NFL Picks - Week 15
New York Giants @ Atlanta
You know what we've got here? My favorite alliterative late-season cliche: Possible. Playoff. Preview. We also have a definite playoff rematch. These two met in last year's Wild Card round with the Giants prevailing by the hilarious score of 24-2. Low scores with safeties involved make me happier than just about anything in this life, which you might find pretty sad; well I would agree, so screw off. The only thing that would have made that score funnier is if the Falcons had kicked a field goal to make it 5. Don't get me started on 5s, or we'll be here all day. Atlanta is coming off of what can only be described as a disappointing effort at Carolina, a game in which you could describe the Falcons effort as lackluster. Will that sub-par effort follow Atlanta into this game? I think not. They're playing at home, which means that after effing around for most of the day they'll probably find some way to pull it out in the end. That's the game plan at least.
Minnesota @ St. Louis
Here we have two teams firmly situated on the fringes of the playoff picture. The Vikings had an impressive victory over the Bears last week, but that was at home, and the Vikings are a much different team on the road. I have no respect for teams that play well at home but can't duplicate their performance on the road, none ... er uh oh, forget I said that. Adrian Peterson is clearly having a remarkable season, but when it comes right down to it I just can't trust Christian Ponder away from home, and what's more is I don't want to and I don't have to. Of course, this might have something to do with my trust issues, which is a problem I've been working on with Dr. Berg for months now. It's a slow process, but I think we're making progress; I just ask you all for your patience and understanding as I see this through.
Jacksonville @ Miami
It's time to settle this once and for all: Who's the best team in Florida? The answer is Tampa. But hey, we've got a nice little battle for 2nd place here. The Jaguars have been competitive lately, which is actually an improvement over their normal status of lousy. Chad Henne will be looking for revenge against his former team, while the rest of the country will say, "Oh, Henne played for the Dolphins? Ok, yeah, I think I remember that now." Unfortunately for Chad I don't think he'll get his vengeance this week, which actually might work better because, as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold. Cold like a frosty beer fresh from the tap at the Shack, where you can watch this game, on the corner screen. #CSATS.
Green Bay @ Chicago
The Bears' season is quickly slipping away from them, like a season slipping away from a football team. And while I may not know how similes work, I do know that Chicago is struggling, and a visit from the Packers at this point is about as bad as a pretty good team coming to town to play you in a football game. Green Bay hasn't been overly impressive in the last month or so, but they've won 7 of their last 8 and perhaps that's all that matters. It's just like famous Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything, it's perhaps the only thing."
Washington @ Cleveland
Ever since Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that he was already looking towards next season his team has won four straight. What a master motivator! If I were him I'd say I was looking towards retirement or even death and see just how well the Skins would do then. My guess is they'd start beating teams by 50 (just kidding, only super azz-kicker teams do that). But the key question in this game is not how much longer Mike Shanahan has to live, but rather who will start at quarterback for the Redskins. Everyone and their uncle is hoping it's not Kirk Cousins. But even if RG3 plays, he won't be the weapon he normally is. At best he'll be semi-automatic.
Denver @ Baltimore
The Ravens have now been beaten in consecutive weeks by Charlie Batch and Kirk Cousins. To put it another way, things ain't so good. And to put it even another, more proper way, things are not so good. To make matters worse, Baltimore has to face yet another quarterback who didn't make an NFL start last season. And to make matters even worser, that quarterback's name is Peyton Manning. A lot of folks say the jury's still out on Manning, but I'm willing to state for the record right here and now, Peyton Manning is not a draft bust. The Ravens are normally unbeatable at home, but like I said earlier, Charlie Batch did it, so it's clear things aren't normal right now.
Indianapolis @ Houston
It's hard to believe that this is the first time these teams are meeting this season. It's also stupid. Don't make me come after you again Howard Katz, I will if I have to. Because of this scheduling anomaly the Colts still have a realistic shot at winning the AFC South; all they have to do is win the two against Houston and beat the Chiefs in Kansas City in between. However, beating the Texans in Houston is easier said than done. For instance, I just said it, but I have not actually done it, so there's some proof for ya right there. The Texans may be a bit demoralized after a blowout loss to New England, but with a chance to clinch the division with a win I believe they'll come out inspired and get the job done. And if that's not enough inspiration for them they need to do no more than turn their TVs to HBO and watch War Horse, a movie about a horse that is above average pretty much across the board. There's this one part where the war horse jumps far; I know it gave me chills so I can only imagine what kind of fire it will light under this Houston team.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
It now appears that neither of these teams will make the playoffs, but hey, the Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans in February, so maybe this can be their own little Super Bowl! They can do a media day on Tuesday, wear special patches on their jerseys, and schedule an extra long halftime to accommodate a fantastic musical performance. It's short notice so the only musician they'll be able to book is Harry Connick, Jr.; but hey, it's not every week you're able to see the narrator of My Dog Skip belt out some tunes (I'm merely guessing here, there's a decent chance he actually does play at every Saints' halftime). All of this would provide the teams with the feeling of playing in the big game even if they won't be getting there this year. And wouldn't it just be a hoot to watch?
