NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – 2016 – WEEK FIFTEEN

18Dec16

This is a strange season indeed. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, only New England and Dallas were guaranteed playoff berths, and only the Patriots had locked up their division. Seattle joined that party after beating the hapless Lambs this past Thursday, but the playoff picture as a whole is still wide open.

This week’s games will help shed some light on a lot of the big questions, such as who will grab the #1 seed in the AFC, which mediocre team will end up with the #6 seed in the AFC, will a wild card team represent the NFC in Houston and will it even matter which NFC team ends up in the Super Bowl.

There are thirteen games yet to be played this week that impact one or more of those four questions. So, hang on to your hats, folks. This should be a fun week for football!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (10-1).

San Francisco at Atlanta.

Never before have we seen a team sink as quickly as these 49ers, after opening the season with a convincing victory over a division rival. Twelve games later, they are sitting with the #2 pick in the upcoming draft firmly in hand with a 1-12 record.

This week, they get to travel to the ATL to play a team that suddenly must worry about making the playoffs, not just winning their division, which seemed well in hand a month ago. Things couldn’t get much worse for San Francisco (if they actually wanted another victory at this point).

Although I still believe that the Falcons’ record is a reflection of an over-achieving team during the first half of the season, they should have no problem of disposing of the 49ers this week. They have too many weapons on offense to be shut down, and their defense, which is beginning to show how average they really are, will be able to contain the impotent San Francisco offense.

This one will be over before the fourth quarter begins.

Final score – Atlanta 41, San Francisco 20.

atlanta

This week’s Upset of the Week (5-6).

Indianapolis at Minnesota.

First of all, let me say that I am not a big fan of Indianapolis. I think they have a lot of potential to put up points, but are incapable of protecting Luck for an entire game, allowing him to be sacked more than any other QB in the league this season. And their defense is nothing to brag about.

However, Minnesota’s offense, which is comprised of a lot of second stringers, has been revealed as subpar at best, and downright awful on bad days. Their defense is the only thing that keeps them in games, and they should get their fair share of sacks this week.

Both teams desperately need a win, and some help, if they want to stay alive in the playoff conversations. The loser is probably out.

In these scenarios, the first instinct is to go with the home team, but I’m going against the grain in this game. The Colts have recently shown the ability to put up points quickly, even if for a brief amount of time, but I think that will be enough to take down the Vikings, who have seemed to forgotten how to score.

This will be a close, sloppy game, with multiple turnovers by both teams, but in the end, only the Colts will still be talking about their chances of making the playoffs.

Final Score – Indianapolis 27, Minnesota 20.

Colts Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (7-3-1).

Detroit at N.Y. Giants.

This is the second week in a row that the Giants have been part of this category. Last week I picked them to lose to the Cowboys, which turned out to be my only mistake on the week. So, I’m giving them a second shot to help me out, but I’m going with them to win this time.

I know that the Lions have turned into everyone’s darlings this season, but I am still not convinced they’re as good as experts think. In fact, I’m still not convinced they will even make the playoffs. If they lose this week at the Giants and next week at Dallas, both very real possibilities, they may have to beat the Packers in the final week to not only win their division, but quite possibly to join the playoff party.

Things aren’t looking good for the Lions. The Giants, my pre-season pick to win the NFC East, have been playing like the team I thought they were. Even when their offense sputters, as it did last week against the Cowboys, their defense rises to the occasion, as it did last week when it shut down the scoring machine that the Cowboys have become.

Yes, the Lions have a potent offensive attack, but they haven’t seen a defense like the one they’ll visit this week, and I think it will make a big difference. Although they will rack up some yardage, their scoring will be held in check, as Stafford will be running for his life. Look for a physical game, with several turnovers, mostly by the visitors.

Final Score – N.Y. Giants 27, Detroit 17.

Giants Helmet

There you have it. Carve it in stone and hit the presses. Now it’s time for some great football, so fire up the grill and pop a cold one. It should be a great day!

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