1.12.2017

NFL Picks - Divisional Round

Saturday 

Seattle @ Atlanta
The Seahawks have found their running game again, and wouldn't ya know it, it was right where they left it, at home and in the hands of Thomas Rawls. Almost makes you wonder why it took them so long to find it. To be fair though, they had rearranged a lot of the furniture, so that kind of complicated things. But now they go on the road where they have not looked like the same team. For one thing they usually wear different colored jerseys, but also they've been downright lousy for the majority of their last 3 away outings. To make matters worse they're going into a building that became a house of horrors for them in the playoffs 4 years ago when they stormed back from a 20 point 4th quarter deficit only to have their ever so brief lead evaporate in the final seconds, as the Falcons moved on to the NFC title game. Then again, that heartbreaking loss galvanized the young Seattle squadron and served as a catalyst for a Super Bowl run the following season. So in a way wouldn't it be a full circle story if the Hawks went into the Georgia Dome and shut that building down once and for all? You don't have to answer, because I've already decided that it would be and it will be.

Seahawks 27-23


Houston @ New England
Well clearly my theory that Clem Zarkins 8 would prevent Trevor Finch from distracting Brock Osweiler in last week's Wild Card game proved to be true. But a funny thing happened when Osweiler was allowed to operate unfettered, he was pretty decent. CZ8 was so elated as a result that he completely forgot about Finch, who was able to escape and start making his way to Foxborough (though I'm not sure why he wouldn't just get in his time machine and zap himself straight to next week ... It's almost like there are starting to be some plot holes in this story; except things that really happen can't have plot holes, so never mind). Granted, Finch has already seen the dystopian future created by a Texans Super Bowl win, but even with the knowledge of this fete accompli I'm not so sure the Patriots will need any help in dispatching Houston. I mean for God's sake they're 17 point favorites, that's the highest playoff line since 1999 ... Wait a minute, '99? I always thought Trevor Finch was from 1998, but if I was off by a few months and he stuck around until January of '99? Maybe he saw the giant spread and resulting money line of that Arizona/Minnesota game way back then, and came up with a plan to travel through time to find the next gigantic playoff money line to bet on and ensure that the underdog wins?!? He's made sure to mess with the Texans just enough so that they seem awful, but still sneak into the playoffs and wind up with this seemingly lopsided match-up. At the same time he specifically targeted Brock Osweiler because he knew Brock's descendant Clem Zarkins 8 is a timecop who would come back in time to stop him. He's going to confess all of this to CZ8 and use the allure of guaranteed riches to convince him to make the bet for him, since, ya know, he's only 13 after all. My God, how did I not see it sooner? It's so very very obvious, and not the least bit convoluted. That being said, even with the help of time travelers I'm still taking New England over the Texans. I mean come on, Finch is a pimply dork and CZ8 is some pudgy old loser. Who cares if they can bend time and space, it doesn't make them cool, or their story entertaining at all.

Patriots 35-10


Sunday

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
Well folks, it pains me to write this, but this Steelers/Chiefs match-up will be the last game Cris Collinsworth calls this season. I think I speak for all of us when I say that a little part of me falls into dormancy every winter when he leaves us, only for it to be re-ignited in September upon his return (I can speak for all of us, right? You'd say the same thing?) so without further ado, here's CriColl himself to break down this fascinating 2nd round contest:
Who am I to disagree with that wisdom? Except for the Caddyshack thing, I almost feel like he did that just to troll us. 

Chiefs 24-22


Green Bay @ Dallas
There is certainly no shortage of history between these two teams. If you're a younger reader just do yourself a favor and google "Cowboys-Packers" and do a deep dive into one of the NFL's most storied rivalries. On second thought, don't do that, because if you accidentally leave off the 's' and wind up googling "cowboy packers" you'll find something much different, and I don't want that on my conscience. So instead I'll provide you with a history lesson myself. These teams have tangled in some of the most historic playoff games of all time. You've got the Ice Bowl, the Dez No Catch, the Titletown Trouncing, Scuttleman's Folly, ummm the Game of 7 Deaths, uhhh Riggler's Revenge, umm ... Well you get the point. This one has all the makings of a classic that will join the ranks of the 66% fake group listed above. Will Aaron Rodgers continue his near-prefect play? Will the Dallas rookies rise to the occasion and resume their dominate seasons without missing a beat? Will a single gun shot be heard from Troy Aikman's mic if the Cowboys lose? All these questions and more will be answered Sunday! As for who I think is going to win? Well it does seem like Rodgers will be able to shred this defense, but perhaps he won't have as many opportunities due to Dallas controlling the ball. I'll take the home team in a close one.

Cowboys 30-27


1.05.2017

NFL Picks - Wild Card

Saturday 

Oakland @ Houston
As I suggested might happen last week, our time travelers Trevor Finch and Clem Zarkins 8 (if you don't know what I'm talking about here's a link to their full saga) worked together to remove Texans quarterback Tom Savage from the equation by replacing the padding in his helmet with metal plates. Savage actually caught them in the act and told them that they shouldn't be doing it because it wasn't safe. Finch scoffed, "You don't sound very savage to me." Savage frowned, defiantly exclaimed "Gimme that!" and ran out to the field. He later left the game with a concussion, and as a result Brock Osweiler is once again the starting quarterback. But now the temporary alliance between Trevor Finch and Clem Zarkins 8 has dissolved and the fate of the Texans, and perhaps all of us, hangs in the balance. If I had to guess at what sort of mayhem ensues at Reliant Stadium on Saturday I'd say that CZ8 snatches Finch sometime in the 2nd quarter, allowing Osweiler to operate freely. When CZ8 sees the resulting terrible play he'll be emotionally devastated, letting his guard down just enough to allow Finch to escape. On the field Osweiler's putrid performance will be topped only by that of the other "starting" quarterback Connor Cook, a man who, in the past, has been unfavorably compared to Bo Callahan from Draft Day. If your best comp is a fictional character whose 21st birthday went unattended by any of his teammates, you've got serious problems. Consequently, I think the Texans move on, along with our TIMELESS tale.

