As we close in on the final weeks of the regular season, the playoff pictures are as clear as mud. There are only a hand full of teams that are certain playoff contenders, and only a hand full that are out of the playoff picture, leaving nearly the entire league still mathematically in it, with only four weeks to go.

This week should change that, at least for a good chunk of the teams. With a lot of key matchups, we should see some exciting football this weekend. I can’t wait for it to get started, so let’s get to right to it!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (9-1).

Chicago at Detroit.

If you had told me back in week 1 that the Lions, without Megatron, would be on top of their division and looking to win big in week 14 to stretch their lead over the rest of the pack (no pun intended), I’d have suggested a good psychiatrist for you to continue the discussion with.

But here we are, with four games to go and the Lions are not only leading their division by two games, but are fighting for the #2 seed and a first week bye! And who do they get to host this week? The injury riddled, second worst team in the NFC!

I still don’t think the Lions are going to the Super Bowl, but they have made me a believer that they know how to win. They seem to be able to score against any team, and their defense has been playing respectably lately. Not great, but good enough to win two out of three games.

Their weak schedule up to this point hasn’t hurt their chances either. And while their final three weeks will determine just how good they are (at the Giants and Dallas before finishing at home against the Packers), this week should be an easy victory!

Final score – Detroit 34, Chicago 20.

lions

This week’s Upset of the Week (4-6).

Seattle at Green Bay.

Another one of those “If you had told me in week 1” games. These were supposed to have been two of the top teams in the league this year, dominating their opponents along the way, with this week 14 match-up quite possibly holding #1 seed implications.

Well, there are playoff implications, but nothing on that grand of a scale. The Packers are trying to make their way into the playoff picture, while the Seahawks are looking to hold on to their current position as the #2 seed.

While I am not believers of either team right now, this should be a great game to watch. Why? Great question. Let me give you a couple of reasons.

First, the game is in Green Bay, where there is supposed to be more snow than we saw in last week’s game with Houston. The weather had a big impact on the Texans, and is sure to do the same on the Seahawks.

Next, although I’m not completely sold that Green Bay is back, after a seriously struggling season, Rogers and team actually looked like the Packers in last week’s victory.

And finally, the Seahawks are not the team that all of the experts are desperately trying to paint a picture of. Their offense looks decent one week, and then struggles to hit double digits the next. They still have a scary good defense, but injuries are bringing them back down to earth. The latest injury, a season ending one to Earl Thomas, will not bode well if Rogers has another solid game.

This should go down to the wire, but I’m going with the home team.

Final Score – Green Bay 20, Seattle 17.

Packers Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (7-2-1).

Dallas at N.Y. Giants.

This is always an epic battle, whether either team is a contender or not. And this time around, both teams are contenders, with the Cowboys looking to clinch the #1 seed and the Giants hoping to solidify their hold on the #5 seed.

Before the season began, I had picked the Giants to win this division and, like most people, didn’t even have the Cowboys in the playoff picture. While I have to tip my hat to the machine that they have become, I still don’t believe this Dallas team will reach the Super Bowl.

Not due to lack of talent. They are loaded with that, as the Giants will find out today. I just think that come playoff time, rookies look like rookies, while experience becomes ten times more important than during the regular season.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We are still in the regular season, and this battle of the NFC East is sure to entertain everyone. The Giants are a good enough team to hang with these Cowboys, and both teams have enough weapons to make this a real fireworks show for the fans.

Ultimately, it will come down to which team makes the most mistakes, and this Dallas team does not make mistakes. This should go down to the wire, but the visitors will walk away with the win.

Final Score – Dallas 34, N.Y. Giants 27.

Cowboys Helmet

It doesn’t matter which games you choose to watch this week, there is going to be entertainment for everyone. Now go and enjoy some football!

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After taking last week off (holidays and grandkids didn’t leave much time for prognostications), I’m ready to get back at it! Were there some great games last week or what?

I had actually picked 13 of the first 14 games correctly (I would have had all 14 if I didn’t go back and change the Seattle-Tampa Bay game), but then missed the last two games, knocking me out of the money, er, glory of winning, the weekly contests that I enjoy so much!

Oh well, let’s see if we can hit all fifteen this week!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (8-1).

Los Angeles at New England.

