Friday is finally upon us. This is one weekend I am really looking forward to with big NFL games on the schedule in the AFC. In fact, this is all NFL today even though there is plenty of MLB baseball awards, NBA basketball, NHL hockey, and NCAA college basketball and football. Looking for that here? Tough luck.
Besides, the rest of the Gabbers picked up the slack for me this week:
Beezer nailed the college football on Monday while Moz opined on Richie Incognito and CTE & the NFL; Hoodwood hit on NFL locker room culture and NCAA CFB; Uncle B.O.B. checked in from the road and SF49ersFan was checking in with an interesting take on NFL injuries; TheKnightsWhoSay was back with NCAA CFB top 25; Jeff had his Deep Thoughts on all things football, college & pro (and Longhorns!); AFD caught me up on college basketball; and my Boston sports buddies Old Harry & Moz covered all the local sports, NFL, MLB awards, and more here on Thursday so I’m free and clear to do whatever I want this week. Plus, my Friday buddy DVT is ALWAYS a great read right over here-------->
So that said, I’m going to write about one of my favorite things: the NFL. Specifically, the weekly picks. I always loved reading the weekly picks in the newspapers as a kid. The Sporting News, the Boston Globe, USA Today...I devoured all the NFL picks. There was SI with Dr. Z., national syndicated writers, and local paper the Brockton Enterprise with Glen “Fearless” Farley. There was information, but mostly there was humor, wit, and funny stuff.
So what games are big now as the weather turns cold? The top three teams, Kansas City, Denver, and New England play in prime-time on Sunday and Monday night. Kansas City, on the heels of a 2-14 season, are 9-0 with a lot of the same players. The Broncos, an all-offense Peyton Manning juggernaut, are 8-1 and facing Kansas City in two of the next three weeks.
Between those divisional battles for first place, the Broncos face AFC East powerhouse New England. The Patriots come back from their bye week and face the surprising Carolina Panthers in a Monday Night Football game that is finally worth staying up for this week. The following week, New England welcomes Manning and the Broncos (apparently the NFL schedule DEMANDS a Brady-Manning Match-up each and every season) to Foxboro, MA.
The games this week start Thursday night with the Titans and Colts...Jets and Bills for AFC East fans...Giants-Packers and Steelers-Lions would have been better games 2 or 3 years ago...NFC East fan? ‘skins vs Eagles...hate the Cowboys? They’re on a bye…Browns vs Bengals is a huge AFC North game (Go Browns! Make the Playoffs! Beat the Bengals!)...Saints vs 49ers is going to be a great, hard-fought NFC battle.
Indianapolis Colts 24 vs. Tennessee Titans 27
Tennessee lost to Jacksonville last week. Let that sink in. I was riding Jake Locker all year at QB (and getting some good play when healthy) in a couple of fantasy football leagues, and now I am paying the price again and hitting the waiver wire in the second half of the season. Can Tennessee win with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB? Well, yeah they could. Will they? Probably not. A short week helps Tennessee, though. The Colts were blown out by the Rams and still be in a bit of a malaise. Tennessee doesn’t get many prime time games, so Thursday night is a big game for them.
Atlanta Falcons 24 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22
Tampa got off the schneid with a win Monday night against Miami. I was on an internet NFL radio show on Monday night (I’d link to it, but I think the podcast was destroyed to save humanity or some such reason.), so I had some fun talking NFL and commenting on the game as it went along. Sometimes writing so much, I forget how much of a blabbermouth I am.This game? Atlanta wins. Tampa is running low on skill position players. Atlanta has gone from Super Bowl contender to top five draft pick contender.
So what the heck is a schneid anyway? Glad you asked. Per www.word-detective.com:
“To be “on the schneid” means to be on a losing streak, racking up a series of losing, and especially scoreless, games. “Schneid” is actually short for “schneider,” a term originally used in the card game of gin, meaning to prevent an opponent from scoring any points. “Schneider” entered the vocabulary of gin from German (probably via Yiddish), where it means “tailor.” Apparently the original sense was that if you were “schneidered” in gin you were “cut” (as if by a tailor) from contention in the game. “Schneider” first appeared in the literature of card-playing about 1886, but the shortened form “schneid” used in other sports is probably of fairly recent vintage.”
New York Jets 17 vs. Buffalo Bills 27
Former Ravens safety Ed Reed passed up Super Bowl contender New England to sign with the Jets? Guess he doesn’t care about adding another ring to his mantle. No problem, I prefer the Patriots play rookie Duron Harmon and 2nd year safety Tavon Wilson while starter Steve Gregory is out injured. Reed fits well with the Jets: talks a big game and fades down the stretch. Looking forward to Bills rookie EJ Manual ripping up the Jets defense this week.
