We’re down to the nitty gritty with the NFL season right now, with the playoff picture taking serious shape.
It’s Week 15 and there are plenty of must-win games on the docket for certain teams.
PGA Tour caddies Joe Skovron, Mark Urbanek and Justin York, are joined this week by LPGA caddie Chris McCalmont with their respective picks on how they see five, key match ups playing out.
Here’s a look inside their crystal balls (and, for what it’s worth, Urbanek is fresh off a 5-0 week)…
Oakland at Cincinnati
Spread: Cincinnati -3
Skovron’s Pick: Cincy
Why: Gotta be honest — I haven’t watched either of these teams play much other than when they have played my Bolts. Oakland is coming off a big win, while the Bengals have lost five in a row. Driskel’s stats have been respectable, and they kept it interesting with the Chargers last week. I think this is a complete toss-up.
McCalmont’s Pick: Oakland
Why: Oakland’s got confidence coming off a big win versus the Steelers, while the Bengals have nothing to play for and a backup QB. I see Raiders winning outright.
Urbanek’s Pick: Oakland
Why: Coming off a miraculous win against the Steelers, I’ll ride the momentum of the Raiders here against a reeling, depleted Bengals squad. Raiders 27, Bengals 24.
York’s Pick: Oakland
Why: The Raiders are starting to figure out how to score. Cincy can’t seem to stop anybody. This will be a shootout from start to finish, expect high scoring and the silver and black coming out on top.
Green Bay at Chicago
Spread: Chicago -5.5
Skovron’s Pick: Green Bay
Why: Chicago is playing some great football and look like a team ready to make a playoff run. GB has struggled this year, but they have owned the Bears the last few years and they have that one guy at QB. I’ll take the points.
McCalmont’s Pick: Green Bay
Why: The Bears will win, but because the Bears don’t have a high-powered offense and the Packers have a rejuvenated Rodgers, it will be close, as records are thrown out in this rivalry.
Urbanek’s Pick: Chicago
Why: This divisional matchup should be a close one throughout, but I’ll take the Bears to pull away late. I don’t think Rodgers can pull off another comeback against this D, just too tough at every spot. GB 23, Chicago 30.
York’s Pick: Chicago
Why: Green Bay is coming off their first win without their longtime coach Mike McCarthy. Although an impressive one, they are no match for the D of the Bears, who showed the league who’s boss against the hot Rams last week. The Bears win this one by two scores.
New England at Pittsburgh
Spread: New England -1
Skovron’s Pick: New England
Why: Pittsburgh has been struggling and needs this win badly. NE is doing what they do. This line has moved to three in a lot of places, so I’ll take the value in that and New England.
McCalmont’s Pick: New England
Why: Pats not only own the Steelers but will be pissed after the Miami loss. On the flip side, this is a must-win for the Steelers, who have lost three straight (should’ve been four), all on the last play. I don’t trust them anymore, especially against their nemesis. While I’m a lifelong, diehard Steelers fan, I can’t pick with my heart on this one; instead, I must be realistic and objective, as I believe the Steelers finish 8-7-1 (loss this week and to Saints), missing the playoffs and possibly getting Tomlin fired. I hope I’m wrong.
Urbanek’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Why: Steelers at home getting points… enough said for me against anyone. Just can’t believe they can lay another egg with so much on the line. NE 32, Pitt 35.
York’s Pick: New England
Why: The Steelers are starting to show the league that they are ice cold on the road and their only chance is at home. Although being at home this week, Tom Brady dominates this historic rivalry in the AFC. It will be a close game with some high scoring, but the Patriots will show who’s the real contender in the AFC.
Philadelphia at LA Rams
Spread: LA Rams -9.5
Skovron’s Pick: LA Rams
Why: These games have been tough with no obvious betting trends. This spread has moved to 11.5 in a lot of places. Looks like no Wentz for a Philly team that has struggled this year. Goff struggled last week against the Bears D. Tough to give this many points in an NFL game, but I think the Rams will roll at home.
McCalmont’s Pick: LA Rams
Why: The Rams want to avenge the loss to the Bears to keep hope alive for a No. 1 seed. The Eagles, after an emotional loss to the Cowboys, in Dallas, now must travel even further to play one of the best teams in the NFL. A tough ask.
Urbanek’s Pick: Philly
Why: Too many points for a defending champ. LA will win it, but I like the Eagles to show a little pride in this one and keep it close with a big dose of Ertz magic. Phi 25, LA 33.
York’s Pick: LA Rams
Why: Coming off a disappointing loss to the bears Sunday night, the Rams look to bounce back against the deflated Eagles. Philly looks to get back on track in the NFC east race after a recent slide in production. They will have to rest their hands on the shoulders of Nick Foles again and see if lightning can strike twice. It won’t! The Rams cruise on this one.
New Orleans at Carolina
Spread: New Orleans -6.5
Skovron’s Pick: Carolina
Why: Sharp money is on Carolina with reverse line movement. It doesn’t matter what I think about the game, it’s a Carolina bet for me.
McCalmont’s Pick: New Orleans
Why: The Saints are simply the better team and want to keep hold of the No 1 seed. The Panthers are reeling, losers of five straight, and Newton is not 100 percent with a shoulder injury. He can’t throw deep.
Urbanek’s Pick: Carolina
Why: Points at home in a divisional game that should stay pretty tight, enough for me every time. Saints sneak it out but that’s a cover in my book. NO 33, Carolina 31.
York’s Pick: New Orleans
Why: The Panthers continue to slide in production and can’t find ways to win. The Saints will rev up the offense again and look to put up a big number on the struggling D of New Orleans. The Saints will blow out the Panthers… bet it till your hands bleed.