Think you have the NFL all figured out with 14 weeks of the 2015 NFL season in the books?
These four Week 15 games are brimming with upset potential based on the Sports Book Review consensus point spreads as of Friday morning.
Arizona at Philadelphia (+3 1/2)
The Cardinals (11-2) are 4-0 in prime time this season, but the Eagles (6-7) have won two in a row and will have a boisterous home crowd behind them. The Eagles’ winning streak has coincided with Sam Bradford’s return. In the last four games he’s played, Bradford has thrown five touchdown passes and one interception.
Coach Kelly: I think Sam Bradford has a better feel and a better understanding of what we’re trying to do from an attack standpoint.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 17, 2015
The Eagles and Cardinals are tied for second in the league with 25 takeaways, but the Eagles slumped in that department before regaining their touch with two takeaways in each of the last two games.
According to Accuweather.com, the temperature in Philadelphia Sunday night is expected to dip below 40 degrees. The Cardinals are 4-21 since 2001 when the thermometer reads below 50, according to ESPN.com.
The Cardinals will be fine. They’re almost certain to get a first-round playoff bye. Expect a minor slip-up on Sunday Night Football, however.
Carolina at Giants (+4 1/2)
The Panthers are 13-0 and the Giants are 6-7, and by now you’ve probably heard that in 1998 a 13-0 Broncos team went to the Meadowlands and lost 20-16 to a 5-8 Giants team. It’s a popular story line, but is it really relevant today? Cam Newton was 9. Odell Beckham Jr. was 6. As a franchise, the Panthers were 3. What the Giants did 17 years ago is no basis to predict an upset of the Panthers, but injuries are. Running back Jonathan Stewart will be out for the Panthers according to the Charlotte Observer and tight end Greg Olsen is banged up. That’s just enough to feed the 1998 narrative and deem this a potential upset.
Denver (+6 1/2) at Pittsburgh
The Broncos (10-3) failed to score a touchdown in three trips inside the red zone in last week’s 15-12 home loss to the Raiders and they’re tied for 28th in the league with touchdowns on 44.44 percent of their trips inside the 20 according to TeamRankings.com. However, Brock Osweiler has Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders (in his return to Heinz Field) at his disposal against a defense that’s allowing 279 passing yards per game, second only to the Giants. So the Broncos might be able to circumvent the whole red zone thing.
The Steelers (8-5) are fifth with 284.8 passing yards per game, but the Broncos boast the best passing defense in the league (188.2 yards per game) and have allowed four plays of 40 or more yards, fewest in the league.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 18, 2015
This will be just the Broncos’ second visit to Heinz Field. It’s weird to think that the only two Broncos quarterbacks to start at Heinz Field will be Jake Plummer and Osweiler. Like Plummer in 2006, Osweiler has a legitimate chance to win Sunday.
Buffalo at Washington (+1 1/2)
This wouldn’t be a huge upset, but the point spread leaves a little bit of meat on the bone for those who want to take the Redskins and the points. These two teams are heading in opposite directions. LeSean McCoy and the Bills (6-7) were unable to win last week’s revenge game at Philadelphia and are two games out of the final playoff spot in the AFC. The Redskins (6-7), meanwhile, won their first road game of the season last week, beating the Bears at Chicago. They’re in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East and unlike the Bills control their playoff fate.
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 18, 2015
Kirk Cousins has thrown 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions at home this season, and those two interceptions came in Week 1. He’ll be going against a Bills defense that has 19 sacks this season, third-fewest in the NFL. The NFC East might be ridiculed for possibly sending a .500 team (or worse) to the playoffs, but a second straight loss to a team in this division would probably snuff out the Bills’ already faint playoff hopes.