Not to brag too much, but I picked two big upsets last week, the Chargers over the Steelers and the Redskins over the Ravens. Now, I don’t think I can do it again this week because I also missed some picks last week that made sense to me, liking picking the Eagles and Jets to lose. Those wins made sure that the coaches and quarterbacks in question have jobs next year, securing their place in mediocrity for at least another year. So enjoy that Eagles and Jets fans!
Week 15 means fantasy playoffs are in full swing, which means that if you are basing start/sit decisions on this column, you are out of your fucking mind. Though, some of these match-ups bode well for some fantasy players. I’ve got to decide if I want to play Matt Ryan or Andy Dalton, one at home against a strong defense, and one on the road against a shitty defense. Flip a coin. I think on the fantasy team that has AJ Green, I play Dalton, the one that has Gonzalez, I play Ryan. Yes, I have two fantasy teams in the playoffs. Go me.
With only three games left in the season, there is still a lot of clinching to be done. Last week sucked for a lot of teams, such as the Ravens, who needed to win to either clinch divisions or playoffs. The losses opened the door for other teams, though I’m really disappointed by the Bengals loss as they are the team I picked to make a strong run to the playoffs. Many teams are not mathematically out, though this week should tie up all those loose playoff ends. So let’s see who the winners and losers are going to be…
Cincinnati at Philadelphia +4.0
In a year where everyone is talking about rookie QB’s RGIII, Wilson, Tannehill and Luck, no one has mentioned Foles at all – until now. The rookie QB has replaced Vick for the rest of the season, and already has two wins. He’s not a master at the game, and runs really slow, but he may just be what this struggling franchise and Andy Reid need. A win this week would be huge. However, after a shitty loss to the Cowboys, the Bengals need to win. The Eagles could play spoiler, but I don’t think they do. Bengals to win.
New York at Atlanta -1.0
This game is huge – for me. And for the Giants who need to win to keep the Redskins and Cowboys at bay. A win here and both those other teams losing clinches and sends the Giants back to the playoffs. A loss here and both those teams have a chance to steal the division. Getting wild. Meanwhile, Atlanta got the fuck off Carolina’s field last week, after getting trounced. Since they have clinched division and playoffs, have they gotten complacent? The defense seemed to be coasting last week, they’ll need to be on their best behavior this week. This game could be tight, but for the sake of the dome and the fact Eli can’t run like Newton, I’m taking the Falcons. If they don’t win, then they really can’t close out the big games.
Green Bay at Chicago +3.0 GAME OF THE WEEK!
The NFC North is probably the best battleground in football when these two teams are playing at a high level. Rodgers is the definition of an elite QB, and he had some big shoes to fill. Chicago needs this win to continue to fight for the division, at only one game behind. There was a point where it looked like Chicago would be dominating this division for the entire year, but at some point they faltered. Directly related to Cutler going out of the game last week. Cutler should be back this week, so this should be a great snow battle. I’m taking the Packers to win, just cause.
Washington at Cleveland -0.0
Interesting zero line on this game after the Redskins upset the Ravens in overtime. Could this have anything to do with yet another rookie, Cousins, getting to start due to RGIII’s minor knee injury? Possibly. Also, if RGIII was your fantasy QB, Cousins might be an okay pick, if the Cleveland defense is sleeping. But three straight wins and a crappy AFC have actually kept the Browns mathematically in the playoff race. Seriously. If the Steelers, Ravens, Jets, Dolphins, Chargers and Bills continue to lose and the Browns win out, then it’s possible. The Browns defense has been playing solid football, and the offense is starting to show some serious life. I’m gunning for the Browns at home this week, so I’m picking them.
Minnesota at St. Louis -2.5
Also still in the hunt are the Vikings, who visit a Rams team still stoked over a late win against the Bills, after an OT win against the Niners. The Rams receiving core have been awesome, so it’s up to the corners of the Vikings to shut them out. It really doesn’t matter though. Hand Peterson the ball 25-35 times, win the game. Done. But wait, the Rams held Frank Gore to 58 yards, can they contain Peterson? I smell upset, so I’m picking it. Rams to upset. Oh wait, the Rams are favored. So, Rams to win.
Jacksonville at Miami -7.5 CRAPFEST OF THE WEEK!!
While Miami is technically not ruled out for the playoffs, at 5-8 they may as well be. The Jags are depressing. They sold out this past weekend because Tim Tebow was standing on the sidelines. Imagine if they had actually signed the guy, they’d sell out every game and maybe have more than two wins. Ugh. Miami to win.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans -4.5
The Bucs blew it last week, they really did. Against a struggling Eagles team they managed to give it up in the end, and got seriously fucked. Now, at 6-7 instead of 7-6, the hill to climb to the playoffs is nearly insurmountable. Plus, they have to play in the Superdome this week against a team that just got unsuspended. No more bountygate, no more stress around that situation. The Saints will be playing revitalized and ready to fuck shit up. Saints to win.
