I went 12-4 last week with my picks, and I actually predicted an upset correctly. Let’s go over the games.
DEN 25 – IND 13. Fun fact: The Colts have had the #1 pick in the NFL Draft a total of 7 times. That “honor” will be bestowed on the Browns next year, but this game is proof that the Colts are the masters of the tank. At 5-9, the Broncos are still learning how to master this art.
DET 20 – CHI 10. The Lions did enough on Saturday’s game to stay in the playoffs. However, their 14% chance to make it in (from fivethirtyeight.com) isn’t exactly favorable. As for the Bears, John Fox probably won’t be saving his job. The Bears need an offensive-minded coach to work with Trubisky. It worked for the Rams this year.
KC 30 – LAC 13. Well then, it looks like the Chargers reverted back to the way they played in September. Phillip Rivers threw 3 interceptions, and the game eventually became out of reach for the Bolts. The Chiefs just established themselves as the likely AFC West winner. A team that couldn’t beat the Giants and lost 6 of 7 at one point will be heading to the playoffs. Hooray for the AFC.
PHI 34 – NYG 29. Speaking of the Giants, they actually managed to keep things competitive against Philly. If the Giants special teams didn’t suck (they had a field goal and an extra point blocked!), they would’ve scored 30 points for the first time since January 3, 2016. Yes, Tom Coughlin was coach the last time the Giants scored 30+ points. As for the Eagles, Nick Foles is the least of your worries. Sure, he tore up a pathetic Giants defense, but I think he can totally pull a Jeff Hostetler and lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl. The question is, how is that defense going to fare against Tom Brady or Big Ben in that Super Bowl? If you gave up 29 to the Giants, I would guess that they won’t perform well.
MIN 34 – CIN 7. I picked the Vikings to win 34-10 in my prediction article last week. Wow, I was a field goal off! The Vikings continue to win with Case Keenum. It’s starting to look more and more like they can be playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
BAL 27 – CLE 10. The Ravens won as expected, and their playoff hopes are alive and well. They may be on the outside looking in now, but the Titans have been looking bad. Tennessee’s next two opponents are tough ones in the Rams and Jags (feels weird to type that). The other wild card team, the Bills, are facing the almighty Pats this week. As for the Ravens, they’re playing the Colts and Bengals at home. Time to punch your ticket to the playoffs. As for the Browns, time to punch your ticket to the 0-16 parade, despite what center J.C. Tretter might say. https://wtop.com/life-style/2017/12/browns-looking-for-win-hoping-to-ruin-plans-for-0-16-parade/
WAS 20 – ARI 15. Congrats Redskins, you won a meaningless game against another mediocre NFC team. In reality, the Cardinals aren’t mediocre, it’s just that they’ve been decimated by injuries. It’s impressive that they were actually technically alive in the playoffs one week ago. These are two teams that have uncertain futures at the QB position. It should be interesting to see what they do in a stacked 2018 draft.
CAR 31 – GB 24. As I predicted, the Panthers would dash the Packers playoff hopes here. Aaron Rodgers didn’t look like himself, throwing three picks. He’ll be out the rest of the year, and the Packers will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Packers roster has been exposed this season as being not that good without Rodgers. As for the Panthers, they’ve won 6 of 7. The NFC needs to look out for them (after all, they beat Minnesota, and there is now questions surrounding Philly).
NO 31 – NYJ 19. As expected, the Saints won and retained their division lead. Hey Jets, look on the bright side. You covered that 15 point spread. Bryce Petty only threw 2 interceptions. That’s something, right?
BUF 24 – MIA 16. The Bills playoff hopes are at 36% (even though they’re currently in as the 6th seed). Why is that? Well, they’re facing New England next week. The good news for them is anything can happen within the division (the Dolphins certainly proved that 2 weeks ago). And Tommy Terrific has looked a little rusty so far in December (2 TDs to 4 INTs). As for the Dolphins, your playoff hopes now sit a 3%. Five thirty eight is probably being generous with that number.
JAC 45 – HOU 7. The Jags made the playoffs in style, demolishing Houston and demanding the NFL respect them. I certainly do respect them as the 3rd best team in the AFC, but only the 4th most likely team to make the Super Bowl from that conference (Baltimore has far better playoff experience). It’s been a long time for the Jags, as I was an elementary school student the last time they made the postseason. As for the Texans, 2018 will certainly be interesting. You may have dealt your first rounder to the Browns, but if your team can stay healthy, they might be Super Bowl contenders next year.
LAR 42 – SEA 7. I picked the Rams to get an upset win here, and they destroyed their division rival in epic fashion. It now appears that Seattle will miss the playoffs, as their locker room has been a complete mess. I predicted Seattle to miss out on postseason football (which is about the only prediction I got right when it came to the NFC this year, and even then it’s not certain). The Rams have truly shocked the world at 10-4. Under Sean McVay, this team could be a winner for years to come.
