NFL Week 15 Picks and Figuring Out All the Possible Coaching Changes

nfc south coaches

This week’s schedule can be viewed in one of two ways:

  1. Amazing Week of Football! Out of 16 games, only two of them don’t have any playoff implications whatsoever (Washington/NY Giants and NY Jets/Tennessee).
  2. Terrible Week of Football! Other than Dallas @ Philadelphia on Sunday night, there are absolutely no matchups where both teams are realistically fighting for the same playoff spot.

Last week, the Dolphins, Bills, Browns, Chargers and 49ers all lost. Wins for each of those teams would have made this week WILDLY entertaining.

While I’m more in the camp of wanting to see two playoff teams facing each other to officially make that game exciting, there is some other excitement launching on the perfect week where our attention won’t be tough to grab. IT’S THE START OF THE JOHNNY MANZIEL ERA!

Last week would have been a tough week to debut Jonathan Football because there was just so much intrigue across so many games. This week? Not so much. Count me among the football fans who will be paying extra attention to that Cleveland/Cincinnati game even though the Browns are almost definitely out of the playoff picture.

Here are all the games that can be appreciated for football reasons this week (except I’m having trouble appreciating a lot of them):

  • Miami (7-6) @ New England (10-3) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Pittsburgh (8-5) @ Atlanta (5-8) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Houston (7-6) @ Indianapolis (9-4) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Green Bay (10-3) @ Buffalo (7-6) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Cincinnati (8-4-1) @ Cleveland (7-6) – Sunday 1pm ET
  • Denver (10-3) @ San Diego (8-5) – Sunday 4pm ET
  • San Francisco (7-6) @ Seattle (9-4) – Sunday 4:25pm ET
  • Dallas (9-4) @ Philadelphia (9-4) – Sunday Night 8:30pm ET

Before we jump into the picks, I want to expand on my quick take from the week 14 recap article where I mentioned how Jay Gruden should not be fired. By my count, there are 13(!) teams that could be looking for a new head coach as soon as December 29th. While many of those teams will ultimately choose not to fire the incumbent, it’s fun to think about which coach is most likely to be seeking other employment.

Could you imagine an offseason with 13 head coaching vacancies? That would call for a special website where someone tracks all the movements, interviews and press conferences of the candidates and the teams. And I can only think that an organized, practical and calm person like Mike Smith would be the best person to run that website and keep up with all the coaching carousel complexities. It’s fun to dream.

Here is my list of 13 coaches that could be fired, starting with the least likely and moving towards the most likely:

13. Joe Philbin – It’s not that the Dolphins shouldn’t make a change from a coach whose tenure will be most remembered for mediocrity and a bullying scandal among his offensive linemen. It’s just that they won’t. With so many years of failure in Miami, Philbin’s current record of 22-23 must feel like the start of a Hall of Fame career. Philbin can also point to his team’s record improving each of the three years he’s been there, so long as they win two more games this season.

12. Sean Payton – Why is he even on here? Well, I just think any coach who leads a team that was supposed to have the talent of a Super Bowl contender to a likely under .500 record deserves to have his bosses reconsider his job. And the once-vaunted home field advantage of the Saints has disappeared as they’ve now lost four straight in New Orleans. As his team’s defense continues to struggle every single year, eventually Payton will run out of defensive coordinators to blame and the axe will fall on him. Not this year, and probably not until after the 2017 season at earliest as he’s making $8 million per year through then. But for the first time, we have our skeptical eye on you, Sean Payton.

11. Lovie Smith – He might be the most deserving of all the head coaches to get fired considering he runs the worst team in the worst division in football. And even without an answer at QB, this team has the talent to win at least six or seven games. But since he has the coaching pedigree and history, and he’s only in year one of a four-year contract, Smith’s probably going to get some chances to make this team competitive.

10. Ron Rivera – Our third consecutive NFC South coach! All is quiet on the Rivera/Panthers coaching front. That’s odd because he’s in the last year of his contract and is marching his team towards its third sub-.500 season in his four years as head coach. Maybe the awful salary cap situation and the lack of receivers is going to bail him out and get him a contract extension. Maybe Cam Newton missing this weekend’s game with a broken back is another lucky break (get it?) for Rivera as he can point to injuries and a depleted roster as reasons for a 10-loss season. If I were a Carolina fan, I would have certainly seen enough in these four years to feel comfortable moving away from Rivera.

