This week is all about playoff scenarios. They’re within the games. This week, my picks mean more than wins and losses. They mean who’s in and who’s out. I’m 130-77-2 this year. How do you think I’ll do this week? Keep reading, then comment your thoughts.
Lock Of The Week
Packers, 34, Bears, 20
The Packers haven’t been great this year, but the Bears have been disgracefully bad. I do not think they’ll be able to handle a tough Packers offense, even with the home field advantage. As for the Bears offense, I think the attempted rebuild has failed. Jordan Howard has had to step in at RB with Jeremy Langford regressively struggling, Zach Miller and Jay Cutler are hurt, and their receiver options have been slim. They do have Alshon Jeffery back, but with Matt Barkley at QB, that doesn’t mean much for Chicago. The Packers should win by far.
Upset Of The Week
Bengals, 24, Steelers, 22
The Bengals may be without Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green, but they’ve actually been pretty good offensively. The Steelers rely too much on their offense, and that could open the door for Cincinnati. Their defense is not very good, and that will hurt them in this game. The Bengals have a very good defense that could stop the Steelers offense from scoring as much as it normally does. On the other hand, the Bengals offense does not have much in their way, which puts them in a position where they could pull an upset.
Ravens, 30, Eagles, 27
The Eagles defense, especially the secondary is overrated and the revamped Ravens offense should work around the entire defense. That should be enough for Baltimore to win the game, but the Eagles will put up a fight.
Bills, 24, Browns, 15
The Bills may have problems passing, but who cares in this game? The Browns offense will fail to score a touchdown on the Bills defense, and LeSean McCoy will go wild on Cleveland’s defense. This pick is looking like a no-brainer. I almost chose it as my lock.
Texans, 26, Jaguars, 23
The Texans defense will overwhelm the Jags. I don’t think that Jacksonville’s offense can handle them. To add to it, the Texans have a decent offense of their own and could score a lot on Jacksonville. This game should go to Houston, but and upset is more likely here than in the Bills game.
Chiefs, 30, Titans, 22
In order for the Pats to clinch the home field advantage, they need 3 times where they win or the Chiefs and Raiders both lose. I just don’t think this is the game for the Chiefs to lose. The Chiefs is facing an easy defense this week, and their defense will overwhelm a young Titans team that is usually high scoring. This is not set up in the Titans’ favor in any way. The Chiefs even have home field advantage in this game.
Vikings, 26, Colts, 22
This is going to be an interesting match-up. Two teams, one just outside the playoff picture, the other that’s in “state of emergency” in terms of making the playoffs. They are hanging in there because of just a crazy tiebreaker that would go in their favor if they won their last three, and Miami, Denver, Baltimore and Tennessee each lost at least 2 games. However, the Vikings aren’t going to make it easy. Adrian Peterson is back so the offense will be better. They will be overwhelming on defense, and work around a weak Colts defense. They should also force lots of turnovers.
Giants, 34, Lions, 30
This game means a lot. With a win and a Packers loss, the Lions clinch the division. The Giants can clinch a playoff berth with a win, and losses for the Redskins, Vikings, and Packers. The Packers losing, is that going to happen this week?! Probably not. But still, this win means a lot in these teams’ playoff campaigns. I think the Giants offense will be too much for the Lions D, and grab a win at home.
Cardinals, 31, Saints, 30
The Cardinals released Michael Floyd this week. Will that cost them this game? I don’t think the release will cost Arizona the game, but it will narrow their options at receiver. However, it will be J.J. Nelson’s time to shine, and he could very well come through. Jermaine Gresham is another option. But if either of these teams lose, they are out of playoff contention. It will be tough for both teams, the Cardinals will have trouble with the Saints offense, and the Saints defense leaves an opportunity for an easy Cardinals win. I don’t feel like the Cardinals defense is the defense to blow a win like that.
Patriots, 22, Broncos, 19
The rivalry of Brady and Manning is gone, but Brady’s still looking for revenge on the team that ended two of his last three seasons. They won’t be the same team, they still have a very strong defense that will keep this scoring, but if the Patriots defense can build on its performance on Monday, then covering the Broncos will be easy if they can win the turnover game and get to Denver’s QB. I think either team will win, but this isn’t just another win if the Pats win. The win would clinch the AFC East for the Pats, and a first round bye.
Raiders, 35, Chargers, 20
Against a weak Chargers defense, Derek Carr and a revamped Raiders offense is ready to annihilate San Diego. The Chargers offense can’t do much about it. They are without Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and now Melvin Gordon. The Raiders will be too much for their entire team to handle.
Falcons, 24, 49ers, 22
I don’t think the Falcons are that good, by they have a seriously easy schedule, and this game should be an easy win for Atlanta. The 49ers offense just won’t be able to score enough to outscore a strong Falcons offense, that shouldn’t be limited too badly by the Niners D.
Sunday Night Football
Cowboys, 33, Buccaneers, 23
The Cowboys did lose to the Giants, but they’re not losing this game, against the Bucs. The Bucs are doing well, but don’t match up to the Cowboys in Dallas. Maybe the Giants have the Cowboys’ formula, but they should win their other games. At a record of 11-2, you’d expect them to continue to dominate on offense and win this home game.
Monday Night Football
Redskins, 31, Panthers, 26
The Panthers have been slightly better, but the Redskins have actually done pretty well, and Josh Norman will look for revenge on his old team. The Panthers are no match for the Redskins, especially without Josh Norman. It’s like if you took Josh Norman out of this game, it would all be a snooze fest and both these teams would be bad. But the Redskins have signed him, and it’s paying off, especially when their receiver depth will help them against a weak Panthers secondary. That could cost Carolina the game, not having a good corner.
Seahawks, 20, Rams, 15
I knew this would be pretty low scoring. The Seahawks offense didn’t need to score that much, their defense was just too good for LA. Like I thought, the Rams couldn’t score a touchdown.
Saturday Night’s Game
Jets, 26, Dolphins, 20 Final OT
It was actually very hard to pick this game. It was Bryce Petty vs. Matt Moore. I ended up just taking the home team. But really, the rest of the Dolphins’ team is a whole lot better. They have a better run defense, better receivers (with Eric Decker on IR), and a running back that is now better.