9.16.2021

NFL Picks - Week 2

LAST WEEK: 8-8 (Impressed? ... Proud?)

 

 

Sunday Morning

 

Cincinnati at Chicago

I was just thinking, with the Bengals’ primary color, the Bears’ secondary color, and Andy Dalton’s hair color, why, this game should be played in the Orange Bowl! And wait a minute, the Cincinnati Bengals versus the Chicago Bears? Let’s broadcast it on CB radio! The NFL will probably chicken out and claim it’s a “logistical and financial nightmare” to move the game to Miami and broadcast it exclusively over a medium used only by long haul truckers. Sure. NASA probably said the same thing about going to the moon. Greatness requires sacrifice. 

 

Bears 27-24




Houston at Cleveland 

In Week 1 the Texans dominated the Jags en route to an easy win. And that will perhaps be the last time Houston can say that this season. When I was 14 I was in a competitively imbalanced parks and rec basketball league. We’d beat a team by like 20 and then be losing the next game so bad that the scoreboard would be turned off at halftime. I’m guessing my team was in the same boat as the Texans are now. Sure they pounded Jacksonville, unfortunately they still have to play 15 non-Jags games this season. Meanwhile Cleveland’s season began exactly the way the last one ended, an excruciating loss at Kansas City. Deja vu. Or rather, since we’re talking about the Browns here, deja poo. 

 

Browns 31-16




Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis

Based on comments made during the off-season, it’s likely that Carson Wentz is unvaccinated. In Week 1 he definitely wasn’t un-sackcinated. In fact, he was sacked three times and under pressure for most of the day. Now the Colts face Aaron Donald and the Rams, meaning Wentz is probably about to receive a booster shot. Though, since he is a Colt now he may want to think about using Ivermectin.


Rams 29-17

 

 

 

Buffalo at Miami 

The Bills’ 23-16 opening week loss to the Steelers can mean one of two things: 1. Buffalo’s offense has taken a big step back from last season. 2. Pittsburgh has one of the best defenses in the league. 3. Some combination of 1 and 2. 4. It was only one game, so we shouldn’t leap to conclusions. 5. Cole Beasley called his own routes because he believes in an individual’s rights to chart their own course. Hold it, how many things did I say the outcome of the first game could mean? Wow, this situation is more complicated than I originally thought. 

 

Bills 27-20




New England at New York Jets

Two rookie quarterbacks looking for their first win. Mac Jones probably has the better shot here considering the team around him looks better and the Patriots have beaten the Jets 10 straight times (18 of the last 20). The past and present are on Jones’s side, but will the future be? Future as in this Sunday? Yes. Future as in the next 10 years? I’m not ready to make a definitive statement after only seeing one game from him and Zach Wilson. Ask me again next week. 

 

Patriots 24-15




San Francisco at Philadelphia

These teams each went on the road in Week 1 and played 7 quarters of dominant football. It would have been 8, but the Niners took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter against Detroit. They then fell asleep at the wheel and woke up just as they were about to drive off a cliff. Luckily they were able to veer away from that ... only to slam into a deer and damage their engine. Eventually they managed to putter into their driveway and call a mechanic, but yeesh, it was a harrowing drive. What’s that? What happened to the deer? Oh, it uh, it lived. 

 

49ers 34-24




Las Vegas at Pittsburgh

On Monday the Raiders avoided a total collapse in overtime that had the potential to be a season-defining loss. Instead, they won, and now have all season to achieve that season-defining loss. Will it be this week? No. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’ll lose, it just won’t be that devastating. 

 

Steelers 31-22




New Orleans at Carolina 

The post-Drew Brees era in New Orleans is a roaring success so far. But that’s not necessarily surprising. Since 2019 the Saints are 9-1 in games where someone other than Brees starts at quarterback. Sure they’re 17-6 with Brees, and that’s still pretty good. But it ain’t 9-1 baby! Meanwhile, Sam Darnold is now 1-0 as a Panthers starter. Technically that’s a better win percentage than 9-1, but come on, who are we kidding, Sam Darnold is no Jameis Winston. Is that a compliment? Not sure. I started writing it before I knew what it meant. 

 

Saints 23-13




Denver at Jacksonville 

Any NFL maven will tell you that starting the season with consecutive road games is never easy. But those mavens should take a long look at the Broncos’ schedule and reevaluate. After handling the Giants in New Jersey, they now travel to Jacksonville to go up against a Jags team that was dominated by the Texans. That’s a pretty easy path to 2-0 for Denver. But hey, you can’t blame them, they don’t make the schedule. Or do they? That would explain a lot ... I think we may have stumbled onto a conspiracy, and there’s no telling how high it goes. A mile high? Stop it! This is no time for jokes!

 

Broncos 26-20




Sunday Afternoon

 

Minnesota at Arizona 

After their win over Tennessee last week, Arizona now takes on Minnesota with hopes of winning the State Title. That’s right, it’s not just for high school football anymore! There are three teams in the NFL who use a state as their location, and if the Cardinals beat the Vikings on Sunday they’ve conquered the other two such squads. And man, if they win State, they’ll have their pick of prom dates. And yeah they’re gonna be needing the car all night. Hand over the keys old man! Don’t make this get physical. 

 

Cardinals 31-28




Atlanta at Tampa Bay

The Falcons came out strong in Week 1 and made their case for being the worst team in the league with a 26 point loss to the Eagles. Now they face the defending Super Bowl champions. I don’t like Atlanta’s chances. But hey, you know what Matt Ryan always says, “Never tell me the chances!” He’s trying to quote Han Solo, but he doesn’t realize that the actual line is “Never tell me the odds.” Nobody’s bothered to point it out to him yet though. It’s that lack of transparency and communication within the Falcons’ building that is dooming the franchise.

