Impressions from Week Twelve of the 2015 NFL Season

Yeah.

PHI @ DET

Philadelphia at Detroit

  • (Watched, correct)

Mark Sanchez is not a valuable quarterback to have in the NFL. I feel bad for anyone who thinks he’s even worth back-up status. Sure, his defense didn’t help his cause, but even with a good defense last year, he only went 4-4.

Detroit suddenly looks like a complete team again. All they had to do was fire almost everyone in the upper management. Calvin Johnson is also still elite.

CAR @ DAL

Carolina at Dallas

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I did not expect Tony Romo to play as poorly as he did. On the other hand, there wasn’t a lot open for him to play well with. Lots of replays showed every receiver not open… at all. Romo looked alone. And the running game wasn’t very effective either. Now, he’s out again, so Dallas will continue to lose every game until he returns.

At the beginning of this season, I said I didn’t think Cam Newton was a top 10 quarterback. By the halfway point, I still wasn’t ready to put him up there. Now, I’m willing to throw him a bone. I would probably put him on the same tier as Jay Cutler. And if that seems like an insult to you, you probably haven’t seen how well Jay Cutler has played this season. He just doesn’t have as complete a team as Newton does. Nevertheless, they’re now the only undefeated team in the league. If they can stay healthy, they’re favorites to play in the Super Bowl this year.

CHI @ GB

Chicago at Green Bay

  • (Watched most, incorrect)

I have a confession to make: despite the fact that I said I was “iffy” on this match-up, I was actually about 99% confident Green Bay would win this one. Turns out my almost fluke feeling turned out to be the right call.

Aaron Rodgers has 24 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions. However, he only has a 60% completion rate and a 6.9 yard per attempt average. His numbers still look great, but he hasn’t been playing well as of late. Once his offense has to rely on the pass, the team just seems to falter. Whether this is because of bad play calling, a lack of wide receiver experience, or an inconsistent running game has yet to be established, but whatever it is, Green Bay no longer looks like a dangerous playoff threat.

And Chicago could actually vie for a playoff spot.

BUF @ KC

Buffalo at Kansas City

  • (Watched most of fourth quarter, correct)

Alex Smith might be the best game manager in the NFL. Hasn’t thrown an interception in nearly 300 pass attempts. With his defense playing very well, Kansas City has won 5 games in a row. I’m not entirely confident that he’s capable of leading a team over a defensive juggernaut, but nevertheless, Kansas City is making a push for the postseason.

I feel bad for Buffalo fans. They went 9-7 last year with Kyle Orton and E.J. Manuel starting. Their defense was fantastic. Now with Rex Ryan running the show, their defense has suddenly become inconsistent and flaccid, despite finding what looks to be a good starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. I don’t think they’re gonna go far this season.

STL @ CIN

St. Louis at Cincinnati

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Jeff Fisher should be fired. Probably the GM, too, for fucking up a golden opportunity of a lifetime with, like, six 1st round picks from the RG3 trade.

NO @ HOU

New Orleans at Houston

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Remember when Houston was at 2-5 and people were calling out Bill O’Brien as another failure in the “Belichick-coaching tree”? How does he look now after a 4 game winning streak and with a punishing defense?

Remember when New Orleans was 4-4 and on a 3 game winning streak and people were under the assumption that they were good? How do they look now after a 3 game losing streak and with a defense that lets everyone score 100 points on them a week?

I don’t think Sean Payton’s going to survive as head coach after this season.

TB @ IND

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

  • (Did not watch, correct)

indianapoliscoltsvnewyorkjetssgxlotxjb8bl

SD @ JAX

San Diego at Jacksonville

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another edition of “Never trust the AFC South.” With the exclusion of the now surging Houston and Indianapolis teams, Jacksonville and Tennessee remain as two of the worst teams in the entirety of the NFL, despite what their records may say (though still not pretty). Last week, San Diego was on the road against a determined Jacksonville team determined to catch up to Houston and Indianapolis in the division. They took this determination and let San Diego walk all over them. San Diego hasn’t walked all over anyone this season.

Same ol’ Jacksonville. Gus Bradley should be fired.

MIA @ NYJ

Miami at New York

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

I sure do know how to pick an upset, huh?

