What to look for in week 15 of the NFL.

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nfl

Colts 35 Jags 31

The Colts played down again to the opposition. The first 3 quarters the O looked very average. But great teams find a way to win games in which they have not played their best. The Colts did that. They have clinched home field so it will be interesting to see how much they play their stars. In the past when they have rested their stars after clinching the top spot they have lost early in the plahyoffs. When they have been challenged to get to the post season, they have done well. Fantasy owners need to watch out for Colts on their team.

Cowboys @ Saints

The popping your hear is the coming from the oil on the frying pan in which Boys coach Phillips is being cooked. Most experts say the only way he gets out of the frying pan is to win out including at least one game in the playoffs. Forget it. Phillips is gone even if he wins the Super Bowl, which he will not. The Boys’ O is top 5 but that is very misleading. They have piled up big numbers against the lesser teams on their schedule. Romo and the Boys struggle against an aggressive D. The Saints are a very aggressive D.

The Saints seem to be going for a perfect season because they have never been 13-0 before. Coach Payton won’t take the foot off the gas except for players nursing injuries. The Saints were playing outstanding ball up to week 12 then had two close calls in a row. Payton will want to make a statement with a national game and will do his best to get the team playing at the top of their game against the Boys. Saints win easily.

49ers @ Eagles

With their win over the Cards last week, this becomes a critical game for the Niners. They need to keep wining and hope the Cards fall again. They are not in a position to get into the hunt for a wild card. The Eagles need the game badly as well. By kickoff, they will know if a win will give them a 2+ game lead on the Boys. QB McNair has been hot and the Eagle D will be blitzing coming down in the elevator. The Birds will be too much for the Niners. Eagles win.

Dolphins @ Titans

Both teams need this game as well. The Fish are chasing the Pats. At 7-6 they trail the Pats by 1. The Titans’ playoff hopes are on life support at 6-7. Young is questionable with a injury so Collins may start. The running game of the Titans has really come around in the last few weeks as the O line is now healthy. But the Dolphins have been getting outstanding play from QB Henne in place of Pennington. The difference will be the Dolphins’ D. The Fish win.

Bengals @ Chargers

The Bengals not only have to overcome a bad loss to the Vikes but the loss of WR Henry. It looked like Henry was starting to turn his life around. The O of the Bengals was just not crisp at all last week. While part of that was due to the Vike D, part was the team showing the pressure of the playoff run. They would be helped by getting the #2 spot to avoid the Wild Card round. A win over the current #2 Chargers would put the Bengals in their spot with 2 to go as the Bengals would own the tie breaker. The O line is going to have to play better particularly in pass protection.

The Chargers are up on Denver by 2 games. But they know that they can not stop because the Broncos will probably win 2 of the next 3 games. The Chargers looked very good last week in beating the Boys on the road. The Bengals will play hard but not win again and see their lead in the AFC North shrink.

Bears @ Ravens

The Bears do not travel well. The Ravens are working hard to catch up to the Bengals or to get to a wild card spot. But they have the Steelers right on their tail feathers. The Birds have had an up and down season but are holding onto the 6th playoff spot now. With 2 other teams also having a 7-6 record to keep that spot they have to keep winning. The Birds beat the Bears and creep a little closer to the playoffs.

Packers @ Steelers

The Steelers have fallen and can’t seem to be able to get up. The Pack is hot winning 4 in a row after losing 3 straight. The O has really come on and now is able to run the ball better. But the O still depends on the arm of QB Rodgers. In addition to his 102 passer rating he has run for 3 TDs.

The Steelers are really down after a loss to the 1-11 Browns. He got sacked 8 times by a team that couldn’t find a bag at a Kroger grocery store. The Pack is playing outstanding D and is very effective at the pass rush. This one will get ugly quickly. Even at home the Pack win in a walkaway.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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