NFL Picks - Week 17

Sunday Morning

Miami @ Buffalo
Over the past couple months as the standings started to shake out and it was clear that some teams would offer no viewing value, be it in terms of entertainment or relevancy, I made jokes about how unnecessary it would be to tune in to certain games. Now, in the last week of the season, the need to watch many of these games had reached its nadir. There are no postseason implications, no fantasy implications, no familial implications (meaning even the players’ wives, parents, and/or children don’t need to see these). This match-up certainly falls into that category. I assume the game will be a sell-out, because Bills fans are maniacs and the only reason they’d miss a game is because they got knocked out in the parking lot on a botched flaming table spot, but outside of a select group of folks in western New York there won’t be a lot of eyes on this one. I’ll bet Buffalo win, because at this point they’re used to having nothing to play for.

Bills 23-16

Detroit @ Green Bay
The Packers have reportedly interviewed Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano in regards to their head coaching vacancy. So in other words, Green Bay is hoping to avoid the playoffs at all costs for the foreseeable future. Look, I’m not saying that those are uninspired choices, I’m saying that they’re lame, foolish, and uninspired choices. However, if the goal is to get Aaron Rodgers to retire then these coaching possibilities make a lot of sense. And to be fair, the Packers let their fans own the team, so it’s no wonder that this coaching search has gotten off to a bit of a scatter shot start. As far as I can tell any of the fan owners can simply call up and suggest a coaching candidate, at which point the GM must schedule an interview. It’s taxing and a waste of time, but it’s so cool to be able to say the fans own the team! 

Packers 31-17 

New York Jets @ New England 
Surprise! New England is back in line for a first round bye. It’s like death, we all know it’s coming, but that doesn’t make it less lame. The Patriots will surely win this game and enjoy next week at home sacrificing babies, or whatever it is they do for fun. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the fans in New England should be comfortable with the state of their team. The Patriots have been anything but impressive lately, and a potential second round match-up with the Texans, Ravens, Chargers, or Colts could present serious problems for Brady and Belichick ... and Edelman, and Gronkowski, and McDaniels, and ... sorry I was going to list the entirety of the roster and coaching staff, but you get the idea, right? In summation, rest easy New England, for now. 

Patriots 27-18 

Carolina @ New Orleans
The Saints have clinched the top spot in the NFC playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. On the other occasion, in 2009, the Saints went to the Super Bowl, so this bodes well for New Orleans. As a result of their confirmed status they now have the option to rest starters if they so choose. I, for one, believe they should at least sit Drew Brees, seeing as how their backup QB Teddy Bridgewater is still much better than Kyle Allen, who will be taking snaps for Carolina. Allen is starting in place of the Panthers' original Cam Newton replacement Taylor Heinicke, who was hurt during last week’s loss to the Falcons but returned to the game despite the fact that Allen looked better in his short appearance in fill-in duty. Perhaps the refusal to stick with Allen was just stubbornness. It’s like someone insisting upon only drinking Bud light over Coors or Miller. Look pal, they all suck, why are you so preoccupied with one over the other? Like I said though, neither one will be good enough to get a win here, even over a depleted New Orleans roster. 

Saints 23-17 

Dallas @ New York Giants
The Cowboys have no reason to start anybody in this game. Ok, well of course they’ll have to put at least 11 players on the field at a time, but that’s not my point. And actually saying at least 11 players is misleading and downright incorrect. 11 is the maximum amount of players they can put on the field. They can’t just trot 14 people out there and see what happens. Anyway, what was my point? Oh right, Dallas should not risk injuring any of their stars (meaning the players, not the logos) in this inconsequential game. That being said, Sean Lee hasn’t played much lately, likely making him a bit rusty and in need of plenty of reps to get prepped for the playoffs. And with Lee, Dallas doesn’t have to worry about an unnecessary injury because the guy’s an iron man on the level of a Gehrig, or a Ripken, or an Oden. I say throw him in there and let him get his hands dirty. What’s the worst that could happen?

