Pittsburgh @ Cleveland
Them Stellers are 6-6 and have lost 4 straight; the Browns though are 1-11 and have lost seven straight. So make no mistake, Cleveland is the far inferior team. Their lone victory of the season was a 6 to 3 win in which they passed for 23 yards. They seem destined to pick #1 overall in the 2010 draft, and it will be interesting to see if they select a QB (Claussen perhaps?) or give Quinn another chance. Two of their remaining games are against KC and Oakland, however, so they could win another game or even two, and make the #1 overall pick an interesting battle. The Rams, Bucs and Lions should all finish 2-14 or worse, so the tiebreakers will probably come into play when determining draft order. (The first tie-breaker is strength of schedule.) I just hope the Lions don't end up #1 again, because we just cannot afford that financially. Unless we magically win the rest of our games and draft in the 7-12 range, Ndamukong Suh is the guy the Lions should hope to draft with a pick in the 3-5 range. Since St. Louis (and maybe Cleveland) will be looking for a franchise QB, I like our chances. If we can't land Suh, Gerald McCoy will be there and either way we'll have a great defensive lineman. That's our biggest need going into next season if you ask me. All we have to do is keep losing, and Suh is ours.
But it's too early to talk NFL Draft just yet ... as far as the Thursday night game goes, I'm picking Pittsburgh by just 10 points. It's a no-brainer game. Pittsburgh is super angry after getting embarassed by Oakland and their not going to let their incompetent rival beat them when their playoff hopes are on the line. But the fact that Pittsburgh is just 6-6 and soon to be 7-6 is absolutely hilarious to me. If Jacksonville can keep on winning, I would love to see Pittsburgh stay home for the playoffs, and all the stupid Steelers fans shut their stupid mouths and find something else to babble stupidly about. The Pittsburgh fan base is honestly just one big giant bandwagon; if they start to lose, 100% of the fans completely dissappear and forget they ever had a football team. It's pathetic and they definitely don't deserve the success they have had. Am I bitter? Yeah, maybe a little bit. But having lived in the City of Yellow for a few months, I can speak from experience in saying that there is nothing more stupid and annoying than a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
First, the Easy games...
New Orleans @ Atlanta
Saints by 13
This game has upset potential, but it also has Drew Brees against a lousy secondary.
Denver @ Indianapolis
Colts by 14
Peyton Manning won't admit it, but he wants to go 16-0 AND 19-0 for one simple reason: Tom Brady didn't.
Detroit @ Baltimore
Ravens by 28
It's going to be brutal, especially with Daunte Coldpepper in there.
Carolina @ New England
Patriots by 24
This should be an easy one for New England. Emphasis on should be.
St. Louis @ Tennessee
Titans by 14
Rams stink, and Chris Johnson does everything except stink.
Now for the toughies …
Seattle @ Houston
I like the Seahawks when they're at home and I usually dislike them on the road. I’ll take the Texans in a must-win, by 7.
Miami @ Jacksonville
As long as the Jags lead the Steelers in the wildcard race, they are my favorite AFC team. I am picking them to win solely because I really, really, really want them to win. Pittsburgh missing the playoffs would be the best thing that could happen for me in the 2009 season, short of Detroit making the playoffs. Go Jags!!
(P.S. I really do think Jacksonville will win, but only by 3)
Green Bay @ Chicago
Packers by 17. Jay Cutler is not a good quarterback, but he’s an even worse teammate. There have been a lot of Bears games on TV and I’ve seen his body language and huddle presence over the course of the season, and I’m convinced there isn’t a worse teammate in the NFL. Sure, guys like TO and Chad Johnson are locker-room poison, but they don’t touch the ball on every offensive snap. They don’t announce the plays in the huddle. They aren’t the de facto leaders of their teams. Cutler is. And he is worse than just a bad leader. He’s an anti-leader. He discourages and demeans his teammates just with his facial expressions. He is disinterested and often disgusted with the play of his wide receivers, even when the interception is his fault, which it almost always is. He continually blames his teammates with his posture and the rolling of his eyes. In his mind, he can do no wrong. But it’s becoming painfully clear to Bears fans that he is in fact not a good football player, and their future is in utter disarray. And that’s this week’s Jay Cutler rant. Packers by 17.