 

Buccaneers 42-24




Dallas at Los Angeles Chargers

The main question going into this game: will the percentage of Cowboys fans in the crowd be higher than a Dallas home game? I’d say at an average Cowboys home game 70% of the crowd is rooting for the home team. At this one in LA, it’ll probably be 95% Dallas fans. Ok fine, maybe not that high. But certainly 92-93%. The Chargers may be the only team in the league that would describe the return of fans to their stadium as “demoralizing.” Whether or not they can overcome that may be the deciding factor in this game. 

 

Chargers 34-31




Tennessee at Seattle 

Bad news for the Titans: they were blown out at home in Week 1. Good news for the Titans: the only team to win in their division was the Texans, so the AFC South title is still within reach. Especially with that extra game this season. But the real storyline that everybody’s talking about going into this game is, of course, whether or not the crowd noise in Seattle will be reduced by the Lumen Field mask requirement. Maybe. But it will no doubt be louder than that crowd I heard on the game broadcasts last season. Those people were weak as hell. They’d always cheer like two seconds after things happened too. Not sure what their deal was, but clearly they didn’t have a high football IQ.

 

Seahawks 31-23




Sunday Night

 

Kansas City at Baltimore 

Two MVP quarterbacks go head to head in what promises to be an entertaining Sunday Night tilt. Sorry, I was just practicing my TV info prose. Enough of that garbanzo, let's hear from Cris Collinsworth:


I'm thoroughly confused and craving stew, the sign of any good NFL analysis.


Chiefs 38-31




Monday Night

 

Detroit at Green Bay

After an abysmal loss in Week 1 everybody’s ready to write off the Packers. Saying that Rodgers is disinterested and the team's chemistry is shot. Yeah, that’s what everybody is saying. And I’m no different. If I were that wouldn’t be what everybody is saying. That’s what everybody means. Green Bay is done for! These suckers probably won’t win a game all season!

 

Packers 30-10 

 

 

NFL Picks - Week 2 Thursday

New York Giants at Washington

The Giants haven’t had a winning record at any point during a season since 2017. With their loss in the opener they blew their best chance to snap that streak. Now they’re facing an uphill battle that at some point would require consecutive victories to get above .500. That might be too much to ask from these poor bastards. Yes it certainly seems to be raining shit on the Giants. And to make matters worse, this week they have to play in a stadium where it literally rained shit last Sunday.

Washington 17-15


9.09.2021

NFL Picks - Week 1

Sunday Morning

 

Philadelphia at Atlanta 

A week 1 battle of the birds?!? Yep, it certainly is. A week 1 battle of the turds?!? Perhaps. I’m not expecting either of these teams to do much better than 8-8 this season. What’s that? 17 games?!? You’re telling me some team out there is going to go 4-13? Or 10-7? No thanks. I didn’t sign up for this. Some things are too precious to disturb, and a 16 game NFL schedule is one of those. And what about the younger generation of fans who are going to see this on TV and just think a 17 game season is “normal.” Did anybody think about how warped their minds will become? This ain’t the future that Kyle Reese came back to save!

 

Falcons 30-23





Pittsburgh at Buffalo

Whoa mama, we’ve got a triple P (possible playoff preview) right out of the gates! The Steelers and Bills went 12-4 and 13-3, respectively last year, and it’s quite possible that they’ll have those same exact records this season. Oh wait, no it’s not. Damn it! Maybe they’ll both be 13-4. Barf. 

 

Bills 27-24





Minnesota at Cincinnati 

I was tempted to pick an upset in this game until I considered the fact that the Vikings have the bravest starting quarterback in the league. A man who defies science and the advice of experts because it doesn’t jibe with his beliefs. Beliefs based on what you ask? That’s personal, and shame on you for asking. 

 

Vikings 28-26





San Francisco at Detroit 

Everybody you ask will tell you to expect a bounce back year from the 49ers. And most of the time it doesn’t even matter what you’re asking them. “Can I have some extra ketchup packets?” “What’s the diagnosis?” “I need a kidney and you’re a match, would you be willing to help?” Every time the response was “Expect a bounce back year from the 49ers.” At a certain point one has no choice but to consider San Fran as a strong bounce-back candidate. If we’re still around in January we’ll see if that comes to fruition. 

 

49ers 34-17





Arizona at Tennessee

The Titans' offense looks poised for a big season. The Cardinals' offense also looks poised for a big season. Literally every offense in the NFL looks poised for a big season because every one of them is going to play 17 games. Son of a bitch!

 

Titans 31-24





Seattle at Indianapolis 

First Carson Wentz broke his foot, then he wound up on the COVID contact list. As of now he looks ready to go for Week 1, but you have to wonder, does he even want to play? Seems like he’s coming up with a lot of excuses. Look, I’m not questioning Wentz’s desire, I’m just saying don’t be surprised if he doesn’t show up on Sunday because a “masked intruder” came into his house and knocked him unconscious. The guy didn’t steal anything or do any damage to the house, I guess he just wanted to knock someone out. Weird, I know. But unquestionably what actually happened. And, in fact, if you do question that recounting you're the real monster. 

 

Seahawks 27-20





Los Angeles Chargers at Washington

These teams finished 2020 with identical 7-9 records. One went to the playoffs while the other one missed the postseason by four games. While that’s not necessarily fair for the Chargers (the team that missed the playoffs), at least they have a dynamic young quarterback in Justin Herbert. But what if I told you that this off-season Washington picked up one of the most dynamic quarterbacks of the century? That’s right, Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starter in Washington, which means the sky’s the limit. This team could legitimately make the playoffs this season, and not just on a technicality! That’s the goal of every franchise. 

 

Charger 23-20





New York Jets at Carolina

The schedule-makers wasted no time in pitting Sam Darnold against his former mates. I like to imagine that they had to shoehorn this one in too. Like it caused a lot of logistical problems down the line and made the whole process way more complicated, but the schedulers took a hard line on this and wouldn’t budge. They had to have Sam Darnold vs. the Jets in Week 1. And thank god they took that bold stance, because now we’re all treated to the revenge game of the century! You guys gonna watch it? Me either.

