NFL Picks - Week 16


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 


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


NFL Picks - Week 14

Sunday Morning

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati

This is the first meeting of the season for these divisional foes, and it comes with Cincinnati all of a sudden holding a 1.5 game lead in the AFC North. But can we trust the Bengals? Thousands of years of human intuition would tell us to never trust a tiger, and four years of football intuition would tell us to never trust Andy Dalton. However, the Steelers have been equally shaky this season and according to my spell check "Steeler" isn't even a word. Pretty shady bros.

Bengals 31-28

St. Louis @ Washington

According to ESPN there are tickets available for this game for $8. C'mon D.C., if you have an opportunity to see a Shaun Hill/Colt McCoy showdown in person for under $10 you really shouldn't pass it up. That's a good rule of thumb to live by: if you're ever offered something for less than $10 accept it with a smile.

Rams 21-17

New York Giants @ Tennessee

Somewhere Kerry Collins will be watching this game with his son and say, "Ya know, I used to be quarterback for both these teams." To which his son will reply, "I don't care Dad, this game blows, turn it off," because he's an ungrateful little prick! That being said, he's totally right about this game, it's a stinker. Neither team has won since October 12th. Barf. No, not Barf, barf.

Giants 27-23

Carolina @ New Orleans

We've all had plenty of fun with the NFC South this season, ridiculing their collective patheticness. And for quite a while it's been assumed that the division champion would have a losing record, but I'll venture to say that that won't actually happen. The Saints' remaining schedule after this game is as follows: @ CHI, ATL, @ TB. All of those games are winnable, and I predict they'll prevail in at least three (spoiler alert!). If so, they'll soar into the playoffs at 8-8 and the nation will be bummed out by their exact mediocrity. We pretended that we didn't want a losing team in the playoffs, but now that it might not happen we kind of miss it, like the mosquito bite we liked to scratch or the bruise we enjoyed thumbing.

Saints 33-19

New York Jets @ Minnesota

Before the Jets' final drive on Monday, when they were forced to throw due to a deficit and a dwindling clock, Geno Smith was 4-8 with 42 yds.. And they were only down 3! Maybe Rex Ryan has figured out how to make Geno into a starting quarterback: don't let him throw. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater hasn't been setting records (to my knowledge) but the Vikings are at least letting him throw more than 8 times a game, which is the ultimate sign of confidence. As I said last week, I'm no longer going to even think when making a Jets pick, just going to close my eyes and drop the hammer. While we're here, don't close your eyes and drop a hammer. The best result is a loud noise, the worst is death following a prolonged battle with gangrene.

Vikings 20-13

Baltimore @ Miami

The Ravens have to be thrilled that Ray Rice's suspension is over and that he can now return to action. Baltimore could certainly use the boost after their devastating loss to the Chargers. How quickly Rice can re-assimilate into the offense remains to be seen, but his mere presence should be inspiring to his teammates. What's that? So he's not going back there? Good, they don't need that scumbag.

Ravens 26-23

Indianapolis @ Cleveland

The Browns have decided to give Brian Hoyer another chance as their starting quarterback despite the widespread clamoring for Johnny Manziel to take over the job. Maybe it's because they were turned off by the way Manziel laid on the turf like a corpse after losing the football near his own goal line. The call of a fumble was later overturned to an incomplete pass, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he appeared dead for a few fleeting moments. Any time you have to double-check your QB's pulse after a big hit it has to shake your confidence.

Colts 30-24

Tampa Bay @ Detroit

The Bucs come into this game winners of one of their last three. Sadly that constitutes a hot streak for Tampa. And yes, I'm referring to the entire city. This is the first of two very winnable home games for the Lions, a team that could really use two wins. So bully for them.

Lions 23-13

Houston @ Jacksonville

J.J. Watt is getting a lot of MVP buzz because of his dominant play on defense and his 3 receiving TDs. Just for the record those 3 TDs have been for a total of 3 yards. Also, is it crazy to think that any other tight end on the roster could have caught those 1 yard passes? All I'm saying is that we probably shouldn't overreact to Watt's offensive stats. Now, if he ever gets a yard after catch, then I'll be impressed.

