In case you haven't been diligently keeping track of my picks' success on a weekly basis (mystifying as to why you wouldn't be) I should let you know that I've struggled as of late. I'm 15-15 over the last two weeks, so something has to change. This week I decided to look for developing trends and follow them. As most of you know, I'm something of a trend setter, so this was very difficult for me. So difficult, in fact, that at times even though I recognized a trend my pick went in the complete opposite direction. See for yourself:
Tampa Bay @ Green Bay
The Bucs have been a mess lately, losing 4 of 5, with the only win inexplicably coming over New Orleans. Does this mean that Tampa is capable of another inexplicable win over the Packers this week? No, odds are this one will be extremely explicable. I'd even go so far as to say explicable as hell. And there's nothing more explicable right now than the Packers in a cream job.
Carolina @ Detroit
The Lions have gained a reputation as the dirtiest team in the league, and I have to agree. But it's not their fault, the team showers have been broken for weeks, I blame the facilities manager (and there it is folks, the worst joke of the year ... so far; I'm sure I can top it by season's end). It's for certain that something's negatively affecting their play because they've fallen to 6-3 after starting 5-0. Odds are a tougher schedule is to blame, luckily for them they get a break this week against the reeling Panthers.
Jacksonville @ Cleveland
The Browns have only managed to score more than 17 points once this year, a 27 point effort against the Colts, which isn't very impressive considering Indy has given up, on average, 48 points a game. While that Colts stat isn't real it doesn't negate the fact that Cleveland can not score points. But guess what? Neither can the Jags! They too have only topped 17 once this year, and that was only 20, in a loss. So which offense will prove less inept this Sunday? Probably the one with the former Big 12 quarterback who's in way over his head ...
Oakland @ Minnesota
Somehow, after their two worst losses of the season the Raiders got a W and now find themselves alone atop the AFC West. Hopefully they don't get too comfortable though, because the whole division is breathing down their neck, or more appropriately wheezing on the back of their calves as they struggle to get back to their feet. Meanwhile, Minnesota is coming off a cream job loss, but I wouldn't put too much stock into that considering it was against the Packers. I think the Vikings will get a surprise win, but Oakland will maintain their lead in the West.
Buffalo @ Miami
These two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Bills averaged just over 30 points in their first seven games, but in the last two they've averaged only 9. On the flip side, the Dolphins' offense has come alive, relatively, and led them right out of the race for Andrew Luck. As a result, Miami might as well try to win out, and if they haven't adopted the slogan "Phinish Strong" by now then I just don't know what hell is going on in that locker room.
Dallas @ Washington
Washington has lost 5 games in a row. In their last three they have only put up a combined 20 points. More bad news for the Redskins, (a headline that was frequently seen in newspapers throughout the 19th century) the Cowboys are coming to town and playing at their best. And while it's clear that DeMarco Murray is on steroids, he probably won't get busted until after the season is done, which means he'll play this week and help Dallas get another win.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore
Just when you think you've got all the answers in the AFC, Roddy Piper changes the question. Then you're left wondering what does Roddy Piper have to do with this? Is he somehow in control of the AFC playoff picture? Well the answer is yes, but I'll get to that later. The Ravens have been maddeningly inconsistent this season, but because this is a game that they'll actually care about they should get the win.
Arizona @ San Francisco
My Wacky Pick of the Week is that John Skelton's helmet will be jarred loose at some point during this game revealing a skull instead of a head, proving that he is, in fact, a skeleton masquerading as a human. Despite the very unimaginative name choice, everybody will agree that he's done a magnificent job assimilating into human culture and that he's probably the best skeleton quarterback of all time. That being said, Arizona will lose.
Seattle @ St. Louis
At the very least, the last two games have shown that the Hawks have an actual strategy on offense: Engage Beast Mode; let Tarvaris manage the game; and don't score touchdowns, they're for wimps that don't want to compete in a close game for 60 minutes. Obviously the Hawks exceeded expectations last week in their 22-17 win over Baltimore, (I only had them winning by 3) so a setback against the Rams would be especially aggravating. Is it possible? Of course not! 10-6 can still make the playoffs, Phinish Strong!
Seahawks 21-16 (that's 7 field goals for the Hawks)
Tennessee @ Atlanta
Both teams come in at 5-4, and in need of a win. Though, if they had both come into the season with the mindset that they need to win every game they might be doing a little better right now. Falcons' coach Mike Smith has received a lot of unfair criticism just because last week he made a foolish decision that directly cost his team the game. I'm guessing he'll play things a little closer to the vest this time around and the Falcons will get the home win.
San Diego @ Chicago
The Chargers have lost four in a row, but they hope things will get better for them with a trip to Chicago. What they don't understand is that you can't just go running off to Chicago every time things get rough. Sure it's a wonderful city, and everybody should see it at least once, but if they want to get back to winning football games sooner or later they're just going to have to face their problems head on. Not the least of these problems is the fact that Phil Rivers has been spending all of his time at the Real World house moonlighting as a lesbian named Sam. Also, the Bears have been playing well, so San Diego will most likely lose again.
Philadelphia @ New York Giants
The Eagles have played so many night games this season that they've basically had their own primetime show, which makes it hard to believe that they haven't been cancelled yet. After luring everyone into thinking they were turning their season around Philly has dropped two straight, including a loss to the Cardinals that no one, and I mean no one, could have seen coming. New York should get the win, but then again it's an Eagles game so who the hell knows what's going to happen.
Kansas City @ New England
The Chiefs have taken a nose dive the past couple of weeks, losing to teams with Matt Moore and Tim Tebow at the helm. This week they face slightly stiffer competition in the form of Tom Brady (ladies, you know what I'm saying right? Oh wait, no women read this. Uh oh, now I seem really gay, I better flip this by the end of the post). It's plain to see that the Pats will win this game, almost as plain to see as a naked woman in my apartment, with her boobs out and what not ... (phew, that was close).