Thursday, December 30, 2010

NFL Week 17 Picks: Enter The Tenties

This week marks the actual start of the second decade of the new century, as well as the 50th year anniversary of the last Eagles team that ended the year with a playoff win. It's also the first time that we can start thinking about a new decade name to generalize the era in a simplistic and superficial way that won't actually work, but will allow for lazy writers and producers to refer to the era in a way that will make us all think, "Oh, that time when we all got used to a lower standard of life. Woo!"

I realize this is unduly downbeat, especially considering that this picks column went 11-5 ATS this week, pulling the lifetime mark back over .500... but considering that we were 11-3 before the home favorites dogged it on Week Night Football, even a solid week gives me a good case of the snarls. There's also the fact that with a week left in the season-long fantasy points league, I'm right where I always am -- smack dab on the bubble, with a better than even chance of not getting my money back, but also having a poor draft position for next year. I'm just a big old ball of happy about all of this, of course. But what the hey, maybe I pick better when I'm angry.

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

Carolina at ATLANTA (-14.5)

The only happy moment from last night's wildly frustrating MNF game for this Falcons backer was reading the Bad Tooth's Twitter feed, where he puled hard for hours about how bad a pick he had made. In a home loss by three points to the defending Super Bowl champions, in a game where your sure-handed power running back fumbles at the one. Honestly, how many more Boston teams have to win championships until this mind-boggingly spoiled only child drops the woe is me attitude? So at least I got to enjoy his misery.

This week, with the #1 seed still on the line and RB Michael Turner looking for redemption, against a team that never actually started trying this year, against a QB that will never start another game in the NFL... well, let's just say the Falcons have a bye. They just will have to play through it.

Falcons 31, Panthers 10

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland (+6)

If RB Peyton Hillis weren't worn out, I'd really like the Browns to cover this number. It's a division game with a hated adversary, and the Browns' passing defense and offensive line are both quality units. But they won't be able to avoid mistakes in the passing game, and Steeler Nation will do their level best to ruin the Browns' home field advantage. When you add in the extra rest for the road team, and the fact that their last game was a rollover against the Panthers, I think they make the number. With a hard sweat.

Steelers 21, Browns 13

MINNESOTA at Detroit (-3

The Vikings come in with an utterly unexpected road win against the Eagles, and get a thoroughly banged up Lions team in a game that should not be televised, and probably won't be seen outside of the local markets. Minny will have a better chance if they start rookie QB Joe Webb, who will have a much better chance of avoiding the Lions rush than ancient drama queen QB Brett Favre. I'm hoping that since the game won't be on Big TV, His Favreness will stay away after the last concussion. But you never know.

In any event, RB Adrian Peterson looked manly last week, and the Vikings defense will compete. The Lions have had a nice year, but they are still two years away.

Vikings 24, Lions 20

OAKLAND at Kansas City (-4)

Nothing to play for with the Chiefs, who should bench the starters and take a de facto bye week against their irrelevant rivals. Since it's a home game, there's a reasonable chance that the Chiefs avoid that, but even if they do, the Raiders have a power running game and enough playmakers to make the number. But honestly, if I were a Chiefs Fan, I'd be hoping for a lot of QB Brodie Croyle to give starting QB Matt Cassel a better chance to recover from his recent appendectory. I'd also be sending the Bengals a thank you card for taking out the Chargers, and to Chargers management for hiring Norv Turner.

Raiders 26, Chiefs 24

Miami at NEW ENGLAND (-2.5)

The low number reflects the fact that everyone expects the Patriots to sit their starters in a big way, and the Dolphins have been a surprisingly good road team this year. But the thing about the Patriots is that they don't actually like to be predictable, and they also don't lose at home, no matter who they start. I'm also really not thinking the Dolphins are in any mood to do anything but arrange tee times after they've had their season ruined by terrible QB play.

Patriots 27, Dolphins 17

Tampa Bay at NEW ORLEANS (-8)

The Bucs need this game more than the Saints, but they just aren't healthy enough to compete, and the Saints are still dreaming of a home playoff game. But even if they don't get one of those -- and with the Falcons playing the Panthers, they won't -- they will be moved to give their fans a nice last look at the defending champions.

Saints 34, Bucs 17

Buffalo at NY JETS (-1)

Nothing to play for but pride and momentum for the Jets, which means they have more to play for than the Bills. The real danger here is if backup QB Mark Brunnell looks better than starter Mark Sanchez, not that anyone but the most reactionary Jets fan would want to go to an ancient rag-armer. In other words, all of them.

Jets 24, Bills 16

CINCINNATI at Baltimore (-9.5)

A nice end of the year from the Benglas, who have popped two in a row once WR Terrell Owens was carted off. They've also done quite well against the Ravens, with RB Cedric Benson having much more success than expected against the stout Ravens line. Since Baltimore needs the game to improve playoff positioning, the world expects them to come out and crush in this game... but with WR Anquan Boldin being MIA for the second half of the season, they just aren't that explosive. Cincy will cover, but not win.