I drastically underestimated FitzMagic and his sore, red thumb. I also drastically overestimated Miami’s… everything. I was under the impression that Miami would be able to take advantage of New York’s struggling defense. As it turns out, New York actually looked better without Revis. Who would’a thunk it?

Lesson learned: unless Miami’s up against the lowest of the lows, they aren’t doing anything.

MIN @ ATL

Minnesota at Atlanta

  • (Watched, correct)

Let me reiterate: I don’t understand why Atlanta got as many votes to win as it did before this game. Are people really still under the impression that Atlanta is good? Or were they worried about Minnesota’s embarrassing loss to Green Bay? I wasn’t worried about this game at all. I was [probably overly] confident in Minnesota winning this game easily.

Interestingly enough, people are starting to question whether Matt Ryan should remain the starter of Atlanta’s offense; to which I say, “Are you insane? Of course he should.” Matt Ryan isn’t a bad quarterback. Everyone has down years. Some people are pointing fingers at Kyle Shanhan, the offensive coordinator. Looking at his track record, there seems to be a correlation:

His offenses tend to start out well, then eventual befuddle down into the bottom 10 in the league. RG3 had a great rookie season. Then he followed it up with a 2013 campaign that was nothing less than complete shit (though that could also be blamed on rushing in too early from an ACL tear). In 2014, he coached a Brian Hoyer-led Cleveland team to a 7-4 record, then skidded into an offensive mess, lost the next 5 games, and Hoyer even lost his job to both Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw. Now, Hoyer’s enjoying a (now) successful season as Houston’s starting quarterback. Matt Ryan was a Pro Bowl quarterback last season and started 5-0 this year. Now he’d be lucky to even be ranked within the top 10 quarterbacks in the league after dropping 5 of his last 6. Frankly, Ryan’s been inconsistent all year. It’s truly a head-scratcher.

Whatever the case, hopefully for Atlanta they can work out their offensive struggles for next year. They certainly have a shit-ton of potential. Potential that Minnesota is already showing.

NYG @ WAS

New York at Washington

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

New York’s offense kinda sucks, especially their running game. BUT OMG DID YOU SEE ODELL BECKHAM’S AMAZING CATCH?!

Shut up.

It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing wide receiver if the other receivers are dropping balls into the hands of defenders. Or have no running game. Or have no offensive line. Or have no passing defense. New York is just… ugh. They’re almost St. Louis levels of inconsistency.

Kudos to Washington, though. Despite what everyone believed to be a disastrous season for them turned out to be pretty okay, for the time being. They’re first place in the division with a chance to further stomp Dallas into the ground next week. That should be a fun game.

OAK @ TEN

Oakland at Tennessee

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The second round of “Never trust the AFC South” went without a hitch. Oakland won and I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised as to how close it was, but nevertheless, Oakland is far superior to Tennessee.

ARI @ SF

Arizona at San Francisco

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Man, you just do not mess with San Francisco’s defense at home. It’s a rowdy group.

Unfortunately, this game was subject to poor officiating. It looked as though both teams were getting some bad blows, though the most controversial came from a roughing the passer call on Carson Palmer that… frankly wasn’t roughing the passer whatsoever, which ultimately let them continue their final touchdown drive. Ho-hum. The NFL needs to get its shit together. I feel bad for San Francisco. They could’ve actually upset an 8-2 team with you-know-who as a starting quarterback.

PIT @ SEA

Pittsburgh at Seattle

  • (Watched, incorrect)

There were a few questionable calls in this game, too, like Richard Sherman kinda pushing off to get his first interception of the season. Though, it wasn’t enough to give either team a legitimate chance, as Roethlisberger was massacring the Seattle secondary all game, and Pittsburgh’s secondary can’t cover/tackle for shit. An ugly defensive game by both sides.

Seattle’s offensive line is starting to get something going now. Russell Wilson has only been sacked 6 times in the last 3 games and their running game has ranged from okay to amazing with Thomas Rawls starting. They look like a good team again. That secondary is still a concern, though. Carson Palmer, Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and even Nick fucking Foles have had good games against it.

Pittsburgh has the same problem, except worse. Fix the secondary. It looked like it did in Week One against New England. It was hard to watch.

NE @ DEN

New England at Denver

  • (Watched, incorrect)

I am 10-2 when picking Sunday Night games. Those 2 losses came when picking against Denver. Maybe I should stop picking against Denver on Sunday Nights.

