Sunday, December 21, 2014

NFL Picks: Week 16

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Talk
I'm back with an actual picks article for the first time this month, and as this year winds to a close, my record keeps getting worse. At this point, it's looking like I have no chance to finish the year at .500, including the playoffs. But I keep on trucking.

This week started off with a mockery of a prime time game on Thursday. As always, I made my pick on Twitter (@WilliamBotchway):
Somehow, the Jags didn't lose to Charlie Whitehurst and his powerful locks.

But wait! There were two more Thursday night games this week. Yes, NFL Network pulled out Thursday Night Football: Saturday Edition and gave us two very entertaining games.
I got the first one right as Washington won outright and Jay Gruden had to watch in pain as Robert Griffin III played very well.

The second game, however...
Colin Kaepernick played a great game for the first time in what feels like eighteen years, and the Niners still blew a 21 point lead to lose to the Chargers.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS.

Browns (+4) over PANTHERS. Johnny Manziel should be better this week, because he can't be that bad again. UPSET ALERT.

JIMMY CLAUSEN (+8.5) over Lions. I hate you Marc Trestman. I'm in the finals of three fantasy leagues, and I've been riding Jay Cutler in two of them. While his play has been spotty at times, and more bad than good as of late, he's been generally a good fantasy player all year. In one of those leagues, I have Ryan Tannehill, who had usurped Cutler in my lineup anyway, so that's fine. But, in my other league, where my opponent last week had Cam Newton and Brian Hoyer as his QBs, I picked up Mark Sanchez to block him. He ended up with josh McCown. Of course he lost. That had an adverse effect on me, however, because I dropped Sanchez earlier this week because I no longer had a use for him, only for me to be forced to go through the waiver process to get him back. Naturally, my opponent this week snatched him up and I'm starting Kyle Orton in a fantasy championship game.


On another note, I did advance to my final solely because of that monumentally irrelevant garbage time touchdown by Alshon Jeffery with the Bears down 22 with 30 seconds left. The points from Cutler and Jeffery combined to bring me back from a giant deficit and give me the narrow 1.4 point victory.

So I guess I can't totally hate the Bears.

Ravens (-5) over J.J. WATT + ??? Turns out that question mark is going to be Case Keenum over Thad Lewis and Tom Savage. Honestly, Lewis should be starting, but I don't think any of these guys are good enough to take advantage of Baltimore's depleted secondary.

DOLPHINS (-5.5) over Vikings. It's disappointing that the Dolphins will miss the playoffs this season, because they are quite good. And the same can be said about Minnesota actually. Both teams are on the upswing and can compete for their respective division crowns next season.

Falcons (+6.5) over DIVISION LEADING SAINTS. I can't believe that this game is probably going to decide a division. This is going to be such an entertaining train wreck. And unfortunately, whoever wins the NFC South is probably going to beat the Cardinals in two weeks.

JETS (+10) over Patriots. Too many points. The Jets played the Pats to a draw earlier in the year in Foxborough. I'm not laying double digits to any home team, even one of the worst in the league.

STEELERS (-3) over Chiefs. This week's "I'm going with the home team because I don't know what else to do" winner: the Pittsburgh Steelers.

BUCCANEERS (+12) over Packers. Once again, too many points for a road favorite. Pack should still win pretty comfortably.

RAMS (-6.5) over Giants. Am I laying almost a touchdown with Shaun Hill right now?

You bet!

Cue the tears when he throws three increasingly stupid picks and the Giants win by 13.

COWBOYS (-3.5) over Colts. The Cowboys are pretty clearly the better team in this game, so at home, I'm okay with laying the extra half point. But, never rule out the possibility of Dallas getting -2 wins down the stretch and finishing 8-8.

RAIDERS (+6.5) over Bills. I'm just praying that Kyle Orton is serviceable this week.

RESURRECTION OF LINDLEY (+8) over Seahawks. The Cardinals keep sneaking their way to victory despite being down to their third string quarterback, who was on the Chargers' practice squad until mid-November, and until last week hadn't thrown a pass during a regular season game since starting 4 games in 2012, and throwing for a 52% completion rate, 0 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The most important part to recognize is that he beat the Lions 38-10.

BENGALS (+3) over Broncos. The Bengals have been worse than their record suggests, especially as of late, but I'm still holding out hope. If they can win this game, they will have made a huge statement in the AFC playoffs. UPSET ALERT.

Last Week: 6-9-1

This Week: 1-2

Season: 102-119-3

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