NFL Picks - Week 16


SEASON: 146-77-1





Minnesota at New Orleans 

And so it was that on this Christmas Day the New Orleans Saints would be visited but the Ghost of Playoffs Past. Yes, the very team that has haunted them two of the last four postseasons will creep into their home once again. But in this year of our lord, 20 and 20, ‘tis the Vikings that are on the verge of playoff elimination. Early in the autumn, the Minnesotans dug themselves a hole large enough to cause even the stingiest of undertakers to doff his cap in appreciation. Determined to avoid their subterranean fate, however, the Vikings valiantly climbed back into playoff contention only to see their hopes all but dashed last week by a family of occasionally hibernating Bears. The query now is whether Minnesota’s dreary prospects will lead them to stumble back into their abyss, or if the specter of their recent history with the Saints will apparate in the SuperDome and send New Orleans tumbling down the NFC standings. 


Saints 31-24



Tampa Bay at Detroit 

The Lions fired their special teams coach on Sunday after he apparently went rogue and called a fake punt that ended up failing short of gaining a first down. I get that their needs to be a chain of command, and that these sort of decisions should be made by the head coach; but I also know that the Lions were 4-9 at the time, so why the hell shouldn’t they start running some fake punts? Better yet, why are they even lining up to punt in the first place? Maybe this special teams coach was just an analytics head who lived by the ideology that no one should ever punt. That would be a weird position for a special teams coach to take since it would negate a large part of his job, but who knows? He could also just be a badass who thumbs his nose at authority and then flips it off with the same hand. Flips off authority that is, not his own nose. But he’d probably do that too, because he just don’t give an eff. Lions, you’ve made a huge mistake, this guy should’ve been promoted to head coach, not fired. Of course, I don’t know his resume, or his name, but I stand by what I said. 


Buccaneers 30-22

San Francisco at Arizona 

These teams played in Week 1, and uh yeah, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed. In the NFL that is, not for me. I’ve only left my couch 8 times since then. That’s especially shocking when you consider there have been 9 fires in my apartment in that same timespan. Some of those were my fault, but some were just bad luck. The same can be said about the 49ers lack of success in their NFC title defense. They really didn’t have a fair shot with all the crucial injuries they’ve suffered, but they still had a mostly healthy roster when they lost to these Cardinals in the opener. Now they’re stuck in Arizona with their own county having told them to get lost. It’s really been an unimaginable few months for the Niners, and that’s coming from a guy who’s recently been through 9 apartment fires. But hey, if they’re anything like me ... well they’ll probably just sit there and hope the fire goes out soon. Luckily for them it will be extinguished one way or another in two weeks. 


Cardinals 34-17

Miami at Las Vegas 

With the Raiders all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention their role is now mainly that of spoiler. And I could see them being successful at it too. This season they have wins over the Saints, Chiefs, and Browns, so they’ve proven they can get the better of quality teams. That could be bad news for the Dolphins. Sure Miami's been playing well for a few months now, having won 8 out of 10, but as we all know, when someone is hot Vegas has a way of evening things out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raiders win this game and hear Jon Gruden say to Brian Flores afterward, “Sorry, the house always wins.” To which Flores would hopefully say, “But you guys have lost 7 times this season.” That would likely stump Gruden and leave him so embarrassed that he’d challenge Flores to a double or nothing game right then and there. It would be a confusing proposition from someone who’d just won, but we all know Gruden is crazy like a fox. Of course Flores would accept and the Dolphins would win easily because all of the Raiders players would be rightfully pissed at their coach. Gruden would try to smooth things over after the game by saying, “Can ya blame me? I always bet on silver and black.” The press and his players would all agree to forgive him since it was such a good line. 


Dolphins 24-21

Sunday Morning


Atlanta at Kansas City 

Something strange is happening with the Chiefs. I think we’d all agree that they’re the best team in the league and seem borderline unbeatable at this point. But if you look at the scores of their games, they don’t seem so unimpeachable. They’ve won their last six games by 2, 4, 3, 6, 6, and 3, not covering the spread in any of them. Sure some of those were backdoor covers by the other team, but KC has found themselves having to hold on late in almost all of these games. So if you’re basing it strictly on spread, the Chiefs aren’t living up to expectations. Yet they’re 13-1, two game better than the nearest competitor, and are unquestionably the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Maybe that means the problem isn’t with KC, but with our expectations. Perhaps we need to stop asking for the world, and instead ask for a friend. Ok, maybe that wasn’t the most coherent through line, but do you guys think the Chiefs would be friends with me? 