9. Ken Whisenhunt – Here’s another guy who won’t get fired because of his name. Sure, Whisenhunt isn’t even through the first year of trying to fix the Titans, but what about the fact that he might have made them worse? In fact, the Titans are almost guaranteed to have their worst season since they moved from Houston to Tennessee in 1997. I know he’s had to deal with a revolving door at quarterback, but that’s partly his doing. The best coaches come into a bad situation and immediately make it better. Whisenhunt took over a team that finished 7-9 in 2013 and promptly turned it into a 2-14 team.

8. Marc Trestman – What happened to the Quarterback Whisperer that Trestman was supposed to be to Jay Cutler? Trestman’s inclusion on this list is pretty obvious. The Bears are about to miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year (though only two of those years will be under Trestman’s leadership), and they appear to have one of the more-talented offenses in all of football. Fans are impatient and so is upper management. Sure, you can blame a rebuilding defense, but that overlooks the fact that the Bears are 25th in offensive DVOA according to FootballOutsiders.com. Teams like the Vikings, Texans and Browns are marching out better offenses than the Bears. That falls directly on Trestman. It sounds like he might be sweating out those first few days after week 17 concludes.

7. Doug Marrone – With a 7-6 record this year, it feels like the Buffalo coach is safe, but the problem for Marrone might come from the change in ownership. This team is under new management, and that new management could want to hire its own guy to kick off 2015 and the New Era Bills. Getting this team to .500 or better with EJ Manuel and Kyle Orton sharing quarterback duties should be looked at as a marvelous feat. Marrone certainly deserves more time, but the situation above him may not allow for it.

6. Jay Gruden – It doesn’t feel right that he’s on this list given how awful this team is across the board. But here’s what I’m not sure of: What if Gruden’s pitch to Dan Snyder that led to him getting the job was that he could “fix” RG3. I’m not saying that happened, but what if it did? Or what if he had all these grand plans for the star-crossed quarterback and none of that is panning out. Then, couldn’t Snyder justify firing Gruden and keeping RG3? My money’s on RG3 getting traded or cut and Gruden sticking around, but with such a batshit crazy owner, you should never feel safe.

5. Gus Bradley – The Jaguars have been saying and doing all the right things in terms of taking the long approach to rebuilding. But billionaires get just as impatient as you and I. Bradley led the Jags to a 4-12 record last year, and it looks like it might take a Herculean effort in their final three games for Jacksonville to match that mark this year. Small chunks of progress are OK, but what happens when a bad team takes a step back? Does the Blake Bortles development project save Bradley for one or two more years? Probably, but I’d never want to be the guy who just led a football team to a 7-25 record over two years.

4. Mike Smith – How this guy’s not at the top of my list is beyond me. He’s easily the worst in-game coach of this entire group. Imagine if an NFL team stuck you at the head coach position randomly with no advanced warning. Sure, you theoretically know what a coach is supposed to do, but you’d have no idea how to work your headset, what any of the play calls mean, which players play on special teams, what the proper way is to call a timeout or challenge a play…you’d be so overwhelmed even the coin flip would confuse you. And that, ladies & gentlemen, is Mike Smith in a nutshell. I don’t need to go on and on about the many reasons this man should be fired. My only concern is that Arthur Blank gets hoodwinked into extending Smith once again if he somehow gets the Falcons into the playoffs. For that reason, and because these next three coaches seem like locks to be leaving their teams, I’ve got the worst coach in football as only the fourth most likely to be fired after the season.

3. Rex Ryan – Let me go on record saying I don’t think the Jets should fire Rex Ryan. Painful as it is to admit, he’s a good coach. Even if he’s only OK from an offensive standpoint and outstanding defensively, that’s still better than a lot of the other head coaches around the league. He’s been saddled with terrible QBs his entire time in New York, and recently the roster has become a dumpster fire. Get rid of the General Manager, resign Rex for three more years, and start over. But it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be out after week 17.

3a. Jim Harbaugh – Confession time. In the original version of this column, I completely forgot about Harbaugh all together. That’s a huge oversight because much like Rex Ryan, it feels like a foregone conclusion that he’ll be leaving. And just like with Ryan in New York, I think it’s a huge mistake for the 49ers to get rid of Harbaugh unless he wants to be let out of his contract really really badly. He’s just too good of a coach to give up on.

