We're back after a personal bye week last Sunday, and oh yeah, it's Christmas! And as I understand it, basically every team in the league still has a shot at the playoffs. Somehow. One day the entire league is going to finish 9-7. Every team will be this year's Giants. Just watch.
Anyway, let's dive right in. We're seven games above .500 with two weeks to go. It would take a Romo-esque collapse to fall below that benchmark, but I wouldn't rule it out. All picks in BOLD.
Minnesota at Washington (-7) ... If the Redskins had started Rex Grossman all year and made one extra field goal in either game against Dallas, there's a decent chance they could be sitting at 8-6 right now. If they were to win this weekend, they'd be at 9-6 leading the division. Instead they started John Beck just long enough to kill their season, but not long enough to score a top 5 draft pick. I'd say "this is the most Redskins season of all time" but we say that pretty much every year.
St. Louis at Pittsburgh (-17) ... Big Ben was wearing two different-colored shoes on Monday Night Football, because one was specially designed to help his injured foot. And I don't wanna say the Steelers like to play up Big Ben's injuries as a general rule, or that the Steelers went out of their way to draw attention to his injury Monday night (and his courage for playing through it), but they really couldn't find another black Nike shoe to match? All they have are yellow shoes? Have you ever seen the size of an NFL equipment truck? Nike gives them like 8,000 shoes to choose from before every game, and Big Ben doesn't have any black alternates? GTFO.
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-8) ... This feels like it should be a Monday Night game.
New York Giants at New York Jets (-2.5) ... In a game between two horribly inconsistent teams with insufferable fans and (inevitably) insufferable announcers, it's really tough to pick a favorite. When the Giants play well, they're a much better team than the Jets, but the Giants have also been far better at shooting themselves in the
thigh foot all year long. Anyway, faced with a choice between backing Rex Ryan in December and Tom Coughlin, ever, the choice is clear.
Miami at New England (-11) ... Hey, a Reggie Bush sighting!
Oakland at Kansas City (-1) ... I don't mean to be a downer, but games like this are pretty frustrating. Neither team is terrible enough to dismiss entirely, and yet, they're probably not good enough to put together a legitimately entertaining four quarters. Fans and analysts always praise parity, but there are A LOT of games like this one this week.
Arizona at Cincinnati (-4) ... So
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-9) ... Many
Denver at Buffalo (+1.5) ... Awful
Cleveland at Baltimore (-14) ... Games.
San Francisco at Seattle (+1) ... Oh look, Tavaris Jackson vs. Alex Smith!
San Diego at Detroit (-1.5) ... Somewhere along the way parity seems to have been taken too far, and at this point, you have more mediocre games than ever, even if the teams still in contention somehow. I love football and will every Sunday regardless, but hopefully we'll snap back to normal sometime in the next ten years. Parity's fine, but it's also nice to have a handful of truly kickass teams to watch every weekend. And to help cheer you up after that sobering schpiel, here's Alison Brie singing "Santa Baby".
Philadelphia at Dallas (-1) ... Ah, okay! Back to normal. The Cowboys have no business leading the NFC East, and the Eagles have no business being in playoff contention, sure. But even if Tony Romo and Michael Vick aren't perfect and Jason Garett is basically the same person as Andy Reid, this should be a hell of a game. (Even though we just jinxed it.)
Chicago at Green Bay (-14) ... And Bears-Packers? Christmas at Lambeau? Devin Hester and Aaron Rodgers on the same field? This sounds like something with potential, particularly if the Bears finally just give up and put Hester at QB for the whole game. DOOOOOOOO ITTTTTTTT.
Atlanta at New Orleans (-7.5) ... And ... Oh my God ... We even have a good Monday Night game this week. Maybe there's hope after all? MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
OVERALL RECORD: 103-96-3