence has improved, but the Cowboys have more weapons on offense. Doug Pederson and Mike McCarthy are both West Coast Offense disciples willing to sling it early and often. The Cowboys have the better running game. With weather not a factor, expect Dak Prescott to go wild. Cowboys cover

Kansas City Chiefs (-14) at Houston Texans — The Chiefs at 10-3 may be the best team in the AFC. The Texans are the worst team in the league. The Texans played Dallas tough, but Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes are just on another level. The spread is sky high for a road team, and the Texans earned the benefit of the doubt last week. Chiefs win but fail to cover


Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (-2 1/2) — Both teams are a mess with coaches who may be fired after the season. The Cardinals lost Kyler Murray last week to injury for the year and have turned to Colt McCoy. The Broncos offensive line is terrible and cannot keep Russell Wilson upright. Wilson got knocked hard to the ground last week but is expected to play. The Broncos keep losing games in heartbreaking fashion. The Broncos have a very good defense. The Cardinals do not. This week the Broncos finally break in the win column again, powered by their defense. Broncos cover

New England Patriots (-1) at Las Vegas Raiders — 20 years after the Tuck Rule, this is just two teams trying to survive. The 7-6 Patriots are playing on a short week after a relatively comfortable Monday Night Football win. The Raiders had 10 days to prepare for this matchup after an epic collapse at the Rams despite leading 16-3 after 56 minutes. The 5-8 Raiders are all but done. Josh McDaniels desperately wants to beat his old boss, and the return of Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow from injury could help. Yet Belichick is just a far better coach. Derek Carr is better than Mac Jones. Josh Jacobs is better than Raimondre Stevenson. Yet the Raiders secondary remains awful. Patriots cover

Tennessee Titans at Los Angeles Chargers (-2 1/2) — Both teams are 7-6 and in the playoff picture. The Titans have slumped in recent weeks. The Chargers looked very impressive in a home win against Miami, especially on defense. Justin Herbert is certainly better than Ryan Tannehill, but Derrick Henry has not forgotten how to run a football. Go with Mike Vrabel and his smash mouth defense over Brandon Staley and his questionable decision-making in key situations. Upset special, Titans win outright

Cincinnati Bengals (-3 1/2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The 9-4 Bengals take on the 6-7 Buccaneers. Tom Brady has never had a losing season. This year he has pulled out more than one miracle. With weather not being a factor, Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase match up well with Brady and his receivers. The Bengals have a very good defense. Nevertheless, the Buccaneers got humiliated last week. An angry Brady is a dangerous one. Upset special, Buccaneers win outright


New York Giants at Washington Commanders (-4 1/2) — Two weeks ago these teams played to a 20-20 tie. Yet they are moving in opposite directions. The Giants 6-1 start seems to be a mirage while the Commanders have come on strong in recent weeks. Both teams have decent defenses. Taylor Heinecke is better than Daniel Jones, who needs to stop fumbling. Given how evenly matched these teams are, go with the home field in a close game. Commanders win but fail to cover

Monday, December 19, 8pm

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (-7) — last year the Packers won 13 games and the Rams won it all. This year both teams are a mess. The Rams were gifted a win over the Raiders, but do not expect Baker Mayfield to work much more magic. The Packers have been awful on offense. Aaron Rodgers should win this game because the Rams are just so depleted on both sides of the ball. Sean McVay has shut guys down for the year. Whoever replaced Matthew Stafford will have cold weather and a desperate Packers team with the faintest of playoff hopes. Packers cover


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