Green Bay Packers 27 vs. New York Giants 17
The Giants beat the Pack in January 2008 and 2012 in the NFC Championship Game. This year, no Aaron Rodgers (heck, no Seneca Wallace even!) and the Giants in last place. If you know me, you know I “LOVE” Eli Manning and the Giants. Giants fans are back after the 0-6 start and talking playoffs after three straight wins. This needs to end now. Go Packers!
Detroit Lions 34 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Detroit is one of the most talented teams in the league. When they WANT to play, they play well on both sides of the ball. Both teams had tough, gritty wins last week. The Lions know their time is now to put distance between themselves and Green Bay (and Chicago). Expect the talent to rise up and Detroit to shine.
Washington Redskins 31 vs. Philadelphia Eagles 34
I watched the ‘skins against Minnesota last week and was struck that they could play so well on offense and still lose. Do I believe in Nick Foles? Hmmm...I do still have Michael Vick on the bench in a few fantasy leagues….guess I’m hedging my bets. What I do believe is that Chip Kelly has a heck of an offense there and when he finds the right quarterback, look out. RGIII’s season of frustration continues.
San Diego Chargers 22 vs. Miami Dolphins 19
When does Miami put the Incognito/Martin mess behind them? I showed the kids (10 and 12 years old) one of my favorite movies: Mallrats by Kevin Smith this past weekend. One of the best side stories going on in the mall is Willam (Ethan Suplee, who the kids know as Randy from “My Name is Earl”...with Jason Lee as Earl...who was Brodie in Mallrats...but I digress) is standing in front of a MagicEye picture (a big deal in 1995!) for days trying to see the sailboat in the picture. So at the climax of the movie, he explodes in frustration crying to the heavens “When do I get to see the sailboat?!?!” That’s where Miami is at...when do they get to move past this...when do they get to see the damned sailboat?
Not this week, Dolphins. Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives right now. They were outclassed by Denver despite a strong performance by their defense (are teams figuring out the Broncos) and put some heat on Peyton Manning. They NEED this win. Miami WANTS it. Pick the Chargers.
Baltimore Ravens 17 vs. Chicago Bears 20
Baltimore cannot run the balls. The Bears haven’t been able to either. Think the Ravens want their money back on that Joe Flacco contract yet? Give it a year or two...EVERYONE in Baltimore will want that money back. I’ll take the Bears so Cleveland has some help trying to get in the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns 24 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 23
Speaking of the Browns, this is a big game. Quarterback Jason Campbell has been steady, and considering how bad Brandon Weeden was, that is all Cleveland needs. Sure, Cleveland will rush for 20 yards all game, but no one is running on the Bengals anyway. The game comes down to the dysfunction of the Bengals. They needed a Hail Mary to get to OT against the Ravens then blew it in overtime. Pick the Browns...I'll have more analysis on this game tomorrow at FirstStopFantasy.com.
Oakland Raiders 17 vs. Houston Texans 13
This game should be canceled due to apathy.
Arizona Cardinals 27 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 21
I wanted to use the above joke here, but the Jags won last week and the Cardinals keep winning games and are over .500. Saw the Houston-Cardinals replay and was surprised how much the Cardinals offense has improved. Carson Palmer can pull out a decent game once in a while and Andre Ellington is a good running back. The defense has always been solid since last season (remember, they beat New England early last season). Sorry Jags, gotta go with Arizona.
Kansas City Chiefs 19 vs. Denver Broncos 17
The Chiefs are so good on defense. But so bad on offense. Peyton Manning is dinged up and with an interim coach with head coach John Fox out with health problems, Jack Del Rio is saying nothing to Peyton Manning but “Go get ‘em” Denver should take the long view and rest Manning this week, but everyone knows that will NEVER happen. Would love to see the Chiefs win...they probably won’t, but what the heck...go Chiefs!
Minnesota Vikings 27 vs. Seattle Seahawks 24
Upset of the week. Seattle plays down to the competition. It catches up to them this week. The Vikings are coming off a big win against Washington. If Adrian Peterson get get some traction against the Seattle front seven, it can put them in position for the upset. There are not many players that can take over a game regardless of the opposition, but Peterson is one. Seattle’s on cruise control and a little comfortable. They need the wake-up call.
San Francisco 49ers 35 vs. New Orleans Saints 38
Niners offense gets going at last...but it’s not enough. I am not sure the Saints have enough talent on defense these days, but they certainly have enough on offense.
New England Patriots 31 vs. Carolina Panthers 19
My analysis on the Pats-Panthers tilt on Monday night is here: http://cover32.com/patriots/2013/11/14/new-england-patriots-3-keys-to-monday-night-game-vs-panthers/. I like the Panthers, but the offense cannot keep up with the Patriots. This could be the first game the Patriots have running back Shane Vereen, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and wide receiver Danny Amendola together this season on offense. That will be huge for Tom Brady and open opportunities downfield for speedy rookie receiver Aaron Dobson. Should be a great Monday night!
All right, Gabbers. Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend! Crank the Hank (Williams Jr) come Monday Night--I will be ready for some football!!!