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If I learned one thing about Week 14, it’s that Tom Brady has every other team in the NFL right where he wants them.
Sure, his team just got plastered by the 49ers 35-7, but that could actually be good news for Brady. The game on Sunday marked just the fourth time in his career that he’s lost a game by 27 points or more and the previous three times it happened, Brady went on to WIN THE SUPER BOWL. Brady is playing 4-D chess while we’re all playing Boggle.
wait a minute
Biggest regular season losses of Tom Brady’s career
Went on to win Super Bowl?
2020, 35 vs Saints YES
2003, 31 vs Bills YES
2022, 28 vs 49ers ?
2014, 27 vs Chiefs YES pic.twitter.com/v1yHVs5rRd
I see what Brady’s doing and I’m not going to fall for it, so from now on, I won’t be picking the Buccaneers to lose another game. Actually, wait, I just looked at my Week 15 picks and I’m definitely not picking them to win on Sunday. I’m going to have to re-think this whole thing.
Anyway, let’s get to the Week 15 picks before I talk myself back into picking Brady this week.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you like clicking on things then I highly suggest you also click here so you can sign up for CBSSports.com’s NFL newsletter, which I’m in charge of. It makes a great holiday gift and that’s mostly because it doesn’t cost you anything and because it gets delivered to your inbox five days per week, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
While you’re thinking about whether you should sign up for the newsletter, you can pass the time by listening to the latest Pick Six podcast, which I recorded with Will Brinson. Earlier this week, we spent 15 minutes handing out our best bets for Week 15 and if you’re dying to know what our best bets are, you can listen below.
Alright, I really want to get my pick against the Buccaneers on the record, so let’s get this thing started.
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
As someone who once lived in a warm-weather state for six years (California), let me just say that there is nothing worse than being forced to visit a cold-weather city during the middle of December. No one willingly wants to do that. There’s a reason you don’t see people taking December vacations to Buffalo.
The forecast for this week’s game is calling for a high of 31 degrees with a chance of snow and you know who’s not going to be fazed by that? The Bills.
On other hand, I’m starting to have a feeling that the weather might end up being a problem for the Dolphins. If you’ve ever been to Miami, you may have noticed that people start wearing jackets there when the temperature falls below 70 degrees. In Buffalo, no one even owns a jacket, and if they do, it’s only so they can wear it to make fun of people from Miami.
What I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think the Dolphins are going to handle the weather too well. I mean, this is the team that brought their own bench heater for an INDOOR game being played in CALIFORNIA.
The Dolphins had heaters near their bench inside SoFi Stadium. Temperature outside was about 55 degrees.
They travel to Buffalo this week, where early weather reports call for snow and temperatures in the 20s 🥶😅 pic.twitter.com/Y7ecbxyVBB
If you can’t handle southern California in December, you have no chance of handling Buffalo during any month of the year, especially if you’re a Dolphins team that can’t win in cold weather.
Since the start of the 2017 season, the Dolphins have played seven games where the kickoff temperature was under 40 degrees and they’ve won exactly ZERO of them: They’ve gone 0-7 both straight-up and against the spread and they’ve lost those seven games by an average of 18.7 points. Sure, seven games isn’t a huge sample size, but let’s be real, you don’t need to have a huge sample size when dealing with cold weather because we have all of human history as our sample size and all of human history has shown us that people who don’t live in cold weather hate cold weather.
If you combine that with the fact that the Dolphins offense has been in a rut over the past two weeks, the fact that Tyreek Hill is banged up and the fact that Tua Tagovailloa looks like he’s forgotten how to play football, this feels like it all adds up to a Bills blowout win.
The Bills have won five straight home games against the Dolphins and they’ve won those games by an average score of 35.8 to 18.2. I was going to make that my final score prediction, but I’ve been asked not to put decimals in my predictions anymore.
The pick: Bills 34-20 over Dolphins
1 p.m. ET (CBS)
This isn’t a playoff game, but it’s going to kind of feel like a playoff game and that’s because the loser won’t have much hope of making the postseason, especially if that loser is the Lions. That being said, it’s probably for the best that this isn’t a playoff game, because if that were the case, I’d have to pick both teams to lose. The Jets currently have the NFL’s longest drought without a playoff appearance (they haven’t been there since 2010) and the Lions currently have the NFL’s longest drought without a playoff win (they haven’t won a postseason game since 1991).