Ravens 28, Bengals 20

San Diego at DENVER (-3.5)

Who cares less? I'm giving in to the Jebus Tebow Train here, as the rookie has been productive, and given the Broncos enough of a threat to wake up the running game. I also think that there's something going on here -- a cult, perhaps? -- that will combine with the home crowd to give the Broncos the nod. Charger Fan might prefer a return to wild fires or murd slides than Norvalicisous.

Broncos 24, Chagers 17

Chicago at GREEN BAY (-10)

The game of the day... until the Eagles spit the bit against the Vikings, giving the Bears an effort-free bye, and causing the remaining Giants Fans who still wanted to see their team make the playoffs (not many of them at this point) to ramp up the hate. The Bears will mail this one in to their hated rival, rather than risk exposure to what might be a (much) better team right now. This one won't be close, and the Packers will also be resting starters in the second half.

Packers 31, Bears 10

Tennessee at INDIANAPOLIS (-10)

Rising once again are the Colts, who have spent the last month defending the run well (the bastards) and getting a semblance of a running game together. They actually need the game to clinch the division and their playoff spot, not that there will be any drama involved in that, since the Jaguars no longer have QB David Garrard. One more solid week will have loose observers thinking that the Colts are back. They aren't, but it will take another week to learn that. (Oh, and if this isn't the last game of Jeff Fisher's remarkably long career as the Titans' head man, it's just his job for life.)

Colts 34, Titans 17


I couldn't be more confident about this game, for one big reason: Eagles QB Kevin Kolb is actually very good, and the team as a whole will not spend two straight weeks stinking up the joint, even if there is nothing on the line. Eagles coach Andy Reid has a great track record for recovering from crush games, because he rarely if ever holds his own players out to dry in public, preferring to take the heat for himself. Against a mobile but not that mobile rookie QB Stephen McGee, with a locker room filled with players who are suddenly doubting themselves and not looking forward to hosting a terrifying Packers team, they'll need a pick me up. And the Cowboys will provide it.

Eagles 34, Cowboys 24

ARIZONA at San Francisco (-6.5)

Finally, the wort playoff contending team in modern history -- the Mike Singletary 49ers, who ping-ponged between terrible QBs while wasting defensive talent -- is out. This week, sans useless coach and in front of a home crowd that actually chanted this year for David Carr, they'll host the similar train wrecky Cardinals, who at least look like a team this month. To think, if they had just went for Donovan McNabb, Jason Campbell, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shaun Hill or a dozen other properties, they'd have double-digit wins and December off to lie in the weeds for a 5th seed. Criminal.

Cardinals 24, Niners 20

NEW YORK at Washington (+3)

The Giants need the game and start a turnover machine. The Skins don't, and start a bigger turnover machine. I'll go with the club that can get after the QB more, and try to forget how I thought that both of these teams were going to win 10+ games and get into the playoffs this year.

Giants 31, Redskins 20

Jacksonville at HOUSTON (-2.5)

Two of the more disappointing teams in the league, in that both of them could have saved us from another Peyton Manning postseason, but didn't. With Texans Fan supposedly on the verge of protests for the head of lame-schmuck coach Gary Kubiak, I'm looking for the home team to put a big number on the board, with RB Arian Foster continuing to be one of the best values this year in fantasy football. And yes, if I had simply pulled the trigger on him in my league, I definitely take down money, and maybe even the crown. So much hate. (And getting back to this game? The Jaguars are starting Trent "Captain Checkdown" Edwards at QB. Don't be stingy in your road bet against him, folks.)

Texans 34, Jaguars 16

ST. LOUIS at Seattle (-1.5)

The only game on the docket that NBC could flex for guaranteed playoff goodness is NFC West Kom Oh Dee, where the home Seahawks can qualify for the post-season with a losing record by just getting past the visting baby Rams. St. Louis has hopes on the health, or lack thereof, of Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck. It's not like Hass is actually any good, but his backup, Charlie Whitehurst, is just terrible, and it's not as if the Seattle run game or defense can carry the mail alone. I'm looking for the Rams, the only team in the NFC West that anyone can even feel remotely good about, to take it down. (And maybe even scare their road favorite in next week's playoff game. For about 1.5 quarters.)

Rams 25, Seahawks 16

Last week: 11-5

Year to date: 112-115-15

Career: 393-392-25


snd_dsgnr said...

Honestly if there's a group of people that ought to be pissed off about the Giants not making the playoffs, it's Eagles fans. I don't think there's really any doubt at this point that the Giants would be an easier out than the Packers are going to be.

DMtShooter said...

Seconded. But at least when the Eagles lost their home playoff game to Green Bay, it will hurt less than a loss to the Giants.

Ads In This Size Rule