NFL Picks - Week 13

Sunday Morning

New York Jets @ Cincinnati 
The bye weeks are over! We have a full slate of 16 games again! I don’t know about you, but I kind of wish the byes would come back. If they did maybe we wouldn’t have to deal with games like this. I’m pretty sure the Bengals and the entire city of Cincinnati would be fine with five consecutive weeks off to end the season. One man who won’t be getting any more time off is former Bengals’ starter turned backup, turned starter again, Andy Dalton. I’m guessing Dalton is none too thrilled about being thrust back into this situation, unless he’s one of those guys that just “loves the game” and “cherishes every opportunity to play”. Yuck, give it a rest pal, we get it. It could be argued that Dalton can use the end of the season as an audition for teams that may be interested in signing him next season. But come on, if you’re an NFL GM and you haven’t made your mind up about Andy Dalton yet I think you’re in the wrong line of work. That being said, I don’t know what else you’d do. What sort of other experience do you have? Would you be willing to relocate? Can you lift up to 30 lbs?

Jets 23-13

Tennessee @ Indianapolis 
This is a clash between two teams mired in the 6-5 muck. They’re joined at that mark by the Raiders and Steelers in a slog to decide the AFC’s sixth and final playoff spot. Who will rise up and lose in Kansas City on Wild Card Sunday? If that question makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up then be sure to tune into this one. Also, maybe think about giving your nape a quick buzz with some clippers, it just looks a bit sloppy. Of the aforementioned 6-5 teams, surprisingly, the Titans may be the smart pick. They’ve won four of their last five since switching to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. That being said, they have to play the Colts and Raiders on the road, and then end their season with a game against the Saints sandwiched between two tilts with the Texans. With a stretch that difficult we’re going to find out if Tennessee is legit or we’re just making mountains out of Tannehills. 

Colts 27-23

Philadelphia @ Miami 
When I see these teams on the schedule once every four years there’s only one thing I can think of: Ace Ventura! For the unenlightened out there, this was the Super Bowl match-up that Dan Marino missed the first half of in the 1994 hit comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Two other interconference match-ups this week are Super Bowl rematches (Bills/Cowboys and 49ers/Ravens), and in a way so is this one. Eagles fans may not mind if Carson Wentz misses some of this game due to kidnapping after his abysmal, turnover-laden performance during which he and the Eagles’ offense were booed off the field on multiple occasions. Though, to be fair the Philly receiving corps was so injury-riddled that I think one of the replacement wideouts might have been an extra from that game in Ace Ventura. Regardless, the Eagles need a win, and the Dolphins desperately need a loss. I know, I know, I rag on Miami too much. Hey, in the words of Ace himself, “Somebody stop me, I’m smoking!”

Eagles 24-10

Green Bay @ New York Giants 
The Packers have one challenging game left this season: Week 16 @ Minnesota. If you want to include Week 15 against Chicago, then you’re probably a Bears fan, but ok, count that one too. Outside of those though it’s all just potential pitfalls. Though perhaps I shouldn’t assume anything with Green Bay after two duds against the Chargers and Niners in their last three games. This week they're taking on the Giants, who have lost seven straight games, so if the Packers drop this one it will be the ultimate of duds. Currently the title of Ultimate Dud belongs to the Gorilla Bomb, a firework my family got one 4th of July and saved for the finale only for it to give off about two measly shots. In fact, that’s what we’ll call this game if Green Bay does lose. Good luck avoiding the Gorilla Bomb Packers!

Packers 31-15

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh 
After nearly providing the Bengals with their first win of the season, Mason Rudolph was replaced with Duck(?) Hodges. In the days to follow Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced that Duck(??) will be the starter this week. And thus, Mason Rudolph’s plan worked perfectly. Oh come on, you don’t think this was a coincidence do you? After the Garrett incident Rudolph knew that the Browns were on the schedule again in two weeks and his only chance to not have to play, and be subject to more swinging helmets, was to play so poorly in Cincinnati that his coach would bench him in favor of a quarterback named Duck(???). Now Rudolph can comfortably watch from the sidelines without any fear of illegal contact. Though, the sidelines aren’t exactly safe either. I say they take a page out of the professional wrestling playbook and suspend Rudolph in a shark cage above the field. It’s the only way to truly protect everyone involved and the integrity of the game. 