Texans 16-12


Detroit @ Seattle
When a team gets to the playoffs you'd expect them to be very good in at least one area of the game. The Lions, however, rank no higher than 18th in passing offense, rushing offense, pass D, or run D. They're slightly below average across the board. It's like if Milhouse made the playoffs. So how did they get here? A little bit of grit, a dash of moxie, and a whole lot of timely, if improbable, play in the 4th quarter. Will they be able to once again overcome their middling statistics and pull off an upset against a depleted, inconsistent Seahawks team? I mean, I doubt it, but let's see what Cris Collinsworth has to say anyway:
Surprisingly almost on topic this week. Thanks CriColl!

Seahawks 26-16


Sunday 

Miami @ Pittsburgh
Way back in week 6 the Dolphins beat the Steelers 30-15. But that was October 16th, and things we're much different then. For instance, we thought the Vikings were a Super Bowl contender, Americans were doing a new dance called the "wacky waddle," and we'd all just been introduced to the world's favorite alien: ET (who would eventually be supplanted by ALF for the top spot). My point is, we've come a long way, and so have both of these teams. I mean the first game was played in Miami; this one will be played in Pittsburgh. See? That's a pretty long way, especially if you're trying to wacky waddle from one city to the other (I DON'T recommend that by the way, your pelvis would most likely never recover). There's no way that Ben Roethlisberger will get confused during this game because he played at Miami (Ohio) in college, right? Actually, it's not unfathomable. If so he may get off too a shaky start that makes this one a bit closer than most may expect.

Steelers 27-23


New York Giants @ Green Bay
It's the game everybody's looking forward to this weekend. Except those of you with the rare condition known as Profile Neck, in which a person's head is permanently looking to the side. It's a rare condition that affects one person in the US. His name is Scotty "Crabman" Stanton, and ironically that's his nickname because he really enjoys eating crab, not because he has to walk sideways everywhere. At least that's what his friends tell him, but hey, at least he has friends, that seems like a win for a guy who constantly looks like he's posing for a school picture. The Giants have shown that they have a playoff ready defense, but Aaron Rodgers has been nearly flawless down the stretch. So who will prevail? It's anybody's guess, which is what makes this the game that everybody will be watching, including Crabman; his chair will have to be parallel to the TV, but that's not the point.

Packers 24-17


The Trevor Finch Saga

Week 12

Last week during the Texans' loss to the Raiders in Mexico City Brock Osweiler was repeatedly distracted by a laser pointer being directed at him from the stands. A lot of questions immediately leapt to mind, the most pertinent of which being, "What?" The second most pertinent being, "How?" You're in luck, because I can answer both. These laser pointer hijinx are the result of a 13 year old time traveler from 1998 named Trevor Finch who went to February of 2017 and found out that the Texans had snuck into the playoffs and somehow won the Super Bowl. Thankfully he decided to correct this abomination for the good of the league and came back to Week 11 to make sure that it doesn't happen. Don't be surprised if the laser pointers keep popping up during Texans' games down the stretch because Trevor is not taking any chances.

Week 13

Trevor Finch, the 13 year old time traveler from 1998 that is dead set on preventing the Texans from making the playoffs, struck again last week. Before a crucial down he snuck into the PA booth and played "All-Star" by Smashmouth. It flustered Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler who correctly assumed that the song was mocking him because he's been anything but an all-star in his debut season as a "franchise" QB. Now astute readers will note that "All-Star" didn't come out until 1999, so how could a 13 year old from 1998 know about that song? Well keep in mind he's a time traveling 13 year old, so he's familiar with the entire Smasmouth catalog. In fact, Finch's impatience while waiting for the next Smashmouth album was one of the main reasons he traveled through time in the first place.

Week 14

Finch has used a laser pointer and Smashmouth music to distract Osweiler in past weeks, so one can only wonder what he'll come up with to alter history in this very important divisional clash. However, I may have some inside information. Sources tell me that Finch was spotted in the Indianapolis area throwing a whistling Vortex ball some 60 yards in a local park. Who was on the other end of these passes? Finch, of course. He's a time traveler! My guess is that he'll either simply deflect a key Osweiler pass with a perfectly timed throw from the stands, or he'll sneak down to the sideline during pregame warm-ups and start whistling that V down the field, making Brock extremely self conscious in the process and leading to yet another horrendous performance. Then again, there's only one man who knows for certain what Trevor Finch will do, and that's Trevor Finch, because he's already done it. He's a time traveler!

Week 15

The Texans shockingly won in Indianapolis last week to remain tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South. The result made me wonder: where was Trevor Finch and why did he not interfere on the Colts behalf? I looked further into it and found the answer: Finch had to go on the run because time cop and resident of future Houston Clem Zarkins 8 was hot on his trail. You see Clem Zarkins 8 used to be Clem Osweiler, a direct descendant of Texans' quarterback Brock Osweiler whose last name suddenly changed after Trevor Finch traveled back in time to sully the Osweiler name to the extent that Brock's future lineage would change it to Zarkins 8 to avoid the inherent embarrassment. Now CZ8 has traveled back in time to prevent Finch from derailing Houston's Super Bowl quest, and in turn, reclaim his family's good name. This is getting good folks! It's far more important than any real analysis regarding this game. If the Texans get the win this Sunday we'll know that Clem Zarkins 8 has succeeded in deterring Finch for at least one more week.

Week 16

They did it, the bastards, they've screwed us all! Time traveling 13 year old Trevor Finch and time cop Clem Zarkins 8 (née Osweiler) have let their timeless struggle result in mutually assured destruction. As we all know, CZ8 was attempting to restore prestige to the Osweiler name by stopping Finch in his meddlesome efforts to derail the Texans' Super Bowl season. Predictably both of them were in Reliant Stadium last Sunday, and when CZ8 spotted Finch during the first quarter the chase was on, and multiple laser blaster shots were fired. Houston QB Brock Osweiler took notice and was very flustered by not only the laser shots but by the fact that the man firing them bore a striking resemblance to himself. Osweiler's resulting play was so poor that he was replaced in the 2nd quarter by backup Tom Savage. Brock spent the rest of the game on the side line with his helmet on, hiding from what he correctly assumed was a future descendant of his loose with a laser gun. Finch ended up evading his pursuer, but now both of them seem further from their original goal than ever before. Not only has Osweiler's name been further sullied by this benching, but with Tom Savage in the starting spot Houston's odds of winning the Super Bowl are better than ever. What have you done you space-time/rapscallions?