I will be honest; the end result of this game made me furious.

O-ffic-i-a-ting. Call me a New England-apologist all you want, but I really felt like the refs had it in for New England in this game. Every chance of a “ticky-tack” call was made against New England, while nothing other than incredibly blatant fouls were called against Denver. There’s shit-tons of evidence of bad non-calls all over Twitter, too. And, of course, people were all too happy to see New England get their “comeuppance” for “cheating all of those years.” Those refs may have been those people.

Officiating aside, it was still a good game plan by Gary Kubiak; run the ball at a defense without Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. It worked. Brock Osweiler didn’t make all the throws, but he made the throws when he had to. His defense also helped greatly with providing him many chances to do so… and help from the officials.

Okay, okay. I’ll quit it with the officiating.

At the end of the day, one has to see it like this: New England was defeated under these conditions:

  • Without their two (Pro Bowl-quality) starting linebackers.
  • Without their two starting wide receivers.
  • Without a consistent offensive line.
  • Without their starting running back.
  • Without their starting tight end (fourth quarter onwards).
  • In Overtime.

Denver beating New England can be summed up like a mammoth defeating a tyrannosaurus with its legs chopped off. It’s a sweet victory, but you can’t help but feel like you took advantage of its injuries, so it doesn’t feel as sweet. Oh, and seven zebras ganged up on the tyrannosaurus and beat at its eyes until it was blind.

Okay, okay. I’ll seriously stop.

BAL @ CLE

Baltimore at Cleveland

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Cleveland:

s-l300

  • Week Twelve Pick ‘Em record: 8-8
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 103-73

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Twelve; 2015)

Never say never, but I don’t think I’ll ever be this late with picks again. With time against me, I’ll simply make my picks with a very brief entry as to why.

BUF @ KC

Buffalo at Kansas City

  • Favorite: Kansas City (via NFLPickWatch.com)

Kansas City’s on a roll and Buffalo’s inconsistent.

Winner: Kansas City

STL @ CIN

St. Louis at Cincinnati

  • Favorite: Cincinnati

I don’t even need to explain this one.

Winner: Cincinnati

NO @ HOU

New Orleans at Houston

  • Favorite: Houston

Like with Buffalo at Kansas City, Houston’s on a roll and New Orleans is inconsistent.

Winner: Houston

TB @ IND

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis

  • Favorite: Indianapolis

Tough choice, but I think Indianapolis has a bit of “Save Pagano’s job” magic going on right now.

Winner: Indianapolis

SD @ JAX

San Diego at Jacksonville

  • Favorite: Jacksonville

San Diego this year is the Jacksonville of 2013. They may not win another game.

Winner: Jacksonville

MIA @ NYJ

Miami at New York

  • Favorite: New York

Miami’s a bad team, but I’m choosing them to upset a struggling New York defense (now without Darrelle Revis).

Winner: Miami

MIN @ ATL

Minnesota at Atlanta

  • Favorite: Minnesota

More people are picking Atlanta than I would’ve expected. It baffles me.

Winner: Minnesota

NYG @ WAS

New York at Washington

  • Favorite: New York

Another tough choice, but I like Tom Coughlin late in the season.

Winner: New York

OAK @ TEN

Oakland at Tennessee

  • Favorite: Oakland

The tides sure have turned for Oakland. Once heavy favorites against Minnesota, now they’re light favorites against Tennessee.

Winner: Oakland

ARI @ SF

Arizona at San Francisco

  • Favorite: Arizona

Lol.

Winner: Arizona

PIT @ SEA

Pittsburgh at Seattle

  • Favorite: Seattle

Much like Arizona at Seattle a few weeks ago, I like Pittsburgh to test the Legion of Boom and succeed.

Winner: Pittsburgh

NE @ DEN

New England at Denver

  • Favorite: New England

A likely defensive battle, I trust Tom Brady more than Brock Osweiler.

Winner: New England

BAL @ CLE

Baltimore at Cleveland

  • Favorite: Cleveland

Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, and the entire 2012 defensive line-up aren’t starting for Baltimore.

