Crunch Time: Let the Jockeying Begin
Time Running Out for Some Teams
No more byes, but now we have flex scheduling starting today and Thursday games starting this upcoming week. Bye weeks are different for writers than they are for players and coaches. I didn't really get any time off. In fact, I wrote more than usual, and I didn't write as much as I had planned.
With no game preview to write last week, I spent more time looking at the other games and making predictions. I knew it could only lead to disaster. At least I was right about something.
In a nonsensical, superstitious attempt to reverse that trend, I'll spend almost no time -- it's all been gobbled up anyway -- analyzing this week's games and just wing it. (That's a little pre-Thanksgiving humor.) Enjoy the short week.
Here are the picks:
Sunday, Nov. 18
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) at Atlanta Falcons (3-6), 1 p.m.
Despite playing poorly on the road, Tampa plays well within the division and Atlanta doesn't.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 21-17.
Cleveland Browns (5-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-5), 1 p.m.
Baltimore's touchdown comes on defense or special teams.
Prediction: Browns, 24-13.
New York Giants (6-3) at Detroit Lions (6-3), 1 p.m.
I really don't believe these teams are equal in anything but their records.
Prediction: Giants, 31-20.
Miami Dolphins (0-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-5), 1 p.m.
If Philly's win-lose-win-lose continues (and it did unexpectedly last week), Miami ends its futility.
Prediction: Eagles, 35-17.
Oakland Raiders (2-7) at Minnesota Vikings (3-6), 1 p.m.
No Adrian Peterson, no passing game, facing one of the best pass defenses in the league.
Prediction: Raiders, 24-9.
San Diego Chargers (5-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3), 1 p.m.
Wow. Philip Rivers is really, really bad.
Prediction: Jaguars, 24-17.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) at Indianapolis Colts (7-2), 1 p.m.
Three in a row? Nah.
Prediction: Colts, 31-13.
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-6), 1 p.m.
I don't know if Marvin Lewis can save his job, but losing this really won't help.
Prediction: Bengals, 34-30.
Carolina Panthers (4-5) at Green Bay Packers (8-1), 1 p.m.
This could be better than the records indicate.
Prediction: Packers, 20-17.
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Houston Texans (4-5), 1 p.m.
Superficially statistically, these are two uber evenly matched teams.
Prediction: Saints, 30-20.
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) at New York Jets (1-8), 4:05 p.m.
On any given Sunday, the 7-2 team will annihilate the 1-8 team.
Prediction: Steelers, 42-10.
Chicago Bears (4-5) at Seattle Seahawks (5-4), 4:15 p.m.
Seattle gets revenge for last year's sloppy NFC divisional playoff game -- whatever that's worth.
Prediction: Seahawks, 26-13.
St. Louis Rams (1-8) at San Francisco 49ers (2-7), 4:15 p.m.
New England's first-round pick could enter coin-flip territory with continued futility. By the way, including the first meeting between these two, a 17-16 win, San Fran's two wins are against division opponents. Some division.
Prediction: 49ers, 9-8.
Washington Redskins (5-4) at Dallas Cowboys (8-1), 4:15 p.m.
Too much at stake for Dallas for this to be even close.
Prediction: Cowboys, 35-14.
New England Patriots (9-0) at Buffalo Bills (5-4), 8:15 p.m.
Please read separately posted game preview.
Prediction: Thanks as always for reading Pats Pulpit.
Monday, Nov. 19
Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Denver Broncos (4-5), 8:30 p.m.
Mike Shanahan blew a winnable game against Green Bay on Monday night three weeks ago.
Prediction: Titans, 24-21.
Open Date: None.
Last week: 4 - 10 (28.6 percent).
It had to happen sooner or later. I picked 11 home teams last week. Only three of them came through. And two of the three road teams failed me as well.
Season: 98 - 54 (64.5 percent).
Last season: 86-58 (59.7 percent).