The talk of the town this week is what in the world is New England going to do, now that Gronk is out for the rest of the year? Well let’s answer that as simply as possible.

They’re going to beat the Rams!

I can’t believe that the experts are even asking these stupid questions. Have they already forgotten the first four weeks of the season, when they were missing Brady? If I recall, Gronk missed a couple of those games, too. And guess what. They won three out of four of those games. And that was before Martellus Bennett was on anybody’s radar.

And now the Lambs are coming to town? Who could have asked for any better medicine than this? The Patriots will shut down the LA offense (like nearly everyone else does) and methodically burn up the clock en route to a dominating victory.

And then Coach Fisher will get another contract extension before the Lambs fly home!

Final score – New England 27, Los Angeles 6.

Patriots Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (4-5).

Detroit at New Orleans.

Contrary to last week, when I didn’t pick a single upset, this week I have four to choose from. And I don’t feel confident with any of them! So, I flipped a few coins and this is what came up.

This game has all of the signs of being an old-fashioned, rockem’ sockem’ robots (Google it kids), wild-wild west shootout. Two teams with powerhouse offenses and very little, if any, defenses.

Drew Brees is looking like his old self, and actually has a healthy crew of backs and receivers around him, something he doesn’t usually have this late in the season.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is having a career season, now that there are no superstars on the team. Go figure!

This may resemble an Arena game, which means whichever team makes a defensive stop, just one, may end up walking out of here with the victory. That’s why I’m going for the home team, led by the man who’s been there before.

Final Score – New Orleans 42, Detroit 38.

saints

This week’s Game of the Week (6-2-1).

Washington at Arizona.

Okay, first of all you can’t call me a homer on this one. I haven’t even discussed the Cardinals in this space for over a month. Second of all, do you really think this game is going to be boring?

Have you seen the Redskins offense lately? Cousins is exploding, and he is loaded with offensive weapons, half of which we all thought were retired, or very close to it. Garcon and Jackson have had their respective careers re-energized, Jordan Reed is the top tight end in the league this year, Jamison Crowder, the #3 wide receiver, is averaging a TD every other week, and the running game is actually working for a change.

How can Arizona possibly stand a chance, especially the way they’ve been playing lately (as in, this entire season)? Call it a gut feeling or just wishful thinking, but I think the offense will snap out of it this week. The sound bites that have hit the airwaves this week have been long overdue, but seem to be signaling that the players are waking up, even if it may be too late.

But if it’s true, and the offense actually plays up to their potential? This could be a shocker to the experts near and far. That includes the hometown talking heads that wrote the Cardinals off four weeks ago and the national pros that led the charge two weeks before that!

The bottom line is the defensive weaknesses will tell the tale of this game. Arizona’s biggest weakness on defense is, and always has been, the tight end. With the latest word being that Reed is out this week, the Cards should be able to contain Garcon and Jackson. Watch for Crowder to lead the way for yardage and scoring for the Redskins.

Washington’s biggest weakness on defense is the running game. Unfortunately for them, Arizona has one of the top three running backs in the league in Dave Johnson. If the coaching staff is smart, they’ll ride him strong until the Redskins prove they can stop him. I’m looking for him to approach 200 all-purpose yards and three TDs this week.

This should be an exciting game right up until the final gun sounds.

Final Score – Arizona 34, Washington 27.

Cardinals Helmet

There you go. Nothing left to do now but fire up the grill and pop open a cold one. Let the games begin!


Second week in a row, I’m sitting at 2-0, confident in the third game, only to have Seattle screw things up again. I’ve got to stop picking the games they play in. Whether I pick them to win or lose, I always get it wrong.

Hey. Wait a minute. If I keep picking them to win, they’ll lose and the Cardinals could ….. Uh-hum. Never mind. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Let’s get to the picks!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (7-1).

Jacksonville at Detroit.

Here are a couple of teams that I was completely wrong on before the season began. First, I had Detroit being the worst team in the NFC, finishing at 2-14. And could you really blame me? What appeared to be their only offensive weapon (Calvin Megatron Johnson) retired, leaving an apparent impotent offense. Man, was I wrong there!

On the other side, I saw Jacksonville as the team on the rise in the AFC. Last season, Bortles appeared ready to lead his team out of mediocrity, seeking bigger and better things. With what was supposed to be one of the best receiving duos in the league, they were sure to light it up every week. I was so disappointed when I wasn’t able to grab Hurns or Robinson in my fantasy football draft. Now I’m thrilled that I missed them.

