Sorry I couldn’t make an article last week, I had some things going on in my personal life. I still made picks though, but went a very underwhelming 8-8. Let’s look back at those game, shall we?
ATL 20 – NO 17. I started this week off with a W, but barely. Matt Ryan had a really bad game, but Drew Brees didn’t perform so well either. Losing Alvin Kamara truly hurt the Saints here, and now the Falcons and Panthers are creeping up on them in the division. It will be interesting to see who wins the South.
GB 27 – CLE 21 (OT). I learned this lesson a while ago: Don’t pick the Browns. I honestly believe they’re going 0-16. When I was following along the little scoreboard in the early afternoon games, I saw the Browns were up 21-7. I thought to myself, they’ll still lose since they’re the Browns. They did. New GM John Dorsey needs to establish a winning culture with this franchise. Coach Hue Jackson’s 1-28 record may be laughable, but former GM Sashi Brown was the main culprit of this disaster. As for the Packers, they need to run the table to make the playoffs. The bad news? You barely scraped by the Browns. The good news? #12 is back.
DET 24 -TB 21. I did pick Detroit here to win this game, as they probably had more urgency to keep any playoff hopes alive. FiveThirtyEight only gives them a 16% chance of making postseason football in a highly competitive NFC, and if they defy the odds and make it… they’ll still probably have a first round exit. As for the Bucs, you guys are one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments. Not THE biggest one, as that of course belongs to my favorite team, the Giants.
KC 26 – OAK 15. The Chiefs were on an ugly losing streak, and I picked the Raiders to get it done at Arrowhead. Unfortunately, the Raiders didn’t show up, and their season is just about over now. As for the Chiefs, they got a much needed W and will face the Chargers next week, in a game that will likely decide the division winner.
CAR 31 – MIN 24. The Vikings were on quite a winning streak, and I just couldn’t pick against them. Well, the Panthers finally snapped Minnesota’s streak. Is Cam Newton consistent? No. But a strong running game and defense helped Carolina win, as Case Keenum finally started to look like Case Keenum again. The NFC needs to look out for the Panthers, as many of them have experience making a Super Bowl run.
SF 26 – HOU 16. I took San Francisco to win here, as Jimmy G continues to help the Niners ruin their draft position. It looks like San Fran has found their franchise QB with Jimmy, so that does however allow them to have some flexibility in the draft (they don’t have to trade up for a QB). The Texans meanwhile, need Deshaun Watson. It’s that simple.
BUF 13 – IND 7 (OT). In a snowy game filled with cheap ticket prices and very little offense, the Bills pulled out a win and still have some playoff hopes. FiveThirtyEight only gives them a 21% chance to break their infamous streak, but it’s a chance nonetheless. At the time I’m writing this article, it looks like Tyrod Taylor will be back next week. As for the Colts, you’re a mess. Time to forget about this season and think about 2018.
CHI 33 – CIN 7. I picked the Bengals here, simply thinking the home team would pull it off. It’s safe to say they didn’t. The Bears looked good here, shutting down a sputtering Bengals offense in what has been a bad season for them. As for the Bears, to me they can be the Rams of next year if they get rid of Fox, and get an offensive coach that works well with Trubisky.
DAL 30 – NYG 10. I picked my Giants to get it done here, powered by the emotion of having Eli back. I should’ve gone against those emotions, as Dallas was obviously the better team. However, New York did keep it competitive for three quarters, and for once we didn’t have a clown answering questions at the post-game presser. The next three weeks are big for Coach Spags. If he keeps the team competitive, the interim may keep his job (we’ve seen this happen with Doug Marrone and Jason Garrett). As for Dallas, you kept your playoff aspirations alive, but according to FiveThirtyEight…your aspirations of a postseason birth have a 4% chance of happening. It’s been a disappointing season for you as well.
ARZ 12 – TEN 7. The Titans disappointed here in a major way, losing to the Cardinals in a defensive battle. Marcus Mariota has had quite a disappointing season, but usually he’s done just enough to get a win. That wasn’t the case in this game. As MJ of SportsFanEntertainment said, it’s not time to hit the panic button quite yet for Tennessee. But if they lose next week to San Fran, then it’s panic time. As for the Cardinals, congrats to you guys and especially Blaine Gabbert. He got some big praise from Coach Bruce Arians: http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/261541/bruce-arians-blaine-gabberts-smarts-comparable-to-manning-luck
DEN 23 – NYJ 0. The Broncos were another one of those teams on an ugly losing streak. Their last win before this game was on October 1st, and so I picked the Jets to keep their bleak playoff hopes alive. Well, they suffered a disappointing loss, and Josh McCown has been added to the list of good QBs who have been injured this year. Yes, I said it. He played like a good QB this season. A 2:1 TD to INT ratio isn’t great, but it sure is good. As for the Broncos, congrats. You finally won, but you may have screwed up your draft position. Not to mention, Coach Vance Joseph is already on the hot seat after this first year. That’s not a good sign.
LAC 30 – WAS 13. The soccer stadium, 0-4 team that was once the laughingstock of the league is now 7-6 with a very legitimate shot of winning their division. They dominated the bumbling Redskins, as Phillip Rivers and the defense both had very good games. As for Washington, you’re 5-8 and out of the playoffs. Does Kirk Cousins hit the open market this offseason? It seems more and more likely.
JAC 30 – SEA 24. I picked Jacksonville to win, and they got the job done. They truly have been one of the feel good stories of the NFL this year. Just as people were finally saying “You know what, I don’t believe the offseason hype around Jacksonville”… they’re 9-4 and virtually guaranteed a ticket to the playoffs. Blake Bortles had a decent game. When he doesn’t turn the ball over, the Jags win. It’s a simple as that. As for Seattle, your chances at winning the division are still pretty solid after the Rams lost, but your next game against the Rams will be huge. Also, the brawl at the end of this game was completely stupid and a bad thing for the NFL.