Winner: Cleveland

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Eleven; 2015)

STL @ BAL

St. Louis at Baltimore

  • Favorite: Baltimore (via NFLPickWatch.com)

Case Keenum is starting to shape up like Ryan Fitzpatrick: starting every season for a different team when they weren’t supposed to be. But with how ineffective Nick Foles has been (especially after seeing evidence of it last week), the change is definitely warranted. Case Keenum has won 100% of his starts as a quarterback since 2014. It was only two games, but c’mon! 100%!

Baltimore seems to be getting the short end of the stick lately. The officials inadvertently enabled Jacksonville to beat them on the final play of the game last week, which shouldn’t have even been run. To be fair, if they were the team they wish they were, they would’ve blown out Jacksonville at home. And for that, I think it’s hard to give Baltimore the edge here.

Case Keenum is a bit of a wild card here. I can’t really say if he’s an improvement over Nick Foles or not, and I can’t say that St. Louis would take care of business here if Nick Foles were starting. I think the defense (granted it plays okay) of St. Louis is the deciding factor here, along with the reason I think St. Louis will prevail.

Winner: St. Louis

WAS @ CARWashington at Carolina

  • Favorite: Carolina

Carolina is the favorite here, but a few are staking claim that Washington could upset them on the road this week. Carolina has to lose sometime, right? Peeking at the rest of their schedule, they have four divisional games in the last five weeks of the season, along with facing a Romo-led Dallas team on the road and New York (Giants). There are some teams in the mix that has a chance to upset them. Could Washington be the first?

After all, Washington just came off a 47-14 romping of New Orleans. Kirk Cousins has been playing better as the season goes on. Washington’s defense has been better than anticipated. They’re not a bad team by any means. But against a 9-0 team at home? I doubt it. But hey, I’ve been wrong before (many times).

I like the idea of an upset here, but I think Carolina will lose to a more complete team. There are still some question marks with this Washington offense, despite their last win against an atrocious defense. Carolina will take care of business.

Winner: Carolina

DEN @ CHI

Denver at Chicago

  • Favorite: Chicago

A match-up almost as intriguing as St. Louis at Baltimore. Peyton Manning has been ceremoniously benched in favor of longtime back-up Brock Osweiller, who will make his first career start versus Chicago on the road. Y’know, I remember the last time Chicago went up against a team that had a one point back-up starting in favor of an injured star. All the way back in 2012, when they got throttled by Colin Kaepernick in his breakout game for San Francisco. Will Osweiller do the same? The situations are certainly similar.

Though, one could make the argument that Lovie Smith was still the head coach at that point, and the defense was on the decline. Now, Chicago looks to be a revitalized team under John Fox and co. Oh, and John Fox also coached Denver between 2011-2014. He has a little motivation for this game.

I’ll pick this game the same way I picked the game between San Francisco and Chicago back in 2012: with Chicago winning. Again, I don’t know what to expect of Osweiller, as this is his first career start. All I know is that Chicago’s been playing well recently, and Denver’s defense is starting to crack a bit. No Alshon Jeffery, no Matt Forte, no problem. Chicago will find a way to win.

Winner: Chicago

DAL @ MIA

Dallas at Miami

  • Favorite: Dallas

Dallas fans, take in a collective breath. Tony Romo is back in the line-up.

This should be an interesting match-up. Tony Romo is back from breaking his collarbone in what seems to be the 700th injury of his career. Will he play well in his debut game? Or will the rust of sitting on the sidelines handicap him? All I know is that Dallas can’t afford to play catch up. It’d most likely be better to ease Romo into playing again with a balanced offensive attack of quick passes and bruising runs. Kinda like last year, but with Darren McFadden rather than DeMarco Murray.

Miami had a good win against a Philadelphia offense that couldn’t get anything going, especially once Bradford got hurt. Their defense played well and gave their offense about 20 tries to score points. I don’t know if that’s a compliment to their defense or an insult to Philadelphia’s offense. Nevertheless, Miami got the win, but it wasn’t all too convincing. Now they have to face off against an offense that isn’t as inconsistent, especially now with Romo in there.

Basically, I trust a Romo-led offense. I don’t trust Miami’s validity as a team. Maybe if they win here, it’ll turn the tides, but not a lot of people expect them to win. Except the people who believe in the “Hardy Curse.”

Winner: Dallas

OAK @ DET

Oakland at Detroit

  • Favorite: Oakland

Oakland’s the favorite here, but it’s a 71-29% divide, which puzzles me. Are people that confident in Detroit after taking down Green Bay on the road? I see it more as Green Bay being buried in issues as opposed to Detroit actually being a good team. After all, they didn’t perform well that game, either. It looked like two old injured dogs having one last scuffle before they kneel over and die.

