Week 15 NFL Picks, In Which We Bask in the Glory of Merril Hoge (Plus Week 14 Results!)

ESPN analyst and former NFL player Merril Hoge demonstates a football technique

Is it just us or is Merril Hoge becoming more attractive? We're just saying.

Words we never thought we’d say:

“Thank you, Merril Hoge.”

Our preliminary conclusion from last week is holding, and though we’ll need the rest of the season to really confirm it, we believe that we’ve found the very best way to make weekly NFL football picks without any kind of thought whatsoever. In case you’ve forgotten, our method is to use the picks of whichever ESPN “expert” had the best record making picks the week prior.

Last week, we used Merril Hoge’s picks (he’d gone 14-2), and again Hoge delivered the goods, chalking up a 13-3 record, the best of the week for the “experts.” All of this of course means we’re relying on Hoge again this week, so follow the jump for his insights and our baseless rationalizations.

(Every week, we list the predicted winner of each game in bold and italics. Not because it’s fun, but because it’s the easiest way for you to see the winner. Once again, our “system” uses ESPN “expert” Merril Hoge’s picks since he had the best record last week.)

Browns at Bengals
It’s time once again for the battle of Ohio, and though Cleveland has just the slightest hint of momentum these days, Cincinnati is playing for pride and looking to avoid a franchise-worst losing streak. Look for them to play much better than they have in recent weeks.

Redskins at Cowboys
Against all odds, Dallas seems to have righted the ship and is headed towards a season of middling respectability. Meanwhile, Washington’s once-promising season has spiraled out of control with today’s announcement of a QB switch. How could this possibly be a good thing for the Redskins?

Texans at Titans
Both of these teams have picked themselves off the matt a bit in the past few weeks and posted respectable losses. This week it will be Houston doing the losing, as Tennessee will remember to run the ball.

Jaguars at Colts
The Colts are still reeling as they adjust to the fact that they’re no longer a dominant team. Jacksonville is streaking and can lock up the division with a win in Indianapolis. They won’t miss this opportunity.

Chiefs at Rams
The battle of Missouri comes to St. Louis Sunday, and to everyone’s surprise, a win for either team would make sure they remain in first place in their division. Even with Chiefs QB Matt Cassel questionable after undergoing an appendectomy last week, the Kansas City seems like the hungrier team here.

Bills at Dolphins
Miami still has an outside shot at the playoffs if they can find a way to win home games. Playing against Buffalo should help them in this cause.

Eagles at Giants
This game for the NFC east lead has all the makings of a December classic. Both Philadelphia and New York are strong, but the Giants running game will be the difference in this one.

Lions at Buccaneers
Tampa Bay is undefeated against teams with a losing record, and hey–what do you know–Detroit has a losing record. Bucs win.

Cardinals at Panthers
It’s hard to find a greener looking quarterback than Carolina’s Jimmy Clausen, but somehow Arizona’s pulled it off. Look for the Panthers to win at home and double their win total this week.

Saints at Ravens
After letting Houston off the ropes late last week, Baltimore will have its hands full at home against New Orleans. Still, the Ravens are a team with something to prove and this is a statement win for them.

Falcons at Seahawks
Bird on bird action! Seattle’s famous 12th man won’t rattle Matty Ice and Atlanta, who will dominate despite having to fly across the country to do so.

Broncos at Raiders
Good news for Oakland fans: Tim Tebow will likely make his first NFL start this week against the Raiders. Bad news for Denver fans: Tim Tebow will likely make his first NFL start this week against the Raiders.

Jets at Steelers
Look for New York to continue its pathetic death spiral while Pittsburgh continues its march to glory. We know all of this is somehow sad and neither team is really all that likable, but it’s nonetheless true.

Packers at Patriots
Green Bay really needs the win here, but New England’s been on a tear lately and without QB Aaron Rodgers the Packers just aren’t up to the task. Sorry, Wisconsin.

Bears at Vikings
Minnesota will play a home game outdoors for the first time in 29 years. The fact that it’s a Monday night game in December should make it one of the coldest games in a while and one to remember. The fact that it’s against division leader Chicago should make it one for Vikings fans to forget. Did we mention there’s no beer for sale at the game? Seriously folks, stay home.

It’s par for the course at this point in the season, but once more there was a game last night on the NFL network, which we still don’t get. In a result that will surprise no one, the Chargers beat the 49ers.

Join us again next week to see how far we can ride Merril Hoge’s picks. We’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ve found the best system, but of course that’s usually when things come crashing down. All the more reason to be careful out there.

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