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NFL Week 15 Bold Predictions

  • The Draft Network
  • December 17, 2021
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Welcome to another edition of Bold Takes! The Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs blew the lid off Week 15 in rather impressive fashion by playing out an unpredictable overtime thriller on Thursday Night Football. The two AFC West foes combined for 62 points while keeping a national audience on the edge of their seats until its conclusion.

The remaining slate of Week 15 contests has several crucial matchups on its schedule. The 7-6 Cleveland Browns will host their fellow playoff-hopeful Las Vegas Raiders in a Monday contest following a COVID-related outbreak in Cleveland. The outcome will have wide-ranging implications on the playoff picture in the cluttered AFC. Sunday's afternoon showdown between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers will have wide-ranging implications for both squads as well. Tennessee could possibly clinch the AFC South or find themselves back in the No. 1 seed if they receive help elsewhere, while Pittsburgh desperately needs a win to remain in playoff contention.

As we continue to salivate over this weekend's slate of games, we've compiled three bold predictions.

JAGUARS DEFEAT TEXANS COMFORTABLY IN FIRST POST-URBAN MEYER GAME

The Jaguars finally rid themselves of the Urban Meyer stink after owner Shad Khan fired Meyer earlier this week, less than one year into a lucrative five-year contract. Meyer consistently alienated both players and members of his coaching staff while failing to put his Jaguars in a consistent position to be successful. Jacksonville's 53-man roster gets to turn a much-needed new leaf starting Sunday, and we expect them to respond in ideal fashion.

NFL teams typically perform well in their first contest following the firing of an unwanted coach, and we expect that trend to continue in a major way when Jacksonville takes the field to meet the Houston Texans on Sunday. The lowly Texans currently match Jacksonville's record at 2-11, but the difference-maker should be how free and loose this Jaguars locker room is currently feeling since being freed of Meyer's toxic personality. 

Interim head coach Darrell Bevell now takes the reins on an interim basis. A 21-year coaching veteran that's held various offensive roles throughout the years, Bevell is a capable leader that will have this Jaguars team extremely fired up this weekend. Take the Jaguars comfortably, as a blowout double-digit victory seems well within the realm of possibility.

BENGALS UPSET BRONCOS ON ROAD

The Broncos picked up a much-needed win in Week 14, having obliterated the pathetic Detroit Lions by a final score of 38-10. The victory occurred one week after the Broncos experienced an epic letdown in Kansas City, losing to the Chiefs 22-9. Cincinnati, meanwhile, will enter Sunday afternoon's contest on an untimely two-game losing streak, having lost a three-point, last-second heartbreaker to San Francisco 49ers a week ago, which was preceded by a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

All this to say both of these 7-6 teams are wildly inconsistent. A defeat for either side would deliver a gut-wrenching blow to their postseason hopes. A win for the Bengals or Broncos could catapult them into a much-needed playoff spot. It's a difficult contest to sort through, but we ultimately hold faith in the team with the better signal-caller at its disposal—and that's undeniably Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Vic Fangio's Broncos are favorites on just about every oddsmaking website you'll encounter, but we love Cincinnati's chances of exiting Empower Field at Mile High with a massive victory on Sunday.

CRAIG REYNOLDS LEADS LIONS BACKFIELD IN TOUCHES, YARDS

Who? Craig Reynolds quietly delivered one of the better feel-good moments of the season in Week 14. A third-year undrafted free agent out of Kutztown (where?), Reynolds shockingly led the Lions backfield a week ago by totaling an impressive 83 yards on 11 carries, including an exciting 35-yard gain. Reyolds added 16 yards via two receptions while appearing to be Detroit's most effective member of a banged-up backfield.

Reynolds could be in line for another big day on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Starting running back D'Andre Swift has already been ruled OUT of Sunday's contest, and fellow ball-carrier Jamaal Williams is currently on Detroit's Reserve-COVID List and is unlikely to be activated ahead of Sunday's game. That leaves Reynolds in a muddied backfield that also includes Jermar Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike. It's a rather difficult situation to sort through, but Reynolds out-touched Igwebuike 13-8 a week ago, and averaged a healthy 7.5 yards per carry versus Igwebuike's pedestrian mark of 3.1 yards per touch. The Lions have nothing but draft positioning to play for down the stretch. We expect Reynolds to receive an extended look.

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