Week 17 

As I explained last week, time traveling teen Trevor Finch and timecop Clem Zarkins 8 have mutually assured the failures of their respective retcon missions now that Tom Savage is the new starting quarterback for the Texans and has led them to an AFC South title. I don't know about you, but it's clear to me that Finch and CZ8 must work together to get their destiny-altering efforts back on track. Step one is forcing Tom Savage out of action and Brock Osweiler back onto the field. After that though it's anybody's guess. When push comes to shove which present day visitor will get their way? Only TIME will tell.

Wild Card

As I suggested might happen last week, our time travelers Trevor Finch and Clem Zarkins 8 (if you don't know what I'm talking about here's a link to their full saga) worked together to remove Texans quarterback Tom Savage from the equation by replacing the padding in his helmet with metal plates. Savage actually caught them in the act and told them that they shouldn't be doing it because it wasn't safe. Finch scoffed, "You don't sound very savage to me." Savage frowned, defiantly exclaimed "Gimme that!" and ran out to the field. He later left the game with a concussion, and as a result Brock Osweiler is once again the starting quarterback. But now the temporary alliance between Trevor Finch and Clem Zarkins 8 has dissolved and the fate of the Texans, and perhaps all of us, hangs in the balance. If I had to guess at what sort of mayhem ensues at Reliant Stadium on Saturday I'd say that CZ8 snatches Finch sometime in the 2nd quarter, allowing Osweiler to operate freely. When CZ8 sees the resulting terrible play he'll be emotionally devastated, letting his guard down just enough to allow Finch to escape. On the field Osweiler's putrid performance will be topped only by that of the other "starting" quarterback Connor Cook, a man who, in the past, has been unfavorably compared to Bo Callahan from Draft Day. If your best comp is a fictional character whose 21st birthday went unattended by any of his teammates, you've got serious problems. Consequently, I think the Texans move on, along with our TIMELESS tale.


12.30.2016

NFL Picks - Week 17

Sunday Morning

Baltimore @ Cincinnati
There are six games in Week 17 between non-playoff teams that some would say have "no meaning." No meaning huh? You try telling that to DeAndre Mitchell, a career practice squad player who I just made up that will be making his NFL debut for the Bengals this Sunday. This entirely fictitious young man finally has the opportunity to live his dream, so perhaps the next time you're about to callously refer to these Week 17 tilts as meaningless you'll think of DeAndre Mitchell (a man who, again, does not exist) and bite your tongue. 

Ravens 23-20


Houston @ Tennessee
As I explained last week, time traveling teen Trevor Finch and timecop Clem Zarkins 8 have mutually assured the failures of their respective retcon missions now that Tom Savage is the new starting quarterback for the Texans and has led them to an AFC South title. I don't know about you, but it's clear to me that Finch and CZ8 must work together to get their destiny-altering efforts back on track. Step one is forcing Tom Savage out of action and Brock Osweiler back onto the field. After that though it's anybody's guess. When push comes to shove which present day visitor will get their way? Only TIME will tell. 

Texans 16-13


Carolina @ Tampa Bay
After a loss last week the Buccaneers are hanging on to the slimmest of playoff hopes. Tampa needs to win and have ALL of the following results happen: GB loss, TEN win, IND win, DAL win, SF win, WAS tie. That's one hell of a convoluted scenario, but all the Bucs can do is get their W and let the chips fall where they may. Or they can broadcast Jameis Winston performing one of his famous pregame speeches to each team who they need to win. After hearing Winston's inspirational words surely they'll all prevail. The tricky one will be the tie they need from the Giants against the Redskins. How do you inspire someone to tie? Maybe Winston can dial up some yin and yang stuff about the duality of man and how balance is the most important thing in life, especially when it comes to football scores. While that may seem like a fairly thin, poorly thought out argument the complexities of it will befuddle Eli Manning into having one of his worst games as a pro, spoiling Tampa's parlay.

Buccaneers 26-21  


Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
On the surface this game seems very uninteresting and inconsequential. And that's exactly where this game is being played ... on the surface ... of the earth, just as every single NFL game in league history before it. At the core though this game seems like one that would be immediately incinerated. It's just too hot for humans down there. So now do you see why they play games on the surface? 

Colts 31-20


New England @ Miami
Both of these AFC East teams are heading to the playoffs, but only one of them has Matt Moore as their starting quarterback. And sorry New Englanders, it ain't ya boys. The Dolphins have put up 34 points in each of Moore's two starts, and have won three in a row overall, including a squeaker over in Arizona in which Moore engineered a game-winning drive in relief. So what am I getting at? It's simple, Matt Moore's personal 2016 winning percentage is 1.000, therefore the implication is clear: he's on pace to win the Super Bowl. Look, I'm just following the stats here folks. We can all agree Tom Brady has been magnificent since returning from his suspension in Week 5, but he has that lone blemish on his record. Matt Moore's record? Spotless yo. Obviously I'm not saying I think Matt Moore is better than Tom Brady. Not at all.  I'm saying that the facts unequivocally show that Matt Moore is better than Tom Brady.

Dolphins 24-23 


Chicago @ Minnesota
Here's another contest with two non-playoff squads that have little to play for. So why not spice it up a little bit with a wild stipulation? How about this: the MVP of the game gets to choose who he plays for next season; his pick of all 32 NFL teams. Maybe he likes where he is and will decide to stay Maverick style, or maybe he'll say F this S I'm going to New England! What's more, the game MVP will make his announcement immediately following the game in the middle of the field with the GMs from all 32 teams live on the Jumbotron behind him so that we can gauge their reaction. It should be a fascinating watch. Oh wait, it's not really going to happen. Well F this S, I'm watching New England! 

