Last week’s Record: Tom 8-5-1, Jesse 8-5-1
Overall Record: Jesse 101-74-1, Tom 107-68-1
THUD NFL PICKS WEEK THIRTEEN: BYE BYE, BYE
Green Bay at Detroit
Tom: A tradition on Thanksgiving Day–the Detroit Lions trying to make a football game seem important. And actually this year, it is. They could be WAY out in front of the NFC North right now, but they’ve lost to two teams that were pretty much 0-fer the first half of the season. Now it’s to the Packers, who showed a little life last week after the return of the prodigal son…ok, well, the return of Matt Flynn. But he wasn’t enough to win, just to tie. This is in Detroit, and they really really need to win this one. I will go with the Lions, but if they lose this game, I would say good bye to the playoffs, and Jim Schwartz.
Jesse: What’s more baffling: The Lions from week to week, or Matt Flynn’s inability to play QB unless he’s in a Green Bay uniform? The Lions do need this game desperately, which almost certainly means they’ll lose.
Oakland at Dallas
Jesse: The Raiders gagged against the Titans last week, allowing Ryan “I Went To Harvard, It’s True!” Fitzpatrick to throw a last-second TD. I think they’ll be as hungover on Thanksgiving as I plan to be.
Tom: I rode McGloin last week and somehow the Titans pulled it out (don’t tell me I can’t write erotic fiction for football fans), but my Cowboys pick did come through for me. Another tradition of this day of turkey, the Cowboys are riding high after sweeping the season from the Giants. Which means it’s time to screw up again at home.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Tom: The Ravens had terrible winds and the terrible Jets last week, and somehow scored enough to win. I’m still on my “Steelers can make the playoffs” train, but I can’t let my heart make this pick for me. Usually this is a split between the two teams and the Steelers already won in Pittsburgh earlier in the season.
Jesse: The Ravens continue to hang around, and after beating the Steelers this weekend, they will be the favorites for the final AFC playoff slot.
Jacksonville at Cleveland
Jesse: The Jags are playing like a team that’s still interested. The Browns are starting Brandon Weeden. Jacksonville continues its winning streak, insuring that they’ll lose the #1 pick.
Tom: Say it with me–this is far and beyond the “He Hate Me” game of the week. Could you imagine if this was on Thursday? Yikes.
Jaguars, he said, without a bit of irony
Tennessee at Indianapolis
Tom: Who can not screw up enough to win the AFC South? The Colts have suddenly nose-dived, and the Titans pulled one out of their ass last week. Indy seemed to have a strangle hold on the division, but now…The Titans have lost their games by very few points, but when the Colts lose, they really lay down and take it. Indy was lucky to pull out the game in Nashville a scant 2 weeks ago, and hopefully they’re angry enough after the embarrassment from the Cardinals last week to take this one.
Jesse: Currently, the Titans are the #6 seed in the AFC playoff race, which is funny, because they suck. Football doesn’t get more uninspiring than the Titans, who seem to stumble and bumble every week, backing into victories from time to time. (“Munchak” is actually a Slavic term meaning “7-9”.) However, the Colts are in trouble. Losing Reggie Wayne has killed the Colts’ offense, and the Colts’ defense has given up 132 points since Week 9. I think the Titans win this week, giving their fanbase hope before they’re killed by Denver and Arizona in the upcoming weeks.
Chicago at Minnesota
Jesse: While Luke McCown has helped the Bears stay the course on offense, the once-vaunted Bears D has collapsed, with injuries decimating a unit that gave up 258 yards on the ground to the Rams last week. Even if he’s not 100 percent, Adrian Peterson should have a field day.
Tom: Ugh, all the NFC North teams are playing each other this weekend? It was mentioned on the boards that Goodell has succeeded in turning the NFL into the mediocre league, as is evidenced by all the divisions that may be won by a team that sits at .500 (or less). The NFC North (and possibly AFC North) is one of those divisions. The Vikings couldn’t hold the lead on the Packers last week, and the Bears just were overwhelmed by the Rams. However, McCown is doing fine in replacement of Cutler (he threw for 350+ yards last week). With AD gimping, and no real consistent QB play for Minnesota, the Bears should be able to achieve levels of mediocrity with the Lions for the lead in the division.
Miami at NY Jets
Tom: Two teams that I hate picking the games for. The Jekyll/Hyde Dolphins, and the “We screwed up our chance to be .500” Jets. After the bye, New York has now lost 2 in a row, which screwed up their win one/lose one mantra in the first part of the season. The Dolphins seem to win as soon as you count them out, then lose when you get your hopes up. We already had one tie last week (and almost two)…so maybe I wouldn’t be so out of left field to predict another one. But you can’t bet on ties, so fine, I guess I’ll go with…
Oh, I can’t pass? Crap. This is one of those games where you’re not picking a winner so much as you’re picking the team that won’t lose. I think the Dolphins will screw up a couple of times less than the Jets, and will emerge as the victor in a game that will be painful to sit through. (Remember when this sport used to be watchable?)
