Dallas @ Tampa Bay
After taking a four week (weeks 7-10) respite from playing terribly dramatic games, the Cowboys have revealed their true attention-whore selves again. Their last four games have been filled with lead changes, comebacks, smiles, occasional frowns, broken ankles, and the first ever icing of ones own kicker. Does this mean we're in for another suspense-filled match-up when Dallas takes on Tampa? Not so fast. We should also look at the pattern in the Bucs' schedule. One noticeable re-occurrence in the last seven weeks is the L next to all of Tampa's games. That's right, they've dropped seven in a row, and not one of them has been entertaining (and if any of them have been, no one's noticed). This makes the Cowboys the obvious pick, but I predict at least one lead change (and if I'm wrong and the game ends in a 0-0 tie, I'll be equally as happy, I've been praying for that score for years).
Seattle @ Chicago
After his legendary run in last season's playoffs Marshawn Lynch has a lifetime free pass from me. Even if he were to play poorly I wouldn't be upset with him because of that run, everything from that point on is icing on the cake. So now that Marshawn has gone into prolonged Beast Mode, that cake has more icing than those ones that you get from Costco that really push the limits of how much is too much. But at this point, who cares, let's just keep piling icing on until the cake collapses. Er, no, don't collapse the cake. Damn it, I got lost in my own analogy. The point is this, Beast Mode is fully engaged, and Caleb Hanie sucks. A + B = Hawks win!
Carolina @ Houston
These teams had polar opposite performances last week. The Panthers had a 16 point lead going into the half and couldn't come away with the win. Meanwhile, the Texans were down 13 at halftime and came back to win in the final seconds. If we do some simple math it's clear that Houston will have a 30 point comeback victory. But math don't mean nothing in the NFL, and neither does proper English.
Washington @ New York Giants
Just when you think you can count the Giants out they win one game and are somehow back in first place. After a big win like the one they had last week, the Giants usually like to follow it up with a stinker. It would be like delivering an eloquent speech in front of a crowd of your respected peers and then unloading a giant fart into the microphone (which would be very similar to my final presentation in Public Speaking Freshman year). But, as much as I'd like to pick the Skins in an upset, this will be their 9th loss in 10 games, just as I predicted a couple months ago. I can't waver now.
Miami @ Buffalo
This is a very important game ... for bars that don't have enough TVs to accommodate all the morning games. This one makes it an easy choice as to what not to watch. The Bills have managed to lose six straight games after starting 5-2. Meanwhile, Tony Sparano has fulfilled his destiny and become an unemployed football coach. So who wins this abysmal match-up? As I said before, no one will turn the game on, so the world may never know.
New Orleans @ Minnesota
Joe Webb relieved Christian Ponder in the Vikings' last game and really turned some heads, including his own. That missed face-mask call was really a blessing in disguise for Minnesota, in that they remain in the hunt for the second pick in the draft. And as we all know, that second pick will get them .... ummm, someone not as good as Andrew Luck? He's really the only pro prospect I've heard of so far. Help me DGP! Speaking of help, the Saints should help the Vikings in their continued march toward what I trust will be a quality rookie.
Cincinnati @ St. Louis
After Week 9 the Bengals were 6-2 and the #1 seed in the AFC. Following that they've promptly lost 4 of their next 5. Clearly they got flustered when the expectations grew and the pressure was on, in other words, they looked a lot like this guy (that's the 2nd Ted Striker link this season, bonus points to whoever can find which week the first one was). The good news for Cincy is that they get a semi-bye week with this trip to St. Louis. The bad news is that their playoff chances may have already crashed and burned like so many a fighter jet over Macho Grande.
Tennessee @ Indianapolis
It was a very emotional experience for me to watch Matthew Hasselbeck and Jake Locker team up to nearly upset the Saints last week. I gazed at the screen with such wonder as two Seattle sports legends played their hearts out for ... Tennessee? I guess that's the lesson here, when someone is forced to leave Seattle they lose the will to win. Sure they can get close to making amazing things happen, but ultimately they'll fall short. Fortunately for the Titans, beating the Colts does not qualify as an amazing thing, so whoever gets the go for Tennessee should be able pull a Seattle and get the win. By the way, the Titans string of 23-17 games fell short by one in last week's 22-17 loss to New Orleans. Nice try guys, I'm not fooled.
