Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week 15 NFL Picks: The End Is Nigh

Most years, I get wistful about the end of the NFL season. The weather is turning cruddy, the weekends will start being all about individual games that might not be all that interesting, it's going to be another eight months before the sport that Americans care about more than any ten others, and... nope. From the lockout mind games to the most disappointing team in my franchise's history, from the constant cuckolding of defensive players to the worst season in my fantasy football experience, I just want it over already. Sorry if you feel differently, or are a Packer fan, or are getting your Jebus on with Tim Tebow, but I'm just not feeling it. Even though the picks are making money. And with that... on to the picks!

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Jacksonville at ATLANTA (-11.5)

Can Maurice Jones-Drew go for four touchdowns in back to back weeks and give the Jaguars a semblance of a pro offense?


So take the Falcons, especially at home, and don't worry your pretty little head about the points, because the Jaguars defense is secretly beat up. And the Falcons are starting to look like a frisky little under the radar playoff team, especially if they somehow get a home game. Too bad they play in the same conference as the Packers and Saints.

Falcons 31, Jaguars 13

DALLAS at Tampa Bay (+7)

What the hell was that, Tampa? A complete and utter de-pantsing to the cross-state rival Jaguars speaks volumes about the level of quit in this year's secret stink team. Oh, and by the way, Delusional Eagle Fan? After Dallas wins this game, the Eagles will be mathematically eliminated. Expect it to be obvious by halftime, even though the Cowboys aren't nearly as good without RB DeMarco Murray.

Cowboys 24, Bucs 10

Miami at BUFFALO (+1.5)

New coach, road game, cold weather, against a team that has a home crowd and gives a damn. A week ago, when the Fish were looking frisky, this might have been a game, but not any more. Besides, with Matt Moore shaking off the effects of a concussion, this might be the return of J.P. Losman to upstate New York. Bills Fan, try to contain your joy, and remember the good times. After all, I'm pretty sure he was better than Trent Edwards.

Bills 27, Dolphins 17

SEATTLE at Chicago (-3.5)

I realize this is a sucker bet. I know that Chicago at home in December has mystical powers, that Seattle are weak kittens on the road, and have a short work week after beating up the Rams. But when push comes to shove, I just can't go with Caleb Hanie anywhere, especially with no Matt Forte, a week after they got their season Tebowed. Besides, the Seattle defense is really coming on, and they already have a few more road wins than usual this year.

Seahawks 20, Bears 13

Tennessee at INDIANAPOLIS (+7)

Two straight road covers for the still winless Colts, who are at least still trying to avoid Perfect Misery. This week, they get the Titans at home, and I think they keep it close one more time... and maybe even steal one. Hey, it's Christmas. And going 0-16 is really, really hard.

Colts 24, Titans 23

GREEN BAY at Kansas City (+14)

I'd take this line at 25, frankly; the Packers are close enough to the finish line that they can taste it, and the Chiefs under a new coach still have the problem of No Actual QB on the roster. Once Green Bay takes the lead, the defense will add to it, and QB Aaron Rodgers is just operating at another level. One that eliminates back door covers.

Packers 41, Chiefs 13

CINCINNATI at St. Louis (+7)

I'm traveling this week, which meant that I got to watch most of that MNF Rams travesty... and wow, is this every inch of a 2-win team. Incapable of coping with any kind of blitz, with one pro level WR on the roster, and so clueless at the goal line that poor RB Stephen Jackson just about had to throw a fit to get a try. I don't understand why anyone involved in this organization should still have a job, and this week against a Bengals team that's in dire need of a win, they won't do much for their collective resumes.

Bengals 27, Rams 16

NEW ORLEANS at Minnesota (+7)

Some of the steam went out of the Christian Ponder bandwagon last week, and with the Saints coming to town and rounding into playoff shape, it's not going to get any better. And an indoor road game doesn't really seem like a road game for the Saints, does it?

Saints 34, Vikings 20

WASHINGTON at NY Giants (-7)

Do I really think the Skins can win in New York? No, not really, even though the G Men have a nasty little habit of pulling the rug out from under their supporters whenever they start feeling a little too good about themselves. But do I think they can keep it close, considering their defense did the deed early this season in Fedex Field, and how QB Rex Grossman is having one of those periodic bouts of competence? Sure. And Delusional Eagle Fan, this is the other lead pipe lock of how your team's 4pm game will mean nothing.

