1.30.2015

NFL Picks - Super Bowl XLIX

New England vs. Seattle

Another year, another pointless regular season. I'm sorry for ruining it for you back in August, but if I remember correctly I did say "spoiler alert." Hopefully you can forgive me and try to enjoy what should be a tremendous Super Bowl match-up. Listening to the noise out there, most media folks say this game won't be as lopsided as last year's finale; a bold prediction considering that that was an historical blow out. Dynamite stuff guys. Let us not forget that prior to that game many were forecasting a very competitive contest much in the same way they are this time around. I'm not saying that I expect a shellacking this Sunday, but merely predicting a closer game is no prediction at all. If we look back to more recent history, namely Championship Sunday, the Patriots are the ones coming off a blowout win after hammering the Colts by 38, whereas the Hawks had to scratch and claw and beak(?) their way to an OT win. At first glance this would indicate that New England is playing better ball and should be favored on Sunday. However, if we dig deeper into Super Bowl history we get a different perspective. Seven Super Bowl match-ups have featured a team that won their conference championship game by 20+ points versus a team that won theirs by 7 or less. The latter squads are 6-1 in the Super Bowl. Looking at that I feel like I have no choice but to pick Seattle. It's nice when juicy statistics like that line up with personal beliefs (and yes, the beliefs are also occasionally juicy). The Hawks probably feel like nothing can stop them after their miraculous comeback against Green Bay. Consequently I expect the D to be hunting come Sunday; look for a New England fumble on their first possession. That's it folks! Enjoy the game and I'll see you in seven months ... Oh wait, I almost forgot.

Seahawks 24-17

1.16.2015

NFL Picks - Conference Championships

Green Bay @ Seattle

It's the league's #1 scoring offense against the #1 scoring defense. Of course, the Packers are only tops in points when you factor in all of their games (which isn't totally unfair), but if we look at Green Bay on the road (where the placement of the 'at sign' above would indicate that they are this Sunday) we'll find that they only put up a pedestrian a 21 points per game, over 17 less than at home. You might even say that in this situation they're calf the team they are at Lambeau. If Aaron Rodgers looks as hobbled as he did last week the Hawks' defense could very well dominate. And if Rodgers looks fully healthy ... copy and paste ... the Hawks' defense could very well dominate. As for the other side of the ball, I think we're looking at a big rushing day from the home team. And when I look at that what does it look like?

Seahawks 30-14  


Indianapolis @ New England

Brady and Belichick are back in the AFC Championship game. They've been here a lot, I think it's like nine times or something. As for their opponents, this is a first for Luck and Pagano ... wait a minute, Luck and Chuck! Start printing the shirts, and don't forget to send me all the profits. Andrew Luck's brief but devastating history against the Patriots has been well documented. With Luck at QB the Colts are 0-3 against New England, losing by an average of 26 points with the defense surrendering at least 42 in each game. I don't expect the Pats to reach that total again after seeing the Indy D dominate last week in Denver. Then again, they were playing against what I can only assume was Cooper Manning in his brother's uniform. I'm not sure why it happened, but the details will inevitably surface, and I'm guessing it will involve hostages or diarrhea ... or both? Anyway, an improved effort from the Colts' defense should make this closer than their previous contests, but I still expect New England to move on.

Patriots 31-23

1.09.2015

NFL Picks - Divisional Round

Saturday

Baltimore @ New England

It's time for round two of the NFL playoffs and boy do we have some interesting match-ups in the AFC. Interesting, but also a bit predictable (COUGH ... Go back and check my preseason picks ... COUGH ... Ignore half of the NFC ... BURP ... Whoops, I thought that would be a cough). There's plenty of postseason history between these two squadrons recently, with this being the fourth time the Ravens have made a January trip to Foxborough in the past six seasons. Up until this point Baltimore is 2-1 in those games, so we shouldn't be shocked if they are able to pull off the upset on the road. Then again, I'd be less shocked if the Patriots won. Then again, I'd be even less shocked if I had worn rubber gloves that day that the power lines went down; I might have been able to save those people too. I expect a close game that the home team finds a way to win.

Patriots 24-20


Carolina @ Seattle

When asked about his team's three consecutive losses to the Seahawks in the last three seasons Cam Newton said that he's not worried because both teams are different now. Well he's right, the Seahawks' defense is better than they were when they held the Panthers to 9 points in October. And this game is being played in Seattle, which cannot be said about any of the past three contests. In other words, Newton better hope that this game is similar, because if it's different it probably means things will be much worse for him.

