Christmas is here, but like the rest of you, I've already had my holiday and subsequent Summer movie season ruined by the sight of Hines Ward in the new Batman trailer. Before I start breaking my computer let's get to the picks.
Oakland @ Kansas City
I've been following the Raiders pretty closely this year, mostly due to the fact that they're featured prominently at the Shack (the bar where I watch games on Sunday, to clarify for everyone outside of LA). But I haven't really minded having them shoved down my throat, in fact, I even rooted for them in most games. Well, not anymore. Go to hell Raiders. These jerks managed to blow a 13 point fourth quarter, losing by 1 point after they neglected to try for a two-point conversion when they made the score 26-14 with 7:47 in the game. Nice work ya dildos. Of course, my vitriol comes as a result of the team that Oakland blew the lead to, the Detroit Lions, a team full of a-holes from who the Seahawks sorely needed a loss. Anyway, I've gotten over it.
Jacksonville @ Tennessee
The Titans lost to the Colts last week, giving Indy their first win. The good news for Tennessee? They get to play the Jaguars this week, who may be an even worse team.
Miami @ New England
As we all know, the Dolphins have been on a tear lately, not quite a Hawks-ian tear, but 5 out of 7 isn't bad, especially when they started out 0-7. Miami's new-found winning ways will be put to the test this Saturday when they visit the Patriots, and this will not be an open-notes test either. That's right, the Dolphins' players and coaching staff will not be allowed to look at their playbooks whatsoever during the game. This may seem unfair, and it is.
Arizona @ Cincinnati
For as much as the Bengals have stumbled in the second half of the season (2-4 so far), they still find themselves with a decent shot of getting the last Wild Card in the AFC. When you look at their schedule though, Cincy has only lost to quality teams, which is bad news for them this week, because the Cardinals are now just that. How is Arizona doing it? Mostly through solid defense, good special teams and a healthy amount of luck down the stretch. In other words, they're the Broncos but without the help from Jesus, which makes their stretch all the more impressive. Unfortunately, the Cards have to travel to Cincinnati this week, a city devoid of any sort of luck; that doesn't bode well for them.
Denver @ Buffalo
Early indications are that this game will not be a sell-out. A Stinger? With Tim Tebow in town? On the eve of Jesus's birth? Something doesn't add up here. On second thought, the Bills' 7 straight losses make the lack of ticket sales a bit more understandable. And when you factor in the fact that the defense has now given up 26 points per game on the season it's not hard to see why Buffalo is losing ... unless you live in Buffalo, where you can't see the games at all.
St. Louis @ Pittsburgh
With both teams' normal starting quarterbacks highly questionable for this game we could get to see the Kellen Clemens/Charlie Batch match-up that we've all been clamoring for ever since Clemens came to the NFL. So, in other words, if you're not watching this game you must already have plans on Christmas Eve, though I can't imagine that they would be more entertaining or important than this instant classic. In the end it will probably be decided by which team is the Rams. Because the Rams are the Rams, they will most likely lose.
New York Giants @ New York Jets
Ayyy ohhhh! Pass the pastrami and ya mamma mia's googatz, it's the battle of New York! My Wacky Pick of the Week is that the Giants score the game winning touchdown on a Statue of Liberty play (WIIIINNNNNNK).
Minnesota @ Washington
The Redskins managed to get their 2nd win in 10 games last week, ruining my two month long prediction that they would only win one of those ten. So congrats Washington, you proved me wrong by going 2-8. I actually watched a clip of one of the Skins giving a post game locker-room speech after their win over the Giants in which he opined that if "...they played like that every week they could be first in the NFC East ..." I have to agree with him, if Washington played well every week, they'd probably be doing better, but they haven't because they're not very good. That being said, they're better than the visiting Vikings ... probably.
Tampa Bay @ Carolina
The Panthers are yet another late-bloomer team, having won three of their last four. One of those wins came at Tampa, a "team" who has lost their last eight, including a huge loss to Jacksonville that looks all the more pathetic after the Jags' major cream job loss in Atlanta last week. To snap their streak, the Bucs will need a Christmas Eve miracle, which as we all know is not as good as a Christmas miracle, but it's like at least you get to open one miracle ya know? It's better than no miracles at all, but man I can't wait till Christmas morning to see what that big miracle under the tree is. (NOTE: I may have briefly confused the words miracle and presents)
Cleveland @ Baltimore
It's beginning to seem like Joe Flacco is actually afraid of playing a home playoff game. All the Ravens have to do is win their last two games to secure such a position, but if their effort against the Chargers from last week is any indication, they aren't necessarily motivated to do so. In a way it makes sense, playing road playoff games is all the FlacMan knows. Since coming into the league in '08 FlacMan is 4-3 in road playoff games, winning at least one every postseason. His record in home playoff games? 0-0. So what's happening here is akin to what happens when a man who was raised by wolves attempts to assimilate into human society. It will take time for FlacMan to learn that playing home playoff games is something natural and desirable to people, but until then all bets are off (NOTE: Never bet on wolfmen, unless of course you're talking basketball, a sport in which wolfmen and werewolves alike are dominant).
San Diego @ Detroit
I've never rooted for Philip Rivers, a statement that I'm proud to make. Unfortunately, I will no longer be able to say that after Saturday (yet another reason I'm pissed at the Raiders). It's a frightening proposition, but one that I embark on with great zeal and defiance. As for this game, get ready for some points ... You're just sitting there ... I said get ready asshole! Fine, forget it, but when this game turns into a shootout don't say I didn't warn you.
Philadelphia @ Dallas
Most folks were shocked to hear that the Eagles still had a shot to win the NFC East even though their record is only 6-8, which is odd, because you would think that the ceaseless media coverage of that division would keep the nation fully abreast of every possible playoff permutation within it. Yet here we are. I honestly have no idea what to make of this game because these teams have been so maddeningly inconsistent throughout the season. One thing's for sure, we should see some serious fireworks ... or not; see previous sentence.
San Francisco @ Seattle
Marshawn Lynch has scored 11 rushing touchdowns in his last 11 games. The 49ers have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season. Now we will see what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. That statement hasn't been used so accurately since this (3 things I love about this video: 1. Jack Tunney mentions that both wrestler's lawyers are present; shouldn't Warrior's legal council have advised him to not wear the face paint to that meeting? 2. The point-of-view shots; if they really wanted us to believe that this signing actually took place how the hell did they get those camera angles? 3. Hogan just saying, "Sign" after Warrior's nonsensical diatribe; he sounds more than a little fed up). Here's hoping that the CLink is fully stocked with Skittles, because Beast Mode wants to taste the rainbow. I wrote the preceding sentence solely to confuse a time-traveler that just got here from the start of the season.
Chicago @ Green Bay
I understand that the Bears feel they are giving themselves their best chance to win by starting Josh McCown, but have they thought about the ramifications of their decision? Now we have to hear Chris Berman make his hackneyed (and lame to begin with) "tears of McCown" joke. Thanks a pant-load Lovie Smith. It's possible that the Packers will already have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs wrapped up by Christmas (take that Berman) but I'm guessing that they won't lay down against Chicago. And even if we do see Matt Flynn get the start, that will still be good enough.
Atlanta @ New Orleans
Coming into this game Drew Brees is only about 300 yards away from breaking Dan Marino's single season record for passing yards. Dan, your thoughts? Yikes. Having a little trouble with the teleprompter Dan? Ok, but seriously we better wrap this up before Marino kills us all.