2. Tom Coughlin – Times they are a-changin’ in New York. The speculation for New York’s other team is that Coughlin will step down rather than officially be fired. This is one I’m not sure about because you always need to ask, “Oh yeah, who are you gonna replace him with that’ll be any better?” And I’m not sure anyone will be immediately better than Tom Coughlin.

1. Oakland Raiders – Needless to say, they have an interim head coach in Tony Sparano right now and it’s highly unlikely he keeps the job. It sounds like the Raiders are going big after Jim Harbaugh, Jon Gruden and probably a bunch of other high-profile guys who will ultimately say no and then laugh to themselves about how crazy they were to even consider Oakland.

And now for the week 14 picks.

Arizona @ St. Louis (-4.5)

  • The Pick: Arizona
  • The Score: Arizona 26, St. Louis 13

From the most simplistic point of view, we have a 10-3 team getting 4.5 points against a 6-7 team. That doesn’t make sense. But the Cardinals aren’t being treated like a normal 10-win team because of their Drew Stanton situation and a rash of injuries across the roster.

This line is a representation of what we’re going to see with St. Louis next season. They will absolutely be a wildly popular “sleeper playoff” pick. But they’ll be so popular they’ll become overrated, which is what I think is going on with this particular point spread. The Rams bandwagon is about to explode under its own weight. Jump off with me if you’re smart.

Pitttsburgh (-2.5) @ Atlanta

  • The Pick: Atlanta
  • The Score: Atlanta 27, Pittsburgh 24

Hey, if the NFC South is the worst division in NFL history, what does that make the Steelers? A loss to Atlanta on Sunday would give the Steelers a 1-3 record against the league’s worst division this year.

I made a promise to myself after last week to never again bet on games involving an AFC North team, and I plan to stick with that. This is a stayaway game for me. If Julio Jones plays at close to 100%, I like the Falcons outright.

Washington @ NY Giants (-6.5)

  • The Pick: Washington
  • The Score: Washington 20, NY Giants 19

I joked two weeks ago that the Giants might be officially tanking at this point. With a win last week in Tennessee, they disproved that theory. And sure, they don’t have a shot at the #1 overall pick in the 2015 Draft. But with only a one-game lead over Washington, don’t you think the Giants at least want a shot to draft before their division rival. And aren’t the PotatoSkins thinking the same thing? No team wants another team in its division taking a franchise player just one or two spots before they were going to draft that guy.

With both teams tanking, you gotta take the underdog and assume it’s going to be an atrocious, low-scoring debacle.

Miami @ New England (-8)

  • The Pick: New England
  • The Score: New England 37, Miami 17

It’s the Patriots at home in December in a year where their defense has become dominant right before our eyes. That should be enough. But in case you need more, remember that the Dolphins are dead men walking this week. Their bad loss at home to Baltimore in week 14 killed their playoff chances, and now they travel to cold New England with not much to play for.

Oakland @ Kansas City (-10.5)

  • The Pick: Oakland
  • The Score: Kansas City 24, Oakland 18

Other than an incompetent referee ripping a win away from the Chiefs in Arizona last week, the most troubling thing I saw was Alex Smith repeatedly throwing less than 10 yards down the field on the game’s final drive when time was running out. Whether it’s his limitations or the lack of good receivers, this offense doesn’t go unless Jamaal Charles is having a monster day. Either way, this line is higher than I’m willing to go on Kansas City at the moment (and Charles hasn’t practiced this week, in case that helps convince you).

Houston @ Indianapolis (-7)

  • The Pick: Houston
  • The Score: Indianapolis 34, Houston 30

Cleveland’s choke job against Indy last week ended any realistic scenario where Houston steals the AFC South. The Texans have to end the season with one more win than Indy based on tiebreakers. So if the Texans go 3-0 and Indy goes 0-3…not going to happen.

Can the Texans sneak in as a Wildcard? They’re currently “the best” of the five 7-6 AFC teams, but need to catch and pass two of the 8-5 teams (Pittsburgh, San Diego and Baltimore). It sounds like they can’t afford any more losses this season. I don’t see it. But congrats are in order for Houston for having a solid bounceback season after 2013’s disaster. The scheduled helped, but they still had to go out and win the games. Now there’s just that small matter of finding a quarterback.

As for the point spread…I noticed the Colts have demolished every crappy team (Jacksonville, Tennessee, the Giants and Washington), but haven’t really had any blowouts (except for the Cincy game) against mediocre or good teams. The Texans aren’t crappy. I think this will be similar to Indy’s 33-28 win over Houston two months ago.

