Merry Christmas! Or at least, I think that’s what the Bills and Jets were trying to say to all of us last night with those awful uniforms. Seriously, what is with this horrible uniform phase going through football and basketball right now? The Jets rocked their new all-light greens and the Bills were sporting their new all-reds. It looked horrible, and the play on the field pretty much reflected it. But seriously, let Oregon do all the stupid uniforms. That’s their thing. They never wear the same uniform twice in a row. Then other schools started to do it, and now it’s leaked its way into the NFL. And don’t even get me started on the NBA jerseys with sleeves. Those are nothing short of an insult to the game of basketball. LeBron had the right idea by ripping his sleeves. Anyways, I picked the Jets last night, and of course they disappointed me. On to this week’s picks.
Lions (+11) over PACKERS
This Lions team might be a train wreck, but they’re not without talent, and Green Bay has not looked good since Week 3. And don’t kid yourself, Aaron Rodgers is part of the problem. He hasn’t played well, and his ad-lib make-it-up-as-you-go-along play style has started to get him into trouble with a diminished receiving core. The defense can’t stop anyone, and the Lions are not without offensive talent.
BUCCANEERS (-1) over Cowboys
Can we just accept that the Cowboys can’t win without Romo? Cassel has been okay, not as awful as Brandon Weeden, but there’s just no comparison. Plus, the Buccaneers are not a bad team. Winston is getting better every week, and they gave the Giants a real game last week. The funny thing is that the way the NFC East has played out, the Cowboys had a team that was built to dominate that division. Now injuries have kind of ruined that, and it’s great. I hope they lose every game.
Panthers (-5.5) over TITANS
Yes, the Titans are 1-0 in the Mike Mularkey era, but I think that undefeated streak will end at one. Having Mariota in the lineup helps, but scoring on the Saints defense is much more difficult than scoring on the Panther’s defense. I still feel like this Panthers team is all smoke and mirrors, even after beating Green Bay, but right now they’re 8-0, and with the Titans and the Redskins up next, this team could easily be 10-0 when they go to Dallas on Thanksgiving to play the Cowboys with Tony Romo.
RAMS (-7) over Bears
This line seemed high to me at first, then I remembered that the Bears needed an Odell Beckham-like touchdown reception from a guy who I thought was retired to beat the Chargers last week. Coming off of a short week with Forte likely still out of the lineup, I expect the Rams to play well and cover. The Rams are coming off of a tough loss on the road, and should play well at home against the Bears coming off of a short week and having to go from San Diego to Chicago to St. Louis in the course of one week.
REDSKINS (+1) over Saints
Guess the Saints bandwagon has cooled off. The Redskins looked awful offensively last week, but if they can take care of the ball they should move the ball up and down the field against New Orleans. Everyone can score on the Saints, they probably have the 33rd best defense in the league. I left the 32nd slot blank because they’re that bad. I love the Redskins getting a point at home.
Dolphins (+5.5) over EAGLES
Watching how much success Matt Cassel had against the Eagles defense was concerning to me. That defense has been the strength of this team so far, and they almost lost because Cassel was able to score 27 points. While the Eagles have run the ball much better lately, Sam Bradford is still a mess. The Dolphins have lost two straight, but that was to the undefeated Patriots and the red-hot Bills (literally, did you see those uniforms?) on the road. I think they’ll play well in Philly and this will be a close game.
STEELERS (-4.5) over Browns
I may have gotten the Steelers game wrong last week, but of course it is very possible DeAngelo WIlliams was shaving points and purposely didn’t score the game-winning touchdown last week. The only reason I’m picking the Steelers to cover is because they’re at home and I think there’s a very real possibility Big Ben just gets his foot amputated and plays on one foot. Of course, Big Ben with only one foot would probably be better than the Landry Jones/Michael Vick show.
RAVENS (-5.5) over Jaguars
Don’t count the Ravens out of the playoff mix just yet. This is still a good team that’s lost a lot of close games to good teams. If you look at their schedule, they can easily rip off six straight wins and be 8-6 heading into their final two games against the Steelers and Bengals. Plus, the Bengals could be resting starters in that final game. I expect them to play well coming off of a bye needing a win to keep their season alive.
RAIDERS (-3) over Vikings
Teddy Bridgewater looks like he’s going to play, which of course will make a mockery of the NFL’s concussion protocol. But, as I’ve been saying since the beginning of the season, the Raiders are a good team. Derek Carr is quickly becoming the best quarterback from the past draft class by a large margin. Coming off of a big win against the Jets and then flying cross country to play the Steelers, a let down would’ve been excusable. But Carr and the Raiders put up 35 points and almost won. The Vikings have a good defense, but they’re limited offensively, and I expect the Raiders young defensive playmakers like Khalil Mack to have a big day.
GIANTS (+7.5) over Patriots
It doesn’t matter if a bunch of high school players were wearing the Giants uniform, Patriots fans would still be worried about this game. But, in 2015, Patriots fans should be worried about this game. The reason the Giants have had New England’s number recently has mostly been the play of their defensive line, especially their pass rush. While that’s been pretty nonexistent this year, Jason Pierre-Paul came back last week and looked good. The Giants have a ton of offensive firepower at their disposal, and the Patriots defense hasn’t really been tested yet this year. If there were a time for the undefeated campaign to end, it would be here.
Chiefs (+5.5) over BRONCOS
The Chiefs gave Chicken Parm You Taste So Good a lot of problems the last time they played, and don’t forget they put up 24 points against the “reincarnation of the ’85 Bears” defense that the Broncos have. That was despite five stupid turnovers also. Now the Broncos will be without Demarcus Ware and Aqib Talib, and the Chiefs always play well in Denver. The Broncos will have to rely heavily on their revamped rushing attack, and that should shorten the game making it more difficult to cover.
Cardinals (+3) over SEAHAWKS
No one will accept the fact that Seattle isn’t the same team as they were the past three years, and they’ve probably earned that. But this isn’t the same team that its been the past three years. The offense can’t get out of its own way, they’ve made crucial mistakes defensively late in games, and there just isn’t the same fire and hunger there’s been during their Super Bowl runs. The Cardinals have played well in Seattle recently, and this year, they’re frankly the better team.
BENGALS (-10.5) over Texans
The Bengals have the most complete roster in the league. They haven’t missed a draft pick in four years. For anyone that is touting Andy Dalton as an MVP candidate, please stop embarrassing yourself. Bozo the Clown would look good on that team. Look up what the word valuable means, and if you still think Andy Dalton is an MVP candidate, just hit yourself in the head with a hammer until you realize you’re wrong.
For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Michigan (-12.5), Kansas (+45.5), Mississippi State (+7.5), Stanford (-9.5), Oklahoma (-2.5), Utah State, Temple, and Auburn straight up.
NFL Record Last Week 6-7-0
NFL Record Overall: 60-70-6
College Football Record Last Week: 6-2-0
College Football Record Overall: 42-30-0