After watching them play throughout the season I’d posit that on the right day the Bills could beat anybody. That theory will really be put to the test this week since Buffalo has to compete on a heretofore unplayed upon date: Saturday. I don’t imagine it will be a problem since they’re going up against the Broncos, but what if the Bills all adhere to the famed Barstool sports maxim and believe Saturday to be “for the boys.” They’re not going to want to work on a Saturday when they could be off crushin’ crispy bevs and telling women they suck. Alright, I’ll admit I don’t know a ton about Barstool, but I think that’s pretty much the gist, right? It’s possible this could be a trap game for Buffalo after their big win over Pittsburgh and ahead of two divisional games to close out the season, but I just don’t have enough confidence in Drew Lock to pick the Broncos. After all, does this look like a guy who wants to work on a Saturday either?
Carolina at Green Bay
After the Saints’ surprising Week 14 loss to the Eagles, the Packers are currently in possession of the NFC’s #1 seed. But for some reason, I’m just not buying it. I mean, yes I understand how standings work and that they hold a tiebreaker over New Orleans, so from a purely factual standpoint I do believe that they’re the top team in the conference. But I don’t know that they’re the favorite in the NFC. That being said though, I’m not sure who else would be. Perhaps this season’s conference represents a true Marxian ideal, and no one team is better than any other. However, that doesn’t make sense either, because Green Bay is definitely better than Carolina, their Week 15 opponent. Let’s just put this way: this year’s NFC playoffs will be wide open! Except now that I think about the playoffs will be played in 2021, so they’re not really this year’s. This year’s were already played in January, and seeing as how they’re already completed I would consider them anything but wide open. Hmm, I don’t think we’ve accomplished anything here, and I’m not sure who to blame. Probably you, but that’s not important, let’s just move on.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
With yet another close loss last Sunday the Falcons have fallen to 4-9, but with a +6 score differential. This just goes to show how inept they are at winning. They’re good enough to get close, but can only rarely get over the hump and actually prevent their victory from falling into the ravenous jaws of defeat. The Bucs have fared better so far, but something about them bothers me, and I think I’ve figured it out: they’re assembled like a 2014 fantasy team. Tom Brady! Gronk! Antonio Brown! LeSean McCoy! And it’s true those name are impressive ... if we’re talking about their 2014 versions. And sure, some of them are still fairly effective, but they’re definitely not the same. Brown is a flex at best, and McCoy really isn’t rosterable. Also, Brady’s going to have start connecting on more deep passes, because the NFL isn’t a PPR league, and Gronk and AB aren’t going to help you win in the playoffs unless they get more yards. And to be clear, I’m talking about the fantasy playoffs, which are happening right now. The reality Bucs are a decent team, but I don’t know if they’ll be able to win a championship, unless the Packers or some team forgets to check their rosters before a 10am kickoff.
San Francisco at Dallas
This is the rare all NFC match-up that is airing on CBS. With that being said, why do I still get the idea that Troy Aikman will somehow end up calling this game? Yes, he works for Fox as their lead analyst, which means this game is not only on the wrong network, but it also falls well below the threshold of what would warrant a game be called by a #1 announce crew. I understand all of that, but I just won’t be stunned if I tune in on Sunday and see Troy Aikman in the AT&T Stadium press box. “Look, it’s an important game for both teams.” No Troy. “The 49ers are only two games out of the last wild card spot in the NFC, and the Cowboys are still hanging around in the East.” No Troy. “Ya know anytime you get these two franchises together it’s bound to be fun.” Stop it Troy. “Hey f*ck you! I’ll call whatever game I want! I was winning Super Bowls while you were still pissing the bed!” Not sure what you’re talking about, I was 7 when you won your first, which is way to old to still be wetting the bed ... I told you that in confidence Troy! Why did you this to me? I hate you! I hate you! “Like I was saying, I think we have intriguing match-up on our hands here.”
