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Kibbles and Picks 2017 – Week 15

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The struggle continues.

Thanks to a 10-6 record in Week 14, I’ve sliced one game from Stella’s lead. She went 9-7, which means that her advantage is a still-daunting five games with just three weeks (counting this one) left. We’re in the home stretch – I’m running out of time to take my shot.

I’ve got seven games where I can potentially make up some ground here in Week 15. It’s a chance to make a huge move. Conversely, Stella can put this thing out of reach. Most likely, we’ll come down somewhere between the two extremes.

This weekend sees a pair of Saturday games – both of which see Stella and I at odds.

In the Bears/Lions tilt, I’m picking Detroit. I like the home team in this situation, and while QB Matthew Stafford might still be hindered by injury, I still think the Lions are going to be able to move the football against a less-than-stellar Chicago defense. It won’t be pretty, but I like Detroit. Stella acknowledges that the Bears aren’t world-beaters, but they don’t have to beat the world. Just the Lions. And she’s expecting Chicago to work the ball-control angle, grinding it out on the ground with Jordan Howard. She also likes the possibility of a big Tarik Cohen return making the difference.

In one of the weekend’s potential marquee games, I’m picking the Chargers to go into Kansas City and take down the reeling Chiefs. Philip Rivers has looked awfully good under center, while Keenan Allen has put himself in top-five territory as far as receivers. Melvin Gordon’s pretty good too. I like Los Angeles here. Stella believes that Kansas City has righted the ship to an extent. She thinks Alex Smith will handle his business against the LA secondary; she’s calling for big games similar to last week from both Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt. Both teams will struggle on defense, but she’s in on the Chiefs.

I’m calling for the Dolphins to win one on the road in Buffalo. I think the Dolphins will be riding high after their Monday night upset of the Patriots. Jay Cutler looked confident, Kenyan Drake is performing at a high level and the defense looks awfully frisky. This Miami team looks like a potential tough out here in the season’s final weeks. Stella saw some good in that Dolphins performance, but she doesn’t think they’re going to handle being in Buffalo very well. The Bills gutted out a win in blizzard conditions last week; they’re certainly not worried. She’s a bit concerned about the QB situation, but she expects LeSean McCoy to have a big game.

I’ve got Arizona winning on the road in Washington. I haven’t found them to be particularly impressive, but I think they've got enough to stop Kirk Cousins and company. Stella’s thinks Washington will put it all together in this game and expects Kirk Cousins to take down the Cardinals. In the end, though … no one cares.

I’ve got Carolina winning at home against the Packers. I’m a big believer in the talent of Cam Newton; he’s been a bit up and down as of late, but he was definitely up last week. I expect more of the same, with an unsung skill player coming up big and maybe some game-changers on the defensive side. Stella’s in on Green Bay; she’s not expecting miracles from the return of Aaron Rodgers, but she also thinks that he might just will this team into the playoffs. Davante Adams has been red-hot; the running game has looked legit. Regardless of what happens in subsequent weeks, she thinks the energy sparked by the return of Rodgers pushes Green Bay to the W.

In a great matchup, I’m picking the Rams over the Seahawks. It feels like a bit of a gamble picking the visitor in a game in Seattle, but I really like this Rams squad. Jared Goff has made the leap and Todd Gurley is one of the two or three truly elite running backs in the league. With Robert Woods returning to reinforce a receiving corps that already had Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp, I think a Seahawks D depleted by injury will struggle to keep up. Stella concedes all of those points, but counters with this one: none of those players are Russell Wilson. Wilson has put together a season that only gets more astonishing the more you look at it. He’s one of the few players who can carry a team to victory by himself. While the LA pass rush offers plenty of obstacles, Stella thinks Wilson and company find a way.

Finally, in a game absent of any real significance, I’m picking the Titans to beat the 49ers – mostly because I’m clinging to the belief that Marcus Mariota is going to snap out of his season-long funk. Stella thinks I’m nuts – she’s picking San Francisco. She likes what she has seen out of Jimmy Garoppolo thus far and thinks he has the goods. But again … no one cares.

And that’s that. Seven games in which to close the gap. Keep rooting for me – I need all of the help I can get.

Stella, as always, remains unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 14

DENVER at Indianapolis

Saturday, Dec. 16

Chicago at DETROIT

LA CHARGERS at Kansas City

Sunday, Dec. 17

MIAMI at Buffalo

BALTIMORE at Cleveland

Cincinnati at MINNESOTA

NY Jets at NEW ORLEANS

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

ARIZONA at Washington

Green Bay at CAROLINA

Houston at JACKSONVILLE

LA RAMS at Seattle

NEW ENGLAND at Pittsburgh

Tennessee at SAN FRANCISCO

DALLAS at Oakland

Monday, Dec. 18

ATLANTA at Tampa Bay

Week 14 record: 10-6

Season record: 129-79

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 14

DENVER at Indianapolis

Saturday, Dec. 16

CHICAGO at Detroit

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

Sunday, Dec. 17

Miami at BUFFALO

BALTIMORE at Cleveland

Cincinnati at MINNESOTA

NY Jets at NEW ORLEANS

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

Arizona at WASHINGTON

GREEN BAY at Carolina

Houston at JACKSONVILLE

LA Rams at SEATTLE

NEW ENGLAND at Pittsburgh

TENNESSEE at San Francisco

DALLAS at Oakland

Monday, Dec. 18

ATLANTA at Tampa Bay

Week 14 record: 9-7

Season record: 134-74

Last modified on Friday, 22 December 2017 14:40

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