With Detroit scoring at will and the Jags not scoring until the fourth quarter, this will not end up well for Jacksonville fans.

Final score – Detroit 41, Jacksonville 21.

lions

This week’s Upset of the Week (4-4).

Tennessee at Indianapolis.

I had several games to choose from this week, as I ended up picking six games against the spread. I felt the most comfortable with this one.

Everyone wrote off last season’s Indy debacle as injury related. Funny thing. The injuries helped everyone overlook the fact that the Colts are old and/or not very talented. And poor Mr. Luck is still running for his life every week.

Meanwhile, the Titans are several years ahead of schedule in becoming a legitimate football team again. Mariota seems to have figured out the NFL, something many experts doubted he would ever be able to do.

I’m not saying they’re ready for a Super Bowl run just yet, but you’d better not overlook them. Just ask Green Bay! On top of that, they will be seeking revenge for a home loss to these same Colts only four weeks ago.

There should be several lead changes early in the game, but I’m looking for the Titans to pull away in the fourth quarter and pull out the victory.

Final Score – Tennessee 27, Indianapolis 17.

titans

This week’s Game of the Week (5-2-1).

Green Bay at Washington.

Another tale of two teams going in opposite directions. Washington has figured out how to win games while Green Bay is continually coming up with new ways to lose them. If the playoffs were today (I really hate that phrase), Washington would hold the final wildcard spot and would begin the playoffs at Atlanta, while the Packers would be vacationing somewhere warmer than Green Bay, like Siberia.

The reality is, neither one of these teams will make the playoffs (that’s right, you heard it here first), but this week’s matchup should be full of fireworks. Neither team has a great defense, while both teams have the capability of lighting up the scoreboard.

In the end, the Redskins will continue their mid-season streak, while the Packers will once again find a way to come up short on the road.

Final Score – Washington 34, Green Bay 31.

washington

There you have it. Short and sweet, but to the point. And no Seattle games, so you know they’re all gonna’ hit!

Now go and enjoy some great football!


I thought I was going to have a perfect 3-0 record last week. Dallas rolled over Cleveland in the “Lock”, just as everyone on the planet expected. Oakland disposed of Denver in the “Game”, just as I called. In fact, I was only off on the final score by three points!

All I needed was for Buffalo to beat Seattle in the “Upset”, and I had the trifecta. You would think that the fact that the Bills seemingly moved the ball at will would ensure the “W”.

But NOOOOOOOO! (A little John Belushi humor!)

john-belushi

Once again, the NFL officiating crew assigned to the Seahawks game went out of their way to make sure Seattle won. This is getting old, folks. Yeah, I know they admitted after the game that, once again, they blew it, costing Buffalo points. Oops! Sorry!

When are we going to start seeing these inept officiating crews getting fined or suspended for their blatant disregard for the rules. Maybe it’s just ignorance of the rules, which would call for the dismissal from their jobs.

Oh well, a topic for another time. On with this week’s picks.

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (6-1).

San Francisco at Arizona.

If this isn’t a lock, I’ll admit I don’t know what is. Here we have the 1-7 49ers, winless since their week one victory over the LA Lambs, visiting the desperate 3-4-1 Cardinals, fresh off a bye week.

These two teams met in week 5 in San Francisco on a Thursday night. The bruised and battered Cardinals came to town on a short week, missing their starting quarterback, and took care of business, winning 33-21. A 49er TD with less than two minutes remaining made the score look closer than it actually was.

This time around, the game is being played in Arizona, with the Cards well-rested and hungry for a “W”. Last time, it was Gabbert leading the charge, for lack of better terms. This time, Kaepernick will give it a go for the 49ers. He’ll need to run for at least 150 yards to keep this one close, because his passing, or whatever you’d call it, is not going to do the job against this defense.

Then again, he could run for 150 yards and it won’t matter. David Johnson should approach 200+ all-purpose yards, and the AZ passing should have its best outing of the season.

Final score – Arizona 41, San Francisco 20.

Cardinals Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (3-4).

Kansas City at Carolina.

I actually had a different game picked out for this category until I saw the spread on this game and realized that the Panthers were favored in this one!

