While everyone is out exchanging or returning gifts, I am wishing to exchange or return some of those picks I made last week. Geez!! 9-7! That is one worse than the previous weeks! Ok, this is the last week of the regular season. It is do or die. Winning improves your teams chances. There are a few teams that need certain teams to lose, especially if they, themselves, lose. This is the last week to get an invitation to the dance. Get your best outfit ready if you are going to show off your dance moves in the post season. Everyone plays today, so games that have no meaning will get a quick pick. And away we go…
MIAMI DOLPHINS vs BUFFALO BILLS:
Nothing of value at stake here. It has been rumored that Ryan Tannehill wants to be traded. He could be playing to audition for other teams. The Bills defense could have something to say about that. Jacksonville only let Miami score seven points last week. It is doable.
ATLANTA FALCONS vs TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
Zero depends on this game. Atlanta appears to be playing well at the wrong time. Tampa Bay is just Tampa Bay.
DALLAS COWBOYS vs NEW YORK GIANTS:
Just a rivalry game up for grabs here. Dallas cannot do any better than the fourth seed. The Cowboys have already won the division. Bragging rights are the only thing at stake here. If Dallas rests players, it is possible that New York will get this one. Dallas does not want any glitches in their matrix though. A win will be enough to ensure their playoff spot.
CAROLINA PANTHERS vs NEW ORLEANS SAINTS:
A win or loss here by New Orleans does not change anything for them. This is also a situation where starters may be rested. This is not an advantage for Carolina. They will play their third string QB Kyle Allen against the Saints’ Teddy Bridgewater. Yeah, ok.
New Orleans Saints
NEW YORK JETS vs NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:
New England would like the first round bye if they can get it. The Jets will not make it easy, but Coach Belichick and QB Tom Brady are seasoned vets at this playoff thing. This may be a pretty exciting game.
New England Patriots
OAKLAND RAIDERS vs KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
No question that Oakland is not playing for anything. Kansas City on the other hand has the number one seed at stake along with home field advantage. Their only other option is that the Los Angeles Chargers lose to the Denver Broncos. Perfect example of teams depending on other teams to get their spots. Will KC rest players like other teams? Even if they do, they should manage a win against a lackluster Raiders team.
Kansas City Chiefs
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS vs HOUSTON TEXANS:
A win here will give the Houston Texans the second seed and a first round bye. A loss will give them the last wild card spot. Unless, the New England Patriots win against the Buffalo Bills. That would give the Patriots the second seed ad first round bye and move the Texans to the number three seed. Oh, it will not be an easy task against the Jaguars. Even though they have been eliminated from the playoff picture, they are not letting up. Houston’s defense will be much more productive than the Jags defense though. If that is the case, look for DeShaun Watson to make the offense happen against whoever the Jags will have starting today.
DETROIT LIONS vs GREEN BAY PACKERS:
Great division match up. Quite a few dollars on the field between Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers. Packers playing at home. Who gets what draft slot is the only thing to play for here.
Green Bay Packers
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES vs WASHINGTON REDSKINS:
Another division game to end the season. Philly needs to win and for the Minnesota Vikings to lose to keep their payoff dreams alive. Minnesota does play the Chicago Bears, so that could scenario could play out. Washington is just a mess right now. Nick Foles and the Eagles are going to take full advantage of that debacle.
CHICAGO BEARS vs MINNESOTA VIKINGS:
The Minnesota Vikings need to win and for Philadelphia to lose in order to keep the wild card spot. If the Vikes lose and Philly wins, then all bets are off. Chicago, on the other hand, needs to win to possibly secure the second seed and a first round bye, if the Los Angeles Rams lose, of course. Minnesota will be making the push at home to help their season along. Chicago would probably like nothing more than to be the only team representing to NFC North in the playoffs. Kirk Cousin’s offensive line will have to protect him against the awesome Bears defense. Not sure if the “will to make it to the post season” will be enough for the Vikes. That would be a disappointing end to the season for them.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS vs LOS ANGELES RAMS:
The 49ers could play spoiler here to better their chances in the draft. That is something to play for. A Rams win would lock up the second seed and a first round bye. That is with a Bears loss though. Los Angeles did not look like themselves for a few games. San Fran is not built like that to take advantage. The Rams are determined to get the first round bye. Do not look for them to allow the 49ers to get by them with so much at stake
Los Angeles Rams
CINCINNATI BENGALS vs PITTSBURGH STEELERS:
Cincinnati has been the worst. Losing Andy Dalton at QB to injury did not help. They were bad before that happened though. Pittsburgh had chances throughout the season to be in a better position than they are now. Now, they have to win and hope that the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Cleveland Browns. If the Ravens win, it is game over for the Steelers. Just win and pray for the rest to fall in place. Between Pittsburgh wanting this win and Cincinnati just wanting to finish the season, there should be no question that the Steelers will come out victorious.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS vs DENVER BRONCOS:
The AFC number one spot is up for grabs. Kansas City gets it if they win. Los Angeles will get it if they win and Kansas City loses. If the Chargers lose, it is a wild card spot for them. The Chargers have to get this win over a Broncos team that is better than their record would boast. Like many average teams, the Broncos cannot get out of their own way. Phillip Lindsay has to get going for them to stand a chance. L.A. should be able to stop him and get what they need for a win.
Los Angeles Chargers
ARIZONA CARDINALS vs SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:
Of course, there is nothing for the Cardinals to play for. The Seahawks have a decision to make. Since they are in no matter if they win or lose, it is who they may end up playing if they win or if they lose. If they win, they will keep the fifth seed and play the Dallas Cowboys. If they lose, they could move to the sixth seed and, depending on what happens with the Vikings and Eagles, could potentially play the Bears or Rams. It would be in their best interest to get this win against the Cardinals. There should be no problems getting past Arizona. Arizona’s QB Josh Rosen is coming along, but not a match to Seattle’s QB Russell Wilson.
CLEVELAND BROWNS vs BALTIMORE RAVENS:
Rookie QB battle here. This is for all the marbles for Baltimore. The Ravens need this win to move on. Just that simple. Or is it? Baker Mayfield has the Browns looking like a contender in the future. It is very possible they can spoil Baltimore’s chances at the post season. Lamar Jackson also has Baltimore looking like they belong in the post season. Does it not seem like Baltimore is in this position every year? Geez! The Ravens will depend on the elite defensive squad they have to cause turnovers and pressure Mayfield. The Browns defense can do that too though. Cleveland has been involved in some tight games that could have gone either way. This is gearing up to be the last one of the season.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS vs TENNESSEE TITANS:
OK, so…this is the game of the day, honestly. The winner is in. Where they are seeded will depend on the Houston Texans. If the Texans win, the winner of this game gets the sixth seed. If the Texans lose, the winner of this game will win the division and get the third or fourth seed. Got all of that? Good. LOL! The Titans are at home, but which quarterback is starting? Marcus Mariota left the game last week with an injury to his right side. Enter Blaine Gabbert. He helped secure the win against Washington last week. The Colts defense is going to have to contain Derrick Henry who has been outstanding the last few weeks. Andrew Luck is also going to have to stay focused to lead this offense to a victory over the Titans like he did in week 11. Tennessee is not going to go down easy. They want in too! This will be a battle. Although the edge generally goes to the home team, this does not feel like one of those times.
Truly folks, that is it for the regular season. Man! What a season it was! I hope everyone watched some great football this year. I know I did! Some of best games played came down to the wire. Love this game! Merry New Year to you all out there! Good luck to your teams and picks!
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