I wasn’t lying when I said in my week 15 recap column that I’d be abstaining from making picks entirely in week 16 and just letting my girlfriend handle that responsibility. I really saw no reason to continue with the charade of me pretending to know what the fuck I’m talking about. But then the demands from my readers started rolling in. They don’t want me to make picks because they actually value my opinion. They want me to make picks so they can laugh all day on Sunday as they watch Julie out pick me for the second consecutive week. You’re a mean-spirited bunch of assholes, readers. But since it’s the season for giving, I’m going to give you what you want.
But first, a quick look at some interesting playoff scenarios for week 16 that hinge upon some teams playing the early games on Sunday and some teams playing late…
- If Miami loses at Buffalo in the early time slot, the Patriots will be awarded the AFC East title before they even take the field in Baltimore. But they’d still have plenty to play for because no matter what happens with all the other AFC Division leaders (who also all play in the early games), a Patriots win against the Ravens would keep them in the running for a 1st round bye.
- There’s really no early/late implications for the other AFC contenders as Denver, Kansas City and Indianapolis all play in the early slot. There’s one other AFC situation worth monitoring and I’ll get to that in a minute.
- In the NFC, Arizona’s only realistic shot to get into the playoffs is for them to win their final two and then they’d need either Carolina to finish with 11 or less wins (while not winning its division), or the Saints to lose their final two. Regardless of what happens in that Saints/Panthers early game, the Cardinals will be playing for something in Seattle (as if that makes a difference in the probable outcome when a team plays in Seattle).
- If the Lions and Packers both lose earlier in the day, Chicago can lock up the division with a win over Philadelphia in the Sunday night game.
- What makes this so interesting is that Philly might actually consider resting some starters and throwing this game. Why?
- Because if the Cowboys win early on Sunday, then regardless of what the Eagles do in that night game vs the Bears, the NFC East will be awarded to the winner of week 17’s Dallas-Philadelphia game.
- This same situation potentially exists in the AFC…If Cincinnati loses at home to Minnesota, then regardless of their outcome vs New England, Baltimore will play the Bengals in Cincinnati for the AFC North title in week 17.
- It’s not crazy to think both the Eagles and the Ravens would take their week 16 games lightly if they knew all that really mattered was the outcome of week 17. Strange shit, right?
If things break right this week, we could be seeing a handful of games in week 17 where the winner gets into the playoffs…Baltimore @ Cincinnati, Philadelphia @ Dallas, Green Bay @ Chicago, San Francisco @ Arizona.
Let’s get to the week 16 picks (you’ll notice I spent almost no time on my picks since I suck at this game).
Also, Julie’s comments are in quotes, mine are in parentheses.
Miami (-3) @ Buffalo
Julie’s Pick: “I’m gonna go Buffalo. I never pick them and they’re a wildcard. Plus they got all that snow.”
Ross’s Pick: Buffalo covers…a combination of actually agreeing with Julie that the cold weather-snow combo could affect Miami, and as a Patriots fan, we could really use a Dolphins loss. Buffalo wins 34-24.
New Orleans @ Carolina (-3)
Julie’s Pick: “New Orleans has not been coming through for me. Carolina’s been coming on strong, right? But I’m going with New Orleans.” (I informed her Carolina lost to New Orleans two weeks ago.) “Oh, I’m going the other way then. Carolina, revenge game.
Ross’s Pick: While I think Carolina is just as good as New Orleans, no team should be allowed to go from obscurity to a top-two seed in the conference. So just because I feel like the Panthers need to earn their stripes, I think they lose this game and end up as the #5 seed. New Orleans wins 28-21.
Dallas (-3) @ Washington
Julie’s Pick: “I’m just so sick of betting on Washington! Ugh! How many in a row have they lost?” (Six.) “Oh, they gotta win then. I’m betting on Washington.”
Ross’s Pick: Two reasons I’m taking Dallas…the Redskins are the worst, and I want to see Dallas blow it at home in week 17 to Philly. Dallas wins 30-17.
Tampa Bay @ St. Louis (-5)
Julie’s Pick: (Immediately after I said “Tampa Bay” and before I said who they were playing, Julie screamed “NO!”) “I’ll take the Rams. They won last week, winning streak.
Ross’s Pick: The Rams have won five games by double digits and have lost five games by double digit. Strange season from them. I think they win another one by double digits. St. Louis wins 29-17.
Cleveland @ NY Jets (-2)
Julie’s Pick: (And she pulls the reversal this time! Immediately after I said “Cleveland” and before I said who they were playing, she screamed “YES!”) “Always Cleveland, never the Jets.”
Ross’s Pick: Jets at home. Sure. Jets cover and win, 6-2.
