Atlanta @ GREEN BAY – Tough choice on this one, with the Falcons finally putting some pieces together last week while the Packers and Matt Flynn totally fell apart on Thanksgiving against the Lions. With Aaron Rodgers out again, expect this one to be the Matt Ryan show. In fact, I would even trust him this week in the fantasy playoffs. This game becomes a mismatch and the Pack defense can’t hang with the Atlanta offense. Atlanta wins it big, even in Green Bay. Pick – Atlanta.
Kansas City @ WASHINGTON – This one seemed like such an easy pick a month ago, when the Chiefs were still undefeated and riding high on their defense. Lately, though, the defense has begun to look suspect, and has given up chunks of yardage to the Broncos (twice) and to the Chargers. However, this Washington team is neither one of those other two teams, and doesn’t have a quarterback who is playing dynamically. The Chiefs right the ship and make this another easy pick. Pick – Kansas City.
Miami @ PITTSBURGH – Miami is an upset possibility every single week lately, in my opinion. Even the one they lost, against Carolina, they did enough to win until the final quarter. With the resurgence of Mike Wallace, and playing against his old team, the Dolphins show signs of life in this one too. However, Roethlisberger has done enough to help his team win at home this year, and the venue makes the final difference. Pick – Pittsburgh.
Cleveland @ NEW ENGLAND – New England has made a year of winning the games they probably shouldn’t win and losing the ones that they should win. Beating Denver a couple of weeks ago qualifies, and losing without scoring a touchdown against Cincinnati earlier this season fits the profile as well. Which New England team shows up against a Cleveland team that seems to have quarterback issues all over? I think if they don’t overlook the Browns they should be just fine. Pick – New England.
Indianapolis @ CINCINNATI – The combination of the Colts having to play from behind lately, Andrew Luck’s relative inability to escape the pocket, and that Cincinnati defense at home makes this a brutal week for the Indianapolis squad. Luck will have to throw the ball coming from behind for most of this game and that will lead to turnovers. This one won’t be pretty, and I expect Cincinnati to win by at least 10 points. Pick – Cincinnati.
Minnesota @ BALTIMORE – Don’t let Adrian Peterson beat you. That’s what the Ravens should be chanting all week leading up to this game. Peterson is the primary reason the Vikings won last week, and teams that limit him have done the best job against Minnesota. That being said, Baltimore hasn’t been great against the run, but playing at home Joe Flacco has a field day against the porous Viking defense. It will be a close one, but Baltimore keeps its playoff hopes thriving. Pick – Baltimore.
Detroit @ PHILADELPHIA – Don’t be fooled by that defense that limited Green Bay to 10 points on Thanksgiving. Instead, pay close attention to the turnovers and to that Philadelphia offense that has been shredding defenses since Nick Foles returned from the concussion. As long as he stays healthy, they keep winning. They finally got that monkey off their back too about not winning at home, so that’s a non-factor. Watch McCoy have a big game against the Lions and the Eagles roll. Pick – Philadelphia.
Buffalo @ TAMPA BAY – The Buffalo run game is getting rolling again after a strong showing last week. With Spiller finally pulling some of the weight, it looks like a well-balanced team again. However, they come up against a strong Tampa Bay team this week who are playing at home. The weak link for the Buffalo effort is its air game, so unless E.J. Manuel comes up big, they go down swinging here. I think Manuel does enough, and the Bills win a tough one on the road. Pick – Buffalo.
Oakland @ JETS – I’ve been saying it for over a month now. The Jets just aren’t any good, and now it looks like even they themselves believe it as evidenced by the horrible showings they’ve had over the course of that month. The blowout loss to Miami just cemented that. It doesn’t matter if they’re at home, or that they’re playing the Raiders. The Jets won’t be able to muster up enough to make this a watchable game. Pick – Oakland.
Tennessee @ DENVER – I’ll get it out of the way first. Yes, the Tennessee defense is legit, but the Denver offense will have no trouble picking its poison. If the wideouts on the outside are covered, Manning will just find his tight ends and/or Wes Welker in the middle. You can’t protect all lanes. Plus, the running game for Denver has been doing its part, and they do it again here at home. The game might be closer than you’d think, but Denver will win at Mile High. Pick – Denver.
Seattle @ SAN FRANCISCO – I have seen absolutely nothing this year that leads me to believe San Francisco can hang with Seattle, even at home, even though the Seahawks are coming off the short week. The Hawks don’t have to cross the country to play their rivals, Colin Kaepernick has been awful against them in his short career so far, and the run game (and Frank Gore) has been sputtering of late. The only positive I see is that Michael Crabtree is back, but it won’t be enough. Seattle seals homefield in this one. Pick – Seattle.
St. Louis @ ARIZONA – Carson Palmer must be downright giddy right about now. People wrote him off for dead, and then he opens up this string of games where he looks like a legit number one quarterback. The St. Louis defense is overrated, Zac Stacy is banged up, and that’s all it will take to keep Palmer looking good. As long as he plays in this one, the Cardinals will not lose it. Pick – Arizona.
Giants @ SAN DIEGO – Just like that other team that plays its home games in New Jersey, the Giants are not rolling on all cylinders this year. They barely beat a Redskins team that has been absolutely horrid, and actually made Washington look good in the process last week. Philip Rivers is having an all-world year, even if there have been a few ragged patches, and the Chargers are playing at home. Look for the Chargers’ running game to make the Giants look silly as Woodhead has a great day. Pick – San Diego.
Carolina @ NEW ORLEANS – The run has to end sometime, right? And the Saints are angry, coming off that humiliating loss to Seattle on Monday night. I think they get after Cam Newton in this one and force a couple of turnovers, and they finish the job Miami started a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t seal up. Playing in New Orleans will also be a good salve for the ills the Saints suffered on Monday too. Pick – New Orleans.
Dallas @ CHICAGO – It’s December, which is traditionally when Tony Romo starts slacking off and the Cowboys follow suit. They have been anything but automatic anyway this season, tied for the lead in a division where the Giants are still in it at 5-7. That’s not a good thing, and it’s not good that they’re traveling to Chicago for a Monday night tilt that could very well decide the NFC East, especially if the Eagles do win on Sunday afternoon. The Bears have played well on offense, and I think the defense picks up the pace here against the Cowboys, forcing a few turnovers, and helping the Bears get back on track. Pick – Chicago.