Seahawks 23-6 


Sunday

Dallas @ Green Bay

It's the match-up America wanted. And from the looks of it it's the match-up the NFL wanted as well. The Cowboys showed great determination last week in their comeback victory over Detroit. Nothing was going to stop them, not even an announced pass interference call. But so what if Dallas needed all the help it could get? They were at home, a place where they're a mediocre team. Now they get to go on the road where they're undefeated. Unfortunately for them the game is in Lambeau Field where no road team has won this season. The Packers have been dominant at home, especially on offense, scoring an average of 39.8 points per game. The cold weather and playoff atmosphere should bring that total down a bit, but I'm guessing they'll still score enough to get the win.

Packers 30-23


Indianapolis @ Denver

In his rookie season Andrew Luck made it to the playoffs and lost in the first round. In his second season he got to the divisional round and lost. So now in his third year it would only make sense for him to get to the conference championship. However, Peyton Manning (former Colts QB, look it up) and the Broncos stand in his way. Denver is undefeated at home this season and 24-3 in the Manning era. But included in those three L's is a playoff loss in the divisional round, so an upset here is not out of the question. The one thing I keep coming back to is Andrew Luck's tendency to turn the ball over; he's given it away 9 times in four playoff games. Committing turnovers on the road is hard to overcome, especially in the postseason. This might explain why Luck has yet to win a road playoff game. I don't think this will be his first.

Broncos 34-24

1.02.2015

NFL Picks - Wild Card Round

Saturday

Arizona @ Carolina

After Week 11 the Cardinals were 9-1 and the Panthers were 3-7-1. Now six weeks later the latter hosts the former in the opening game of the playoffs. Is it fair? Perhaps no, but are these the rules set forth by the NFL that all 32 teams agreed upon? After e-mailing representatives from all 32 teams I can now confidently say yes. The old adage states that defense wins championships, well Arizona better hope it also wins Wild Card games, because if it comes down to their offense they have no chance. Carolina had an abysmal stretch this season in which they went two months without a victory, but they've reeled off four straight wins to claim their spot in the playoffs. Apparently they've learned from their past mistakes. Just take it from Cam Newton, who earlier this season (actually) said "hindsight is 50-50."

Panthers 16-9   


Baltimore @ Pittsburgh

This one's gonna be a knockdown drag-out fight. After that gets cleaned up and the appropriate suspensions are applied it should be an interesting game as well. The Ravens haven't been very impressive the last few weeks against inferior competition, so a trip to Pittsburgh may be too much to handle. But then there's the matter of LeVeon Bell's knee, and the fact that it's not working correctly at the moment. It's rare in today's NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE that an absent running back would sway my pick, but that's the case here.

Ravens 27-24


Sunday

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis

Andy Dalton on Wild Card weekend. I've seen this movie before ... Oh, sorry I was just flipping through channels and Drop Dead Fred was on; I guess I just started typing out my thoughts. But anyway, Andy Dalton desperately needs a win to get over the hump and to prove to those close to him that those past playoff mistakes weren't his fault, his imaginary friend was the one wreaking all the havoc ... Sorry, DDF seeping in there again. Unfortunately I just don't see it happening for Dalton and the Bengals. Why? Because I've never seen it happen before. And I only watch things I've seen before. Hence me staring blankly at Drop Dead Fred as I type ... Oh! Fred just looked up a woman's dress! She wasn't wearing any panties! Yikes, Fred is a pretty big creep.

Colts 31-24


Detroit @ Dallas

Much has been made of Ndamukong Suh and his stomp on Aaron Rodgers' leg last week, but c'mon, what is he supposed to do, not step on a guy? Besides, as Suh said, his feet were numb, which explains why for most of the game he was comically stumbling and sliding around the field Keystone Cops style. This Sunday the Lions and Cowboys are playing in a climate-controlled stadium, so any claims of numb body parts will ring false. Outside of the owner's box that is, because clearly Jerry Jones' altered face no longer has any feeling. There's a pretty handy stat that helped me pick this game: Matthew Stafford is 0-17 on the road against winning teams. GULP!

