NFL Office Pool Picks Week 16
It was an interesting week in the NFL last week. Not a lot of results came as particular surprises in terms of the who, but the how was frequently shocking. Jacksonville's total massacre of Seattle. New England's crazy comeback win against Pittsburgh. Kansas City crushing the Chargers at home. Jacksonville winning by 38 over the Texans. Philadelphia only narrowly getting by the Giants in a serious shootout. Interesting week. And now we are due for another very interesting week with massive playoff implications in many games. Here is a look at how the week sets up for Office Pool players in terms of straight up picks:
Indianapolis at Baltimore: The Ravens have a bit of an issue. They have the same record as Tennessee and Buffalo in the fight for the wild-card spots, but they are in bad shape with tiebreakers. All they can do is keep winning and hope for the best. And they will win here - the Colts are a freaking mess. Take the Ravens.
Minnesota at Green Bay: The fairy tale story didn't play out quite right, and Aaron Rodgers will not lead his team to a playoff spot in his return. Now all he can do is play spoiler. The Vikings have clinched the division, but they can't let up for a second. They are sitting with a bye now, and are within spitting distance of the Eagles, but there is a pack behind them wanting that bye as well. Imagine how much you could have made before the season betting that the NFC bye QBs would be Case Keenum and Nick Foles. Take the Vikings.
Cleveland at Chicago: This game terrifies me. The Browns are so close to history - it's theirs for the taking. But this is just the kind of game in which they could blow it. I just hope that they don't take their eyes off the prize. They just need to be who they are, and their streak will continue. Take the Bears.
Detroit at Cincinnati: I just love that Marvin Lewis floated the trial balloon this weekend that he had decided to leave Cincinnati to pursue other opportunities. The guy is tied with me in career playoff wins as a coach, and he has a 15-year head start on me. His last two seasons have been just embarrassing - even compared to the other 13. The idea that he has a choice in his fate is ridiculous. He is so, so bad at coaching, and the only other opportunities available for him to pursue should be working the drive thru at McDonalds. At least the job of making a list of potential replacements for the Bengals is easy. Who is better than Marvin Lewis? Literally anyone on the planet. Oh, and the Bengals will lose this one badly. Take the Lions.
L.A. Rams at Tennessee: Both teams need this for the sake of their playoff standing. And the Rams are going to get it. I mean, did you see what they did to the Seahawks? That didn't seem like that much of a fluke - the margin of victory was a surprise, but the result really wasn't. Take the Rams.
Miami at Kansas City: It must be frustrating to be a Chiefs fan and to be left to think what could have been in the fairly wide-open AFC if they hadn't taken the middle third of the season off. Their convincing win over the Chargers in an absolutely crucial game was impressive, and they are well positioned for another win here. It's a big win, too - they would lock up the AFC West and could rest everyone who needs it next week before the playoffs start. Take the Chiefs.
Buffalo at New England: Another interesting one full of playoff implications. The Patriots got a huge edge in the race for the AFC title, and they can't afford to lose and give up that advantage. The Bills, meanwhile, are in a three-way fight for two playoff spots, and need every win they can get. The Bills will be hungry, but they are also playing in Foxboro. Take the Patriots.
Atlanta at New Orleans: Atlanta tried their hardest to lose to a really lousy Tampa Bay team. And that doesn't feel like a real surprise. They have the advantage in the wild-card race, but I don't expect or trust them to keep it. Take the Saints.
L.A. Chargers at New York Jets: The Chargers started out horrible but worked very hard to save their season, and then they threw it away with a disaster of an outing last week. Now we get to see how tough they are. They have a small chance of success, but they are still alive, and they need to beat a team they badly outclass. They should do that - or they have bigger issues than it seems. Take the Chargers.
Denver at Washington: Honestly, who cares? Why in the world would anyone possible care at all about this game. I'm fighting to stay awake writing about it. Take the Redskins at home. I guess.
Tampa Bay at Carolina: Carolina is playing very well and has a division crown and even potentially a bye in their sights. Tampa Bay is just awful. Easy pick. Take the Panthers.
Jacksonville at San Francisco: This is a very interesting game - surprisingly so. The Jags have clinched a playoff berth and are all but a lock to be the third seed. But they have a shot at a bye, so they still have things to play for. San Francisco is totally out of it - has been since September - but they are playing great under Jimmy Garoppolo and will make this a fight. This is a far more watchable game than you ever would have imagined before the season started. Take the Jaguars.
Seattle at Dallas: Both teams need to win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Seattle also needs redemption after that humiliating annihilation last week. They won't get it. Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott back and is playing the better of the two teams right now. Narrowly. Take the Cowboys.
New York Giants at Arizona: Which hopeless team staring down a very rocky offseason do you have more faith in? Since none of the above isn't a choice, I'll take the Cardinals at home.
Pittsburgh at Houston: Pittsburgh needs to pick themselves up, wipe themselves off, and make sure they don't let that last crushing loss linger. They still have plenty to play for - including the top seed if New England falters. Houston, meanwhile, seems poised to make a coaching change, and that will obviously be a distraction. Take the Steelers.
Oakland at Philadelphia: Philadelphia narrowly eked out a win last week against a reeling team, and now they face another one. The Eagles need to keep winning to keep the top seed and to work out the kinks at QB heading into the playoffs. Take the Eagles.
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