M.C. Hammer had an anthem back in 1992 called “2 Legit 2 Quit,” all about his rapping prowess, how he was never going to quit, that he was the real thing. Uh, where is he now? So I’m feeling like a modern day M.C. Hammer right now, after bragging about my amazing 3 weeks in a row Ace Picks. Of course that meant I was going to get a mediocre result in Week 14, which is exactly what happened. Picks like Denver, Cincinnati, the Bears, and the 49ers did their fair share of taking my results down a peg.
But that was last week, and even though Hammer said he was the best, his numbers showed even back then that he was a 2-hit wonder, while my track record is quite a bit better. So I’m ready to get back to basics, to break down each matchup as we wind down the regular season, and to get back over the 10-pick plateau (I’m starting off on the right foot, having picked the St. Louis Thursday night win correctly). Here are my Ace Picks for Week 15…
NY Jets @ DALLAS – The Cowboys gave their third-string quarterback a few first-team reps this week, tipping their hand that says Matt Cassel is not the man. After their loss last week that in effect takes them out of the playoff running, they look lost, and the Jets defense is not a way to get right. Pick: NY JETS.
Carolina @ NY GIANTS – Every single time I’ve picked against the Panthers this season I’ve lived to regret it (duh — they’re undefeated), so I should probably keep picking them to win. Except that somehow I don’t see them taking home the Super Bowl trophy. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but not this week. Cam rolls. Pick: PANTHERS.
Tennessee @ NEW ENGLAND – Tom Brady isn’t feeling well. Yeah. Right. There goes Belichick playing his mind games again, except he doesn’t need to, not against a Tennessee team that just got wrecked by the Jets. Brady could throw it to himself and still win this game. Pick: PATRIOTS.
Kansas City @ BALTIMORE – Can the Chiefs win out and take the division? It’s a possibility that didn’t seem all that realistic after they had lost 5 games in row, but it’s very real now, and they get to face a Baltimore squad that is well-acquainted with losing this season. K.C. gets it done. Pick: CHIEFS.
Atlanta @ JACKSONVILLE – Did you watch the way the Jaguars dismantled the Colts last week? I know. I didn’t either, because it wasn’t on TV in my area. But I did listen to it on the radio, and the way that Jacksonville offense was clicking was music to my ears (and not just because I have Allen Hurns on my fantasy team). I think they keep it going at home against the rapidly disintegrating Falcons. Pick: JAGUARS.
Chicago @ MINNESOTA – I’m done thinking Jay Cutler will ever change. Sure, there will be flashes of that big arm and some good decision-making in bits and pieces. But there will also be the errant throws that end up as pick-6’es, and the poor decisions that will lead to turnovers. Against an opportunistic Minnesota defense that will be the death knell. Pick: VIKINGS.
Houston @ INDIANAPOLIS – Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst? Wow, has this season gone to the dogs for the Colts? But they are still tied for the lead in their division, with a losing record… with the Houston Texans, who refuse to die. This game will come down to whoever has the ball at the end of the game. Or it will come down to defense. And we know who has the better defense. Pick: TEXANS.
Buffalo @ WASHINGTON – The Redskins are money at home. I know. I never thought I would say that either, but it’s become a trueism this season, and Kirk Cousins is also money at home. That’s where the Redskins find themselves this week, facing a Buffalo squad that lost a heartbreaker to the fellow NFC-East Eagles. I believe in Cousins at home, so I believe in Washington to win another close one. Pick: REDSKINS.
Cleveland @ SEATTLE – Do the Browns and Johnny Manziel have a chance to steal this one from the Seahawks? Yes. In fact, I see this as very much a trap game. How much game planning could the Seahawks really have come up with to throw at Johnny Football? He shook the rust off in a win last week, and he comes in ready to go. But the 12th Man is real. Pick: SEAHAWKS.
Green Bay @ OAKLAND – The Raiders were absolutely pitiful last week for the vast majority of that Broncos game, but when it mattered, in the end, they stepped up. The Packers have been up and down of late, and traveling to the West Coast won’t be easy. I think Oakland takes care of business and Derek Carr outduels Aaron Rodgers in a big day. Pick: RAIDERS.
Cincinnati @ SAN FRANCISCO – Andy Dalton’s absence makes this game a toss-up, in my opinion. I don’t think the 49ers are so bad that they can’t hang with a Dalton-less Bengals team, but I don’t think the Bengals lose so much with the loss of Dalton to make them losers in this one. They win a tight one on the road. Pick: BENGALS.
Denver @ PITTSBURGH – The terrible towels will be flying for this one as the Steelers try to climb in the playoff race, and maybe even steal a division title if the Bengals do indeed fall apart as some have predicted. The Steelers offense is not as good as the Denver defense. But can the Denver offense put up points with Osweiler? I think they do. Pick: BRONCOS.
Miami @ SAN DIEGO – The Chargers offense has been anemic lately, and now they have to play without Stevie Johnson. Wow, how quickly the wheels have fallen off. And Miami lost a game they should have won last week against the Giants. They don’t let this one get away as they play for pride. Pick: DOLPHINS.
Arizona @ PHILADELPHIA – As improbable as it seems, the Eagles still have life, and if they win out they win the NFC East. Talk about controlling your destiny, but they play the 3rd best team in the conference this week so they should lose, right? Just like they should have lost to the Patriots, right? The Eagles defense thrives on turnovers, and they will produce at least 3 here, which will be enough. Pick: EAGLES.
Detroit @ NEW ORLEANS – So the Saints shocked me last week in taking one easily enough from the Buccaneers, and the Lions are in the same category. How do those selfsame Lions deal with two losses in a row, the most recent to the Rams? I say they fold like a cheap suit. Pick: SAINTS.