Giants 24-9

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay 
Two seasons ago the Falcons were on the verge of a Super Bowl title. Last season they were on the verge of making it to the NFC title game. Now they’re on the verge of a cliff, and they’re about to fall off. Just hang on Atlanta, we have a helicopter in the form of a new season coming to rescue you. Um, ok we just talked to the pilot and it turns out he’s not going to be here until next September ... Sorry ... Can you wait until then? We’ll bring you some food in the meantime, what do you guys like? Uh huh; well we have Slim Jims, and store brand cola, so that will have to do for now. But we haven’t forgotten about you buds! Just hang in there! Literally! Haha ... Yes, I understand that that’s not very funny in this moment, I apologize. I mean, I think we’ll all laugh about it later, but yes, I should have read the room.

Buccaneers 30-27 

Jacksonville @ Houston 
A few weeks ago I theorized that we had seen Blake Bortles’ last start as a Jacksonville Jaguar. It now appears I was wrong. Gloriously, magnificently wrong. With Cody Kessler’s injury last week, all signs point to Bortles returning to the QB1 slot for one last hurrah. What should we expect from this beautiful boy in his grand finale? Six picks? Possibly. Five TDs? Probably not, but perhaps. A lackluster 220 yard, 1TD, 1 INT performance? No! I refuse to accept that. Something amazing or disastrous or amazingly disastrous must happen this Sunday, and I will accept nothing less. 

Texans 26-10 

Sunday Afternoon

Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver
The AFC playoff picture is like jell-o in a broken fridge, far from solidified. While four teams have clinched a spot, no one is currently locked into a seed. For instance, the Chargers could still end up as the #1 seed or remain in the fifth spot and start their playoff run next week on the road. So, as you can see the situation is a lot like jell-o in a working refrigerator, there’s still a whole lot of movement possible. 

Chargers 31-13 

Oakland @ Kansas City 
The only way for the Chargers to snare that top spot in the AFC, as discussed above, is for the Chiefs to fall at home to the Raiders. Yes, Kansas City has lost two straight, but losing here to Oakland is nearly inconceivable. Then again, when these teams met four weeks ago the Chiefs only won by 7, so perhaps it’s not as inconceivable as I first thought. Then again ... again, Patrick Mahomes can set an NFL single season record for passing TDs in a season if he throws for 8 scores in this game, which could mean that there’s even more incentive for the Chiefs to win in a blow out. Then again ... again ... again, 8 passing TDs in one game would be an NFL record in its own right, so maybe that’s not very realistic. Then again ... again ... again ... again, the Raiders did give up 7 TDs to Nick Foles back in 2013, which is almost a precedent, so who who knows? Then again ... again ... again ... again ... again, none of the Raiders who played defense in that game are still on the team, so that 2013 contest is probably irrelevant. Then again ... again ... again ... again ... again ... again ...

Chiefs 35-20 

San Francisco @ Los Angeles Rams
Over the past seven games, since Nick Mullens was made the 49ers starter, here’s how he compares with Jared Goff:
Mullens - 1,995 yds 10 TDs/7 Ints
Goff - 2,064 yds 11 TDs/7 Ints
So does that mean Nick Mullens has been playing well or that Jared Goff has not been great? Probably both. But when you look at Goff’s most recent four games, he’s thrown just 2 TDs and 6 Ints. Now those are first rate lousy numbers, and I imagine not encouraging for the Rams or their fans. But Angelinos can take solace in the fact that they have C.J. Anderson, who is averaging 167 yards rushing per game with the Rams. Granted, he’s only played one game with LA so far, and Todd Gurley figures to be fully ready to go for the playoffs, if not this Sunday, but at this point the Rams have to find silver linings where they can, because their season is completely coming off the rails. Anyway, I’ll think they’ll win here to finish this disaster at 13-3.