Seattle @ Buffalo
I'm willing to bet that the Bills coaching staff turned to Tarvaris Jackson this week to give them inside info on just how the Seahawks' offense operates. I'm also willing to bet that the Bills coaching staff will be shocked come Sunday when the Seattle O doesn't feature automatic check downs and ill-advised decisions late in the game
-"You lied to us T-Jack!"
-"Hey, that's what we did when I was there."
But enough of the petty, uncalled for digs at Turdvaris, he's moved on and so have the Hawks. In case you haven't heard, this game is being played in Toronto, which means that it will be attended by tens of thousands of drunk hosers, and dozens of sober hosers. It's tough to tell if the ongoing NHL lockout will make the crowd extra rowdy or cause them all to weep uncontrollably. So tune in to Fox on Sunday around 3pm to see a full-blown riot, or hear the sound of 60,000 people crying simultaneously. Either way it oughta be interesting!
Detroit @ Arizona
Oh boy, what's left to say about the Arizona Cardinals that hasn't already been said? You know things are going bad when your QB and center are botching their practice snaps on the sideline (something that actually happened last Sunday). At that point they should have just looked at each other, nodded their heads and walked back to the locker room, they probably would have lost by less. The visiting Lions are also on a losing streak, having dropped 5 straight to sink to 4-9, however, they're hovering on the edges of respectability with their largest margin of defeat being only 10 points. Detroit has a little something to play for as Calvin Johnson continues his quest for 2,000 yards receiving, while Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald approaches 2,000 potential yards in incomplete passes that were intended for him. Both are truly astonishing feats that we should take a moment to celebrate ... like right now. I was referring to this particular moment.
Carolina @ San Diego
The Panthers and the Chargers are both coming off upset victories in Week 14, which came just in time to hurt their draft position. Just give up already! There's nothing left for you in this season! Go on, get out of here! As I watch both teams slink away with their heads down and their proverbial tails between their legs I get the sense that I may have been too hard on them, but I know it was necessary, they're going to a better place now.
Pittsburgh @ Dallas
This classical match-up figures to attract even the most casual football fan. And while watching he'll probably make insufferable comments like, "This is one of the only games I watch every year" even though the last time the Steelers and Cowboys played was 2008. Or maybe, "Is this the Super Bowl?" I mean, I could understand if he were watching the Tampa/New Orleans game, for obvious reasons, but c'mon man, get your head out of it. Hopefully you avoid the company of such a dolt this Sunday, but if you're forced to endure his presence just kick his ass. Violence solves most things.
Kansas City @ Oakland
Oh, really funny guys, what is this one of those goof games? No? They're actually going through with this? Well if there's one thing you can say about this game it's that the loser has a good shot at the 1st pick in the draft. If there's a second thing you can say about this game it's BAAAAARRRRRFFF!
San Francisco @ New England
Tom Brady has the Patriots' offense rollin'. I'm not sure anybody could shut him down at this point, but could someone slow him down? Possibly. Could it be an NFC West team? Quite possibly. Tom Brady has thrown 4 interceptions all season, 3 of those came against teams from the NFC West. The Patriots have had 3 losses all season, 2 of those came against teams from the NFC West. The team that Tom Brady and the Patriots will face on Sunday night is from the NFC West. Of course, the 49ers defense isn't quite up to the standard of the Seahawks or Cardinals, but they're pretty solid in their own right, and New England's patchy record against their division this year suggests that this will be a close one. The aforementioned losses came in the first 6 weeks of the season, however, and since then The Patriots have won 7 in a row, averaging just over 40 points per game in the process. In other words it's hard to pick against them right now, so I won't.
New York Jets @ Tennessee
The Jets made a large step towards the playoffs last week and they are now only one game out. This shouldn't be reality, but it is, and I don't blame the Jets, I blame us. If a team like this has a chance to make the playoffs it's time that we all take a long look in the mirror and try to figure out what we're really doing here, and what's really important. We can do better than this, we can be better; I'm gonna keep trying if you guys keep trying.