Sam Farmer’s NFL picks for Week 15

Green Bay Packers' Preston Smith (91) congratulates teammate Kenny Clark (97) for his sack in the second half against the Washington Redskins on Dec. 8 in Green Bay, Wisc.
(Quinn Harris / Getty Images)

The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to (O/U = over/under). Last week’s record 13-3 (.813); season 132-75-1 (.638). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 11-4-1 (.733); season 111-92-5 (.547). Times are Pacific.

New England Patriots (10-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-12)

Sunday, 10 a.m. PST

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Patriots by 4. O/U: 401/2.

Getting embarrassed once a season is one thing, but it seems every time the Patriots face a decent opponent, they struggle. The one-win Bengals aren’t as horrible as their record suggests.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Bengals 21

Denver Broncos (5-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Chiefs by 91/2. O/U: 451/2.

This looks a lot more interesting than it did a few weeks ago. Vic Fangio has a really tough defense, and Drew Lock is looking legit. Courtland Sutton is on his way to being a superstar. Still, KC gets the edge.


Prediction: Chiefs 28, Broncos 23

Miami Dolphins (3-10) at New York Giants (2-11)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Giants by 31/2. O/U: 461/2.

The Dolphins are still playing hard for Brian Flores. Do the Giants feel the same way with Pat Shurmur? Ryan Fitzpatrick might have enough magic left to lift Miami to victory in this one.

Prediction: Dolphins 27, Giants 20

Houston Texans (8-5) at Tennessee Titans (8-5)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Titans by 3. O/U: 50.

Ryan Tannehill is 6-1 as the starter for the Titans, and the Texans almost never give up 100 yards to a back on the ground. This figures to be interesting. Derrick Henry is a difference maker.

Prediction: Titans 24, Texans 20

Seattle Seahawks (10-3) at Carolina Panthers (5-8)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Seahawks by 6. O/U: 48.

The Seahawks are coming off a spirit-crushing loss and they’re hungry to stay in the NFC West race with San Francisco. The Panthers are rudderless, and the shine has come off QB Kyle Allen.

Prediction: Seahawks 31, Panthers 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) at Detroit Lions (3-9-1)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Buccaneers by 3. O/U: 47.

The Lions are going to try to establish the run, but they aren’t going to be able to move it far on the ground against Tampa Bay’s defense. You can run it on the Lions, and the Buccaneers know it.

Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Lions 17

Chicago Bears (7-6) at Green Bay Packers (10-3)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Packers by 4. O/U: 401/2.

The Packers are living off a defensive name they earned early in the season, but they’re beatable. Mitch Trubisky has bounced back of late for the Bears, who are playing a lot better.

Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 20

Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) at Washington Redskins (3-10)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Eagles by 41/2. O/U: 40.

Even though the hapless Redskins are still trying for Bill Callahan, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz should be able to lead his team to a road win in Washington. The NFC East is brutal this season.


Prediction: Eagles 27, Redskins 17

Minnesota Vikings (9-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-8)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Vikings by 21/2. O/U: 45.

Hard to know which Chargers team you’ll get from week to week. They’ve got some confidence after stomping the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Still, Minnesota has too much firepower.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Chargers 23

Cleveland Browns (6-7) at Arizona Cardinals (3-9-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Browns by 3. O/U: 48.

The Cardinals can’t stop anyone from throwing, so this could be a big day for Baker Mayfield. Kyler Murray has taken steps backwards in the last few weeks. Cleveland should take care of business.

Prediction: Browns 31, Cardinals 20

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) at Oakland Raiders (6-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 715.

Line: Raiders by 61/2. O/U: 451/2.

The Jaguars have lost five in a row, all of them blowouts. They have packed it in for the season. The Raiders are playing their last game in Oakland, so they get their act together for a final Sunday.

Prediction: Raiders 27, Jaguars 21

Los Angeles Rams (8-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-7)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 716.

Line: Rams by 1. O/U: 481/2.

Give Jared Goff time and he will pick you apart. The offensive line is providing that time, and Todd Gurley looks like himself again. The Cowboys have lost four of five, and their confidence is kaput.

Prediction: Rams 34, Cowboys 23

Atlanta Falcons (4-9) at San Francisco 49ers (11-2)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 717.

Line: 49ers by 10 1/2. O/U: 48.

Any questions about Jimmy Garoppolo have been answered the last month with four consecutive passer ratings of 110 or better. The Falcons can’t run it at all, and throwing on the 49ers is really tough.


Prediction: 49ers 30, Falcons 17

Buffalo Bills (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

Sunday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Steelers by 2. O/U: 36.

Hard to bet against the Steelers in primetime games, especially those played in Pittsburgh. Josh Allen is by far the better quarterback in this, but the Steelers can hold up defensively.

Prediction: Steelers 23, Bills 18

Indianapolis Colts (6-7) at New Orleans Saints (10-3)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.


Line: Saints by 9. O/U: 46.

The Colts are definitely heading in the right direction in the long term, but they’re too banged up now. Saints will bounce back from an emotionally charged loss to San Francisco.

Prediction: Saints 34, Colts 23