Last Week: 13-3
Overall: 134-73-1

Chargers @ Broncos

The AFC playoff picture is a jumbled puzzle, but the primary puzzle piece is the Denver Broncos. Now it’s just whether or not the rest of the puzzle must go through Denver for the playoffs. I’ve been waiting for the Broncos to stumble all season because the Denver defense is just no good. Starting the year without Champ Bailey and Von Miller, there was some slight hope that Denver could get healthy and make an impact once they have their full complement. But Champ Bailey hasn’t been able play in more than a handful of games and Von Miller can’t terrorize opposing offenses all by himself. Although I was banking on Peyton Manning to continue his reign over division foes, I was not surprised to see San Diego flawlessly execute their offensive game plan and keep the ball away from Manning. If not for stupid defensive penalties, the Broncos would have had 7 more minutes in the 4th quarter to secure the win.

Win: Denver Broncos

Redskins @ Falcons

Mike Shanahan is down on his knees begging to be fired. Regardless of the company line, there’s no reason a healthy RGIII should be benched for the final 3 games of the season. It is inexcusable. And it’s going to backfire on the Redskins—making Mike Shanahan’s face a darker shade of red. Kirk Cousins isn’t without talent, but I don’t think he’ll play well enough to warrant a higher draft pick if Washington decides to trade him this offseason. This can only end bad. If Cousins falls flat on his face in these final 3 games, it degrades his trade value and virtually guarantees that the St. Louis Rams will draft No. 1 with Washington’s draft pick this season from the RGIII trade. For the record, I was not around for my Fantasy Football draft and the computer auto-selected Robert Griffin III as my QB.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Bears @ Browns

Cutler

The Return of Smokin’ Jay! I may have had a noose around my neck by being handicapped with RGIII as my Fantasy Football QB, but I’ve still found my way into the Semi-Finals powered behind the surge of Josh Gordon. And now, I’m a riverboat gambler going all in with Jay Cutler. In what’s mostly an uninteresting national match-up, I will be glued to the TV to see the performances of Jay Cutler, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron. Hopefully this is a shootout with deep passes launched downfield. But if the Bears get a comfortable 10-point lead, they’ll deflate the ball and pound Matt Forte against Cleveland’s defensive line.

Win: Chicago Bears

Texans @ Colts

Gary Kubiak is gone. Matt Schaub is still there though. Houston is a mess right now, and I imagine the Texans just want to end this season as soon as possible. With nothing to gain from winning this game aside from upsetting their division rival, the Houston Texans should just be jockeying for draft position at this point. Indianapolis is still playing wildly inconsistent football, but the division is locked up and the Colts just need to grind and stay competitive. The focus in this game should be shutting Ben Tate and the running game down, which would force Houston’s incompetent quarterback to win the game by himself.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Patriots @ Dolphins

With Denver losing to San Diego, this is a prime opportunity for the Patriots to step up and claim the No. 1 seed for the playoffs. But New England took one step forward and then two steps back with the loss of Rob Gronkowski. Fortunately, the Patriots still have a dynamic playmaker in Shane Vereen who is monstrous as a pass catcher and mediocre as a running back. Miami will struggle to match up well with Vereen, which could be the deciding factor in this game because the Dolphins lack any such difference-maker. The only hope I give Miami is a Christmas miracle where the offensive line protects Ryan Tannehill long enough to connect on a few game-changing downfield passes to Mike Wallace. That’s it.

Win: New England Patriots

Eagles @ Vikings

The 2013 season for Minnesota has been a year of retarded musical chairs at the QB position. And now, the Vikings will be without running backs Adrian Peterson and the dopey white wonder Toby Gerhart. Minnesota could be spotted a 10-point lead, and they’d still find a way to mismanage the game and fumble the win away. Chip Kelly is finally hitting his stride and there’s no way he allows Philadelphia to lose. Expect a ton of safe passes from Nick Foles to support heavy running from LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Seahawks @ Giants

Well, the public was right last week and I was wrong…by only a slim margin. San Francisco had no business beating Seattle last week, but it was a fairly predictable stumble on the road for Seattle against an always tough divisional opponent. Don’t expect a repeat this week. The Giants have found no stability this season and New York needs to keep Eli Manning healthy through the end of the year. There’s a sliver of a percentage of a chance that the Giants can keep competitive, but I don’t envision a scenario where Seattle turns the ball over enough to gift New York a win. Expect Marshawn Lynch to maul the Giants.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

49ers @ Buccaneers

Greg Schiano still has a job and the Buccaneers are playing cagey football. Tampa Bay is a muddled huddle on offense each week, but Schiano has the defense playing tough week in and week out. San Francisco is riding a nice high off a home win against Seattle, but Tampa Bay is a bad match-up since they have the requisite speed to contain Kaepernick. If the Buccaneers had a healthy Doug Martin and a stable quarterback, I would bet on Tampa Bay to upset San Francisco. Despite Mike Glennon’s occasional competent stretches, I don’t see the necessary points appearing on the scoreboard for the Buccaneers unless they can generate 3 turnovers on defense.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Bills @ Jaguars

Seriously? No one in Buffalo or Jacksonville will even watch this game.