Chiefs 38-31

Cleveland at New York Jets

This is an important game for the Jets, not because they desperately need to lose in an attempt to regain the #1 pick in the 2021 draft (they do), but because they could learn a lot from the Browns. Cleveland was like the Jets not so long ago, the laughing stock of the league. But now, just three years later the Browns are (probably) bound for the playoffs. So chin up Jets, when you looks across the field at the other sideline this Sunday you can take heart in knowing that in just three short years that could be you. Well probably not you, because most of the current players in New York won’t be on the team next season, let alone in 2023. But hey, chin up again Jets, because you probably won’t have to be a Jet next season! That being said, if the Jets don’t want you, who would? Ok, you can go ahead and put your chin down guys, I’m sorry I brought it up in the first place. 


Browns 27-17

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh 

This week Juju Smith-Schuster declared that he will no longer dance on opposing teams’ logos before games. It’s a very noble sacrifice for Juju to make; truly what being a teammate is all about. Hold it, they have a home game this week and then finish with a game in Cleveland, where there is no midfield logo. They do have a colored stripe, so I suppose Juju could do some sort of line dance, but there’s not much space there. This is what I call pretend penance. It’s pretty easy to give up something you wouldn’t have been able to do anyway. Watch, I’ll do it right now: I hereby declare that I will no longer do backflips for fear that I may kick someone in the face during my rotation. See it sounds like I’m being magnanimous, but I’m really not surrendering anything. The Steelers as a whole have spent the last few weeks surrendering their positioning in the AFC standings. Last week I so (back?)flippantly theorized that Pittsburgh might lose four of their last five games, assuming they’d beat the Bengals. I’d like to apologize to the people of Cincinnati for my slight. After losing to the Bengals it's now possible the Steelers will lose all of their last five after starting 11-0. If that happens no one will be dancing anywhere in Pittsburgh. Finally Jon Lithgow will get his wish. 


Colts 23-20


Chicago at Jacksonville 

Oh boy, it’s the Nick Foles revenge game! And by that I mean both teams want revenge on Nick Foles. I know passion plays are normally reserved for Easter, but we may see the Bears and Jags flog Foles repeatedly for his crimes against their franchises. I don’t think Foles is actually to blame for the respective fates of these teams, but he certainly hasn’t helped. The Bears' offense finally has some life again now that Mitchell Trubisky is back at quarterback, even if it may be too late for their playoff hopes. And Jacksonville surely didn’t get what they paid for from Foles. Nick likely still has his believers though, seeing as how he has performed miracles in the past. I mean, did you see Super Bowl LII? But now it appears his time is done. Fortunately for him it just means his career is over and not worse. He’s merely been vilified, not crucified. But hey, who knows, maybe he'll sign on to be Tampa's backup next year and after Arians gets his hands on him Nick Foles will be Bruce-ified.


Bears 21-20

New York Giants at Baltimore 

Did you realize that these two squadrons met 20 years ago in Super Bowl 35? Maybe not, since it was one of the most forgettable championship games in recent history. But perhaps you recall that the Ravens were a dropped TD away from joining the Giants in Super Bowl 46 just over ten years later. No? Ok. Well what if I told you that there’s still a chance these two could play in Super Bowl 55 at the end of this very season! Perhaps they’re cosmically linked, like Haley’s Comet and the Earth. Except we don’t have to wait 76 years to see these two clash, we get it (kind of) every 10 years. Or at least maybe ... Look it’s a weak premise, but what do you want from me? The Ravens seem to be playing well again, and the Giants were just handled by a Browns team that Baltimore beat the week before. So it looks like we’re in for a Ravens win here. But we’ll see what happens in the rematch come Super Bowl Sunday. Yes I’m serious! It’s almost inevitable in a certain sense, if you look at it the right way. 


Ravens 26-9

Cincinnati at Houston 

The Bengals have lost 8 of 10 but their two wins came over the Titans and Steelers. Those teams have only lost 7 combined games on the season, and two  of them are to the 3-10-1 Bengals. How is that possible? Are people sleeping on Cincy? Well, no. They’ve been beaten on a regular basis. For God’s sake they’re 0-3-1 against the NFC East. So maybe the answer is just that the Bengals catch teams off guard. Can they do so this week against Houston? Probably not. The Texans should have their guard up at all times at 4-10. Like a jilted lover, or a beaten dog, or a team that loses a whole bunch. Though, with a loss Houston can jump the Bengals to #3 in the 2021 draft ... Whoops, the Texans’ first round pick belongs to the Dolphins. So there’s really no incentive for them to lose. Ok then, to recap: guard up, no reason to lose. Sounds like a bad combo for the Bengals. 