I’m not sure why. Sure, Carolina has won two games in a row, after a glorious 1-5 start, but they will quickly come to realize that this Chiefs team can do a lot more damage than the lowly Rams.

Oh, and Cam, I don’t think these guys are going to lighten up on the hits, just because you continue to wine and snivel. If you want to act like a running back, you’re going to get tackled. And if you’re going to rub the other guy’s nose in it every time you do something that you think is spectacular, like your job, you’re going to tackled real hard. Deal with it!

The Panthers are but a shell of last year’s NFC Champions. All of the offensive weapons that overachieved last season have returned to the level of mediocrity they all knew in previous years. Although Newton is still a very talented and very dangerous quarterback, he cannot do it all by himself.

Meanwhile, Andy Reid has always been tough to beat in November, both in Philadelphia and in Kansas City. They have a real shot at winning the AFC West and grabbing the #2 seed, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t have his Chiefs prepared for Carolina this week.

This may very well end up being a low scoring game, as both defenses should shine. That will be an advantage for the visiting team.

Final Score – Kansas City 20, Carolina 17.

Chiefs Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (5-1-1).

Seattle at New England.

This is the game that everyone is talking about. The best in the NFC at the best in the AFC. Carroll versus Belichick. Wilson versus Brady. Graham versus Gronk. Blah—blah-blah-blah-blah. I’ve heard enough of these ridiculous praises for the Seahawks. Anyone that has watched them play this season, and not just the highlights, but actually watched entire games, knows this team is not on the same level as the Patriots.

Yes, they have a solid defense, one of the best. They are physical and usually do a very good job keeping the score down. But their offense is another story. They have one of the worst O-lines in the league. They have no running game at all. Wilson is constantly running for his life, and since he has been dealing with dinged up ankles and knees, he is being caught and sacked like never before.

If it wasn’t for the fact that he has learned to be a decent pocket passer this season, they would never get into the end zone.

And now they are traveling across the country to face the best team in the league, led by the best quarterback in the league, and guided by the best coach in the league.

This will be an exciting game to watch, due to all of the hype. It may even stay close for the first half. But don’t be surprised if you look at the scoreboard with ten minutes left in the game and see the Patriots up by three scores.

Final Score – New England 30, Seattle 20.

Patriots Helmet

So, there you have it. Another week prepped and ready to go. There will be plenty of great football to watch and enjoy. So, fire up the grill, pop open a cold one and go and enjoy!!


Quick. What’s the first thing you thought of when you read that headline? Was it something like “this guy must have given up on the Arizona Cardinals”? I could understand it if it was. But you’d be wrong.

What I really meant was “why are all of these so-called expert talking heads crowning the Seattle Seahawks the NFC West division champions and eliminating the Cardinals from the playoff race?”

Listen, I get that the national media would jump on this bandwagon. Most of them didn’t know what city the Cards played in until last season (Glendale) and are convinced that the players ride a stagecoach along a dusty trail to practice every day. But when the local braniacs join in with the ridiculous rhetoric, I find myself turning the radio dial to the local heavy metal rock station, just to relax.

heavy-metal

Look, I’m the first one to admit that the Red Birds haven’t played to their fullest potential this season. And a 3-4-1 record at the mid-point of the season is not what anyone expected. Many sports fans, including most of these bandwagon experts, picked Arizona to go to, if not win, the Super Bowl.

So, why are they jumping ship? Well, let’s look at their track records. In an effort to look smart, they had jumped on the Philly train back in week three, after the Eagles trounced the Steelers and were atop the league with a 3-0 record. (Please ignore the fact that their first two victories were over Cleveland and Chicago!) This team was on their way to the Super Bowl!

Hmm…… at 4-4 and in last place in the NFC East, we’d better ignore them and hope nobody remembers that we were once singing their praises. Let’s talk about Minnesota. What a Cinderella story. At 5-0, they were surely the team to beat in the NFC!

Well I guess the league thought so, too, since they proceeded to beat the Vikings each of the next three weeks.

Now they’ve jumped full board on to the Cowboy Express. And why not? At 7-1, they share the best record in the league with the Patriots and lead the NFC. Just be sure to ignore the fact that they’re playing a last place schedule, with the only opponents to date that are currently above .500 being the Redskins and Giants, and reside in a mediocre division (argue all you want – it’s the truth).

