Week 15 NFL Gridiron Guide: Panthers, Seahawks will cover against Jets, Giants

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch looks on Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch looks on before a game against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. (Dec. 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty

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John Boell Newsday sports writer John Boell

Boell has worked in the Newsday sports department in various capacities since 1999. In 2010, he became Newsday's ...

SEAHAWKS (11-2) at GIANTS (5-8), 1 p.m.

Seahawks by 7; O/U: 41 1/2

TV: Ch. 5. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Giants DE Justin Tuck had a warning for his teammates this week at practice. "The last thing you want to be is embarrassed," Tuck said. "And this is a team that, if you're not ready to play, they will embarrass you." He's not kidding. Seattle is tied for an NFL-best 9-4 against the spread (ATS). Plus, the 'Hawks are 9-2 ATS last 11 road games, 25-9 ATS in last 34 NFC games and look every bit like the team to beat in the NFC. Still, I wouldn't be shocked if the Giants (5-1 ATS in last six NFC games) gave one of their best efforts of the season here. It's just tough not to back the Seahawks, who I believe will make one more trip to MetLife Stadium this season: Feb. 2, 2014, for Super Bowl XLVIII.

The pick: Seahawks

JETS (6-7) at PANTHERS (9-4), 4:05 p.m.

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Panthers by 11; O/U: 40 1/2

TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)

So who was one of the first calls Rex Ryan made earlier this week? The psychic hotline? Nah. How about his twin brother, Rob, the defensive coordinator of the Saints, who had pounded Carolina Sunday night. Can't you just imagine the riveting conversation? "So here's what you do, Rexy!" The Jets got a much-needed win last week against Oakland to snap a three-game losing skid and still have an outside shot at the AFC playoffs. However, a win in Carolina is a tall order for the Jets, who are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games, and are 0-4 ATS in their last four following a win and cover. There are too many good trends going the way of Carolina, who has covered five straight at home.

The pick: Panthers

1 P.M. GAMES

PATRIOTS (10-3) at DOLPHINS (7-6)

Patriots by 1 1/2; O/U: 45 1/2

The Patriots have had ice water in their veins this season, going 7-3 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Don't be surprised if the Pats (5-2 ATS in last seven vs. the Dolphins) are behind early on Sunday. And don't be surprised when they rally to win and cover.

The pick: Patriots

49ERS (9-4) at BUCCANEERS (4-9)

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49ers by 5 1/2; O/U: 41

The Bucs have played very respectable football the second half of the season, and have covered five of their last six. However, the Niners are tied with Carolina with a 9-4 ATS record, and are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 NFC games.

The pick: 49ers

EAGLES (8-5) at VIKINGS (3-9-1)

Eagles by 4 1/2; O/U: 51 1/2

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Can't wait to enjoy a cheesesteak compliments of Editor Wayne, formerly of Detroit. But the prize myself and Philly fans REALLY want is to see their beloved Birds in the playoffs and the Cowboys sitting at home watching. The first-place Iggles can't afford a slip up here, and look to improve upon their 5-1 ATS road record.

The pick: Eagles

REDSKINS (3-10) at FALCONS (3-10)

Falcons by 7; O/U: 50

What is going on down I-95? Geez! The Redskins have turned into quite the circus. RG3-&-out as Kirk Cousins replaces Robert Griffin III. I think the Redskins players come together and keep things close enough against a fellow underachieving team.

The pick: Redskins

TEXANS (2-11) at COLTS (8-5)

Colts by 5 1/2; O/U: 45 1/2

The Texans have lost 11 straight after a 2-0 start, and maybe they'll play with a nothing-to-lose mentality . . . but I can't back them here or anywhere.

The pick: Colts

BEARS (7-6) at BROWNS (4-9)

Pick 'em; O/U: 45

Did Josh McCown and the Bears just score again on the Cowboys? My gosh, Josh! The Bears scored on all their possessions, not including the last one when they took a knee. Jay Cutler returns to take the helm for the Bears. No matter who is the QB, I think Chicago finds a way to win and keep their playoff hopes alive.