Rams 27-17

Chicago @ Minnesota 
If the Vikings win this game they’ll be in the playoffs and likely play the Bears again next week in Chicago. That begs the following questions: do the Bears unfurl a full game plan on Sunday, or do they hold their cards closer to the vest in case of a rematch? Also, would the Bears prefer to play the Vikings over the Eagles and, to that end, rest their starters here to aid in a Minnesota victory? Furthermore, what’s that smell? If it was you just say something, because I'm starting to assume you’re lying and I’m losing respect for you. In response to the first two queries, I would assume that Chicago goes for the win at least in the beginning of the game because they still have an outside shot at getting the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye. But if the Rams are pulling away from San Francisco the Bears may call off the ... bears and, in effect, escort the Vikings into the playoffs. So in other words there will be a lot of moving parts in addition to the normal ones, i.e. the players’ arms and legs.

Vikings 23-13 

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh 
The Steelers are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013 and they have no one to blame but themselves. Well, themselves and all the teams that have beaten them. Kind of a jerk move by those guys. I mean what the heck, Pittsburgh was just trying to go undefeated, why did everybody feel it necessary to get in their way? Lame. But the Steelers can’t worry about that now, their sole focus needs to be on the Bengals. Well actually they can probably afford to keep one eye on Cincy and the other on the scoreboard to monitor that Browns/Ravens game where they need a Cleveland win to help get them into the postseason. Will they get the assistance they require? Pittsburgh will have to wait until Sunday to find out. Or if they’re readers they can just skip ahead a couple of games and find out.

Steelers 30-19 

Arizona @ Seattle 
The Cardinals are one loss away from securing the number 1 pick in the 2019 draft. It seems obvious that they should take a loss here to secure that spot; I mean what reason could they possibly have to want to win? Oh I don’t know, how about saving Steve Wilks’ job?!? The Cards’ first year head coach is fighting for his professional life, and a fourth win could really push him over the ... actually, he’s probably screwed either way, so he might as well go out with a bang. I’m talking no punts, no extra point attempts. Of course, they may turn the ball over on every possession and not score any TDs, so those two might take care of themselves. Or Wilks could go the other way and remain completely silent and motionless for the entirety of the game. You think you can do this without me? Let’s see you try! Though that could completely backfire if Arizona ends up winning. I guess what we’ve learned here is that this is a no-win scenario for Steve Wilks, and that he’s probably better off just returning to hosting duties on his talk show. Wait that’s a different guy? Yikes, he’s really screwed then.

Seahawks 34-14 

Philadelphia @ Washington 
The Eagles’ Super Bowl title defense that seemed dead in the water for much of the season, and as recently as two weeks ago, has made it to Week 17 with its heart still beating. Sure they’re going to need a blood transfusion from Chicago to keep it pumping after Sunday, but if we’ve learned one thing from these Eagles over the last two seasons it’s that you should never count them out. If we’ve learned a second thing from them it’s that you should almost always go for it on fourth down. And if we’ve learned a third thing it’s that you can go your own way. Oh wait, I was thinking of the band Eagles, not the football team. And actually, “Go Your Own Way” is a Fleetwood Mac song, so really that last piece of information is completely irrelevant. Still, this team has taught us two things; pretty good, right?

Eagles 22-16 

Cleveland @ Baltimore 
Baker Mayfield seems to really enjoy pissing people off. So there’s likely nothing he’d enjoy more than knocking Baltimore out of the playoffs. Then again, his distaste for the Steelers is probably greater than it is for the Ravens, and if he lost in Baltimore he’d really ruffle Pittsburgh’s feathers. So actually it’s a win-win situation for Mayfield, either way someone’s going to hate him. The Browns have won five of their last six, however none of those were against a team above .500. In fact, their only win over such a team all season is their Week 5 W over these Ravens. On second thought though, these Ravens aren’t those Ravens. Meaning with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and homefield advantage Baltimore should prevail this week and win the AFC North as a result. In the postgame press conference look for Mayfield to really stick it to Pittsburgh by talking about how stupid it is to put fries on a sandwich (his words, not mine). 