Cowboys 27-17

12.26.2014

NFL Picks - Week 17

As we enter the final week of the season I thought it might be fun to take a look back at my preseason predictions for each team and see how accurate they were. And if you disagree and think that wouldn't be fun at all well then I guess you can just stop reading now. You really left didn't you? Well that backfired. I'll go ahead with the plan anyway for my own gratification.

Sunday Morning

Cleveland @ Baltimore

Cleveland Preseason Guess: 6-10
Baltimore Preseason Guess: 9-7
I'm in the ballpark on this one, which is more than I can say for Tim Couch, because he doesn't play for the Browns anymore, so of course he wouldn't be there. Ravens need the win to stay alive, while the Browns have unsurprisingly already died.

Ravens 26-13


Dallas @ Washington

Dallas: 5-11
Washington: 6-10
Whoops! Oh come on, like you thought the Cowboys were going to be good? Pfff, liar. Dallas can still improve their playoff standing, while Washington can only hurt their draft position with a win. Kind of makes you wonder why they'd even bother playing this game. Though I get the feeling that that's been the 'Skins mindset for most of the season.

Cowboys 31-20


Indianapolis @ Tennessee

Indianapolis: 10-6
Tennessee: 4-12
Pretty accurate here, although I somehow gave the Titans too much credit. The Colts now have no shot of getting a first round bye and will be playing on Wild Card weekend for the third straight season. There's a chance they'll be resting some starters, but even still they'll be playing the Titans, so ...

Colts 17-13


Jacksonville @ Houston

Jacksonville: 7-9
Houston: 6-10
I had confidence that Gus Bradley would start to turn things around in his second year in Jacksonville. Unfortunately they were approaching one of those no U-turn stop lights so they had to keep going in the same direction. The Texans immediately turned things around after a 2-14 season, and even without a legitimate quarterback still have an outside chance of making the playoffs.

Texans 23-16 


San Diego @ Kansas City

San Diego: 10-6
Kansas City: 7-9
A win for the Chargers would put them right at 10-6 and mean a return trip to the playoffs. So it would only make sense for me to pick them to win this game. But a true prognosticator doesn't stubbornly stand by a pick just because that's what they said originally. If new information presents itself then that must be taken into account and the situation reevaluated. That being said, the Chiefs have looked pretty lame lately, so old and new information really gels nicely for me on this one.

Chargers 21-19


New York Jets @ Miami

New York Jets: 7-9
Miami: 8-8
In future years I plan on having another person sit in the room with me when I make my preseason predictions so that when I broach the idea of the Jets being 7-9 they will stop me, with physical restraint if necessary.

Dolphins 24-16


Chicago @ Minnesota

Chicago: 9-7
Minnesota: 4-12
I thought the Bears would be a playoff team. There, I said it. I'm not proud of it, but I must embrace my failings so that I can learn from them. I guess I didn't anticipate a non-injury scenario in which Jimmy Clausen would be starting a game this season. Let's be honest, Jimmy Clausen didn't anticipate that either.

Vikings 23-20


Buffalo @ New England

Buffalo: 7-9
New England: 12-4
Picking the Patriots record isn't difficult, just go with 12-4 and you'll be within a game at worst. Er wait, no, I actually used a lot of advanced metrics and stuff. They'll probably be resting starters this week, and the Bills defense should help them grind out a win.

Bills 20-17


Philadelphia @ New York Giants

Philadelphia: 11-5
New York Giants: 6-10
Less than a month ago the Eagles looked like they would cruise to the playoffs with at least the 11-5 mark I originally predicted. Then their will and entire offensive philosophy was crushed by the Seahawks. I really should have seen that coming.

Giants 31-27


New Orleans @ Tampa Bay

New Orleans: 12-4
Tampa Bay: 7-9
Ummmm, I uhhhhhh, I'll be right back ... (HURRIED FOOTSTEPS; CAR DOOR SLAM; TIRE SCREECH) Look, when I made this prediction the Saints still had a home field advantage. Now they've lost five in a row in the Superdome and really made me look like a fool in the process. The only person that gets to make me look like a fool is me.

Saints 30-23


Sunday Afternoon

Carolina @ Atlanta

Carolina: 6-10
Atlanta: 7-9
If the Falcons win this game those records will be spot on, with the exception of that pesky tie from the Panthers. An NFL tie hasn't loomed this large since Michael Irvin's.