The pick: Bears

BILLS (4-9) at JAGUARS (4-9)

Bills by 2; O/U: 43

The Bills are 1-5 ATS in their last six games, while the Jags are 4-2. Close call, but I'll go with the hotter club.

The pick: Jaguars

4 P.M. GAMES

CHIEFS (10-3) at RAIDERS (4-9), 4:05 p.m.

Chiefs by 4 1/2; O/U: 41

It's interesting that the Raiders are one of the best bounce-back teams in the NFL with a 7-0 record ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. But the Raiders are banged up at the running back position, though Rashad Jennings (concussion) has been cleared to return. KC has covered five of their last six road games. Works for me.

The pick: Chiefs

PACKERS (6-6-1) at COWBOYS (7-6), 4:25 p.m.

OFF (Packers QB); O/U: OFF

TV: Ch. 5

I've seen this line with host Dallas as a seven-point favorite. I'd avoid this game like stomach flu. I knew Packers injured QB Aaron Rodgers was special, but I can't believe how badly the Packers have fallen apart without him. Since I have to pick every game, I'll take the healthier QB and better team: Tony Romo and Dallas, which needs to win to keep pace with first-place Philly.

The pick: Cowboys

SAINTS (10-3) at RAMS (5-8), 4:25 p.m.

Saints by 6; O/U: 47 1/2

This is a rare week where I'm backing plenty of favorites. I know the Rams could easily step up big against the Saints in this spot, but New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth with a win here.

The pick: Saints

CARDINALS (8-5) at TITANS (5-8), 4:25 p.m.

Cardinals by 2 1/2; O/U: 41 1/2

Arizona has been one of the best teams to back this season (9-4 ATS). The Titans usually play tight games. However, they are 1-4-1 ATS at home his season. One more juicy tidbit: The Cards are 7-1 ATS in last eight games vs. losing teams, while the Titans are 11-25-1 ATS in last 37 games vs. winning teams.

The pick: Cardinals

SUNDAY NIGHT

BENGALS (9-4) at STEELERS (5-8), 8:30 p.m.

Bengals by 2 1/2; O/U: 41

TV: Ch. 4. Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9); joined in progress

The only thing that would surprise me here would be a blowout win for the Steelers. I usually love home teams in prime time, and I expect this one to be close. Still, the favorite has covered six of the last seven games between these two AFC North foes. Worth a shot.

The pick: Bengals

MONDAY NIGHT

RAVENS (7-6) at LIONS (7-6), 8:40 p.m.

Lions by 6; O/U: 48 1/2

TV: ESPN; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9); joined in progress

These two teams would both be in the playoffs if the season ended today. I wonder what happens to the loser here? That's why I'm thinking this one will feel like a playoff game. I'm also curious if it hadn't stopped snowing in Philly last weekend, would the Lions have won and been sitting pretty at 8-5? I won't be surprised if Detroit wins at home. I just think Baltimore will stay within a touchdown.

The pick: Ravens

STAFF PICKS (best bets in caps)

JOHN BOELL: 93-108-7, 3-11 best bets; Last week: 9-7

Panthers Seahawks Patriots 49ers Eagles Redskins Colts Bears Jaguars CHIEFS Cowboys Saints Cardinals Bengals Ravens

BOB GLAUBER: 107-94-7, 6-6-2; Last week: 6-10

Panthers Seahawks Patriots 49ers Eagles Falcons COLTS Bears Jaguars Chiefs Cowboys Saints Cardinals Steelers Ravens

KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN: 105-96-7, 4-10; Last week: 8-8

Jets Seahawks PATRIOTS 49ers Eagles Falcons Colts Bears Jaguars Chiefs Cowboys Saints Cardinals Bengals Lions

TOM ROCK: 97-104-7, 6-8; Last week: 9-7

Panthers Seahawks Patriots 49ers Eagles Redskins Texans BEARS Jaguars Raiders Packers Saints Cardinals Bengals Lions

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