Vikings 20-16


Buffalo @ New York Jets
On Tuesday the Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan after only two seasons. In his own defense Ryan (and his also fired brother Rob) will tell you that if you want something done right you need more than two seasons; whether it be turkey, ham, prime rib, or coaching. Two seasons? That's amateur stuff. You give Rex Ryan two seasons and you're going to get a bland, tasteless product. Give him 11 herbs and spices? Now we're talking. I'm not sure anybody will be trying very hard in this game, unless the Bills players really want interim coach Anthony Lynn to become the head man next year. And the possibility that a team might try is enough for me to pick them over the Jets.

Bills 28-14


Dallas @ Philadelphia
The Cowboys have not played during the day on a Sunday since Week 11. This recent spate of night games was a real boon for the vampires on the team (of which there are three, can you guess who?) but now the Boys return to the daytime. The aforementioned vamps will no doubt be hoping for an overcast day to help shield them from the light, but unfortunately for them I have it on good authority that it's always sunny in Philadelphia. So while a handful of Cowboys players will be burned alive as a result it will nonetheless be nice to not have Dallas forced down our throats on yet another prime time game. Regardless of the scheduled start time though, the Cowboys have consistently forced themselves down opponents' throats, so the Eagles could be in trouble. Also, Dallas should really stop forcing themselves down people's throats. It's not ok guys. Rumor has it that Mark Sanchez will get the majority of snaps at QB for Dallas. Yes, that Mark Sanchez. Consequently I'll guess that Philly gets a win for the home crowd.

Eagles 24-17 


Cleveland @ Pittsburgh
Well the the Browns did it, they avoided a winless season by knocking off the Chargers last week. It was later revealed by coach Hue Jackson that he and left tackle Joe Thomas cried in the locker room following the win. It was then revealed that Joe Thomas had broken Hue Jackson's back for revealing that he and Joe Thomas had cried following the win. Look, I get it, it's been a rough season to say the least, and it was emotional for them to finally come out on top. That being said, I'm not sure that would translate as well to other professions. For instance, if after a flight you were walking off the plane and the pilot was weeping while you exited you'd be a bit disturbed and probably have more than a few questions. Unless that pilot was wearing a Browns hat, in which case you'd know now why he cries. You also might think it a tad unprofessional of him to not be wearing his captain's hat, but you'd understand. I'm guessing that Cleveland will still have that winning glow about them and come out on Sunday fired up enough to only lose by a few to the Pittsburgh back-ups.

Steelers 25-20


Sunday Afternoon

New Orleans @ Atlanta
Raise your hand if you think there will be some points in this one. I know I do, 0-0 ties are extremely rare in the NFL. Well actually it's happened 73 times in league history, but not once since 1943. So most of these players weren't even born the last time it occurred (Matt Bryant and, surprisingly, Tim Hightower being the two exceptions). The Falcons can clinch the NFC's #2 seed and a first round bye with a win, whereas the Saints have already clinched a 35 week bye regardless of this result. The added incentive should be motivation enough for the Atlanta to get the win. 

Falcons 41-30


New York Giants @ Washington
Pretty simple set up for this one, the 'Skins win and they're in, assuming that the GB/DET game doesn't end in a tie. The Giants are locked into the #5 seed regardless of the outcome here, so it's not entirely clear what their strategy will be, but I have an inkling of what might go down. New York will play the first half full tilt and pretty much dominate. At half time they'll realize that it would behoove them to allow a team they can easily defeat to get into the playoffs, even if the odds that they'll meet in the postseason are very slim. When the second half begins Ben McAdoo will allow Eli Manning to start calling his own plays; the rest will take care of itself.

Redskins 23-16


Arizona @ Los Angeles
Here's an interesting stat, the 49ers record against the Rams this season is 2-0. The 49ers record against all other NFL teams this season is 0-13. That basically sums up the 4-11 Rams' first season in LA. To make matters worse they can't even take solace in the idea that that loss helped them in the draft order, because their first round pick belongs to the Titans, and the reason for that absence of a top choice is currently under center for the Rams and quite abysmal. So to say that the LA fanbase has been unenthused by the product on the field would be an understatement. It's pretty cliche to say that "LA loves a winner." I think the more accurate assessment is that LA doesn't care about a loser.

Cardinals 27-12


Oakland @ Denver
The Raiders are one win away from a first round bye in the AFC playoffs. Unfortunately for Oakland their starting quarterback is now Matt McGloin, and worse yet there's no such thing as a second, third, or fourth round bye. Is there a chance Matt McGloin can pilot the Raiders to three straight playoff wins? I suppose no. Sorry, that was supposed to say "I suppose SO" but my hands just wouldn't type it. I tried on multiple occasions to correct it, but got the same result every time. When my body physically rejects a team's Super Bowl prospects it's never a good sign. The same thing happened a couple years ago when a young fan asked if I thought Andy Dalton could ever take the Bengals all the way and I reflexively vomited in her face. So maybe this isn't Oakland's year just yet, but it should be endless fun to watch their new starting QB make terrible (or even good) plays in the postseason and shout, "Ah! McGloin!"

Broncos 16-10


Kansas City @ San Diego
The Chargers lost to the Browns last week and I should've seen it coming. San Diego has been finding new ways to lose on a seemingly weekly basis this season, so it only makes sense that they would discover yet another untapped source of despair, something that no other team could possibly manage: a loss to Cleveland. Congratulations Chargers, you're the most predictably unpredictable team of 2016. Now, if they manage to win this death rattle of a game in San Diego it will be yet another surprise. But as we all know, the Bolts are nothing if not ... shocking.

Chiefs 29-17


Seattle @ San Francisco
Before the season began in my 2016 preview I predicted that the 49ers would finish 3-13. Well here they sit at 2-13 with one game remaining and I am now struck with a crisis of conscience. Do I root for San Francisco to win just to make myself look a football genius? After a quick self-assessment I've realized that I already look like a football genius. I mean if I'm not a genius how else would you explain the fact that I've correctly predicted the score of all 240 games so far this season? And no, I don't check the scores of the games once they've ended. I don't have to. I'm operating with that level of confidence. So with that in mind I will break from my preseason prognostication and foretell a fourteen loss season for the Frisco gents.