Cincinnati @ Cleveland (PICK)

  • The Pick: Cleveland
  • The Score: Cleveland 16, Cincinnati 6

 

Remember, games featuring a single AFC North team, let alone two of those teams, are a complete stayaway at this point. Add the Johnny Manziel unknown to the Bengals’ sudden troubles with winning at home and you might as well flip a coin…which is exactly what I did for this pick. My coin said Cleveland.

 

Jacksonville @ Baltimore (-14)

  • The Pick: Baltimore
  • The Score: Baltimore 35, Jacksonville 0

 

The Jaguars are probably rooting for Baltimore as much as any Baltimore player or fan is. They don’t want to fall down the draft board with more wins when the season’s already over. And this year they’ve got some stiff competition at the bottom of the league (the Jets, Oakland, Tennessee, Washington, Tampa Bay).

 

The Ravens own the bad teams this year, especially at home. A shutout seems almost a given.

 

Green Bay (-5.5) @ Buffalo

  • The Pick: Green Bay
  • The Score: Green Bay 31, Buffalo 21

 

The Packers are 3-3 on the road. In two of their three road wins, they won by only a field goal. So yeah, they’re a very different team away from Lambeau Field. With the Bills having the 2nd best defense in the league according to FootballOutsiders.com, the instinct here is to grab the points and think that defense can slow Aaron Rodgers down. But I worry that at the end of this game we’ll all be kicking ourselves for going against Rodgers in December in a season where he’s putting up some of the greatest numbers in the history of the QB position.

 

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (-3)

  • The Pick: Tampa Bay
  • The Score: Tampa Bay 26, Carolina 6

 

First of all, the value of Cam Newton to the Carolina Panthers according to Vegas is three points. That’s how much this line changed when Newton was officially announced as out for this game on Wednesday. Just thought you’d like to know.

 

Second of all, with news coming Wednesday that Newton wasn’t at fault for the accident, why haven’t I heard about Carolina fans hunting down the other driver who was at fault? Shouldn’t this be more of a story? Or at least grant me this: If Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning had been in an accident that caused them to miss at least one game at the end of the year that could have HUGE ramifications on their team’s postseason chances, the person who caused that accident would possibly have to go into hiding for a bit, right?

 

Either way, leave it to the NFC South, am I right? A team that hadn’t won a game in 62 days, the Panthers, gets a key road win that puts them just a half game out of first place with three winnable games remaining on the schedule but now they’ll have to do at least past of it with Derek Anderson. I’m taking Tampa Bay because I apparently suck as much as this division does.

 

NY Jets (-3) @ Tennessee

  • The Pick: Tennessee
  • The Score: Tennessee 6, NY Jets 2

 

I guessed that Tennessee would be a three-point favorite. Well then.

 

What about these two teams makes any line other than Tennessee -3 feasible? They’re the same. They both suck. They both have to start from scratch with the quarterback depth chart. They both rank in the bottom five of almost every important statistical category. I just don’t see how the Jets are so much better that they’d be road favorites. I know we make jokes all the time about how we should be able to keep certain games off the Red Zone Channel entirely, but maybe we can finally do it with this game on Sunday. Who even has fantasy players in their starting lineup from either of those two teams?

 

Denver (-4.5) @ San Diego

  • The Pick: Denver
  • The Score: Denver 33, San Diego 26

 

I know the Chargers won three in a row before Sunday night’s loss to New England, but I still don’t see a fully operational team, especially on offense. The Broncos can play a similar defense to New England and potentially execute offensively better than the Patriots did.

 

Much like the Texans, the Chargers should probably get any idea of winning the West out of their heads right now. Even if they beat Denver on Sunday, they’d almost definitely need the Raiders to beat Denver in week 17. That sounds impossible, and even if that somehow happened, the Chargers would need to win out at San Francisco and at Kansas City.

 

Minnesota @ Detroit (-8)

  • The Pick: Detroit
  • The Score: Detroit 38, Minnesota 15

 

The Vikings are 4-2 in their last six games and they haven’t lost by double digits since week 6 when they faced, who else, Detroit.

 

But I’m going with the Lions because it seems like there’s a very specific blueprint for beating them this year, and Minnesota doesn’t have the means to follow those instructions. The Detroit defense should swallow up any offense the Vikings throw at them. And a lack of great pass rush on Matt Stafford will make things easy on the Lions offense. This might be my favorite pick of the week.