My problem with picking the Jets is that I don’t even know who their quarterback is going to be this week. If Mike White is healthy enough to play, it will definitely be him, but I’m not sure he’s going to be healthy enough to play considering his rib cage almost got split in half by a Bills linebacker on Sunday.
prayers up for Mike White’s ribcage, or whatever remains of it pic.twitter.com/TgWYAwkKeB
So the Jets will either be rolling out an injured Mike White, Joe Flacco or that guy who got benched two weeks ago. Not ideal options.
As if that’s not bad enough, this game is giving us one of the hottest teams in football (Detroit) against a Jets team that has completely fallen part over the past four weeks. If the Lions have one weakness, it’s stopping the pass, but with their current quarterback situation, the Jets aren’t really equipped to take advantage of that.
Also, Dan Campbell has apparently decided that he’s going to be throwing the kitchen sink at everyone he faces for the rest of the season. I’m not sure where he’s getting all these kitchen sinks, be he’s definitely pulling out all the stops like he did against the Vikings on Sunday when he called for a fake punt on fourth-and-7 from HIS OWN 26-YARD LINE.
It’s a fake for the first down!#MINvsDET | 📺 FOX pic.twitter.com/WSOKmbnt2d
There’s no way I can pick against a coach who’s bold enough to call a fake punt in that situation.
The Lions have been an unstoppable force since Nov. 1 with five wins in their past six games and I’m not sure the Jets are going to be able to slow them down.
The pick: Lions 20-17 over Jets
1 p.m. ET (Fox)
With just four weeks to play in the regular season, the race to win the NFC South has somehow turned into the football equivalent of a Hallmark Christmas movie: I’ve watched 75% of it and I’m pretty sure it’s garbage, but now I’m sucked into it and there’s no way I can turn it off because I have to know how it ends.
If I had to compare this year’s NFC South race to one specific Hallmark movie, it would definitely be “A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe.” I mean, just look at this random person’s review on Twitter and you can’t tell me this doesn’t perfectly describe what’s happening in the NFC South.
A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe
I enjoyed the mystery of this but it wasn’t great. A solid meh. pic.twitter.com/iMWvBTuSWS
“I enjoyed the mystery of this but it wasn’t great” is pretty much how we’re all going to be describing the NFC South race by the time the season’s over.
Every team in the division has a losing record and all four teams are within two games of first place. The Buccaneers (6-7) are playing the Bengals this weekend and if Tampa Bay loses, that would mean huge things for the winner of this game. With a Tampa Bay loss, the Falcons could be in a tie for first place by the end of Week 15 with a win here.
I actually love what the Falcons are doing on offense this season: Arthur Smith has all but given up on throwing forward passes, and instead, he’s designed a run-heavy scheme that football fans in 1938 would love. The one issue I have with taking the Falcons in this spot is that Desmond Ridder will be making the first start of his career in a huge spot: The Falcons are playing their biggest rival in a game that could have division title ramifications in the NFC South.
If I have a chance to pick against a rookie QB in a high-pressure situation, I have to take it, so I’m rolling with the Saints.
The pick: Saints 27-24 over Falcons
4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
If I had to rank the five playoff contenders that I trust the least, these two teams would both definitely make the list. I can’t trust the Titans because they’ve looked like one of the worst teams in football over the past three weeks and I can’t trust the Chargers because they’re the Chargers.
I also can’t trust either team to win this game, which means that making a pick here is impossible. It’s like asking me to solve a Rubik’s cube while blindfolded and hanging upside down off the side of a burning building. There’s no way the situation is going to end well.
On one hand, I could see the Titans winning this game because they have the second-leading rusher in the NFL (Derrick Henry) and he’ll be going up against a Chargers defense that can’t stop the run. The Chargers are surrendering 5.4 yards per carry this year, which ranks dead last in the NFL. The Chargers’ magic number with rushing yards seems to be 150. When they hold a team below that number, they’re 4-1 this season, but when a team goes above that number, they’re 3-5. I’m guessing that’s because if a team is rushing for more than 150 yards, that means their offense is going to be on the field for a good chunk of the game, which means Justin Herbert won’t be on the field.
Speaking of Herbert, he might throw for 500 yards against Tennessee. The reason I can’t trust the Titans in this game is because they’re surrendering 283.7 passing yards per game this season, which is the second-worst number in the NFL, and that’s definitely not ideal when you’re facing the quarterback who has the second-most passing yards.
To recap, we have the NFL’s worst rushing defense (Chargers) going up against the NFL’s second-leading rusher (Henry) and one of the NFL’s worst passing defenses (Titans) going up against the NFL’s second-leading passer (Herbert).
