NFL Week 15 Picks: Plus quick takes on the Indians, Cavs, and Browns

Sorry for the general lack of content on the site lately. I have one week left in my grad class so it’s squeaky bum time if ya know what I mean. After Christmas though we should be back to normal and have plenty of stuff going up. In the mean time I wanted to give some quick takes on the current state of Cleveland’s three pro teams:

Indians

There have been some people who are complaining about the lack of action so far for the Tribe. While other teams are throwing around contracts the Indians are just sitting back watching. This actually doesn’t bother me. They don’t have the financial resources to compete for big contracts with many other clubs. Plus, if you remember back a year ago at this point they hadn’t done much of anything either. But Chris Antonetti was able to lock up both Swisher and Bourn after the winter meetings and what seemed like a dumpster-diving pick-up in Kazmir turned out to be a bargain. That’s how the Indians have to operate. It won’t always work out as well as last year but they aren’t going to win by throwing around pricey contracts and overpaying just to so they can say that they got someone.

Cavaliers

As bad and pathetic as the start of the season was, there’s a lot to be encouraged about the Cavs play of late. The rotation seems like it’s finally settled into a good spot. Kyrie and Dion are both starting to play really well which is probably the biggest key to their success. Bynum is rounding into a very productive player on both ends. Since going to the bench and returning to his natural power forward position it no longer appears that Earl Clark is completely worthless and has actually been pretty good off the bench. And speaking of “completely worthless” Anthony Bennett has had a few moments where he doesn’t look completely lost…so that’s encouraging. It’ll be interesting to see how the season develops but it sure seems like there’s at least a semi-big trade in this team. A lot will depend on how things are shaking down the stretch for other teams around the league and where they stand leading up to the trade deadline if Chris Grant is able to package some of these assets for an impact player. I think they make the playoffs as currently constituted, but a trade will determine if they’re in that bottom half or if they’re able to move all the up to that third seed. Sounds crazy, but the East is W I D E  O P E N this year.

Browns

I continue to not really care whether they win games or not. I can’t get excited about the adequately mediocre play of Jason Campbell if I don’t believe that he’s a championship-level QB. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with this point about the Browns but it really does seem like that’s the final big hurdle: getting the QB figured out.

Case in point, I was doing a little Pro Bowl voting and what I generally do is only vote for Browns players but I only vote for the guys that I think are actually deserving on the Browns (Willis McGahee is getting a vote). I came up with the following players that I think have a real chance of getting the call:

Josh Gordon
Jordan Cameron
Joe Thomas
Alex Mack
Ahtyba Rubin
Phil Taylor
D’Qwell Jackson
Joe Haden
TJ Ward
Chris Ogbonnaya (on the ballot as a FB)[1]

I don’t think everyone from this list will get in but you’d be hard pressed to say that most of them don’t deserve very real consideration. Last season a two-win Chiefs team had six players go to the Pro Bowl and you see how this season shook out when they got a competent QB in there. Why can’t the Browns get eight or nine Pro Bowlers then? We’ll see what happens, but the point is that there is a lot of really good talent already on the roster that is the core of a championship-level team. All you need now is a QB.

We didn’t suck picking games last week so let’s hope that run of “not bad” continues this week. Here we go…

(Home team in CAPS. Lines from SportsBook.com. Gamble at your own risk.)

Bears (-1) over BROWNS

Not sure if this my head or my heart picking to be honest. The Browns certainly have a shot to win this game now that Jay Cutler is back starting for Chicago. Not sure they have anyone that can close to slowing down Josh Gordon either. But again, I’ve sold my soul on this one…I won’t be rooting for the Browns to lose, but I wouldn’t mind it if they didn’t win.

FALCONS (-6) over Redskins

49ers (-6) over Buccaneers

Seahawks (-7) over GIANTS

COLTS (-5.5) over Texans

JAGUARS (+2.5) over Bills

Patriots (-1) over DOLPHINS

Eagles (-6.5) over VIKINGS

PANTHERS (-10.5) over Jets

RAIDERS (+6) over Chiefs

TITANS (+3) over Cardinals

Saints (-6.5) over RAMS

COWBOYS (-6.5) over Packers

Bengals (-2.5) over STEELERS

Ravens (+6) over LIONS

LAST WEEK: 8-7

SEASON: 88-99

BROWNS PICKS: 3-10


[1] Ogbonnaya isn’t a traditional full back obviously. But it’s crazy when you look at the ballot and he’s the only one that actually has stats. So few teams use a FB in the NFL these days and the teams that do never give them the ball. I think Obbie has a real shot here.

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