Because of work and the holidays my picks were a bit delayed this week, and I apologize profusely for that. So with that being said, no puffery or fluff, lets get straight to the picks.
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions
The Thanksgiving game I am most looking forward to seeing may very well decide the winner of the NFC North. The Vikings’ offense is abysmal and in order to win they are dependent on their defense and special teams to score.
It could happen, but I doubt they will do it two weeks in a row. Lions win over a beat up and limited Vikings team.
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Kirk Cousins is getting a lot of positive press this week after his impressive performance against the Packers. But before we anoint him master of the universe, let us remember that a one-armed octogenarian could probably throw for 150 yards against the Packers.
Dallas is featuring the two front runners for rookie of the year, one of which is a prime candidate for MVP. Furthermore, players like Sean Lee, Cole Beasley, and Jason Witten are playing with more inspiration and vigor.
I like the Cowboys at home to keep on rolling.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts
At this point I have to admit that the Steelers are not as good as I thought and the Colts are not as bad as I thought. Neither teams has a good defense and Roethlisberger is obviously still hampered by lingering injuries.
The X-factor in this game will be the running game for each team. Simply put: the Steelers have Le’Veon Bell and the Colts do not.
I like the Steelers to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons
That Cardinals special teams unit is going to single-handedly keep them out of the playoffs. Their defense has been underwhelming and their offense inconsistent, but their special teams have been the difference.
And when you are facing the highest scoring team in the NFL, you cannot afford to give up field position. I like the Falcons to get the win in Atlanta.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North is a surprisingly terrible division. The Bengals are virtually out of the playoffs and are entering this week without Gio Bernard and A.J. Green, while going against the number one ranked defense in the NFL.
I like the Ravens to handle a very disappointing Cincinnati team.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills
I do not know what kind of perverted things Gus Bradley is doing to keep his job, but after 4 seasons I think it is safe to say that he is not an NFL head coach. The Jaguars simply seem unable to complete the simplest and most menial of tasks.
I like the Bills to win and keep up their hopes for a wild card bid.
New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns
Landon Collins for the Giants is currently the front-runner for defensive player of the year; and he will likely only help his cause this week against the Browns. What is there to say? The Browns are built to lose this year, they have the worst offensive line in football, they lack talent, and do not have any leadership on or off the field.
San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans
How is that 4 years $72 million contract for Brock Osweiler looking now Houston? The Texans have all the talent necessary to be successful, they just do not have a quarterback.
The Chargers do.
Behind a more competent quarterback and a resurgent running game, I like the Chargers to take this one in Houston.
San Francisco 49ers @ Miami Dolphins
As a rule of thumb, never bet against a hot team. In this case, not many teams enter this week hotter than the Miami Dolphins who are looking for their 6th win in a row against a hapless 49ers squad.
Miami keeps rolling.
Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears
Both offensive tackles injured, Cutler possibly gone for the season, Alshon Jeffrey and Jerrell Freeman suspended….The Bears are the ultimate punchline to a very unfunny joke. And as someone who lives in the Chicago-land area I can say with confidence that the Bears are not winning another game this season.
Titans win against a pathetic Chicago team.
Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints
The poor Saints. Two weeks ago they lose on a flukey extra point block and last week they simply run out of time before they can complete the comeback. The Saints are a very good offensive team, with a defense that is struggling to find consistency.
But they have two things going for them this week: 1) they are playing in New Orleans, and 2) there is no way the Rams are outscoring them.
Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both of these teams have been playing exceptionally well over the past three weeks. But right now Russell Wilson may be the MVP of the NFL and Doug Baldwin is establishing himself as a premier receiver in the NFL.
I like the Seahawks to win this one.
Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders
Despite their win last week over a team with a great offense, I still have no faith in the Panthers to out-duel the Raiders. Derek Carr has found one hell of a groove and Khalil Mack is capable of making enough impact plays to single-handedly disrupt the Panthers’ offense.
I like the Raiders to win.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Really? Tom Brady versus one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL? This has the makings of a slaughter.
Patriots win (unfortunately).
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Probably the toughest game to call. The Chiefs have been good (but not great) in all phases of the game, but they have an annoying habit of falling behind early and playing catchup in the 4th quarter. If that happens here, that Broncos’ defense will not allow the Chiefs to rally.
That being said, I do believe the Chiefs have the better overall team and that they will pick up the victory on the road.
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles
The shit-show that is occurring in Green Bay makes for fantastic reality TV and dramatic entertainment, but it does not win football games. The Eagles and Carsen Wentz have come to Earth over the past few weeks, but at home in prime time I like their chances against a Green Bay team that is constantly being exposed for the overrated roster they really are.