Jazz: Today we reach the end of the regular NFL season, and in terms of the friendly competition between Ed and I it couldn’t come soon enough. This entire season of sports prognostication has been an adventure which makes free tickets for the maiden cruise of the Titanic look fairly appealing. In Week 16 I was back to my losing ways, going 2-5 for a season total of 50-57. Ed won yet again, but in a gesture of Christmas good will I’m giving him a little more time off and preparing the thread while he digests his dinner. As to our fantasy league, massive congratulations to Ed, who originally predicted he would come in dead last, but in fact finished 3rd. I missed the champion’s bracket with the 5th best record in the league. I’m not giving up, though, because I always do better in the post-season. Right? Hello? Is this mic turned on?
Ed: Week 17 has arrived, which means we throw out the records next week in the playoffs — literally, in our case. We’ve usually kept our playoff pick records separate. This week, though, I get to enjoy my 5-2 run last week and 75-35 season record. I’m still in the Politinerds playoff against Doug Mataconis, but I have a 33-point lead coming into this week’s games. With any luck, I’ll win the bronze in my first fantasy league in about a decade. Not bad for a guy who didn’t really know how to operate in the draft, eh? I could still use a healthy starting tailback, though. Expect me to sweat this outcome through tomorrow night.
Jazz: The Jets are at Miami (1:00, CBS) and the Phins are a six point favorite for good reason. But I’ve gone all season picking New York’s lovable losers, so we’ll go one last time into the void and call it for the Jets 17-12. The Steelers host the Bengals (8:30, NBC) in the late game. Cincinnati has given Pittsburgh trouble in the past, but the Steelers have been prime time champs in the recent past. I’ll take Pittsburgh (along with Ed, I’m sure) for a final 34-24 beat down. The Bears visit the Viking (1:00, Fox) for the season closer, and things don’t look good for Chicago. Their coach, Marc Trestman, is more interested in battling Jay Cutler than the other team while Minnesota has both a new coach and a new QB who are trying to put a bright bow on the season. Vikings win this one 27-17.
Ed: All right, down to cases. The Bengals have given the Steelers trouble, but Pittsburgh seems to be peaking at the moment. This game determines the winner of the AFC North, but both teams are likely to play next week regardless — possibly even each other. Winner also gets home-field advantage in that case, so Pittsburgh had better win, 24-17. The Jets played New England tough last week, but Miami’s tougher at home. Dolphins send Rex Ryan officially into unemployment with a 34-21 win over the Jets. Minnesota should have won that game in Miami last week, but they’ll win at home against Da Bears, 27-20.
Jazz: Here come our last four regular season picks:
- Browns at Ravens (1:00, CBS) – This is a must win for the Ravens and the Browns have never beaten them at Baltimore. That will be the same story today. Ravens 23, Browns 12
- Cowboys at Redskins (1:00, Fox) – Dallas still has a shot at a 1st round bye and Washington is still… Washington. Cowboys 31, Redskins 17
- Rams at Seahawks (4:25, Fox) – Seattle will finish the season on the backs of their strong defense. Seahawks 27, Rams 10
- Chargers at Chiefs (1:00, CBS) – Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis make a powerful combination for Kansas City, but Philip Rivers is healthy again and should have enough in the tank to finish the season strong. I’ll go with Chargers 27, Chiefs 23
- Browns at Ravens (1:00, CBS) – Baltimore needs help to get into the playoffs and may get it from Kansas City against the Chargers. They should have no trouble beating the self-destructing Browns at home, 33-17.
- Cowboys at Redskins (1:00, Fox) – Dallas has been undefeated on the road, and Washington is … Washington. The Cowboys need to win today to secure a first-round bye, and they should be able to handle the Redskins with their hot streak, 35-19.
- Rams at Seahawks (4:25, Fox) – The Rams look like they may be on the same arc as Minnesota — maybe a year or two away from being seriously competitive. Seattle isn’t a friendly environment, though, and the Seahawks need a win to clinch their division title and compete for a first-round bye and homefield advantage in the playoffs. Seattle 27-23 over St. Louis.
- Chargers at Chiefs (1:00, CBS) – Baltimore will be rooting for KC, but the Chiefs have to root for the Brown and Jacksonville today as well as win on the road in San Diego. They won’t get over the first bar. Philip Rivers gets into the playoffs with a win, and the Chargers will take care of business with a 28-20 win at home.