 

San Francisco @ Seattle (-10)

  • The Pick: San Francisco
  • The Score: Seattle 27, San Francisco 23

 

You’re right that I’m crazy to expect much out of the 49ers after Seattle held them to just three points 17 days prior to this game. All San Francisco did after that game is lose badly in Oakland.

 

We always do this thing where we mentally eliminate any team that has to win three in a row to close out the season to qualify for the playoffs. But someone’s going to surprise us and go on a run. It shouldn’t even be a surprise since there are dozens of three-game win streaks across all teams over the course of a year. The 49ers themselves have had two separate three-game win streaks this season.

 

Wouldn’t it be just like the NFL for the team with the hardest remaining schedule to be the one that goes 3-0 to sneak into the playoffs? I’m going with San Francisco to win outright.

 

Dallas @ Philadelphia (-3.5)

  • The pick: Philadelphia
  • The Score: Philadelphia 31, Dallas 14

 

It would be funny to see Dallas win this game but lose in Washington in week 17 to blow their playoff spot to the Eagles. That’s my favorite scenario for this division.

 

But I think the Cowboys’ defense could make Mark Sanchez look like a keeper, and it just feels like Dallas has a bigger hole in their roster (secondary/pass rush) than the Eagles.

 

New Orleans (-3) @ Chicago

  • The Pick: Chicago
  • The Score: Chicago 25, New Orleans 23

 

This is fucking nuts. How can you make the Saints a full field goal favorite on the road?

 

Here are the Bears’ five wins in 2014: @San Francisco, @Jets, @Atlanta, home against Minnesota, home against Tampa Bay.

 

Here are the Saints’ five wins in 2014: home against Minnesota, home against Tampa Bay, home against Green Bay, @Carolina, @Pittsburgh.

 

The Saints’ victories aren’t noticeably better than the Bears’ wins, are they? I just don’t see how the line swung so far in New Orleans’ direction.

 

I’d like to tell you there’s no need to watch two 5-8 teams battle on a meaningless Monday Night Football game, but the Saints could enter this game with a chance to take a one-game lead in the NFC South! Must-see TV!

Enjoy week 15!

NFL Week 13 Recap: Marching Towards an Incredibly Rare Season

Miami Dolphins Press Conference

So I spent my Thanksgiving in Cabo, and even though I didn’t leave for that trip until Thanksgiving morning, my brain was in already-on-vacation mode all of last week. It had to be. How else can I explain writing in my week 13 picks column that “things will return to normal next week with my football coverage” when I knew I’d be in a foreign land, focusing on getting full value out of my all-inclusive package, and at the mercy of the TV setup and channel availability of a resort in Cabo?

I missed about 93% of all the football action in week 13, and the little bit I did see was with Spanish announcers bringing me the action on TV screens that weren’t nearly large enough.

Of course the one week I’m out of commission all hell breaks loose from a football perspective. Consider the following:

  • The Rams put up 52 points in a single game! (Maybe the incredible part is how they did this with only 22 pass attempts, 176 passing yards and 348 total yards)
  • The Saints won a crucial road game at Pittsburgh, but they’re still looking up at the 5-7 Falcons in the NFC South on account of Atlanta beating Arizona, a team that’s rapidly losing its grip on the #1 seed in the NFC, the division lead in the West and possibly a playoff spot in general.
  • After winning much tougher road games at New Orleans and Houston the previous two weeks, Andy Dalton tried to ensure the Bengals would be the first team to lose at Tampa Bay this year. But more incredible than that is how the coaching change in Tampa from last year to this year has done NOTHING to clean up all the little things the Bucs constantly do to lose games (like 12 men on the field during a critical completion on their final drive in this game). Turns out Greg Schiano might not have been the biggest problem with this team, which is saying something.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six touchdown passes in Houston’s win over Tennessee. SIX! In his nine previous starts in 2014, Fitzy has averaged 1.22 touchdowns per game.
  • Going back to 2007, there have been roughly two teams each year that have finished with three or fewer wins. Right now there are six or seven legitimate candidates to finish with that bad of a record. Incredibly, seven of the eight worst teams in the NFL going into week 13 each lost its game, furthering the HUGE gap this year between teams fighting for the playoffs and teams that are waaaaay out of it. I’m not positive, but I think there might be some teams actually tanking for a better pick. Needless to say the tiebreakers for the 2015 draft order might be as riveting as figuring out the playoff teams. Speaking of…
  • Six AFC teams are 7-5! I’m being too simplistic with this approach, but if you assume the five teams that have eight or more wins in that conference all get to the playoffs, you’re talking about one spot leftover for those six teams (and maybe a seventh with Houston at 6-6 and still having two games against Jacksonville).
  • And maybe the most “all hell breaks loose”-ish thing of all, I went 11-5 against the spread in week 13. Of course I’d have my best week in a long time when I can’t be watching live for the immediate basking in glory. Of course.