Ravens 23-20 

Sunday Night

Indianapolis @ Tennessee 
In what amounts to a play-in game, the Colts take on the Titans with a wild card, and possibly even a division title, at stake. Who's in and who's out? Let's ask the man who will be there to call the action, Cris Collinsworth:
Hey, he actually made a pick! Who am I to disagree?

Colts 28-23



NFL Picks - Week 16


Washington @ Tennessee 
Washington ended their four game losing streak last week and announced to the NFL that they are NOT out of the playoff race yet. To which the rest of the league replied, “Huh? What are you doing here? How did you get in my house? I’m calling the police.” Washington vacated the premises, but they’re not ready to do the same when it comes to the 2018 season just yet. Though this matchup against the Titans is looking less favorable by the week, with Tennessee running back Derrick Henry steamrolling defenses and uh, well I’m not really sure they have anything else going on at the moment, but maybe that’s enough. I’m guessing it will be this week. And after the game Washington will announce to the rest of the league, “We’re still not completely out of this, as long as we catch a couple breaks on Sunday. Now may we please use your bathroom?”

Titans 23-13 

Baltimore @ Los Angeles Chargers
This is a match-up between the two teams currently holding the AFC wild cards. If you ask me two wild cards in one game is too many. It’s like 5s and 6s? Uh ok, I have five of a kind ... and a full house. It’s just too ridiculous. In that vein, look for this game to be all kinds of nuts with both teams going all in on the first play and then one of them having to buy back in so that they can actually fill four quarters of action as mandated by league bylaws. Also the pizza hasn’t even arrived yet, so they should really keep playing. 

Chargers 24-19 

Sunday Morning

Cincinnati @ Cleveland 
There is still a path for the Browns to get to the playoffs. It is a winding path that still needs a lot of bushwhacking to make it navigable, but it can happen. Here’s the scenario: Washington beats Tennessee (it could happen), the Ravens lose to the Chargers (very possible), the Browns beat the Bengals here (likely), the Colts lose to the Giants (you never know with New York); then next week the Browns win in Baltimore (not impossible) and the Colts and Titans tie (uh oh). Ok, so any scenario that relies on a tie is precarious at best, but we’re talking about the Browns making the playoffs here, it’s a minor miracle that they’re this close so perhaps we shouldn’t rule out the seemingly impossible. Probably the easiest box to tick off on that checklist is Cleveland beating Cincinnati, and that’s exactly what will happen here. Or the Browns will spectacularly fall on their faces and we’ll all have a good laugh. 

Browns 31-17 

Tampa Bay @ Dallas
The Cowboys are on fire! You do not want any part of them in the playoffs. They’ve won five in a row, they have a stranglehold on the NFC East, aaaand I’ll be honest I didn’t catch their last game. Let me just check what happened ... Zero points?!? They didn’t score a point against the Colts. How did that happen? Alright, so perhaps we all got a little carried away on anointing Dallas as the most threatening team heading into the playoffs. Or perhaps not ... What’s more threatening than an opponent you think you’ve got beat? An asteroid heading directly for earth of course. I think that’s unequivocally more threatening. Didn’t you see Armageddon? Deep Impact? Anyway, if we’re talking in terms of football these Cowboys should still be considered highly dangerous and handled with care. In other words, whoever plays them in the playoffs should focus on beating them.

Cowboys 27-20 

Minnesota @ Detroit 
For the Vikings these next two weeks are simple, win both games and you’re in the playoffs. For the Lions the goal is perhaps even simpler, wreak havoc. Yes, Detroit is merely here to play spoiler this week, and if I were them I would attempt to take it to the next level. I wouldn’t just spoil the Vikings’ season I would spoil countless movies in the process. The audibles would be switched from “Omahas” and the like to “Bruce Willis is a ghost!” or “Spacey is Soze!” or “Spacey is a rapist!” That last one’s less of a movie spoiler and more of a news spoiler. Of course the Minnesota players would be freaking out and trying to plug their ears, they’d be in total disarray. That would allow Matt Stafford to slice and dice the Vikings’ D just like Billy and Stu in Scream. Spoiler alert!