Arizona at Philadelphia
Jesse: It’s strength vs. strength in Philly, with the Cards’ top 10 defense taking on Philly’s Top 5 offense. I think Philly’s improving defense will keep Carson Palmer in check, and the Eagles will beat Arizona in a very close game.
Tom: Well, the Cardinals have people thinking they can compete for a playoff spot, if not even possibly the division. The Eagles are still trying to convince people that Chip Kelly’s offense works in the NFL. Defense is highly important in the NFL, too, and Arizona’s is better than Philly’s.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
Tom: Hey, the Bucs are coming back! They’re rallying to Coach Greg! Well, probably not.
Jesse: Tampa Bay has won 3 straight games, and now we’re seeing articles asserting that Schiano should come back next year. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we will not be seeing many of those articles next week.
New England at Houston
Jesse: If you’re a Houston fan, I recommend watching something less depressing. Like Shoah.
Tom: Oy, this will be a bloodbath.
Atlanta at Buffalo
Tom: The Falcons gave New Orleans a hard time last week, and their defense played really well, holding the Saints under 20 points. Matt Ryan seems to have weirdly regressed this year without his usual starters on offense. The Bills have been up and down, which is what you’d expect from a team with a new head coach and a rookie QB. I think from top to bottom, the Falcons have more talent, but this is in Buffalo, and if it’s 30 as I write this here in Atlanta, it will be damn cold in Buffalo.
Jesse: Matt Ryan will forever be known as the 2nd worst QB to have a really great nickname.* Matty Ice! Come on, that’s fantastic. Granted, he’s done nothing to earn that nickname, but it’s so good.
* #1 – The Sanchize
St. Louis at San Francisco
Jesse: The Rams have finally figured out how to use Tavon Austin, and while the Niners are surging, this is the kind of game that Jeff Fisher steals. Or at least ties. Since I can’t pick a tie . . .
Tom: Suddenly this game becomes interesting. The Rams gave San Fran fits last year, and now this year, the 49ers seem to be DOA on offense, even with the likes of Gore, Davis, and Boldin. I’ll probably be taken a fool for doing it, but even though it’s in San Francisco, I’m riding the ‘stache on this one.
Denver at Kansas City
Tom: Peyton is angry. Wes Welker made a rookie-like mistake last week that cost the Broncos the game. Kansas City’s defense is falling apart. Prepare thyself for annihilation, Chiefs. Hope you enjoyed those initial wins.
Jesse: I initially thought that the Broncos and Chiefs would split their season series, but the injuries to Tamba Hali and Justin Houston will be too much to overcome. Broncos win easily, insuring that they’ll win the division, and the Chiefs will be forced to play a wild card game.
Cincinnati at San Diego
Jesse: Cincy’s coming off a bye, but I think the Chargers’ offense will excel against a banged-up Bengals D, causing Philip Rivers to make at least 14 different punchable faces. Chargers in an upset.
Tom: I will stick with the team that has a better defense, although Andy Dalton could easily give this one away.
NY Giants at Washington
Tom: RGIII either going to get killed or kill his coaches before the season ends. If the Redskins finish this season without another victory, I can’t see how Snyder can keep Team Shanahan. Especially if you want your QB to at least play out the rest of his contract without a career-ending injury. The Giants still think they have a chance to make the playoffs.
Jesse: NBC opted not to flex out of this game, giving the entire nation a chance to sample this pu pu platter. Washington has plunged into despair, looking utterly helpless against the 49ers. Meanwhile, the Giants are coming off a tough loss to the Cowboys. My favorite moment of last week’s game was when Brandon Jacobs broke away for what seemed like a touchdown run, then when the DB came up to tackle him, the 6’4”, 264-pound behemoth bumped into the guy and meekly stumbled out of bounds. The Brandon Jacobs Experience in a nutshell.
Giants, I guess
New Orleans at Seattle
Jesse: Now THIS is a game! In fact, I think this will be a preview of the NFC Championship Game. It’s going to be a war, but even with Brandon Browner’s year-long suspension, the Seahawks will handle the Saints, in part because they have the best home-field advantage in the league. The Seahawks are looking at home field throughout the playoffs, and that’s just not fair.
Tom: Remember a couple of years ago when the Saints rolled into Seattle and completely got blasted when no one expected it? That won’t happen again this time. I know the Seahawks record at home, and that the Saints lost to the Jets, of all teams, but this one is for home-field advantage in the NFC in the playoffs, and Sean Payton is ready to show that no one puts Brees-y in a corner.