Falcons 24-17  


Detroit @ Green Bay

Detroit: 7-9
Green Bay: 11-5
Looks like I underestimated the Lions here, and if I'm being honest I still think their 11-4 record is a bit better than they are. In fact, their current expected record according to Pro Football Reference is 9-6. And they're using math, so you know it's legit. What's not legit is their chances of winning this week in Green Bay.

Packers 30-17


Oakland @ Denver

Oakland: 3-13
Denver: 12-4
Boom baby! A Broncos win makes each of these predictions spot on and makes me look like a genius in the process. Don't go back and tally up how many other others I'm going to get right, just remember this game and the word "genius." Surprisingly Denver hasn't reached 30 points in their last four games. Should change here.

Broncos 35-13


Arizona @ San Francisco

Arizona: 7-9
San Francisco: 11-5
I've never been happier to have missed on a guess. My 11-5 prediction gave the Niners waaaaay too much credit. And I'll admit that I was off on the Cardinals, I thought they would backslide after having a winning record in 2013. Now they're 11-4 and forced to start Ryan Lindley again, so let my trend of not believing in Arizona continue.

49ers 16-13


St. Louis @ Seattle

St. Louis: 6-10
Seattle: 16-0
A bit off with the Hawks pick, but if I had woken up from a coma in late November and watched this team since you'd have a hard time making me believe that they weren't undefeated on the year. Now it's time to wrap up the regular season and stomp the Rams in the process. A perfect end to what I'm still convinced should have been a perfect season.

Seahawks 27-3


Sunday Night

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Cincinnati: 8-8
Pittsburgh: 9-7
Looks like I underestimated these two squads, whereas NBC overestimated the importance of this match-up. While it will decide the winner of the AFC North, it's not a win or go home situation like that battle for all the NFC South marbles taking place in Atlanta. Of course, those marbles are all chipped and scuffed up, and does anybody even play with marbles anymore for that matter? Anyway, I think Pittsburgh wins at home, taking the division and a hefty sack of marbles with them into the playoffs.

Steelers 34-26

12.18.2014

NFL Picks - Week 16

Saturday

Philadelphia @ Washington

A mere two weeks ago the Eagles were in control of the NFC East with a legitimate shot at a first round bye in the playoffs. Now they sit on the outside of the NFC playoff picture with only two games remaining. The lesson to be learned here is that a lot can change in two weeks, especially when your quarterback is Mark Sanchez. Luckily for Philly their final games are against the Skins and the Giants. Unluckily, I wasn't lying in the previous sentence, Mark Sanchez is their quarterback. In other words, things could get shaky.

Eagles 27-16


San Diego @ San Francisco

It's officially over for the 49ers. Their struggles have been well documented, so there really isn't much left to say; except maybe this, this, or this. Now the Hawk hangover will claim another victim and further establish Seattle's dominance over San Francisco, sending the Niners spiraling into a losing record. See ya in April at the draft guys! You'll have a better pick, so jelly!

Chargers 19-16


Sunday Morning

Minnesota @ Miami

It's this time of the season when completely meaningless games become more prevalent. While I'm sure there is a scenario in which the Dolphins can make it into the playoffs I just don't have the time to research that properly. So we'll go ahead and just assume this game is pointless. Can we assume the same about existence as a whole? That's for you to decide. I can't provide the answers for everything.

Dolphins 23-20


Baltimore @ Houston

The Texans' quarterbacks are dropping like Cardinals' quarterbacks. It looks like rookie Tom Savage or the newly signed Case Keenum will get the start for Houston on Sunday, which could make for some entertaining wackiness, but wouldn't it be much more interesting if they started J.J. Watt at QB and ran the wishbone? Any sort of success the offense had would put Watt's MVP candidacy over the top. Of course, if he failed miserably that would be a heck of a watch too.

Ravens 20-12


Detroit @ Chicago

The Lions seem like they're masquerading as contenders in the NFC, and I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. It hasn't yet, and I don't expect it to this Sunday because they're facing a team that appears to have absolutely no fight left in them. Jay Cutler took his level of not caring to new heights (or lows?) on Monday. In fact, I'm pretty sure I saw him watching Guardians of the Galaxy on his phone during one of his dropbacks. Now it's Jimmy Clausen's turn. So um, that oughta work out. The weird thing is that Cutler almost seemed relieved at his Thursday press conference following the news of his benching. Oh wait, that's not surprising, Jay Cutler hates playing football.

