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NFL Week 15 picks: Chargers fall to Chiefs; Rams edge out Seahawks

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to pass during a win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)
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The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to FanDuel (O/U = over/under). Last week’s record 11-3 (.786); season 128-79-1 (.618). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread last week would have been 9-5 (.643); season 101-105-2 (.490). All times Pacific.

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Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-5)

Chargers defensive tackle Justin Jones celebrates after stopping New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
Chargers defensive tackle Justin Jones (93) celebrates after stopping New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley on third down during the Chargers’ win Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Thursday, 5:20 p.m. PST

TV: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon

Line: Chiefs by 3. O/U: 521/2.

Analysis: The Chargers tend to play the Chiefs tough and won at K.C. earlier this season. Injuries to Austin Ekeler, Derwin James and Asante Samuel Jr. are a concern though and a season sweep is a tall order.

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Prediction: Chiefs 31, Chargers 27

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Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) at Cleveland Browns (7-6)

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throws a pass in front of Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi on Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr throws a pass in front of Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi on Sunday.
(Peter Aiken / Associated Press)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

TV: NFL Network

Line: Raiders by 1½. O/U: 39½.

Analysis: Nightmare scenario for Browns, with coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield among a slew of positive COVID tests. If it’s Case Keenum at QB, the desperate Raiders should survive.

Prediction: Raiders 24, Browns 20

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New England Patriots (9-4) at Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor carries the ball against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
(Tyler Kaufman / Associated Press)

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Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: NFL Network

Line: Colts by 2½. O/U: 44½.

Analysis: Colts’ front seven is beastly, and could be a brick wall when the Patriots try to run. Indianapolis is fresh after a week off, Jonathan Taylor runs it on everybody and Carson Wentz can make some plays.

Prediction: Colts 28, Patriots 23

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Houston Texans (2-11) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, left, speaks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, left, speaks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence during a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
(Mark Zaleski / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 705

Line: Jaguars by 3½. O/U: 39½.

Analysis: Jaguars are a disaster, and the possibility of players quitting on Urban Meyer can no longer happen because he was fired Wednesday night. Houston is playing hard and the defense is showing up. Still, it’s the Texans.

Prediction: Jaguars 17, Texans 13

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Tennessee Titans (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signals during a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 9.
(Stacy Bengs / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 706.

Line: Titans by 1½. O/U: 41½.

Analysis: The Titans are getting healthier and their defense does get a lot of pressure up the middle (ask the Rams). T.J. Watt is hobbled, this isn’t the same old Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are struggling.

Prediction: Titans 24, Steelers 20

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New York Jets (3-10) at Miami Dolphins (6-7)

Miami Dolphins safety Clayton Fejedelem celebrates during a win over the New York Giants on Dec. 5.
(Doug Murray / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 707.

Line: Dolphins by 10. O/U: 42.

Analysis: The Dolphins won five straight heading into their week off and their defense is playing phenomenally well. Miami has a bunch of running backs on the COVID list, but that probably won’t tip the scales.

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Prediction: Dolphins 27, Jets 13

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Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at Detroit Lions (1-11-1)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes during a loss to the Rams on Monday.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 708.

Line: Cardinals by 12½. O/U: 47.

Analysis: Detroit has been all over the map, playing some teams surprisingly close then completely failing to show up. Arizona, which is 7-0 on the road, will bounce back after an emotional loss to the Rams.

Prediction: Cardinals 31, Lions 17

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Dallas Cowboys (9-4) at New York Giants (4-9)

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott scrambles during a win over Washington on Sunday.
(Mark Tenally / Associated Press)

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Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: FOX. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Cowboys by 10½. O/U: 44½.

Analysis: The Cowboys should win this, but Dak Prescott isn’t playing great, Tony Pollard has a bum foot and the offensive line has issues. But on defense, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs are game changers.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Giants 21

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Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen scrambles during a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 710.

Line: Bills by 10½. O/U: 44½.

Analysis: The Panthers’ quarterback situation is a mess and without Christian McCaffrey the team really doesn’t have a running game. Desperate Buffalo can’t really run the ball or stop the run ... but it’s Carolina.

Prediction: Bills 27, Panthers 17

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Washington (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott takes the field with his teammates.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott (35) takes the field with his teammates before a game against the New York Jets on Dec. 5.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: DirecTV: 711.

Line: Eagles by 7. O/U: 44½.

Analysis: Philadelphia has won three of four and put a lot of points on the board, but it’s hard to know how good the Eagles really are. Washington won four in a row before losing to Dallas last week.

Prediction: Eagles 23, Washington 20

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Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Denver Broncos (7-6)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow runs with the ball during a loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
(Aaron Doster / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: DirecTV: 712.

Line: Bengals by 2½. O/U: 44.

Analysis: Bengals have lost two home games in a row and now head to a tough place to play. Joe Burrow is a budding superstar and Cincinnati has weapons. Denver has the receivers but doesn’t throw it anymore.

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Prediction: Bengals 27, Broncos 23

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Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at San Francisco 49ers (7-6)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks to pass during a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
(Emilee Chinn / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: DirecTV: 713.

Line: 49ers by 9. O/U: 46.

Analysis: The 49ers are rolling and teams won’t want to meet them in the playoffs. The Falcons forced three turnovers against Carolina and the run defense showed up, but the 49ers are more formidable.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Falcons 17

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Seattle Seahawks (5-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford signals during a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday.
(Jeff Lewis / Associated Press)

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Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: FOX. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Rams by 4½. O/U: 45½.

Analysis: The Rams typically play Seattle well, and Aaron Donald historically has gotten to Russell Wilson. No Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t help, but Rams should keep momentum going after big win at Arizona.

Prediction: Rams 33, Seahawks 20

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Green Bay Packers (10-3) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 715.

Line: Packers by 4½. O/U: 43½.

Analysis: Lamar Jackson is hobbled and playing behind a porous offensive line, and the Baltimore defense is riddled with injuries. Green Bay has won three of four, with a week off thrown in there too.

Prediction: Packers 27, Ravens 20

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New Orleans Saints (6-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

TV: NBC

Line: Buccaneers by 10½. O/U: 46½.

Analysis: New Orleans beat Tampa Bay on Halloween and typically gives the Buccaneers problems. Tampa has had to reshuffle the secondary, but Saints don’t have a QB like Drew Brees to take advantage.

Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Saints 21

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Minnesota Vikings (6-7) at Chicago Bears (4-9)

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 9.
(Stacy Bengs / Associated Press)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Line: Vikings by 3½. O/U: 33.

Analysis: Vikings are fairly solid — Dalvin Cook is back, Justin Jefferson is on a hot streak, Kirk Cousins is accurate — and the Bears just aren’t good. Anything can happen in a division game, but this is a mismatch.

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Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 17


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