Browns 19-18

Washington @ Carolina 
If you had told me that one of these teams’ starting quarterbacks missed the final play of last week’s game because he was taking a selfie with a fan, I would have said, “Cam Newton’s back?!?” But no, as it turns out Washington’s Dwayne Haskins was the one cavorting with supporters after his first win as a starting QB. Is it unprofessional? Yes. But can you blame the guy when he plays for perhaps the most unprofessional organization in football? It’s all he knows. He learned it by watching you Daniel Snyder! Also, it’s probably the only time all year someone has wanted to get a selfie with a Washington player, so let’s cut the guy some slack. The Panthers, on the other hand, can no longer be provided any slack. At 5-6 Carolina would have to win out to have a shot at the playoffs. And if the season were only 13 weeks I’d say they have a great chance at doing just that. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they have four more games after this one. But hey, they’ll get back to .500 here, so there’s that!

Panthers 35-16

Tampa Bay @ Jacksonville 
With the Dolphins suffering through a truly pitiful season, this clash between 4-7 teams becomes the de facto Florida championship game. It’s a battle for the hearts and minds of Floridians, and really, by extension, all Americans. As I’m sure you’ve already heard, these teams will meet in the middle and play this game in a swamp in the Ocala National Forest. The footing is likely to be an issue, both because the ground will be mostly water and the players may be losing their feet due to what will likely be multiple gator attacks. In keeping with tradition, the MVP of the game will be presented with a brand new fan boat. Not for him to own, but he does get to use it one weekend a month for the next year. Also, win or lose, the surviving members of the Bucs will be rewarded with a trip to Disney World. Well, actually just a trip to Orlando, or more accurately through Orlando, strictly because it’s on the way back to Tampa. It should be quite the spectacle, but don’t count on watching it, because no television crews will be able to set up for a live broadcast in those conditions. Eventually we’ll know who wins when the team with the most remaining feet emerges from the swamp. 

Jaguars 30-28

San Francisco @ Baltimore 
Will this be a classic Super Bowl preview, or another Ravens ravaging? Baltimore has won their last five games by an average of 28 points, and four of those games were against the Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, and Rams. Sure the other one was the Bengals, but that doesn’t take away from how impressive the other wins were. Now the Ravens welcome in the team atop the NFC and their Super Bowl XLVII opponent, the San Francisco 49ers. I doubt that Baltimore will continue their blow out streak against the Niners, considering San Fran is coming off a high quality drubbing of their own over the Packers on Sunday night. Then again, doubting anything in regards to the Ravens at this point has proven foolhardy.

Ravens 24-16

Sunday Afternoon

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona 
After being obliterated by the Ravens on Monday night the Rams can go one of two directions in this game. Either they come out with an edge in Arizona and show that they’re not done with this season yet, or they curl into the fetal position and show that indeed they have submitted. I tend to think that we’ll see something closer to the latter. Why? Well here's a fun fact, did you know that Jared Goff is the only quarterback to start all of his team's games this season that has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns? And this is a league where Jameis Winston is still starting games. What's more, the Cardinals have been a legitimately threatening team for the past couple months. I’m thinking Arizona might get the win on Sunday. I say that because, the Cardinals organization said they’d hurt my family if I didn’t pick them. It’s like I just said, the Cardinals are a legitimately threatening team. 

Cardinals 28-26

Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver 
Broncos Coach Vic Fangio has been very coy about who his starting quarterback will be this Sunday. Will they stick with Brandon Allen or give rookie Drew Lock a shot? Someone should alert Fangio that he doesn’t need to be so cagey, because, in fact, no one else cares. Seriously Vic, you don’t have to do this dance. If it’s that you’re trying to keep the Chargers off guard, don’t worry about it. There’s no real tape on Lock anyway, so it’s not like you’re obstructing LA’s preparation. Even if that was working it wouldn’t matter, because the Broncos are 3-8 and the Chargers are 4-7. In other words, just start Lock, what do you have to lose? Well, a 9th game I suppose, but again it does not matter. 

Chargers 20-13

Oakland @ Kansas City 
The Raiders really blew it. I’m not surprised, but still, they effed themselves good. Oakland had the inside track for a wild card berth and proceeded to have a 3 hour bout of public diarrhea in MetLife Stadium last Sunday on their way to a 34-3 loss to the Jets. Now they’re in a four-way tie for the last wild card spot in the AFC, and after their most recent performance they’re nothing more than a giant question mark. With all that being said, if they win this game they’re tied for the division lead in the AFC West. But with that being said, it’s just not going to happen. The Chiefs are coming off a bye week, and we all know that Andy Reid is 37-2 after a bye (can someone fact check those numbers for me?). Another benefit to the extra rest is that Patrick Mahomes should come back closer to 100%. He’ll also be ready to throw for 600 yards after everybody has shifted their QB crush from him to Lamar Jackson. Look for a statement game from the reigning MVP. 

