My picks have been very uneven the last couple of weeks. I'd blame myself, but that would just be ridiculous.
Carolina @ New Orleans
The Panthers have been hot down the stretch, meaning that they will most likely be a trendy pick to get to the playoffs next season. Well, I'll do you one better, I think they'll make the playoffs THIS year! What's that? Impossible? That's weird, I was under the assumption that a 7-9 record automatically gets a team in the playoffs. Fine, I'll just go with the safe pick then.
Buffalo @ New England
The Patriots need a win to clinch the #1 seed in the AFC, while a win for the Bills would put them in play for the #10 seed. In case you're wondering, no, the NFL has not expanded the playoffs to 10 teams per conference, but hey 10 is better than 11; unless, of course, you're talking about draft positioning, in which case it is much worse. Due to the motivation factor I'll take New England
Chicago @ Minnesota
The Bears are kicking themselves that they waited so long to make the switch at quarterback from Caleb Hanie to Josh McCown. They should also be kicking themselves that they've waited so long to reveal that they can kick themselves. A bear kicking itself is a huge draw at circuses around the globe.
New York Jets @ Miami
The Jets' consecutive losses have left them with little to no chance of making the playoffs. But don't tell this group of dreamers that they can't lose in the AFC Championship for a third straight year! Unfortunately for them, they're going up against the Miami Dolphins, a team that loves nothing more than crushing people's dreams.
San Francisco @ St. Louis
The 49ers have a chance at a first round bye with a win in this game. Luckily for them, they have a bye this week as well. I know that that is the second time I've made the joke that playing the Rams is like a bye week, but c'mon, they just lost 27-0 to a team that started Charlie Batch at quarterback; I'd give these guys credit if they did anything to deserve it. Coincidentally that was the same motto when I went to film school.
Detroit @ Green Bay
The Packers have a chance to be only the fourth team in the last 25 years to finish 15-1 or better. Obviously that would be something a team would strive for, however, none of the last three teams to do it have won the Super Bowl ('98 Vikings, '04 Steelers, '07 Patriots). So, should the Packers really want to win this game? From the looks of it the answer is no, because they will most likely rest their key starters.
Washington @ Philadelphia
So the Eagles late charge to win the NFC East and salvage a respectable season has fallen short. DeSean Jackson must be pissed that he was convinced to try for the last three weeks. But was it all for naught? Yes, as I just explained they cannot make the playoffs and they greatly underachieved. You need to start paying attention asshole.
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville
A win for the Colts would be their third straight to close out the season and seriously jeopardize their chances for the first pick in the draft. This approach to end of the season by Indianapolis is both admirable and foolish. They're like the Ulysses of the NFL (there it is, my weekly Greek mythology reference; a fun task for dedicated readers would be to go back and find the other 16 throughout the season, but beware, they are not nearly as overt).
Tennessee @ Houston
Lat week the Titans game finished with a score of 23-17 yet again. That makes 4 out of their last 6 that have finished with that score. The other two during that stretch ended up 22-17 and 27-13. The only explanation here is that someone is just writing Tennessee's season and they've gotten very lazy in terms of the scores. I mean, even 27-13 has all the same numbers. If the chips fall correctly we could see this same match-up next week in the first round of the playoffs, and if the Titans are involved I think we know what the score will be thanks to their season's unimaginative author.
Seattle @ Arizona
Last week seemed to be an accurate summation of the Hawks' season. Flashes of hope, solid defense for most of it, a stretch where the team seemed dead in the water only to come back to life, and Skittles. All things considered I've had a fun time watching the Hawks this year and I'm proud of the way they played in the second half of the season. They easily could have rolled over and died after starting 2-6 but they did the opposite, which I guess would look something like this. So in the end, does it really matter if they get the win this week in Arizona? Fuck yes. Let's get to .500!!!
Kansas City @ Denver
What has happened to Tebow? Is it possible that he doesn't have the magic anymore? I don't think so. It's more likely that he's just testing our faith before the greatest trial of all, the playoffs. Well I still believe Tim. But seriously, you might want to win this game otherwise the playoffs aren't necessarily a lock ... Oop, there I go again, not trusting Him. Teebs, you do what you have to do.
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
The Bucs are on the verge of finishing the season on a 10 game losing streak after starting out 4-2. I'm not sure if that's ever been done before, and frankly I don't have the time to go looking something like that up, but it sure seems like an anomaly eh? So when it comes to picking this game, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And if it is broke (which it is in this case) then don't even try to fix it, it will just be embarrassing for everyone involved.
Baltimore @ Cincinnati
This game will be Cincinnati's 2nd sellout of the season. Perhaps the Bengals should take a dive just to teach their fans a lesson. Of course, that may backfire on them considering that the fans weren't interested in the regular season games, meaning that postseason action would probably be something of a chore for the people of Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland
My Wacky Pick of the Week is that the Browns win. Not wacky enough for you? Look, I'm tired, so damn tired. I can't always just drum up something so wacky at the drop of a hat like I'm Willy fucking Wonka or something.
San Diego @ Oakland
Now that the Chargers are officially out of the playoffs look for them to be about as enthusiastic as this guy. Meanwhile, the Raiders will still be trying for the win and a playoff berth, but if my earlier pick is any indication (and it usually is) their effort will be pointless.
Dallas @ New York Giants
The Cowboys have been the worst Sunday Night team all year. And by that I don't mean that they are the worst team to play in a Sunday Night game (Colts, twice), I mean they have the worst record in Sunday Night games, at 0-3. That's the worst season on NBC since The Cape. If this Sunday Night match-up feels like deja vu it's because we saw these two play on a Sunday Night just three weeks ago. And if me saying Sunday Night feels like deja vu it's because I've now typed it six times in this paragraph. Will the result be the same as the last meeting? Hard to tell. You know what they say about trying to predict Sunday Night games: Sunday Night is Sunday Night.