Here are my NFL Week 16 Picks
(11-5 last week, 148-75-1 for the season)
Bye teams: none
Ten @ Jax – It’s gone beyond a joke just how bad Thursday Night Football is. It’s as if they hand-picked the worst possible games, and the few that could have actually been good were somehow blowouts. Bad TV doesn’t begin to explain it; I wonder how the ratings look. This week’s matchup has got to be the worst ever, two teams that can barely call themselves such. Both are 2-12, have two of the worst net point totals in the league, and are playing pathetic football. I guess someone will win this game by default, but it won’t matter in regards to anything except who gets a better Draft spot.
Phi @ Was – Can we all agree that Sanchez is not the savior of the Eagles? He’s a mediocre QB at best who can beat bad teams (Car, Ten) and lose to good ones (GB, Sea). Perhaps he hasn’t bombed in the way I had imagined he would, but he hasn’t shone either, going 3-3 as a starter with 9 touchdowns in those games and 9 turnovers. You can’t get more “meh” than that. Maybe it’s best that the Eagles miss the playoffs, because I can’t see Sanchez leading them very deep. I even think he’ll lose this game, with RG3 back at the helm of the Redskins and looking to stop a horrible six game losing streak. Don’t get me wrong, I dislike Griffin too, but Washington has to win sometime.
SD @ SF – If I was right over the years about Sanchez & RG3 not being very good, I was dead wrong this year about the Niners being a playoff team. Last week they were eliminated from contention, as they are currently 7-7 and even winning their last two games wouldn’t make a playoff difference. What an awfully disappointing season, losing winnable games and failing to score anywhere near the point totals this offense is capable of. Harbaugh & Kaepernick have proven to be less than stellar at their jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for completely eliminating Vernon Davis from your offensive game plan every week. The Chargers are nearly as bad, and I can’t see SD pushing around the SF D, so I’m going with the home team despite how they’ve let me down.
Cle @ Car – After missing one game in which Derek Anderson took care of business, Cam Newton has returned to practice following his car accident and should be good to play on Sunday. The Panthers are on a two-game winning streak and can actually win the division, based on the bad play of the NFC South, not on their own success. But whatever, it doesn’t matter how you get in the playoffs. The Browns are about to lose all hope of the postseason after starting so surprisingly well. They’ve switched to Johnny Manziel at QB, have lost three in a row, and seem to playing themselves right out of the AFC North. I can’t imagine Johnny Football does any better in Carolina than he did at home vs the Bengals.
Det @ Chi – Monday Night the Bears became the first team to allow 400 points this season. 409 to be exact, which is 29 points per game. Just awful. And now there’s problems between Cutler & the O-Coordinator, talk about buyer’s remorse, players speaking out, Jimmy Clausen stepping in; it’s a shit show. The Bears are a colossal disappointment this year and, what’s more, they’ve played horribly at home, going 2-5. It’s not like the Lions are great on the road (3-3), but they’re undefeated in their division, have something to play for, and have allowed the least amount of points in the league. Their offense still isn’t playing great, but they should play well enough to win this game.
Bal @ Hou – I keep calling Baltimore the best team in the AFC North; this week would be a good time to prove that. They have a tough road game, but not one that’s unwinnable, while Cinci gets Denver and Pitt hosts KC. If the Ravens can win here and their division comrades lose, they’ll be on top all alone with only one game left. And they won’t have stiff offensive competition from the Texans, as they’re having QB injury problems and might start Case Keenum. Hmm, I can’t imagine that going well, especially considering the solid Ravens D. Baltimore is only OK on the road, but they are the better team here and should could away with a victory.
Min @ Mia – This is an odd matchup and brings to mind Dante Culpepper. Anyway, both of these teams have similar situations. Both are middling and probably won’t make the playoffs, both have young QBs, solid defenses, and are pointed in the right direction. Minnesota doesn’t play well on the road, going 2-5, but Miami isn’t especially good at home, going 3-3. I think it comes down to who can score points, and Tannehill & Co. have the advantage their. I like the Vikings, don’t get me wrong, but this a tough one that could go either way. I just have to side with the home team.
Atl @ NO – No doubt about it, the Saints have not played like the Saints. They’re 3-4 at home, 6-8 overall, and can’t play a lick of defense. Well, more specifically, I should say that they haven’t played like the Saints of late. This isn’t like Brees & Payton to not seize the opportunity of taking the division away from much weaker teams, allowing the Falcons and the Panthers to hang right in there. But I can’t be the only one who feels like it’s not over ’till it’s over. Brees is still a special QB and, even without a defense, can win games. I picked NO as my NFC Super Bowl team, and although that hasn’t looked too smart yet, I still think they can get it done.
