And now the end is near, and so I face the final week of the NFL regular season. Regrets?? I have a few…a few too many to mention. One thing I know for certain is that my career in the prognostication arts is pretty much dead in the water. After going 1-6 last week…my worst week thus far…my overall record stands at 43-67-1. I honestly thought my skills would improve over the course of the season, but I was wrong even about that. At any rate I am already looking forward to next season when I am pretty sure my eldest nephew Zach will be joining me in making picks. He’s a busy college student with an actual life so that plan could change. I’m going to try to finish strong because since my fantasy season is already over and the Steelers are out of the playoffs this is the only motivation for me to pay much attention to football this weekend.
Houston (-6.5) at Indianapolis
Both clubs are going to the playoffs, but home field or atleast a first round bye is on the line for the Texans, who really stunk it up last week against the Minnesota Vikings. The game is in Indy and really the pressure is off rookie QB Andrew Luck because they have already secured a playoff spot. Colts’ coach Chuck Pagano will make an undoubtedly emotional return to the sidelines after missing most of the season due to undergoing cancer treatments. I am a sucker for a nice story, and an Indianapolis victory would certainly be that (as well as soften the blow of a probable first round exit), so I’ll go with Indy.
Chicago (-3) at Detroit
Bottom line…the Bears must win this game to atleast have a shot at the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Lions are in the midst of a 7 game skid and have been a huge disappointment this season. I’d love to be able to pick Detroit, and it would not shock anyone if they won, but logic dictates that Chicago be the choice here, even if the NFL is often as illogical as anything out there.
NY Jets at Buffalo (-3.5)
Who the hell is playing QB for the Jets this week?? I have not only lost track but I have lost interest. Neither team is going anywhere near the playoffs unless they buy a ticket, but they are playing for NFL Draft position even if that is something that no one will dare mention for obvious reasons. The Bills are at home and know who their QB is even if he isn’t very good, so that’s the pick.
Philadelphia at NY Giants (-6.5)
This will probably be the last game for Andy Reid as the Eagles’ head coach. The Giants can still make the playoffs with a victory, although they’d also need both the Dallas Cowboys & Chicago Bears to lose. Not impossible but a lot to ask for. I keep picking the Giants and they keep letting me down, so let’s go with a bit of a twist. I think it likely that New York wins the game, but a valiant effort by Philadelphia means it’s closer than a touchdown so the Eagles are the pick.
St. Louis at Seattle (-11)
The red hot Seahawks could actually win their division with a victory coupled with a 49ers loss. That would obviously affect playoff seeding. Meanwhile, the Rams have shown flashes of something positive here & there this season but will nevertheless finish mired in mediocrity. I see no reason to go against Seattle at this point except for the huge point spread, which gives me pause. I think Seattle probably wins but not by double digits, making St. Louis the pick.
Green Bay (-3.5) at Minnesota
The Packers are in the playoffs but are still on the prowl for a first round bye. Minnesota is in with a win & likely on the outside looking in with a loss. I’d love to pick the Vikings (purple is one of my favorite colors), but Green Bay is on a roll right now and has looked rather unstoppable. As much as I dig a good underdog story I think this is a case where the favorites easily dominate.
Dallas at Washington (-3.5)
Wow…when was the last time a Cowboys-Redskins game actually meant something?? Washington has been given the nominal nod by the folks in Vegas because of the home field, but otherwise this is essentially a toss-up. Can Dallas QB Tony Romo finally win a big game?? Can anyone stop rookie sensation RGIII?? I think it is technically possible that both teams could make the playoffs (analyzing playoff scenarios is like doing calculus with a hangover AND a high fever), but for the sake of simplicity let’s just assume that the winner is in and the loser goes home. I am certain that, despite the Cowboys’ claim of being America’s Team, TV ratings & public interest would be far better served with a Redskins playoff berth. I know that as a lifelong quasi-hater of the Cowboys I wouldn’t mind seeing them lose. Washington is riding a 6 game winning streak. So what does that all add up to?? Unfortunately The Voices are telling me it probably means a Dallas victory, and as y’all know I always listen to The Voices.
- This Is It (nfl.si.com)
- NFL Playoff Predictions 2013: Assessing Each Wild-Card Team’s Super Bowl Odds (bleacherreport.com)
- Now Or Never (m.si.com)