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Top Three Upset Picks for Week 15 of the NFL Season

Last week I went 3-for-3 in my picks, including picking the Raiders and Broncos as the game to avoid.

I am not sure how many survivor pools are still going on, but I doubt there would be many left due to the insane amount of rash upsets there have been this season.

Therefore, the last three weeks of this column will be an upset guide, not a survivor contest.


Upset Bids for Week 15

3. Cowboys +3.5 vs Jets (Saturday night)

Are the Jets the good bad team? Their eight wins came against the Browns, Colts, Dolphins x2, Washington, Jaguars, Giants, and Titans. Those teams combined record is 39-65. The Jets lost to the Eagles, Patriots, Raiders, Bills, and Texans, whose combined record is 35-30. The Jets do not have one signature win that gives you confidence they can make a playoff run. I am predicting for the Jets to lose their next three games.  As a Jets fan, I've seen this tale all too well. Get your hopes up, then not make the playoffs. I'm not falling for it this year. It starts with a loss this Saturday night to the Cowboys.

The Cowboys are not as awful as their record shows (they are still bad though). They lost by one possession in four straight games and blew a two possession lead in another. Matt Cassell will have time to throw the ball. The Jets pass rush is ranked 18th according to Football Outsiders.  The Cowboys defense should have a good game. The Jets are ranked 26th in pass protection per Football Outsiders. That's not good news when facing Greg Hardy. Good luck D'Briskshaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini . The pass rush will cause Ryan Fitzpatrick  to shuffle his feet, leading to some terrible throws and throw the game away.

Additionally, Vegas is practically begging you to bet the Jets. Three points seems a little low for a team in the playoff picture, against a Cowboys team that is 4-9. Take the home dog in this Saturday night slate.


2. Giants +6 vs. Panthers

When the Panthers were 10-0, I looked ahead at their schedule and predicted this is where they would lose their first game. The Giants show up for big games. Their best game of the year was in a loss to New England. They also had a great showing in Buffalo against a then hot Bills team. So long as Eli Manning gets time to throw, he and Odell Beckham Jr. are unstoppable. In Beckham's 25 career NFL games, he has 24 receiving touchdowns. Beckham will face-off against the best cornerback in the NFL this year, Josh Norman. Beckham will win, though. He's too fast and elusive for anyone.

The Panthers are banged up on the offensive side. Greg Olsen will play, but injured his knee on Sunday. Running back, Jonathan Stewart was diagnosed with a foot sprain and is day-to-day. Stewart has been great all year, with 989 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns, and will be greatly missed if he can't go.

This is a must win game for the Giants, as next week the Giants play in freezing Minnesota on Sunday night football. I think the NFC East can be won at 8-8,  but not 7-9. The Giants can afford to lose one more, which will be in Minnesota, but not against Carolina.


1. Broncos +6.5 at Steelers

This could not be a better matchup. Hottest offense meets best defense. The Broncos have the best defense and pass rush, per DVOA. . If Peyton Manning were playing, I have a feeling the line would be two points lower. The Broncos are 10-3 and coming off a bad home loss to the Raiders. They are still alive for home-field advantage in the playoffs, so long as they win this game. Brock Osweiler is one of the worst deep ball throwers, but one of the best short throwers. He reminds me of Chad Pennington. Gary Kubiak knows all of this, and will go towards a more run heavy offense this week. More bootlegs, and easy throws for Osweiler to gain confidence.

The Steelers defense was susceptible to AJ McCarron. They allowed 280 yards, including a beautifully thrown 66-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to A.J. Green. McCarron did throw one of the worst pick-sixes of the year, but he was put into an un-winnable situation. I can't help but remember Russell Wilson lighting up this Steelers secondary three weeks ago. I don't see how Osweiler can play any worse than last week.

I'm not going to waste my time writing about how good the Steelers offense is. But, defense wins games. The best defense usually wins against the best offense. I wouldn't really consider this an upset though.


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