 

Panthers 20-16





Jacksonville at Houston

Tyrod Taylor has officially been named the starting quarterback of the Texans. That’s not surprising, it was either him or Davis Mills. They do have another quarterback on the roster, but apparently he’s become the victim of a vast conspiracy, and get this, he's the one being punished for it! Go figure. The good news for Houston is that they’re setting themselves up nicely for the #1 pick in the 2022 draft, even if that wasn’t in their original plans. But ain’t that how it goes? Plans change. Sometimes due to injury, sometimes due to despicable behavior relating to a massage fetish. 

 

Jaguars 23-16





Sunday Afternoon

 

Cleveland at Kansas City

Wow, another triple P! And also a DPR (definite playoff rematch). In case you forgot, Chad Henne threw a gutsy 4th down pass for the Chiefs to clinch a divisional round victory over the Browns last season. But that’s not surprising, because when you think about Chad Henne you think about guts! And no, I’m not talking about the children’s sports game show Guts, because Chad Henne never appeared on Guts. How do I know, you ask? Because I watched every episode back when they aired, and I don’t remember anybody being named Chad. That seems unlikely now that I think about it, but not as unlikely as Chad Henne appearing on an episode of Guts. So let’s just agree to move on, yeah? 

 

Chiefs 30-27





Miami at New England 

Tua Tagovailoa vs. Mac Jones, former Alabama quarterbacks forced to do battle. This hasn’t happened since last week when a bunch of drunk fans at a sports bar harassed Brodie Coyle and Greg McElroy into having a contest on the football throwing arcade game. Both of them said they’d rather just do the Pop-A-Shot, because they’re more than just football guys, and also it’s simply a better game. The football game is too hard and not really indicative of how good a quarterback is. But the crowd insisted, and neither of them did very well. I mean they were fine, but they didn’t blow anybody away. The fervor in the bar quickly died down. Croyle and McElroy shuffled back to their table. They paid full price for the rest of their drinks. 

 

Patriots 20-13





Green Bay at New Orleans

Saints fans are used to the historic accuracy of Drew Brees at quarterback. Now they’ll be treated to the steady hand of Jameis Winston, who threw 30 interceptions the last time he started a full season. Safe to say the New Orleans faithful may be flabbergasted by what they witness. They may also be confused when they look up this Sunday and realize they’re not in a dome. And hey, why does it smell like Jacksonville out here? And why does that look like the famous Jacksonville skyline in the distance? And why, when I landed at that airport yesterday did that sign say “Welcome to Jacksonville.” And why did I purchase a ticket for, then subsequently board a flight to Jacksonville? Oh right, the game got moved to Jacksonville. 

 

Packers 34-24





Denver at New York Giants

It’s Week 1’s only match-up between former Super Bowl opponents (XXI). But what are the odds that that this is a match-up between future Super Bowl opponents? Well, it’s not happening this season, so we can rule it out for the immediate future. You have to figure we’re at least 10 years away from the Giants and Jets finally cutting their losses and deciding their best chance to compete with the rest of the league is to merge into one team known as the “Giant Jets.” A lot of people thought “Jumbo Jets” made more sense, but the Giants were real sticklers about the whole thing, so they ended up with a very dumb name. But anyway, that leaves the Broncos and Giants approximately 10 more seasons to sync up Super Bowl runs. Possible? Yes. Likely? Yes. Oh whoops, that second “Yes” was supposed to be a “No.”

 

Broncos 22-20





Sunday Night

 

Chicago at Los Angeles Rams 

SoFi Stadium finally opens to fans on Sunday Night Football. Don't take it from me, take it from the schedule, it's right there, clear as day. But you can also take it from the analyst who'll be calling the game, Cris Collinsworth:

Rams 24-13

 



Monday Night

 

Baltimore at Las Vegas

Over their last five openers the Ravens have outscored their opponents 177-26. They’ve also won 20 straight preseason games. They’re like the kid in class who’s super ready to show everybody how much cooler they got over the summer. And sometimes it works. They are cool. For most of the school year anyway, until they stumble in the playoffs. But hey, as long as you’re still looking good on picture day that’s all that matters. 


Ravens 33-23

 

NFL Picks - Week 1 Thursday

Dallas at Tampa Bay

 

The Buccaneers are attempting to repeat as Super Bowl champs with an almost identical roster from a season ago. Seems like a decent strategy on paper. If they won it all then, why couldn’t they do it again? Because that’s not how life works! We must constantly evolve and grow to truly thrive. Tampa’s stagnant strategy is presumptuous, and quite frankly insulting to the the rest of the league. Don’t be surprised if they lose all of their games as a result.

Buccaneers 31-20


2.04.2021

NFL Picks - Super Bowl LV

Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay

The Super Bowl is upon us and we have a quarterback match-up for the ages. In fact, it could end up going down as the greatest in the history of the big game, topping other classic duels such as Marino/Montana (XIX), Favre/Elway (XXXII), and Collins/Dilfer (XXXV). Yes one day you’ll be able tell your grandkids that you saw Mahomes vs. Brady in the Super Bowl. They’ll say, “But what is football grand papa? Is that the sport you all used to watch before the Morlocks invaded?” “Yes,” you’ll respond, “But quiet Jeremiah, lest they hear you.” Much has been made of Tom Brady joining a new team and immediately taking them to the Super Bowl. While I agree that it’s a remarkable story, I also think that it was just Tampa’s turn. The Bucs are now the 12th NFC team in the last 15 seasons to make it to the Super Bowl. Pretty astonishing. The whole conference is basically just a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations. Yeah it’s crowded and kind of chaotic, but if you wait around long enough and get lucky you’ll get to take your seat eventually. Though it seems like Washington, Dallas, Detroit, and Minnesota have been too busy looking at the menu or trying to order drinks at the bar to notice when a table has opened up. The AFC, on the other hand is a much more exclusive scene. Over that same 15 year span only 6 different teams from the conference have reached the Super Bowl. (In fact it’s still only 6 even if you push it to 18 years, but let’s stick with 15 for continuity sake. Though, I just told you the other stat, so I’m really trying to play both sides I guess. How about we just keep this between you and me? The people outside the parenthesis don’t need to know about the shit I’m trying to pull in here.) The Chiefs returning to the title game only reaffirms the AFC’s recent history of dominant franchises. And while KC hasn't been consistently dominant for a couple months now, they’ve only lost once in the last 26 games Patrick Mahomes has played. And as far as I know he’ll be active this Sunday, so it wouldn’t make much sense to pick against the Chiefs. And I won’t. 

