There’s only one guarantee I’ll make you this week: I’m not making any guarantees. Last week I promised the Seahawks would win with so much confidence that I promised to eat my words, which I did thanks to the Giants’ upset.
This week I’m going to give my stomach a bit of a break, instead focusing on the games around the league that are going to be really close — and could have a major effect on the NFL Playoffs. It’s hard to imagine the postseason is right around the corner, but this has been such an odd year that the season has felt really fast.
The biggest game of the week has bizarrely becomes the Giants vs. Cardinals. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives under very different circumstances. A white hot start for Arizona has now cooled, sitting at 6-6 with a very real risk of missing the playoffs if they don’t push for a wild card. Meanwhile the Giants started abysmally, and are now on a tear — winning their last four games, now battling with the Washington Football Team to win the NFC East.
Similarly, the AFC has its own brutal game, but from two teams who will be making the playoffs. Both the Bills and Steelers are going to be featured in the postseason, and have been largely playing excellent football. The stakes at this point are the first round bye, and potential home field advantage in the playoffs. These are smaller concerns than making the playoffs in the first place, but could be critical down the stretch. It’s an odd situation where staying at home is less about having a raucous home crowd behind you, and more than there are serious threats in traveling across the country.
The Browns also find themselves in an envious position this week. For so many years the Ravens have been in a position to ruin the hopes and dreams of Browns fans, now the show is on the other food. Cleveland has a legitimate chance to ruin the playoff dreams of the Ravens, who are limping along due to Covid and missed opportunities. While Baltimore isn’t as good as the team was a year ago, most people still assumed they’d be the class of the AFC North this season. Now, they’re on the outside looking in — hoping to a find a way in with a few games remaining.
I guess if you want a safe bet this week I’d go with the Seahawks to beat the Jets. I cannot believe I’m picking Seattle to beat another New York team, but the Jets are in love with tanking to the bottom of the ocean. You know, screw it ... I said I was bad about learning from my own mistakes. I’ll print out this passage and eat it if the Jets beat the Seahawks.