Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Week 17 NFL Picks

"Would you please
just SHUT UP!!!"
I'm limping home like I did at the end of the 2001 Baltimore Marathon when I grossly underrated the severity of the elevation changes in the city ("gentle" rolling hills of Northern Parkway my ass!) and found myself racked with calf cramps as I hobbled down a Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. completely devoid of spectators except for one elderly black woman who was pumping her fists and cheering "YOU CAN DO IT . . . YOU CAN DO IT . . . .YOU CAN DO IT . . . PUT YOUR BACK INTO TO IT!" over and over and over and over again (I can still hear it . . . my God make it stop!)    

This week we've got two games with playoff implications for both teams (Cowboys at Giants and Ravens at Bengals), four games that have no bearing on the playoffs (Redskins at Eagles, Bears at Vikings, Colts at Jaguars and Seahawks at Cardinals) and ten games with playoff implications for one team (the rest of the games).  I'm not picking any of  the irrelevant games because (a) I don't want to encourage the truly degenerate gamblers and (b) I'm currently 11 games over .500 and by only picking 12 games, I'm almost assured of having a winning record.  Let's do this thing.

San Francisco by 10.5 over St. Louis:  The Pick - 49ers

"Ahh, Sam I'm gonna need you to go
ahead and not come in next season."

The 49ers are actually taking this whole Super Bowl thing seriously as evidenced by the recent cutting of Braylon Edwards who brought little more to the Niners this year than his years of experience as a key figure on losing teams.  The Rams have made a nice late season push to be the worst team in the league.  Now they're just hoping the Colts don't win this week which would set them up for a very awkward conversation with Sam Bradford. 

Detroit by 3.5 over Green Bay:  The Pick - Lions

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is talking a big game but I'd be surprised to see Aaron Rodgers play more than one series.  I'm not sure I'd even have Rodgers in the same stadium with Ndamukong Suh.  Oh by the way, we're potentially one Lions playoff win away from a Harbaugh-Schwartz rematch and you know Jim Schwartz would like nothing more than to jump across the field after a Lions' win in Candlestick, lift his shirt up and then kick Harbaugh right in the jimmies.

N.Y. Giants by 3 over Dallas:  The Pick - Giants

This is simply a game the Giants win and the Cowboys don't, especially this current version of the Cowboys.  I don't think you even need to factor in the home field advantage, the status of Romo's hand or the fact that Jason Garrett is still inexplicably coaching the Cowboys.  And not to continue harping on this subject but I can't help myself when a guy like Mike Lombardi who usually knows what he's talking about says of the NFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks, "both Brees and Rodgers have been great, and Manning has been just as good."  Stop it.  Just stop it.  Manning is fine but he doesn't even deserve the third spot on the Pro Bowl team over Matthew Stafford who has thrown 10 more touchdown passes, 2 fewer interceptions and has two more wins.  For that matter, I'm not sure he deserves the spot over Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Alex Smith and Cam Newton.  Any non Giant fans want to bet that he leads his team past the Cowboys and then either the Falcons or Lions in the first round of the playoffs?  I didn't think so.       

New Orleans by 8.5 over Carolina:  The Pick - Panthers

At some point in the second half, Sean Payton is going to look at the scoreboard and see that the 49ers are smoking the Rams making this game meaningless.  He'll let Brees tack another hundy onto the passing record and then take him out which will open the door for the king of the backdoor cover and next year's fantasy bust, Cam Newton, to score a late touchdown and make this about a five point game.   

Tennessee by 3 over Houston:  The Pick - Titans

"I don't know, it just
hurts when I do this."
If I were Gary Kubiak, I'd see if I could get away with putting a few Fatheads out there in place of my real players to avoid any more injuries.  He should be fired on the spot if Arian Foster is even allowed to stand-up for the national anthem.  Chris Johnson currently has 986 yards rushing.  Just thought you'd like to know that so when he gets 14 more to collect his 1,000 yard bonus and is standing on the sideline with an undisclosed injury, you'll know why.

Baltimore by 2.5 over Cincinnati:  The Pick - Bengals

There is a term used by professional gamblers called the "New York Effect" which explains the impact that increased wagering on their teams by New York fans has on point spreads.  The spread of this game is a product of the "Cincinnati Effect."  The Bengals may have the fewest fans in the NFL (they've only sold out one game this year) ergo no one bets on them with their heart because no one loves them (maybe that's the root of their years of futility).  How else do you explain the Ravens being favored when they (a) have stunk on the road this year, (b) barely beat the Bengals at home thanks in part to a very suspect call in their favor and (c) have won in Cincinnati once since 2004 and that was against pre-beard Ryan Fitzpatrick filling-in for an injured Carson Palmer?  Ravens fans will be watching this one with their asses clenched like a dad sitting in the passenger seat as his 16 year old daughter merges into beltway traffic for the first time.        

Pittsburgh by 7 over Cleveland:  The Pick - Steelers

"You want some of this?!?"
The Browns could win this game right?  I mean it's not technically impossible like traveling through time or looking tough while driving a minivan.     

Miami by 2 over N.Y. Jets:  The Pick - Jets

The Jets will find a way to win and hopefully make it into the playoffs (because that would mean the Ravens beat the Bengals).  Then they would get to go to Houston (and win) and then to New England (and probably win) and then back to the AFC Championship Game at either Pittsburgh or Baltimore which would actually be great for the rest of the AFC because it would probably mean three more years of Sanchez and Schotty running the offense.  Ravens fans love Schotty because he makes us feel better about Cam Cameron.

Atlanta by 12 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Falcons

The Falcons and the Lions are battling for the chance to play at the Giants in the first round of the playoffs as opposed to going to New Orleans to get blown out by the Saints. Meanwhile, half of Tampa's players had to unpack their equipment on Tuesday because they thought (hoped) the season was over last week (and apparently some thought it was over five weeks ago which was the last time they showed-up for a game).  By the way, fairly typical Matt  Ryan game on Monday night.  373 yards passing that yielded a whopping 16 points.  That guy dominates between the twenties. 

New England by 11.5 over Buffalo:  The Pick - Bills

"What in the fuck are
you talking about?"
This week's "Athlete Who Gets It" award goes to Patriots' tight end Aaron Hernandez who recently responded to the question, "what do you hate most about your job?" with the following:  "We have to listen to the coaches all the time and do what they say."  So basically the thing you hate most about doing your job is actually doing your job.  Nice.  I'm sure that quote prompted a flood of invitations to speak at Boston area elementary schools.  What a jackass.            

Denver by 3.5 over Kansas City:  The Pick - Chiefs

Over his last three games against one good defense, one mediocre defense and one awful defense, Tim Tebow has looked pretty average.  The Chiefs have a pretty good defense and if they'd had Kyle Orton all season, they'd probably be going to the playoffs (which is pretty much all you need to know about the AFC West this season).  They're also playing to get Romeo Crennel the full-time gig as head coach.  Romeo is what is known as a "player's coach" which translates into a lot of water breaks at training camp.  Beware the team fighting for the job of the "player's coach".  The good news for Broncos fans, however, is that they're still going to host a playoff game because....  

Oakland by 3 over San Diego: The Pick - Chargers

Phillip Rivers is going to carve-up the Raiders and send Norv Turner off to his next job on a high note while the Raiders are left to ponder why they panic traded a big chunk of their future for a 32 year old quarterback who has never won a playoff game.   (I can hear Hue Jackson at the nail salon, "Wait a second.  He's never won a playoff game?  Did I have that information?  Man, when you put it like that, maybe it wasn't such a good idea.")        

Last week:  9-7 . . . .  Season:  84-73-3

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