Texans 27-17

Sunday Afternoon

Buffalo @ Denver

Poor Bills. Just when it looked like they had reignited their playoff hopes they get bombarded with this impossible match-up in Denver. It's like the '87 Survivor Series when Bam Bam Bigelow was left all alone and took out King Kong Bundy and the One Man Gang before the dominant Andre the Giant came in to extinguish his hot streak. Go ahead, watch it back, it's the exact same thing. Of all the analogies possible in this universe, that was the perfect one. By the way, the Bills currently have the #2 scoring defense in the league; they won't after this Sunday.

Broncos 31-17

Kansas City @ Arizona

Two weeks ago these teams were a combined 16-4. Since then they've doubled their collective loss total with an 0-4 stretch. Two squads once marching confidently toward the playoffs are now trudging timidly toward God knows where. The good news is that one of them has to win. Of course, that's bad news for the other team as they'll continue their downward spiral into playoff purgatory. Kind of makes you wish we lived in a world where nobody ever had to lose doesn't it? Man that would really piss off the '72 Dolphins. The NFL should change the rules accordingly if for no other reason than that.

Cardinals 17-13

San Francisco @ Oakland

On the one hand the 49ers have won three of their last four. On the other hand they were just the victim of a live snuff film in front of a national audience on Thanksgiving. So a short trip across the Bay could go a long way to repairing their damaged psyche. This will be good for them, they need this; poor guys.

49ers 23-10

Seattle @ Philadelphia

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Based on past experience it results in The Joker going to Arkham Asylum or Andre the Giant getting bodyslammed. The Eagles' offense has indeed looked close to unstoppable at times this year, yet when their rhythm gets disrupted they seem quite ordinary. And who better to disrupt their rhythm than the most disruptive defense in years. After surrendering only 6 points over the last two games the Hawks' D has a chance to make another statement on Sunday. One of the only things they haven't done in that span is score a touchdown themselves. My guess is they'll add points of their own on the way to another victory.

Seahawks 26-17 

Sunday Night

New England @ San Diego

The Patriots are only one game better than the Chargers but it feels like much more. And that's how I operate, by feel. It's the most important sense folks, or at least in the top five. This feels like a win for New England. But not only that, it also looks, smells, tastes, and touches(?) like a win for the AFC leaders. Then again, Philip Rivers could always prove me wrong, because sometimes he makes no sense.

Patriots 34-27

Monday Night

Atlanta @ Green Bay

Here come the Atlanta Falcons! They've won three of four, they're at 5-7, and they currently hold the tiebreaker for first place in the NFC South. And now they have games @GB, PIT, @NO. There go the Atlanta Falcons! That could be a three game losing streak waiting to happen. Then again if you're a pessimist, or if this guy is your head coach, everything is a three game losing streak waiting to happen.

Packers 38-24


NFL Picks - Week 14 Thursday

Dallas @ Chicago

Despite their recent struggles the Cowboys are still 5-0 on the road. The Bears, meanwhile, are 2-3 at home. Sometimes this job is just too easy. Actually, most of the time. There are like three games a week that are tough to pick, and when an upset happens you can just fall back on "Well who saw that coming?" So if you like to make excuses as much as I do there's really nothing to it.

Cowboys 30-23


NFL Picks - Week 13

Sunday Morning

Washington @ Indianapolis

This was supposed to be the long-anticipated clash between the top picks of the 2012 draft, RG3 and Andrew Luck. And now that we're here we're left to wonder what happened. Oh never mind, we know what happened, Griffin actively attempts to get injured on every scramble rendering him a shell of his former self. It's a real bummer to watch, unless you're Colt McCoy and you're greedily rubbing your hands together on the sidelines awaiting your return to the spotlight. There's no video evidence of that happening, but I have to believe that's the case.

Colts 27-13

Tennessee @ Houston

Just when I thought the Texans might make a playoff push they dropped a home game to the Bengals and lost their new starting quarterback Ryan Mallett for the remainder of the season. Now Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to the huddle bringing quite a bit of awkward energy with him I'd imagine. It's never fun to win back your job by default. Luckily for them the Titans are coming to town. They're super lousy.

Texans 23-16

Cleveland @ Buffalo

What tricks will Mother Nature have up her sleeve for this contest? Well the very fact that she's wearing sleeves should be some indication that the weather will be on the frigid side, because as we all know Mother Nature prefers to show some skin. Let's be honest though, it's usually too much; she's getting up there in years, and her husband Father Time has not been kind to her. So let's be glad she's covering up a bit. Oh also a loss here would basically end the Bills' season, so they'll be more motivated and get the win.