Lions 27-17 


Cleveland @ Carolina

Games in which I have zero confidence in either quarterback are the toughest to pick, and boy is that the case here. The Panthers will either be starting Derek Anderson or Cam Newton coming off of a car wreck. The Browns will be starting Johnny Manziel coming off of a car wreck. Of course, only one of those accidents was metaphorical, but I'm not sure which was more painful.

Panthers 13-10


Atlanta @ New Orleans

The Saints have climbed back atop the NFC South mountain and planted their flag on the peak. It should be mentioned that the mountain in question is a pile of used diapers at a dump just outside of New Orleans. The Saints can't clinch the division with a win here due to the Panthers' presence, but they can eliminate the Falcons from contention. And there's nothing these sick bastards would like more than to end another team's season.

Saints 37-30


Green Bay @ Tampa Bay

The Packers took a step back in Buffalo last week and are now fighting for their playoff lives. It's possible with a loss in Week 17 that Green Bay could miss the postseason at 11-5. Of course, that's assuming that the Packers will win in Tampa this Sunday, which I think we can safely assume without making an ass out of you or me. And if the Bucs do win, and we turn out to be asses, well then I apologize for shaming you and your family. If it takes me a lifetime to rectify this wrongdoing then so be it. Yikes, I just really raised the stakes on this game.

Packers 27-20  


Kansas City @ Pittsburgh

Here's another contest with serious playoff implications. I feel like the term "playoff implications" is coming up so much nowadays that we should just abbreviate it to "playoff imps." Though now that I think about it that makes it sound like we're talking about little goblins that exist only to wreak havoc upon the playoffs, which I actually like better. Anything odd that happens can just be blamed on the playoff imps.

Steelers 24-19


New England @ New York Jets

This game just seems too obvious. Of course the Patriots would come into New York and dominate the lowly Jets, right? Right. Did you think I was setting you up for some surprise pick? No, the Jets blow. They can't even lose right, as they proved last week in Tennessee. They'll get back on the losing track this Sunday, but it will be too late for them to contend for the #1 pick.

Patriots 31-13


Sunday Afternoon

New York Giants @ St. Louis

The Rams reminded us all who they were last week with their listless performance in a 12-6 home loss to the Cardinals. This just proves my long standing edict: Never trust the Rams. Though I guess you can trust them to never have a winning season, something that they ensured will not be happening again after losing their 8th game last Thursday. By contrast, the Giants have been very trustworthy this year, you can trust them to lose games they're expected to.

Rams 20-16


Buffalo @ Oakland

With last week's stellar performance against Green Bay the Bills defense has verified that they are, in fact, a formidable group. While it's not likely that they'll make the playoffs, one more victory will result in a winning season for the first time in 10 years and only the second time in 15. That victory will come this Sunday, and the Bills will return home to a parade in the streets of Buffalo, because damn it, they need this. In future news, the Bills parade was snowed out.

Bills 17-10


Indianapolis @ Dallas

You thinking what I'm thinking? Playoff imps! The Colts have already wrapped up their third straight AFC South title and still have an outside chance at a first round bye. Meanwhile, any and every playoff scenario is open for the Cowboys. They could finish with any of the six seeds in the NFC (except for #4, because of the NFC South) or miss the postseason, altogether (really hoping you all said that out loud Airplane! style). So clearly Dallas has much more to play for, which leads me to believe that they'll get the win. But both of these teams have been so erratic that it makes it hard to confidently predict anything, other than that we're all gonna have a blast! Right everybody?!?

Cowboys 34-31


Sunday Night

Seattle @ Arizona

Word on the street is that Bruce Arians has told Ryan Lindley to "go out there and sling it" this Sunday. "Thanks!" said the Seahawks defenders. Though a more open offensive game plan is most likely the best chance the Cardinals have of winning, because we saw what happened when Arizona went conservative in Seattle last month. Wait, did they even go conservative or did it just look like that because they were being dominated? Either way it doesn't portend well for the Cardinals in this contest. If the Hawks can establish a two score lead in the first half I like their chances. Like 'em A LOT!

