Frankly, any game in the Midwest or Northeast that is played outdoors this weekend in the NFL could be risky because winter weather is expected to hammer those parts of the country. Here are three Week 15 matchups I would steer clear from.
This game is Saturday, meaning a short week for both clubs. Theoretically, that benefits the home Jets. It looks to be very sloppy in East Rutherford on Saturday night with some likely snow in the morning but rain at night and a bit of wind. But my main reason for concern on Miami here would be quarterback Matt Moore, who will be making his first start since 2011 after Ryan Tannheill suffered a sprained ACL and MCL in last week's win over Arizona. I have no idea what to expect from this career backup and neither do you. The pressure is on him as the Fins probably have to win at least two of their final three games to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. And Miami generally doesn't play well in cold-weather games because, well, the players are used to south Florida weather. But can you trust the Jets, either? QB Bryce Petty makes the second start of his career. He had some good and bad last week in leading a comeback from 17-3 down in San Francisco for a 23-17 OT win. Petty might not have top tailback Matt Forte as he has a torn meniscus in his right knee, although Forte seems to think he can play through it. He will be a game-time call. The Jets nearly won in Miami in Week 9 but for a late Dolphins kick-return touchdown.
The Packers have found their rhythm on a three-game winning streak and last week handed the Seattle Seahawks their worst loss ever since Russell Wilson was drafted. Plus Green Bay has everything to play for as it might need to win out to earn a wild-card spot -- I'm assuming the Lions will hold on to the NFC North lead. So why would I even worry here? For one, the high on Sunday might be zero in Chicago. Yes, zero. It's set to be the coldest home Bears game ever. Obviously the Packers are used to playing on the frozen tundra. But they really struggle to run the ball -- running back James Starks is iffy with a concussion -- and it's of course much tougher to throw in that type of cold. Aaron Rodgers might have no mobility because he's dealing with a calf injury suffered last week to go with a hamstring problem he already was dealing with. Rodgers has completed 73.9 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions during the winning streak. The Bears have just three wins but generally have been competitive every week and nearly won in Detroit last Sunday. Matt Barkley is proving he's an actual NFL quarterback. And Barkley will get back No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery on Sunday as he returns from a four-game suspension.
No weather worries for this one in the Georgia Dome. Obviously in this game, I'm not thinking about San Francisco actually upsetting the Falcons. The 49ers have the NFL's worst defense and the Falcons the top offense. The Niners couldn't even hold a two-touchdown home lead last week against the sorry Jets in losing their 12th straight game. Now they have to travel across country, although they caught a minor break here in that it's a 4:05 p.m. ET start instead of one of those 10 a.m. Pacific time kickoffs. I'd like to think the Niners could cover 14.5 points, but they are also banged up with guys like center Daniel Kilgore, left tackle Joe Staley, receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Vance McDonald all getting hurt last week. McDonald is done for the year. On the flip side, do I trust Atlanta to give that many points? It could be a bit of a trap game with tough division matchups the following two weeks as the Falcons look to beat out the Buccaneers for the NFC South title. In addition, it's questionable whether Atlanta superstar receiver Julio Jones will play. He didn't in Los Angeles last week and hasn't practiced this week as of this writing. Also note that the Niners beat the Falcons 17-16 last year. This might be a good play at No. 16 in your Confidence Pool, but that spread is a bit concerning on NFL picks.