Jesse: BEST WORST PICK OF LAST WEEK:“I don’t see any dominant team this week, and even though it will be close, I think SFO will win with their Defense.” - Clint (Seahawks 42, 49ers 13)
The final weekend of the regular season is here, and there’s one game I want to watch more than any other: Vikings vs. Packers. Specifically, Adrian Peterson vs. The Packers. In this most team-oriented of sports, It’s rare for so much to rest on the shoulders of one player. Of course, as has been proven over and over this season, Adrian Peterson is not a normal player. Peterson tore his ACL a year and two weeks ago, but since he’s a cyborg, he responded by having the best season of his career. (If Adrian Peterson had been the T-1000, John Connor would have never gotten away.) With one game left, Peterson is on the verge of passing 2,000 yards, breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, and leading his team into the playoffs. I usually don’t cheer for the Vikings, but the sports fan in me is rooting for Adrian Peterson to have the best game of his life.
- Pro Bowl rosters announced, if you care. (NFL.com)
- The Giants’ nosedive, and other notes. (Grantland)
- Russell Wilson’s scrambling ability is one reason the Seahawks are the hottest team in the league right now. (Yahoo)
- Smart Football’s Chris Brown with a GREAT piece on the emergence of the Pistol offense in the NFL. (SB Nation)
- Gronk and Ray Lewis are getting healthy for the playoffs. (Yahoo)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Clint: In a game of nothing matters, the Falcons lie down and take it likethe champ of the NFC South. Tampa celebrates for beating Atlanta’s second stringers.
Tom: They’re at home…but Atlanta may not play many starters this game. Can Chris Redman beat the Bucs? The question really is, can Josh Freeman not lose the game by throwing 17 INTs? I don’t want to pick against the Falcons at home, but agreed—you’ve sewn up home field and will probably be resting starters. If the Bucs just ride Doug Martin, they’ll be fine.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Tom: The Jets now seem as desperate NOT to start Tebow as they were to start Sanchez the whole season. I’ve been trying to pick the Jets to get them into the playoffs because that would be hilarious. They have failed me for the last time.
Clint: As of today, Sanchez is back at throwing INTs for another game. I think HBO’s Hard Knocks got these guys used to having a soap opera on TV, so would someone please tell them they were not the focus of the second season? More football and less soap opera and these guys might have been taken seriously.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Clint: The Ravens showed some life last week to return from a 3 game slump. The Bengals are riding high from their second playoff berth in the past two years. Even though this game is meaningless, I believe the Bengals need to win this to slap the Ravens in the face and build the confidence that they can do it again when it matters. I am going to go with the statistically worse team.
Tom: Not many people pimped last weeks Ravens/Giants game as a rematch of the Super Bowl XXXV…and it had about the same outcome as Baltimore snapped out of their slump and beat the delusional Giants (No really, we have enough time to make a run again…seriously, we do). The Bengals are in the playoffs, so this game does nothing for them. With this being uncharted territory for Marvin Lewis, will he play to win or play to rest? Similar to the Atlanta game, it depends. I’m guessing they’ll play this similar to a pre-season game, and even the Ravens will rest folks, meaning who has the better backups? I think it’s more important for Baltimore to win this game as they have looked terribul (copyright Charles Barkley) the second half of the season, therefore I think they’ll want it more.
Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Tom: Start of the season, this looked like it could decide the NFC North. Now…well, maybe the Bears can still make the playoffs. And maybe the Lions can find a new head coach.
Clint: Lions and Bears and Tigers Oh My!!!! Anybody remember that cereal? Maybe you should look it up rather than watch the Bears eat the Lions and the Detroit folks wait for the Tigers.
Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts
Clint: For the Texans, this is the home field game. For the Colts it’s an emotional game with the return of the head coach in time for their playoff run. I personally think Luck won’t be lucky this game and the Texans get what they worked so hard for all year.
Tom: This is a tough one—both games are hugely important for both teams. The Texans’ defense has disappeared at times, and it is a divisional game, and even when they were sucking without Peyton, the Colts give the Texans a tough time. Matt Schaub has looked very ordinary the past few weeks, however, and Arian Foster left the game with an injury last week. With Pagano back, this game in Indy, and the flip of the coin, I’m gonna ride the pony.
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
Tom: The Saints have overcome their initial suckiness, and while nowhere close to the playoffs, are starting to play a bit better on defense. The Panthers haven’t done enough to save Ron Rivera and I don’t think care about winning this game. The Saints still feel they have something to prove, and they’re in the dome. Plus I want Clint to pick the Panthers so I can finish this dance of ours of picking for and against the Saints.
