Week 15 predictions: Patriots nip 49ers; Browns upend Redskins

By Elliot Harrison
Updated: Dec. 13, 2012 at 01:08 p.m.

Fourteen down, three to go ...

... three BIG weeks left. For a few teams, failing to win this week means failing to maintain relevance over the final two contests of the season (other than getting a looksee at young players and determining overall draft positioning). This includes the Browns, Bills, Dolphins, Buccaneers, Saints, Chargers and Jets. Losses for any one of those clubs equals either outright elimination from the playoff race, or an uphill climb containing more stipulations than one of those extended car warranties that cover anything (except for everything).

Before we dive into the picks below, a few things should be noted. First, my streak of picking at least one score exactly right ended after five glorious weeks. Although, I did say the San Francisco 49ers would beat the Miami Dolphins 26-13. The final was 27-13. And I originally had that score before a last-second change of heart! (I swear!!)

An old rule of thumb comes to mind: Never change your first answer on a Scantron test.

In addition to altering that Dolphins-49ers prediction, I let a colleague (and diehard Bills supporter) change my mind about picking the Rams to win in Buffalo last week. Originally, I had St. Louis taking that game, 16-13. Then I allowed said coworker to lobby me into oblivion. I changed it to Bills over Rams. Of course, St. Louis won, 15-12.