But enough about the expert’s tendencies to jump ship when their pick starts to lose. Let’s look at some of the, uh-hum, logic behind their decision to bury the Cardinals already.

Carson Palmer is having a terrible season –

carson-palmer

Actually, he’s not having a terrible season. He’s just not having an MVP year like he did last season. And why not? Two main reasons. First, the opponent’s defensive schemes are taking away the bombs down the sidelines. Second, the receiving corps has not had their heads in the game on a routine basis. Other than Larry Fitzgerald, they are running the wrong routes and dropping passes left and right. Unfortunately, when you simply read the box scores and don’t watch the games, you don’t know that.

There are too many teams to leapfrog in order to make the playoffs –

This is just lazy reporting. Yes, there are a lot of teams knotted up at this point in time. In fact, when you take the four division leaders out of the equation, there are ten teams that are within two games of each other, battling for the two wildcard spots. Arizona is right in the middle of that pack.

But there are eight weeks remaining and all of these teams will take turns beating on each other. If the Cardinals take care of business, it doesn’t matter what any of these other teams do, they will be in the playoffs.

Seattle is just too good –

I’m sorry, but this one blows me away. I’ve never been one to blame the referees for changing the outcomes of games, but if you take away only one bad call (or no-call) from each of the Seahawks games, they would be 2-6 and spoken in the same breath as San Francisco.

Yes, they have a very good defense, but their offense is impotent, which leaves their defense on the field for 60%-65% of their games. That is a recipe for disaster over the course of sixteen games, plus the playoffs. Just look at the last three games. Their defense has been on the field nearly 2/3 of the games. Their record is 1-1-1 over those three games, but it should have been 0-3.

Now, it appears that Jimmy Graham has remembered what it is that he did in New Orleans, or maybe the Seattle brain trust has finally remembered, but he has begun to show a glimmer of hope for their offense.

But until Wilson is healthy enough to run like he has in years past, or their running backs are actually able to gain positive yardage, they will not be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Just to clarify, I am an avid fan of my hometown team, the Arizona Cardinals. But I am also a realist. This team has underachieved for the entire first half of the season. They have only scored once in the first quarter, and it took until week six against the Jets to do that. If that trend continues, this season may not be salvageable.

They still tend to go for the deep pass a lot, even when the defense has shown that they are playing deep, to take that away. Instead, the play callers need to keep handing the ball off to David Johnson and assault the “D” with a bunch of 7-10 yard passes, forcing the secondary to move back in. Only then will the deep pass be a legitimate threat.

david-johnson

To their credit, they have been giving the ball to DJ a lot. The second-year stud is on pace for over 2,200 yards of offense and appears to be unstoppable. Let’s hope he stays healthy and doesn’t run out of gas before the season ends.

The defensive unit, the one that everyone was worried about going into the season, has been nothing short of spectacular. The offseason acquisition of Chandler Jones has paid dividends up and down the line. Not only is Jones getting his sacks, but other guys, like Calais Campbell and Marcus Golden, just to name a few, are able to shine, since they are no longer being double teamed on every play.

chandler-jones

As a result of the improved play of the front seven, the secondary does not need to continually blitz to pressure the quarterback. Just an occasional one to keep the opposition honest.

The net result is a top five defense. If the offense could simply play ball like they know how to do (just about everyone that scored on last year’s team is back on the roster this year), there is no reason they couldn’t go 6-2, 7-1 or, dare I say it, 8-0 over the second half of the season.

So, what do you say we don’t dig a six-foot-deep hole just yet? There’s still a lot of football to be played. The good teams still have time to rise up, just as the teams that have been over achieving have plenty of time to come back down to Earth. If the Cardinals are still hovering around .500 at week 14, I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s probably over.

But I don’t think I’ll need to!


Okay, I’m back after a self-imposed exile last week. And no, it wasn’t because I was still exhausted after that Cardinals – Seahawks battle in week seven, although that did leave me out of breath for a couple of days. We took the grandkids to the pumpkin patch for the day, and that always comes first!

But now we’re back and ready for some action. Hopefully, this season’s quota of ties has been filled and we can count on actual winners and losers throughout the schedule.