Bills 16-13

San Diego @ Baltimore

A clash between two of the five wild card contenders clustered at 7-4. The funny thing is that even with the high number of playoff hopefuls in the AFC, if the playoffs started today the same six teams from last year would be there this year, and in the same exact seeds, except for New England and Denver being flipped at the top. Funny, right? Well you're not laughing. Don't be like this. Anyway, another team that's not laughing at that scenario is the Ravens, because that would leave them out of the postseason. A win here will be a step toward changing that.

Ravens 30-23

New York Giants @ Jacksonville

I was going to make a joke about how the Jaguars are coming off their bye week and how you don't want to have to play them with an extra week of preparation. Then I checked and found out they actually played last Sunday. If that's not the most telling depiction of the Jacksonville Jaguars then I don't know what is; I assume every week is their bye week.

Giants 24-21

Cincinnati @ Tampa Bay

Shockingly the Bengals come into this game with a chance to win a third road game in three weeks. Standing in their way are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Congratulations Cincinnati on your third road win in three weeks.

Bengals 23-17

Oakland @ St. Louis

The Raiders, winners of one in a row storm into St. Louis with a taste of victory and a hunger for more. Unfortunately, their long layoff may have caused any hope they had of leftovers to go bad, like so many pounds of uneaten yams in refrigerators across the nation.

Rams 26-19

New Orleans @ Pittsburgh

These two squads are each embroiled in a heated divisional race. Well, Pittsburgh's is heated, the Saints' is more tepid, and probably becoming infested with bacteria the longer it's left out. So in other words the NFC South is like that piece of pizza that nobody put in the fridge and has been sitting on the counter overnight. You see it the next day and think, "Well, somebody's gotta eat it ..." No! Nobody has to eat it. Just throw it away.

Steelers 38-28

Carolina @ Minnesota

These scrappy Panthers are a half game out of first place at ... 3-7-1?!? Stop it NFC South! I'm throwing away the pizza!

Vikings 20-17

Sunday Afternoon

Arizona @ Atlanta

The leaders of the NFC West against the leaders of the ... NFC South. Noooooo! Ok, the leader of the division can't be 4-8 can they? If Mike Smith can manage to just stay out of the way the Falcons might have a shot in this game based on what I saw out of the Cardinals' offense last week. Granted, it was a much tougher match-up, but I'm guessing their confidence will be shaken to the core resulting in a tailspin. And no, I'm not referring to the cartoon spin-off featuring Baloo from The Jungle Book. Was that a serious question? Although I just realized that the show was called TaleSpin and it was a spin-off. That's meta shit Disney, I see ya.

Falcons 24-20

New England @ Green Bay

If you're a regular reader of these posts you know that I love to use the term "possible playoff preview." That's why Week 1 is my favorite week of the season, because every match-up is a possible playoff preview. Well with this game we have a legitimate possible playoff preview. And if you're as astute as I believe you to be you'll have figured out that a playoff game between these two could only be the Super Bowl. Of course, I'm not predicting that the Packers will make it there, but it's obvious that they're playing at a high level. However, their main weakness is against the run, an area in which they rank 30th in the league. The Patriots will most likely exploit this because they simply adapt their game plan based on whoever they're facing that weak and usually do so with dominant results. For instance, last week they played the Lions who are 1st against the run so they threw the ball 53 times, ran on only 20 occasions, and won 34-9. That came one week after they ran 44 times against the Colts en route to a 42-20 win. I guess these guys know what they're doing.

Patriots 31-27

Sunday Night

Denver @ Kansas City

This is a very enticing match-up. Man I'm so enticed. The Broncos come into the game slumping a bit over their last four going 2-2 while almost falling to the Dolphins last week as well. But even with the Chiefs' resurgence over the past two seasons Denver seems to have their number. Until I see differently I'll stick with the Broncos, a statement that is also known as the most cowardly in all of score predicting. It's one of those classic caveats that basically implies that even if I get the pick wrong I'll be able to justify it based on past results instead of actually trying to decipher what might happen in this particular game. So like I said before, I'm taking Denver.

Broncos 27-20

Monday Night

Miami @ New York Jets

I picked the Jets last week after over-thinking their match-up with the under-practiced Bills. Lesson learned. When picking Jets games don't over-think it. In fact, probably don't think at all, just go with the other team and move on.

