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Beating the Book: Chris Liss Handicaps Week 15

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

I don't like that I have 13 of 15 underdogs (the Texans and Falcons being the only exceptions), but sometimes that's how it shakes out. I was close to switching the Rams-Bengals and Cowboys-Bucs, but stayed ugly as I think both dogs will show up. Besides those two, I had a lot of trouble with Lions-Raiders, Browns-Cardinals and Panthers-Texans. My Raiders pick is almost certainly wrong, in fact.

The picks I feel best about are the Chiefs-Packers, Colts-Titans, Seahawks-Bears and Chargers-Ravens.

THURSDAY NIGHT

Jaguars +12 at Falcons

The Falcons do a good job of stopping the run, and the Jaguars aren't especially good at the forward pass. Plus, Atlanta plays better at home and usually handles weak competition. This is a lot of points, probably more than the disparity between these teams, but I think the Falcons roll.

Falcons 31 - 17

SATURDAY NIGHT

Cowboys -7 at Buccaneers

I want to take Dallas here as the Bucs defense is terrible, and Josh Freeman is not the player he was last year, but you have to think the Bucs coming off an embarrassing loss in Jacksonville will be focused at home. And it's a good sign that Freeman practiced in full on Wednesday. Back Tampa.

Cowboys 28 - 23

EARLY GAMES

Bengals -6.5 at Rams

The Rams have been abysmal all year, but some of that was due to injuries, and replacements jell eventually. Steven Jackson looks healthy, and the defense wasn't terrible against Seattle. Back the Rams as home dogs.

Bengals 19 - 17

Dolphins pick 'em at Bills

With Matt Moore likely to play, I'd expect the Dolphins to handle the depleted Bills even if the weather is cold, though the loss of Tony Sparano, who seemed to be a decent motivator, is a wild card. Still, I'm backing Miami.

Dolphins 27 - 20

Redskins +7 at Giants

The Giants offense hit on all cylinders against Dallas, but until their defense plays even at a league average level, it's hard to take them as seven-point favorites against a scrappy Washington team. Back the Redskins.

Giants 23 - 21

Titans -7 at Colts

The upgrade to Dan Orlovsky is significant for the Colts, and seven is a lot for the Titans to part with on the road, especially if Matt Hasselbeck (rather than Jake Locker) starts. Back Indy who gets its first win.

Colts 24 - 20

Seahawks +3.5 at Bears

Normally, I'd fade Seattle on the road, but the Bears are reeling with their key offensive players hurt, and Seattle looks like an actual team. I'll take the field goal-plus. Back the Seahawks.

Seahawks 17 - 16

Packers -14.5 at Chiefs

The Packers ran roughshod over Oakland while the Chiefs didn't even show up against the Jets. This strikes me as a good time to buy low on Kansas City as Kyle Orton possibly takes over, and the Chiefs should get a lift from Todd Haley's overdue departure and a home game against the undefeated defending Super Bowl champs. Weather could be an issue, and while the Packers are a cold weather team, they're built as if they played in a dome. Back the Chiefs who keep it close enough.

Packers 24 - 17

Panthers +6.5 at Texans

This has to be a trap game because based on year-to-date performance this line should be pushing double digits. I'll fall for it. If Carolina's defense can really stop Houston's running attack, so be it. Back the Texans.

Texans 23 - 16

Saints -7 at Vikings

The Saints aren't as good on the road, and that includes last week's cover against Tennessee that nearly resulted in an outright loss. And while this game is in a dome, keep in mind New Orleans lost outright to the Rams in St. Louis earlier this year. The Vikings should get Adrian Peterson back, and they've shown good signs the last two weeks. Plus New Orleans' defense is below average. Back the Vikings.

Saints 38 - 34

LATE GAMES

Lions -0.5 at Raiders

How the Lions could nearly give away an enormous lead like that at home is beyond comprehension, epsecially when you consider the Vikings were without Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder (as well as their top 12 cornerbacks). But the Raiders are equally terrible with Carson Palmer reprising his role as the turnover machine into which he evolved in Cincinnati and playing almost zero defense against the run or pass. Still, with Denarius Moore likely returning, and Detroit unable to run or stop the run, I'll take the Raiders at home.

Raiders 27 - 24

Browns +7 at Cardinals

I despise the Browns with their embarrassingly cautious style of play and their clueless coaches (they didn't even examine Colt McCoy for a concussion after he was helmet-to-helmeted by James Harrison, and McCoy, playing in a blacked out state, subsequently threw a game-sealing pick), but I don't like buying high on a hot team. I think I have to hold my nose and take the points. Back Cleveland.

Cardinals 19 - 13

Jets +2 at Eagles

I'd like to take the Eagles off their win in Miami, but they've been so up and down this year, it's hard to take it too seriously. The matchup between Andy Reid's passing scheme and the Jets pass defense is a good one, but I'll give the advantage to the Jets unless Michael Vick makes some huge plays with his legs, something he hasn't done as often this year. Back New York.

Jets 20 - 19

Patriots -7 at Broncos

I'd imagine the sharps would be all over the Patriots, but apparently the public is too. Maybe that's why the line moved up all the way to seven. I don't see it. The Patriots defense is vulnerable to just about anyone, and even the Packers would barely deserve to be touchdown favorites in Denver. I suppose if anyone can solve Tebow and the "read option" for 60 minutes it's defensive guru Bill Belichick, but if that's the case, then why didn't the Patriots stop Chad Henne? Back the Broncos who keep it close enough.

Patriots 24 - 23

SUNDAY NIGHT

Ravens -2 at Chargers

Maybe it's the Ravens poor road showings in Seattle and Jacksonville, or the Chargers recent resurgence, but I have a feeling the Chargers are going to win this game decisively. Back San Diego.

Chargers 27 - 17

MONDAY NIGHT

Steelers +3 at 49ers

In an odd franchise role reversal, it's the finesse Steelers against the smashmouth 49ers. A lot hinges obviously on whether Ben Roethlisberger will play and at what capacity, but if he's healthy, I like Pittsburgh. Back the Steelers.

Steelers 20 - 16

We were 10-6 last week to put us at 102-101-5 on the season. From 1999-2010 we've gone 1565-1387 (53%, not including ties).

You can follow me on Twitter at @Chris_Liss