It's the final two weeks of the regular season and it's time for playoff contenders to finalize their plans for the post season by nailing down their spots. Twelve of this week's 16 games feature teams who are either trying to lock up a playoff berth or are fighting for home field advantage in the playoffs.
Yes, some of these teams will have spots wrapped up next week and rest some players, but in the season's penultimate week, all hands will be on deck and everything will be left on the field.
So much for those BCS supporters who claim the NFL is full of meaningless games (unlike last night's riveting Poinsettia Bowl in which BYU won exactly what?) Also it should be the nail in the coffin of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's argument for expanding the playoffs. There's plenty enough excitement in the NFL regular season and enough of a ratio between teams and those who qualify for the post season that the regular season means something. Changing the system so that, in this year's case, the Jets would be a playoff team, dilutes the product.
But I digress. We're here to pick this week's games. Last week was a tough one for both Steven and I. Steven went 7-9 (125-99). I went 8-8, my worst mark of the season which leaves me at 146-78 for the season. Let's see who we've got winning this week's games:
Atlanta at Detroit- Steven: Falcons – "Detroit can't wait for this season to end and to forget it ever happened. Very disappointing." Chuck: Falcons- "An Atlanta win guarantees they'll lose at home in the playoffs."
Oakland at Carolina- Steven: Panthers – "Cam Newton against Terrelle Pryor actually sounds fun to watch if Oakland uses him." Chuck: Panthers- "I agree with Steven. This game is meaningless, but could be very entertaining."
New Orleans at Dallas- Steven: Cowboys – "No team is better equipped to play spoiler than New Orleans, but I don't trust their defense (ignore last week)." Chuck: Cowboys- "It's the Dallas defense that's holding this team together right now. At least one Ryan brother will make the playoffs."
Tennessee at Green Bay- Steven: Packers – "I'm on board in Green Bay as being the NFC's best team right now." Chuck: Packers- "I hope the Tennessee defense enjoyed last week's breather against Mark Sanchez. If you've got Aaron Rodgers in your fantasy championship, start engraving your name on the trophy."
Minnesota at Houston: Steven: Texans – "Minnesota is only 2-5 on the road this year. Adrian Peterson still gets his yards though." Chuck: Texans- "Houston will lock up home field in the AFC with a win."
New England at Jacksonville- Steven: Patriots – "Biggest upset ever if Jacksonville wins?" Chuck: Patriots- "Just what this limping Jaguars teams wanted: a pissed off Patriots team."
at Kansas City- Steven: Colts
– "Do not go the Peyton Manning
route next week. Play Andrew Luck
and continue preparing him for the playoffs." Chuck: Colts
- "No way these guys drop Bruce Arians' final game with the playoffs on the line."
Buffalo at Miami- Steven: Dolphins
– "Miami isn't a bad football
team, just not a clutch team. Could be a true playoff contender next year." Chuck: Dolphins
- "Buffalo's just happy to be in South Florida this week."
San Diego at New York Jets- Steven: Jets
– "I'm in it purely for the comedy at this point." Chuck: Chargers
- "Greg McElroy
was inactive for 12 of the previous 14 games and is now starter. In a stroke of irony, Jets fans beg for Sanchez to return by the fourth quarter."
Washington at Philadelphia- Steven: Eagles – "Philadelphia is playing better lately, and I have nothing more than a hunch they stop giving away the ball this week." Chuck: Redskins- "The Eagles probably wish they were on the road. At least somebody would be cheering then."
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh- Steven: Bengals – "In the last 10 years, Cincinnati has only won this gave five times, but four have come in Pittsburgh. Better to find a way to win this week than next and have to score 24+ points to do it." Chuck: Bengals- "Pittsburgh usually is the burr in the Bengals' saddle. They're just too beat up and surprisingly having some locker room issues."
St. Louis at Tampa Bay- Steven: Rams – "Tampa Bay is in too much of a freefall right now." Chuck: Buccaneers- "Tampa's secondary is really bad, but I'm not convinced the Rams have the offense to take advantage."
Cleveland at Denver- Steven: Broncos
– "Not out of the question Denver could end up with home field through the playoffs." Chuck: Broncos
- "The Broncos win when either a) Peyton Manning
drives the length of the field for a game winner or b) Trent Richardson fumbles inside the five yard line when it looks like Cleveland is driving for the winning score. Ah, memories."
Chicago at Arizona- Steven: Bears – "I really wanted to pick Arizona though, but thought better." Chuck: Bears- "The Bears have gone from Super Bowl contenders to desperation mode. Fortunately for Lovie Smith they close with Arizona and Detroit."
New York Giants at Baltimore- Steven: Ravens – "Major help needed next week for the defending champions to get a chance to retain their crown." Chuck: Giants- "Like Chicago, Baltimore is in a bit of trouble. Letting Jim Caldwell call plays isn't the way you fix your offensive funk."
San Francisco at Seattle- Steven: 49ers – "Seattle hasn't played an above average team in over two months. And that was against San Francisco, which they lost." Chuck: Seahawks- "I know I gave Colin Kaepernick his props for the win over New England. I'm heavy on the Seahawks' bandwagon right now. Haven't lost at home and won't this week."
Tags: Andrew Luck
, Greg McElroy
, Indianapolis Colts
, Peyton Manning
, Roger Goodell