Cincinnati @ Minnesota
The Vikings are looking to rebound after a brutal loss in the desert. They have to get Peterson back on track and put the 'Brett Favre For MVP' agenda on the backburner. The Bengals haven’t played a decent team in a month and will be looking to prove they can compete with the elite teams of the NFL. This game is interesting; these teams have the two best rush defenses in the NFL in terms of yards allowed (technically Pittsburgh is #1, but that’s because they play half their games at muddy Heinz Field). Cincinnati has one of the highest run-to-pass ratios in the NFL, with a heavy emphasis on Cedric Benson. It's going to be extremely tough against Minnesota and the Williams Wall, and that should bring up a lot of 3rd and long situations for Carson Palmer. Antoine Winfield should be able to lockdown the sombrero wearing idiot named Chad and Jared Allen will have a lot of sack opportunities. When the Vikings have the ball, they can dictate what they want to do because they’re so balanced, and I expect them to have a lot of success against a pretty overrated Cincy defense. This one could get ugly. Vikings by 18.
Buffalo @ Kansas City
The Who Cares Game of the Week. I think the Bills are slightly better, but KC is pretty solid at Arrowhead. Whichever team can pass the ball effectively and get a couple of big plays will win this ugly slugfest. I like the Bills for that reason, because the Chief’s pass defense is horrid. But then again, Jamaal Charles is playing very well over the past four games, averaging about 5 yards a carry and the Bills have the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Can KC control the ball and grind out this game at home? I say no, because the Bills defense is better now than it was at the beginning of the season. I’ll stick with Buffalo in a close one, by 6. And that’s way too much thought given to this game.
New York Jets @ Tampa Bay
Ah yes, Josh Freeman against Mark Sanchez. Wait. Sanchez is out with a knee injury? Kellen Clemens, though, is a pretty good backup. He might actually be better than Sanchez. He gets his chance to prove himself against one of the NFL’s worst defenses, but expect the Jets to play it safe and run Thomas Jones extensively. The Bucs defense surrenders over 160 rushing yards per game. TJ will have a field day in this one. J-E-T-S Jets by 10.
Washington @ Oakland
I really don’t know what to make of this game. Last week, Oakland beat the defending champs and Washington came milliseconds from beating the Saints. But these are two of the most disorganized franchises in the NFL with the least motivated players. They may have hints of promise, but they lack the consistency and substance of good teams. That said, I like the Redskins in this game because they can stop the pass, and Oakland can’t run the ball. (Oakland can’t really pass the ball either, but you know). However, it’s never easy for east coast teams to travel to the west coast, even to play Oakland. Washington just has to focus and play their game and they’ll come away with a win. Skins by 5.
San Diego @ Dallas
Big game. Tough game to call. Can’t believe the Cowboys are favored to win. The Bolts have won seven straight. And it is December. If they lose, and then lose again next week at the Saints (which is quite likely), Dallas will have fallen from 8-3 to 8-6 and right out of the playoff picture. That will spell the end of Wade Phillips and bring up major questions about Tony Romo’s future. So needless to say, this is a huge game for Dallas. But you know what, it’s a huge game for San Diego too. They need to keep winning to hold off Denver. And right now, the Chargers are just the better team. I’ll take the Bolts by 7.
Philly @ New York Giants
The other huge game of the weekend. If the Giants win and Cowboys lose, we have three teams at 8-5 in the NFC East. That scenario sounds like a lot of fun. This is back to back home games for Big Blue, and their defense seems to be coming around again. Are they ready to face the Philly offense, who have too many weapons to cover? I don’t think they are. The Eagles should do well against Eli Manning, however, who is having his annual slump at a bad time for New York. I watched him last week against Dallas and he didn’t look great. New York’s going to need another big game from Jacobs to win this game. I don’t see it happening, Jacobs is a dud this year. Don’t look now, but the Eagles have won three straight and are peaking at the right time. I’ll take Philly by 5.
Arizona @ San Francisco
Monday night pits two NFC West rivals in a mostly meaningless game. Even if Arizona loses, the division is theirs unless they completely fall apart. But I don’t think Zona loses. Cards by 10.
*Edit: Cleveland won on Thursday. So although I got the pick wrong, I LOVED the game, for two reasons: one, Pittsburgh is almost certainly going to miss the playoffs (which is GREAT), and two, a Cleveland victory means a better chance at a higher draft pick for the Lions. I'm not giving up on Suh!