Any given Sunday, huh? Last week's NFL outcomes may have been surprising to some, especially with the Packers losing and the Colts winning, but unpredictability is part of the fabric of the NFL — and one of the main reasons why we as fans enjoy it so much. Unpredictability is one thing. Lack of effort and intensity is another, and it’s unacceptable.
We saw way too much of that last week, specifically with the Giants, Ravens, and Jets. The Packers get a break because they’d been playing at such at elite level all season and they lacked sharpness without both their right tackles and Greg Jennings. The other three have no excuses. We’ve seen too much of it from the Giants this year, which is acceptable. It’s time for a full regime change from the top down. Things have gotten stale. There are too many egos in that locker room that like to complain or talk shit, but don’t deliver consistently enough.
The Jets and Ravens have similar problems to each other, but somewhat different from those of the Giants. Their issues mostly stem from their “franchise” QBs who look like a ways away from being acceptable NFL QBs, let alone Super Bowl winners. There are also plenty of issues with their offensive play calls, so the QBs aren’t the only ones to blame. Still, all of those are known quantities at this point. The frustrating thing for both teams last weekend was how poorly their highly touted defenses played against strong opponents. How can the Jets' defensive schemes be so simple that the Eagles recognize everything from film and are calling out the plays on the field? How can the Ravens continue to let the same cornerback be exploited time and time again by the tall Chargers’ receivers and not adjust their defense accordingly?
It was Week 15 of the NFL season. There should have been passion and fire like no other for teams that have everything to play for. There were three games left in the regular season! The Ravens and the Jets also had high-level opponents that they knew they had to be prepared for, but fell flat on their face. Being taken behind the wood shed and getting pounded is unacceptable at this level of competition. It’s not something that can be blamed on “any given Sunday.” Effort is something that should exist every given Sunday.
Locks of the Week:
Denver -2.5 over BUFFALO
It doesn't matter whether they've been facing good or bad teams, at home or away, playing in sun or snow. The Bills have lost to anyone, anywhere, and at any time in the last 7 games. Therefore there's no reason Tebow and the boys shouldn't be able to rebound this week and beat up the Bills like everyone else has recently.
CINCINNATI -4.5 over Arizona
John Skelton isn't the worst backup QB in the league as evidenced by his ability to lead the Cardinals to victory in consecutive weeks. The key to Arizona's recent run, however, has been the sun and fake tits of the Phoenix area. Now they go onto the road to face cold weather and floppy Midwestern cans? It won't be the same Arizona team out there and Cincinnati should be able to roll, even with a banged up A.J. Green.
San Diego +2.5 over DETROIT
The Chargers are up to their old tricks. The kings of December have now won three in a row and have an outside shot to make the playoffs. The Lions' secondary is as bad as any right now, so the edge goes to the Chargers, who can at least put something together out there.
Trap Game of the Week:
N.Y. JETS -3 over N.Y. Giants
The battle of New York is more meaningful than it ever has been. Both teams need to win or risk not making the playoffs. Oddly, both teams seem to lead the league in blowing smoke despite their rollercoaster seasons. The Giant receivers were disrespecting Darrelle Revis on Wednesday. While they’re having good seasons, there’s no reason they should challenge the best cornerback in the league. This comes on the heels of Hakeem Nicks “losing a ball in the sun” that ricocheted off his facemask and the numerous drops Victor Cruz had made this season. Just shut up and ball, fellas!
Rest of the Picks:
Houston +6.5 over INDIANAPOLIS
I'm willing to think last week was just a bump in the road for the Texans. The Colts won't play with as much desperation since they've pulled down one win.
BALTIMORE -14.5 over Cleveland
For the fourth time this year, the Ravens didn't show up. Could the Joe Flacco era be ending right before oureyes? At some point you need to see growth from your "franchise" QB. Thankfully for them, the Browns won't present much of a threat and don't have the ability to attack the Ravens' secondary in the same way Cleveland did.
Minnesota +6.5 over Washington
I'm not willing to give the Redskins any credit for their win last week. If the Giants were awake, they would've capitalized on Rex's two early interceptions. Washington doesn't have anywhere close to the passing offense that Detroit and New Orleans have used to cut up the Vikings in recent weeks.
Jacksonville +7.5 over TENNESSEE
After losing to the Colts last week, the Titans showed they don't deserve to be in playoff consideration. We'll see if there's more of Jake Locker this week, but I'm not sure that makes too much of a difference. Realistically this is another game that no one cares about. On a side note: everyone needs to check out Jags LB Paul Posluszny and the rest of the NFL wide-necks.
Oakland +1 over KANSAS CITY
The Raaaaaaiiiiiiders gave away a victory last week, which obviously is something they can’t afford as they chase the Broncos. I’m not going to overreact on the Chiefs’ win last week and think they’re the better team here.
Miami +11 over New England
Vegas doesn’t feel like giving the Dolphins any respect despite how well they’ve played in the last 8 weeks. They fought hard when traveling to face the Giants and Cowboys, so I don’t see any reason this should be different given the Patriots’ defensive deficiencies.
CAROLINA -7.5 over Tampa Bay
The Bucs have clearly mailed in the rest of the season.
PITTSBURGH -14 over St. Louis
The Steelers might actually be better off rolling Charlie Batch out there at 100% than Big Ben at 25% or whatever he was last week. You’re going to need a QB with some mobility to avoid Chris Long’s pass rush. The rest will take care of itself.
DALLAS -2.5 over Philadelphia
Vegas thinks that the Eagles are better than the Cowboys, which is why they’re giving the Eagles an extra half point despite the Cowboys being a heavy public team. I see the Eagles’ last two wins as heavily gifted and the Cowboys are looked for payback after that blowout earlier in the season.
SEATTLE +5 over San Francisco
Don’t look now but the Seahawks have won five of six games. They’re frisky…
GREEN BAY -13 over Chicago
Josh McCown is in for Caleb Haine at QB for Chicago. That shouldn’t make much of a difference as the Bears will be lucky to score 10 points. I don’t expect the Packers to struggle as badly this week offensively, so the spread should get covered.
NEW ORLEANS -7 over Atlanta
The Saints' offense is playing better than any offense in the league right now, including the Packers. People will think the Falcons can go shot for shot with the Falcons after their offensive outlay in Week 14 and the overtime contest earlier in the season. They will be wrong.
Last Week: 6-10
Overall Record: 107-114-5