The Giants’ season has been over and now my fantasy season is over thanks a combination of Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson and the Packers’ defense and Julio Jones. So the only thing I have to look forward to for the rest of the season are the following things:
1. Predicting the lines each week
4. Hoping the Super Bowl champion isn’t the Eagles, Cowboys or Patriots
5. And of course, these picks
After this week, there are only two weeks left to pick and then the 11 playoff games. It’s the stretch run for the weekly picks and I don’t expect to go down like a Tom Coughlin team.
(Home team in caps)
Arizona +4.5 over ST. LOUIS
While calling the Seahawks-Eagles game, Joe Buck said the Cardinals were going to have a hard time winning another game for the rest of the season and went as far as to say they weren’t going to win another game for the rest of the season once Troy Aikman dared him to make the prediction. But the Cardinals didn’t listen to follow suit and beat the Chiefs to win their 10th game for the second straight season to most likely make the playoffs in some capacity after missing out last year. It’s not going to be easy for the Cardinals to go into St. Louis and win with the team the Rams have become, but it feels like that 10th win was the hump the Cardinals needed to get over to straighten things out and now they can return to some semblance of the 9-1 team they were a month ago.
Oakland +10 over KANSAS CITY
It’s hard to look at the Raiders’ schedule and cite some pattern for their losses or their difference in play between their home and away games. If we were to play the word association game where you say the first thing that comes to your mind following a phrase or question, “52-0” would be everyone’s answer for the 2014 Raiders. Well, either that or some version of “horrible” or “terrible” or “embarrassment”. But really, the Raiders haven’t been as bad when it comes to the the score of their games and not the result of wins and losses. They lost by 5 to the Jets in Week 1 in Derek Carr’s NFL debut when the Jets were still a team expected to compete for a playoff spot; they lost to the Patriots by 7 at Gillette and were close to tying the game in the final seconds before a game-ending interception; they lost by 3 and by 7 to the Chargers; they lost by 6 to the Seahawks and they beat this same Chiefs team three weeks ago. The Chiefs are putting together the kind of collapse the Giants used to put together when their seasons mattered in December and a desperate Chiefs team at Arrowhead trying to separate themselves from the 7-6 pack in the AFC is a dangerous team, but I’m going with the Raiders (even though I originally had Kansas City to cover when I started writing this).
BALTIMORE -14 over Jacksonville
After coming back against the Giants, I picked the Jaguars to cover last week at home against the Texans. They lost by 14 points. Now they are only giving 14 on the road against Baltimore? OK.
Pittsburgh -2.5 over ATLANTA
I needed the Falcons to go into Lambeau Field and play like the Falcons have outside of the Georgia Dome for years now in order to hold on to win a fantasy football playoff matchup against Steven Jackson and Julio Jones. So of course Jackson rushed for a touchdown and had 76 total yards and Jones set a franchise record for receiving yards with 259 to remind me how much I hate fantasy football. I didn’t like the Falcons before their 37-point outburst in Green Bay and now I dislike them that much more. After they blew their 17-point lead in the 2012 NFC Championship Game to cost me my 10-to-1 parlay on the NFC and AFC Championship Games, I shouldn’t have been surprised when they scored more points in a road game than they have since Week 1 in 2012 at Kansas City (40). The Patriots only managed 21 in Lambeau, but the Falcons put up 37? I’m going to continue to root heavily against the Falcons, but I do kind of hope they win the NFC South, so I can make much more wagering against them in a playoff game than I would have if Jones didn’t play like Jerry Rice on Monday Night Football.
INDIANAPOLIS -7 over Houston
Let’s be honest: the Colts are going to win the AFC South and then they are going to host the Steelers, Chargers or Ravens on Wild-Card Weekend and beat up on them at home. And then they are going to go to Gillette Stadium and get embarrassed and then there will be one team remaining and standing between the Patriots and a trip to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately that’s going to happen. And I realize that the Colts actually wouldn’t go to Gillette right now if they won their Wild-Card Weekend game (it would be the Bengals or the winner of the Bengals’ Wild-Card Weekend game that would go to play the Patriots), but I used the Colts because even though they will likely lose at Gillette, they have a better chance of winning there than any other AFC team not named the Broncos, so this is my semi-reverse jinx attempt with still four weeks to go until that potential game would take place.
CLEVELAND -1 over Cincinnati
JOHN-NY FOOT-BALL! CLAP CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP! JOHN-NY FOOT-BALL! CLAP CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP! JOHN-NY FOOT-BALL! CLAP CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP!
