This is the “impossible” week to pick. Some teams are as likely to start players as bench them. Some teams have already mailed in the season and won’t try. Some teams will actually try, but it might be against another “mailed it in” team. And some games will simply take forever with neither team necessarily caring if they win.
I’m not sure how much stock I would put in these picks is what I’m saying.
Last Week: 12-4
Miami Dolphins (7-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-10) 11:00am CBS
The Good: We get the garbage game over quickly.
The Bad: Alcohol won’t have sunk in to make this game bearable.
Prediction: Dolphins 20, Bills 17? Maybe?
Detroit Lions (5-10) at Green Bay Packers (6-8-1) 11:00am FOX
The Good: Wisconsin has some delicious cheese.
The Bad: Detroit as a whole. Ok, and the Packers too.
Prediction: Lions 23, Packers 25
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) at Houston Texans (10-5) 11:00am CBS
The Good: Each time I hear the owner of the Jag’s last name, I think of Captain Kirk yelling “KAHN!!!!”
The Bad: The Texans might not really play all their starters.
Prediction: Jags 6, Texans 20
New York Jets (4-11) at New England Patriots (10-5) 11:00am CBS
The Good: The Patriots kinda suck this year and are a lucky 10 win team.
The Bad: The Jets in general, and the fact the Patriots are still in the playoffs.
Prediction: Jets 13, Patriots 23
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (13-2) 11:00am FOX
The Good: I’m going to the divisional round game in New Orleans!
The Bad: That’s still a few weeks away. And the Saints likely rest their starters this week.
Prediction: Panthers 10, Saints 23
Dallas Cowboys (9-6) at New York Giants (5-10) 11:00am FOX
The Good: This game is meaningless for both teams so nobody has to suffer though it.
The Bad: Except Jeff Essary and his Cowboy onesie PJs.
Prediction: Cowboys 17, Giants 19
Atlanta Falcons (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10) 11:00am FOX
The Good: Tampa Bay has some bomb Cuban food and amazing places like Ybor City.
The Bad: That this game is even being televised. NFL should pay the commercial sponsors for this.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Bucs 30
Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) at Baltimore Ravens (9-6) 2:25pm CBS
The Good: Baker freaking Mayfield
The Bad: That the Broncos don’t have Baker Mayfield
Prediction: Browns 20, Ravens 24
Oakland Raiders (4-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) 2:25pm CBS
The Good: Patrick Mahomes. Even as a KC Hater, I love that kid.
The Bad: The fact he’s in our division.
The Good Bonus: That the Chiefs are allergic to December & January success.
Prediction: Raiders 27, Chiefs 31
Chicago Bears (11-4) at Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) 2:25pm FOX
The Good: The Bear’s record meaning they’ll mop the floor with Cousins.
The Bad: Except they’re likely resting players so Cousins will play the JV squad and help his “can’t beat a winning team” stats.
Prediction: Bears 17, Vikings 23
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1) 2:25pm CBS
The Good: The smug ass Steeler fans can use those annoying F’ing towels to wipe their tears with for missing the playoffs after blowing an insurmountable division lead.
The Bad: They’ll likely still win this game so their smug ass tears won’t be as salty as they should be.
Prediction: Bengals 20, Steelers 28
Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) at Washington Redskins (7-8) 2:25pm FOX
The Good: Nick Foles when he’s not the actual starter of a franchise.
The Bad: The Redskins’ front office management.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Redskins 17
Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) at Denver Broncos (6-9) 2:25pm CBS
You’re gonna hear the following from staff and fans alike: “You never root for for the Broncos to lose!” and “Draft order doesn’t mean anything” and “Real fans blah blah blah”
Zip it, all of you. This season is a steaming pile of excrement. The ONLY thing the Broncos have going for them is their draft order and this year’s draft picks, which was only doable because we LOST the last meaningless game of the season. I’d contend that a REAL fan wants the Broncos to do the best possible thing for the franchise: you know, the name on the front of the jersey. And the best thing for this franchise to do is to get as good of a draft pick as possible because you want your choice of the better players instead of the “crapshoot” players.
Real fans want the long term viability of the franchise. Real fans know that sometimes you have to crack a damn egg to make a delicious omelet. Real fans can see past “next week” and towards what’s best next year.
Save the rah rah for your kids soccer games. In order for the Broncos to win, they must lose this game. As I said in a comment section when a commenter said “is there really a difference between pick #11 and pick #16?” I said “yeah, J.J. Watt was pick #11, Ryan Kerrigan was #16” So yeah, future hall of fame player or someone I had to freaking google. That’s the difference between winning a meaningless game and doing what comes so naturally (i.e. losing). Do you know who IS NOT available at #16? Von Miller isn’t. JJ Watt isn’t. Baker Mayfield isn’t! You want as high a pick as you can to get the player who won’t be there later. And don’t be “that guy” and say “Tom Brady was pick 199!” We get it, broken clocks are correct twice a day, sun shines on dog’s asses every now and again, and sometimes a 6th rounder is a hall of fame. But that isn’t a draft strategy. By pretending like it is shows that you need a crash course in Vance Joseph’s ‘Football 101/Football IQ” every week.
Look, the Broncos are the sad ass punchline to the joke. We are. Time to wake up from your coma and realize that it’s been 3 painful and embarrassing years since we were good. Hell, it’s been 2 years since we’ve been competitive. If you want to stay in this trash heap with the rest of the garbage teams, by all means, root for a Broncos victory. If you’re sick and tired of being an embarrassment, then you realize that the draft is the way out, and increasing the odds of drafting a hall of fame player and solid starters in the subsequent rounds is the only way off said pile.
So be a REAL and TRUE fan and root for the name on the front of the jersey instead of what your “feelings” in the moment want. Rooting for a win is a crime of passion, punishable by a lifetime sentence. Knowing that losing is what’s best for the team is called wisdom!
Prediction: I don’t care as long as the Broncos get a better draft pick. Also: Chargers 31, Broncos 6 We don’t even have Phillip Lindsay to bail us out.
San Francisco 49ers (4-11) at Los Angeles Rams (12-3) 2:25pm FOX
The Good: Kyle Shanahan’s coaching ability.
The Bad: The Rams having a bye week before they figure their defense out.
Prediction: Niners 18, Rams 20
Arizona Cardinals (3-12) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6) 2:25pm FOX
The Good: The Broncos not drafting Josh Rosen
The Bad: Suffering through the “12th Man” nonsense yet another week.
Prediction: Cardinals 3, Seahawks 24
Indianapolis Colts (9-6) at Tennessee Titans (9-6) 6:20pm NBC SNF
The Good: Andrew Luck looks to be back.
The Bad: Luck’s offensive line sucks as bad as Mariota’s game.
Prediction: Colts 17, Titans 16