Seahawks 27-13


Sunday Night 

Green Bay @ Detroit
Who will win the NFC North? There's only one way to find out: take a nap from 5p-9p PT on Sunday, wake up, check your phone and go back to sleep. OR you could watch the Packers play the Lions and listen to this man dissect all the action. CriColl, take it away:
Always prepared, just like a boy scout. I'll agree with CC. With analysis like that how could I not?

Packers 27-20


12.23.2016

NFL Picks - Week 16

Saturday Morning

Miami @ Buffalo
Believe it or not, the Bills are not out of playoff contention yet. And with the rift between their front office and Rex Ryan it seems that's not the only contention they're still involved in. It would be a very Rex maneuver to be all but fired and somehow make the playoffs with a furious flourish to finish the season. Although it would also be a very Rex maneuver to be walking to the field, get distracted by a manicurist billboard, slip on some ice, blow out his ACL, vomit from the pain, and insist on coaching with a barf-stained shirt while hopped up on pain meds. Either way I think Buffalo gets the win. 

Bills 27-17


New York Jets @ New England
The Patriots are favored by 17 points in this game, which may seem fair at first bluff, but if you look into New England's previous games this season you'll find that the last time they beat a team by that much was Week 6. After seeing this I started to wonder if that line wasn't way too high, especially considering that they only beat the Jets by 5 points in their last meeting. Then I saw this play from New York's game against Miami last Saturday. Despite getting obliterated on that hit, Bryce Petty is reportedly going to start for the Jets this week. If Petty's o-line doesn't hold up any better this Saturday there's a decent chance we could see this before the game is through. 


Patriots 33-17


Tennessee @ Jacksonville
The Jaguars finally fired Gus Bradley after yet another loss ran his record with Jacksonville to 14-48. Personally I hope Bradley gets another shot as a head coach, however when your resume says "Worst head coaching win percentage in NFL history" the interview is a real uphill battle from there. The good news for Bradley then? He has the second worst head coaching win percentage in NFL history. So not all is lost! (Things don't look promising for Burt Bell though) With a win here the Titans can set up a winner take all battle at home game against the Texans next week. And when I say "winner take all" the all in question is just the AFC South; so really, it's more of a "winner takes this" with the victor likely being treated to a first round playoff loss. Tennessee has been impressive in recent weeks though, and as long as they're present, meaning the whole team shows up with the proper equipment, they should get a win over the Jags (who I picked to make the playoffs before the season started; felt like it was an appropriate time to revisit that).

Titans 30-13


Minnesota @ Green Bay
The Packers have been red hot of late (with the exception of the majority of the 4th quarter last Sunday) and once again control their own destiny in the NFC North.  However, some would argue that destiny by its definition is predetermined, and thus can not be controlled by anyone, even a team that's on a 4 game win streak. I agree with that assessment, but what those naysayers aren't taking into account is that Mike McCarthy recently visited a mystical shaman in Cheboygan that granted him the power to fully manipulate his own timeline, meaning that he is indeed in control of his own destiny. So far he's only used his new capabilities to bring back the McRib in select markets, but once he grasps the full potential of the influence he now wields the NFL, and to an extent all of us, will be in big trouble. 

Packers 31-14


San Diego @ Cleveland
The Browns are rapidly approaching the ignominious mark of 0-16, achieved by only the 2008 Lions before them. The Cleveland Indians have won a game more recently than the Browns, and only two more opportunities remain for Cleveland's football team to get off the schnide this season, otherwise the Indians will get their NEXT win before the Browns as well. While this week's opponent, the Chargers, have been a snakebitten franchise for much of the 2016 season, they can't really compare to the Browns, who were swallowed whole by a snake at the beginning of the season and have been getting slowly digested for the past 3+ months. As a result, I expect San Diego to get the win here. The good news is that if the Steelers win on Sunday there's a decent chance Pittsburgh won't have anything to play for when they meet Cleveland in Week 17. Finally someone on the Browns' level! 

Chargers 28-13


Washington @ Chicago
The Redskins relinquished control of the 6th seed in the NFC with their dismal home defeat against the Panthers last Monday. Meanwhile the Bears maintained sole possession of the NFC's 15th seed with their last second loss to the Packers on Sunday. It was, yet again, the perfect performance for a team looking to secure a high draft pick: play well enough to encourage some hope in the future, but not so well that you actually win and move down in the picking order. Chicago has managed this feat in their last four losses, and I have to commend them on their efforts. However, I see a possible slip up coming here. Washington will be coming in a deflated team playing on short rest after their letdown on Monday. The Bears will be playing in their home finale, and possibly feel the need to give the faithful a nice gift for their troubles. It could be a risky move in regards to their draft position, but what better place than Chicago to throw caution to the ... wind? Yuck, I kind of want to just pick Washington now. Nope, it's Chicago. 

Bears 24-22


Atlanta @ Carolina
Why do I get the feeling that the Panthers will get the upset over the Falcons here? Well if you look at the Pythagorean expected win-loss totals for each of these ... Ya know what, I'm sorry, I just have to stop for a minute. He uh, he just keeps getting worse. Actually, this one is SO bad that I now believe he's trolling us. That has to be it. The only other explanation is that a grown man thinks a giant pink top hat looks good, and is an appropriate thing to wear while at work. There's only one person that that's true for, his name is Gaybraham Lincoln, and he's a bartender in West Hollywood who I assume exists. Ok, I just looked a bit further into it and it turns out Newton was paying tribute to Craig Sager, so I'll applaud Cam on this one. That still doesn't explain why he's been dressing like an Australian's nightmare for the first 14 weeks of the season though. I'm going with my hunch and picking Carolina.