Dolphins 31-13


NFL Picks - Thanksgiving

Chicago @ Detroit

Ah, a tradition unlike any other, the Lions playing on Thanksgiving morning. Though few know why Detroit actually plays this game annually. The real reason is that normally their play causes most of America to vomit, clearing out their gut for the gluttonous day ahead. That's right, it's a conspiracy by Big Turkey. This year, however, the Lions are 7-4 and fighting for a playoff spot, meaning the folks at home will have to look elsewhere for help with their stomach evacuation. Enter Jay Cutler, a barf catalyst if there ever was one. Count on him to do us all a favor by making us sick.

Lions 24-14

Philadelphia @ Dallas

This will be the moment when your family member who rarely watches football spits out their hors d'oeuvres and shouts, "Mark Sanchez?!?" The last time we saw him on Thanksgiving he was running directly into his offensive lineman and embarrassing everyone involved; and yes, I'm including the viewing audience. Sanchez comes into Turkey Day with a superior offensive scheme this time, however it does get a bit complicated with a lot of moving parts, meaning Butt Fumble 2 isn't necessarily out of the question. The key for the Cowboys will be keeping the Eagles' scoring in the low 20s because the Philly D usually gives up at least that much. I'm guessing both teams will exceed that amount with Dallas getting the edge because a few key calls will go their way. Let's just say they'll benefit from home cooking ... WINK.

Cowboys 30-27

Seattle @ San Francisco

Thanksgiving is a time to be surrounded by loved ones. It's also a time to contact your fiercest rival and schedule a fight. Don't look at me like I'm weird, you're the weird one for not doing that every year. Clearly these teams understand. While their records are a bit below what may have been expected this is still a pivotal match-up that will have big implications, unless the losing team wins the rematch two weeks later, then it will just be kind of a wash. But right now this is the only game that matters and I expect the Hawks to come out and play it as such.

Seahawks 20-16


NFL Picks - Week 12

Sunday Morning

Cleveland @ Atlanta

The Falcons are soaring in first place while the lowly Browns are wallowing in last. Sure Atlanta is 4-6, two games worse than Cleveland, but sometimes that doesn't matter in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. All that matters is that the Falcons play in the south, an area long known for its barren football landscape from which no talent can escape. Interesting tidbit: the Falcons have only played one game in Atlanta since September 19th. Will the home crowd welcome them back with open arms or feel scorned and constantly ask the team where they've been and why they didn't call? Probably the former, but beware the latter.

Falcons 23-20

Tennessee @ Philadelphia

Those spunky little Titans almost pulled off a win on Monday night, which is pretty impressive when you consider the fact that they suck. Don't expect too much from Tennessee, that puts undue pressure on them. They're just a ragtag group trying to sort their way through big time football and maybe learn something about themselves along the way. Can we really ask anything more of them?

Eagles 41-21

Detroit @ New England

Superpowers collide when the Lions' defense (15.6 ppg) takes on the Patriots' offense (32.3 ppg). This will be the biggest test yet for Detroit's D, but surprisingly every game is a test for their O. Sure Calvin Johnson was out for a few weeks, but you'd still expect this team to put up more than 18.8 ppg. And no, I didn't just choose an arbitrary number, that's actually what they're averaging this season. They'll need to far exceed that to have a chance this week, which I don't think they do.

Patriots 27-17

Green Bay @ Minnesota

What a match-up. The Packers are on fire and the Vikings aren't terrible. Really all you could hope for from Minnesota. As for Green Bay, I've discovered their formula for winning: score a shitload of points. Seems obvious but if you look at their results it's downright glaring. In their wins they've scored 27 or more, while in their losses they've put up 23 or less. So if they're in field goal position down 23-21 with a few seconds left they'll have to go for a TD regardless. 27+ points equal a win, it's just that simple. Probably won't be an issue this Sunday though.

Packers 38-21

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis

You can throw the records out when these two get together. At least that's what the Jaguars have petitioned the league to do. The Colts were embarrassed at home last week, while the Jags have been embarrassed so much that they no longer know shame, they're numb to it. They no longer fear losing, which makes them potentially dangerous. Or not.