Wouldn’t it be so like the NFL to produce its most compelling season in history on the field as it simultaneously produces its most embarrassing season from a player behavior and league conduct standpoint? Because that’s exactly what we have going on here. Besides that giant clusterfuck of an AFC Wildcard race, look at each division’s top teams as of today:

NFC

  • East: Philly 9-3, Dallas 8-4
  • North: Green Bay 9-3, Detroit 8-4
  • South: Atlanta 5-7, New Orleans 5-7
  • West: Arizona 9-3, Seattle 8-4
  • The largest lead for any division leader is one game.

AFC

  • East: New England 9-3, Miami 7-5
  • North: Cincy 8-3-1, Baltimore/Pitt/Cleveland 7-5
  • South: Indy 8-4, Houston 6-6
  • West: Denver 9-3, San Diego 8-4
  • The largest lead for any division leader is two games.

I don’t want to jinx it, but there’s a decent chance we will see every playoff contender having to give 100% effort in each of its remaining games through the end of the season. That seems incredibly rare.

For the gamblers and the people who root for disaster out there, here’s what this awesome season might produce:

  • A playoffs that includes Andy Dalton, Mark Sanchez, Drew Stanton and Tony Romo…men all capable of imploding in ways never before seen under the spotlight.
  • A playoffs that includes Mike Smith, Andy Reid and Jim Caldwell (and let’s add Jason Garrett just for fun)…men all capable of ruining his team’s chances by either mismanaging the clock, wasting challenges & timeouts, or staring blankly at the field while piss dribbles down his leg.

Call me captivated.

Let’s finish up this recap with some quick takes from a guy who probably didn’t see much of each team’s week 13 game, or saw some of it but with Spanish announcers, or saw all of it but was severely inebriated:

Detroit 34, Chicago 17

  • Since Jay Cutler is practically untradeable and unreleaseable (not a real word), does Marc Trestman take the fall for this Bears season? Pretty soon I’ll have to go through all the NFL teams to see which coaches are truly in danger of being fired, but my gut feel is that there’s going to be a lot of them this year.
  • All it took was a waving-the-white-flag Bears team on short rest in Detroit to make the Lions’ offense look how it was dreamt up: 390 yards for Stafford, including 146 to Megatron. The Lions are barely holding on for dear life to a wildcard spot, but they should be 11-4 and heading to Green Bay on the final weekend with a chance to win the division.

Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10

  • If the Cowboys somehow manage to avoid my wetdream scenario of finishing 8-8, they still might be screwed because all four of their losses so far came against NFC teams. That might lose them a lot of tiebreakers when sorting out the Wildcard.
  • Mark Sanchez going 20-for-29 with a 102.2 Passer Rating must KILL Jets fans who just saw Geno Smith go 7-for-13 for 65 yards last night.
  • Also, the Eagles waiting until mid-November to unleash the real LeSean McCoy? Very Popovichian move by Philly to do that.

Seattle 19, San Francisco 3

  • Wow to the 164 total yards that San Francisco put up in a must-have-it home game. I say this somewhat seriously…Are the 49ers a sneaky candidate to draft a quarterback in the 1st or 2nd round in 2015? Colin Kaepernick, he who was blessed as possibly the greatest QB ever just 18 months ago, is having a terrible season (15 TDs, 8 INTs, 0 rushing TDs, 20th in the league in passer rating), and Blaine Gabbert is his backup. Maybe the Jim Harbaugh situation isn’t this team’s biggest concern right now?
  • Everyone in the NFC is rightfully scared of Seattle because not only are the Seahawks quickly closing the gap on Arizona in the West, but they could easily still grab the #1 seed in the conference. All of the sudden we have to revisit the idea of another team winning at Seattle in January to keep these guys out of the Super Bowl.