Oakland came close to closing the gap against Minnesota last week, but two interceptions from Terence Newman ruined their plans. Minnesota’s defense is not to be trifled with. Detroit’s, on the other hand, will let you trifle, ruffle, and bombard them with touchdowns aplenty… assuming you aren’t a struggling Green Bay team.

For me, this game isn’t even close. Even if the game becomes close, I think Oakland will close the deal in the end. They’re a much better team.

Winner: Oakland

NYJ @ HOU

New York at Houston

  • Favorite: New York

Y’know, if you showed me this match-up two weeks ago, I would’ve picked New York in a heartbeat. With the way last week played out, however, I feel a little more hesitant. New York isn’t as stable as a team as I thought, and Houston seems to have some defensive talent. Then again, Houston’s defensive performance could’ve been attributed to Cincinnati’s awful offensive performance. Nevertheless, this is a tricky match-up reeking with upset, if you can consider Houston beating New York an upset.

FitzMagic just had surgery on his thumb a week ago, so that’s an interesting factor to consider. Houston is starting their back-up quarterback T.J. Yates, who has been there a total of less than a month (this year), which is another interesting factor. Brandon Marshall, as talented as he is, has dropped some easy passes this year (which led to an interception last week). DeAndre Hopkins seems to be the second-coming of Andre Johnson.

I think defense will be the deciding factor to this game: which defense will play harder? Cause more turnovers? I like New York’s chances more than Houston’s.

Winner: New York

IND @ ATL

Indianapolis at Atlanta

  • Favorite: Atlanta

Does everyone remember Atlanta losing to a Blaine Gabbert-led offense two weeks ago? Apparently not, because Atlanta’s an 87-13% favorite. Sure, Matt Hasselbeck is starting, but he played well against… Houston. Okay, I think I see the point.

Still, though, with as inconsistent as Atlanta’s offense is, despite having the league’s second-leading scrimmage yard holder on offense, it’s hard to imagine them blowing Indianapolis out. Their defense is solid, though, and should prove Hasselbeck’s first real test of the season. I don’t think Matt Ryan will struggle with Indianapolis’s defense, especially with Mike Adams out.

This game, along with New York at Houston, reeks of upset. Part of me wants to pick Indianapolis because I believe in Hasselbeck. But on the other hand, Atlanta looks like the better team on paper. If only they played like they’ve looked on paper. Don’t let us down again, Atlanta.

Winner: Atlanta

TB @ PHI

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

  • Favorite: Philadelphia

Philadelphia is an 85-15% favorite here, but I could see this game going either way. Jameis Winston and co. have been playing good football in the past couple of weeks (excluding Mike Evans’ performance against New York) and the defense has been stout. It looked good against Dallas last week, but Dallas is Dallas. Anyone could hold them to 6 points… except Philadelphia.

This is my dilemma: I want to pick Philadelphia. I want to feel confident that Philadelphia will put this game away easily, but they’re starting Mark Sanchez against an offense that can score points when needed. Mark Sanchez starting is not a good sign. Philadelphia’s defense can only do so much. I would even argue that Tampa Bay’s offense is better than Miami’s. Their records may be the same, but in terms of Pick ‘Em percentage, this match-up not only reeks of upset, but screams it, too.

In the end, I still like Philadelphia to win, but only because I trust their defense more than Tampa Bay’s offense. Mark Sanchez may not move the ball much, but I don’t think he’ll make any major errors. Then again, Tampa Bay’s pretty good at forcing turnovers…. Mrmm.

Winner: Philadelphia

KC @ SD

Kansas City at San Diego

  • Favorite: Kansas City

After a five-game losing streak, Kansas City has won three in a row. Their defense is starting to become elite force and Charcandrick West is looking to be a fitting replacement for Jamaal Charles. Alex Smith just has to not play like Alex Smith and they’re golden.

I feel bad for San Diego. I really do. They may as well change their logo from a lightning bolt to the Red Cross, because they have so many substantial injuries it’s ridiculous. Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Johnnie Troutman, Chris Watt, Branden Oliver; all out indefinitely. At least they may be getting some starters in King Dunlap, Orlando Franklin, and Manti Te’o back from injury this week. That should help this struggling offensive line to a degree.

