Last week: 13-3
Home Teams (Benchmark): 122-123-1
Vegas Favorites (Benchmark): 161-93-2
This week: 16-0
Cowboys over Eagles
I ended up picking all favorites last week except for Pittsburgh, which gave me another game up over Vegas in the picking standings. But otherwise favorites did well last week, 12-4 straight up. Unfortunately this week I’ll be even more boring since I’m picking favorites in every single game, so might as well just skip this one and argue about the refs in the Bengals game in the comments.
But the last week of the season always sucks when it comes to picks, especially for somebody like me who publishes mine on Thursdays. Teams often rest starters, but don’t announce it until right before the game for some reason, or even worse they play starters for one series and then bench them. So in my mind week 18 picks shouldn’t count.
Anyway, bragging and whining out of the way, as of now the Cowboys are playing starters even though they have clinched the division and can’t get the top seed. The Eagles have clinched a wildcard spot with no hope of winning the division, so they also have no real reason to play starters.
Don’t know why a game where both teams may end up resting starters was made the Saturday primetime game, but I guess the big market draw is really that powerful.
Packers over Lions
The Packers have clinched the top seed, but apparently they’ll be playing starters. That means they’ll probably win. But if they end up resting starters, then I honestly think Detroit will win.
Colts over Jaguars
The Colts are massive favorites, and for good reason as the Jaguars are terrible, but a Jaguars win here would be lots of fun (See the Chargers and Raiders pick for more information). The Steelers and Ravens will also be hoping for a miracle win here, as they need it to have any hopes of making the playoffs. But, unfortunately, the Colts will be boring and win this game by 30.
Football Team over Giants
The Washington Football Team will have a real name on February 2nd. But what won’t change is that both Washington and New York (NFC) will be watching the playoffs from home.
Vikings over Bears
Hey look! Two more teams that won’t make the playoffs!
Buccaneers over Panthers
The NFC is super boring, since the Packers have already clinched the top seed, every team has either cliched the playoffs or have been eliminated except for the Saints and 49ers fighting for the last spot, and even the divisions are all set except for the NFC West.
Anyway Tampa Bay will win if they play their starters.
Patriots over Dolphins
The Dolphins failed to bail us out last week, which is shocking as they always come in clutch for us. Their punishment is that they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs, while the Patriots have clinched a playoff spot and are technically alive for the top seed (although it’d take a miracle). So I guess the Patriots will be playing starters and win.
Saints over Falcons
The Saints need to win and have the 49ers lose to make the playoffs, so they’ll actually be trying here, while Matt Ryan might be auditioning for a new job in another city.
Titans over Texans
I have absolutely no hope that the Texans can beat the Titans and bail out the Chiefs, but there is some hope. They did manage to beat the Titans the last time they played, so it shows it is possible. But it’s not going to happen.
Steelers over Ravens
If the Colts somehow find a way to lose to the Jaguars the winner of this game will make the playoffs. That is, unless the Chargers and Raiders tie, which they might because…
Chargers over Raiders
If the Colts beat the Jaguars then the winner of this game makes the playoffs and the loser doesn’t, but if the Colts lose then the winner still makes the playoffs (duh), but they would actually both make the playoffs in the event of a tie.
Now think about how crazy that is (and how much we want the Colts to lose to get to see it play out). This game is on Sunday Night Football, so they would have already known that the Colts lost by the time they played. They could either risk missing the playoffs by actually playing the game, or guarantee themselves spots by having a gentleman’s agreement to tie.
The Colts need to do the NFL world a solid and lose to the Jaguars. Yeah I know it means they’ll miss the playoffs, but it’s not like they were going to do anything anyway. This way they’ll live in NFL history forever!
Bills over Jets
A Bills victory seals the division, but otherwise it’s meaningless as they’ve already clinched a playoff spot. The Jets need to lose to improve their draft position so they should be rooting for the Bills as well.
Browns over Bengals
The Bengals generously announced that they are resting starters early, so I can go ahead and pick the Browns. Of course now Cleveland will find a way to lose to backups anyway.
Rams over 49ers
This is actually an interesting game in terms of resting starters. Presumably the Rams won’t as they haven’t clinched the division, but since they have the playoff spot already they might. But the 49ers desperately need the win here to have any hope of making it, so they’ll be rooting for the Seahawks to blow out the Cardinals so the Rams will bench Stafford and the other starters.
Chiefs over Broncos
Probably a meaningless game, but a victory will at least extend the winning streak over the Broncos to 13, so that’ll be fun.
Cardinals over Seahawks
The Seahawks have been eliminated from the playoffs, and it’s looking rocky for Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. Judging from the rumors at least one of them will be gone in a couple weeks.