Denver at Baltimore +2.5
Denver is their division winner already. The Ravens, at 9-4 are not. They have to win this week in order to clinch the division. But can they do it against a Denver team that has only lost to top tier teams? Are the Ravens top tier? Not since injuries ravaged their defensive front. While Ray Rice can cut through most lines, the 5th rated rush defense of the Broncos is going to give him problems. And Manning vs. a depleted Ravens secondary? Forget it. The Ravens are giving up major yards in the secondary. Just look a what the Redskins managed last week. Gave up nearly 300 yards passing, over 150 rushing. I’m taking the Broncos to win here, giving the Bengals another shot.
Indianapolis at Houston -9.5 UPSET SPECIAL!!
Indy is going to make the playoffs. The only teams in the AFC with better records are the division leaders. A win here would be significant, but the Colts are huge underdogs. My hope is that they spent this week watching tape of Brady dismantling the Houston secondary. The Colts have a strong offensive line, and can easily open up similar passing lanes for Luck. He’s no Brady – yet, but he can power a game. The Texans meanwhile may already be in playoff mode, which was evident on defense and offense. Their line made the Patriots low ranked defensive front look pretty damn good. Does it happen again this week? Do the Texans lose? I think they do, in overtime. Colts to upset.
Seattle at Buffalo +5.5
The Bills just love throwing away late leads don’t they? What a terrible team right now. Just sad to watch. The Seahawks will follow in the Rams footsteps this week, though wait – even though Pete Carroll pulled his starters in the romp last week, he still kept calling passing plays late in the game to roll up the score. Karma is a bitch Pete. Though lets be serious, no matter how much the football gods influence the game, it won’t be with a loss to the Bills. Hawks to win on the road.
Detroit at Arizona +6.0
The Lions have lost five in a row and finish the season against the Falcons and the Bears. This is their last chance for another win, a fifth win. What a terrible season. They haven’t been plagued by injury, instead they’ve been plagued by a coach who can’t manage certain defensive players who act like spoiled little bastards and haven’t done anything special besides kick people in the nuts and draw attention to themselves. Lacking a serious running game, unable to get Johnson out of double coverage (yet, he still might get the receiving record) the Lions have been shit. This week they win, only cause if they are shit, Arizona is whatever they are shitting in.
Carolina at San Diego -3.0
Another team mathematically still in it are the Chargers, but let’s be real here. Even with a win over the Steelers, the Chargers are still not going to make the playoffs. The thing is, with that win, Norv Turner will most likely get to keep his job. Thanks to some great receiver play from Alexander and Rivers actually looking all grown-up and shit. However, the Chargers welcome the unpredictable Panthers to town, who at 4-9 have nothing to lose by going batshit down the stretch. Big runs from Cam, big passes as well. Panthers to upset.
Pittsburgh at Dallas +1.0
This is an interesting game, like the schedule was written with knowledge of the future. Both teams at 7-6, both teams coming off a surprising game, one which saw a home loss and one which saw a road upset. The Cowboys, at home, are pretty terrible, but Romo shows those signs of greatness. With Dez Bryant out and a running game that is nearly non-existent this season, the Cowboys will have a tough time against the Steelers corners. Big Ben is back, probably wearing a shit ton of body armor, limiting mobility. I’m taking the Cowboys to win here, not sure why, just a gut feeling.
Kansas City at Oakland -1.5 CRAPFEST OF THE WEEK!! #2
Five wins combined, turnover city for both teams… yeah, who gives a shit. Oakland fans, are you as disappointed as KC fans? You should be. What a dump.
San Francisco at New England -3.0
Is there any question the Patriots have the best offense in the league? And their defense didn’t look too shabby holding the Texans to 14 points on Monday night. Now another night game against another supposedly elite team. The Niners want to win if they want to keep the Seahawks at bay. But an away game, in the possible snow, no way – the Patriots got this one man. I like that Kaepernick kid, but I don’t think it was wise to just bench Smith for no reason, that kid can win too. I think they’ll need his experience against the Pats. Regardless, the Pats score at will, so Pats to win. By more than three.
NY Jets at Tennessee -1.0
And finally this week we come to the 4-9 Titans at home against a Jets team that just can’t seem to go away. They don’t completely suck, but they have certain moments of suck. Which team am I talking about? Both of them. The Titans win, Johnson finally runs for 200 yards, 2 touchdowns and Jake Locker goes for 400 in the air. Final score, 56-12.