by Clash Daily’s Pigskin Pundit
Last week was proof of how the league is tightening down as playoffs approach. My picks turned a measly 9-7, leaving me at 127-65-1. The surprises were Philly finding enough oomph to beat Tampa, and Dallas taking one in Cincinnati. I was also delightedly surprised by the Monday Night Massacre, as my Patriots thumped Houston soundly. The other wins/losses were not so unexpected, as the matches were fairly even. I find this week no easier to pick, after last week’s surprises.
Here’s how I rank the contenders at this point. The Patriots and Broncos are the AFC teams to beat. Houston maybe had one bad game, but that game showed two things; how to neutralize their offense and that they aren’t as solid on defense as they appear. Baltimore is good, but not that good anymore. Flacco just isn’t a top-tier QB, and their defense is getting old and dinged.
In the NFC, the powerhouses are still settling out. San Francisco is very solid, but they have struggled with teams like St. Louis throughout the season, which a top team shouldn’t. Still, they are to be considered high contenders. The Falcons are the biggest question mark. They have had a great season, but as the 18-0 Patriots proved a couple years ago, it only matters how you finish. Atlanta hasn’t proven anything yet. The Bears look vulnerable again, maybe getting ready to hibernate for the winter. The Packers are proven contenders, and should go deep. The Giants will get there, but who knows? If they’re in any other NFC division right now, they are pretty much Wild Card or out. I think Seattle is really the team to watch. They’re young, hungry and talented, especially on defense. Their offense is adequate to good.
Here’s the picks for this week.
BENGALS @ EAGLES – If Cincy holds out any hope for a wild card berth, they have to win this game. Bengals.
PACKERS @ BEARS – They say a cornered bear is extremely dangerous. We’ll see. I like Green Bay in this one, for dominance.
COLTS @ TEXANS – Houston is nursing bruised egos and large muscle groups after Monday in New England. They should rebound enough to break the Colts. Texans.
BRONCOS @ RAVENS – I like Denver here. I think the Ravens are going to find out where they stand in the AFC … second tier.
JAGUARS @ DOLPHINS – In a pride-only game, I like Miami at home.
REDSKINS @ BROWNS – Who isn’t loving Robert Griffin’s season this year?! He has given us a great ride this year, and as tough as Cleveland will be at home, I think Griff keeps the Skins’ bus rolling along in the W column.
VIKINGS @ RAMS – Minnesota still has a chance to leapfrog the Bears for a potential wild card slot if the Bears lose to Green Bay. Vikings eat mutton.
BUCCANEERS @ SAINTS – The upstart Bucs would like a win, but I think the Aints will deny them. Piety trumps piracy at home.
GIANTS @ FALCONS – This is the game everybody will be watching. Are the Falcons for real or not? I’m giving the edge to the Giants.
SEAHAWKS @ BILLS – Seattle wants into the playoff picture. They need to beat teams like Buffalo on the road to prove they deserve it. Seahawks.
PANTHERS @ CHARGERS – Another “nobody cares” game. After the Bolts took it to the Steelers in Pittsburgh, I’m giving them the slight edge here.
LIONS @ CARDINALS – Detroit should win against this hapless team. Lions roar in the desert.
CHIEFS @ RAIDERS – KC is a better team than Oakland. Let them prove it. Chiefs.
STEELERS @ COWBOYS – The Steelies continue their streak of making me pick wrong. Dallas will probably oblige and beat them, so …. Steelers.
49ERS @ PATRIOTS – I’m going with the home team in a close win. Patriots.
JETS @ TITANS – Titans play for pride at home, and show some. Tennessee.
Enjoy the games!
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