Giants 24, Redskins 20

Carolina at HOUSTON (-6.5)

A big line, even at home, against a team that has stat filling QB Cam Newton... but the Texans are just too good at running the ball, and the Panthers too poor at stopping the run, to keep this close late. Plus, the Panthers are turnover prone on offense, and the Texans' defense is downright opportunistic. And also smelling a first round bye in the AFC playoffs.

Texans 27, Panthers 17

DETROIT at Oakland (+1.5)

On some level, don't you wish this game was being played without refs, and maybe in an octagon? Just dispense with any idea of footballery and see which team can be Muy Macho / Underhanded / Dipshitastic. But alas, this one will be handled by an officiating crew that clearly lost some form of bet with the league offices, and will likely wind up dropping thirty flags on the ground before it's all said and done. Having said that, give me the road Lions for the win, since their QB isn't a turnover machine, and their defense offers more than token resistance against the run. But please, bet the penalty over ahead of the actual line.

Lions 31, Raiders 20

NEW ENGLAND at Denver (+7)

Take heart, Tim Tebow Haters; the evil that is Bill Belichick will come to God's Own Football Field and end this silliness. For one week, at least. The secret sauce in Denver's winning streak is that the defense has been rested even on three and outs, and never put on a short field. New England does not care about short fields. Denver has been able to play aged safety Brian Dawkins every step of the way, because they haven't faced a QB/TE tandem that can overpower him; QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski are the NFL's best in this regard, and TE Aaron Hernandez ain't exactly chop liver, either. And once you get two touchdowns up on Timmy Time, and take away the patience and attrition war that makes fourth quarter and overtime magic possible... well, it doesn't look good. At all. (But take heart, Denver Fan. It'll all seem much better next week.)

Patriots 27, Broncos 13

NEW YORK JETS at Philadelphia (-3)

Really, Las Vegas? All it took was one road win over the freaking Dolphins to install the most disappointing team in franchise history as a road favorite against a team with a playoff pulse? Not buying it, not even for a minute, because this game didn't look good in September, let alone in December.

The Jets are going to zone and scheme the secretly mediocre Eagles offense. RB Shonn Greene will run for triple digits and control the clock. Jets Fan will show up by the ten thousand, because most Eagles Fans have been trying to move these seats for months.

Oh, and there's also this. The Jets will care about winning this game. The Eagles won't. Kind of an important point, really. This might be your lock of the week, on many, many levels.

Jets 27, Eagles 17

Cleveland at ARIZONA (-6.5)

A big number for a below .500 home favorite that might be starting its nominally back up QB, but man alive, this Browns team is just DOA right now, and also probably working on its second QB. Five years ago, that might have seemed interesting, in that Seneca Wallace had some interesting potential... but we've all seen enough of it since then to know better. Assuming the Cardinals get to 17 points, and their defense and special teams might do it by themselves, they'll cover.

Cardinals 20, Browns 9

BALTIMORE at San Diego (+1.5)

Here's another team that Vegas is liking a little too much. San Diego has two wins against two teams (Jacksonville and Buffalo) that aren't going to the playoffs. They also have a history of performing better in December, and some finally healthy WRs. But they don't have an offensive line, or a QB that keeps away from turnovers under pressure, and the Ravens have bigger dreams than this. I think the mos talented and physical team in the AFC puts it together this week. (And oh, the defense seems better without MLB Ray Lewis. Someone might want to note that in the media, assuming they can stop slobbing Ray Ray's knob for a minute.)

Ravens 27, Chargers 20

PITTSBURGH at San Francisco (-2.5)

The problem with the Niners, and the reason why they are going to be one and done in the playoffs, is that they are a bad offensive team in the red zone. And that, more than anything, is why you should not believe this whole QB Alex Smith is Now OK idea. Against a Steelers team that's always been good at minimizing the damage and knows how to close in December, they'll learn another painful lesson of why they aren't really a contender.

Steelers 24, Niners 19

Last week: 10-6

Year to date: 106-95-5

Career: 511-500-22

1 comment:

snd_dsgnr said...

I have no idea why this still surprises me at this point, but I was blown away by the headlines in the aftermath of the Denver-Chicago game.

In a game where the Broncos only had an opportunity for the win because of a terrible play by Marion Barber, and actually pulled off the win because of 59(!) and 51 yard field goals by Matt Prater, the story was still "Tebow does it again!".

For f's sake, no he didn't. If I still had hair the coverage of Tebow this season would make me want to pull it out.

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