Predictification - NFL Week 15, Including Colts vs. Texans

Bob Levey

Predicting the NFL action before it happens isn't easy - unless you're a Predictificationist like me. Sit back, relax and know that you've come to the right place.

2013 Regular Season: 132-75-1 (63.8%)

2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1* (64.3%)

Last Week: 11-5 (68.8%)

All-time Colts Predictions: 21-9 (70.0%)

Sometimes I hate to be right. I hate that I predicted the Indianapolis Colts would lose last week because of their inability to run the football and matchup with the other teams wide receivers. I hate the fact that I predicted the Colts would finish 9-7 and still make the playoffs - something that seems very possible right now.

I hate being right. It's a blessing and a curse.

Last week I finished a respectable 11-5 and moved closer to matching last year's record. Truth be told, my ultimate goal is to be at 70% for the entire NFL (not just my Colts predictions), but I can settle for 64% right now.

The Colts get to face the worst team in the NFL this week: The Houston Texans. Who would've believed that sentence at the beginning of the season? The Texans have lost an incredible 11 in a row after starting the season 2-0. As we all know, they can't seem to win in Indianapolis - so that bodes well for the home team. Head Coach Gary Kubiak is gone and Wade Phillips has replaced him - it's unlikely anything will change.

The Colts haven't lost back to back games in the Andrew Luck era and will try to keep that streak alive on Sunday. Don't be surprised to see the Colts struggle again guarding Andre Johnson - especially if Greg Toler continues to miss time. I expect Donald Brown to have a big game - and the Colts will need it.

Here are my best picks from last week:

Lions at Eagles - I told you the Eagles would win this game and I told you that quarterback Nick Foles would throw his first interception of the season. Two for two... Man, I'm good. Here's what I said:

"This is the game I am most interested to see. Nick Foles has been absolutely on fire this season and has yet to thrown an interception. The Lions have been up and down but finally have the division title within their grasp. I think the Eagles pull this one out at home but Foles throws his first interception of the season.

EAGLES WIN 27-24"

Vikings at Ravens - I said this game would be a lot closer than the spread and that the Ravens would win it by three points. Nailed both of them as the Ravens went on to win 29-26.

"The Ravens are still capable of making a playoff run and a game against the Vikings might help them get there. The Vikings beat the Bears last week and the Ravens are playing at about the same level. This game will be a lot closer than the spread but Baltimore has more talent.

RAVENS WIN 23-20"

Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 15:

  • The Redskins benched Robert Griffin III this week for Kirk Cousins. According to Mike Shanahan, RGIII's benching is to protect him from getting hurt so he can have a full offseason. Speculation is that the Redskins are showcasing Cousins for trade bait later. I wonder if Cousins leads the Redskins to three straight wins if there is any chance that RGIII is the one who becomes trade bait.
  • Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery sure has had a coming out party over the last several weeks. Doesn't it make you sick to know that this guy was on the board when the Colts drafted Bjoern Werner?
  • The Colts sure haven't been on the good side of controversial calls this season, have they? After last week's "touchdown" there are reports that the NFL will look into 'major changes' to the replay system next year. Fitting isn't it? Peyton Manning and the Colts changed the way the NFL called defensive holding and pass interference and now Indianapolis is changing the replay system.

  • If the Colts can win out they will finish with the same record as last season. That'll be tough considering they have to travel to Kansas City next week - a game they are unlikely to win based on recent performances. The sad thing is that I felt better about this team last year going into the playoffs than I do this year.


On to the picks!

Houston Texans (2-11) at Indianapolis Colts (8-5)

Line - Colts by 5.5

The Colts have yet to lose back to back games when Andrew Luck starts at quarterback. The Texans haven't won since Week 2. Everything seems to be leaning towards the Colts.

Here's why you should be careful: The Texans nearly beat the Colts a few weeks ago - and probably should have, Houston can run the ball (especially Ben Tate) and the Indy haven't exactly controlled the line of scrimmage and Andre Johnson can make huge plays - and the Colts secondary gives up huge plays.

With all of that said, I can't go against the home team. They don't lose games back to back and they won't lose this Sunday... but it'll be closer than we all want and will probably leave us with more questions than answers.

Adam Vinatieri wins it late in the fourth quarter.

COLTS WIN 27-24

San Diego Chargers (6-7) at Denver Broncos (11-2)

Line - Broncos by 10.5

Peyton Manning continues to head towards Canton, Ohio and football immortality and the Denver Broncos are closing in on the #1 in the AFC. We all know Manning struggles in cold weather (no matter what Peyton says) and he also has seemed to struggle with the Chargers. San Diego is better than a lot of people think and they will be fired up to play Denver.

Chargers take an early lead and it takes a late Manning comeback to get to 12-2.

BRONCOS WIN 31-27

Washington Redskins (3-10) at Atlanta Falcons (3-10)

Line - Falcons by 6.5

The Redskins are going with Kirk Cousins the rest of the year. There is part of me that thinks Washington will rally around the new signal caller and win out - just to start a quarterback debate. The Falcons have looked lost all season and they are one of the biggest mysteries of the year.