Chiefs 38-24

Sunday Night 

New England @ Houston
The Texans need to keep winning to maintain their slim advantage in the AFC South. That could be a problem this week as they're set to face the Patriots on Sunday night. But don't take it from me, let's hear what the man calling the game thinks:
That felt like a justifiably rushed pick. It's not a bad one though, since New England almost always wins. For some reason though I have a feeling Houston takes this one. I have no real analytics to support that, but it's a Texans game, so I don't need to.

Texans 23-20


Monday Night

Minnesota @ Seattle 
Last week on Monday Night Football, ESPN analyst Booger McFarland said watching the Ravens destroy the Rams was like watching The Wire beat down Melrose Place. It was a strained analogy that was almost solely based on the setting of each show. As confusing as his argument was, he belabored it throughout the second half, so I wouldn’t be surprised to hear him take a similar tack this week. Of course he’ll have to choose TV shows that were set in Minnesota and Seattle, and the most obvious choices would be Coach and Frasier. But that’s really not fair. I mean, come on, Coach is about football and Frasier is a nerd! Sure, Martin Crane could maybe be a decent football coach, but Coach is a football coach; no maybe about it. Now, if the Vikings come out and play like a different show set in Minnesota, say ... Little House on the Prairie, then we might have a more competitive contest. I don’t know how entertaining that game would be, but it would at least be fair. 

Seahawks 26-24


NFL Picks - Thanksgiving

Chicago @ Detroit 
Good news for those of you on the west coast, you can all sleep in! This game kicks off at 9:30am pacific time, so if you’re hungover from pre-Thanksgiving festivities, or simply trying to avoid helping prepare for guests, feel free to hit the snooze button. It’ll probably be more enjoyable to lie there in a semi-conscious twilight, considering how little you’re contributing to your family than actually wake up and watch a brutally injured Lions team host a Bears squad that’s loosely clinging to its playoff life. Detroit would have been in a tough spot having to throw backup QB Jeff Driskel out there against the Bears’ D anyway, but with Driskel questionable, things may go from bad to Blough. That’s David Blough the Lions’ undrafted, third-string, rookie quarterback. None of those adjectives are ones you want to hear before “quarterback.” You have to feel for Blough’s family, who was probably all set to have a nice, normal Thanksgiving until they got a call from David saying he might start on Thursday. Now I imagine the Bloughs are sitting around looking at each other saying, “So do we really have to go spend Thanksgiving in Detroit, just so we can see Khalil Mack murder our son?” While their holiday is likely ruined, yours doesn’t have to be; take my advice and stay in bed. 

Bears 19-6

Buffalo @ Dallas 
Ahh yes, a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme: the Bills and Cowboys. A rivalry that so permeated the national consciousness in the early-mid 90s that it was a punchline in an episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years. Since their respective peaks in that decade these franchises have toiled in mediocrity and, at times, downright futility. They both come in to this game with winning records, however, and both have a good shot at making the playoffs. Buffalo, by virtue of their soft schedule and a weak AFC; and Dallas due to their truly abysmal division. The teams in the NFC East have a combined record of 15-29. The Cowboys’ 6-5 mark would only be good for third place in three of the NFL’s eight divisions, but luckily for Dallas it lands them squarely in first in the NFC East. Despite the Bills having the better record I’m going to go with the Cowboys here. I just don’t trust Buffalo’s record based on the teams they’ve beat. Their 8-3 is emptier than the calories of the various pies that you’ll all be shoveling in your gaping maws by the end of this game. 

Cowboys 23-16

New Orleans @ Atlanta 
As we all know, Saints coach Sean Payton was one of the biggest proponents of expanding the instant replay rules to include pass interference after what happened to New Orleans in the NFC championship game last season. Well the SuperDome roof must have been leaking last Sunday, because irony was dripping all over the field when Panthers coach Ron Rivera successfully challenged a PI no-call that set Carolina up with a 1st & Goal late in the game. The Panthers ended up frittering that opportunity away, and when all was said and done the Saints won. Be that as it may, I think I now see exactly where the Saints' season is headed. They’ll get back to the NFC championship game and have a lead late in the 4th quarter, at which point a replay review will award the other team a pass interference call and set them up for the winning score. Sean Payton will then retire to live on an island he purchased for himself to provide him the privacy required for him to get reacquainted with his second love: books. As the helicopter that dropped him off flies away, the wind from the whirring blades will blow his glasses off his face and on to a rock where they’ll shatter. 

