Chicago @ Detroit
The Lions are 7-6 and only a game behind Atlanta for the last wild card spot in the NFC. This means there’s a very real chance Detroit could end up missing the playoffs due to Golden Tate falling about six inches short of a touchdown against the Falcons in Week 3. That would be pretty harsh, even for Detroit. Of course, they could ease the potential pain this would cause their fan base by just losing out so they don't have to sweat it. That will be difficult considering they’re playing the Bears this week.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City
After a pair of wins from these teams last week we’re presented with a pivotal AFC West match-up. Probably the most pivotal of all AFC West games this season. In fact, it’s so pivotal that Hakeem Olajuwon and David Schwimmer will be performing the opening coin toss. A win for the Chiefs gives them a commanding one game lead/tie-breaker which would nearly sew up a division that they seemingly had sewn up in October. But Philip Rivers is ready to tear this whole thing apart at the seams as if it were a conventional necktie (which he has no use for). I think the Chargers continue their shocking ascension to the top of the division ... or get all the way to this point just to blow it. But c’mon would that really happen to the Chargers? Starting to question my pick.
Houston @ Jacksonville
Last week Texans quarterback Tom Savage was allowed to re-enter the game after he sustained a hit that left him twitching on the ground. Obviously this is a gross violation of the league’s concussion protocol. Or is it? It seems like teams just kind of operate however they want, so it’s hard to know what the protocol actually is. Or maybe the independent doctors are having trouble enforcing the tests on giant football players who are much tougher and more athletic than them. This is why every independent doctor should come with a bodyguard, or a stripper, to help convince these players. Regardless of the brain condition of Houston’s starting quarterback they’ll most likely lose.
Baltimore @ Cleveland
Last week I picked the Browns to win their first game of the season and for over three quarters I felt pretty smart. Of course they wound up blowing a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter and losing in overtime, at which point I felt not so smart. It’s common knowledge that Cleveland is now 1-28 over the last two seasons, but apparently it’s worth reiterating, because I picked the Browns last week! Oh god I’m a MORON! Fool me once shame on me. I know that’s not how the saying normally goes, but it is when you’re dealing with the Browns. Any time you let them fool you you’re to blame.
Green Bay @ Carolina
Aaron Rodgers is returning to the field for the 7-6 Packers who can still make the playoffs if they ... Hold it; what the fuck did Cam Newton wear now? Good god. He looks like a medicine man from some mysterious apothecary shop in Chinatown. Just when you think he can’t look any stupider he takes it one stop further. At this point I’m almost impressed. It’s a type of impression that carries with it zero respect, but hey that’s still something. I do respect the fact the Panthers beat the Vikings last week, and that this is a tough spot for Rodgers’ first game back. But look at this guy, I’m sorry, I can’t do it.
Miami @ Buffalo
Last Sunday the Bills played in what was perhaps the most entertaining game of the season. Not because of the product on the field, but the precipitation on the field. As fascinating as it was, it was also nearly unwatchable. But for literal reasons; the strong winds and hefty flakes made for a near whiteout early on, which is appropriate for a game that I thought might be unwatchable for other reasons going in. It was such a wacky scene that I’ll legitimately be upset if there isn’t a repeat this week. I can’t get enough snow baby ... it’s like I’m hooked on it ... I gotta have that snow mamma! GIVE ME THE SNOW! Ok I think I’m gonna need a minute.
Cincinnati @ Minnesota
I finally broke down, bought in, and picked the Vikings to win last week. They promptly lost. Actually they mounted a late rally to tie the game before it slipped away due to a long Cam Newton run. Even though they jilted me I’m not ready to give up on Minnesota, especially since they’re playing the Bengals this week. This is a Cincinnati team who just suffered a blowout defeat at home to the Bears that effectively ended their playoff hopes. Can you imagine being a Cincy fan and sitting through that game? Is there a worse possible audience experience? I can’t think of one.
Arizona @ Washington
According to the playoff picture graphic we all see ad nauseam during this part of the season the Cardinals are still “in the hunt” at 6-7. But let’s be honest, they’re about as in the hunt as Roy Moore is. It ain’t happening. Just to be clear I was talking about Moore’s delusional idea that he still has a chance to win his senate election; if we’re talking about other aspects of his life I’m sure he legitimately is still in the hunt. Speaking of wins for Washington, one in this game would result in both teams being 6-8 and officially out of playoff contention. It’s a mutually assured destruction that easily frazzled standings-watchers will surely appreciate.
