Off to another 1-0 start after the Colts comeback victory over the Texans. This week really does feel like the 16-0 week that I've been promising. Haven't seen an easier slate of games all season - it's also my buddy Asante's birthday - so I feel like I might need to live blog the entire Christmas Eve day. Stay tuned for that - but here are the picks for the remainder of week 16...
Saturday, December 24th (1:oo ET Kickoffs)
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (2.5)
The AFC West is crazier than the Wild Wild West. All of the teams have struggled at one point of the season - Broncos 1-6 start, KC 0-3 start and lost Jamaal Charles & Eric Berry, Chargers lost 7 straight, Raiders blow right now. With all that being said, each team still has a legit chance at winning the division. The Chiefs at 6-8 have the worst record, so they'll need the Broncos to lose this week before their week 17 matchup - the Raiders need to win out and have the Broncos lose at least one game. I don't know what will happen - but I know that I love drama and will be rooting for the Chiefs to beat the Raiders and set up an even wilder week 17. Take the Chiefs to win over an unstable Raiders team.
Denver Broncos (-3) @ Buffalo Bills
I really don't believe the Bills will win this game - but nothing surprises me. I'm starting Willis McGahee (whose autographed Bills Jersey still hangs in my room - not sure that can be classified as a #humblebrag or #Embarassedtosaythis) this week in Fantasy - and since I don't care about anything but the Bills getting a better pick, I should be backing the Broncos and moving on. But I can't. Something about this game makes me think the Bills will be up by 2 points (thanks to a safety) on a final Tebow drive - Tebow works his magic and PRAYter finally misses a game winning field goal. Like I said - I really don't believe the Bills will win - but on the eve of Jesus' birthday maybe miracles can happen? I'll take the points and the Bills.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-7)
Here's the game that I could care less to write about or watch - MJD vs. Chris Johnson - MJD should get the nod, but the rest of the Jags are a joke. Take the Titans and avoid watching this game.
Arizona Cardinals @ Cincinnati Bengals (-4)
Funny thing about the Cardinals 7 wins this year - they've trailed at the half in each of them. Which means Ken Whisenhunt probably gives some game-altering Halftime speeches. Each week ESPN or some other sports outlet reports on who the starting QB will be for the Cardinals John Skleton or Kevin Kolb. Not sure why this is still considered news? Skelton is good and has proven he can win. The Cards have won their last 4 and have won 6 of their last 7 including wins over Philly, Dallas, and San Fran. They're playing good football at the right time and still have a shot at getting into the playoffs if the Lions or Falcons collapse. I'll take the Cardinals to beat the Bengals in a match up of two up and coming organizations.
St. Louis Rams @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5)
Not gonna write too much about this game - mostly because there hasn't been a line all week depending on whether or not Big Ben will play. Fact of the matter is the Rams aren't a good football team and the Steelers losing by anything less than 2 TDs would be considered a morale loss. Take the Steelers and lay the points.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-10)
The Dolphins have gotten out of the cellar of the AFC East and now look to prevent the Patriots from grabbing the top spot in the AFC come playoff time. There's very little chance that the Dolphins can pull the upset in Foxboro - but they can certainly make this a close game. Reggie Bush recorded a career-high 203 yards rushing last week against the Bills. The Patriots have a horrid defense and just lost their leading pass rusher Andre Carter for the year. On paper - the Patriots should roll - but I like the Dolphins to continue their inspired play under new coach Todd Bowles - I'll take Miami to keep this closer than 10.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens (-12.5)
I look at this game and think to myself, "there is no way the Browns will stay in this game". But then I think about the dud that the Ravens laid on Sunday Night against the Chargers. Don't get me wrong - the Browns are a bad football team - and with Seneca Wallace under center - I don't think they have a legitimate shot of winning this game outright. But Peyton Hillis did show he has a pulse last weekend - which is more than any other Browns offensive player can say all year. If they Browns can establish the run - I could see them keeping this one closer than the spread. I'm down with Brown in this one.
New York Giants @ New York Jets (-3)
In the battle for the city of New York, the Jets and Giants will do battle on a familiar playing field. Both teams have huge implications on the outcome of this game. Honestly, I'm just curious to see if Rex Ryan comes out donning a Santa Claus outfit - because that guy is a mirror image of Saint Nick. As for the game - The Jets have the better defense (even though they got rocked by the Eagles last week) and the Giants have the better offense (even thought they looked incompetent against the Redskins). I could see this game getting very bloody (Eli) and very homo (Sanchez). I'll take the Giants plus the field goal to keep this one close.