Saints 32-26


NFL Picks - Week 12

Sunday Morning

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
So what happened here? The Falcons went from being putrid to dominant in the blink of an eye. They’ve held the Saints and Panthers to a combined 12 points over the last two weeks after having surrendered at least 20 points in every one of their eight games leading up to that. What changed? The only explanation I have is that Atlanta’s bye week immediately preceded their sudden improvement. Is it possible that the Falcons were eyeing that break all season and had a collective sort of senioritis? That would explain why Vic Beasley kept showing up to defensive line meetings in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses and talking about how much partying he’s gonna do at State next year. Whatever the reason, this Atlanta team is focused now. I’m not sure the same can be said, nor could ever be said, about the Bucs. While their 3-7 record matches the Falcons, they couldn’t seem more different at the moment. Ok, that’s an overstatement, if one of them were a basketball team they’d seem much more dissimilar. Still, this is an easy choice.

Falcons 27-17

Denver @ Buffalo
The Broncos almost pulled the upset in Minnesota that I hinted at last week. Instead they blew the largest halftime lead in years. That’s not the Brandon Allen I know. Actually there is no Brandon Allen I know. I’m quite unfamiliar with the man’s work. But after seeing him in action last Sunday I can’t say that I’m impressed with his ability to close out games. Now he goes up against Buffalo who is somehow facing another losing team. I checked the schedule and the Bills' next game is against Rutgers. How is this happening? Obviously Buffalo will win again and continue their slow, unimpressive amble toward the playoffs. 

Bills 19-10

New York Giants @ Chicago 
After another poor performance Mitchell Trubisky was benched prior to the Bears’ final drive against the Rams last Sunday with his team trailing 17-7. A lot of folks think Chicago coach Matt Nagy was making a statement with this move, and I agree. That statement was, “I think Chase Daniel can score me 10 points on one possession.” It’s the only logical reason to make a move there, so it has to be what Nagy was thinking. Otherwise, he pointlessly benched his starting quarterback and may have shattered Trubisky's psyche in the process. Though Nagy is the same guy who freaked out every kicker on his roster through psychological torture in training camp, so I guess this move is actually on brand. Trubisky will probably be back at QB this week against the Giants, but don’t be surprised if he has a Richie Tenenbaum style meltdown on the field. I assume most of you won’t be watching it, and rightfully so, but if you flip over to this one during the third quarter and see Trubisky with only one sock on you’ll know what’s happening. 

Bears 20-17

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati 
At 5-5 the Steelers come into this game badly in need of a win. They have two elements working in their favor, 1: They’re playing the Bengals. 2: Their quarterback still has a head. And really, a quarterback with a head should be enough to get by Cincinnati at this point. Though, if Mason Rudolph plays anything like he did before getting clubbed last Thursday it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Bengals could get their first win of the season. If that ends up being the case don’t be surprised to see video emerge from Pittsburgh’s locker room in which Steelers players are hitting Rudolph over the head with his helmet. 

Steelers 24-20

Miami @ Cleveland 
The news surrounding the Browns for the past week+ has been nothing but Myles Garrett and the fallout resulting from his actions. And yes, that’s a big story, but I’m focused on something completely different when it comes to this game. As we all know, Miami is home to the famous Clevelander Hotel; I propose that if the Browns win this game they get to take the Clevelander Hotel back to Cleveland! Do I realize that the Clevelander Hotel was never in Cleveland to begin with? After a quick scan of Wikipedia, yes, of course I know that. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the city of Miami is committing Cleveland appropriation, and it's time for the Browns to rectify the situation. I’d say by any means necessary, but after seeing what happened in the Browns’ game last week, I think I should dial back the rhetoric just a bit. So instead, go out and take back the Clevelander Hotel through aggressive play while still obeying all the rules of football and society! 

