Last week, my girlfriend and I watched “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” Both movies are an annual must-watch for every holiday season, but I’m sure you know that… because if you don’t, you aren’t doing this Christmas thing the right way.
As always, I muttered along every time the “ya filthy animal” line was spoken. (In the first film, it’s “Keep the change, ya filthy animal” and in the second film, it’s “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.” Both are utterly hilarious.) Each time, I laughed pretty hard, just as I have during every annual “Home Alone” viewing since I was probably five or six years old.
But then when Sunday of Week 15 rolled around just days later, suddenly nothing was funny anymore. I went into the week with a 101-100-7 record on the season — just barely managing to tread water above the .500 mark — and then my Week 15 picks got absolutely steamrolled. How’d I do, you ask? An embarrassing 3-11-1. The Patriots, Cowboys, Chiefs and several others all fell flat on their faces, leaving me in a helpless daze. I’ve officially crashed and burned, and I’m not sure where to go from here.
With just two weeks of the 2018 regular season left, I’m going to need to pull off a serious magician’s act to finish above .500. In addition to that, my fantasy football team is playing for the league championship over the next two weeks, just for added stress.
While my girlfriend and I are back home for the holidays, I’m sure it will go over just fine with her that I’m more concerned about my fantasy team and my weekly NFL picks than I am about hanging out with the family. Pray for me, everybody.
Let’s make some picks for Week 16/Christmas week, whichever you prefer to call it…
(Home teams in caps, and lines courtesy of OddsShark.com)
Redskins (+10) over TITANS
The NFL really does love to give us crummy Saturday games. Am I supposed to get fired up about watching Washington’s fourth string quarterback (what’s his name? Josh Johnson?) in a Saturday afternoon game? Apparently I am. And what the heck, I might as well pick said fourth string quarterback to cover as a 10-point underdog. He covered in Jacksonville last week. What have I got to lose at this point?
(PS: I’m upset that the Redskins gave up on Mark Sanchez so quickly. I mean, I get that he was/is a complete disaster and Washington is desperately trying to cling to a shred of playoff hope, but I was really looking forward to betting against him every single week from here on out. The ‘Skins just couldn’t play along.)
Ravens (+4) over CHARGERS
Okay, so sometimes the NFL does give us good Saturday games. This one even has serious playoff implications for both teams. This easily makes up for the first game.
By the way, I’m taking Baltimore because the Chargers can’t be trusted at home and Lamar Jackson is riding that rookie momentum. Let’s do it.
COWBOYS (-7) over Buccaneers
I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after the Cowboys were blanked 23-0 in Indy last week. I was stunned. It had to be just a speed bump en route to winning the NFC East, which they could do with a victory over the Bucs on Sunday.
And you know what? They’re going to do it. Dallas is 6-1 straight up and 5-2 against the spread at home this season. Jerry Jones should view this game against Tampa Bay as a Christmas present from the league.
COLTS (-9.5) over Giants
Is it actually possible that the Colts have a fairly respectable defense and a fairly respectable offensive line at the same time? We might finally see what Andrew Luck is truly made of during these playoffs.
That is, if the Colts even make it to January.
Texans (+1) over EAGLES
The Texans have one job to do, and one job only: snuff out the Eagles now before we are forced to watch the Nick Foles sequel.
DOLPHINS (-3.5) over Jaguars
Here’s why I’m staying away from the Jags: they allowed Josh Johnson, who hadn’t appeared in a game since 2013, to come into their home stadium and beat them. Not just play them in a close game. BEAT them. Buying into this Jacksonville team before the season has to be one of the top 10 biggest regrets of my life.
JETS (+3) over Packers
If I’m Green Bay, I would shut down Aaron Rodgers right now. The Packers are eliminated from the playoffs, they have no coach (or at least not a good one), and their season officially ended last Sunday at Soldier Field. After something like that, what’s the point? There is nothing left to fight for in 2018. I don’t see the point of risking another broken collarbone for Rodgers.
But hey, that’s why I’m not an NFL coach.
BROWNS (-9) over Bengals
Who is ready for Baker-Hue the rematch?? It would be fitting for Hue Jackson to coach Baker Mayfield for the first half of the season, then join a rival team and get swept by him 2-0. You almost couldn’t even script it.
LIONS (+6) over Vikings
The Vikings have a new offensive coordinator, but that isn’t going to suddenly make Kirk Cousins a quarterback that can win you Super Bowl. But then again, your reigning Super Bowl MVP Is Nick Foles, so don’t take my word for anything.
Bills (+13.5) over PATRIOTS
I’m still reeling from the Josh Gordon news. There are many things in life more important than football, and I hope he is able to find peace. But man, when he was clicking, he sure was fun to watch on the field. He seemed like such a good fit with Tom Brady.
From a football standpoint, this Pats season just gets gloomier and gloomier. Gordon seemed like the one weapon Brady could really do some damage with. I’m not sure even Brady has one more miracle in him, though I would love to see if he does.
Falcons (-3) over PANTHERS
This should be a Saturday game.
Bears (-4) over NINERS
Just between you and me, I might quietly be contemplating the idea of picking the Bears to go to the Super Bowl. But don’t tell anyone I said that.
Rams (-14.5) over CARDINALS
Todd Gurley is banged up and will probably be limited on Sunday, if he even plays at all (he shouldn’t). And yet, I still can’t go against the slumping Rams as two-touchdown favorites in Arizona.
Steelers (+6) over SAINTS
We’ve seen that the Saints can be slowed down with good defense, and the Steelers played pretty solid D against the Patriots last week. Plus, the Saints are playing on a short week. I think Pittsburgh has a real chance for an upset. Regardless, this should be a great game. Why isn’t this the night game? It really should be.
Chiefs (-2.5) over SEAHAWKS
This game will tell us a lot about Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. They are battling for the top seed in the AFC, and their defense embarrassed them last Thursday against the Chargers. Even though they are 11-3, they need a good rebound performance here.
But quite honestly, there doesn’t seem to be much that Mahomes can’t do. Only a select few quarterbacks have the ability to pull miracles out of thin air, and he’s one of them. Bet against Mahomes at your own risk.
Broncos (-3) over RAIDERS
This is the primetime game the NFL gives us on Christmas Eve? Well, it looks like I might be spending quality time with the family after all.
With that being said, Merry Christmas (you filthy animal).
Last week: 3-11-1