I expect to see a lot of Antonio Gates and Danny Woodcock in this game. Philip Rivers simply doesn’t have many else to throw to. And with Kansas City’s rising defense, I don’t see a very offensive game from San Diego. San Diego’s defense could allow 20+ points from pretty much anyone.

Winner: Kansas City

GB @ MIN

Green Bay at Minnesota

  • Favorite: Minnesota

A 52-48% favorite, might I add. This game has experts very divided, much like Denver at Chicago does. For me, with as badly as Green Bay’s offense has been performing in the last three weeks, I’m both surprised and not by how close people are picking this game. I’m surprised because Minnesota is clearly the better team at this point. I’m not surprised because this game will inevitably be a close-knit game between fierce division rivals, with Minnesota running and Green Bay throwing. It’ll be a test for both defenses to show what they got. I’m really looking forward to it.

One has to think that Aaron Rodgers will turn it around, right? He’s better than what the last three weeks have seen out of him, so what’s the issue? Well, recent reports say he’s injured. Others say that his receivers simply aren’t getting separation. His offensive line hasn’t been all too good recently, which is also affecting Green Bay’s running game. So, essentially, he’s become a lesser Philip Rivers in a much colder environment; the product of injury and a bad offensive line.

Minnesota, on the other hand, has no issue with Teddy Bridgewater, as he’s typically not a flashy number guy by any stretch of the imagination. Their offensive line is “eh,” okay enough to let Adrian Peterson be the league’s leading rusher (that may say more about Adrian Peterson) and to protect Bridgewater when it counts. Still, though, with Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, that’ll be put to the test quickly.

My favorite game this week. I’m picking the logical choice based on this year’s evidence for the outcome, which points to Minnesota. They’re at home, they have an elite defense, and they have Adrian Peterson. They look to take a two game lead in the division.

Winner: Minnesota

SF @ SEA

San Francisco at Seattle

  • Favorite: Seattle

Seattle is a 100% favorite. I would laugh really hard if San Francisco upset them, but I don’t expect that. Much like everyone else.

Seattle let the game get away from them last week against Arizona. Their defense can’t seem to handle offenses with high-powered passing games like they used to. Still pretty good against the run, though, which is basically 70% of San Francisco’s offense. The only thing is with San Francisco’s defense, which is okay normally, but teeters a tot on the road. Seattle’s offense can be okay, assuming they play a balanced game and let Russell Wilson attack the defense with both his arm and his legs. One can’t be very confident with their offense the way they’ve played throughout the season, though, even with Jimmy Graham.

In case you forgot, San Francisco is also starting this guy:

bwaine gabbert

  • 6-22 starting record
  • 25/26 TD/Int ratio
  • 53.4% career pass completion
  • 67.1 career quarterback rating

Winner: Seattle

CIN @ ARI

Cincinnati at Arizona

  • Favorite: Arizona

People don’t have a lot of confidence in Cincinnati after they lost horribly to Houston a week ago in PRIMETIMEI’m the same. Had Cincinnati taken care of business against Houston in convincing fashion last week, I probably would have picked them to beat Arizona this week. However, it would seem Cincinnati’s struggles at night continue to haunt them and are no longer favorites when it comes to big games like this. Oh well.

Arizona beat Seattle last week the way Cincinnati should’ve beaten Houston last week. There was always talk about Arizona only being good against teams with bad defenses, but they disproved that against Seattle on the road. Though, some are convinced that Seattle’s defense has softened considerably this season. Fact of the matter is Carson Palmer shredded the Legion of Boom for three touchdowns and 363 yards through the air. While I don’t expect the same type of game against Cincinnati, I expect him to perform well.

And that’s the only thing that’s preventing me from throwing all of my chips on the table in favor of Arizona: Cincinnati’s defense. They’ve played very well this season and can turn the tide. I don’t expect this game to be a blowout by any means, but unless Cincinnati’s offense plays the way it did last week, the combined score shouldn’t be much more than 40. A fascinating game, to say the least. This week’s slate of afternoon/evening games are all enticing (not counting Tennessee at Jacksonville).