Chiefs 30-24

But I know you don't come here just to hear what I think. Let's toss it to Cris Collinsworth for his insight on the big game.

 A fitting end to a truly incredible season. See you all in seven months.


1.21.2021

NFL Picks - Conference Championships

LAST WEEK: 3-1

PLAYOFFS: 7-3

 

 

 

Tampa Bay at Green Bay

It’s an Adam Cole (bay bay) match-up with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. A couple things are working in the Packers’ favor here: they’re playing at home and their offense seems to be borderline unstoppable right now. But recent history also seems to point to a Green Bay win. Six of the last seven NFC championship games have been won by the home team, and ten of the last twelve teams that won their divisional round game on the Saturday preceding the title game (as the Packers did) have moved on to the Super Bowl over the team coming off a Sunday game. But the Bucs have some favorable history of their own. For instance, their quarterback, Tom Brady (9-4), has a much better conference title game record than Aaron Rodgers (1-3). In fact, only two quarterbacks have ever topped Brady in a conference championship: Peyton Manning three times, and ... care to take a guess? That’s right, the FlaccMan himself, Joe Flacco! And, for better or worse, Aaron Rodgers is no Joe Flacco. Now, do any of those stats have any bearing on this Sunday’s outcome? Probably not. Home field means less than ever this season, and as impressive as Tom Brady’s conference title game record is, none of those appearances have been as a member of the Bucs. The Saturday thing though might be worth some consideration. I mean, if you were 43 years old, wouldn’t you want an extra day off in between games? I’m 35 and not a professional football player, but I know I enjoy a long weekend. Though can you imagine how many extra e-mails the Packers will have to sort through before the game? Almost not even worth it. Expect Green Bay to start slow as a result, but once they get everything sorted into the correct folder I think they’ll find their footing and come out on top. And then, and only then, will Aaron Rodgers be in the same stratosphere as Joe Flacco. 

 

Packers 30-23





Buffalo at Kansas City

Let’s cut right to the chase, this game comes down to two factors. Number 1: will Patrick Mahomes clear concussion protocol in time to play for the Chiefs? Number 2: will Patrick Mahomes clear concussion protocol in time to play for the Bills? Look, I know it seems outlandish, but in only three seasons as a starter Mahomes has expanded the possibilities of his position, so who’s to say he can’t play all-time quarterback this Sunday? And don’t just tell me “league rules” or “his contract” (by the way, I said that in a really condescending, whiny voice). Don’t get me wrong, Josh Allen is a heck of a QB in his own right, but I think the time has come for us to start maximizing our exposure to Mahomes. If last week’s scary knockout blow to KC's signal-caller taught us anything it’s that NFL careers can be derailed in an instant. So it only makes sense to cram as much Mahomes down our gullets as possible as quickly as we can. Which is exactly why we need him out there for each and every snap. Now some might argue that that would only increase his odds of suffering an injury that could jeopardize his future. Fair point, but come on, you’re telling me it wouldn’t make an October game against the Broncos more interesting to have Mahomes playing QB for both teams? And isn’t that worth risking it all? To make our viewing experience of a lame midseason divisional match-up slightly more entertaining? As for this game though, it should be a fun watch either way. Unless, of course, Mahomes doesn’t play at all. Though I suppose watching Chad Henne try to get to the Super Bowl would have some entertainment value. Maybe Henne should be the one playing all-time quarterback ...? Alright, I think I’m chasing my tail at this point, let’s just get to the pick. 

 

Chiefs 31-26

 

 

 

While NBC has broadcast its last game of the season that doesn't mean we can't get Cris Collinsworth's two cents on the NFC and AFC championship games. Let's see what ol' CC has to say about this Sunday's CCs:



I am gravely concerned.


1.14.2021

NFL Picks - Divisional Round

LAST WEEK: 4-2

 

 

Saturday 

 

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay

After a close inspection of the Rams’ opening round playoff game I can say with confidence that their offense is ... not great. If the Packers’ offense and special teams can avoid big mistakes against L.A.'s defense they should be able to get the win. The good news for Green Bay is that they committed only 11 turnovers in the regular season, the fewest in the league. The bad news? Aaron Rodgers’ new year’s resolution was actually to throw more interceptions. I know it sounds ridiculous, and I’m pretty sure he even said it as a joke (because he’s very funny), but he forgot to take it back before midnight on New Year’s Eve. It was a major gaffe that may cost his team a possible Super Bowl run. To make matters worse, Rodgers’ birthday isn’t until December 2nd, and as we all know, the only way to undo a new year’s resolution is with a birthday wish. That’s why I’m glad my birthday is close to the start of the year, because my diet is OVER baby! Look, I tried eating something other than Red Robin and it just didn’t take, alright? But luckily I was able to quickly reverse course and now I’m back on the Bird, no harm no foul. Or rather, no harm all fowl. 

 

Packers 27-13





Baltimore at Buffalo

Last week the Bills got their first playoff win in 25 years and Lamar Jackson got the first of his career. So really, mission accomplished for both teams, right? Winning again for either would just be greedy. But hey, somebody's got to ... at least I think that's how it works. There are no ties in the playoffs, right? Maybe the best analyst in the game Cris Collinsworth can shed some light on this for us.
 

Top notch insight.

