Now that we’re in the homestretch, the playoff picture is getting clearer at the top and is beginning to take shape at the bottom.

With the exception of the NFC East and Central, the divisional winners are pretty clear, barring any sudden meltdowns.  Several teams that believed they could turn their season around a couple of weeks ago are finally facing the fact that this season is done for them.

However, there are enough teams fighting for the final playoff spots to make these next few weeks exciting for the fans.  It also makes my picks that much more difficult.  You see, the games that would normally be considered locks may no longer be sure things if the starting players get pulled from the games early.  This opens the door for upsets galore. (No, I wasn’t trying to make a rhyme; it just worked out that way!)

This week’s schedule is full of games that are sure to be impacted by the current race for playoff spots.  Let’s take a look!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (12-2).

There are a few games that would fall into this category, but I’m going with the San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins.

With the Dolphins’ loss to the Patriots last week, their slim playoff chances have all but gone away.  There has to be an emotional letdown.

Meanwhile, the 49ers blew an opportunity to put their division crown away last week, only to fall to St. Louis, leaving the door open for the Rams or Seahawks to finish strong and catch them.

The timing is bad for the Dolphins.  There is no way the 49ers come out of the locker with anything but total domination on their minds.  They will come after Miami with everything they’ve got.  If the Dolphins don’t strike quickly, they may never strike at all.

Look for San Francisco to dominate on defense, winning by a score in the area of 20-3.


This week’s Upset of the Week (7-7).

I’ve missed two in a row in this category.  Let’s see if I can break my streak and get back in the winning ways.

According to the odds-makers, I’ve got four games to choose from this week.  I’ve picked the Rams over the Bills, the Panthers over the Falcons and the Vikings over the Bears.  But I’m going with my fourth upset for this week’s pick

The Jacksonville Jaguars will beat the N.Y. Jets.  That’s right, the lowly Jags will hand the visiting Jets another loss, putting the final nail in New York’s, and Buddy Ryan’s, coffin.

Quite frankly, I’m astonished that this is considered an upset.  The Jaguars have discovered an offense over the past couple of weeks.  While they’re still battling the Kansas City Chiefs for the number one pick in next spring’s draft, they have figured out how to score some points.

The Jets, on the other hand, have never looked so pathetic.  And I’m not just talking about recently.  This Jets team is quite possibly the most pathetic Jets team in four decades.

Mark Sanchez     Tebow - Jets

The management decisions regarding Tebow, Sanchez, etc. were bad enough.  But this team is just terrible, inept on both sides of the ball.  Last week’s game with the Cardinals was, without a doubt, one of the worst NFL games in the history of the league.

The only difference in the game was one coach was willing to pull his ridiculously horrible quarterback out of the game and the other coach was not.  But make no mistake, neither team deserved to win that game.

I know that Jacksonville only has two wins this season.  They are still a better team than this Jets team.  A Jets team, by the way, that is starting that very same “ridiculously horrible quarterback” that played that “worst NFL game in the history of the league” last week.

Rex Ryan

Some people never learn the meaning of insanity, but the Jets are about to get another lesson.

Jacksonville wins this game by two touchdowns!


This week’s Game of the Week (12-2).

Arguments could be made for several games, but none of them would stand up to Monday’s game between two of the top teams in the league – the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots.

This could very well be a preview of the AFC championship game, with the winner of this week’s match hosting the big event.  Although both of these teams have their divisions locked up, don’t look for them to hold anything back this week.  This game could mean the difference between making it to the Super Bowl and golfing in January.

The Texans began the season as the team to beat.  The only thing that has changed over the last month is the fact that they now have company at the top.

They have one of the best receivers in the league, one of the best running backs in the league, a top ten quarterback and a top five defense.  That makes for a formidable opponent for anyone.

The Patriots began the season slow, losing two of their first three games.  They found themselves at 3-3 after week 6.  Since then, they haven’t lost a game, rattling off six wins in a row.  They seem to be getting more efficient each week.

They have one of the best QBs in the game, a very good running game and a defense that has improved every week.  They don’t make a lot of mistakes on either side of the ball.

This game should be full of excitement, regardless of whether you like offensive fireworks or defensive stands.

In the end, I’m going with the team that seems to have found their way lately.  The New England Patriots will have the ball last and will pull out the victory in stunning fashion.



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