The last week was a poor 8 – 8 straight up as parity continues to reign in the NFL which makes the season record straight up 140 – 84. Against the spread however it was also 8 – 8, not quite so bad there taking the season results to 112 – 105 – 7 on the season.
I participate in a pick’em league and these choices reflect the picks I make there; for that league I can make changes until the first game kicks off and will (rarely) based on last minute injury information. These picks are for amusement value only; please do not confuse these choices with the real picks made on this site by those who are focusing on the best choices available as they see them. The line used is a line in effect when I picked the game (usually the day prior to the article being posted).
Carolina at Atlanta – Carolina has wrapped up the top pick in the next draft; players have little to play for, coaches even less. Atlanta is playing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and a first round bye so they will be primed, Falcons win 24 – 14.
Cincinnati at Baltimore – The Bengals have been a team that has underperformed until last week, the defense has been injured and ineffective and they have been mistake prone. Baltimore has an outside chance at the second seed and a bye so they will be focused, Ravens win 21 – 14.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland – Cleveland has a good offensive line and the running game has been solid, the defense has been better than expected. Pittsburgh needs to win to guarantee the second seed and a bye in the playoffs; they need to emphasize the run, Steelers win 24 – 20.
Minnesota at Detroit – The Vikings are traveling after a short week, a physical game with a banged up offensive line, and an unpredictable rookie quarterback. Detroit has been playing well and would like to close out on a winning streak, Lions win 24 – 20.
Oakland at Kansas City – Oakland has been playing better as the season has progressed but still has too many penalties and mental mistakes. Kansas City has a solid running game and will need to use it to secure the third seed in the playoffs, Chiefs win 24 – 17.
Miami at New England – The Dolphins have been inconsistent offensively and compiled a baffling one win at home for the season. New England is not playing for anything in this game and may rest guys early (remember they lost Welker last year at this point), Patriots win, 28 – 21.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans – Tampa Bay is still technically alive for the playoffs but need a win and a lot of other help they could also use a healthier defense. New Orleans is in the playoffs with a chance still at the division title they are playing well at the right time, Saints win 31 – 21.
Buffalo at New York Jets – The Bills may be without Fitzpatrick for this game; they have been playing with effort but have limited options offensively. New York has been up and down and mat rest their quarterback as well but the defense is the key, Jets win 21 – 14.
San Diego at Denver – Denver has been playing for next season and looking at Tebow as their quarterback of the future, which limits options. San Diego has been statistically impressive but has had enough breakdowns to eliminate themselves from the playoffs, Chargers win 31 – 21.
Chicago at Green Bay – The Bears have secured the second seed and while they have an outside chance at the one seed, there is not much to play for here. Green Bay has a potent offense and an active defense, they need a win to assure a playoff berth, Packers win 28 – 20.
Jacksonville at Houston – Jacksonville has some key injuries as the starting quarterback and running back limit their chances here despite their playoff chances. Houston has played some really bad defense which has held back a quality offensive group, Texans win 28 – 24.
Tennessee at Indianapolis – The Titans can play spoiler here and match up well but they appear to have lost focus. Indianapolis is playing for the division and a playoff spot, they generally play well at home and the defense has played well the past few weeks, Colts win 24 – 21.
Dallas at Philadelphia – Philadelphia is on a short week and the result here will not affect their playoff position, they are looking at resting Vick, perhaps others as well. The Cowboys may also be without their quarterback but coaching positions are at risk here, Cowboys win 21 – 20.
Arizona at San Francisco – The Cardinals have been inconsistent and have little to play for at this point, the offense has been ineffective. San Francisco has been playing rotating quarterback but the defense has been surprisingly ineffective, Forty-niners win 24 – 21.
New York Giants at Washington – The Redskins have lost some close games and have been inconsistent defensively, particularly against the pass. The Giants have also been inconsistent, the issue for them being turnovers, Giants win 28 – 21.
St Louis at Seattle – Seattle is playing for a playoff spot as the winner of this game claims the division crown and a playoff game but they battered. St Louis has improved, but like most young teams is inconsistent, Jackson may be the stabilizing factor, Rams win 28 – 24.