Philadelphia @ New York Giants
The Eagles suffered a devastating loss last Sunday when Carson Wentz tore his ACL in a win over the Rams. As a result Nick Foles has been thrust back into action as the Philly starter for the first time since 2014. Eli Manning was in a similar situation last week when he made his first start as the Giants quarterback since Week 12 of the 2017 season. It can be an awkward position to reestablish yourself with a fan base and pick up where you left off, but Eli didn’t miss a beat, leading New York to a 30-10 loss to the Cowboys. Come to think of it this could be a soft landing spot for Foles. I think Philadelphia manages to get the win with their new QB1.
New York Jets @ New Orleans
With Jets QB Josh McCown out for the year and Bryce Petty stepping into the starting job the opening line for this game ballooned to 17 points. That’s huge for a Jets team that been mostly competitive until last week. It made me wonder, is Bryce Petty really that bad? Then I checked Petty’s stats and discovered that yes, he really is that bad. In other Jets news Jeremy Kerley returned from a 4 game HGH suspension with an interesting theory on how his test came back positive, saying that “There’s a lot of ghosts around here. Ghost put it in there.” As far excuses go, I love this one. In fact, I think the Jets should start using it as a wholesale explanation for any poor performance by the team. It’s like a bizarro Angels in the Outfield scenario. How did they get shut out and put up only 100 yards last week against a Denver team that had lost 8 straight? Ghosts. Why won’t they beat the spread this week? Ghosts. Who might be a better option at QB than Bryce Petty? Ghosts.
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle
After crunching some numbers on the playoff machine I’ve discovered that the Seahawks really need to win this game. Yes, that may be an obvious statement because it would give them a real shot at winning the NFC West, but also a loss means the best record they can achieve is 10-6, and based on tie-breakers and the other teams that figure to finish with the same record or better, that most likely won’t be good enough. Sometimes in the NFL games come down to who needs it more, and that’s what I think will happen here ... especially if Bobby Wagner plays.
Tennessee @ San Francisco
The Titans rolled into Arizona last week at 8-4 and in first place in the AFC South. They left with an embarrassing 12-7 loss and a legitimate possibility of losing out and missing the playoffs. And what makes their lose-out potential so high? Well for starters they have to square off against the hottest team in the league this week. You may think I’m being facetious, and I guess I am, but think about this, the 49ers have won 3 of their last 4 after starting off the year 0-9. They’ve improved their total win percentage by .231 over that span. So in a relative sense it’s hard to get hotter than that, like watching scrambled PPV porn after a lifetime of Sears catalogs. I think San Fran finds an illegal cable box this week and gets even hotter.
New England @ Pittsburgh
The Steelers have a golden opportunity here to go up two games on the field in the AFC with a win. They’ll be facing a Patriots team coming off of a lackluster performance in a loss to the Dolphins. Upon first blush that might seem like an opportune moment to catch New England, but I think it’s quite the opposite. If there’s any game that the Patriots will be even more focused than they normally are it will be following a loss. And how does Tom Brady in particular get himself to this higher level? Like this. That’s a frightening proposition on multiple levels. I like the Pats in this one. Just to be clear, I don’t like the Pats, I just think they’ll win.
Dallas @ Oakland
Both teams come into this game needing a win to keep their playoff chances alive. We’ll find out who’s able to do just that on Sunday night when Cris Collinsworth is in the booth to call this contest. CriColl, what do you have for us?
Stay safe Cris!
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, Ryan Fitzpatrick gives the Buccaneers a better chance to win than Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick went 2-1 as the starter, meaning Tampa is 2-8 in games he didn’t start. And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Fitz fill-in and out-perform the starter. It’s the perfect role for him. The real problem comes when a team names him the full-time starter heading into a season and/or actually invests money him. Then it’s a disaster waiting to happen. And this is, of course, because Ryan Fitzpatrick is afraid of commitment. Sure he’s a great boyfriend, and you can have a lot of fun with him, but the minute you start talking about moving in together or, God forbid, marriage he clams up. Bottom line, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not husband material. But for the last couple games of this season Tampa doesn’t need a husband, they just need a fun little fling to send them home happy for the offseason. Unfortunately they’re still married to a psycho.