 

Ravens 30-27





Sunday 

 

Cleveland at Kansas City

I picked Cleveland to lose last week, and I’ll admit it, I underestimated the Browns. Usually underestimating browns requires a plunger, but in this case it simply meant the end of the Steelers’ season. But come on, who could’ve predicted a 48-37 victory for Cleveland? That score had literally never happened before in the history of the NFL! It’s not my fault! It makes me wonder what kind of zany, unprecedented score we're in for this week considering the Chiefs’ offensive firepower. The highest combined score in playoff history is 96 points (2010 Cardinals over Packers 51-45), for now ... Who’s to say these teams can’t top that on Sunday? I’ll tell ya who, Gene Frisk, this guy I know who hates points. He says they “cheapen the game.” And I’m just like, bro what?!? Get this, he says he wants touchdowns to be worth one point! Don’t even ask what that would mean for field goals, because he doesn’t have any sort of coherent plan. I asked him what his ideal final score would be, guess what he said: “I dunno, 4-3?” 4-3! No joke, that’s really what he told me. What an asshole. Not me baby, give me the tuddies (touchdowns), and the fuddies (field goals), and the safeties (safeties). Add 'em all up this Sunday and you’ve got yourself a new postseason record. And also one very perturbed man named Gene Frisk.

 

Chiefs 52-45





Tampa Bay at New Orleans 

These squads enter the divisional round coming off of wins over Washington and Chicago, respectively; so really the postseason starts now for the Buccaneers and Saints. That’s not to say their previous opponents weren’t playoff-caliber, but their combined record was 15-17, so I guess that’s exactly what I’m saying. In retrospect I’m not sure why I started that sentence off like that. Oh well, no time to go back and edit it. I’ve touched on it a few times already this season, but now it is upon us, that special, horrifying time of year for the people of New Orleans when they’re about to discover in what sort of hellish, devastating fashion the Saints’ season will end. The last two seasons were overtime losses at home spurred on by ignored pass interferences. And the season prior they fell to a 61 yard Case Keenum pass as time expired. So what now? I think last week’s win over the Bears gave us a clue. In the fourth quarter Drew Brees attempted his patented over-the-top goal line reach and fell just short, surrendering the ball on downs. It was a rare failure for Brees, but perhaps a sign of things to come. My prediction for this Sunday is that Brees will try the same move with the Saints on the goal line in the opening drive of overtime only to have the ball knocked loose by a Bucs defender. Tampa will recover the fumble and run it all the way back to the opposite 1 yard line. On the next play, Tom Brady will use his own trademark sneak to send the Bucs to the conference championship game. If that seems too outlandish for you, did you read the part about Case Keenum throwing a 60+ yard touchdown on the last play of the game? Nothing is impossible when it comes to Saints’ playoff losses. 


Buccaneers 29-23 (OT)



1.07.2021

NFL Picks - Wild Card

LAST WEEK: 13-3

SEASON: 168-87-1

 

 

Saturday

 

Indianapolis at Buffalo

The Bills will allow 6,772 fans to attend the team’s first home playoff game in 25 years. The only problem is: tailgating is still banned. If you’re a Bills fan and you can't jump through a flaming table before going into the game, what’s the point? You’re telling them they should go to a football game without choke slamming their stepdad onto a barbecue first? So you’re actually saying you want these Buffalonians to just waltz into a Bills game having not moonsautled off an RV into a pyramid of beer cans minutes before? Thanks ...? Go team ...? Obviously 6,772 fans wouldn’t be able to generate the same amount of noise as the nearly 72,000 that would be there under normal circumstances, but with not even allowing these yahoos to work themselves into a proper lather beforehand the team is really cutting them off at the knees. The knees that would normally have come crashing through a table an hour or so before the game as they delivered a pedigree on their significant others to the cheers of dozens. That being said, fans or not, Buffalo is the hottest team in the league right now, so I expect them to get the win here. 

 

Bills 30-23





Los Angeles Rams at Seattle 

After two lackluster contests against each other in the regular season it’s safe to say this is the rubber match that nobody was clamoring for. The Rams won round one in LA 23-16 while the Seahawks clinched the NFC West with a 20-9 victory at home just two weeks ago. So what awaits us this time around? Maybe a nap for fans with no rooting interest. But for those who watch I’d expect more of the same: low scores, frustrating, if not baffling, quarterback play, and fan man. That’s right, I expect the guy on the fan-powered parachute that crashed into the ring at Bowe/Holyfield II in 1993 to come zipping into Lumen Field at some point during this game. After all, he seems to love trilogies. Granted, it was the second Bowe/Holyfield match that he appeared at, not the third, but you get what I’m saying. Also, from what I’ve heard he stans all three Star Wars trilogies. Says he can’t even rank them because they’re all so equally great. That’s how much Fan Man loves trilogies. So anyway, I hope that shed some light on what to look for during Rams/Hawks III. (Editor’s Note: Turns out Fan Man died in 2002. The writer was informed but refused to change any of the preceding text).

 

Seahawks 17-12





Tampa Bay at Washington 

The Buccaneers went 11-5 during the regular season which sounds all well and good, but consider this: their record against playoff teams is 1-5. I know this isn't college football, but that's not the most impressive resume. The good news for Tampa is that they went 10-0 against teams who were .500 or worse, and their upcoming opponent fits that bill. Due to Washington's dismal record this might seem like a mismatch, but let's hear what this contest's analyst Cris Collinsworth has to say

I say you're sharp as a tack Cris!

Buccaneers 19-9





Sunday

 

Baltimore at Tennessee

I have to imagine this is the first round opponent the Ravens wanted after the Titans shocked them in the divisional round last season. You know what they say, revenge is a dish best served after one year. Unfortunately for Baltimore this game is being played on January 10th and last year’s was January 11th, so it hasn’t been a full year yet. Though, if you factor in that 2020 was a leap year, that does mean it was a full 365 days. I wonder if an exception can be made. Luckily for the Ravens, they probably don’t care about that saying, and also I made it up anyway, so it’s likely they’ve never even heard it at all. Whether it’s fair or not this will be a defining game for Lamar Jackson. If Baltimore loses to drop Jackson's postseason to 0-3 the narrative that he can’t win big games will be fully entrenched. But we should cut the guy some slack considering he’s following in the footsteps of the greatest playoff quarterback of our generation: Joe Flacco. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but Flacco did go 10-5 in the postseason. If Jackson wants to match that mark it would behoove him to start tallying some wins soon, preferably this Sunday.


