If the last few weeks of the NFL season have taught us anything, it’s that no one is untouchable, and defense might not be completely extinct just yet.
Prolific teams like the Rams, Saints, Steelers, Vikings, and more have all dealt with power outages to their high-flying offenses in recent weeks. Even the Chiefs struggled to put up the points they normally do against the tenacious Ravens defense and had to hold on in overtime to beat an erratic Lamar Jackson and RGIII. Maybe defense still does have a pulse in this current NFL.
That’s exactly what should make Week 15 such an exciting week of football. Will the balanced Chargers, who are one of the only teams to boast a top 10 defense and offense, be able to stymie the Chiefs on Thursday night? Will the Bears defense stomp the revived Packers officially into the oblivion? And will the once heralded Broncos defense even be able to stop emerging star Baker Mayfield and the Browns on Saturday? Those and many more questions will be answered soon.
Here are your best bets for Week 15.
CHIEFS (-3.5) vs Chargers – Thursday December 13, 2018 (8:20 PM EST – FOX)
Between both of these two teams, the amount of star power that could potentially miss this game is absurd. As of the writing of this article, Spencer Ware is questionable at best, and Sammy Watkins won’t play. Not to mention the fact that the Kareem Hunt release is still fresh on the minds of Chiefs fans. On the flip side, the Chargers seem destined to be without both stud running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler for the first time this season. Not only have Gordon and Ekeler combined for almost 1,200 more rushing yards than anyone else on the roster, but they’re also the Chargers second and third leading receivers respectively.
Tyreek Hill should play for K.C., however, and with both of L.A.’s top two running backs out, it would take a massive effort for them to head into Arrowhead and find success. After losing by 10 Week 1 at home to K.C., it’s hard to imagine the Chargers faring better now. Despite the Chargers balanced attack on offense and defense, fire up the Chiefs.
BROWNS (+4.5) @ Broncos – Saturday December 15, 2018 (7:20 PM EST – NFLN)
The suddenly sizzling Cleveland Browns are coming into Saturday night winners of three of their last four. Their offense is averaging nearly 26 points per in their last four games. Baker Mayfield has played great football of late, and the emergence of Nick Chubb has made this offense even better.
The Broncos, on the other hand, are trending the opposite direction. The loss of Emmanuel Sanders was huge. Couple that with a disappointing loss at the hands of the lowly 49ers, and their season is on life-support. George Kittle shredded the Broncos supposedly elite defense for 210 receiving yards in one half in Week 14. With these two teams trending in opposite directions, it’s almost surprising that Cleveland isn’t the one giving up points here.
COWBOYS (+2.5) @ Colts – Sunday December 16, 2018 (1 PM EST – FOX)
Unfortunately for anyone who doesn’t like the “hotboys,” this team is hot and is going to be hard to beat. Winners of their last five games, including both of their last two on the road, the Cowboys getting points seems like a gift. In fact, we were just given a sort of preview for this matchup two weeks ago when the Colts played the Jaguars. Playing against Jacksonville’s defense, the Colts didn’t muster a single point. Expect this game to be similar. While Dallas’s defense might not be as intimidating as Jacksonville’s they’ve been every bit as good. Over their five-game winning streak, Dallas has only given up 19 ppg. The Colts will score. But the combo of Dallas’s D, Dak and Zeke, and above average Amari, the Cowboys should at least stick within three points.
PATRIOTS (-1) @ Steelers – Sunday December 16, 2018 (4:25 PM EST – CBS)
More so than the fact that the Patriots won’t lose back-to-back games in December, the Steelers are reeling. Big Ben the quarterback could use some of the repairs that Big Ben the clock is getting over in London. It’ll be hard to believe that Roethlisberger, who missed most of the second half in Week 14, will be anywhere near full health. Couple that with the fact that James Conner will most likely sit as well, and it’s tough to see how this Steelers team that just lost to the Raiders could hang with what has to be an angry New England.
SEAHAWKS (-6) @ 49ers – Sunday December 16, 2018 (4:05 PM EST – FOX)
Home or away shouldn’t matter for the Seahawks on Sunday, who have just cooked up four straight wins. Seattle’s also won four of its last five games on the road, proving they can play away from the 12th man. If two weeks ago was any indication, the 49ers flat can’t hang with this Seattle team right now. The ‘hawks trounced them 43-16. Seattle shouldn’t just cover this one, it shouldn’t even be close. Even though San Francisco won last week, Nick Mullens has played like a bottom-barrel quarterback. And Seattle’s defense is playing closer to the Legion of Boom than the defense they were in recent memory. Seattle all the way in this one.
Alex Altmix is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive.