Last week was certainly my best to date in terms of predictions on the year, so hopefully the momentum carries on through the rest of the season. It’s hard to believe, but after this week, every team in the league will have finished three quarters of their schedule. For that reason, it will be interesting to assess where teams stand at the end of this week. Right now, the majority of division races are going to come down to the wire minus the AFC East (assuming the Patriots keep doing Patriots things), the NFC East (strong division, but the Cowboys are playing too well), and the NFC West (despite the Seahawks not playing their best ball of late, they’re still three games above the Cardinals in the win column).
So while this has been an interesting year for the league and fans in terms of self assessment regarding various issues, this final stretch has the chance to be a lot of fun. At the end of the day, even though they have emerged into more, that’s what sports are supposed to be for us as fans. Here’s to a great final five weeks of the season.
Last week: 13-3, Season: 105-72
Last week against the spread: 10-6, Season: 84-93
Game of the weak: 49ers vs Bears: Along with both of these teams looking like they’re going to be picking in the top five next April, this is the only game where neither team even qualifies for the “in the hunt” graphic. I’m just anticipating the reaction from my dad (a lifelong Lions fan) once he realizes a loss to this Bears team on the road cost them the division as the Packers fall into the playoffs. Despite the records, both of these teams have been in games late so this one could actually end up being entertaining for the dozens watching in its entirety. 49ers 24 Bears (-1.5) 20
Game of the week: Giants vs Steelers: Just seeing this game on the schedule probably required half of the league office to change their underwear. Both teams needing this win for their playoff hopes, the Mara’s and the Rooney’s (so much class!!) and the inevitable Eli Manning/Ben Roethlisberger comparisons because they were both drafted in 2004 and won multiple championships. In reality, we don’t need narratives to drive this game.
The Giants have been on a tear of late winning six straight with three of those coming against the Steelers divisional foes. While impressive, that might also be an indicator that this simply is a really bad year for the AFC North. On the bright side, the Giants defense has really stepped up of late and has been able to come up big even when the offense isn’t fully in sync.
Depending on what week you see them, your view of the Steelers can vary drastically. While having the ability to beat and lose to any team is almost impressive, playing to the level of your competition isn’t a good way to go. The Giants defense will be the real key to this one as we have all seen that when the Steelers offense is rolling it’s quite a marvel to watch. While Eli Manning, Odell Beckham and company can put up points, I’m not sold they can keep up with that. Giants 23 Steelers (-6.5) 27
Chiefs 23 Falcons (-4.5) 28
Lions 27 Saints (-6.5) 24
Rams 17 Patriots (-13.5) 31
Broncos 24 Jaguars (+3.5) 16
Texans 20 Packers (-6.5) 28
Eagles 17 Bengals (-1.5) 21
Dolphins 20 Ravens (-3.5) 24
Bills 21 Raiders (-3.5) 28
Redskins 23 Cardinals (-2.5) 27
Buccaneers 20 Chargers (-4.5) 23
Panthers 21 Seahawks (-7.5) 30
Colts 23 Jets (+2.5) 26