Seahawks 16-6


Monday Night

Denver @ Cincinnati

What is that which I hear? The chattering of playoff imps inside my ear? The Broncos look to maintain their position as the AFC's #2 seed and keep themselves in the running for #1 while the Bengals have a realistic shot of finishing anywhere from #3 to #outta there. According to the aforementioned prediction theorem that the team who needs it more is the team to pick, the Bengals would be the likely winner here. Of course that theorem runs into a wall when you believe that one team is much better than the other. With that in mind I'm taking Denver.

Broncos 31-24

NFL Picks - Week 16 Thursday

Tennessee @ Jacksonville

As we all know marquee games can be "flexed" into prime time for Sunday Night Football, so why can't the opposite happen? Shouldn't the league be able to "sag" a match-up out of prime time. I'm not even saying it needs to be replaced with another game, just eliminate the Thursday game altogether this week. Why subject the players and fans to embarrassment like this? In the end this will probably come down to who wants the top draft pick more, because the winner will be eliminated from contention for #1 in April.

Jaguars 17-13 

12.11.2014

NFL Picks - Week 15

Sunday Morning

Pittsburgh @ Atlanta

There is no way to confidently predict what will happen in this game. Both teams have enjoyed surprising victories but also suffered terrible losses, and the state of their seasons seem to fluctuate on a weekly basis. The one thing that wouldn't surprise me is points and lots of 'em. Each squad put up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of their last game, which would signify that we're in for a wild one. I keep going back and forth on what the actual outcome will be. In fact, I've been sitting at the computer for the last seven hours contemplating it. The conclusion that I've come to? All predictions are pointless. Life was not meant to be spent asking "what's next," instead we must focus on the here and now. With that being said, as of right now Julio Jones is a game time decision, so I'll go with Pittsburgh.

Steelers 38-31


Washington @ New York Giants

A bit surprising that this late season NFC East match-up wasn't flexed into the Sunday Night Football slot, I mean, just look at the size of these markets! I suppose the fact they have a combined 7 wins doesn't help much. Washington has never looked worse, and no, I'm not talking about those bozos in Congress, but seriously folks. And if we are being serious there's no way the 'Skins win this game, right? Right. Right?

Giants 24-13


Miami @ New England

Tom Brady sure has been fist-pumping and screaming curse words a lot lately. Is he really that jazzed about this season or is he just trying to prove that he still cares? Like a cheating husband who buys his wife expensive jewelry. No matter what the motive is he has the Pats playing well, so either way it doesn't matter ... yet.

Patriots 27-17 


Oakland @ Kansas City

Did you notice that the Hawk Hangover is back? Seattle's last 7 opponents have lost their next game. The Raiders have certainly noticed, their two wins have come against hangover victims. They're feeding off the Seahawks' scraps; Banya to Seattle's Seinfeld. This is a revenge game for the Chiefs after they were embarrassed three weeks ago by the then winless Raiders. But as the old saying goes, when a team goes on a quest for revenge they should dig two graves. Though if they're being humane about it they would dig 53 graves, because trying to pile the entire Oakland roster into two holes is pretty barbaric. Maybe I'm missing the point of that adage, but the point is that Kansas City should get the win.

Chiefs 23-16


Houston @ Indianapolis

After another comeback win by his Colts it's never been clearer that Andrew Luck is most comfortable with his back against the wall. In fact, this comfortability transcends the field; I've heard his favorite pose is that super cool back against the wall, one leg up, thumbs in the pockets look. That's how much he loves having his back against the wall. Accordingly, look for the Colts to get behind early this Sunday only to rally for another victory, clinching the AFC South title in the process.

Colts 27-23


Jacksonville @ Baltimore

It's clear that Blake Bortles is having a tough season, throwing 10 TDs and 16 INTs through his first 11 starts. But hopefully the rookie and the Jacksonville fans (assuming there are any) aren't too discouraged, because even though he's currently going through growing pains, there's a chance he'll be saving Christmas in no time.

Ravens 31-14


Green Bay @ Buffalo

The Packers have reeled off 9 wins in 10 games, mostly by steamrolling inferior opponents at home. There's no argument that their offense has been all but unstoppable at Lambeau, but if we look closer at this stretch some interesting trends start to arise. Only four of those ten games were on the road. The Packers were 3-1 in those games, one win was a 21 point blowout of the Bears; the other two were 3 point victories over the Dolphins and Vikings. Their loss was a 21 point drubbing at the hands of the Saints in the Superdome. The Saints have now lost their last four games in that building. My point is that the Packers are mere mortals away from Green Bay. While the cold weather in Buffalo shouldn't bother them, the hostile crowd might, not to mention the Bills' stingy defense.