Vikings 20-17 

New York Giants @ Indianapolis 
It’s possible for the Colts to finish 10-6 and miss the playoffs. That hasn’t happened to a team since 2015 when the Jets got squeezed out. Indy shouldn’t fret though, because those Jets used that near miss as a springboard to subsequent records of 5-11, 5-11, and now 4-10. Uh oh. Ok, so the Colts need to make the playoffs by any means necessary. I’m guessing they’ll send an operative to San Diego to poison the Ravens at their team hotel in an effort to ensure they lose to the Chargers. Nice try Colts! The Ravens aren’t staying in San Diego, they’re playing in Los Angeles you morons! Your franchise is doomed. 

Colts 28-17 

Jacksonville @ Miami
It’s a good ol’ fashioned Florida fracas! And since the three teams from the state all play on different divisions residents from the panhandle to the southern tip will be coming out in full force to have a look-see at this one. Of course this game will have the trappings of any intra-Floridian contest: a smattering of live gators allowed to roam the grass at their leisure, a ban on shirts for all males in attendance, and a concurrent NASCAR race with its track surrounding the field. And, as per usual, the winning team will be granted season passes to Busch Gardens. So crack a tall boy, grab a seat on the couch in your front lawn, and enjoy this showcase of America’s finest state.

Dolphins 26-14 

Buffalo @ New England 
This is it, the Patriots are finally through. They’re third in the AFC at 9-5, have lost back to back games, and are sputtering toward the postseason. This of course means they’ll win their last two and fall into the #2 seed at worst. Then the top team in the AFC will lose in the second round giving New England a home game for the conference championship, which they’ll undoubtedly win to move on to another Super Bowl. So yeah, nothing has changed here. 

Patriots 30-16 

Green Bay @ New York Jets 
The Packers are officially out of playoff contention. Perhaps they R-E-L-A-Xed too much. Now there’s speculation that Aaron Rodgers will be shut down for the remainder of the season. I for one happen to know that he will play, because there’s nothing that Rodgers enjoys more than playing through the pain and exaggerating how much it’s affecting him. 

Packers 23-20 

Houston @ Philadelphia 
The Eagles are back! And after beating the Rams in LA they’ve proven that they can go toe to toe with anybody in the playoffs. The only problem is that  they still need quite a bit of help to actually qualify for the postseason. But good luck telling Nick Foles he can’t do something. People have been trying that his whole life, and he used to listen to them. But after Super Bowl LII, no one can tell him what he can’t do. As a result Foles has committed a staggering number of crimes over the past  ten months. Most of them are petty thefts or involve unpaid restaurant bills, but I happen to know that he also drove a Ferrari off the lot and never came back. That trial is pending, but another trial awaits on Sunday. In this one he’ll be found guilty, of losing. 

Texans 26-23 

Atlanta @ Carolina 
A lot of people are criticizing Cam Newton for wasting 10 seconds celebrating a first down at the end of the first half in the Panthers loss to the Saints last Monday night. But I think everyone should lay off Cam, I’m sure he knows he did something stupid and that he’ll learn from it and grow as a person. I mean c’mon, this guy has a good head on his injured shoulders, he’s not just going to carry on celebrating like a moron while his team continues upon a devastating 8 game losing streak to finish the season. That’s not going to happen. Or at least all signs point to it not. Of course, that's because he’s not playing for the remainder of the season. Easy fix!

Falcons 27-15 

Sunday Afternoon 

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona 
The Rams have to be glad to not be playing during prime time this week. They’ve lost consecutive Sunday night games and have to feel like the whole country is laughing at them. “Shut up! We’re actually good, we swear! No that’s not pee on our pants, it’s sweat! We’ve been playing a football game, that’s natural!” The rest of the nation likely rolled their eyes at this and continued to snicker. Unfortunately for Los Angeles the viewership on their game this week will be considerably lower, meaning they’ll just have to tell everyone that they blew out the Cardinals. Good luck convincing this skeptical country full of cynical bastards. We’ll believe it when we see it pals! And no, we won't be tuning in on Sunday! Nice try.