Detroit at Tennessee
Its a classic clash! The age old rivalry renewed! Who could forget their 16-15 contest in 2016? Or the 44-41 epic from 2012. Actually that game sounds really entertaining. I was doing a whole bit about the limited history between these teams and how the match-up isn’t very intriguing, but now I just want to checkout that 2012 game. Whoa, get this, in the fourth quarter alone there were 46 total points, the Titans scored 3 touchdowns of over 70 yards, and the Lions scored two TDs in the final minute to force overtime. And after all that the Titans won with a field goal and fourth down stop in the red zone. If this game is anywhere close to that we’re in for a real treat. I assume the Titans will win, but they’ve also finished each of the last 4 seasons at 9-7. Why is that relevant to this game? They’re 9-4 right now. Were they really cursed by a witch years ago and doomed to live out their existence slightly above mediocrity? Perhaps beating the Lions is the only way to break that hex. After all, they last played in 2016, when this 9-7 rut began. Will have our answer one way or another come Sunday. If it's a loss for Tennessee, they might as well forfeit their last two games since we all know how they'll go anyway.
Houston at Indianapolis
I’ve picked the Texans two weeks in a row, and have rued the days. I mean it’s really tarnished my reputation. Perhaps I was fooled by their Thanksgiving performance and figured they could perform like that on a regular basis. Like a small child assuming he’s going to have a turkey feast every Thursday from now on. Sorry junior, it’s back to tuna casserole next week, and bologna sandwiches the week after that. I didn’t mention it earlier, but the kid in question is from the 50s. And hey, speaking of repetition (which I sort of was), this is the second time in three weeks that these teams have met. In fact, in Weeks 10 and 12 the Colts went through the same scenario with the Titans. In that instance Indy won the first on the road but lost the second at home. Are they about to endure the exact same fate? I doubt it. Like I said before, the Texans seem to have lost it since Thanksgiving. Just like I did with my belt! No seriously, I lost my belt on Thanksgiving. After eating I made a big show of taking it off and swinging it around my head. I lost my grip and it flew off of the roller coaster into the bushes below. I doubt I’ll ever see it again.
New England at Miami
The Dolphins can officially eliminate the Patriots from playoff contention with a win over New England here. Seeing Belichick out of the playoffs is like seeing the big man on campus after high school when he doesn’t have much going for him. You want to be able to relish the moment and laugh in his face, but really it’s just kind of sad. I mean, this was all he had. Where does he go from here? My guess is you’ll go back home for the holidays next year and find him working at the local Subway. He’s already got an in with them, so it’s a natural fit. And I don’t mean that as a slam on working at Subway, I think most of us will end up working there eventually. Soon the only companies in the country will be Amazon, Subway, and The Rock, so we won't have much of a choice.
Chicago at Minnesota
Vikings kicker Dan Bailey missed three field goals and an extra point last week in the team’s 26-14 loss in Tampa. In fact, he didn’t even make a kick of any kind, meaning he ended the day 0-4. Oh doctor ... can you please help Dan Bailey? It’s likely that he’ll need to talk to someone after that. The good news for Bailey is that he’s still on the roster as of now. Though that may not be such good news depending on how his teammates are treating him. But if I were Bailey I’d counter any frosty temperaments by saying something like, “Hey screw you butthole! Even if I made all my kicks we still would’ve lost. Haha! Not my faaauulllttt!” That would likely smooth things over. The team as a whole can improve their mood by getting a win over the Bears this week, because if they don’t they’re likely done for in the NFC playoff race. The same goes for Chicago, who also enters this game at 6-7. In the grand scheme of things, maybe the best thing for Bailey would be if the Vikings lose out and miss the postseason by 2 or 3 games, that way his atrocious game against the Bucs won't be as big of a deal. In fact, he should probably miss as many crucial kicks as he can over the next few weeks to ensure that happens. Hmm, actually that might leave him in a worse spot than he is now. You’re on your own Dan, good luck!
Seattle at Washington
You want to talk about triple Ps (possible playoff previews)? No? Well too bad, because we’ve got one on our hands here. In fact, if the playoffs started today (can’t rule anything out this season) this would be a first round match-up. And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised considering it would be their fourth postseason meeting in the last 16 seasons. That might not sound like a ton, but consider that it would only be Washington’s fifth trip to the playoffs in that span, and the number becomes a bit more remarkable. In each encounter the Seahawks have ended Washington’s season. But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, after all, the game this Sunday is still pivotal for both. Also, Washington has beaten Seattle in seven of the eight regular season games the two have played this century. Does any of what’s been said so far have any bearing on how these current teams play this Sunday? Maybe not. But I pray to god it does, because otherwise I’ve just wasted the last 90 minutes of my life. It took you 90 minutes to write that? YES! I tried to warn you last week, don’t ask me about my process!