Bills 21-20


Tampa Bay @ Carolina

A relieved Cam Newton remarked at a post car wreck press conference on Thursday, "I'm on somebody's fantasy team, and I think it's the man upstairs." Sounds like God missed the playoffs. Due to that crash back-up QB Derek Anderson will get the start for Carolina, which puts them on even footing at the position with Tampa who continues to insist Josh McCown is a starting quarterback. Seeing as how Anderson already got the job done against the Bucs in Week 1 there shouldn't be any issue with him doing it again. That's how it goes in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, everything always works out exactly as it did the last time.

Panthers 20-14


Cincinnati @ Cleveland

Johnny Football .... Manziel .... money sign .... future Proactiv endorsement ... Look, we all know the story by now, it basically writes itself. Johnny Manziel's first start is a pivotal one, with any hopes the Browns have for keeping their season alive requiring three straight wins to close it out. When Cleveland went to Cincinnati last month they creamed them 24-3, which would suggest that the Browns should have no problem this week. Well not so fast, just because something happened once does not mean it will happen again in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. Expect Football, John to make a lot of crazy throws; some will be crazy good, but most will just be crazy.

Bengals 24-21


Sunday Afternoon

New York Jets @ Tennessee

Are we sure Zack Mettenberger is actually injured? My guess is that he just brought a note from his mom into the coach's office to get out of playing in this game. Unfortunately they went overboard on the severity of the fake injury and now he has to miss the rest of the season. Fool me once shame on you and your enabling mother. All things considered though it was probably the right move, now he can just watch movies on his Microsoft Surface on the sidelines instead of looking at this game. Will either team want to win? They shouldn't, it will just hurt their draft position. Is it possible for teams to have negative points?

Jets 20-17


Denver @ San Diego

The Chargers appear to be pretty good, just not good enough to get over the hump. And yes, this is a metaphorical hump, although I wouldn't be surprised if there was some weird hill on the field in Qualcomm leftover from the old pitcher's mound.

Broncos 27-20


Minnesota @ Detroit

With two road games to close out the season ahead of them this becomes a must win for the Lions. Though, if you're not treating every game as must win at this point in the season then you don't deserve to make it into the playoffs. You come strong or you don't come at all. That's a motto I live by. A lot of days I show up to work and feel like I haven't come strong so I simply pack it in and head back home minutes after I arrive. I think the Vikings can hang tough, but ultimately fall short. In other words they'll come strong but not strong enough.

Lions 23-18


San Francisco @ Seattle

It's time to take the Harbaugh era out back, tie it to a tree, and put it out of its misery.

Seahawks 27-0


Sunday Night

Dallas @ Philadelphia

The Eagles are Sony and the Seahawks are the Guardians of Peace. All of Philly's secrets have been made public and their weaknesses have been exposed. Of course, the big secret to disrupting the Eagles' offense is having superior talent and being able to line up up and play your game regardless of their scheme. As we've seen, not every team can do that, and from the look of that Thanksgiving day game in Dallas, the Cowboys certainly can't. But I just get the feeling that the Eagles', and especially Mark Sanchez's, confidence is shaken, and we'll see that to a certain extent on Sunday night.

Cowboys 26-23


Monday Night

New Orleans @ Chicago

Well it appears that I went overboard last week when I proclaimed that the Saints would make it to 8-8. I just assumed that they would be able to handle a home game against the Panthers, a team that hadn't won a game in two months. I'm taking Chicago more as a result of my disgust with the Saints than my confidence in the Bears.

Bears 31-28 

NFL Picks - Week 15 Thursday

Arizona @ St. Louis

Just who do these Rams think they are? They've shutout consecutive opponents by a combined score of 76-0. And these weren't just any opponents, they were two of the worst teams in the league. Oh, so I guess that actually devalues St. Louis's accomplishment a bit, but regardless of who they're playing they can't do better than a shutout. Now the Rams return home with a chance to get to .500 (hold on, checking to make sure ... yes, that's actually possible). Standing in their way are the division leading Cardinals, or what's left of them at least. The Arizona O has put up an average of only 13 points per game over their last four and now must face a suddenly dominant unit. And this time of year there's nothing more fearsome than a dominant unit.

Rams 13-10