Jazz: Well, that wasn’t the best week of prognostication ever… by a long shot. Speaking of long shots, I picked a few upsets last week and virtually none of them came through for me. I went 3-4, bringing my season record up to 53-38. Still a fair bit above .500, but we’re not out of the woods yet. The only bright news of the week was that the Jets played just about the best they have since week four or so. The bad news was that it was still not quite enough to beat the Titans.
Ed: Remember when we complained when the first couple of weeks produced tie games? I think Jazz and I have set a new record for tied weeks. I also went 3-4 and now have a 49/42 record for the season, with only four weeks to go. The Steelers’ late fade cost me a game, plus my upset picks only ended up upsetting yours truly. Gonna start looking for Hail Mary picks now …
Jazz: The Jets travel to Buffalo to face their divisional rivals, the Bills (1:00 pm, CBS). When you’re coming into a game as the underdog by a field goal against the Bills, something has definitely gone awry. New York has the honor of currently holding the title of worst offense inside the red zone in the entire league. But as I mentioned above, the Jets looked really good last week. Not good enough to beat the Titans, but that performance would probably have taken down the Bills. I’m going to cross my fingers and say they can do that twice in a row. Jets win 20-13. The Steelers are out west to visit the not so red hot Raiders in Oakland (4:25 pm, FOX). Playing a 2-10 team is just what Pittsburgh needs right now because the Ravens have basically pulled even with them in the AFC North. (The Steelers are technically ahead of them in the standings thanks to having one fewer loss, courtesy of their draw.) The Steelers should deliver a solid, 31-13 win over the Raiders while the Ravens have a tough match against the Chiefs. The Vikings are playing the Seahawks in Seattle in the Monday night game (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) and this one will have big wildcard implications. Unfortunately for Minnesota, they currently have one of the worst rushing games in the league and Seattle’s pass defense is playing tough. Particularly since the game is being held in the Earthquake Dome, I’m going to take the Seahawks, 27-21.
Ed: Buffalo has a stingy defense whose biggest vulnerability is the team’s offense. They’re playing at home against a team whose offense is almost as bad and whose defense barely qualifies as mediocre. Bills win 26-20. The Steelers get the one soft game left on their schedule in the nick of time, but they’d better learn to play four quarters of football in Oakland. Otherwise, this season may well end up getting lost. Pittsburgh bounces back for a 31-17 win. Seattle’s playing at home and they’re on a three-game win streak. Minnesota’s lost three of their last five, but all against top teams, too. Still, the Seahawks should be able to win at home, 30-24.
Jazz: Here are four more games which will hopefully be at least mildly interesting.
- Ravens at Chiefs (1:00 pm, CBS) – Picking this game mostly for the importance it holds in the AFC North race. The Chiefs have been hot all season and they’ve put almost 150 more points on the board than the Ravens. They’re a solid six-point favorite for a reason, so I’ll try to bring a little Christmas cheer to Ed’s day and take Kansas City 30-21.
- Colts at Texans (1:00 pm, CBS) – If the Texans can win this one they will almost have their division locked up unless the Titans win out and Houston collapses. But you can never write Andrew Luck off. This one might be both high scoring and close, but I’ll go with the Texans at home 24-21.
- Lions at Cardinals (4:25 pm, FOX) – Neither of these teams are in contention at this point, but they’ve both been so unpredictable that it should be fun to watch. (Can you believe the Cardinals beat the Packers?) Somehow I don’t see the Cardinals pulling off that sort of magic two weeks in a row, however. Give me the Lions 17-10.
- Rams at Bears (8:20 pm, NBC) – The Rams almost have their division locked up but the surprising Bears still have work to do if they want a guaranteed spot in the postseason. Los Angeles is better on paper, but Chicago has the tougher line. I think this one will be close, but the Rams have a little bit of an edge. I’ll take Los Angeles 31-28 in what might be one of the best games of the week.
- Ravens at Chiefs (1:00 pm, CBS) – The Ravens look better the last couple of games, but not that much better. The defenses will matter more, but Patrick Mahomes will endure in a 31-17 win.
- Colts at Texans (1:00 pm, CBS) – Ya gotta respect the streak. Houston’s won nine in a row, a streak that started in Indianapolis. The Colts won five in a row before laying the goose egg in Jacksonville last week, and botching their clock management at the end of the game. Should be a good game, but expect the Texans to top the Colts, 28-24.
- Lions at Cardinals (4:25 pm, FOX) – The Lions are 1-4 on the road, while the Cardinals are, um … 1-5 at home. Arizona is dead last on offense, and only ranked 17th on defense. Remember when I said I need a Hail Mary pick or two? Let’s make this one of them by picking Arizona in a 24-21 shocker over Detroit.
- Rams at Bears (8:20 pm, NBC) – You know, Chicago’s scoring 28 points per game and their defense is much tougher than the Rams’. It’s only 11th against the pass, but it’s #2 against the rush, and the rush sets up the Rams’ offense. I don’t think it’s a Hail Mary pick to choose Da Bears, even if it is an upset pick, in a 30-24 edge-of-your-seat game.