To pick a winner in this game, I have to figure out which defense I trust more and I’m not sure I even trust my own opinion here. There are only three things I don’t trust in life: I don’t trust my wife when she says she’s only going to pick up ONE thing from Target, I don’t trust cats and I don’t trust bad defenses.
When I made my Chargers prediction last week, I said that the most Chargers thing possible would be for them to beat the Dolphins and then immediately follow that up by losing to the Titans, and that logic still seems pretty sound, so I’m going to go ahead and predict a Tennessee win here.
The pick: Titans 23-20 over Chargers.
8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
If it feels like you just saw these two teams play, that’s because you did. Someone in the NFL scheduling department clearly got a little lazy because this game will mark the second time in three weeks that these two teams have met (Week 13 and Week 15) and the Giants are definitely getting the short end of the stick here.
The unfair part for the Giants is that the Commanders will basically have had three weeks to prepare for this game while the Giants will be getting just a few days. How are the Commanders getting three weeks you ask? Well, this is their second game in a row against New York. They played the Giants in Week 13, then had a bye in Week 14 and will now be playing them again in Week 15, which means the Commanders have theoretically been prepping for the Giants since the day after their Week 12 game ended, which was on Nov. 28.
This is just the second time in 30 years that a team has gotten to play two straight games against the same team and if this goes anything like that last time, the Giants are in big trouble. The last time it happened, the team that got the bye week sandwiched in-between the two meetings ended up winning and that’s fully what I expect to happen here.
The reason I like the Commanders in this game actually has nothing to do with the Commanders and more with the fact that that Giants are playing their worst football of the season. Since Week 8, the Giants have gone 1-4-1 and their only victory came in a one-score win over the worst team in the NFL (Houston).
The Giants offense has taken a step back, their defense can’t stop anyone and the Commanders are getting nearly 20 days to prepare for this game. Also, while the Commanders were sitting at home in Week 14, the Giants were getting their teeth kicked in by the Eagles. That definitely feels like an advantage for Washington.
If I was in charge of the NFL, I’d make this game a continuation of the 20-20 tie that these two teams played in Week 13 and award the winner two victories, but I’m not in charge of anything, so this will just be a normal game that ends with a Washington win.
The pick: Commanders 27-20 over Giants
49ers 31-17 over Seahawks
Vikings 27-17 over Colts
Steelers 22-19 over Panthers
Eagles 38-24 over Bears
Ravens 19-16 over Browns
Cowboys 31-23 over Jaguars
Chiefs 34-24 over Texans
Cardinals 20-13 over Broncos
Raiders 26-23 over Patriots
Bengals 30-16 over Buccaneers
Packers 23-16 over Rams
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Lions would score exactly 34 points in a win over the Vikings and guess what happened? The Lions scored exactly 34 points in a win over the Vikings. Now, did I know that the Lions weren’t even going to try to guard Justin Jefferson? Of course I did. Dan Cambell is basically the reverse Bill Belichick. When you play Belichick, he takes away the thing you do best and then dares you to beat him. Campbell goes the opposite route: He let’s your best player do anything he wants and then stops everyone else. The Lions didn’t even bother trying to stop Justin Jefferson and that strategy somehow worked with Detroit winning the game, even though Jefferson went off for 223 yards.
Worst pick: With Tom Brady heading back to his home state last week, I thought for sure that he’d lead the Buccaneers to an upset win over the 49ers, but instead, the opposite happened. Not only did he lose, but to add insult to injury, he lost to the guy who was taken with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft (Brock Purdy). Picking the Bucs to win 23-20 might have been the most wrong I’ve ever been about any pick in my entire life. The silver lining is that I was only one point away from the total points scored in the game.
@johnbreech just read your score predictions for this week and I’ve gotta hand it to you for your accuracy, particularly with the #SFvsTB game. You were within 1 point of the total score (23-20), just not the right distribution (35-7) 😬
My pick sucked so bad that I will take any silver lining I can get, even if Danny here is making fun of me by pointing this out.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered which teams I’m actually good at picking, here’s a quick look at my best and worst teams when it comes to picks this year.
Teams I’m 12-1 picking this year (Straight up): Chiefs.
Longest winning streak: Chiefs (10 straight games picked correctly)
Team I’ve been the worst at picking this year (Straight up): Raiders (4-9).
Longest losing streak: Titans and 49ers (Two straight games picked incorrectly)
Every other team is somewhere in the middle.
Straight up in Week 14: 9-4
SU overall: 126-80-1
Against the spread in Week 14: 8-5
ATS overall: 100-100-8
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he’s probably trying to figure out if he remembered to DVR ‘A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe’ because if he didn’t, why even have a DVR?
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