Jacksonville 25, NY Giants 24

  • What percentage of Giants fans want to see their team draft a quarterback with its likely top seven pick in the 1st round in May? 98.7%? 103%?

New Orleans 35, Pittsburgh 32

  • I saw none of this game. The Steelers had 538 total yards of offense, held the ball for eight more minutes than the Saints and ran 28 more plays than the visiting team…was it truly just the two interceptions Ben Roethlisberger threw that made the difference?
  • What a month for the Saints. Since October 30th, they’ve won two road games and lost three straight home games. Once again, we know nothing about the NFL. Obviously the matchup at home vs Atlanta on December 21st looms large for this dumpster fire of a division.

Indianapolis 49, Washington 27

  • With an 8-4 record and three of its final four games on the road, Indianapolis should be feeling extremely fortunate to play in the AFC South. In any other division, they’d likely be fighting for their playoff lives.
  • What could make for some good drama in the NFC East during the offseason is if the PotatoSkins and the Giants both draft quarterbacks with their 1st round pick. We probably shouldn’t rule out Chip Kelly doing the same thing with the Eagles depending on how he truly feels about Nick Foles.

Houston 45, Tennessee 21

  • Good for the Titans’ last place rush defense allowing only 99 yards to Arian Foster and the rest of the Texans’ running backs…Oh, they let up six touchdowns, 358 yards and nearly a perfect passer rating to Ryan Fitzpatrick?? Wow. I think I’d rather have Oakland’s Sunday.
  • Can we please stop trying to enhance J.J. Watt’s candidacy for MVP by pointing out how much he’s contributing to the Houston offense? It’s gimmicky and they could probably insert any average tight end into that spot and he’d also have caught three touchdowns over the course of this year. I witnessed this same thing with Mike Vrabel during the Patriots’ Super Bowl seasons of 10 years ago. Don’t diminish how good Watt is on defense by trying to say his offensive contributions are anything great.

Minnesota 31, Carolina 13

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…an NFC South team hasn’t won a game in two months and they are only 1.5 games out of 1st

San Diego 34, Baltimore 33

  • If the Ravens miss the playoffs just barely, this is the game that will haunt them. They led by 10 points in the 1st quarter, nine points in the 2nd quarter, 10 points again in the 4th quarter, and six points with 2:22 left to play.

Atlanta 29, Arizona 18

  • It always feels good to nail my weekly pick that I base off “the NFL is fucking nuts and crazy shit happens all the time.” The Falcons were my pick in week 13. And let’s face it, we’re all rooting for Atlanta to pull out the NFC South title because we all want to see how Arthur Blank deals with the dilemma of having to fire a coach who just “brought” his team to the playoffs.
  • Let me be the first to inform Arizona that they will get to relive this nightmare game all over again when they’re preparing for their 1st round playoff game in January…which will be a road game at…ATLANTA! (No, that’s not even remotely guaranteed but you just know it’s coming.)

Green Bay 26, New England 21

  • As a Patriots fan, I’m not even remotely concerned about the way this game turned out. It’s nice to know even this fucked up league can’t change the rules last minute to force the Patriots to play the Super Bowl in Green Bay rather than in Arizona.
  • Here’s what I was dealing with in Cabo for this game (I saw the whole thing, by the way): I got stuck sitting next to Jordy Nelson’s Aunt & Uncle who happened to be at the same resort as me, and then I had to deal with a bunch of football fans (there was a St. Louis fan, a Kansas City fan and some San Diego fans) saying things like “Belicheat” and “New England would have won 10 Super Bowls in a row if Peyton was their QB” throughout this torturous game. Let me restate for the 1,000th time that I hate watching football outside the comfort of my own home.
  • By the way, Nelson’s family members were super nice and when I say “I got stuck” sitting next to them, I mean that it got really difficult to trash talk Jordy or the Packers in general with them sitting there and not trash talking the Patriots in return.

Miami 16, NY Jets 13

  • Favorite announcer quote of the week: From Jon Gruden on Monday night: “Tannehill should hit that.” Rumor has it Gruden was looking at a wallet-sized photo of Lauren Tannehill that Mike Tirico had handed him during the broadcast. (Sorry, that’s what happens when you watch minimal football while being in Mexico.)

If I didn’t mention your team during this recap, well, better luck next time.

Week 14 picks coming on Thursday.