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Kibbles and Picks 2022 – Week 15

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So you’re telling me there’s a chance …

After Stella and I put up identical 8-5 records in Week 14, I have maintained my slim one-game lead. And with just a few weeks left, I’m starting to have just the tiniest glimmer of hope that I might come out on top this season.

Foolishness and hubris, of course, but a man can dream, right?

For her part, Stella is unconcerned; traditionally, this is about the point in the season when she gets red-hot, so no lead is really safe, let alone one that is a scant single game.

There’s room to move this week, as we’re at odds in seven of the week’s full slate of 16 contests. In an odd confluence of circumstances, in six of those games, I have taken the visitors, while Stella has contented herself with some home cooking. Just one of those things, I suppose – we’ll see whether I’ve made a (or several) terrible mistake(s).

First up, I’ve got the former Browns – i.e. the Ravens – returning to Cleveland and knocking out the current Browns. I’m not at all sure about this one, what with the Ravens offense in turmoil – they’re not even sure who’s going to be playing quarterback, though it almost certainly won’t be Lamar Jackson. Still, that defense should be able to carry the day against the Browns. Stella expects that Cleveland will manage to get it done with a combination of ball control offense – don’t expect much from QB Deshaun Watson beyond game management – and a few forced turnovers against whoever winds up under center for Baltimore.

Next, I’ve got Atlanta taking down the Saints in New Orleans. There’s no real reason to pick the Falcons – or indeed, to care about this game at all – but here we are. Just a hunch. Stella’s not sure what we’re going to see from the Saints, but she expects it’ll be enough to take down this spiraling Falcons team. We won’t be watching this one.

After that, it’s Lions/Jets. I’ve got Detroit winning this one – they’re suddenly and surprisingly frisky, showing flashes of that high-scoring offense we saw earlier in the season while playing slightly less abysmal defense. Detroit might not have much postseason playoff hope, but this is not a team that anyone wants to play down the stretch. Stella doesn’t like the Jets as a team, but she thinks that the Lions are going to stumble here. She’s got a good feeling about Mike White at QB in this one – she expects the White Lotus to continue showing everyone why this Jets squad likes him so much. There’s potential for an interesting game here.

On to Carolina, where I’ve got the Steelers coming in and taking down the Panthers. Yes, Pittsburgh is reeling a bit and struggling with some injury issues, but I think they’ve got what it takes to slow things down and take care of the ball. As long as they do that, they’ll handle Carolina. Stella is picking the Panthers less because she likes them and more because she’s not a fan of where the Steelers are – particularly with backup QB Mitch Trubisky taking the snaps. Another snorefest of a game.

In the sole home winner I picked in this particular bunch, I have the Broncos winning at home against the Cardinals. Again, I am not at all enamored of the disaster that is the current iteration of Russell Wilson, but the Denver defense has looked OK and the truth is that even the shuffling corpse of Wilson is better than Cards QB Colt McCoy. Stella recognizes that the loss of Kyler Murray is huge, but she’s playing a hunch that Arizona will come out firing after their Monday night loss to the Patriots. So long as McCoy protects the ball – and she believes he will – the Cards have a good shot.

Speaking of New England, I’ve picked them to beat the Raiders in Las Vegas in a showdown with former Pats assistant and current Vegas head coach Josh McDaniel. The Patriots haven’t looked great in recent weeks, but they’re still in contention for a potential playoff spot. Plus, there’s no doubt that Bill Belichick and the rest of this squad would really enjoy making sure that McDaniel knows who’s boss. Of course, if the running back room remains utterly depleted, this might be a tougher row to hoe. Stella’s going with the Raiders here; she doesn’t think that New England will have an answer for either Josh Jacobs or Davante Adams and that Vegas will put up too many points for the hobbled New England offense to overcome.

Lastly, I’ve got the Bengals beating the Buccaneers. Basically, I like Joe Burrow more than I like Tom Brady at this moment, though the injuries to the Cincy receiving corps do have me a little nervous about this pick. Still, I think they’ll have enough skill position talent on the field to handle their business against Tampa Bay. Stella’s going with the Bucs precisely because of those injury woes. Plus, it’s Tom Brady – she thinks that even with the sideline strife in Tampa, Brady will find a way to win, if only out of pure spite.

And there it is. Seven games. Let’s wait and see what happens this week. Will I expand my lead? Will Stella wrest it away? An odd number of contests means that there’s a real chance we wind up tied after Week 15’s action, which would be a hell of a thing this close to season’s end. Follow along and find out!

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, December 14

SAN FRANCISCO at Seattle

Saturday, December 16

Indianapolis at MINNESOTA

BALTIMORE at Cleveland

Miami at BUFFALO

Sunday, December 17

PHILADELPHIA at Chicago

ATLANTA at New Orleans

DETROIT at NY Jets

PITTSBURGH at Carolina

DALLAS at Jacksonville

KANSAS CITY at Houston

Arizona at DENVER

NEW ENGLAND at Las Vegas

Tennessee at LA CHARGERS

CINCINNATI at Tampa Bay

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

Monday, December 18

LA Rams at GREEN BAY

Week 14 record: 8-5

Season record: 124-80-2

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, December 14

SAN FRANCISCO at Seattle

Saturday, December 16

Indianapolis at MINNESOTA

Baltimore at CLEVELAND

Miami at BUFFALO

Sunday, December 17

PHILADELPHIA at Chicago

Atlanta at NEW ORLEANS

Detroit at NY JETS

Pittsburgh at CAROLINA

DALLAS at Jacksonville

KANSAS CITY at Houston

ARIZONA at Denver

New England at LAS VEGAS

Tennessee at LA CHARGERS

Cincinnati at TAMPA BAY

NY Giants at WASHINGTON

Monday, December 18

LA Rams at GREEN BAY

Week 14 record: 8-5

Season record: 123-81-2

Last modified on Saturday, 17 December 2022 09:49

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