SF 25 – TEN 23. Jimmy G has been screwing up the Niners draft position one game at a time, and his undefeated streak as an NFL starter continues. In any case, they’ve likely found their QB of the future, and their moves in 2018 will be interesting. The Titans, meanwhile, look like they could be collapsing. They still have a 63% chance of making the postseason, but momentum isn’t on their side.
NE 27 – PIT 24. Even though I picked the Patriots, I was rooting strongly for my 2nd favorite team to finally beat their Patriot overlords. When JuJu Smith-Schuster had that crazy catch & run, I thought to myself “They’re actually gonna pull it off!”. Then Jesse James got robbed of a TD because of a stupid rule (it was the right call, just a bad rule in my opinion), and of course the Pats ended it like they did against Seattle. You will suffer a similar fate in the Championship game, Pittsburgh.
DAL 20 – OAK 17. The Raiders have gone through the Immaculate Reception, the Tuck Rule Game, and now the Index Card game. They’ve now been all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, while the Cowboys are still barely in the hunt at 8-6 (that’s the difference between the NFC and AFC).
ATL 24 – TB 21. The Falcons held on to victory here, but the Bucs kept it close. It’s good that Atlanta didn’t fall into the trap game, as their chances to make the playoffs are now at a strong 84%. As for the Bucs, time to forget about this disappointing year and move on.
Now, let’s get into Week 16.
IND @ BAL. The Ravens will be playing with more urgency, as they want to get into the playoffs. Not to mention, they’re a far better team. They’ll win 24-17.
MIN @ GB. The Vikings are fighting for playoff football in their home stadium, while the Packers are out of the playoffs and have Brett Hundley at QB. You can probably guess who I’m picking. The Vikes win it 30-21.
LAR @ TEN. After these past few weeks, I just find it hard to trust the Titans. With that being said, they’ll probably find a a way to win. Nonetheless, I expect this game to go similar to Super Bowl XXXIV, with the Titans once again coming up a yard short. Rams win 30-24.
BUF @ NE. I’d like to think the Bills will be playing tough football, trying to keep themselves in the Wild Card chase. And another thing going in their favor is that Brady hasn’t looked that great this month, as I mentioned earlier. I’m picking… the Bills! Is this smart? Absolutely not. But, the Pats lost against Miami, and I think they could be on upset alert again. I think the Pats being 12 and a half point favorites is disrespectful towards Buffalo, and I’ll pick the Bills to win in a shocker, 29-27. Upset of the week!
CLE @ CHI. People everywhere are saying the Browns will experience deja vu, winning again on Christmas Eve, “improving” their record to 1-14 for 2 straight seasons. However, I’ve picked the Browns two times this year, which is already too many times for my liking. The Bears will win 23-20.
ATL @ NO. The Saints want to wrap this division up, and playing at the Superdome will certainly help them beat Atlanta. Losing Alvin Kamara truly hurt them in their last game against Atlanta. He’s back, so the Saints should be able to win this one 31-27.
DET @ CIN. The Lions want to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Bengals are essentially waiting for Marvin Lewis to get out of town (can’t believe I picked the Bengals to make the playoffs, don’t look back at my preseason prediction article). The Lions will win 26-20, as they have something to play for.
TB @ CAR. Carolina is a good, playoff team, Tampa Bay isn’t. Of course, I picked Tampa to win their division. Once again, don’t look back at my season prediction article. Carolina wins 27-17.
MIA @ KC. The Dolphins are all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, while the Chiefs want to take the final steps towards securing the AFC West crown. They’re playing at Arrowhead, and the Chiefs are going back to their winning formula from their first 5 weeks of the season. Give me Kansas City to win 27-23.
DEN @ WAS. The Broncos may have won their last two games, but make no mistake, their team still stinks. The Redskins may be mediocre, but they’re playing at home and will be playing for more pride than the Broncos. The Skins will win 26-17.
LAC @ NYJ. The Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives, the Jets are starting Bryce Petty. You can probably guess who I’m picking. Chargers win 24-13.
JAC @ SF. Jimmy GOAT-oppolo may be undefeated as a starter and have two super bowl rings, but his offensive line is offensively over-matched against the best defense in the NFL. The Jags will make this game a nightmare for him, and Jacksonville will win a close, defensive struggle 19-13.
SEA @ DAL. The Seahawks put up a nightmarish performance last week, embarrassing themselves in front of their home crowd. There’s now drama in the locker room, and it appears the Rams will have overtaken them as NFC West champions. As for the Cowboys, they look to be playing with more urgency for the playoffs. They’ll win 27-20.
NYG @ ARI. Drew Stanton will be back at QB for the Cards. His task: Defeat the NY Giants. Should be easy enough. Cards win 24-17.
PIT @ HOU. Football fans can spend more time with their family on Christmas, knowing that this game won’t be close. Steelers win 34-14 in my lock of the week.
OAK @ PHI. Though it may have been against a pathetic Giants defense riddled with injuries, Nick Foles still looks good. He and Derek Carr will get into a shootout, with the Birds winning 34-30.
My Pick Record This Season: 138-87