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins (-6.5)
The Vikings really only have 2 wins this year? I know AP has missed some time - but damn, are they that bad? With the Colts win this weekend - they're very much in the hunt for April's top spot. Could you imagine Andrew Luck falling into the Vikings lap? Sure Christian Ponder has shown flashes of competence - but end of the day the Vikings should have no hesitation drafting Luck. The Redskins are not an easy team for me to back here because they're the most inconsistent team week in and week out. But at the end of the day - I think the home field advantage and the incentive of the Vikings being back in the Luck Sweepstakes - make the Redskins the pick here. Take Washington to roll at home.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-7.5)
I'm not going to lie - this is the last game I chose to write about this week. It really does nothing for me except that I play against Cam Newton in my fantasy championship. I tend to talk about fantasy a lot - deal with it. The Bucs have been horrible the past 8 weeks. The Panthers feel like they could be good with another couple of drafts, but truth be told - I've stopped watching or caring about either of these teams. Newton feels like he'll be the best player on the field - so I'll hope the Bucs can try to contain him - probably won't happen which is why the Panthers minus the points feels like the pick here.
Saturday, December 24th (4:oo ET Kickoffs)
San Diego Chargers @ Detroit Lions (-2.5)
Here come the Chargers. Making their annual push where they just crush everyone in December. Thinking back on it - the decision to fire Marty Schottenheimer and hire Norv Turner has to be one of the worst of all time. All Marty did was get the Chargers to the playoffs every year with no drama. Sure he lost to Belichick and Dungy every year - but big deal. At least he got the San Diego fans what they wanted - a sure bet to play football in January. Turner on the other hand has had to rely on the last few weeks of the season to even be considered for football in January - and its not like he doesn't have the talent. Regardless of who's coaching, I think the Chargers get the victory here even after surrendering 300 yards and 3 TDs to Calvin Johnson.
San Francisco 49ers (-2) @ Seattle Seahawks
All year, after every 49ers victory I get two text messages from buddies along the lines of "#Ninersheaux" - that's it. No idea what it means. This weekend - I'll be watching all of the games with the biggest 49er advocate, birthday boy, and my biggest hater - Asante Brooks. Nothing would make me happier on his birthday than to watch the Seahawks pull out a victory so that I can text "Seahawksheaux". I'll roll with Seattle and the 12th man in this one.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
This game could either be the biggest game of the weekend or a complete non-factor depending on the outcome of the Giants / Jets game at 1pm. If the Giants win, the Eagles are out, and the Week 17 game between the Giants / Cowboys game will determine the winner. Sorry Eagles fans - Giants will win. But that doesn't mean the Cowboys won't do their best impression to make everyone think they blow heading into week 17. If there's one thing I've learned about the Cowboys this year - it's they like to make things interesting for no apparent reason. A week 17 match up with the Giants with the Division/Playoffs on the line certainly does just that. I look for the Eagles to continue to stay hot and could see them winning this game as fans continue to search for answers on where things went wrong.
Sunday, December 25th (8:35 ET)
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-12.5)
The Packers finally lost a game - that doesn't mean they forgot how to win. The way I look at this game is simple. The Packers can move the ball on offense, the Bears can't. Caleb Hanie has ripped the hearts out of Bears fans - and Josh McCown will show that he's not much better of an option. He was coaching his high school football team 4 weeks ago. You can't make these things up. Take the Packers - bet this game with anyone that will take it, tease it, parlay it, and thank Vegas for keeping this under 2 TDs.
Monday, December 26th (8:40 ET)
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (-7)
I've got a huge rooting interest in Drew Brees putting up a lottttt of points in this game. Last week's 51 point fantasy performance was really all I could ask for - after Arian Foster torched the Colts last night, I will probably need a similar performance. The only difference - the Falcons are a lot better than the Vikings and won't let that happen. I'm starting to find an affinity for this Atlanta team and could probably talk myself into taking them in the playoffs. I look for the Falcons to revenge their earlier loss this season on the infamous 4th and 1 failure. I'll roll with Atlanta to close out the weekend on a good note.
This Week: 1-0
Season Record: 110-106-8