For those of you who dialed up your office pool picks with a little help from LynchyRightNow last week, you're welcome. Coming off a 13-3 Week 13: Pick 'Em we're feeling the pressure to come back just as strong this week.
A now 6-6 Indianapolis Colts team will be fighting for their playoff lives on Thursday night. The J-E-T-S are looking to regroup against Miami, just five days removed from their disaster in New England. Lastly, the resurgent Cowboys are yet again hosting an NFC East foe looking to improve to 4-1 under interim head coach Jason Garrett.
Let's get after it!
Last Week: 13-3
On The Season: 105-79-7
Thursday 8:20 PM (EST)
Indianapolis at Tennessee - I really underestimated Jacksonville against these same Titans last week. Tennessee is a mess and are seemingly just playing out the string in the midst of a 5-game slide. That being said, are the Colts that much better? The Indianapolis offense is a timing machine, when you pull out three or four parts to that well oiled machine, they're going to struggle. I like Peyton and the Colts to get back on track this week against the Titans setting up a huge AFC South game against Jacksonville next week. Colts -3
Sunday 1:00 PM (EST)
Cleveland at Buffalo I'm not going to act like I haven't been impressed by Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's already thrown for 20 touchdown passes, which is more than MVP candidate Michael Vick, Ravens starter Joe Flacco, and Jets franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez. However, I've been equally impressed by the Browns who have won five games and been in position to win several others. When it's a toss-up, I take the home team. Bills -1
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh These two teams showed who they are better than any in the league last week. Cincinnati jumped offsides on fourth down inside the twenty allowing the Saints to get a fresh set of downs and score the go-ahead, game winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers defense attacked Joe Flacco and the Ravens in a low-scoring, great defensive struggle, winning a 3-point game on the road. So it's only fitting these two teams should meet this week. As bad as Cincinnati has been, throw records out the window, AFC North games are always close and this one should be no different. Bengals +8.5
Green Bay at Detroit It was a 2-point game the first time these two NFC North teams met, but this time the Lions will have to give the nod at quarterback to Drew Stanton because of injuries to Shaun Hill and starter Matthew Stafford. The Packers offense isn't Chicago's, they're more like New England's who put 45 points on the board against the Lions on Thanksgiving. Green Bay isn't in the business of having their playoff hopes crushed by Detroit, too focused to overlook the Lions on the road. Packers -6.5
New York (Giants) at Minnesota At 8-4 the Giants can't start looking to the playoffs just yet, especially when the 5-7 Vikings would love to win their third straight under Leslie Frazier. Whether Favre or backup Tarvaris Jackson gets the start, the Vikings plan will be to run the ball often after having success running it 40 times a week ago against the Bills. If the combination of Peterson and rookie Toby Gerhart can get going and control the clock, the Giants could have their hands full. It'll be close, and I'll take the better team. Giants -2
Tampa Bay at Washington The Bucs loss against Atlanta was huge last week. Dropping to 7-5 is going to make it very difficult to sneak into the postseason, they'll have to win and get some help. Washington is about as dysfunctional as an organization can get in the NFL, and the suspension of Albert Haynesworth is just the tip of the iceberg. The Bucs will get back to their winning ways in Washington holding on late. Buccaneers -1.5
Atlanta at Carolina The Falcons are the team to beat in the NFC flat out. With one game remaining against an above .500 team, the Saints, it seems as though the Falcons will finish with an impressive 13-3 record at worst. Provided they beat these 11-loss Panthers twice and the Seahawks next week, the Falcons will walk right into the playoffs as the top seed. Atlanta rolls. Falcons -7
Oakland at Jacksonville Okay. You got me. I didn't expect the Raiders to lay out San Diego like they did last week, and I certainly did expect Jacksonville to thump Tennessee like they did, two of my three losses in week 13. If I have to pick which team is for real, I'm going with the Jaguars who are more level-headed and will have an opportunity to play Indianapolis for a playoff spot once more. A battle of the 2nd and 3rd ranked rushing offenses in the league should be a good one. Jaguars -4
Sunday 4:15 PM (EST)
Seattle at San Francisco The 6-6 Seahawks are actually in position to win the division here. The 49ers are finishing the season with 3 of their remaining 4 games against NFC West opponents, including both the Rams and Seahawks battling it out for the division and a playoff spot. A surprising game that actually has playoff implications, yet not a person I know would be willing to sit through this game. I think Seattle can hang on the road and possibly take another step toward the postseason. Seahawks +5.5
St. Louis at New Orleans With the Rams competing for the NFC West and Saints looking for a Wild Card playoff berth, this game could be a preview into the first weekend of the playoffs. Despite winning each of their last two, against both Dallas and Cincinnati, the Saints came with in inches of losing both and must be thrilled to return home against a Rams team that is just 2-4 on the road. All due respect to Sam Bradford and everything he's accomplished, but I like the Saints to roll in this one. Saints -9
Miami at New York (Jets) The Jets must have a quality win this week against Miami, just to slap the taste of the New England loss out of their mouths. We'll see what kind of bounce back step Rex and the playoff bound Jets have in them this week. I'll take the Jets at home, simply because I can't think this team is as bad as they looked on Monday night, I do think the Patriots are THAT good though. Jets -5.5
Denver at Arizona This has got to be the week you want to see Arizona and get away from Colorado, the same week you fire your head coach. Like the Cowboys and Vikings before them, you don't want to face your own fans the same week. Arizona is awful and I think the Broncos will rally around their interim head coach. If you can't beat a team which lost each of their last seven, there might just be a bigger problem than the coach. Cardinals +5
Kansas City at San Diego As bad as the Chargers looked against Oakland last week, they'll bounce back against Kansas City for the simple fact that the AFC West just works like that. Oh, and Matt Cassel can't be feeling up to playing every down of a division game just five days after an emergency appendectomy. I'm not the only one who thinks so either, for the same reason that we've got a seven-point line on a San Diego team coming off a terrible showing. Chargers -7
New England at Chicago With any 3-point spread, consider popular opinion to be pretty close to even. I'll use what I saw with my eyes instead of opinion, a Patriots team that smashed a very well coached defense in Rex Ryan's Jets. Tom Brady is preparing himself an MVP caliber season and a convincing win against what many consider to be the best defense in the NFC, well that'd just add to his legend. It worked for last week so I'm sticking with it. Patriots -3.
Sunday 8:20 PM (EST)
Philadelphia at Dallas Down impressive rookie Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett's Cowboys can prove something this week, something that would have served them better in week 1 rather than week 14. However, they can convince everyone they aren't as far away as some thought prior to the firing of Wade Phillips. Garrett and the Cowboys put together gameplans to beat these Eagles at the end of last season and again in the playoffs, who thinks he can't now just because Michael Vick is the quarterback? (slowly raising my hand) But, they're my team . .I can't do it. Cowboys +4
Monday 8:20 PM (EST)
Baltimore at Houston I just continue to be unimpressed with Baltimore each week. Joe Flacco doesn't look like he is taking the strides we'd thought he would given the added weapons, and maybe he just won't. However, Baltimore is fighting to keep their playoffs alive while Houston has lost 5 of their last 6 to fall to 5-7. Baltimore will keep this one close and get a win late. Ravens -3.
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