Another Thursday night, another night making picks while actually watching football. Thank God the Thursday NFL game is usually not one we choose to discuss. That may change though since we’ll be strictly NFL the rest of the way. We both did fairly well picking last week’s conference title games. I was 5-2, while Zach was 4-3. We’ll be posting our annual College Football Bowl-A-Palooza in the coming days (I believe the first bowl game takes place next Friday), but as usual they are a separate entity from these picks. At any rate, I hope The Manoverse is having a pleasant holiday season and doing most of your shopping online. Enjoy.
My Season: 52-37
Zach’s Season: 45-44
Houston at Tennessee (-3)
I don’t think many football fans are surprised that the AFC South is up for grabs this late in the season, but there probably aren’t many that thought the Titans would be in the mix. I predicted they’d go 5-11 & finish dead last in the division, which was obviously way off base. Even more curious is the fact that they’re doing it with Ryan Tannehill under center after former first round pick Marcus Mariota was benched. I guess when you have a beast at running back like Derrick Henry that helps a whole lot. Let’s not shortchange the Texans though. At 8-5 they are tied with Tennessee atop the division. This is the first of two meetings in three weeks between these teams, which is peculiar scheduling indeed. Tennessee gets the requisite home field bump, but I’m still not sold on Tannehill. If Houston’s defense can keep Henry in check I think they walk away with a comfortable victory. Zach is a little concerned about Houston in the wake of their shockingly poor performance a week ago against Denver, but he thinks they’ll rebound and score the upset.
My Pick: Houston
Z’s Pick: Houston
Miami at NY Giants (-3)
I’m really trying to avoid focusing on the same half dozen teams these last few weeks so this unappealing game makes the cut. Giants’ rookie QB Daniel Jones is probably going to be back after missing last week’s game with a sprained ankle, but whether it is he or Eli Manning under center makes very little difference. The Dolphins are likely going to miss out on the #1 overall pick in next spring’s draft, but I’m not sure if that’s a positive or a negative. Both teams are a mess and might stay that way for the next couple of years. I hope this turns out to be a tight game decided late in the 4th quarter (or overtime)…otherwise it’s basically just a waste of everyone’s time. That being said, The Vibes are telling me to go with Miami. Zach thinks there may be a bit of FitzMagic left for the Dolphins and is also picking the upset.
My Pick: Miami
Z’s Pick: Miami
LA Rams at Dallas (even)
Jerry Jones is almost as bad of an owner as the clown that owns my Pittsburgh Pirates, although in a totally different way. Wherein Pirates’ ownership has neglected the franchise for years & refuses to spend money necessary to compete, Jones actually cares too much and thinks he’s way smarter than he is. The Cowboys would improve dramatically if he’d step down as general manager and let people who know what the hell they are doing run the team. That’s not going to happen though, and head coach Jason Garrett will be the sacrificial lamb. The funny thing is they might still make the playoffs since the entire NFC East is atrocious. The Rams aren’t going to be in the playoffs. On one hand that’s not surprising given the whole Super Bowl Curse thing, but on the other hand it is a dramatic departure from a year ago when head coach Sean McVay & quarterback Jared Goff were celebrated flavors of the month. It’s interesting that the ‘Boys can’t even score the usual three point home advantage…seems like the folks in Vegas have lost faith in them. It’s a tall order for the Rams to head into Texas with nothing to play for and face off against a team fighting for its life & a coach desperate to save his job, but that’ll make it all the more delightful when the visitors get the win. Zach concurs and foresees a blowout.
My Pick: LA Rams
Z’s Pick: LA Rams
Atlanta at San Francisco (-10.5)
I predicted that the 49ers would make the playoffs, but I had no idea they’d be this good and a legit Super Bowl contender. Conversely, the Falcons are much worse than I expected. Frisco isn’t going to lose at home, but the points are a bit of a concern. Double digit spreads are unusual in the NFL. Having said that, the Niners have won 7 of their 11 victories by ten points or more, so I’ll roll with it. Zach thinks the Falcons are slowly figuring things out, but sees Frisco scoring the victory…just not by ten points.
My Pick: San Francisco
Z’s Pick: Atlanta
Indianapolis at New Orleans (-9)
Indianapolis should title their 2019 highlight video “What If?”. What if Andrew Luck would have stuck around?? What if receiver TY Hilton hadn’t missed half the season with a calf injury?? What if RB Marlon Mack wasn’t so injury prone?? They are a better team than their record shows, but much like my Pittsburgh Steelers the deck has been stacked against them all season long and they just can’t catch a break. On the flip side the Saints have already clinched their division and have to be kicking themselves for that last second loss to San Francisco that’s going to cost them home field in the presumed NFC Championship (although anything can happen). I like Indy. They have potential and will probably be back in the playoff conversation next year, but it’s just not meant to be right now and they’re going up against a well-oiled machine. The points give me brief pause, but I like the Saints to get the job done on Monday night. Zach agrees.
My Pick: New Orleans
Z’s Pick: New Orleans