Oakland @ Tennessee
After starting the season 4-3 and tricking us all into believing they were good, or at least decent, the Raiders have dropped three straight. Congratulations, you fooled us, do you feel good about yourselves?!? You do, don't you? I see that smirk on your eye-patched face, don't think you can hide it. Oh, and I suppose those swords behind your head are supposed to be threatening? Ok, well granted, I don't have any swords of my own, so yes I'm a bit intimidated. Look, if I pick you to win this week will you agree to not physically harm me? Fine, I'll throw in a sack of pirate's booty to sweeten the pot.
Buffalo @ Kansas City
Talk about wild card implications! Go ahead, I'll wait. (Hours later) Wow, a lot of great points from everybody, including some fascinating stuff I hadn't even considered. Though, I thought we veered off course for a bit there. I never like to bring politics into it, and the death threats lobbed by some of you seemed way out of line. The Chiefs are on a roll of late, especially their defense which has given up less than 10ppg during their four game winning streak. I don't see Buffalo being able to do much better.
Tampa Bay @ Indianapolis
When does the Matthew Hasselbeck MVP talk start? Look I'm not crazy; I am in no way saying he should be the leading candidate, but he's certainly in the top 2. Surprisingly the Bucs come into this game with a 5-5 record and a legitimate chance to be a playoff team. Unfortunately for them they've just stumbled upon a bee's nest, and MH is the queen. I mean, he's not a queen ... not that I would think any less of him if he chose to dress in female clothing ... and no, I wouldn't even attempt to define what female clothing even is ... I, uh ... Taking Indy.
New York Giants @ Washington
Washington has a chance to pull even with the Giants atop the NFC East. Of course, to do that they'd have to win this game, and I don't know about you, but I don't think it's going to happen. Now that I said that, I guess I don't know much about you at all. What are your hobbies?
New Orleans @ Houston
As I'm sure you've heard, the Saints fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after consistently atrocious play from the D. While I don't have too much sympathy for Ryan, I do feel extremely sorry for whoever has to direct this game for Fox. What camera will he constantly cut to now that Rob Ryan's gigantic frame and flowing gray hair isn't available for a juicy reaction? The production crew will have to restructure 80% of their originally planned broadcast. Unless, of course, the Saints' new d coordinator is even more slovenly and hairy than his predecessor. So basically it will have to be ALF.
Minnesota @ Atlanta
These are currently both playoff teams in the NFC, but most likely not for long, for it seems that the Falcons are on borrowed time. Whom did they borrow this time from? We may never know. The point is that they're playing like garbage and after this week they play three straight losable games on the road. In fact, looking ahead I think it's very possible that they'll finish the season 7-9 after starting 5-0. If so, it will go down as one of the worst finishes to a season in NFL history. Almost as bad as that time the Lions started and finished 0-16.
St. Louis @ Cincinnati
A clearly concussed Case Keenum was allowed to stay in the game last Sunday further illustrating the lengths that the Rams will go to to keep Nick Foles off the field. It makes one wonder just how out of it Keenum would have had to look before Foles was sent in. I'm thinking they would have stopped just short of a Weekend at Bernie's scenario with two running backs holding him up and mimicking pre-snap hand motions. Neither quarterback option for St. Louis will make a difference this week, conscious or not.
San Diego @ Jacksonville
Chargers vs. Jaguars, is this a car race or a football game?!? It would be an interesting idea to hold a race between a Dodge Charger and a Jaguar on the field at halftime to really chew up the turf and make for some quirky divots and trenches that would provide added intrigue to the second half action. They probably won't do that though, so feel free to avoid watching this game.
Miami @ New York Jets
The Jets' season has really come off the rails in recent weeks. But coming off the rails isn't the worst thing for a jet, in fact, they really don't need rails at all. It's logic like this that leads me to pick New York in this one.
Arizona @ San Francisco
The 49ers have placed Colin Kaepernick on the IR with a torn labrum, but we all know he's really out for the season with a broken heart. All the poor guy wanted to do was inaccurately throw the football and be a douche, but you just couldn't let him do that could ya, Jed York?!? Shame on you! It wouldn't make much sense for San Francisco to win this game, as it appears they are in full blown draft positioning mode now. I mean, it wouldn't have made much sense if they'd won no matter what, but now it would be really strange.
Pittsburgh @ Seattle
Seahawks fans have been waiting since Super Bowl XL to get the Steelers in Seattle. And now, ten years later, after a Super Bowl triumph and greater heartbreak, the animosity has been considerably dampened. I wouldn't be opposed to the Hawks paying Hines Ward to lead Pittsburgh out of the tunnel waving a terrible towel and flashing his (insufferable) smile to rile the crowd into a pre-game frenzy. Then, in an unthinkable move, bring out Bill Leavy to raise the 12th man flag. Just as he's about to pull the rope, an out of nowhere Mack Strong block will send him flying off the Toyota platform, never to be seen again. After that the game would take care of itself.
New England @ Denver
And now it's time for a special holiday chat with NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth:
Festive stuff CriColl. As per uje, I'm inclined to agree with you. I think the Denver D will be good enough to carry them to the upset. Then again, Brock Osweiler may just turn in a horrendous performance that costs his team the game. Should be a lot of fun either way, right?
Baltimore @ Cleveland
Questions about Johnny Manziel's dedication to being the Browns' starting quarterback arose earlier this week when a video surfaced of Manziel partying, presumably during the team's bye week. Johnny's explanation/excuse? "Videos can be old." This all but guarantees that he was out partying within the last week. If that weren't the case he could have flatly denied that it happened. Saying that maybe the video is out of date is like being on trial for murder and saying, "I realize there were stains on my clothes, but who's to say that that was fresh blood?" In other words, what Johnny Manziel did was just as bad murder. In related news, Matt Schaub is now the Ravens' starting quarterback, which will most likely lead to a violent crime spike in Baltimore.