Panthers 30-27


Saturday Afternoon 

Indianapolis @ Oakland
This one could be a barnburner, if it were in Indianapolis. Instead it's in Oakland where there are no barns. Perhaps "shootout" would be a more appropriate descriptor due to the fact that Derek Carr has taken all of his snaps from the shotgun or pistol formation since he injured his pinkie 3 weeks ago. Also Andrew Luck has at least two firearms on his person at all times, so yeah, "shootout" works better. Either way, there should be points a plenty, and I'm not just referring to awestruck children in the crowd pointing at the lofty passes saying, "Whoa, lookadat mama!" Though, that will happen frequently as well. Both teams need a win, and while the Colts may be more desperate, they just aren't as good. 

Raiders 34-29


Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
These TWO teams met only TWO weeks ago in a game that featured a TWO point safety and is one of only TWO games in NFL history to end with a final score of 16-11. You thinking what I'm thinking? Deuces wild! You wondering what I'm wondering? What the hell does that mean?!? Hmm, ok maybe whoever wears #2 on each team gets TWO plays in the game in which they get to be an extra man on the field. Just checked, neither of these teams have a player who wears #2. Well then you assign it to someone for just this game damn it! I don't care about league restrictions. Deuces wild! That's the idea, and that's what we're sticking with! It's a good idea! It's smart! And it's funny! (Oh God, don't do this. Get it together. Wipe the tears from the keyboard and get back to it. Oh great, the keyboard's not working because the moisture short-circuited it. Awesome, I get to go back to Staples again and buy another new keyboard and have Carl give me that look. Well guess what Carl, you're a Staples sales associate, so shut up! Save it for your cats! Wait, if my keyboard short-circuited how am I typing this. Am I even typing it? Where are we ...?) I'll take Tampa. 

Buccaneers 24-23


Arizona @ Seattle
Going into the season it was thought that this game would be for the NFC West title, and in a way it still is. If the Seahawks win they'll retain their 2016 NFC West title, and if they lose, they won't give it up. Ok, so I guess it's akin to a non-title match, but hey at least the champ will be involved, so there's that! Seattle still has something to play for as they try to finish 2nd in the NFC, and while their offense has been maddeningly inconsistent for much of the season they still average 28 points per game at home, a location where this game is, in fact, being played. Couple that with the fact that the Cardinals gave up 48 points at home last week and it seems like the defensive intensity may not quite be what it was in these teams' epic 6-6 tie from Week 7. 

Seahawks 24-10


San Francisco @ Los Angeles
Hollywood! Movie stars! Glitz! Glam! Yeah LA's got it all, but would you believe that the hottest ticket in town is this Week 16 clash between the 49ers and the Rams? If you said yes, I admire your optimism kid, but in this town it ain't gonna last, and it's about time someone beat it right out of ya. This game's a flop I tell ya, the script was shot from the beginning. Then the Rams cast the wrong leading man, and told their director to hit the bricks; this project's gonna sink the whole studio. And don't get me started on the Niners. Sure they were a B picture to begin with, but trying to resurrect Kaepernick's career? Look, the kid had something once, but whatever it was it ain't there now, and wherever it went ain't worth going to find it again. Ya dig? The only option now is to just scrap any and all domestic showings of this game and see what you can recoup overseas. Look, I know you're still hopeful this show can be a hit, but forget it, it's Niners/Rams. 

Rams 7-3


Saturday Night 

Cincinnati @ Houston
They did it, the bastards, they've screwed us all! Time traveling 13 year old Trevor Finch and time cop Clem Zarkins 8 (née Osweiler) have let their timeless struggle result in mutually assured destruction. As we all know, CZ8 was attempting to restore prestige to the Osweiler name by stopping Finch in his meddlesome efforts to derail the Texans' Super Bowl season. Predictably both of them were in Reliant Stadium last Sunday, and when CZ8 spotted Finch during the first quarter the chase was on, and multiple laser blaster shots were fired. Houston QB Brock Osweiler took notice and was very flustered by not only the laser shots but by the fact that the man firing them bore a striking resemblance to himself. Osweiler's resulting play was so poor that he was replaced in the 2nd quarter by backup Tom Savage. Brock spent the rest of the game on the side line with his helmet on, hiding from what he correctly assumed was a future descendant of his loose with a laser gun. Finch ended up evading his pursuer, but now both of them seem further from their original goal than ever before. Not only has Osweiler's name been further sullied by this benching, but with Tom Savage in the starting spot Houston's odds of winning the Super Bowl are better than ever. What have you done you space-time/rapscallions? 

Texans 20-16


Christmas 

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
This season the NFL scheduled the Steelers to play on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Is it really that Pittsburgh is that big of a draw? Or is it more likely that the Steelers just hate their families? I'm guessing it's the latter, and that the team requested to play on any and all available holidays for fear of having to spend time with all of the lame-o's on their lives. I mean, in-laws, am I right? Regardless of the reasoning behind it, this game IS on Christmas, and it's of the highest importance. A Steelers win wraps up the division title for them, while a Ravens W would put them in the AFC North pole position. In this intense Christmas clash the Claus will be out. 

Steelers 24-20


Denver @ Kansas City
Let's turn now to Sunday night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth in hopes that he will provide us with a coherent preview for this important AFC West match-up:
We'll all be waiting with baited breath to see if you do indeed get that santa hat CriColl.

Chiefs 20-13


Monday Night 

Detroit @ Dallas
Last week we looked at the Lions' remaining schedule and discussed the possibility of them losing out and missing the playoffs. Well, I discussed it, you just sat there like a log contributing nothing to the conversation. No, not a yule log, this is the pick for Monday, Christmas is over, move on! Now that we got that out of the way I can return to my original point, Detroit was going to lose their final two games and be left hoping that Tampa lose out as well. But now that the Cowboys have clinched home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs they just pack it in on Boxing Day.