PHI 43 – LAR 35. The Eagles were probably the favorite to win the NFC before the Wentz injury. Now, the door is wide open. While many people will probably want to dismiss the Eagles’ chances in the playoff, I totally think there’s a chance Nick Foles pulls a Jeff Hostetler and lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. If you don’t know who/what I’m talking about, look up Jeff Hostetler. As for the Rams, this loss hurts, and having Eagles fans completely invade your stadium and make you look like the other LA team is quite bad as well. But your playoff hopes also got a little better with the Wentz injury.
PIT 39 – BAL 38. Pittsburgh playing down to their competition, what else is new? However, they’re 11-2 and will probably have the AFC’s #1 seed if they manage to take down New England next week. Both teams played great offense, but injuries on defenses contributed to this. Of course losing Ryan Shazier was devastating for the Steelers, and we’re all hoping he recovers. But not having Jimmy Smith allowed the Steelers to tear up a normally good defense, and ultimately win the game.
MIA 27 – NE 20. WOW. This is why I mentioned that the Steelers should lock up the #1 seed if they beat New England next week. They would be two games ahead of the Pats, and have the tiebreaker of beating the Pats as well. No one expected Jay Cutler to outduel Tom Brady, but he did indeed do that. It’s New England though, and this losing surely will not persist. As Coach Belichick would probably say “We’re on to Pittsburgh”.
With Week 14 out of the way, let’s predict Week 15.
DEN @ IND. Yawn. So this game gets prime time, but Packers-Panthers, Rams-Seahawks, and Steelers-Pats don’t? I say it a lot, this is why you’re losing ratings NFL. I guess I’ll pick the Colts to win, as they’re the home team. They’ll win 19-14.
CHI @ DET. Once again, teams that are playing to keep their playoff hopes alive should usually win. The Lions need to stay alive, and they can’t let the Bears upset them. The Bears may have looked great last week, but the Lions should win this one 27-23.
LAC @ KC. In the 2nd of two Saturday matchups, we have what will essentially decide the AFC West. While the Chiefs finally snapped their losing streak last week, the Chargers got a big win and are clearly the hot team here. I’ll pick the Chargers to win 28-24.
PHI @ NYG. Maybe Spags will keep the Giants competitive, maybe he won’t. I’ll choose the latter option. The Giants will fall to 2-12 in this disastrous season, and the Eagles will win 35-13. Time to focus on 2018.
CIN @ MIN. Yeah, the Bengals suck and this should be a nice bounce back week for the Vikings. They will win 34-10 in my lock of the week.
BAL @ CLE. Don’t let the Browns play spoiler, Ravens. Your playoff aspirations still look good even after that loss to Pittsburgh, and we know that Joe Flacco is the AFC’s version of Eli Manning when it comes to postseason football. The Ravens will win here 24-20, as the Browns did almost win last week.
ARZ @ WAS. It’s another ugly game here, between two mediocre NFC teams that are out of playoff contention. Give me the Redskins to win at home, as they have the better QB. They’ll win 30-20.
GB @ CAR. While it may look like it’s time for one of those Aaron Rodgers “run the table” kind of runs, I’m picking Carolina to send the Packers packing. This is a Carolina team that has won 5 of their last 6, and I think they are possibly gearing up for another Super Bowl run. The Panthers will win 34-30.
NYJ @ NO. The Jets were a long shot to win this game even with Josh McCown at QB. Now with Bryce Petty at the helm, they’re 15 point underdogs. I’ll pick the Saints to win 35-21, just so the Jets do enough to cover the spread. Why not?
MIA @ BUF. As I mentioned earlier, the Bills are still in the playoff chase at 7-6, while the Dolphins are a long shot to make it at 6-7. The Bills will once again use the cold weather to their advantage (after all, the Dolphins play in Florida). Buffalo will win this one 24-20.
HOU @ JAC. The Jaguars will seal their ticket to the playoffs, and probably even the AFC South crown with a win here against the Texans. They can’t let this be a trap game in their pursuit of postseason football, as their defense and run game should once again get them a W. They’ll win 28-24.
LAR @ SEA. Even before the Rams were good, they had a tendency to upset the Seahawks. Their most disappointing game was a loss at home to Seattle this year. I think the losses of Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman will hurt Seattle here, and LA will get revenge on the road. The Rams will win 27-23 in my upset of the week.
TEN @ SF. I’m picking the Titans to win, but I can’t exactly say that with confidence. After all, it’s been brought up that Jimmy G is undefeated as a starting QB. But his first loss should come here, as the Titans will be playing with more urgency. Tennessee will win 20-17.
NE @ PIT. Tom Brady has got to be angry after that loss to the Dolphins. And that’s not a good sign for Pittsburgh. The Steelers may be playing at home, but the Pats have a tendency to own the Steelers (Pittsburgh is 3-10 against the Pats in the Brady-Belichick era). That will go down to 3-11, as the Patriots will win 34-20.
DAL @ OAK. It’s another disappointing prime time matchup, as both teams have very bleak playoff hopes. I suppose I’ll pick the Raiders to win as they are the home team. Dallas may have won last week, but that was against one of the league’s laughingstocks. Oakland will win 26-23.
ATL @ TB. The Falcons may be on upset alert here, as the Bucs will want to play for pride and to spoil their division rival’s playoff hopes. However, the Falcons are simply a better team and will be playing with more urgency. They’ll win 29-27, as the Bucs will keep it close.
My Picks the Last Two Weeks: 21-11
My Picks this Season: 126-83