Browns 30-23

Carolina @ New Orleans 
The winner of this game will likely be the NFC South champion, because the winner of this game will likely be the Saints. New Orleans is now three games clear of Carolina with six left to play, so a win here would all buy clinch the division. The shine has worn off of Panthers’ fill-in quarterback Kyle Allen, whose struggles have strangely coincided with the tougher stretch of Carolina’s schedule. And here we thought we could believe in him. Remember, we all declared that he was the Panthers’ QB of the future? How dare this undrafted, second year player betray our trust. He’s made fools of us all. And maybe that’s what he wanted, after all, Allen does refer to himself as “The Merry Imp.” Surely he’s delighting in pulling the rug out from underneath our collective feet. Touché Allen, you’re a true scamp. An even greater ruse would be for Allen and the Panthers to go out and actually win this game. Unfortunately I’m just not sure he has that in his bag o’ tricks. 

Saints 31-16

Oakland @ New York Jets
The Raiders continue to shock the world with their competence; though last week’s 17-10 home win over the Bengals was not what most would consider impressive. Now they take on a Jets team that has rebounded from a most embarrassing loss to the Dolphins to win two in a row. Normally I’d say it’s unwise of a team in New York’s position to keep trying so hard to win games, but since they already have Sam Darnold, who they think will be their franchise quarterback, they kind of have to let him loose and try to salvage something from this season. And since the Jets organization as a whole is something of a trash dump, “salvaging” really is the appropriate term here. We’ve all heard of quarterbacks that are labeled “game managers,” but could Sam Darnold be the first “game salvager”? Sure!

Jets 24-23

Seattle @ Philadelphia 
Even if the Eagles lose this game, which you must know is exactly what I’m predicting to happen, they still have a good shot of going 10-6. Saying a (would be) 5-6 team has a good chance of winning their last five games seems like a bold statement. And while you’re correct that I am not afraid to make the brave, declarative statements that some won’t, I suggest you look at Philly’s schedule before heaping too much praise on me. Here’s who’s on the slate in Weeks 13-18: @ Miami, Giants, @ Washington, Dallas, @ Giants. The Dallas game could be a toss-up, but everything else looks like money in the bank. And as we learn time and again in the NFL, games always play out exactly as you’d expect them to. Of course, if the Eagles win this game I would firmly install them as the favorite to win the NFC East. But come on guys. 

Seahawks 27-22

Detroit @ Washington 
During last week’s loss to the Jets, Washington QB Dwayne Haskins was seen on the sidelines delivering a (maybe) inspirational speech to his offensive line. Later on Washington scored their only two touchdowns of the game. It’s possible that this will be a turning point in Washington’s season and maybe even Haskins' career. It’s also possible that we’ll look back on that speech in a couple years and say, “Oh yeah, remember when Dwayne Haskins thought he could actually be an NFL quarterback? Haha. That was back when they still called the team the Redskins. Why it took them that long to switch to their name to the Open Sores I’ll never know.” Haskins will certainly have an opportunity to show us all what he can do this week when he goes up against a Lions defense that no one would describe as, well, a defense. Will his performance improve? Maybe if he gives himself an inspirational speech before the game. 

Lions 31-21

Sunday Afternoon

Jacksonville @ Tennessee 
Hey everybody, can I interest you in watching a slugfest between the bottom half of the AFC South? I didn’t think so. But what about this enticing little tidbit: Nick Foles has never started a game against the Titans. Never! League history will be made this Sunday and you can witness it. In person if you so choose. A solo ticket is currently going for $28 on the resale market. A small price to pay to see something never before seen on an NFL field. Of course, if you don’t live in the Nashville area, and I’m assuming most of you don’t, it’s going to cost you a healthy chuck of change to fly out there. Then there’s the matter of finding a hotel room when there’s probably some sort of country music festival in town the same weekend. Ok, so maybe this is more trouble than it's worth. Just do what I’m going to do: sit back, relax, pop this one on the ol’ boob tube and watch the magic unfold. Wait, the Cowboys/Pats game is on at the same time? Oh, eff this game then. 

Titans 24-16

Dallas @ New England 
The Packers/49ers game got flexed into the Sunday Night slot, and that’s understandable, it’s a great match-up. But is that all that’s going on here? I think not. You see, the game that was flexed out of Sunday Night was Seahawks/Eagles, which was moved to the early window. That swap left us with only two afternoon games and reveals the league’s true motives. The NFL wanted to clear the way for Cowboys/Patriots, and more or less create two prime time games. Sure, there is a second Sunday afternoon game, but it’s the Jags and Titans, so come on, who are we kidding? Do I blame the league? No. I just want them to know that I know. As for the actual game at hand here, the Patriots will probably win. Quick tip to any prognosticators in training out there, if you pick New England to win every game you’ll usually be right about 75% of the time. 