I'm taking the Falcons - but only because they're at home and I'm not sure what to expect from Cousins.

FALCONS WIN 24-17

Chicago Bears (7-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-9)

Line - Browns by 1

The Bears are returning to Smokin' Jay Cutler this week even after Josh McCown led the team to victory last week. I don't know if it's the right decision but I can't blame Chicago for trying to find out if Cutler is 'the guy' heading into the offseason (Cutler's a free agent).

I think the Bears have enough to beat Cleveland - but that's not a very bold prediction.

BEARS WIN 27-17

New England Patriots (10-3) at Miami Dolphins (7-6)

Line - Patriots by 2.5

The Patriots are making games look a lot harder than they should be - like last week against Cleveland. The good news for New England is that they keep winning. The question is whether they can keep winning with Rob Gronkowski - because without him they looked VERY average early in the season.

I'm taking New England. I think they find a way to win, but the Broncos path to the Super Bowl just got a lot easier.

PATRIOTS WIN 27-24

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)

Line - Eagles by 4.5

The Eagles are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and I really like what they're doing. The Vikings will likely be without their best weapon (Adrian Peterson) and no one else on their team scares me.

The Eagles win this game - and make a statement that they may be a Super Bowl sleeper in the NFC.

It's the lock of the week.

EAGLES WIN 34-20

Seattle Seahawks (11-2) at New York Giants (5-8)

Line - Seahawks by 7

The Seahawks had a chance to put the #1 seed in the NFC on ice (practically) last week against the 49ers and couldn't get the job done. The Giants had a chance to nose their way back into the NFC East division race and couldn't do it.

I feel much better about the Seahawks rebounding than the Giants.

SEAHAWKS WIN 27-17

San Francisco 49ers (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)

Line - 49ers by5.5

The 49ers won a game they had to win last week against Seattle. Now they get to face a less threatening opponent in the Buccaneers - but don't sleep on Tampa. The 49ers will win this game but the line is right where it should be - this won't be an easy game.

Take the 49ers, but don't be surprised if Tampa Bay pulls off the upset.

49ERS WIN 23-17

Buffalo Bills (4-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)

Line - Bills by 2

I know the Bills are favored, but if you've watched the Jaguars lately I think you'd be silly not to take them. I will probably regret it - but I'm taking the Jaguars.

JAGUARS WIN 27-20

Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) at Oakland Raiders (4-9)

Line - Chiefs by 4.5

The Chiefs made a statement last week against the Redskins (most teams do) and looked to be as good on offense as they are on defense. The Raiders are still wildly inconsistent and don't really stand a chance.

The line if small because it's a divisional game and the Chiefs are on the road. Don't be afraid - the Chiefs win BIG.

CHIEFS WIN 31-13

New York Jets (6-7) at Carolina Panthers (9-4)

Line - Panthers by 11

Doubt will creep into everyone's mind if the Panthers don't win this game - and that's fair. The Jets are a mess. One week they look like they could challenge for a playoff spot and the next they look like one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Carolina should win - but I'll be honest... I don't know what to expect out of either of these teams.

PANTHERS WIN 24-17

Green Bay Packers (6-6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (7-6)

Line - Cowboys by 7

The Cowboys are still losing games they should win and winning games they should lose. With Aaron Rodgers likely to miss another week with his collarbone injury it seems like a game they should win... so they're going to lose? Then again, I'm ready to write them off again as a disappointment and I expect them to lose... so they might win.

I don't know. Home team by a field goal.

COWBOYS WIN 27-24

Arizona Cardinals (8-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-8)

Line - Cardinals by 2.5

The Cardinals seem to be on their way to the playoffs and I couldn't be happier for Bruce Arians. The Titans are on their way to being mediocre for years to come - and that helps the Colts.

I like the Titans in this one - Arizona will be playing outside in the cold and Carson Palmer won't be able to throw the ball all over the field.

TITANS WIN 27-20

New Orleans Saints (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (5-8)

Line - Saints by 6

The Saints are a dangerous team when they play indoors on a fast track - and that's what they will be playing on in St. Louis. The Rams seem to be competitive in almost every game and I expect this game to be close at halftime. A big second half from Drew Brees puts the game away for New Orleans.

SAINTS WIN 34-24

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8)

Line - Bengals by 3

The Bengals looked pretty dangerous against the Colts last week. The Steelers let another game get away last week (a growing trend this season) and don't seem to have 'it' anymore. With that said, the Steelers/Bengals games have always been a battle - and I don't expect anything different this week.

I'm taking the Bengals - just barely.

BENGALS WIN 23-20

Baltimore Ravens (7-6) at Detroit Lions (7-6)

Line - Lions by 6

It's hard to believe these two teams have the same record - they seem to be headed in completely different directions. The Lions are a different team at home and the Ravens aren't what they were last season.

Also, you don't pick on Megatron before the game (or pull of Superman's cape).

LIONS WIN 34-20

***

Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.

Follow me on Twitter at @USAFootballBlog

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