Ravens 38-33





Chicago at New Orleans

How pissed are the Saints that they even have to play this game? Prior to this season they would already be in the divisional round with a bye week to get rested and complete their quarantines. Ok that last part wouldn’t have happened before this season, but the point is an extra week without a game would have been very beneficial to New Orleans. But of course, the NFL added a third wild card team and now the Saints are stuck having to win their way into round 2. And it would be one thing if the team they were playing deserved to be there, like any of the 11-5 teams in the AFC, but the extra wild card spot in the NFC fell to the 8-8 Bears. This is a team that experienced a 6 game losing streak this season. So much has been made about how it’s pathetic that a 7-9 team won the NFC East, well guess what, the remaining teams in the conference weren’t much better. In fact, the team that should really feel screwed here is Miami. The Dolphins went 10-6 this season, and 3-1 against the NFC, yet they’ll be watching the playoffs from home while three teams they’d have qualified over (Washington, Bears, and Rams based on head to head tiebreaker) get to compete for a trip to the Super Bowl. The NFL should right this wrong, remove the Bears, and insert the Dolphins into this game. That’s not likely to happen though, so we’ll be stuck watching Mitchell Trubisky trying to win a playoff game. Actually that sounds pretty fun, so either way I’m excited. 

 

Saints 30-16





Cleveland at Pittsburgh

It’s a rematch! Of last week and of the last time the Browns were in the playoffs. Back in January of ‘03 these squads squared off in a classic wild card game in which Tommy Maddox outdueled Kelly Holcomb. Who’s Tommy Maddox you ask? A former XFL champion, so show some respect. Who’s Kelly Holcomb you ask? A back-up quarterback who threw for 429 yards in a playoff loss, so show some respect. Speaking of backup quarterbacks, the Steelers started Mason Rudolph last Sunday and were a missed two point conversion away from possibly taking the Browns to overtime. Is there any chance Pittsburgh saw what Cleveland had to offer through the first 59 minutes of Week 17 and purposely failed to convert? If you could possibly face a team in the playoffs who you almost beat with your backup quarterback why not help them get in? I wouldn’t blame the Steelers at all if that was their strategy. Consider this: the Browns have a -11 point differential on the season, yet they finished 11-5. Their expected win total is 7.7. Now, I don’t totally understand all of the metrics that contribute to that number, but I know if it’s that much lower than your actual win total you either got pretty lucky or are just lying about your record. Quick, can anybody actually name all eleven of the Browns’ wins off the top of their head? No time to look it up, c’mon say them all right now. Couldn’t do it huh? See, they might just be full of it. Their coaching staff is definitely full of COVID, head coach Kevin Stefanski will turn over his duties to Cleveland’s special teams coach Mike Priefer. But is that really necessary? It’s 2021, why can’t Stefanski just coach via Zoom? Imagine the hilarity if/when he doesn’t realize he’s muted and the Browns incur a delay of game penalty because they can’t get the play called in time. It seems far-fetched but the Browns are in the playoffs, so clearly we shouldn’t rule anything out. Sadly though, with the added challenges presented by their COVID absences I don’t think the “Browns are in the playoffs” is a statement we’ll be able to accurately say for much longer. Hopefully it’s not another 18 years until we can say it again. 


Steelers 27-19

 

 

1.01.2021

NFL Picks - Week 17

LAST WEEK: 9-7

SEASON: 155-84-1

 

 

Sunday Morning

 

Miami at Buffalo

The Bills could finish their season at 13-3 with a win over the Dolphins. That’s surprising. I mean I know they’re good, but are they 13-3 good? Meanwhile, with a win the Dolphins would get to 11-5 and clinch a playoff berth. That’s also surprising. I mean I know they’re good, but are they 11-5 good? So if I don’t foresee either team winning how exactly does this reconcile? Maybe a tie. But are the Bills 12-3-1 good? Ok, I’m confusing myself by thinking about the big picture, perhaps I should focus more on this one game and less on the teams’ final records. Buffalo will likely be playing their starters in an attempt to take the 2nd seed in the AFC, but will their sense of urgency be as high as Miami’s? The Dolphins’ season will probably be over with a loss. Unfortunately, Miami won't have on of their best players either after Quarterback Closer Ryan Fitzpatrick tested positive for COVID this week. Miami will have no one to bail them out if their other quarterback Tua Tagovailoa once again can't manage to get the ball downfield. However, the Dolphins can hope for a different sort of late game reprieve this Sunday. Buffalo can also clinch the 2 seed with a Steelers loss. Perhaps if the Bills check the scoreboard and see that Pittsburgh is trailing big they'll pull some of their first team and allow the Dolphins to come roaring back. And somewhere far away Fitzpatrick will smile and nod.  


Dolphins 23-20





Baltimore at Cincinnati 

Much like the Dolphins, the Ravens have a win and in scenario. Unlike the Dolphins, Baltimore doesn’t have to play a division leader. And thus, I believe the Ravens will make the playoffs. That being said, this match-up also took place three seasons ago with the exact same stakes and the Ravens weren’t able to get the job done. Of course, that Bengals team was better than this one, and they had the full support of Bills Mafia behind them. Cincy is coming off consecutive wins though, so it’s not out of the question that they could pull the upset. Especially if half of Baltimore’s starters come down with COVID again. In fact, don’t be surprised if one of the other 10-5 teams in the AFC sends a COVID cake to Lamar Jackson’s hotel room this weekend. To clarify, that’s just a normal cake but it’s delivered by an infected guy with a lisp. But as long as Jackson checks the peephole the Ravens should be playoff bound. 