Patriots 23-16

Sunday Night

Green Bay @ San Francisco 
It's a pivotal NFC clash, and this man will be there to watch all the action; take it away Cris:
Yikes. I suppose I'll agree, but just promise me you'll stay safe out there CriColl.

Packers 24-19

Monday Night

Baltimore @ Los Angeles Rams 
The Ravens, one of the best teams in the NFL, travel to LA to take on the Rams, one of the teams in the NFL. No, that’s not a typo, I’m just not sure how to describe the Rams other than that they are, in fact, one of the 32 teams in the league. Yes, LA has won three of their last four, but their offense has hardly been setting the world on fire. The same can not be said for the Ravens, whose offense has legitimately committed multiple acts of arson this season. They’re a menace, and they must be stopped. And strangely, the Rams may be just the team to do it. Over their last four games LA’s D has only given up a total 37 points. None of the offenses they faced in those games were serial arsonists like Baltimore, but it stands to reason that the Rams could at least slow the Ravens down. Though, slowing the Ravens down still probably won’t be good enough, because LA’s offense has been stuck in gridlock for weeks. In fact, their gridlock is akin to the traffic on the various freeways in Los Angeles! Have you heard about this LA traffic? Yeesh, don’t get me started! It’s like, hey I gotta go 12 miles, I’ll be there in an hour! I’m not kidding here folks, traffic in Los Angeles is bad! Not as bad as airline food, but that’s a whole other story ... A story which I’ll get into now! So I’m sitting in coach, and they bring me this microwaveable dish, and I’m like, “Is this cat vomit supposed to be lasagna? Who’s your chef, Garfield?” Let’s see what else ...

Ravens 22-14


NFL Picks - Week 12 Thursday

Indianapolis @ Houston
This clash could decide the AFC South champion, and I for one hope the Colts come out on top. Why, you ask? Oh you didn’t? You’d rather I just shut up and move on? Well tough S A-hole! I want Indy to get the win and go on to take the division because that opens up the path for the Texans to end up as the #6 seed and travel to Kansas City to take on the likely #3 seeded Chiefs. That game would be a super entertaining scorefest with a 0% chance of disappointing. Sure, I thought the same thing about last Sunday’s Texans/Ravens game, and then Houston went out and laid a big ol’ stinker. But there’s no way that could happen again! That being said, it could absolutely happen on Thursday against the Colts. Last time these teams played Indy won 30-23, and Thursday nighters aren’t always known for their excitement (NBC’s original “Must-see” lineup notwithstanding). All things considered though I think the Texans do get back down to biz here and potentially ruin my dream Wild Card match-up. 

Texans 23-20


NFL Picks - Week 11

Sunday Morning

Dallas @ Detroit 
The Lions were strangely cagey with their reporting of Matthew Stafford’s back injury in the lead up to last Sunday’s game in Chicago. The whole thing was a bit mysterious, but I think I know why Detroit handled it that way. They didn’t want news to get out and allow the Bears to scout their secret weapon: back-up QB Jeff Driskel. They wanted to unleash him upon Chicago without any warning, and their plan worked perfectly. Well, almost perfectly. The one wrench in the works was that Jeff Driskel was mediocre at best and the Lions lost. To make matters worse, now the secret is out, so he won’t be catching anybody by surprise. Imagine how much worse things will get when a team actually prepares to face Jeff Driskel. 

Cowboys 27-13

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis 
It looks like Jacoby Brissett will be healthy enough to play in this game. And the Colts will need him to, because if they’re forced to turn again to Brian Hoyer, ho (boy) yer in trouble. The Indy backup was abysmal in a home loss to the Dolphins last Sunday. Though, abysmal play is assumed whenever the words “home loss to the Dolphins” are used. As a result Indy’s season is on the verge of derailing. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are finally getting their starting quarterback ... back, with Nick Foles playing for the first time since Week 1. A lot has occurred in the meantime. Summer gave way to Autumn, we all celebrated Halloween, daylight saving time ended. None of this has anything to do with the Jaguars, but I’m just pointing out it’s been a long time since he’s seen game action. 70 whole days. You could’ve gone to rehab twice in that time. I’m not saying you need to, but the point is you could have. No, I don’t think you have a problem! I mean sure, you could stand to cut back a bit, but who among us heroin users couldn’t? A healthy Brissett and a rusty Foles seems like a winning combo for the home team. 

