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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


FiveThirtyEight (yes, the one run by Nate Silver) with NFL playoff chances and who you should root for this weekend.


Titans at Jaguars

The following people will be watching this game:

1. Compulsive gamblers
2. Draft watchers
3. Fantasy owners

Thursday night is also the series finale of The Colbert Report as host Stephen Colbert closes out one era of television and begins a new one as taking over The Late Show when David Letterman retires next year.

Eagles at Washington/Chargers at 49ers

Saturday afternoon features two games with playoff implications. The Eagles can still win the NFC East by winning their final two games and have some help from division leading Dallas. Meanwhile the Chargers are still in the playoff race after their loss to Denver. The Broncos won the AFC West so the Chargers have played their last home game for the season.

The 49ers are likely heading towards a coaching change. San Francisco's Super Bowl aspirations ended the same way last season with a loss at Seattle. Since 2011, the 49ers have won the NFC West twice, played in three consecutive NFC Championship games, and made a Super Bowl appearance. Coach Jim Harbaugh took a franchise that last made a playoff appearance in 2002 and their last NFC Title was in January 1995 when they won Super Bowl XXIX. With the job Harbaugh has done he might have been given a pass on this season, but the relationship between the coach and ownership has reportedly turned toxic.

Falcons at Saints

Well… someone has to win the NFC South.

Browns at Panthers

Johnny Manziel made his NFL debut on Sunday against the Bengals. As coach Mike Pettine put it in the postgame press conference, "He played like a rookie, and looked like a rookie."

In Tampa, backup quarterback Derek Anderson led the Panthers to a victory over the Buccaneers. Earlier in the week before the game against the Buccaneers Panthers quarterback Cam Newton injured his back in a car accident. Even though Newton returned to the practice field, the Panthers are mum about whether Newton or Anderson will start on Sunday. Anderson did start the season opener against the Buccaneers (a win) and he was the Browns quarterback from 2006-09. In 2007, Anderson went 10-5 and was named to the Pro Bowl that season.

Like the Falcons at Saints, this game will play a role in who will eventually win the NFC South. Again… someone has to win the NFC South.

Texans at Ravens

"I see Houston winning 6 games this season, but if they get to .500 it would be considered a success."

The Houston Texans have won 7 games and are still in the playoff hunt. It has been a remarkable season for this team that has resulted in defensive end J.J. Watt being in the argument for league MVP. Unfortunately the Ravens are in the playoff hunt as well and are eying the AFC North.

Colts at Cowboys

The Cowboys continue their streak as road warriors. One place where they haven't been successful is at home having posted a 3-4 record at home. If the Cowboys are to make the playoffs, they need to win this game.

The Colts could end up playing for seeding. The Patriots and Broncos are the top two seeds in the AFC and the only way the Colts can get a bye week is if one of those two teams lose their final games and the Colts win out. The Patriots and Broncos have each defeated the Colts so ending up tied won't help them.

Seahawks at Cardinals

The Cardinals could have homefield throughout the NFC playoffs and the only time they could leave Arizona would be for the Super Bowl.

What's that…? Oh… the Super Bowl is in Arizona this season? Learn something new every day.

The Cardinals became the first NFC team to clinch a playoff spot with their win over the Rams and the Cowboys at Eagles game not ending in a tie. Despite this, Arizona is down to their third and fourth string quarterbacks.

Since giving up 24 points in their Week 11 lost at Kansas City, Seattle has won four games giving up 27 points.

I am not liking the Cardinals chances of winning the division nor making a deep playoff run.

Broncos at Bengals

The Benglas pitched a shutout in their win over in-state and division rival Cleveland.

Ok, it was Johnny Manziel's NFL debut.

And it was against the Browns.

I don't expect the Bengals to repeat their performance against the Broncos. Denver has a lot of different weapons at their disposal. As shown in their win over the Chargers, Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes bringing his streak with a touchdown pass to one. Something tells me that this Peyton Manning fellow with his laser rocket arm will rewrite the NFL record book.

And now the picks.

Kickoff times are mountain time, games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN), and picks are in BOLD.


Titans at Jaguars

Eagles at Washington, NFL 2:30 PM (MT)
Chargers at 49ers, CBS 6:30 PM (MT)

Chiefs at Steelers (DEN)
Patriots at Jets
Browns at Panthers
Vikings at Dolphins

Falcons at Saints (DEN)
Lions at Bears
Ravens at Texans
Packers at Buccaneers

Colts at Cowboys (DEN)
Bills at Raiders

Giants at Rams

Seahawks at Cardinals

Broncos at Bengals

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