Texans 31-20

Sunday Afternoon 


Carolina at Washington 

Washington’s current starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins made some waves this week when photos surfaced of him at a strip club without a mask. I think it’s correct to chastise anyone for going maskless, especially indoors, but this instance is especially confounding. Wouldn’t a strip club be the most convenient place to wear a mask, especially for a (sort of) famous athlete? Think about it, it’s Sunday night, you just lost, you’re trying to cheer yourself up a bit by visiting a topless joint, but you don’t necessarily want to be recognized or catch/spread the disease that’s ravaging the country. Put on a mask! It’s the perfect solution. Yet Haskins chose to forego it, and if his play on the field hadn’t convinced the Washington Football Team that he wasn’t their leader for the future, this certainly should have. But he is still the starter for the time being, and these Washington games do still matter. They’re one up in the NFC East, but if they fall back into a tie with the Giants they’re out of luck due to the head to head tiebreaker. Hopefully for Washington’s sake that strip club Haskins patronized was well-sanitized, otherwise a resulting outbreak could derail their dream season. And by “dream season” I mean one of those really confusing dreams where you wake up and think, “We made the playoffs, but we didn’t win a lot of games. Plus there were no fans there ...”


Washington 19-17





Denver at Los Angeles Chargers

Hold on to your hats folks, it’s a battle for last place in the AFC West! Only the loser will be the winner. Both teams are 5-9 with young quarterbacks, but I wouldn’t say they’re in exactly the same place. The Chargers have one of the brightest prospects in the NFL in Justin Herbert, while the Broncos are rolling with Drew Lock for the time being. It’s like two siblings bringing their fiancées home for Christmas, but one of them is a doctor and the other one is a doctor ... er of photos. Like they mess with photos of celebs to make for better clickbait. It’s actually really satisfying work because they get to be artistic in a way. Hey, do you mind if they put more booze in this egg nog? Anyway, I have more confidence in LA.


Chargers 31-23

Philadelphia at Dallas

The Cowboys have won their last two games to stay sort of alive in the NFC East, the same division that the Eagles are now last in. These teams have each won the division championship twice over the last four seasons, but bringing that up now is like when a retired boxer works a casino and everybody still calls them “Champ.” Sure we all say it to acknowledge what once was, but really it just makes everyone involved sad. If Washington loses to Carolina and the Giants fall to the Ravens (two not very unlikely results) the Eagles can actually control their own fate. But who are we kidding? Philly controlled their own fate starting in Week 1, and look what they’ve done. They’ve bengaled it all up. Sorry, they’ve bungled it all up. Sure their new quarterback makes them better, but that’s like putting lipstick on a pig ... it almost makes me want to eat it more. I guess that means I think the Eagles will win. 


Eagles 30-27

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle 

I’ve done some big picture prognosticating and come to the conclusion that these teams will likely meet again in two weeks in the Wild Card round regardless of who wins this game. The only difference will be where the game is played. If the Seahawks win they’ll host and vice versa. I won’t bore you with the details of how I figured that out ... What’s that? You want to hear them? Oh. Well sure, I’d be glad to lay it out for you. Firstly, the Bucs would of course need to uh ... And then the Cardinals would also ... But don’t forget about the Spiders; if they win out ... (The Spiders? Isn’t that an old baseball team? Come on, get it together!) Alright look, ill admit, I didn’t memorize the exact permutation, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Have I ever steered you wrong in the past? Hey, what are you doing? Don’t go back and look at my record on the season! Oh and I suppose you’re perfect?!? Leave me alone! Get out of my room! I hate you! I hate you!


Seahawks 27-24

Sunday Night


Tennessee at Green Bay

Hey guys, welcome back. You’re here just in time to hear from Cris Collinsworth about this very intriguing inter-conference match-up:

God bless you Cris.

Titans 38-35

Monday Night


Buffalo at New England 

After a tough loss, and another lackluster performance in Week 15, Cam Newton said "I have a lot of football left in me.” This makes me worried that he ate a football at some point and it still has not been completely extracted. That makes more sense than him thinking he can keep being a starter in the NFL, because clearly that’s no longer the case. What I’m most concerned about is the laces. Sure, the pigskin probably isn’t healthy to eat, but if you think about it most people have probably ingested pig skin here or there in the past. Those laces though, those are trouble. And if I had to bet, that’s what’s still left in Cam Newton. So please, if you can this holiday season, join me in donating to Cam Newton’s football extraction fund. Just search “LacesOut” on Venmo. Cam and I thank you in advance. 

Bills 30-16





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