Lions 23-17 

12.22.2016

NFL Picks - Week 16 Thursday

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
Late last week it was revealed that the Giants illegally used walkie-talkies during their Week 14 win over Dallas. My theory is that New York coach Ben McAdoo had purchased the walkie-talkies as a Christmas gift for his kids, but when he went to hide them in the closet (the walkies, not his kids) a light bulb went off. It was the light bulb in the closet, and he still hasn't replaced it. But a little bit later it dawned on him that he could use the toys to his advantage. Unfortunately for McAdoo and the Giants the league caught on to his hijinks and slapped them with a fine. But I'm not so sure that he'll stop there. It's doubtful that they'll try the walkie-talkie trick again, but don't be surprised if McAdoo draws inspiration from a Christmas classic and plants a Talkboy loaded with Philly play calls on the Eagles' sideline this Thursday. He'll bribe a ball boy to play it at pivotal points, causing mass confusion for the Eagles. After Carson Wentz tosses an interception as a result listen closely for a certain voice from the Talkboy shouting, "Look what ya did ya little jerk!"
 

Giants 23-16

12.16.2016

NFL Picks - Week 15

Saturday Night

Miami @ New York Jets
Many are worried that the Dolphins' playoff chances may be kaput now that their starting quarterback is out for at least a few weeks. But I'm not so sure the sky is falling in Miami. In other words, let's not make a mountain out of a Tannehill (no applause necessary guys, I mean I know that you're not applauding, but I just was saying that if you felt compelled to applaud based on how clever that line was and you thought it might make me feel nice, don't worry, it's totally unnecessary). However, I don't blame Fins fans for being a bit worried now that their backup QB is forced into action, because if his past performance is any indication, Moore is less (again, if you feel like politely clapping I won't stop you, and I'll admit it might even provide a bit of an ego boost, but don't feel forced). The Jets have their own quarterback uncertainty to worry about, but even if they've finally benched Ryan Fitzpatrick for good the change in play they get from the position will only be a Petty difference (STILL NOT CLAPPING?!?).

Dolphins 20-16  


Sunday Morning

Green Bay @ Chicago
The Bears have been not terrible over the last four weeks, by 2016 Bears standards that is. They're 1-3 in that stretch, but none of those losses has been by more than a score. So what does this mean? It means they're probably exhausted. After trying really hard for about a month now odds are they're pretty tuckered out, and with winter officially only three days away from their Sunday match-up against Green Bay it wouldn't surprise me if these Bears go into hibernation a little early.

Packers 35-17


Cleveland @ Buffalo
The NFL announced the match-ups for the four games that will be played in London in 2017, and guess who's making the trip ... That's right, the Cleveland Browns. When their game is played Trump will have been president for almost a year, maening our foreign relations will already be severely damaged; the last thing we need is to send the Browns abroad. Though, NFL U.K. Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood insists that it will be "a lot of fun" to welcome in the Browns and their fans. First of all, it's clear that Alistair Kirkwood had not watched any Browns games this season. Second of all, Alistair Kirkwood is definitely not a real person. Obviously the league needed a British person to shine a cheery light on these consistently lame international series games so they made up someone and gave him a cartoonishly English name. And ya know what? It worked. I can't wait for Vikings/Browns 2017!

Bills 27-10


Philadelphia @ Baltimore
In their game last week the Eagles lost their long snapper to a wrist injury forcing TE Brent Celek into action. After Celek went down with a stinger they were forced to turn to a third option. This got me thinking, now that we live in the future, couldn't we just have robots handle long snapping duties? It seems like it would be easy enough to engineer a robot that would get the snap perfect every time, just have one of the guards press a button, the bot fires the snap back and then just sits there. No one is supposed to make contact with long snappers as is, so it's not like it would really have to block anybody. But if you did try to run through the robot you'd be dealing with two tons of twisted steel and sex appeal! You read that right, these robots are going to be VERY heavy and VERY sexy. Is there any way that this would becomes a slippery slope and leads to an all robot team? Yes, that's absolutely what will happen, but aren't we ready for that? They'd be the ultimate villains! Cold, calculating, inhuman, it would be like a team full of Belichicks. And besides, if they ever got too good we would just deactivate them before they got so sophisticated that they enslaved us all. That's simple enough, right? Right? Oh God, oh God what hath I wrought?

Ravens 23-13


Tennessee @ Kansas City
Last week the Titans exploited the Broncos' subpar run defense en route to a 13-10 victory. This week they take on another AFC West foe with a rush D that leaves a lot to be desired in the Chiefs, who are surprisingly 27th against the run. I just assumed they were much better than that, and maybe they are ... Is it possible that Andy Reid and the Chiefs have doctored their stats to fool teams into running against them? As we all know teams keep their own stats and then submit them to various news outlets. That's how stats work, so yes, that's very possible. In fact, I'm certain that that's what's happened here. Classic Reid. Look for the stifling KC rush defense to stonewall an overconfident Titans offense.

Chiefs 19-14


Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
This will be the first time Vontaze Burfict has been on the field opposite the Steelers since his helmet to helmet hit on Antonio Brown became the catalyst for the Bengals' playoff meltdown last January. Burfict has made it known that he has since apologized to Brown in person, and it seems that he is seriously remorseful about the whole situation. And that's exactly what he wants us to think. Don't be surprised to see Burfict show up on the field Sunday with a reverse Mark Kelso helmet (extra padding on the inside, giant, hard outer shell) and bad intentions. Unfortunately for Vontaze the custom dome will be much heavier than he expected and cause serious balance issues that he'll be unable to acclimate to throughout the game. As Burfict stumbles and trips his way through middle of the field Pittsburgh will exploit the resulting holes and get the win.

Steelers 30-20


Detroit @ New York Giants
It's a match-up of 9-4 teams that has Possible Playoff Preview potential. The Lions have won five in a row and 8 of 9 to vault into the #2 spot in the NFC. On the surface it looks like they're sitting pretty. But that's just on the surface. A quick glance at their remaining schedule reveals this tough test followed by a trip to Dallas and a home game against Green Bay to close out the season. Taking that into account it seems more like they're sitting shitty. Meanwhile the Giants continue to be a peculiar team. They're currently 1-4 against winning teams not from Dallas. Of course, they've also handed the Cowboys their only two losses of the season. So what happens when two teams we're pretty sure are good clash? Probably a low scoring game that seems like high quality smash mouth football, but in retrospect may actually just be a poorly played, ugly game. In other words we'll get no answers from this one. But if you were looking for answers from the Lions and Giants perhaps it's time you took a look in the mirror and realized the answers you seek can only come from within.