Clint: Just to disagree with screw Tom’s chances of getting this one right.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
Clint: The “I always like to sneak in” Giants need three teams to lose to get in this year. Forget it. Not even with their luck. Looks like I will have to find another team to root for if the Bellicheck squad makes it to the big game. Even so, I don’t think too many teams are bad enough to lose to the eagles.
Tom: Giants have waited until it’s too late to play a shitty team, although they had their chance with Baltimore last week and blew it (Giants won’t want to play the AFC North anytime again soon—3 of their losses came from the 4 teams there), I have no doubt they’ll play a great game here, but it won’t matter now. Nicks’ injury impacted a lot more than folks thought, with him not being able to practice regularly through the week and his timing with Eli seemed off. I think they’ll be a force again next year, but sorry Giants fans—the repeat is done. But at least you’ll have the Eagles to punish for it.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom: The Browns may have to start some guy that you and I have never heard of at QB, and as bad and inconsistent as the defense has been, Dick LeBeau’s schemes are no fun for rookie QBs. Big Ben has taken the blame for the poor offense this season, although he’s only thrown 8 INTs (albeit most of them at really critical times). I personally hope the team takes this crapola season and makes some drastic changes and brings in some more young, hungry players, and maybe the jury is still out on Haley as an OC. All I know is, Roethlisberger is widely considered a Top 5 QB in the NFL (or at least Top 10), yet they pulled the reins back on him like he was a 2nd year player when Haley came in. If you’re paying the QB like Brady, Manning, Rodgers, etc., then you need to let him run the offense as such, especially since the guy is 30 and has been in the league almost 10 years and has 2 super bowl rings. I think that was as much responsible for the offensive woes as anything.
Clint: I don’t think the Steelers have low self esteem that they will lose to the Browns twice in one year. (I know I am supposed to give a meaningful paragraph about how my team will be back next year, but I’m still in mourning)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans
Clint: Win this one for Tebow, Jaguars. Or more likely secure your draft pick.
Tom: I fart in these team’s general direction.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
Tom: And thus ends the Broncos run in the AFC regular season. Remember I mentioned many weeks ago that they had a shot to make a run and possibly compete for the 1 or 2 seed in the AFC? And here we are.
Clint: I compare the chances of the Chiefs winning to the possibility of Breaking Dawn winning best picture this year.
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Clint: A game where both teams have something to play for. Let alone the playoffs and seed rankings, I think most people will be interested in seeing robo-Peterson and his cyborg knee pushing to break the record. Instead of picking a winner I choose:
Peterson breaks the record by rushing for 209 yards.
Tom: I also would like to see the record broken this weekend…Oh, I don’t mean the rushing record, I mean my 0-2 record in FFL championship games so far in 2012. I have my last chance this weekend and AD is on my team, so run, baby, run.
Vikings (just because)
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
Tom: The Pats need this game to possibly get a 1 or 2 seed in the AFC. The Philbins, sorry, Dolphins, want to finish a not too horrible season on a high note. The Pats score a lot when it snows. It’s December in Bahston. Uh oh.
Clint: I think we have agreed on every single game so far, so just because the Dolphins always play the Pats hard and there is no money on the line to make me regret it too much.
Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers
Clint: Readers, flip a coin.
Heads : Raiders
Tails : Chargers
Tom: I think both of these teams are deserving of tails, if you know what I mean.
Chargers (simply because they’re at home)
St Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks
Tom: Seahawks have no shot at winning the NFC West unless the Cardinals kill the entire first and second string of San Francisco. So what’s there to play for? Well, Pete Carroll still believes an NFL team can score 100 points in a game, and you will NOT deny the man of said dream.
Clint: Last week I said the Seahawks hadn’t proved themselves against a strong team. They did. Now back to the practice teams.
Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers
Clint: Seattle has a chance to get the second seed if the Cardinals can knock off the 49ers. Problem is that the 49ers didn’t lose enough players to injuries last week to give the Cardinals a chance. When the only threat on the field is Fitzgerald and he doesn’t have anyone to throw to him, I see 0% chance of the birds winning.
Tom: These are the types of games where it’s such an overwhelming obstacle to overcome that out of nowhere, the team that has no chance comes out and pulls the upset (see what Jax almost did vs. New England last week). But yeah, that ain’t happening this week.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins
Tom: This was the type of game the “flex” scheduling was made for—now that the Giants are pretty much all but extinct in the playoff race, the NFC East comes down to this. RGIII toughed it out last week, but no matter who wins this game, do you think they’ll be able to compete with the Packers, 49ers, Seahawks, or Falcons in the playoffs? Exactly. So whoever wins, enjoy it for the week as you’ll be fed to the wolves come next weekend.
Clint: I don’t care if the Cowboys have been hot lately, they still normally choke this time of year. Look for the Skins to take it due to the Cowboys beating themselves.