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NFL Week 15 picks: The return of Aaron Rodgers, but the loss of Carson Wentz

The NFC Wild Card race just got a whole helluva lot more interesting with the return of the best quarterback in football. Also, it’s way more of a bummer.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I bragged about my above-.500 record before getting into my picks for Week 14. This week, however, there’s not much to brag about. A 3-11 record last week against the spread... Woof. If you ask me if that’s bad, well, I can tell you that it’s definitely not good. I’m certain this week will be better though because that’s the lie degenerate gamblers tell themselves and trust me here, guys, I know what I’m talking about.

Ignore me, but don’t ignore what’s about to happen. Let’s get to the picks.

COLTS +2.5 over Broncos

Take “Thursday Night Football,” strap it to a rocket and send it into the friggin’ sun. I’m over it. I’m done with these awful games that are preordained before the season even begins. Here’s an idea: Let’s not ink these games for primetime television when the prospective quarterbacks are Trevor Siemian and a damaged Andrew Luck.

The Broncos are 1-5-1 against the spread this season when they’re the favorite, whereas the Colts, who have been favored just once this season against Cleveland, are 3-2 this season as home underdogs. Take the Colts, take the points, but don’t bother with watching. Scrape the grout from your shower tiles, tickle your nostrils with a toothpick to induce a sneeze, replace each individual light bulb on your Christmas tree even though they don’t need changing, whatever you can think of instead of tuning in, do it.

LIONS -5.5 over Bears


CHARGERS -1 over Chiefs

The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t come this far to falter now. If there’s a team peaking at the right time, it’s the Chargers. They’re quickly becoming this year’s “nobody wants to see them in the playoffs” team in the AFC, and with good reason: they get after the quarterback (37 sacks, fifth in the NFL), and they don’t turnover the football (11 total turnovers, third-fewest in the NFL).

As for the Chiefs and Andy Reid, you’re welcome. 28 rushes and receptions for 138 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown from Kareem Hunt helped the Chiefs win their first game since Halloween. Truly spooky how putting the ball in the hands of a guy like Hunt helps you win football games.

PACKERS +3 over Panthers

He’s back, and there’s nothing you’ll be able to do to avoid all the Aaron Rodgers talk this week.

Earlier in the week, the line favored Carolina by as much as 5.5 points, but since the Instagram announcement heard ‘round the world, the money’s moved back towards Green Bay. This may seem like an overreaction, but that’s part of the trap. Packers. Points. Profit.

RAVENS -7 over Browns

I’m officially renouncing my fandom for the Cleveland Browns. After last week’s collapse against the Packers, I’ve had enough. I’m a free agent in search of a downtrodden AFC team that can keep me both semi-disappointed and mildly entertained. Show me you care and leave me a suggestion in the comments.

TEXANS +11 over Jaguars

Nothing could ever convince me to believe a football team quarterbacked by Blake Bortles will cover a spread larger than two scores. Literally nothing. His running back is Leonard Fournette? Cool. Jacksonville’s defense leads the league in sacks and takeaways? Sweet. You could more easily convince me to eat mozzarella sticks without marinara sauce.

VIKINGS -10.5 over Bengals

Eventually the Cincinnati Bengals will make a New Year’s resolution to not let Marvin Lewis keep them mired in mediocrity, but until then, we’ll continue to see performances from Cincinnati like the one they put up against the lowly Chicago Bears last week.

Minnesota is 5-1 at home against the spread this season, their only loss coming in Week 4 against the Lions. The Vikings are, in fact, the real deal. The Bengals, on the other hand, are definitely not very good. Also, don’t forget the Vikings are coming off a tough loss to the Panthers last week, and they’re looking to lock up the NFC North and take another convincing step towards securing a first-round bye.

SAINTS -15 over Jets

You think I’m nuts for laying 15 points in an NFL game, but I think you’re nuts for thinking you can trust Bryce Petty to protect a 15-point cushion.

GIANTS +7.5 over Eagles

If I had the chance to be a high-ranking member of the football gods, this season wouldn’t have taken the stupid turn its taken. No way I’d let Carson Wentz tear his ACL. I mean, if something like that happened to slip by me, I’d definitely make up for it by letting him get back into the huddle, run three more plays and then throw a touchdown pass—preferably not to Alshon Jeffery. With the return of Rodgers, it certainly seems like the powers that be are trying to even things up, but they definitely aren’t.

I had one thing on my Christmas list, and that was a playoff matchup between the Eagles and Saints. If that purchase has already been made, football overlords, I hope you have a gift receipt for me.

Alright, rapid fire from here on out. I’m totally bummed out because injuries are dumb and I swear they’re never fair. Even when the player heals from an injury to return with plenty of time to once again crush your spirits heading into the New Year.

See what I’m saying?!

CARDINALS +4 over Washington

Wherever Kirk Cousins ends up next season, so long as it isn’t Washington, I’ll like that team’s chances to make the playoffs. Especially if it’s the Arizona Cardinals. Hey, now that’s an idea...

RAMS +2.5 over Seahawks

Keep the playoff hopes alive for the Lions, Los Angeles football team No. 1.

PATRIOTS -3 over Steelers

Never, ever, count out Touchdown Tom.

49ERS -2 over Titans

Pinch me because I’m seriously falling for this Jimmy Garoppolo and Marquise Goodwin connection.

COWBOYS -3 over Raiders

Remember who was the highest-paid quarterback before Matthew Stafford assumed that title? Here’s a side by side comparison of the two player’s stats from this season.

Carr: 63.8 percent completion percentage, 2,942 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a QB rating of 88.3.
Stafford: 65.6 percent completion percentage, 3,683 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and a QB rating of 97.9.

Not entirely sure what this means for this game, but I think it’s me pointing out that in case you were wondering if Derek Carr is better than Matthew Stafford, well, stop doing that. The other thing is that after the loss last week to the Chiefs, the Raiders aren’t positioned well to make the playoffs.

BUCCANEERS +6.5 over Falcons

The home underdog. Remember, learn to love ‘em! Also, let’s keep those Lions playoff hopes alive. Not so much because I want them to have a chance to compete and advance and win the Super Bowl. That would be cool, but I want to see Twitter melt down when Jim Caldwell lives to see another day.