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NFC West Week 15 Preview

The San Francisco 49ers were thought to be a shoo-in for the playoffs as the NFC West champions, but after 14 weeks, the jury is still out on which team will reign supreme from the division. The Seahawks have put themselves very much in the mix with some big wins recently and even the St. Louis Rams have climbed back in the playoff picture with their strong play lately. This week the gap could either narrow or expand for the Niners, as they take on a hot Patriots team on the road, while the Seahawks and Rams have more favorable match-ups. Here is a look ahead to the action of week 15 and what to expect out of the teams of the wild NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks 8-5 at Buffalo Bills 5-8

This game will actually be played at a neutral site in Toronto, as the Seahawks hope to make it three wins in a row against the Bills, which are coming off a tough loss to St. Louis last week. As we know, the Hawks aren’t nearly as strong away from CenturyLink Field, but it’s hard to go against a team that looked as flawless as they did last week, winning 58-0 over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Seahawks have one of the league’s best defenses, one of the most effective running games and a passing attack that continues to improve each week. The Bills, meanwhile, have a strong ground game as well, but don’t defend the run well and should provide Marshawn Lynch with plenty of running lanes. I like Seattle to cover the -4 point spread in this one and earn the win.

Minnesota Vikings 7-6 at St, Louis Rams 6-6-1

St. Louis's run game won't be able to match Minnesota's

The Rams have a slim shot at the postseason and they’ll likely need to win out to get there. That starts this week with a tough game against the surging Vikings. Adrian Peterson comes into the game on a seven-game streak of 100-yard rushing performances and although St. Louis has been good against the run this year, Peterson and the Vikings have shown they can run on just about anybody.

The Rams have a good back of their own in Steven Jackson and should have some success running the football. With home field advantage and a three-game winning streak, I expect the Rams to play well enough to keep the game close, but I like the Vikings in this one. Take Minnesota to cover +3 and win outright.

San Francisco 49ers 9-3-1 at New England Patriots 10-3

Look for New England to limit San Fran's ground game enough to get the win

After dominating the Texans last week, New England showed us once again, why it may be the best team in the AFC. Meanwhile, the 49ers continue to win, as they did last week, but also have proved to be vulnerable is losses against the Rams and the Giants this season. And although they have two capable quarterbacks, their indecision at who the leader of their team is may cause problems down the line.

The Patriots have not only the most explosive offense in the league, but also a fairly strong run defense, which should pose match-up problems for the 49ers in this one. San Francisco’s league leading defense is better suited to stop the run, not New England’s fast-paced, high-octane passing attack.

I like the Pats in this one to cover -6 in the win. Look for Seattle to gain a game on the 49ers next week, creating an ever more significant game between the teams in week 16.



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