NE @ NYJ – The Pats have already won the AFC East, like they always do, and are now just playing for postseason seeding. They’re the polar opposite of the Jets, going 11-3 while NYJ is 3-11. Also, NE has a net points total of +162 while the Jets’ is -130. So obviously there’s a mismatch here. But all 3 of the Pats’ losses have come on the road, where they are 4-3. I’d be a little worried if I were Brady & Co. that Rex Ryan & Crew might play balls to the wall; what do they have to lose anyway? I’d pick the Jets as an upset here if they had any talent whatsoever or any hope of scoring right alongside New England, but I think that’s a hopeless cause.
KC @ Pit – Who are the best defenses in the AFC? The Bills and the Chiefs, though neither team scores a ton of points to back that up. Kansas City is just “aight”, with an 8-6 record and a shot at a Wild Cars spot, but with no great fire. The Steelers, on the other hand, are hot, with Big Ben & Le’Veon Bell scoring in bunches. On a side note, the famous Big Ben in London actually refers to the bell, not the tower. Big Ben, Bell, you see it? Ok, nevermind. Anyway, Pittsburgh is in line for the playoffs and is playing well, and I think they can beat the Chiefs at home, where they are 4-2. Win this week, win next week vs Cinci and the division is theirs.
GB @ TB – Remember when these teams used to be in the same division? It was the NFC Central for years and the Bucs played right alongside the cold-weather teams like Green Bay & Chicago. Seems weird now. Anyway, last week I almost called for the upset, Buffalo over GB, but I was a bit too chicken. The Pack just isn’t good on the road and was due for a loss, and the Bills are a legit team, so it wasn’t that much of a surprise. This week, I’d be shocked in TB played the same role. They’re not the team Buffalo is, not the defense especially, and should not be able to shut Rodgers down, especially when he’s playing mad.
NYG @ STL – Ugg, not one that I feel confident picking. The Giants are on a tiny streak, getting two of their 5 total wins in the last 2 weeks. They’re still awful and I sense some change in the air, but it’s not like they’re the Jets. The Rams are the same sort of team, one that’s not pathetic but also not very competitive. I’m still not sure how they beat my team the Broncos; I guess I’ll chalk it down to Peyton having a bad game and the run game not arriving like it seems to have lately. I have no idea who’ll win this one, but I have a better feeling about the G-men than about St. Louis.
Ind @ Dal – Odd statistic; the Cowboys are 7-0 on the road, 3-4 at home. That’s opposite of almost every good team out there (NE, Den, Sea, Ari, Det, Phi). For some reason they just play better away from Jerry World; maybe it’s Jerry. Whatever the reason, I’m not sure a home game this week is a great thing. Especially not against the Colts, a team that’s as good away from home as they are in Indy. The Colts are the better team, allowing less, scoring more, with more points than every team in the league except the Pats & the Pack. With Murray dinged up a bit and Indy knowing that they had better double Dez, I think Dallas is primed to lose.
Buf @ Oak – Wouldn’t it just be fitting for such a wild year if the Bills beat the Packers and then the Raiders beat the Bills? Home field does wonders, as GB never loses in Lambeau and Oakland’s only wins have come in the Black Hole. So can my bandwagon Buffalo team lose a game they shouldn’t? Of course, especially since it’s not like they’re this Goliath of a ball club. Thing is, the Raiders can’t score and the Bills won’t let anyone. I’d call for the upset if Oakland scored more than 15 points per game, a total I doubt they come close to against a team that plays better D than they’re used to facing. I’ll stick with Neckbeard and the wagon-circling Chicken Wings.
Sea @ Ari – Here we go, it comes down to this. The Seahawks and the Cardinals face off for what could be the division-deciding game. Big game, only problem is, Arizona is starting their 3rd string quarterback. After injuries to Palmer and to Stanton, the Cards are forced to go with Ryan Lindley. Now, they’ve already mathematically clinched a playoff spot, so this game isn’t do-or-die, but man would they like to host a few games this postseason. Arizona is 7-0 at home, with their defense leading the way. But this week I think they’ll get their first home loss. Seattle has a strong D too, one that’s good enough to beat a mediocre offense’s backup’s backup.
Den @ Cin – The Broncos have clinched the AFC West and are setting their sights on the Super Bowl. They know how much easier the road will be if it funnels through Denver as opposed to through New England, Cincinnati, or Indianapolis. Now, next week they play in Denver vs the Raiders, so lets assume (knock on wood) that’s a win for the Broncos. That makes this game losable while still grabbing the #2 spot. But I don’t think Peyton sees it that way. The Bengals better watch out because a loss here & in Pittsburgh next week could knock them right out of the playoff race. They’d better stop Denver’s run game and hope Peyton isn’t out to prove that he still has some arm strength left.