Colts 23-16

Buffalo @ Miami 
Last week I said that the Dolphins should have cut Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime of their previous game to avoid tarnishing their winless season. Now after a second straight win, I say cut Fitzpatrick ... loose. Let it fly baby! Forget tanking, go out there and win ‘em all! The AFC is down this year, 9-7 could get you into the playoffs. Miami is 2-7 right now, so if they stretch this two game winning streak into nine they’re right in the mix! It’s not over yet, you can do this Dolphins! Go get ‘em guys! Ok, are they gone? Now that it’s just us we can be real, these guys are dumb as hell. Miami is frittering away their draft position just for a few cheap Fitzpatrick thrills. They’re not even good at losing anymore, and that’s the mark of a truly inept franchise. 

Dolphins 19-16

Denver @ Minnesota 
A home match-up with the Broncos sandwiched between road games at Dallas and Seattle seems like a perfectly laid trap game for the Vikings. Except, wait a minute, Minnesota has a bye week after this one, so there’s no way they could overlook Denver and lay a big ol’ home stinker, right? Of course not! The Vikings are undefeated at home, the Broncos don’t have a chance! You’re probably waiting for me to pull the rug out here and tell you why I think Denver actually has a shot, but no, that’s not what’s going on here. I legitimately think the Vikings will soundly win this game. Why don’t you trust me? I’m telling the truth! This one’s a done deal. Unless ... Tee hee, ain’t I a stinker? The Vikings may be asking the same question if they stumble Sunday. 

Vikings 24-14

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay
The Saints suffered the worst loss of the season last week at home against the Falcons. Not their worst loss of the season, they only have one other, so that wasn’t a high bar to clear. No, I mean the worst loss of any team this season. They scored 9 points against a team that was giving up an average of 31 and looked completely limp against their hated rival. It’s rare that you get do-overs in the NFL (actually it’s not that rare, offsetting penalties result in do-overs quite often, but let’s just ignore that for now), but the Saints find themselves up against another division rival who surrenders 31 points per game this Sunday. Will they correct their mistakes? Perhaps. But would that truly rectify what happened against Atlanta? I’m afraid not. That loss has created a divot in their souls that they’ll never be able to replace. Oh wait a minute, the Saints are playing the Falcons again on Thanksgiving. Another second chance! That’s unheard of (again, lay off about the offsetting penalty thing).

Saints 38-33

New York Jets @ Washington 
On Wednesday the Jets CEO announced that coach head coach Adam Gase would be returning next season. Yippee! Yahoo! This is great news, it means we’ll still have the Jets to make fun of next season! Look, I’m not saying Adam Gase is the worst coach out there, but he’s certainly not good. And ever since he’s gotten to New York he’s seemed in over his head. His strange, bug-eyed head. That being said, the Jets are playing Washington this Sunday, so Gase will probably respond to his boss’s confidence with a rousing win over an organization that’s not interested in competing at the moment. Go get get ‘em (Jets) Head (Coach) (Adam) Gase!

Jets 24-20

Atlanta @ Carolina 
The Falcons managed to get their second win of the season last week, you know that by now. But did you realize that that was also their first division game? All six of their tilts against the NFC South were scheduled in the second half of the season. It’s a bizarre scheduling quirk, but I think it may explain Atlanta’s terrible start. Most NFL teams focus first and foremost on winning their division. That’s the baseline goal at the beginning of the season. If and when that’s achieved you can focus on bigger and better things. Well it’s clear that the Falcons were no different. All they wanted to do was win their division. Sure they lost seven of their first eight, but those games didn’t matter, they were merely filler until those pivotal NFC South contests came around. Unfortunately, their nonchalance got them into such a hole that they won’t be able to climb out of it. But hey, if they go 6-0 in division they’d win the South based on NCAA rules! This isn’t the NCAA, so that’s also a problem, but college football is big in Georgia, so they may be able to sell that to their fanbase. 

