Sunday, December 12, 2010
Week 14 picks
A great thought has suddenly struck me.... I haven't done my Sunday picks for week 14 yet. Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills: As odd as this may sound, I'm really looking forward to this game. Had someone else said that at the start of the season I would have laughed. But the fact is that despite their records, the Browns and the Bills are on the up. Ryan Fitzpatrick is taking control of the Bills offense and pushing hard. The Bills defense is gradually finding a way to make a difference in games. The Browns have poured their faith into Peyton Hillis and that faith has been repaid. Defensively they may not be the fastest or the most talented in the league, but they are working hard, fighting, and reaping the rewards. Someone has to lose though. One team will be forced to endure the cat calls from their own fans, accompanied by a week long barrage of criticism because their team couldn't be xyz. But the loser in this game will have little shame, barring a total on-field meltdown. The harsh reality for the NFL is that two of its least "sexy" teams are on the rise and may be making playoff bids a lot sooner than people think, providing they can keep their key players on board. Which one gets the head start though? I'm guessing that it'll be Cleveland. When you look at their depth compared to Buffalo, I think they have the edge. Last week, Jake Delhomme proved me wrong and put up some reasonably good numbers while his opposite number (Chad Henne) collapsed. When their quarterback plays a stable game, the Browns tend to grind out the victory so if Delhomme can just hold that form for one more week, then it's looking for the boys from Ohio. Browns win Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers: Ba ha ha ha ha!! John Fox is an ass, I hate the Panthers and the Falcons win. Next! Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions: As much as I like the Lions and their semi-recovery this year, I like the Packers even more. They've worked out many of the kinks in their offensive line and that was basically their sole offensive weak point from last year. It's still not perfect, but it's good enough. Of course it helps when can look at your defense and know in your head that any of those individuals would not be out of place on the NFC Pro Bowl team this year. The Packers are just that damn good. The Lions... not so much. It is a lot better than last year. But QB Matthew Stafford is rapidly developing a reputation as a fragile, injury riddled nightmare. The running game still doesn't have the kick that the lions need in short yardage spots. The defense brings pressure, that's not a problem. But the secondary has trouble holding up long enough for the pressure to get home. As well as tackling receivers. And covering the deep ball. And playing run good support.... So yeah, Packers win. Oakland Raiders @ Jacksonville Jaguars: It appears I went to bed just before the pre-season and have subsequently woken up in a parallel universe where the Raiders and Jaguars are actually good. Sort of. The Jaguars have been quite handy at beating bad teams and the Colts. The Raiders are quite handy on any given Sunday, until they suffer a collective organisational memory loss which leads them into doing silly things like forgetting how they were able to win games with their (potentially) powerful running game. Memory loss or not, I think the Raiders are just better than the Jaguars on paper. So, Raiders win. Just a brief pause to indicate that I'm now pressed hard for time, so the remaining picks will be brief. Very much so. Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers: The Bungals did ok last week. The Steelers however pulled through in a seriously tough battle against Baltimore. Steelers win. Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Washington Redskins: Washington sucks. Buccaneers win. St. Louis Rams @ New Orleans Saints: Despite improving, St. Louis is still not a match for the Saints at home. Saints win. Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers: The Seahawks suck on the road. Thankfully. 49ers win. Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals: The Broncos are in turmoil. They look bad and lack direction. The new Head Coach has no experience above being an assistant. The... oh wait... oh I see, they're playing the Cardinals. Broncos win. New England Patriots @ Chicago Bears: The Bears defense has a good match up here against the Patriots new look "dink and dunk" offense. Shame the Bears offense will struggle. Patriots win. Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets: The Jets took a pounding last week. But the Dolphins aren't the Patriots. Sadly for Miami fans they're the Dolphins. Jets win. Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers: God help me for this... but I believe in Brodie Croyle. Yes, I did just say that. Chiefs win. Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys: Hmm. The Cowboys are looking good lately. Good enough to beat the Eagles. A little voice at the back of my head says yes. Which is why I'm going to drown it out with noise and take the Eagles. Eagles win. New York Giants @ Minnesota Vikings: The Giants are stuck somewhere in Kansas I believe, so this game wont take place till 8:00pm Eastern. Which is handy for the Vikings because it delays their inevitable collapse under the pressure of the Giants D-line. Giants win. Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans: The sad thing about the Texans D is that they just might make the Ravens offense look good. No such luck the other way around. Ravens win. Have a great day everyone.