Rams 31-20 

Chicago @ San Francisco 
The 49ers gave played themselves out of the first pick of the draft. They have the heart of a champion but the brain of child, and not a particularly bright one. If they were smart they would’ve forfeited last week’s game once they got to overtime and proved they could be competitive. But alas, their pride got the better of them. Now though, a pride of Bears comes roaring into the Bay to decimate the Niners. And yes, I know that a “pride” is a group of lions, not bears, but answer me this: what is a group of bears called? Exactly! You don’t know. Well I got news for you, it’s called a “sleuth”. So see, it just wouldn’t have worked as well. Though I guess I could’ve said that a sleuth of Bears will be launching an investigation into a win. That does sound pretty cool ...

Bears 28-14 

Pittsburgh @ New Orleans
With the Rams’ loss last week the Saints now have to win only one of their two remaining games to lock up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. This is a huge development, because going into New Orleans and winning is a difficult proposition for anybody not named Ryan Fitzpatrick. Meanwhile the Steelers need to keep winning to secure their spot in the postseason even after their big victory over the Patriots last week. So it would seem like something’s gotta give here, but not necessarily. Remember, I said that the Saints only need to win one of their remaining games to lock up that top seed in the NFC, so really all the Steelers need to do is convince New Orleans to hold off on that until next week and allow them to sneak away with a W here. If the Saints were chill they’d do it. 

Saints 30-27 

Sunday Night

Kansas City @ Seattle
It's a holiday spectacular in Seattle, and everyone's favorite color commentator will be there to shed light on it for all of us. Let's check-in with him now to get his thoughts going into Sunday. Cris?
I couldn't help but notice you didn't offer up a prediction there. Don't worry, I'll handle it.

Seahawks 27-23

Monday Night

Denver @ Oakland 
It’s Christmas Eve and the NFL apparently thinks we’ve been naughty because it’s gifting us a game that is the equivalent to a lump of shit in your stocking. I’m sorry coal, I meant to type “coal”. And in case you thought this match-up wasn’t lousy enough the Raiders signed Nathan Peterman this week. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals. 

Broncos 13-6 



NFL Picks - Week 15


Houston @ New York Jets
Last week the Jets found themselves with a 4th & Goal from the 1 yard line down by 3 with 1:20 remaining. They decided to eschew the game-tying field goal and go for the win, which they got after a touchdown run. It was a seemingly heroic call by Todd Bowles, but in actuality he was just abiding by a little known league rule which states that game-tying field goals can not be attempted in the last 4 minutes of games played in December between teams that are out of realistic playoff contention. It’s an important statute that spares us meaningless overtimes and gets fans home earlier, which at this point in the season is really all they’re asking for. I don’t expect the Jets to have an opportunity for a game-tying field goal late in this one, but if they do, hopefully New York will go for the touchdown, because it’s dark and the roads are starting to ice over.

Texans 27-17

Cleveland @ Denver
I recently checked the standings to verify, and indeed, the Browns are two games out of first place in the AFC North. Of course, there are only three games remaining in the season, so that may not be of much consequence. But on the flip side, there are only three games remaining and the Browns are two games back! That’s a monumental feat at this point in the season. Usually the only time the Browns are two games back in the division is Week 2. Can they actually win the North? Probably not. But if I had told you before the season that in December it would still be a mathematic possibility you’d question the validity of math and all of its properties.

Browns 26-23

Sunday Morning

Arizona @ Atlanta
The race for the first pick in the 2019 draft is really heating up and surprisingly both of these teams find themselves in the thick of it. The Cardinals being there isn’t the surprising aspect, but the Falcons presence certainly is. At 4-9 Atlanta is only one game better than Arizona, San Francisco, and Oakland, who all share the league’s worst record at 3-10. The Falcons have lost five in a row and look to be in a downward spiral, which is especially problematic because they’re Falcons. At this point they’re probably better off losing out and trying to snag that #1 pick, but the Cardinals will be damned if they’re going to let that happen. This is an Arizona team that just put up 3 points against the Lions at home, there’s no way they’re going to let some Atlanta team a year removed from a playoff appearance just waltz in and bump them from the bottom of the standings. Nah, the Cards are going to lose hard and love every minute of it.