Win: Jacksonville Jaguars

Chiefs @ Raiders

Kansas City’s ceiling is limited, but that doesn’t mean the Chiefs aren’t good. It just means that they can’t be a truly elite team at this point. Andy Reid has done wonders with Alex Smith this season, which is nothing new since he’s transformed the recent careers of the likes of Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb, and Nick Foles. Oakland doesn’t have the same guru working on their side, but they do have comparable talent with Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor. Unfortunately, those Raiders quarterbacks are career back-ups at best. If Oakland can force Alex Smith to make some mistakes, then the Raiders stand a chance to control the ball and the game because of Kansas City’s limited offense.

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Jets @ Panthers

Rex Ryan could finally be fired this year! While my hatred for Rex Ryan should be fully established by now, I do not have the same hatred for Rob Ryan—defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. But the problem for both of the Ryan brothers is that they are defensive coordinators. How much more of a sample size do you need to come to the conclusion that Rex Ryan is not capable of creating the components for an above-average offense? Rex Ryan can sure coach up a defense and overachieve. The Jets are simply asking too much of Rex Ryan. If you can pair a strong defensive coach with a creative offensive mind, then that NFL team might actually stand a chance. Carolina is threating to do the same with Rivera on defense and Shula on offense. The proof is on the field as the Panthers have been playing out of their minds with a cast of mediocre players on offense surrounding Cam Newton. Time will tell if that’s enough during the playoffs, but it’s certainly enough for this game against the Jets.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Packers @ Cowboys

Aaron Rodgers still isn’t starting, which means we get to watch Matt Flynn struggle to throw the ball more than 10 yards. This is a perfect storm for a potential rebound for the Dallas defense, which was horribly embarrassed by another back-up quarterback last week. If Tony Romo loses this December game, then expect the national heat to ratchet up another notch. The fact remains that the Dallas Cowboys will always suck as long as Jerry Jones is making the decisions. What Cowboys fan wouldn’t welcome back Bill Parcells with open arms at this point?

Win: Dallas Cowboys

Cardinals @ Titans

Finally getting his first opportunity, Bruce Arians is not garnering enough attention for what he’s doing in Arizona. We all know Carson Palmer is not good and Rashard Mendenhall has never made a difference since entering the NFL. With a great defense, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t asking Carson and Co. to do too much. If Tennessee had more than a mediocre back-up like Ryan Fitzpatrick, then the Cardinals would be the template that the Titans should hope to emulate. It’ll be interesting to see how Tennessee handles the offseason because you could be looking at a Wild Card playoff team next year. Good luck getting there with Mr. Harvard.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Saints @ Rams

Jeff Fisher is a hell of a coach. After pulling the trigger on the tough RGIII trade, St. Louis could potentially change the entire direction of the franchise. And best of yet, the Rams don’t have to actually try to tank because their draft pick is tied to the sinking ship that is the Washington Redskins. New Orleans is operating at maximum efficiency offensively so don’t expect a slipup in this match-up against the Rams. The Saints will need to stuff the run and put the ball in Kellen Clemens’ hands for the win.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Bengals @ Steelers

With Denver stumbling, all of the national hype has focused squarely on the Cincinnati Bengals as the team everyone favors for their tough defense and consistency through a turbulent season. But be careful, the Pittsburgh Steelers could easily defend the ketchup at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh almost pulled off the comeback last week against the Dolphins, and they’ll want to make their mark in the Sunday night match-up. If the Ginger Gunslinger can’t run ‘n gun his way to a win, then the Bengals will likely be another one and done in the playoffs. My expectations are thoroughly lowered without an impressive running game to support Andy Dalton.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Ravens @ Lions

Despite the blizzard conditions last week, Detroit completely broke down and lost in embarrassing fashion against the Philadelphia Eagles, which was expected considering the awful coaching from Jim Schwartz. Baltimore could be clicking at the perfect moment again, but the Ravens will face an uphill climb to get into the playoffs. Dennis Pitta’s return could be a difference-maker offensively, and he did score the deciding touchdown last week in a crazy finish. For at least this week, I’ll ride the roller coaster of the Ravens.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s