Jazz: Week 12 was fairly mediocre. Thanks to the Redskins beating the Giants (who saw that coming) and the Broncos somehow finding a way to break the Patriots’ unbeaten streak (Thank You Jesus!) I rang up a 3-4 week, bringing my season record to 37-46. There’s still time left to make it to the .500 mark in the regular season though if I can score a few good weeks back to back so we’re going to shine up the magic eight ball and really focus on victory.
Ed: Las week I also went 3-4, running my season record to 57-26. I ended up getting the Baltimore game right, but only because the Cleveland Browns found a new and mystifying way to lose. After one of the worst cases of clock management in recent memory, they lined up for a game-winning field goal, only to have the kick blocked and returned for the only walk-off kick-six I have ever seen or even heard of. Otherwise, though, my week looked pretty … weak. Hopefully I can pick it back up today.
Jazz: The Jets meet their cross-town rivals the New York Giants (1:00 pm, CBS) for their quadrennial regular season meeting and both teams have a lot on the line. The Jets are still somehow tied for first place in the wildcard hunt and the Giants are now in a tie with the Redskins for 1st in their division. (Tiebreakers notwithstanding in each case.) I’m honestly not sure why Vegas has the Jets as a two point favorite, but I’ll go with them in this case as pick Gang Green 27-20. The Seahawks visit the Vikings (1:00 pm, FOX) Matt Cassell has been looking good, and even though Russell Wilson has been scrambling effectively and delivering some Ws, I think the Vikings come back strong. I’ll take Minnesota in a minor upset 17-13. In the late game the Steelers host Indianapolis (8:30 pm, NBC) in what should be a sleepwalk for them. Pittsburgh takes it in a blowout, 31-10.
Ed: The Steelers nearly won in Seattle last week, and probably should have, but come home this week. Big Ben is listed as probable after doing a concussion protocol in last week’s loss, and if he’s back Pittsburgh should easily handle Indianapolis at home, 35-24. Last week I picked against Minnesota on the road and it backfired, but I won’t pick against them at home against a struggling Seattle team. Vikings 27-21 over the Seahawks. The Jets-Giants matchup is interesting, but I have to go with Jazz on this one, too. The two are exactly in the middle of the league on offense, but the Jets have the 4th-ranked defense, and the Giants are ranked worst in the league. I’ll go with the Jets but with a 24-19 finish.
Jazz: Four more games will bring us to a nice, odd number of seven.
- Cardinals at Rams (1:00 pm, FOX) – There will be no love lost in this match and from their records you’d think that the Cards at 9-2 should walk all over the Rams. I think Arizona will manage the feat but it will be a much closer, better game, 27-24.
- Texans at Bills (1:00 pm, CBS) – this is a big match for Houston. They’re tied for first in their division with Colts and on a four game winning streak. The Bills can’t afford to lose this one or they’ll probably fall out of the AFC wildcard race, and they will end the Texans’ run. Buffalo wins it, 23-20.
- Chiefs at Raiders (4:05 pm, CBS) – Kansas City and Oakland have a divisional rivalry going and KC is at 6-5 so they need to keep winning if they want a shot at the wildcard. Oakland has looked a little better than expected this year, but I think they lose a close one at home. Chiefs take it 27-23.
- Cowboys at Redskins (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – The Cowboys and the Redskins have one of the oldest rivalries going and at this point the Redskins are somehow tied at the top of the NFC east. The Boys are pretty much playing for pride at this point, but they won’t even have enough of that. Skins win again, 20-14.
- Cardinals at Rams (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Cardinals look like a potential Super Bowl team in the NFC. The Rams look more like a high draft team next year. Arizona outclasses St. Louis on both sides of the ball, so look for a blowout — say, 38-17.
- Texans at Bills (1:00 pm, CBS) – Houston started off slow but have gotten hot, winning four straight. Buffalo has dropped its last two games, and the only tough team they’ve beaten all season are the Jets. I’m picking the Texans to win on the road, 27-21.
- Chiefs at Raiders (4:05 pm, CBS) – The Chiefs are also on a tear, winning five in a row, while Oakland stopped a three-game losing streak last week by beating the hapless Titans by a field goal. This one probably comes down to KC’s superior defense, which gives up 5.5 points a game fewer than Oakland’s, but the Oakland offense at home might well make some noise, too. Let’s peg the difference at a field goal in a relatively low-scoring game, 20-17, but I’ll make it interesting by saying Oakland gets lucky and pulls off the non-upset at home.
- Cowboys at Redskins (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Tony Romo’s out, and the big question will be how many picks Matt Cassel will toss, although Washington and Dallas’ defenses are almost identical in points allowed (24.3 and 23.7, respectively). The Redskins score three more points per game than the Cowboys and that includes a few Romo games. I think the Redskins win big, 28-16, and Jerry Jones has to start thinking very hard about drafting a big-time QB next year.