Speaking of ties, I heard a little bit of trivia after last week’s tie in London. The last time that there were two ties in the same season in the NFL, the Cleveland Indians lost the world series in seven games. Keep in mind that they were up 3-1 in the series last Sunday. I’m not superstitious, I’m just saying…..!!

Anyway, on with this week’s picks!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (5-1).

Look at the standings and then take a look at the schedule and tell me which game you’d pick. It’s a no-brainer!

Dallas at Cleveland.

Thank goodness I took last week off, because I would have picked Cleveland over the Jets in this category. They almost won that game, but came up short. So, imagine what’s gonna’ happen when they face the hottest team in the NFC.

Notice I didn’t say the best team in the NFC, just the hottest. I’m still not convinced the Cowboys will win their division, or possibly even make the playoffs, but I sure don’t see their slide beginning this week.

Granted, they are being driven by rookies on offense, but right now, they’re running (and passing) like a well-oiled machine. The Browns just don’t have the personnel to slow that down. The outcome of this game should never be in doubt.

Final score – Dallas 34, Cleveland 17.

Cowboys Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (3-3).

I was going to pick the Steelers over the Ravens until I heard that Big Ben was not coming back this week. That left only one upset left in my picks. And we’ll need to head to the great northwest to find it.

Buffalo at Seattle.

I know that a lot of the talking heads want to crown the Seahawks the NFC west champions already, and with the way Arizona has been playing lately, it’s understandable, to a point.

But everyone needs to take a breath and then take a long hard look at this Seattle team. Yes, they have a very good defense, one that is capable of stopping any roster in the league.

But someone needs to show me where in the world their offense went. Oh, wait, you don’t need to. It retired, along with Marshawn Lynch. You see, when you have a beast like that running the ball, you can overlook a weak offensive line. But when you are forced to have mere mortals running the pigskin, you’d better restore that line quickly or you will struggle to put points on the board, kind of like this year’s Seahawks.

Speaking of beast running backs, the Bills are coming to town, and they’re bringing their own resurrected monster running back in the form of LeSean McCoy. Not to mention a pretty good offensive unit all around him. Oh, and did I mention they have been devouring the NFC west this season?

This one may start out slow, but Buffalo will move the ball down the field with a bit more ease than Seattle, allowing them to pull out the W on the road.

Final Score – Buffalo 16, Seattle 13.

buffalo

This week’s Game of the Week (4-1-1).

In week nine of any NFL season, you look for divisional matchups between division leaders. Although there are a couple to choose from, none will offer the excitement of this game.

Denver at Oakland.

It’s been a while since the Raiders were not mathematically eliminated from the playoff scenario by week nine, let alone actually competing for the divisional title, but here we are with the Raiders and Broncos tied at 6-2, on top of the wild west division of the AFC.

And it’s no fluke that Oakland is there. In fact, the fluke may actually be that Denver is there!

Yes, you read that right. I’m surprised that the Broncos are in this conversation. With that mediocre offense, I figured they’d be around a .500 ball club this season. But that defense of theirs has kept them alive and well so far.

Meanwhile, the Raiders took a couple of weeks to look like a cohesive unit. The first few weeks, it seemed they weren’t quite sure if they were as good as some (including me) thought they were.

But now, there is no doubt. Their offense is flying high and their defense, well it’s actually a defense! This should be a great, entertaining game for the fans, more so for the Raider fans. When the smoke clears, they should be sitting alone on top of their division.

Final Score – Oakland 27, Denver 20.

oakland

Well, there’s another one in the books. As we hit the mid-point of the season, there’s only one team in the league that is a lock for a playoff spot, while about twenty teams appear to battling for the other eleven spots. Regardless of which team you’re rooting for, there should be some great football for everyone to enjoy this week.

So, go and enjoy!!


Just when I think I’m figuring out this wonderful thing we call the National Football League, I get thrown a major curve ball. (I know, I know, great metaphor – wrong sport. Deal with it!)

Through the first four weeks of the season, I couldn’t pick an upset to save my life, even though they were occurring in about 40% of the games being played. The only thing I could count on was picking the Lock of the Week, where my record was flawless.

Enter week six. I correctly picked the Redskins in an upset win over the Eagles, making it two weeks in a row in that category. And then, not only do I get my first miss of the season for my “Lock” pick, but the Steelers get embarrassed (yet again) by a very bad Miami team.