Falcons 24-13

Detroit @ Buffalo
Bills quarterback Josh Allen has run for 99, 135, and 101 yards in the last three games respectively. He would be a heck of a dual-threat quarterback if only he could throw the ball. At the moment Allen is completing 52% of his passes and has thrown 9 interceptions. That may not seem like a lot, but the number becomes magnified when you consider that he’s only thrown 5TDs, the same amount he’s run for this season. Look, I get it, the guy’s a rookie. So what if he’s unpolished and uses his legs to bail himself out, can I really hold that against him at this point in his career? Certainly not. Now if he doesn’t throw for 300+ yards this week then I’m ready to write him off once and for all. Get it together kid!

Bills 20-17

Green Bay @ Chicago
The Packers snapped a three game losing streak and are now only a game behind Minnesota for the second wild card in the NFC. Wait, what? I thought Green Bay was in full-blown disaster mode. Now they’re only a game out of the playoffs? How did his happen? Oh right, everybody in the NFC keeps losing. So it’s not so much that the Packers have climbed out of the cellar, it’s that the rest of the conference has tumbled down to the dregs with them. That doesn’t matter to Green Bay though, they just care that winning their final 3 games could very well get them into the playoffs. That’s literally all they care about. Not even climate change guys; they don’t even care about the fact that the earth will be uninhabitable soon. Nope, these Packers have an irresponsible level of tunnel vision, and sadly that acute focus won’t translate into success this Sunday.

Bears 24-19

Oakland @ Cincinnati
The city of Oakland has filed a lawsuit against the NFL related to the Raiders impending move to Las Vegas, leading those in the know to conclude that there’s no chance the team plays their final lame duck season in Oakland. So where will the Raiders go for 2019 before their new Vegas stadium is ready for the 2020 season? A handful of locations have been bandied about, including Santa Clara and Glendale, Arizona, but my favorite possibility is San Diego. How maddening would it be to San Diegans to have the Raiders as the “home team” in your city while the Chargers are playing in LA? Also what would they be called? You can’t call them the Oakland Raiders, and I doubt that anybody involved would want to label them the San Diego Raiders. They wouldn’t be in Las Vegas yet, so that wouldn’t make sense either. The only option left is to simply call them Raiders for the entirety of 2019. This has instantly become the most important storyline in the league. Super Bowls come and go, but a team with no location is historic.

Bengals 27-23

Dallas @ Indianapolis
Does December 21, 2014 mean anything to you? It does to the Colts. On that day, the last time these two teams played, Dallas beat Indianapolis 42-7. Andrew Luck and the Colts have waited four long years to exact revenge, and their time has finally come. Pay no mind to the fact that only a handful of current players on either team were on their respective rosters back in 2014. That’s irrelevant, because I happen to know that the first thing you hear about when you walk into the Colts HQ in Indianapolis is that fateful loss to the Cowboys four years ago. The whole organization has had a singular focus for the last 1,454 days. This Sunday they get their redemption. And if they don’t at least they’ll have something to look forward to in 2022.

Colts 26-24

Miami @ Minnesota
After a close viewing of the Vikings’ Monday night loss in Seattle I’m left with the troubling conclusion that Kirk Cousins is pretty lousy. Minnesota fired their offensive coordinator on Tuesday but they have to be wondering if the quarterback that they gave a guaranteed $84 million to is the real problem. They also have to be wondering, “Did I leave the stove on?” Time will tell with Cousins; as for the latter question they should call Karen and ask her if she can run home and check during her lunch hour. Sure she might be a bit perturbed. but she works closer to home and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Vikings 27-10

Tennessee @ New York Giants
The Giants have won four of their last five leaving them with the possibility of finishing 8-8 and actually making the playoffs. Sure a lot would have to happen, but a lot had to happen just to get them to this point already. In fact, a lot had to happen to get all of us to where we are at this very moment, so let’s just take a second to appreciate the cosmic tumblers that have left us with the Giants’ postseason relevancy in Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season.

