PLEASE forgive me! I did not realize that the Saturday games started this week. I was not ready. I will no fail you next week though. :) So many scenarios this week for season extensions. As you can see, Thursday night gave the Los Angeles Rams a clinched playoff spot and the number one seed, if I am not mistaken. The only other teams to clinch are the Kansas City Chiefs, who the Chargers just beat, and the New Orleans Saints. This week is crucial, so let’s waste no time seeing how I think teams will fare.
GREEN BAY PACKERS vs CHICAGO BEARS:
New interim head coach. Renewed sense of purpose. Unfortunately, there are no new players around Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is capable of making things happen without much effort. Against the Chicago Bears, a lot of effort will be needed. Green Bay is still lacking on defense and the offensive line still has a lot to prove. Last week against a less than expected Atlanta Falcon team, they looked like world beaters. This week competing with Mitchell Trubisky and his merry band of bruisers will not be so easy. Chicago is on the verge of making a playoff appearance. They need to win out to make sure they keep the edge over the Minnesota Vikings. This is a great divisional rivalry. Green Bay will not be able to match up.
DETROIT LIONS vs BUFFALO BILLS:
With no post season implications for either team here. It is just a matter of picking the team with the most upside. Here, it is the Detroit Lions. Josh Allen has a lot to prove with the Bills. He is making correctable mistakes and should return next season better.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS vs BALTIMORE RAVENS:
Lamar Jackson is all the rage now in Baltimore. He has not been exceptional, but they are 3-1 with him starting the last four games. He will, once again, start this week against Jameis Winston and the Bucs. Winston almost pulled off the upset last week facing the Saints. Will he be able to do it against the number one defense in the league? Probably not. Baltimore is trying to win out and stay in the hunt with help from a few other teams. Tampa will not play spoiler on the road.
ARIZONA CARDINALS vs ATLANTA FALCONS:
Another game today without anything at stake. Atlanta has shown more signs of promise than Arizona. Giving this to the home team.
OAKLAND RAIDERS vs CINCINNATI BENGALS:
Cincinnati has their backup quarterback in. Does anyone know who it is? It is Jeff Driskel. What does this mean exactly? It means that the Oakland Raiders have a really good chance at coming away with the win. In an earlier blog, it may have been mentioned that the Raiders would not be picked again. Things have changed. Looks like they are poised to get this win on the road. Calling an audible here.
TENNESSEE TITANS vs NEW YORK GIANTS:
The Titans need this win stay in the hunt. The Giants could play spoiler here in a big way. Tennessee is in a four way tie with Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Miami. Like with any team, they need to win and get a little help from others. The Titans defense is not ready for New York’s Saquon Barkley. Which Titans team will show up is the real question. It is very possible that Derrick Henry could repeat his amazing performance from last week, but highly unlikely. Because picking the Giants seems to predictable, let’s go with the road team.
MIAMI DOLPHINS vs MINNESOTA VIKINGS:
Minnesota has to win to get the wild card. Miami needs to win to stay alive. This is a vital game for both teams. Minnesota has not quite gotten their rhythm but are much more in sync at home than Miami on the road. The Dolphins certainly managed the big win over the Patriots last week. Miami has New England’s number. The tie that Minnesota has helps them to certain extent within the division. They need assistance from a Seattle as well. Home team does well here.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS vs JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:
UGH!! The only team with any chance to make the playoffs here is the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are on their third backup quarterback, Josh Johnson. The Jags are on their first backup, Cody Kessler. Crazy place to be for both teams. Believe it or not, Jacksonville’s defense is not as bad as it appears. Washington will find out today. Jacksonville has nothing to lose. Washington is banged up and scrambling on offense. It will not take much for the Jags to get this over the Redskins. Today ends Washington’s playoff hopes.
DALLAS COWBOYS vs INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:
The Indianapolis Colts have been surprisingly good this season. It was a rough start, but up until the Jags shut them out, Indy has been quite the competitors. Do not get that twisted though because the Cowboys have been doing a little surprising themselves. Acquiring Amari Cooper and the impact that he has had, has put Dallas in the driver’s seat of their own destiny. Even in a loss last week, the Colts have been improving every week. This could be an interesting game.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS vs SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS:
Only one team is moving on here. There really is not much to talk about for this game. San Fran will put up a good fight though.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs PITTSBURGH STEELERS:
Now this will be a game. The fact that New England needs this game to clinch a playoff spot is an understatement. Pittsburgh can claim the AFC North if they win. The Steelers have not been themselves of late. Going up against a Patriots team that seems to find a way to win against them will prove a challenge as well. New England probably should have clinched last week, but since they did not, they will want to do that this week.
New England Patriots
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES vs LOS ANGELES RAMS:
As if matters could not look any more bleak for the Eagles, they will be without starting quarterback, Carson Wentz. Nick Foles is not bad for a backup. He did help them win a Super Bowl last season. Will it be enough against a Los Angeles Rams? It might not be. The Rams are in get right mode after the last couple of weeks of play. Looks like it will happen with Philly. The Rams would like a first round bye and can do it with a win. Philly could hang on to playoff aspirations if they can pull off a win. The likelihood of that looks dismal at this point. Under the bright lights of Sunday night, it will be the home team taking this one.
Los Angeles Rams
Crossing my fingers that everything works out the way I figured it. Who are you picking for today’s winners? These are critical weeks for those teams that still stand a chance. Good lick to your teams and picks!
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