Hopefully, we’ve left the Twilight Zone behind this week and we can get back to reality.

twilight-zone

Then again, this is the NFL in 2016. Who knows what surprises are lurking in the shadows this week!!

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (4-1).

I originally had Green Bay over Chicago as my Lock of the Week, but then I realized they were the Thursday game (I only pick Thursday games on Thanksgiving!!). So, I went with the only other game on the schedule that should be a no-brainer. Key word “should”.

Cleveland at Cincinnati.

At first glance, this pick makes perfect sense. The Browns are a serious threat to go 0-16, while the Bengals should be a playoff contender. (There’s that word again!) However, there are a couple of flaws in the theory.

First, the Bengals are not playing like a playoff contender. At 2-4, they have a lot of work to do to get back into the race. Second, and most importantly, the Browns always play the Bengals tough in at least one of their two annual matches.

So, will this be that tough match or will it come in week 14, back in the land of Cavaliers and Indians? This season, it may be both.

But in week seven, in Cincinnati, I’m going with the home team.

Final score – Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 17.

cincinnati

This week’s Upset of the Week (2-3).

After going winless in this category in the first quarter of the season, I’ve suddenly pulled out two in a row. Will I make it three this week? Who knows, but here’s the game I chose.

Indianapolis at Tennessee.

I know, common sense tells me to stay away from either one of these teams. But in this category, common sense hasn’t gotten me very far. It’s only when I threw all logic out the window that I began to make the right picks.

So, I’m going to ignore the fact that the Colts still have no offensive line and Mr. Luck seems to be running for his life on a daily basis. And I’m going to ignore the fact that Mr. Gore (no, not internet Al) has had to work for every yard he’s gained. And I’m going to ignore the fact that Mr. Mariota has shown glimpses of NFL quarterback abilities and is beginning to shed his college tendencies. And I’m going to ignore the fact that the game is being played in Tennessee because, let’s face it, that doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot this year.

Instead, I’m going with a gut feeling. After watching the Colts play head to head at Houston last week, leading the game all the way, even holding a 14-point lead with about seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, I think we may see that confidence carry over against a lesser Titans team.

I know Indy ended up collapsing in the final moments last week, losing the game in overtime. But I think they’ll play a full sixty minutes this week.

Final Score – Indianapolis 30, Tennessee 23.

Colts Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (4-1).

Last week, I picked Seattle to win at home against a surprisingly good Atlanta Falcons team. They managed to pull it off, but only because the referees collectively swallowed their whistles on Atlanta’s final play from scrimmage, allowing the Seahawks to escape with a mugging of Julio Jones and a victory.

Common sense would tell me to stay away from the Seahawks this week. Well, that’s never stopped me before!

Seattle at Arizona.

One thing you can always count when these two teams get together is fireworks and entertainment. Okay, that’s two things. Here are a few more…..Physical, hard-hitting football, loud and cray fans and teams that do not like each other.

What you cannot count on is any sense of home field advantage (five of the last six games have been won by the visiting team). Most importantly, you cannot count on things going according to script. No matter how hot or cold either of these teams have been in the weeks leading up to their games, nothing ever seems to carry over. The games stand on their own.

So, who am I picking and why? Well, first of all, let’s put all of the “homer” arguments to rest. I fully acknowledge that the Cardinals have been falling short of expectations this season, losing three out of their first four games. And I can see Seattle’s 4-1 record as well as anyone.

I also see that the Cardinals have a solid offensive line and, dare I say, the most dangerous running back in the league. Their receiving corps is one of the best and their defense is finally getting healthy for the first time this season.

The Seahawks offensive line is as weak as it has been in the last five years, and Wilson’s injuries have prevented him from being able to scramble like he’s done in the past. However, their passing game is vastly improved and their defense is tops in the league, bringing the Legion of Doom back to life.

Although Seattle has dominated in Arizona the past few years, don’t look for that to happen this time around. Although the game will not be decided until late in the fourth quarter, I’m very confident in picking the winner.

Final Score – Arizona 27, Seattle 23.

Cardinals Helmet

So, there you have it. Another week’s prognostications in the books. And while you may not be confident in who will the games this week, one thing is for certain. There will be some great football to be enjoyed.

So, fire up the grill, pop a cold one and go enjoy!!