Winner: Arizona

BUF @ NE

Buffalo at New England

  • Favorite: New England

New England is playing at home and they’re New England. Rex Ryan or no Rex Ryan. Julian Edelman or no Julian Edelman. Offensive line or no offensive line. New England doesn’t lose at home. I don’t expect them to this week. Or any week.

Winner: New England

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Ten; 2015)

(I am really pushing it off this week.)

[Jacksonville @ Baltimore]

Part of me, the part that likes Jacksonville as lovable losers, wants to pick Jacksonville to upset Baltimore on the road. When considering it, Jacksonville actually has the offensive pieces to get it done, too. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are both on pace for 1,000 yard seasons and double digit touchdown receptions. Blake Bortles has also thrown more touchdowns this season than most others. However, a lot of those were in garbage time, unfortunately.

Baltimore, on the other hand, is bad. They aren’t as bad as Jacksonville, but they’re bad enough to let them hang around. Seeing as this is being played at home, Baltimore has more of an advantage, as they typically play better at home. Not much indecision here.

Winner: Baltimore

[Cleveland @ Pittsburgh]

Interesting match-up. Both teams are starting their back-up quarterbacks, as their regular starters have fallen to injury (Pittsburgh is technically playing its 3rd stringer). Both teams have been sporadic this season, but the one factor to consider is that one team is 5-4 and the other is 2-7. Guess which record belongs to Cleveland.

Cleveland’s defense has been, well, fairly non-existent for a while. Joe Haden and Donte Whitner have been gone for what seems like the whole season and receivers are taking advantage of a thin Cleveland secondary. Speaking of receivers, Pittsburgh has a lot of them; good ones. Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton. Cleveland has… Gary Barnidge. Pittsburgh has the advantage on both sides of the ball. Quarterback edge? It’s up in the air.

Winner: Pittsburgh

[Carolina @ Tennessee]

Carolina just beat Green Bay last week. I don’t think facing Tennessee, despite their impressive win over New Orleans last week, will be anything of a struggle.

Winner: Carolina

[Chicago @ St. Louis]

Chicago may be underrated, but St. Louis isn’t exactly San Diego. This will certainly be a test of Chicago’s will.

With all the pass rushers on St. Louis’s defensive line (excluding the injured Chris Long), I don’t think Chicago’s going to have a lot of success protecting Jay Cutler. I expect sacks galore for St. Louis, unless Chicago tries to beat the defense with quick passes and gain a lead early on. Eddie Royal’s still out, leaving only Jeffery and Forte (who are both questionable) as Chicago’s only viable receiving threats. I feel confident that their defense can stop a futile St. Louis passing offense. I can’t say the same for Todd Gurley.

St. Louis, I feel, is better on both sides of the ball. Todd Gurley is a bulldozer and will likely ease through Chicago’s inexperienced defense. If that doesn’t work, St. Louis’s defense will simply have Cutler sit on the ball, leaving their pass rush to do its job. I don’t like Chicago’s chances, but it’s not completely one-sided.

Winner: St. Louis

[Dallas @ Tampa Bay]

Very intriguing match-up here.

Dallas hasn’t won since Tony Romo got hurt. They came close against Philadelphia last week. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t Philadelphia’s. Dallas’s defense isn’t bad, either. Tampa Bay has had issues on the offense lately, though Jameis Winston has been good about not turning the ball over. They look like a better team than they were at the beginning of the year. Who do you root for? A team with question marks everywhere or a team with Matt Cassel under center?

To be fair, Cassel played near great against Philadelphia, whose defense is fairly stout (normally). Dez Bryant seems to be getting healthier every game. It’s starting to become enough of a factor to rely on with Dallas’s once snail-pace offense. Not to mention, their offensive line is still among the best in the league.

Initially, I wanted to pick Tampa Bay, because I think they may be close to getting over the hump, combined with the fact that Dallas is completely lost without Romo. However, I think this is the week that Dallas finally wins. It’s against Tampa Bay; Tampa Bay on the road, but nevertheless.

Winner: Dallas

[Detroit @ Green Bay]

Detroit is primed for an upset because they fired their general manager and Green Bay lost to two of the best teams in the NFL!

Winner: Green Bay

[Miami @ Philadelphia]

This would’ve been interesting immediately following Miami’s dismantling of Houston, but ever since then, they’ve looked lost against Buffalo and New England. This is their third straight road game against a better (Buffalo?) defense. Two straight weeks of putting up less than 20 points and giving up 30? Yeah. Things aren’t looking as good for Miami since Dan Campbell’s Duke Nukem type of entrance. Philadelphia shouldn’t have much trouble here.