Indianapolis @ Kansas City (-7)
Julie’s Pick: “Who’s the quarterback for Indy?” (Andrew Luck.) (40 second pause) “What’s Kansas City’s lucky streak been like recently?” (I guess she means winning streak??) “They’ve both won two in a row?” (Wrong, but I love how she’s gaining confidence in her knowledge even if that knowledge is incorrect.) “Indy, Indy, Indy, Indy, Indy….I wanna say Indy, but I’m gonna go with Kansas City. They’re rolling…in the lucky dough.”
Ross’s Pick: I’m buying what Julie’s selling. Kansas City rolling in the lucky dough! Chiefs win 27-19.
Minnesota @ Cincinnati (-8)
Julie’s Pick: “I’m just now starting to like Minnesota. Let’s go with them.” (I mention Minnesota plays in a dome. This week she’s aware that domes are heated and now she’s worried.) “Oooooffff…The warm heated dome team outdoors…Cincinnati has the non-dome advantage, but no, I don’t wanna change my mind. Minnesota it is.”
Ross’s Pick: Too many points for Cincy to be favored by. Minnesota is randomly playing well lately. This is a game that the Bengals would lose traditionally, and since I want to see another “winner takes all” game next week, let’s go with a Minnesota cover and win, 17-13.
Denver (-10) @ Houston
Julie’s Pick: “I need an upset of the week, and I really want Texas to win.” (I call her ballsy for taking Denver to lose twice in a row. She remembers she did that last week..) “Oh, nevermind, Denver won’t do that again. I’m taking the Broncos.”
Ross’s Pick: I’d love to see the Broncos lose this game, obviously. And with Wes Welker out, maybe their offense will struggle as much as it did in week 15. But there’s no way they’re losing this game. Houston will cover, but Denver wins 33-24.
Tennessee (-5.5) @ Jacksonville
Julie’s Pick: “Jacksonville. Because everyone’s gonna be visiting their grandparents in Florida for the holidays.”
Ross’s Pick: I agree…not with her ridiculous logic, but with the pick. Jacksonville is too mediocre to be a 5.5 point underdog at home. Jacksonville gets the win 23-20.
Arizona @ Seattle (-10.5)
Julie’s Pick: “The obvious cold weather factor, but I’m tempted to make this my upset. Yeah, I’m doing it. I’m taking Arizona over Pete Carroll. I like him, but he has a little bit of bad luck it seems.”
Ross’s Pick: Go Cardinals!! Suck a giant [expletive deleted] Seattle!! I’m taking Arizona to cover, and they’re going to win 173-0.
NY Giants @ Detroit (-10)
Julie’s Pick: “OK, OK, this is the upset special. Giants win.”
Ross’s Pick: Detroit might be the most untrustworthy team in football these days. There’s no reason they should lose to the Giants, but maybe they don’t win by a lot. Let’s say Giants cover, but Detroit wins 34-31.
Oakland @ San Diego (-10)
Julie’s Pick: “Oakland’s lost two in a row, right?” (Four, actually.) “Oh I gotta pick Oakland then. They’re angry and playing in their home state, so some fans will be there.”
Ross’s Pick: San Diego could be eliminated from playoff contention before this game starts, right? That makes me nervous about them winning by 10, but then again, I could see a pissed off Chargers team still winning big. San Diego it is, 34-21.
Pittsburgh @ Green Bay (-2.5)
Julie’s Pick: (I made her pick before we knew what the line was.) “It doesn’t matter what the spread is because I’m picking against whoever plays Wisconsin. They got so lucky last week, and they’re still unstable, mentally.” (She’s picking Pittsburgh.)
Ross’s Pick: I’m lucky enough to be picking this game after knowing Aaron Rodgers is out again. And I just don’t think the Matt Flynn train can keep “rolling” like it has. He’s due for a clunker. This will be it. Pittsburgh wins 24-17.
New England @ Baltimore (-2)
Julie’s Pick: “I really like that Baltimore coach. He’s the nicer twin, right? I gotta go Patriots this week. They won’t lose two in a row.”
Ross’s Pick: Patriots win 73-6.
Chicago @ Philadelphia (-3)
Julie’s Pick: “Always Chicago.”
Ross’s Pick: Samesies, always Chicago. Bears win 20-14.
Atlanta @ San Francisco (-13)
Julie’s Pick: “So many big spreads. I have to go with San Francisco. …But a lot of people are leaving for the holidays so it might not be as big of a crowd.” (Then, a sudden epiphany.) “No, but it’s one of the last games at their park. They’re moving, right? That and the combination of people coming into town for the holidays, means San Francisco covers.”
Ross’s Pick: Yeah, San Francisco takes this game 30-13. They’re just too good at home against a shitty Falcons team.
By the way, you’re not getting confidence picks this week because I have ZERO confidence in anything I’m doing related to football right now.
Enjoy week 16.