We can’t remember the last time a week went by in the National Football League when there wasn’t at least one surprising upset. This is due to the vast amounts of parity around the league, and also serves as one of the main reasons why the NFL is far and away the most popular professional sports league in the country.
Last week, we saw the Oakland Raiders go into Denver and stun the Broncos in an AFC West rivalry game; we saw the Washington Redskins go on the road and keep their playoff hopes alive by beating the Chicago Bears; and we saw the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers knock off the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals. What’s next? Here is a look at three potential upsets in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
Note: All upset picks are against the spread (ATS) picks.
1. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) over Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)
Point Spread: Jaguars favored by 3 points
Location: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
This matchup may not have playoff implications, but it does have the potential to be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. After a 6-1 start to the season, the Falcons went into free-fall mode, losing their last six games. That said, whenever they bust out of their current slump, they unquestionably have the ability to play with most teams in the league.
The Jaguars, on the other hand, may not be a playoff-caliber team yet, but they do have a roster loaded with young talent. When it comes to the game, we forecast a huge day for Atlanta on the offensive side of the ball, led by another huge performance out of All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones (pictured above). In the end, we see the Falcons going into Jacksonville and ending their six-game losing streak with a straight-up victory.
2. Washington Redskins (6-7) over Buffalo Bills (6-7)
Point Spread: Bills favored by 1.5 points
Location: FedExField, Landover, Maryland
Both teams in this matchup will enter the game with their postseason lives on the line. Surprisingly, the Redskins are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East, and the Bills still have an outside chance at landing one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots. When it comes down to it, we believe that this game will be decided by Washington’s home-field advantage. The Redskins are 5-2 at home this season, while the Bills are just 3-3 on the road in 2015. We anticipate a low-scoring affair here, with the Redskins prevailing by a field goal.
3. Denver Broncos (10-3) over Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)
Point Spread: Steelers favored by 7 points
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In our eyes, this is the game of the week. At first glance, the point spread here may seem unusually high, but when you consider the fact that the Steelers will enter this matchup as the hottest team in the AFC, while the Broncos are coming off an embarrassing upset loss at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, it’s completely understandable. Nevertheless, we see this game being decided by a field goal or less in either team’s favor.
The Broncos’ defense may be the only defensive unit in the league that is equipped to handle Pittsburgh’s explosive offense, and we highly doubt that the Denver offense will lay another egg like they did in their loss to the Raiders. This game could easily go in either direction, but for all intents and purposes, we believe that the Broncos will cover this point spread.