Giants 17-13


Indianapolis @ Minnesota
These teams have both had flashes of near greatness this season, but on the whole they've been merely mediocre. At this point neither's playoff chances are trending upward, and it seems fairly likely that they'll both miss the postseason. That is, of course, unless they combine forces ... If you created a mega-team with players from both of these squads they'd surely be a contender.  We've seen struggling companies merge to avoid being decimated by the competition, so why can't two football teams do it? Oh right, the trade deadline, salary cap, roster restrictions, fan outrage ... Ok look, it wasn't the most well thought out idea. But if you're coming here for well thought out ideas then I've got sour news for ya pal, I ain't got none. Unless of course you want to hear about my reverse microwave the InstaChill 4000. I'll take your silence as a no.

Colts 20-17


Jacksonville @ Houston
The Texans shockingly won in Indianapolis last week to remain tied with Tennessee atop the AFC South. The result made me wonder: where was Trevor Finch and why did he not interfere on the Colts behalf? I looked further into it and found the answer: Finch had to go on the run because time cop and resident of future Houston Clem Zarkins 8 was hot on his trail. You see Clem Zarkins 8 used to be Clem Osweiler, a direct descendant of Texans' quarterback Brock Osweiler whose last name suddenly changed after Trevor Finch traveled back in time to sully the Osweiler name to the extent that Brock's future lineage would change it to Zarkins 8 to avoid the inherent embarrassment. Now CZ8 has traveled back in time to prevent Finch from derailing Houston's Super Bowl quest, and in turn, reclaim his family's good name. This is getting good folks! It's far more important than any real analysis regarding this game. If the Texans get the win this Sunday we'll know that Clem Zarkins 8 has succeeded in deterring Finch for at least one more week.

Texans 27-13 


Sunday Afternoon

New Orleans @ Arizona
When discussing the weather conditions during his team's loss last Sunday in Miami Bruce Arians pointed out that it consistently rained harder when the Cardinals had he ball and described it as "kind of odd." I wouldn't call it irresponsible to infer from Arians' statement that he thnks that some nefarious machinations were behind the drastic weather fluctuations. I agree with Bruce, and I think the answer is very simple, God hates him. And it's because he has the hubris to constantly wear a Kangol cap. He's thumbing his nose at his creator, and He is (literally) showering Arians with his wrath. Now the Cardinals return to their domed stadium where even God can't affect the result. Because of this I'm taking Arizona.

Cardinals 26-23


San Francisco @ Atlanta
This feels like a game that doesn't need to be played. The Falcons need a win to keep their playoff chances high, and the Niners are clearly not interested in winning again this season as evidenced by their collapse in last week's 23-17 home loss to the Jets. It's simple logic, both teams benefit from an Atlanta win. Of course, the old adage is, "that's why they play the games." But no, not this time, just cancel it, make up stats for fantasy owners and we'll all move on. Since that probably won't happen here's my prediction: Niners win in an upset! Hey, that's why they play the games baby! Oh, whoops did I type "Niners win"? Oh ok, sorry, I meant to type "Falcons win." And when I said "upset" I really meant "boring no brainer blowout." Jeez I should really go back and just edit that, it wouldn't be hard. But then again, that would take longer.

Falcons 38-14


Oakland @ San Diego
The Raiders' 6 game win streak was snapped last week in Kansas City and with only their third loss of the season Oakland plummeted from the top 2 in the AFC to a wild card spot. It was a jarring fall for Raider Nation, but for the rest of us it now feels natural. Don't the Raiders make more since as a wild card? The ethos of that organization is based on being wild cards. They're Raiders, an unpredictable, swashbuckling motley crew that will pillage and plunder and fall just short of a division championship. A lower seed makes even more sense for this year's team in particular given that they were undefeated on the road up until last week. Perhaps a path to the Super Bowl that doesn't go through Oakland would provide them a greater opportunity at reaching the big game (It wouldn't, because it requires them to play an extra game, but you get the idea).

Raiders 34-24


New England @ Denver
The Broncos are clinging to the last wild card spot in the AFC but they have an arduous three week journey ahead of them as they attempt to hold on to it. Their sojourn this week against New England, they then go to Kansas City before returning home to finish the season against Oakland. The combined record of those teams is 31-8. Gulp and yikes! In other words, if Denver wants to defend their title into the postseason they're going to have to earn their way in. It will be a rite of passage for young quarterback Trevor Siemian, and one that he's taking very seriously. Actually, if I'm being honest, he's taking the "rite of passage" narrative too seriously. He's given himself tribal tattoos and has been practicing shirtless all week in the frigid Denver weather. Team doctors say he definitely has hypothermia, but he's convinced that it's just the "Winterman's chokehold" and that he'll be able to free himself from it by game time. So I guess he's insane now. I'll take New England in a close one.

Patriots 20-17


Sunday Night

Tampa Bay @ Dallas
The Cowboys are coming off only their second loss of the season and face another tough test on Sunday Night Football. One man who was there last week and will be again on Sunday is Cris Collinsworth. We turn to him now for his thoughts on this one:
Wow. He's fully off the deep end now folks. I just hope there's a way back for him. That being said, I'll trust his judgment on this game.

Buccaneers 24-21 


Monday Night

Carolina @ Washington
It's clear that Ron Rivera's disciplinary wardrobe-based suspension of Cam Newton has fallen on deaf ears. Just look at what the Panther quarterback wore to his postgame press conference on Sunday. He's slowly turning into a grandma, and the fact that this is a night game may be detrimental to the suddenly elderly Newton. Once 9pm local time rolls around before the end of the first quarter Cam will get very fussy and demand that the 'Skins crowd quit making so much noise so he can get some sleep. He'll spend the rest of the game tossing and turning on the Carolina bench. Afterwards he'll probably show up at the press conference in a wheelchair with a shawl, bifocals, and a pocketful of Werther's Originals.

Redskins 31-24