In advance preparation for Thanksgiving, I delivered a turkey last week, going 3-10. Teams that seemed to be pulling it together (Chargers, Colts) returned to form. A lot of this week’s games we knew could go either way, and most of them went against me. Oh well, that’s what makes this fun. I’m 86-61 for the year. Here are the picks.
Steelers at Browns – Cleveland has played a bit better, knocking off a good Buffalo defense, barely. Problem is, the Steelers are starting to play like the Steelers, and it won’t matter that they are in Ohio this week. Black & Gold pounds Brown down.
Jets at Redskins – Who are the Jets, anyway? Hey Darnold lets the Dolfinks beat him, then looks solid and composed beating the Giants. Did you love Jamal Adams’ purse-snatch TD last week off Danny Dimes? Vintage Times Square stuff. This is one of those 50/50 games I hate…. Jets, if Darnold can put together another game like last week’s.
Broncos at Vikings – How a team governed by a Hall of Fame QB is perennially without a serviceable signal caller is the wonder of Denver. The leaderless Wrongcos are going to find that whenever Dalvin Cooks and Stefan Diggs, there ain’t much stopping the Purple Point Producers. Orange gets crushed in Minneapolis.
Falcons at Panthers – Atlanta shocked the football world by wrenching a convincing road win out of New Orleans last week. What do they do for an encore? Get plucked and eaten by Ron Rivera’s Panthers, I would say. Carolina has Wild Card on the mind, and Atlanta doesn’t have an answer for McCaffeine. Cats eat the birds again.
Jaguars at Colts – Sacksonville hands the keys back to Nick Foles, who has made eight completions this season before crashing the car. Rust is to be expected, but the Jags will likely feature Lenny lugging the leather, and that bodes ill for the Horseshoes’ D. Brissett returns as well, but his running will likely be for preserving his life. The Jags have been disappointing, but I think they bite the Colts this week.
Bills at Dolphins – Buffalo likes the smell of post-season play, and Miami is everybody’s favorite place to shake off a loss and get back to winning. A little suntan, a double-digit win, and everything is right in the world again. McDermott’s mashers mangle Miami.
Texans at Ravens – Game of the week. Alexander the Great vs. Deshaun Turn The Watson. Houston needs to put some distance between them and the rest of their tight division. Ditto for the Ravens, who need to keep ahead of the resurgent Steelers. Whoever has the ball last wins this scorefest. Edge goes to the Ravens defense.
Cowboys at Lions – Dallas tours the NFC North again this week, but they should emerge this time with a win over the ever-hapless Lions. A losing culture is hard to break, and Detroit under Matt Patricia is exhibiting those symptoms…. again. Seems like the ghost of Matt Millen lurks around every corner in this cold dome. The ghosts of Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson and Herman Moore would be welcome replacements. Cowboys pistol-whip Patricia’s pelted pride.
Saints at Buccaneers – Stingy Tampa will put the clampa on Kamara, and Brees will need time to hit his receivers better than last week’s 6-sack surrender to Atlanta. The strength of any Brees is air movement, and defensively the Bucs stop there. This won’t be an easy win for the Saints…but it should be a win. Drew calls upon Saint Thomas for a blessing.
Cardinals at 49ers – Never thought I’d say this, but San Francisco’s quarterback may be their weak spot. Garoppolo didn’t impress in Monday’s OT thriller loss to Seattle. He was resourceful enough to make some key plays, but by no means dominant or sharp. Kingsbury’s Cardinals are playing like a team with nothing to lose, which means they are dangerous…and fun. The Niners are too deep to get beat at home by THIS division rival, but they will have to earn this win with grit and execution. Bay City Ballers cover a close one.
Bengals at Oakland – Carr runs over Bengals, leaving roadkill. Nuff said.
Patriots at Eagles – The other game of the week, this Superbowl LII rematch will be revealing for both teams. Everybody scoffs that the Patriots haven’t beaten anyone good, yet. The Eagles are lackluster at 5-4. Philly is a tough venue, and Doug Pederson is a smart adversary. All true, so this is reckoning day. Pats D should be better after Baltimore, but can their offense generate enough points and first downs to control the tempo? No other reason than my gut tells me Philly holds the fort.
Bears at Rams – The Rams are in trouble. Their offense is wimpy, which is going to be a problem against Chicago. The similarities between these two teams are remarkable. I will give the edge to LA one last time, because their defense should throttle what little offense Nagy puts on the field. Like the song says, ‘Hey Cooper Kupp, run out and up, let’s have a TD…’
Chiefs at Chargers – The Bolts ought to change their name to the Sybils, because they have 16 different personalities. KC hasn’t done well stopping (or slowing down) the run this season, so facing Melvin Gordon will be a challenge. LA’s other Melvin (Ingram) and Joey Bosa have feasted on freshly felled quarterback all season. Patrick MVP Mahomes is mobile, so he will likely be able to evade some of that pressure, and the Bolts are dolts on pass defense. The Chiefs should be able to fire enough deep arrows to vanquish the Zigzags.
Enjoy the games!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)