Browns QB Johnny Manziel will get his much anticipated first start in a game with major playoff implications.
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Ready or not, here he comes. Ever since he declared for the NFL draft, Johnny Manziel has been the most watched QB in America – from his incredible Pro Day to his frustrating drop in the draft to No. 22 overall, to the numerous incidents of his partying, to his first NFL TD just a few weeks ago – all eyes have been on him at all hours of the day. Well now he’s going to have all of America watching as he gets his first NFL start at QB and tries to lead the Browns on a playoff run with a 7-6 record. It’s a situation almost reminiscent of Tim Tebow, but for the Browns’ sake they should hope it lasts a little longer and with much less frustration.
Johnny Manziel brings a skillset to the table similar to Michael Vick in his 2010 season: mobility and the ability to make big plays outside of the pocket, a strong arm that can make all of the throws, and the ability to read a wide variety of coverages. All of these things will need to be at their peak as Manziel takes on a Cincinnati Bengals team that won’t give up their lead in the AFC North title race so easily.
Here are the picks for Week 15 of the NFL season:
Green Bay Packers over Buffalo Bills – The Packers aren’t the same beast on the road as they are at home, but that won’t matter as the Bills officially continue to their 15-year playoff drought
Carolina Panthers over Tampa Bay Buccaneers – If Derek Anderson hadn’t already beaten the Bucs as Carolina’s starter earlier in the season there would be cause for concern, but considering that he looked like the 2007 Pro Bowl version of himself against them back in Week 1, it’s a pretty safe bet he can do the same in a friendly home environment.
Indianapolis Colts over Houston Texans – Andrew Luck managed to get away from J.J. Watt once, he can pretty much be expected to do so again. Not to mention that a 3rd straight AFC South title is on the line in this game.
Baltimore Ravens over Jacksonville Jaguars – The Ravens have a knack for getting hot this time of year, and what better team to start a serious playoff push against than the Jaguars – a team that hasn’t won a single game on the road this year.
Kansas City Chiefs over Oakland Raiders – The Raiders got the better of Andy Reid and Alex Smith once, it will NOT happen again. The Chiefs will be safe within the confines of their noise asylum at Arrowhead Stadium, so the Raiders might as well start pre-ordering an Amari Cooper jersey for draft day.
New England Patriots over Miami Dolphins – Much like the Chiefs, the Patriots will not let themselves be upset twice. With Miami close to playoff elimination once again they will certainly put up a valiant fight, but Tom Brady and that defense will come through again.
New York Giants over Washington – Will a few wins at the end of the season save Tom Coughlin’s job? It very well could. Nonetheless, Coughlin could still retire at the end of the season regardless of whether the front office tells him to.
Pittsburgh Steelers over Atlanta Falcons – Both of these teams are deep in the playoff hunt, but the Steelers look like an actual playoff team whereas the Falcons have more losses than all but 7 teams.
Cincinnati Bengals over Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel will look incredibly impressive in his debut, but it won’t amount to much as the Bengals get back on track and deal the Browns their 3rd straight loss
Denver Broncos over San Diego Chargers – Despite leading the wildcard race, the Chargers are in an extremely tough spot this late in the season, and it could very well cost them a trip to the playoffs. The Broncos should be fine with C.J. Anderson playing that well as long as Manning gets out of his slump.
New York Jets over Tennessee Titans – In a game that could determine who gets to draft Marcus Mariota, ultimately the Jets will get the utterly useless win and find themselves regretting not being as bad as Tennessee. This is a win that will haunt Jets fans for years to come if Mariota becomes great.
Seattle Seahawks over San Francisco 49ers – It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks somehow play even better in their own stadium than they did in Candlestick Park. It doesn’t even seem possible.
Detroit Lions over Minnesota Vikings – The Lions are ever so close to a playoff spot for the first time since 2011. Head coach Jim Caldwell may not be the best head coach in the league, but unlike his predecessor, he won’t let the Lions suffer a late-season collapse.
Philadelphia Eagles over Dallas Cowboys – This is the game where the Cowboys will be eliminated from playoff contention. They won’t win against the Colts next week and by Week 17 the Eagles, Seahawks and Lions will only need to win to get in. What a shame for a season that had so much promise.
New Orleans Saints over Chicago Bears – Maybe the Bears defense will finally show some backbone and not give up 30+ points in a game. But it won’t matter much if the Bears offense can’t get going, and with Brandon Marshall out, that’ll be a very tall order.