Panthers 30-22

Houston @ Baltimore 
Ohh baby, get your popcorn ready! I think I can legitimately say I’ve never eaten popcorn during an NFL game, and I’d really like to have some, so please, get your popcorn ready. I assume you’re willing to share. But at the same time, I don’t want your popcorn preparation to distract you from this game, because it should be a good one. I often talk about triple Ps: potential playoff previews, and we’ve got one on our hands here. And if you bring your own triple P: perfectly popped popcorn, to watch this triple P we should have ourselves quite the P party. No, not pee party. Yuck, I’m not sure I want you readying my popcorn anymore. The Ravens have looked unbeatable lately while the Texans seem capable of winning or losing any game on their schedule depending on the week. Until the Ravens give me a reason to doubt them I’d be foolish to pick against them, right? Oh what do you know? From what I can tell you eat urine-soaked snacks. I've changed my mind, Houston gets the upset.

Texans 30-27

Sunday Afternoon 

Arizona @ San Francisco 
These teams met a mere two weeks ago, so to say they’re familiar with each other would be an understatement. To say they have a deep friendship that could someday blossom into love if they’d both just stop being so pigheaded and realize that everything they’ve been looking for is right in front of their faces, well that would be an overstatement. They’re not that familiar. But we can look to their first match-up to get clues about what may occur this Sunday. The Cardinals were able to move the ball surprisingly well at times, and came closer to getting the win than most people would have expected. Now does that mean they’re ready to get over the hump this time, or that the Niners will have learned from their mistakes and be eager to prove that they’re the far superior team? I’m not sure. So I guess when I said that we could learn from that first game I was lying. 

49ers 28-19

Cincinnati @ Oakland 
The Raiders are off and running, possibly towards postseason. If they’re in the middle of the race then the Bengals are the equivalent of the bystanders handing out Gatorade and cheering the runners on as they pass by. That’s basically the dynamic of every Cincinnati game at this point; they happily watch as another team speeds right by them. Then the Bengals go home and tell their families about all the cool, strong, fast athletes they saw that day. Their families aren’t impressed, and tell the Bengals to get them some Gatorade because that’s all their good at it. It’s a sobering moment for the Bengals, but they do it, because they know that one day someone will be getting them Gatorade. Then their kid gets pissed because they wanted Arctic Blitz not Cool Blue! There is truly no winning for the Bengals right now. 

Raiders 34-17

New England @ Philadelphia 
After giving up 38 and 37 points in weeks 6 and 7, respectively, the Eagles’ defense has rebounded, surrendering a combined 27 points in consecutive wins. Sure, it helps that those games were against the Bills and Bears, but that still counts as an improvement. I’m personally hoping that Philly’s D reverts in time for Sunday's contest so that we can see another shootout like we did in Super Bowl LII. Of course, since Super Bowl LII I’ve hoped that most games end up like Super Bowl LII, but that’s more relevant than ever in regards to this match-up, because these teams actually played in Super Bowl LII! Remember? And hey, both of them are coming off bye weeks again, just like before the Super Bowl, so maybe we will see a repeat performance. Any chance we can get the venue switched to Minnesota’s US Bank Stadium? I know the Vikings are playing there in the early window, but they should clear out in time for this one to start. I suppose that would create some other logistical problems, for instance, the Patriots probably already scheduled their flight to Philadelphia, and the fees to change those can be through the roof. Ya know what, I’m just going to watch a replay of Super Bowl LII when this game is on. Seems like the simplest solution. Boy, I guess I wasted all of our time there. That’s a first. 

Patriots 23-16

Sunday Night

Chicago @ Los Angeles Rams
The Bears could be out of the playoff picture with a loss. The Rams wouldn't be in much better shape if they were to fall. So who screws themselves on Sunday? Let's ask Sunday Night Football's own Cris Collinsworth:
I actually agree with him on the Cleatus stuff.

Rams 22-12

Monday Night

Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Chargers
In an effort to impress the NFL after last year’s field fiasco, the Estadio Azteca grounds crew has allowed their grass to grow lush and full. Probably too much so, as it’s now three feet high. This was a severe over correction. Sure it will be a fun change of pace to only be able to see the top halves of players, but all receptions will have to be made from the chest up, and I don’t even want to think about what kind of a mess determining fumble recoveries will be. This is the last thing the speedy Chiefs need after stumbling to a 2-4 record over the past six weeks. Not to mention that they have to play in front of a crowd that will undoubtedly have a higher percentage of Chargers fans than if this game were being played in Carson. In other words, KC is really in the weeds now. Well the weeds and the grass. That being said, the Chargers will surely find a way to lose and give their south of the border fans a true Charger experience.

Chiefs 33-30