 

Ravens 27-13





Pittsburgh at Cleveland

The Browns only had to beat the Jets last week to clinch a spot in the playoffs. They didn't do that. Now they’re very close to missing the postseason altogether. Luckily for them the Steelers have announced that Ben Roethlisberger won’t be playing, which could suggest that other Pittsburgh starters will rest for some, or all, of the game. At first glance that’s great news for Cleveland, it should give them a better chance at winning. However, anyone who knows anything about the Browns knows that this just means the perfect trap has been set. Nothing would make more sense than for Cleveland to be a win away from the playoffs only for them to lose consecutive games to the Jets and a group of Steelers backups. It almost seems destined to happen now that I think about it. And if that does come to pass don’t be surprised to see the Browns leave Cleveland again, this time for an ice floe. Don’t mind us, we know it’s our time, goodbye.

 

Browns 20-16





Minnesota at Detroit

The Lions had to play last week without their interim coach Darrell Bevell due to COVID 19 protocols. They ended up losing 47-7 to the Bucs in what was a big win for coaches everywhere. See, they matter! I’m assuming Bevell will be back on the sideline this week, but maybe Detroit should use this as an opportunity. Invite the snarkiest know-it-all commenter on their twitter feed to be the head coach for the final game of the season. It’s a win-win; the guy sees how hard it is to coach a football game and learns his lesson, and then after the game all the players who he’s made negative comments about get to kick his ass. Then even the players he likes get to join in for a few shots, making it all the more painful. See, win-win! Oh also, a loss could only help the Lions’ draft status, so actually it would be a win-win-win! Three wins in a row? There’s something the Lions haven’t had in years. See that’s exactly the type of comment that got that guy’s ass kicked. 

 

Vikings 31-19





New York Jets at New England 

This is one of three games on the day that has no playoff implications nor involves a team going to the postseason. Hard to fathom that the Patriots are involved. Sure they lost the winningest quarterback in the history of the NFL, but come on, is that really that important? Apparently so. But what if there were a way that Tom Brady could still get this Patriots team to the playoffs? I know it seems impossible, but just hear me out. Now bear with me, because this is pretty convoluted and there are a lot of moving parts. Here we go: Brady buys them all tickets to the Bucs’ first round game. Alright, I suppose the only complicated part is whether or not Tampa’s opponent allows fans. But I have to believe that Brady would find a way to make it happen no matter what. As New England knows from experience, he always does. 

 

Patriots 20-17





Dallas at New York Giants

The Cowboys have won three games in a row to surge to 6-9 while the Giants have stumbled lately to arrive at the final week with a 5-10 record. But of course, both teams can still win the NFC East. We’ve been joking about it all season, but we’re finally going to find out just how far under .500 the division champ will be. Obviously I’ll be rooting for New York and the first ever 6-10 playoff team, but do Giants fans feel the same? I’m guessing that their hopes of a deep postseason run aren’t high, and a trip to the playoffs would severely damage their draft position. In fact, it’s still possible (not likely, but possible) that the Giants could climb up to the 3rd overall pick with a loss this Sunday. Just think about the absurdity of that, it’s Week 17 and a team could either go to the playoffs or get the 3rd pick in the draft! Actually there are two teams you can say that about this season. The other one is Miami, but they can actually do both at the same time because they made the wise decision to trade with Bill O’Brien before he got fired. The Cowboys have been surprisingly explosive on offense lately, and momentum is definitely on their side. But come on, this is the 2020 NFC East! We’ve suffered through it all season and we deserve a historically bad 6-10 champ. 

 

Giants 20-19





Atlanta at Tampa Bay

The Bucs just need a win to get the coveted 5th seed in the NFC and play themselves into a match-up with the previously discussed, possibly 6-10 NFC East champion. If Tampa advances from there they could go on to face a Packers teams they beat by 28 earlier this season. Maybe we should just print up the Bucs’ conference championship game participant banner now. Oh that’s right, only the Colts do that. When these teams met two weeks ago the Falcons actually gave Tampa a run for their money, amassing a 17 point second half lead. It was actually the first reported instance in NFL history of a scoreboard rolling its eyes. Of course, as anybody with any knowledge of recent Falcons history could guess, Atlanta blew that lead. They then blew out of town for the remainder of the season leaving Mercedes Benz Stadium alone in the dark with nothing to do but think about the abusive relationship their team has inflicted upon them. Hopefully the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day can show the MB scoreboard a good time and maybe remind them of how nice a healthy relationship with a football team can be. They deserve it. 

 

Buccaneers 31-22





Sunday Afternoon

 

Green Bay at Chicago 

Uh guys, this Bears offense is out of hibernation! Which is strange, because usually bears start hibernating in the winter ... Enough semantics! There’s no denying that Chicago finally has some firepower. There’s also no denying that their four consecutive 30 point efforts have come against the Lions, Texans, Vikings, and Jaguars. That’s not to say their recent output isn’t impressive, but it is to say that it’s less impressive. But hey, Chicago don’t make the schedule, they just show up and play whoever’s on the other side of the field. Sometimes they’re there on the wrong day and they play the grounds crew. It’s pretty messed up considering that those guys aren’t pro athletes, nor do they have the proper equipment. But that’s beside the point, all that matters now is that if the Bears win they’re in. But if they lose, well they still might be in. So much has been made (including in this space) about how comically bad the NFC East is; well guess what, the last NFC wild card team might be 8-8. Perhaps the conference as a whole just isn’t very deep. I, for one, hope that’s what happens just so the NFL gets egg on its face after adding an extra playoff team. We don’t want more playoff games you assholes! Just go back where you came from and keep giving us a reason to live.

 

Packers 26-17





Las Vegas at Denver

This game means nothing huh? You try telling that to Jon Gruden. Seriously he probably thinks there’s still a way the Raiders can get into the playoffs. "Just a little bit of gumption and some old fashioned know how ... you try and tell us we can’t find a way to nab that final wild card!" Got get ‘em J man. If you can dream it you can do it! How else would you explain all of my teeth falling out in real life? It’s a dream come true! I also have not been to a math class all semester. So who are we to tell Jon Gruden that Las Vegas can’t make the playoffs? The league will likely fax him that info on Monday, so really we don’t have to worry about it. 