Green Bay @ Kansas City
Surely the Chiefs were shocked last week to find out that 10 points didn't get the job done for the second week in a row, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. Yes, it worked against the Bears, but most everything works against the Bears, except for running uphill, do NOT run uphill if a bear is chasing you (note: not advice for beating the Chicago Bears, just normal bears). In Tyler Palko's career as a starter the Chiefs have put up a combined 32 points. What's the point you may be wondering? The point is that Kansas City will need more points this week than Tyler Palko has been able to put up in six games. That won't happen. Say it with me everybody .... CREAM JOB! (you all shouted it right?)
Detroit @ Oakland
It's the league's dirtiest team (Detroit) against the league's most heavily penalized team (Oakland). The NFL should just throw out the rules for this one and make it a hardcore match. Anything goes! Chairs? Sure. Brass knucks? You bet. A steel cage around the field? I don't see why not. Two teams enter, one team leaves. The other team stays because they were playing a home game and they have no reason to leave.
New England @ Denver
It took me a while to figure out what was happening in Denver, but I finally pinned it down. It's Angels in the Outfield. The Broncos clearly have otherworldly assistance in these games and I'm pretty sure I saw this guy in the crowd last week. I'm telling you, don't be surprised if John Fox adopts two orphans at the end of the season. One thing is bizarre though, if the angels were trying to be inconspicuous why did one of them decide to play for the team? And at quarterback no less.
New York Jets @ Philadelphia
The Jets have won their last three after struggling to a 5-5 mark. So what's changed in the last few weeks? To find the answer we need to look at what put them at 5-5 ... they were Tebowed. Is it possible that merely being in His presence made them a better football team, and indeed better people? Foolish, right? Well let's take a look at other teams who have been, Tebowed. The Dolphins won 4 of their next 6 after Tebow (henceforth referred to as A.T.). The Raiders won their next three A.T.. And the Chargers have won back to back games A.T.. What makes it more amazing is that none of those teams had a winning record immediately A.T., yet they were able to reel off multiple wins in the subsequent weeks. Everything this guy touches turns to gold! His majesty knows no bounds! Because of the Tebow Effect, the Jets are the pick.
Cleveland @ Arizona
Is it possible that the Cardinals and Seahawks got together about six weeks ago and agreed that it would be more fun if their game in the last week of the season meant something? Probably not. It would be a real hassle for all 100+ players to travel to the same location just to agree on something. If anything they probably texted each other. Whatever the method of communication, the two teams have drastically improved and kept their playoff hopes on life support. Obviously the Browns won't be the one to pull the plug on the Cards.
Baltimore @ San Diego
My Wacky Pick of the Week is that at halftime of this game Phil Rivers tries to pull a Johnny Moxon style revolt on his out of touch, inept, and possibly abusive head coach. The only problem is that it will have the reverse effect. Rivers will run out of the locker room and find that no one is following him. Norv Turner will then lead his team out to the field with their new starting quarterback Billy Volek, at which point they'll lose terribly. They probably should have followed Rivers. (Note: predicted final score does not reflect Wacky Pick, making it all the more wacky)
Pittsburgh @ San Francisco
After starting out 9-1 the Niners have now dropped two of their last three causing Jim Harbaugh's chin to jut out further than Zack Morris's, post crotch-grab (one out of five people will get that, and that's not a ratio, one of the five people who read this will get that). Meanwhile, the Steelers have won 8 of their last 9 to match San Fran's 10-3 record. If Ben Roethlisberger plays, Pittsburgh has to be the favorite. If he doesn't, San Francisco is the favorite. I should point out now that I'm using that term strictly to mean the favored team. Let me make it very clear that neither of these teams is my favorite. Far from it, in fact, just having to write about this game makes me upset.