Giants 28-20

Washington @ Jacksonville
Josh Johnson vs. Cody Kessler, need I say more? Actually I probably should elaborate a bit since it’s possible that you’ve never heard of either of those people. Josh Johnson and Cody Kessler are quarterbacks in the National Football League and they are actually both going to be starting in this game. Not much is known about either man. Presumably they played in college somewhere, are most likely between the ages of 23 and 35, and are at least somewhat able-bodied. Unfortunately these two will remain shrouded in darkness because the NFL has announced that no cameras will be allowed at this game. It’s disappointing, but probably the humane decision.

Jaguars 20-6

Tampa Bay @ Baltimore
Lamar Jackson has been named the starting quarterback for the Ravens despite Joe Flacco finally being healthy enough to play. When he heard the news I’m guessing Flacco went ballistic, flipping tables, rifling footballs into lockers, cursing out staff ... Either that or he simply shrugged and went back to chilling to the max in classic FlacMan fashion. The QB decision is probably the right move for a Ravens team that can ensure a playoff spot if they win out, and could very well win the division. But don’t be surprised if at some point Jackson gets sloppy or banged up and Flacco needs to emerge from the bench to save the day. Though you also shouldn’t be surprised if he emerges from the bench and makes things worse. Either way Joe won’t be fazed, because he’s FlacMan cool.

Ravens 31-16

Sunday Afternoon

Seattle @ San Francisco
There are only two afternoon games this Sunday, and one of them is the annual circus that is Pats/Steelers, which means this contest will be played in near total anonymity. There’s a good chance that even the refs will be watching the other game on their phones, allowing the players to get away with plenty. Or better yet, since these teams played just two weeks ago the league could just air a replay of that game and see if anybody notices. The Niners may take umbrage with that plan since they lost the Week 13 match-up, but would they really be that upset? Losses are more valuable at this point to the front runner (back runner?) for the #1 pick in the draft. Is this ethical or even legal? No, but does it save time and energy? Yes. And if that’s the goal then ethics and laws should be thrown out the window.

Seahawks 30-17

New England @ Pittsburgh
Many have second guessed Bill Belichick’s decision to put Rob Gronkowski in on defense for the final play of the game in the Patriots’ shocking loss to the Dolphins last Sunday. And I think the criticism is warranted, however, if I was Belichick I would double down this week and make Gronkowski my starting free safety. Sure he’d probably get burned repeatedly by speedier wide receivers, but the point would be proved: I didn’t make a situational mistake, I legitimately think Gronkowski gives us the best chance to win. He should take him out of the game in a Hail Mary situation though, because playing offense and defense the whole game would leave him too tired to jump.

Steelers 34-31

Sunday Night

Philadelphia @ Los Angeles Rams
Before the season this looked like it may be a conference title game preview. Now the Eagles are struggling to stay above water in the playoff race. Let's hear what SNF analyst Cris Collinsworth has to say about this tilt:
Slightly unprofessional, but I can't blame you.

Rams 28-14

Monday Night

New Orleans @ Carolina
As I’m sure you know, the Panthers have lost five straight and seen their once rock-solid playoff chances fall to iffy at best. But what many aren’t pointing out is that four of those five losses were road games, and Carolina just has a hard time winning those. Really it’s sadistic of the NFL to make the Panthers play away from home so frequently when they struggle with it so greatly. Finally the league has done the compassionate thing and given Carolina a home game against the ... Saints?!? Oh c’mon that’s not fair! Although New Orleans’ offense has looked rather pedestrian the past two weeks, so there’s a chance that the Panthers’ D could stop ... ya know as I was typing it I was hearing just how ludicrous it sounded in my head so I had to stop.

Saints 24-17