Jacksonville at Baltimore
Last week brought an end to the Jaguars impressive streak of close losses as they were blown out by the Titans. Meanwhile, the Ravens won in Cleveland to stay right in the thick of things in the AFC playoff picture. On the surface it looks like these teams are trending in opposite directions. But you know what they say, looks can be deceiving! Yes, they do say that. In this case, however, the looks are not deceiving, and in my opinion Baltimore will win. But you know what they say, opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one and you better not forget to wipe when you’re done with them. That’s true, but in this space, this asshole’s opinion is the only one that matters, and I’m gonna leave it unwiped baby! Uh oh, my opinion just ruined its pants. But look at it, it doesn’t even care. It’s like, what do I need pants for? I’m an opinion. Hell yeah! Although, now some of the other opinions are making faces like it’s starting to smell. Aw man, my opinion’s so embarrassed it’s turning red now; well red and brown, so more of a sepia tone. Let’s stop staring at it, we’re not helping.
New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams
After taking a close look at the Jets last week I feel comfortable in saying that they’re not super interested in winning. I imagine that when that Raiders game ended the way it did they more or less thought, well that was the best we had to offer, looks like it’s 0-16 for us! Considering that the loss to the Raiders was one of only three games so far this season in which they’ve even ended up within one score of their opponent, I wouldn’t blame them if that’s how they felt. The real drama of this game will be whether or not Aaron Donald will play long enough to set the single game sack record. The mark is 7 right now, and has been since 1990, so it won’t be easy, but rules and bones were meant to be broken. Unfortunately for Sam Darnold both elements of that saying may be in play this Sunday.
Philadelphia at Arizona
After their surprising upset win over the Saints last week, the Eagles finally have life again. On a related note, their new quarterback actually appears to have a pulse, which is more than can be said for Carson Wentz. Philly has so much money tied up in Wentz that I suppose it made sense for them to hold out hope that he would turn it around this season. But after seeing the offense’s drastic improvement with Jalen Hurts at the helm, the prudent move would be to let the rookie finish the year off. And after all, as we find ourselves in the holiday spirit, isn’t this the time to stop worrying about our financial burdens and just do the right thing? Congrats Doug Pederson, you saved Christmas! But seriously, once the new year rolls around you should figure out what the hell is wrong with Carson Wentz, because he might ruin like the next three Christmases for you if you can’t get this straight.
Kansas City at New Orleans
For weeks many have circled this on the calendar as a potential Super Bowl preview. After which their spouse said to them, “Why do you keep doing this to my calendar? This is why I got you your own, so you could circle all the dates you wanted. Look at this mess. Just on this page alone you’ve made three large, red circles for NFL games and one for the McRib. You know where I think you should put the next red circle? Your nose, because you’re a fucking clown. If there wasn’t a pandemic raging outside I’d tell you to leave. I’m pretty close to saying it anyway, but I don’t want you going to stay with your mother and getting her sick, which we all know would happen because you’ve somehow had COVID 3 times already. ‘I can’t smell all the wonderful smells of our beautiful city through my mask.’ God, shut up!” However, after the Saints loss last week they no longer have control of the NFC’s #1 seed, and a loss here would set them back even further. Asking Taysom Hill to keep up with Patrick Mahomes is not a situation New Orleans wants to find itself in, so the Saints D will have to corral the Chiefs offense. That’s a tall order, which makes me believe KC will get the win and make New Orleans’ path to the Super Bowl that much more difficult. So don’t go penciling this rematch in on your calendar for February just yet. Seriously, stay away from that calendar.
Interesting takes as always Cris. Maybe we could get you a hat made out of those silica packets.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
The Steelers’ facade has begun to crumble. Where once stood a dominant 11-0 juggernaut now sits an 11-2 pile of rubble. Ok, so maybe consecutive losses aren’t the end of the world for Pittsburgh, but there’s a very real possibility that they could end the season at 12-4 after winning their first 11 games. They close the season against the Colts and Browns, and if they don’t improve their current play I don’t know that I’d pick them to win either of those. You’ll notice that I didn’t say the Steelers could possibly finish 11-5, and that’s because they’re facing the Bengals this Monday. Cincy has scored 10 points per game over their last five, so I’m guessing they wouldn’t take offense to my assumption of their upcoming loss. But, of course, lately they haven’t taken offense to anything. I mean 10 points per game, come on!
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