Winner: Philadelphia

[New Orleans @ Washington]

Mrmm. Mrmmmmm. Washington’s kinda bad, but they aren’t that bad. New Orleans lost to Tennessee last week. On their own turf. And they’re on the road this week. New Orleans isn’t the same on the road. I… I almost smell an upset here. Do I take it?

Well, let’s think about it. Kirk Cousins came up with a 100 point comeback against Tampa Bay at home. New Orleans’ defense is awful. Washington’s defense is meh, but certainly something that Brees can handle. Mrmm. New Orleans’ offensive line is shoddy. Washington’s is good against pass rushers, but blows against the run. Mrmmm. Is… Is Washington really the better team here? The better choice?

Fuck it, I’m going with it. Washington will win. I hope.

Winner: Washington

[Minnesota @ Oakland]

I really, really wish I could watch this game. I’m too poor for Sunday Ticket. Ho-hum.

This is by far my favorite match-up this week. Oakland is a rising offensive powerhouse and Minnesota is an established defensive fort. I relish the thought of these two teams going at it. It should provide for great entertainment.

Despite the Minnesota defense, I expect this to be a high-scoring game. Oakland (especially at home) is near dominant on offense. They have so many weapons and Derek Carr is playing like he sucked up all of Peyton Manning’s talent. Latavius Murray (when not hurt) is also a good both running and catching the ball. Like a poor man’s Matt Forte, except more explosive.

The only thing that worries me is Oakland’s defense. Minnesota doesn’t have too much on offense to throw it to, but they do have debatably the best running back in the league, who is currently leading the league in rushing yards. I expect Peterson to have a great game, so long as Bridgewater looks stout throwing the ball.

Am I expecting too much from Oakland’s offense? Maybe. Am I expecting too little from Minnesota’s defense? Maybe. All I know is that Oakland’s defense won’t likely save their offense from any blunders, so they need to play perfect.

Winner: Oakland

[Kansas City @ Denver]

Yeah.

Winner: Denver

[New England @ New York]

Another match-up I’d like to see. New York has won the last 3 games against New England, including two Super Bowl match-ups (how many times have you heard that this week?) Eli Manning has been playing well as of late, but Tom Brady’s been playing better. New York’s defense has been good, but New England’s has been better. Odell Beckham Jr’s still the best receiver in the history of ever (according to media hype), but Julian Edelman’s debatably had a more consistent season.

Yeah. In all fairness, I’m sure New York will make the game close, seeing as this rivalry seems to have some weird mojo for New York having the advantage, but New England’s 8-0. They’re playing like they expect another championship. I don’t expect that to show any less against New York.

Plus, you never bet against New England. They showed me that in Week One.

Winner: New England

[Arizona @ Seattle]

Another interesting match-up. An NFC West battle that has gone either way in years past. When Carson Palmer’s starting, Arizona has a chance. They were the only team to beat Seattle at home in 2013. They could do it again here.

The only thing that worries me is Arizona’s losing record. They’ve lost twice thus far. To who? St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Two teams with moderate defenses. Seattle’s defense at home? Well, it’s fairly good. It’s the only thing that stands in the way of a comfortable pick of Arizona winning here. I feel if Arizona wins here, they can show that they’re legitimate. If Seattle wins here, they can show that they’re still in the playoff race. The only thing for Seattle is, can they win consistently with that atrocious offensive line?

Not to mention, Jimmy Graham, as inconsistent as he’s been this season, is Seattle’s only big threat. They have other contributors like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, but that’s pretty much it. Marshawn Lynch’s been hurt and struggling (offensive line) and Russell Wilson is having a lukewarm year statistically (offensive line). They need a lot of help if they want to block Calais Campbell and co.

It’s hard to pick either team, but I feel more comfortable with Arizona here. Seattle has been inconsistent and I just can’t get past their offensive line inefficiencies. It’s hard to swallow how bad of a condition they’ve let it get to.

Winner: Arizona

[Houston @ Cincinnati]

I would post a gif showing how overconfident I am in Cincinnati, but PRIMETIME. Regardless….

Winner: Cincinnati