Colts 33-17

Cincinnati @ Houston

The Bengals return to their house of horrors, Reliant Stadium, a venue in which they lost wild card games following the 2011 and '12 seasons. Will Andy Dalton be able to conquer his demons? Has he ever been able to? The Texans are currently on the fringes of the AFC playoff picture, but if they can get the win here they have a favorable schedule down the stretch and could feasibly get to 10-6. This is their fork in the road game. Luckily for them, they're pretty good and sticking a fork in Andy Dalton.

Texans 24-20

New York Jets @ Buffalo

Speaking of forks and fringes, the Bills' path was determined last week when they laid a stinker in Miami. And when you lay a stinker in Miami that means it's hot, humid, and extra offensive. Buffalo is technically still in the race for a wild card spot, but they still have to face Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay, and New England over the last five weeks. Let's bring back Shooter for that. Throw in the fact that they haven't been able to practice all week and that they have to play a home game in Detroit, it becomes a recipe for disaster.

Jets 20-18

Tampa Bay @ Chicago

After hiring Lovie Smith, signing Luke McCown and drafting Mike Evans to pair with equally large receiver Vincent Jackson, many theorized that the Bucs were building themselves in Chicago's image. Just to recap, that's a Chicago team that had made the playoffs once in the last seven seasons. Time to get a new role model Tampa.

Bears 26-24

Sunday Afternoon

Arizona @ Seattle

How much pride does this Seahawks team have? We'll see this week as they host the team that now sits atop the NFC West with their season (more or less) on the line. The Hawks should have a much higher level of desperation, which should lead to a victory. Though that might require a down-field pass completion (or even attempt) at some point, which has proven rare over the last few weeks. If the Hawks can sprinkle in a couple big pass plays a win will follow. And if not, they'll just get it done with field goals.

Seahawks 19-14 

St. Louis @ San Diego

What's your deal Rams? Three of their four wins have come against conference title game participants from last season, while their six losses have come against ... actually mostly good teams too. Wow, they've had a tough schedule. This will be their ninth straight game against a winning team. But hey, don't start feeling bad for the Rams because of their schedule, feel bad for them because their fans need a video to teach them how to cheer (why not?). The Chargers crawled by the Raiders 13-6 last week for their first win since the last time they played the Raiders. Unfortunately Oakland isn't on their schedule again so they'll have to string together a couple of real victories to make a playoff push. I'm guessing this will be one.

Chargers 16-10

Miami @ Denver

It's crazy to think that the Dolphins are only one game worse than the Broncos right now. Literally insane. It's time to question everything. Like why do they call it football? That's not a ball, its an oblong spheroid at best! Anyway, the Broncos need to hope for a major slip-up from the Patriots now, because if they have to travel to Foxborough for the AFC championship game I don't see it turning out well. Not the traveling aspect, though there may be some turbulence on the flight, really just some light chop; I was more referring to the game itself.

Broncos 31-20

Washington @ San Francisco

RG3 is not good at talking. I don't mean that he has trouble forming words or that his syntax is poor, I just mean that whenever he talks he makes the situation worse. That was on full display over the last week and now he's put himself in a situation in which folks are wondering if he'll be the quarterback of the future in D.C.. If you ask me, the fervor is much ado about nothing, and pretty unfair to Griffin. So few times have we actually seen a quarterback of the future in this league. The last one was probably Zax Brongdor, who became the LA Rams signal caller in 1984 after mysteriously appearing at the team's facility naked and covered in a gelatinous substance. And even he only had a couple of productive seasons before being benched in favor of Jim Everett. So let's cut RG3 some slack.

49ers 24-13 

Sunday Night

Dallas @ New York Giants

Thank God! Did you realize that it's been six weeks since we've had an NFC East match-up on Sunday Night Football?!? I was beginning to wonder what we had done to upset our NBC overlords. Thankfully they had mercy on our pathetic souls and didn't flex out this contest featuring the 3-7 Giants who play in New York and are therefore always relevant. Praise be to you NBC.

Cowboys 27-20

Monday Night

Baltimore @ New Orleans

The Saints lost 27-10 to the Bengals last Sunday and are now in danger of dropping three home games in three weeks. To be fair, their division requires them to have zero sense of urgency, and the city they play in requires them to have zero self-respect, so we can forgive them for taking it (big) easy. I think they'll show some fight this week and send the FlacMan home unhappy. Though, when you think about it, that man has such inner peace that he's never really discontent.

Saints 27-24