MUST WATCH GAMES
Cowboys at Bears/Seahawks at Eagles
All of these teams played last week on Thanksgiving Day.
To be honest I did not watch much of the Eagles decimating the Cowboys. I was busy visiting with family members as we gathered over at my aunt's and her wife's house. It was nice of my aunt's spouse to put on the game for me. She is a nice lady.
Nicer than the Eagles were to Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
I think the Cowboys were still feeling the after effects of having to play a Sunday Night road game and then a Thanksgiving home game. Also even though the defense has stayed under the radar for most of the season, it was highly suspect coming into this season.
As Star-Telegram's Randy Galloway said in his column analyzing the Cowboys loss and their prospects of breaking their 8-8 streak, he said the Cowboys defense "was an iffy group of NFL boat people and minimum-wage types who had performed far above football pedigree."
The other team that made me and other people wretch their Thanksgiving meal was the Chicago Bears. 5-7 with their final games against two 5-7 teams who are somewhat decent (Saints and Vikings) and hosting the Lions in Week 16. The Bears had a 14-3 lead on the Lions before the Lions realized that they were playing the Bears.
Meanwhile the two teams that did well on Thanksgiving, the Eagles and Seahawks, meet in Philadelphia that could determine playoff seeding. At 3-3 it was looking like the Seahawks would not have a chance to defend their title in the playoffs. Since then, Seattle has reeled off 5 wins in their last 6 games. For the Seahawks, their final three games are against divisional foes while the Eagles also play the NFC East in their final three games.
Colts at Browns/Ravens at Dolphins/Steelers at Bengals
The Colts currently lead their division with an 8-4 and could be the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Browns and the unlikely scenario of the Texans losing to the Jaguars.
The Browns, Ravens, and Steelers are all tied for second place (or last place depending on your perspective) in the AFC North. That division could end up with every team finishing with 10 wins and only one (the division champion) makes the playoffs.
On Monday Night Football in Week 12, Ravens running back Justin Forsett had his coming out party by rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns in their 34-27 win at New Orleans. The Ravens lost to the Chargers on Sunday and are facing a Dolphins team that are eying a run at the playoffs. Like the Ravens, Browns, and Steelers, the Dolphins are also part of the 7-5 AFC logjam.
Don't underestimate the Dolphins. Miami's defense is ranked 6th in points against and 6th in yards against.
The Steelers are continuing their bad habit of playing down to their competition. They have had wins over Cleveland, Houston, Indianapolis, and Baltimore, all teams currently .500 or better.
But their losses… The Buccaneers currently 2-10. The freakin' JETS?! The Saints last Sunday who are 5-7, but they are in the thick of the NFC South race.
The Bengals are at an advantage given their tie. A tie counts as half a win and half a loss in the standings. Right now the Bengals hold the 3 seed and have as many wins as the Colts. Though the Colts beat the Bengals, that tie gives them an advantage because Cincinnati has 8.5 wins vs. the Colts 8 wins. And that is why the race for homefield in the AFC might come down to the final few games remaining. The Patriots and Broncos have the bye week right now, but only lead the Bengals by half a game. Doesn't matter that the Patriots beat the Bengals. The Bengals could leap frog over the Patriots for homefield in the AFC. Same thing could happen if the Bengals beat the Broncos on Monday Night in Week 16.
The tie is also helping them right now leading the AFC North 7-5 pile. A win over the Steelers would widen their lead. These two teams will meet again in Week 17 in Pittsburgh.
Rams at Washington
In 2012 Robert Griffin III was selected second overall by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams were not the holders of that pick. Originally it was Washington that held the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Washington team gave up their 2012, 2013, and 2014 first round picks and their 2012 second round pick. The Rams gave up their second overall pick in 2012 because they felt that they had a quarterback in Sam Bradford. Bradford has been oft injured and could be looking for another team after this season.
Griffin too has suffered the injury bug which is why he was benched leading up to Washington's 49-27 loss at Indianapolis. I think it because Washington is undergoing talent evaluation for what they have on the team long term. Already there is speculation that the Griffin era in Washington is over and that the team is either looking to trade him or release him via free agency where he can sign with any team provided they have the cap space.
As for the Rams, they used the draft picks they got to turn their team into a perennial championship team and they are in the middle of the hunt for homefield throughout the NFC playoffs.
Ha! Just kidding. The Rams have been flirting with mediocrity for the last few seasons, but they aren't exactly a bad team.
It is likely that they might be on the market for a quarterback this coming offseason. One could be available.
Patriots at Chargers
Last week the Patriots 7 game winning streak was broken in their 26-21 loss at Green Bay. The game in Wisconsin lived up to the hype and I and many other football watchers would not be surprised if the Packers and Patriots meet again in Super Bowl XLIX.
The Chargers became the first west coast based team to win at the Ravens in the regular season in 11 previous attempts.
San Diego is 8-4, are currently the 5-seed in the AFC playoffs, and are one game behind Denver for the AFC West lead. Since their bye week San Diego has gone into playoff mode and won three straight. Their last loss was part of a three game losing streak and was a 37-0 loss at Miami.
The Chargers better beware. The Patriots are PISSED they lost.
And now the picks.
Kickoff times are mountain time, games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN), and picks are in BOLD.
THURSDAY NIGHT, NFL 6:15 PM
Cowboys at Bears
Colts at Browns (DEN)
Buccaneers at Lions
Giants at Titans
Panthers at Saints
Rams at Washington
Jets at Vikings
Ravens at Dolphins
Steelers at Bengals
Texans at Jaguars
Seahawks at Eagles
49ers at Raiders
Bills at Broncos (DEN)
Chiefs at Cardinals
SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:15 PM
Patriots at Chargers
MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:15 PM
Falcons at Packers