Greetings friends. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will be ringing in the New Year in a most pleasant way. I’ll actually be working on New Year’s Eve, but that’s okay. I have access to a TV and should be able to watch the ball drop, which is exactly what I’d be doing at home anyway. Atleast now I’ll be getting paid for it. This is our final week of picks. I went 3-2 last week, which means I’ve got to make some solid choices to finish the year above the .500 mark. There is no getting around the fact that Zach has had an abysmal season. He went 2-3 last week, and though it won’t really affect the final tally one way or another I know he’d love to finish strong. The NFL playoff picture is mostly clear, but there are a few final dominoes that will fall into place during this last weekend of the season. Those games that matter…in one way or another…will be our focus. Stay safe out there Saturday night, or better yet, there is nothing wrong with staying home & remaining sober. God bless.
My Season: 50-48
Z’s Season: 35-63
Seattle (-9.5) at San Francisco
The Cleveland Browns are probably going to have the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, IF Cleveland beats my Steelers this weekend (stranger things have happened) and the Niners beat Seattle the two would be tied for the worst record in the league. I believe the Browns would still get the top draft choice based on tiebreakers, but I could be wrong. There’s also the matter of the Jacksonville Jaguars & Chicago Bears, who could both tie ‘Frisco if they lose and the Niners win. In that scenario I’m not sure how the draft order would shake out and I am far too lazy to research it. Conversely, the Seahawks have already clinched their division title but are playing for a possible first round bye in the playoffs. Seattle has something to play for, which makes them dangerous. San Francisco would be better off to lose. Aside from all that though I think it’s clear which team is far superior. Zach concurs.
My Pick: Seattle
Z’s Pick: Seattle
Oakland at Denver (-2)
A couple of things are at play here. The Raiders are already in the playoffs, but a win would secure a division crown. A win coupled with a loss by the New England Patriots to the Miami Dolphins (not out of the realm of possibility) would get Oakland the #1 seed and home field thru the playoffs. Of course the elephant in the room is the fact that talented QB Derek Carr has been lost to a broken leg, so the Raiders’ hopes rest on the shoulders of fourth year signal caller Matt McGloin, who was an undrafted free agent back in 2012. The Broncos have certainly fallen off this season, but I don’t think they are a terrible team at all. Their defense remains stout, and I think an offseason dedicated to focusing on developing the quarterback of their choice…Trevor Siemien, Paxton Lynch, or possibly trading for Tony Romo…could have them back in the playoff hunt in 2017. Unfortunately for Oakland I think such a tremendous loss at this point in the season is too much to overcome. Zach doesn’t think the quarterback change will be an issue for the Raiders, atleast not in this game.
My Pick: Denver
Z’s Pick: Oakland
Kansas City (-5.5) at San Diego
It’s pretty simple for the Chiefs…win & pray for an Oakland loss (more than possible) and the AFC West is theirs. If Oakland wins or KC loses then the Chiefs are a wildcard team. That’s a pretty significant difference. There’s nothing they can do about the Raiders, although confidence in a loss there has to be pretty high considering the quarterback situation. But the Chiefs can control the outcome of this game, and considering the awful season the Chargers have had the outcome shouldn’t be in question. Zach agrees.
My Pick: Kansas City
Z’s Pick: Kansas City
Carolina at Tampa Bay (-6)
Okay this is going to be confusing. To make the playoffs the Bucs have to win. Also, they need Green Bay & Washington to lose (well okay…actually a Redskins tie would do the trick). If all three of those things occur that still only puts them in a tie with the Packers, with the tiebreaker being strength of schedule. The only way they win the tiebreaker is if Tennessee, Indianapolis, Dallas & San Francisco all win. Got all that?? It’s unlikely at best, but hey, atleast Tampa has some hope going into this weekend, which is more than many teams have. Unfortunately I don’t think any of that will matter. The Panthers have undoubtedly had a horrendous season after losing Super Bowl 50, but I believe they’ll be motivated to play spoiler. Zach is looking for a big game from Cam Newton and is also predicting the upset.
My Pick: Carolina
Z’s Pick: Carolina
Green Bay (-3.5) at Detroit
The folks at NBC have to be pleased with how things worked out. The NFC North title is on the line Sunday night, and the loser could be left out of the playoffs altogether. Let’s just say that if the Washington Redskins win earlier in the day this game becomes a whole new level of pressure cooker. The Packers have won five in a row, while the Lions are on a two game losing streak. These feel like two teams heading in opposite directions, with Green Bay peaking at the right time while Detroit may have played its best football in October & November. Zach has some concerns about Green Bay’s defense, but feels like Aaron Rodgers & the offense are more than good enough to carry the team to a big win.
My Pick: Green Bay
Z’s Pick: Green Bay