NFL Underdogs: NFL Picks, and Predictions Week 15

Despite Tennessee's disastrous home loss to Jacksonville this past Sunday, find out why Derrick Henry and the Titans are in a great spot for a road win over the Chargers in Jason Logan's underdogs picks for Week 15.

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2022 4:29 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

It’s been a “December to Remember” for my weekly NFL Underdogs picks and predictions.

That sounds more like the title of a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie starring Lacey Chabert than a 7-2 ATS betting streak so far this month. But hey, Tis the Season.

After a dismal November, I’m digging myself out of a daunting hole just in time for the holidays. And while Xmas shopping presents the quest for the perfect gift, I’m scouring the sportsbooks for the perfect point-spread pups to keep the profits rolling into the New Year. 

Here are my best NFL picks and predictions getting the points in Week 15.

NFL picks against the spread for Week 15

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Skeptical sports bettors have been waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Tennessee Titans all season. And with the team on a three-game losing skid entering Week 15’s road trip to L.A., it appears both Tennessee’s rhinestone honkytonk shit kickers are firmly planted.

The Titans are dropping back in the AFC pecking order and find themselves as underdogs in Week 15, but a matchup with the Chargers could be just what Tennessee needs to get right. 

Tennessee’s on-again, off-again rushing attack had the juice flowing in Week 14’s loss to Jacksonville, with running back Derrick Henry rumbling for 121 yards on 17 carries. He could have gone for a lot more had the Titans not trailed late in the game, forcing them to pass and taking touches away from the unstoppable Henry. 

King Henry now sets his sights on a Los Angeles defense that has struggled to slow down runners all season. The Chargers sit 29th in EPA allowed per handoff and 25th in Run Defense DVOA at Football Outsiders. The Bolts are susceptible to big runs, allowing 58 rushes of 20 or more yards on the year, and Henry has been known to buckle even the toughest stop units with his home run ability on the ground.

That leverage in the run game allows the Titans to impose their pace in a matchup between contrasting tempos. Tennessee runs the fewest plays per game in the NFL behind a methodical pace that can chew up the clock and park an opponent’s offense on the sideline. Los Angeles sits second in plays per game, but if it can’t slow down Henry, Justin Herbert & Co. will find their touches limited.

The Chargers’ scoring attack is inconsistent to begin with, scoring only 23 points against the Dolphins' dreadful defense on Sunday despite holding on to the ball for almost 40 minutes. The Bolts were 2-for-6 in the red zone, where they’ve struggled all season, and now face a Tennessee defense ranked No. 6 in RZ DVOA.

If trends tickle your Christmas Pickle (look it up, it’s a thing), Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is 24-15 against the spread (61.5%) as an underdog since taking the job in 2018, including 4-2 ATS as a pup this year. The Chargers, on the other hand, are 23-30-3 ATS as betting favorites since moving to L.A. in 2017, including a 13-22-1 ATS mark as home chalk in that span. 

PICK: Titans +3 (-118 at FanDuel)

Speaking of shoes dropping, the Minnesota Vikings finally fell on their face after weeks and weeks of bucking the analytical outlooks. The Vikes’ win/loss record doesn’t play nice with the advanced metrics, and sharps took a stand against Minnesota in its loss to Detroit on Sunday. 

Early bettors are once again fading the Vikes, this time at home to Indianapolis on Saturday. The Colts opened as big as +5.5 but have slimmed to as low as +4, coming off a bye in Week 14 and last seen being force-fed a 50 burger at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. 

What you may not remember is that Indy was only down 21-19 in the fourth quarter of that game after closing as an 11-point pup. Then the wheels came off the bus in the form of four turnovers, and Dallas scored 33 points in the final frame to hand the Colts a 54-19 beating that looks much worse than it was. Indianapolis has now enjoyed two weeks off to finally catch its breath and game plan after scrambling for a month following the firing of head coach Frank Reich. 

Before that disaster of a fourth quarter in Dallas, the defense was playing great football and keeping the Colts competitive. The Indianapolis pass rush has nine sacks over the past four games. It will face a Vikings pass protection allowing 32 sacks and the ninth-highest pressure rate per dropback, compounded by injuries to the starting center and left tackle on a short week.   

Offensively, the Colts are still a work in progress, but they’re sticking with veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, who at least gives the passing game a chance. Meanwhile, stud RB Jonathan Taylor will be the healthiest he’s been in a while after enjoying time off. 

Minnesota’s defense has been horrific since Week 10, ranked 25th in EPA allowed per play over the last five outings, and has given up plenty of points to offenses both good and bad (26 points to the Patriots). That soft-stop unit has led to many uncomfortable finishes for Vikings backers, so expect another close one on Saturday. 

PICK: Colts +4.5 (-105 at Pinnacle)

Depending on where you bet, this spread could be Jets -1, Jets +1, or a pick’em.

It’s a tough line to tackle, considering how well these two perennial basement dwellers have played in recent weeks. Detroit is coming off a massive win versus Minnesota, picking up its fifth victory in the past six games. New York put a scare in Buffalo as a big underdog last Sunday and has been producing solid two-way football since making the move to Mike White at QB.

With the spread essentially a coin flip, the total tells us a little something about how this game could trickle down. The Over/Under opened as high as 48 points, giving the nod to the Lions’ high-octane offense that has been pumping out the points during this six-game span. However, that total quickly trimmed and now sits as low as 44.5 points.

That move to the Under certainly shows support for the Jets' defense, which ranks out among the elite (No. 6 in DVOA at Football Outsiders). Facing this New York stop unit on the road is the toughest test this Detroit offense has faced since getting stymied 24-6 at Dallas back in Week 7. This is also the Lions’ first road game in almost a month.

Defensively, Detroit is a dud. It sits 24th in DVOA and is 29th in points per play allowed on the road. New York isn’t blowing the doors off opponents by any means, but since making the move to White, Gang Green has outgained each of its last three foes and boast an average margin of +150 yards per game in that span.

Red zone woes have stopped the Jets from really going over the top, scoring a touchdown on just 30% of their shots inside the 20-yard line in that span. Luckily for New York, the Lions are the third-worst RZ defense in the land, allowing opponents to find paydirt on 65.22% of their RZ trips.

PICK: Jets +1.5 (-115 at FanDuel)

Last week: 2-1 ATS +1.74 units (Risking 1 unit per play)
Season: 19-23 ATS -4.33 units (Risking 1 unit per play)

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