Thoughts from Hispandrix
SD@DEN: I’m sure the Broncos are ready to get the division clinched this week, and not let the Chiefs keep lingering. After all, it will be the difference between #1 & #5 seed likely. The Broncos are a perfect 4-0 in the division this season, and they’ll need the Chiefs to lose to wrap it all up. Just remember that the Broncos are on a four game winning streak against the Chargers, but that was after the Chargers went on a 9-2 tear from 2006 on. No Wes Welker for the Broncos, but does that even matter? It’s home for the Broncos, where they haven’t lost. That’s all I have to say about that.
WSH@ATL: Finally the Redskins use their brain, and put in Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season. As much as I would love to see Atlanta lose, the Redskins defense is still horrid – see giving up 38 first half points to the Chiefs last week at home. The Falcons will remind people that they had an offense at one point in time, but don’t get that excited, they are still bad too. Falcons.
CHI@CLE: Poor Browns, they get screwed at the hands of the Patriots, and for the longest time, Jason Campbell was outperforming Tom Brady. After a rally, stat curse, and bad penalty, the Pats beat the Browns. Enter those Bears, who had to have a hell of a time deciding what to do about their QB situation. If they opted for McCown over a fully healthy Cutler, then that may be it for Cutler & the Bears relationship. However, you can’t deny that McCown has helped revive the Bears, and have them just one Lions loss away from taking back the division. It’s all on Jay Cutler now, so he can be the hero or zero. It’s crazy to think where the Browns would have ended up had Brian Hoyer not been hurt. That is the price for being a Browns fan, wondering what could have been. I’ll take the Bears.
HOU@IND: Houston fires Gary Kubiak, and it won’t bring much change to the Texans. They’re just a pit of crap right now. Maybe it’s the curse of Wade Phillips in Texas. The Colts have their division clinched, with ease. They don’t have to win this game at all, but you want to at least play decent going into the playoffs. Sadly, it looks more apparent that the Colts will suffer a Wild Card loss to a lower seed. Colts.
BUF@JAC: The Bills are just regressing into terrible more and more each week. For that reason, and not spending much time telling you, I’ll take the Jags for the first time this season, which probably means they’ll lose. The fact these two teams are still alive for a Wild Card (mathematically that is) is just ridiculous.
NE@MIA: Suddenly, this game became way more important due to Antonio Brown forgetting where the sideline was. Where was Mike Tomlin when you needed him? The Dolphins are clinging to a chance at the Wild Card, but they’re going to have to beat the Patriots, and then hope Baltimore loses (if they tie, Baltimore has the tiebreaker). Two things that are not a given whatsoever. New England will have to go the rest of the minus Rob Gronkowski, and I don’t need to remind everyone what that was like before. It’s a hit or miss here, and with the Dolphins back against the wall, the pressure is more on them. However, it’s hard to overlook the Patriots winning five out of the last six games, including three straight.
PHI@MIN: The Vikings have nothing to play for in this game, which doesn’t mean much, as Adrian Peterson, who looked like went down for another season ending injury, vows to play in this game to at least make it interesting between him and Lesean McCoy. The Eagles have been smoking hot, winning five in a row with Nick Foles at the helm. Let’s just go with the Vikings decided to continue their QB carousel, again. Eagles may have some trouble here, but they’ll win, keeping the pressure on the Cowboys, just like they want it.
SEA@NYG: Can we even give the Giants a chance? They’re mid-season rebound falls short, as they were officially eliminated from the playoffs. Sure, they could pull off a crazy upset to beat the visiting Seahawks at home, but I’m not optimistic. Look for the Seahawks to keep powering through.
SF@TB: The 49ers earned a huge win over divisional rival Seahawks last week, and suddenly their starting to look more like the team that went to the Super Bowl last season. Now, you can make the argument that the teams that they beat prior to the Seahawks (Redskins, Rams) were just ‘easy’ games, but their defense is what helps carry them more than anything. I don’t think they’ll win with ease against the Bucs, who have climbed out of an 0-8 start to win four of their last five. While Schiano may be safe for the moment, the Bucs chance of winning this game aren’t. Maybe all of that travel will affect the 49ers, but I don’t think they’ll lose, especially with the Cardinals threatening to unseat them as a Wild Card, and them still having an outside chance to win the division.
NYJ@CAR: The Jets were able to find an offense last week. Where? Who the hell knows, but they got a win, so that’s all that matters. The Panthers were derailed last week, at least for one game, snapping an 8-game winning streak at the hands of the Saints. While they host the Saints next week, and look forward to facing them again, they’ll have fun just seeing if the Jets can muster points this week.
KC@OAK: The Raiders are a mess at 4-9, but somehow are still mathematically alive (more like on a manual breathing pump) to pull off a Wild Card even though they have lost three straight. Now they get three straight AFC West opponents, and it starts with the Chiefs. Yikes.
GB@DAL: We were all hoping for Aaron Rodgers to play here, but it looks like the Packers slim chances of another postseason lie on the shoulders of Matt Flynn. They squeaked by the Falcons last week 22-21, while the Cowboys officially started their December meltdown mode, losing to the Bears by a lot, and not being able to stop them once all game on defense. If the Cowboys can make Josh McCown & the Bears offense look on the same level of the Saints, who knows what they may surrender to the Packers. However, this is a home game, and Flynn has some trouble playing away from anywhere that’s not Wisconsin or Louisiana. I’m gonna side with the Cowboys.
NO@STL: As always, look for my Keys to the Game.
ARI@TEN: Despite the loss of the Honey Badger, the show must go on. For the Titans, it was a butt whipping of crappy proportions at the hands of the Broncos. The Cardinals have a ton to play for, as they are needing to keep up with the 49ers. The Titans, well, we still wonder how much they’re going to mix things up in the offseason. Cards.
CIN@PIT: Pittsburgh is about out of the postseason again, and who worse to pour the salt in the wound than the rival Bengals?
BAL@DET: The Lions have opened the door for the Bears to take the division away from them, losing three out of the last four games. Now, they play they defending Super Bowl champs on the big stage of Monday Night Football. The Ravens have won three straight, and we won’t soon forget that crazy flurry of scoring in the last 2 minutes of the game against the Vikings. The Lions are in a must win situation, and they won’t be playing in mounds of snow this time. However, I have to give this one of the Ravens. Why? Just because.