 

Raiders 30-27





Jacksonville at Indianapolis

These teams played in Week 1 and it’s the only game the Jags have won all season. Now they meet in the final week in what could provide a perfect bookend for Jacksonville. Now that the Jags have secured the top pick in the 2021 draft they can fully pursue a win in this game. Is it possible that they’ll end the season 2-14 with two victories over the Colts? That would be the only time in the history of the NFL that that’s happened. No, I didn’t do the research on that, but you’re not going to either are you? Ok cool, so let’s just agree that it’s a fact. I doubt that it will happen though. Indy needs a win to have a chance at the playoffs, and they’ve no doubt been living with the embarrassment of losing to the Jags for the last 3+ months. They’ll likely resort to anything to get this win. Hard counts, trick plays, murder. Murder? Yes, murder! But consider this, there’s a chance that the Colts will win and still not make the playoffs. Can you imagine the overwhelming despair of living the next eight months knowing that the only reason you didn’t make the playoffs was because you lost in Week 1 to the Jags?!? Indy is left with very few agreeable options, which means they’ll have to ensure that the Dolphins, Browns, Titans, and/or Ravens lose. That’s where that murder I was talking about earlier comes into play.

 

Colts 33-20





Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City

With a win the Chiefs could enter the rarefied air of 15-1 NFL teams. Only seven squads have been that good (or better) since the league extended the schedule to 16 games in 1978. That’s a pretty exclusive club KC could join, so perhaps it would behoove them to go for the win here even though it wouldn’t benefit their current standing whatsoever. Or perhaps not ... Consider this, the last five teams to have a regular season record of 15-1 or better have not won the Super Bowl. It would stand to reason that the best regular season teams would normally win it all, but in actuality the best teams of the last 30+ seasons have not. So now the Chiefs have another reason to leave their starters on the bench besides rest. The only negative side effect of a loss would be KC relinquishing their AFC crown to the Chargers. Remember? The Kings of the AFC title I made up at the beginning of the season that the Chiefs lost to the Raiders but then won back? Well it’s up for grabs here. Even if this game means nothing in terms of the postseason, it means something to us, right?!? Not you? Fine. It’s still real to me damn it!

 

Chargers 31-24





Arizona at Los Angeles Rams

It’s a win and you’re in scenario for both teams. Though the Rams don’t have to win to get in. If they lose and the Bears lose then they and the Cardinals are in. That could very well happen, especially since LA will be going with John Wolford at quarterback, a man who’s most recent experience as a professional starter was with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF. Imagine an Arizona pro football fan so dedicated that they’re torn as to who they want to win. Would it be the Cardinals, an active pro football franchise in the state, or the Rams, who are starting a quarterback who once played for a now defunct Arizona team? What torment that totally fake, non-existent person must be feeling. If I were them I’d wait to see what happens the first time Wolford throws a pass in the NFL. If it gets deflected back and wedged into his facemask triggering a panic that results in him running through the back of his own end zone, well they’ll have their answer. And that answer is: root for him! This poor bastard needs all the help he can get! 

 

Cardinals 16-10

 




Seattle at San Francisco

With a win the Seahawks can get to 12-4, a threshold they’ve only reached 4 times before in their history. The 49ers have been 12-4 or better 14 times since Seattle entered the league in 1976. So clearly San Fran has the better pedigree, and it wouldn’t bother them if the Seahawks got a measly 5 to their 14. Or at least that’s what they’d say if they lose. You know that deep down inside they’re scared. In another 30 years or so Seattle may have equaled the 49ers' 12-4 level. And as we all know, that’s the true measure of a great franchise. Not conference or Super Bowl championships, but seasons in which you finish with a .750 win percentage or better. San Fran can’t let the Hawks gain an inch, or else they’ll take a mile, a mile of wins. Literally. That’s 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards, which would surely be enough to win 12 games. Hmm, actually that would only be 146 per win, so that doesn’t work. 

 

Seahawks 27-17





New Orleans at Carolina 

Alvin Kamara is coming off a 6 touchdown performance on Christmas Day. How can he possibly top that? The simple answer would be: with 7 touchdowns. But if you ask me, there are plenty of ways to do something more amazing than scoring 6 touchdowns in a football game. How about volunteering at a homeless shelter, donating blood, or teaching a child to read? I don’t know, maybe I just have a broader scope and realize that not everything is about football. In fact, and this might sound ridiculous to a lot of you, I believe these players can make a bigger difference off the field than they can on it. Pretty mind-blowing, right? It makes me think of JFK’s famous quote: “Ask not what a football player can do on the field, instead ask him to build a community center. Preferably with a pool!” 

 

Saints 34-27





Tennessee at Houston

The Titans are the leaders of the AFC South and poised to host a playoff game next week, But there’s still a chance that they could miss the playoffs entirely. Yes, multiple results would have to break the wrong way for Tennessee, but come on, this is 2020, nothing’s impossible. Oh wait a minute, it’s 2021 now. We don’t know what, if anything, is actually possible anymore. Maybe this year will be conventional as hell. If so, Tennessee will win and Derrick Henry will run for exactly 223 yards to get him to 2,000 on the season. Then we’ll all high five and hug and kiss afterward, ya know just like how we used to before 2020. Oh what, you never celebrated football games with a nice wet, juicy kiss planted upon whoever was nearest you at the time? Pfft, man I feel sorry for you. 

 

Titans 38-30





Sunday Night

 

Washington at Philadelphia 

So it's come to this. If Washington wins they are the NFC East champions, and if they lose they're just another 6-10 schlub. The stake couldn't be higher (unless it was any other division)! Let's find out what fate Sunday Night Football's Cris Collinsworth thinks awaits Washington:
 

A very inspiring message to kickoff our new year. Thank you CriColl.

Eagles 19-18