Miami +7.5 over NEW ENGLAND
I picked against the Patriots last week for the sole purpose of me wanting them to lose and in turn lose their hold on the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The same holds true this week, and I’m sure it will again in Weeks 16 and 17.
Tampa Bay +3.5 over CAROLINA
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Buccaneers fan or a Panthers fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
NEW YORK GIANTS -7 over Washington
Why wouldn’t the Giants win their final four games of the season to finish 7-9 and in the middle of mediocrity once again? It would be just enough to not make the playoffs and enough to give Tom Coughlin more leverage heading into the Giants’ first serious look at a coaching change in a decade. If Giants ownership is planning on making a change no matter what, I’m sure they aren’t pulling for a strong finish to the season to give the Coughlin supporters fuel for their fire if if he’s fired. So maybe the owners of the Giants are rooting against their own team?
BUFFALO +6 over Green Bay
I was all for the Packers winning the NFC and then getting to showcase their offense in perfect conditions in Arizona in the Super Bowl against the Patriots because they looked like they might be the only team capable of stopping the Patriots if the Patriots get the 1-seed in the AFC. And then Monday night happened. I’m hoping Monday night was the Packers taking the Falcons lightly or having a letdown game following the hype of the previous week. I just hope it was something. Because even though they scored 41 points and won, that wasn’t the team Packers fans were told to “R-E-L-A-X” for. If it comes down to Packers-Patriots in Glendale, I will be one of those Packers fans and if the defense could let the five-win Falcons do that at Lambeau then I won’t be very “relaxed” thinking about what the Patriots could do to them on a neutral field.
New York Jets -2 over TENNESSEE
The Jets tried their best to win a meaningless game for them in Minnesota and improve upon their two-win season, all while Woody Johnson and the team’s fans rooted against them in hopes of bettering their chances at a higher draft pick. I figured the Jets would find a way to win the game, before losing in overtime, and somehow make sure they finish with at least four wins this season and hurt themselves in the 2015 Draft. In the last two games, the Jets have lost in overtime and lost by 3 to a desperate Dolphins team playing for their season. Everything about those games and the Jets screwing up the only good thing going for them (a high draft pick) says they win this week and then give the Patriots and Dolphins everything they have in the final two weeks of the season. The least Rex Ryan can do on his way out the door is make sure the Jets don’t have a Top 3 pick in April.
SAN DIEGO +4.5 over Denver
Last week I said, “I don’t really trust the Broncos anymore” and that was before Peyton Manning didn’t throw for a touchdown pass against the Bills, marking the first time in 51 games he failed to do so. First the blowout loss in New England, then the loss in St. Louis, then barely squeaking out a win over Miami and now Peyton isn’t throwing touchdown passes? Not only is he not throwing touchdown passes, but he threw for 179 yards in Week 13 and 173 yards in Week 14. Prior to Week 13, Peyton had only thrown for less than 200 yards as a Bronco one time (2013 at New England) and then he did it in back-to-back weeks? I have no idea what the eff is going on with the Broncos, but they are likely the only thing standing between the Patriots and Glendale, so whatever it is, they better figure it out and fix it because right now they should be picking up steam for the home stretch and the playoffs and instead they are falling apart and breaking down.
DETROIT -8 over Minnesota
Now that the Lions have figured out how to score touchdowns again consistently, they are a force at home. I wish the Vikings could hang around in this game and possibly pull off the upset since it would make my living situation better, but I have a bad feeling about this one.
SEATTLE -10 over San Francisco
The Seahawks have emerged as my favorite to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and I have made myself an honorary 12th man member for the rest of the year. The only problem is that it’s going to take the Seahawks winning out (very possible) and the Packers losing one of their remaining three games against Buffalo, Tampa Bay or Detroit (not likely) for the Seahawks to win the 1-seed and have home-field advantage for the NFC Championship Game, which would be needed against the Packers in the playoffs. Consider me a Seahawks/Bills fan this week, a Seahawks fan next week (no point in thinking the Buccaneers can upset the Packers) and a Seahawks/Lions fan in Week 17.
Dallas +3.5 over PHILADELPHIA
There only two times a year when it’s not so bad if the Cowboys win and that’s when they play the Eagles.
New Orleans -3 over CHICAGO
This one is being billed as the “The 5 and 8 Fight” to promote the identical losing records of two teams that had playoff aspirations to begin the season. What’s that? The Saints are still alive to win their division despite being in 12th place in the NFC? Is it Monday yet?
Last week: 8-8-0