Week 14 was a rough one for my predictions, but hopefully as the playoffs get closer I’ll be able to get back on track. With two games on Saturday, we as fans will now have football in our lives for the next three days, and it’s a great time to be a fan. To this point, only two playoff spots (and two division titles) have been claimed so there is certainly a lot on the line for teams who see themselves as playoff contenders.
Last week: 9-7, Season: 132-76
Last week against the spread: 5-11, Season: 103-105
Game of the weak: Cardinals vs Redskins: This matchup is the only one this upcoming weekend that doesn’t feature a team vying for a playoff spot. After a 2016 where they were hit hard by injuries, the Cardinals had it happen again in 2017. In most years, sitting at 6-7 they would have a slim chance of the postseason if they won out, but the NFC is just too deep this season. They could use this game to further evaluate Blaine Gabbert’s future with the franchise.
Like the Cardinals, the Redskins have also been decimated by injuries and as a result have dropped four of their last five games. At one point or another, the Redskins have to decide what they want to do with Kirk Cousins. With no immediate answer that would be better, the franchise if they want to remain competitive the next few years could have no choice but to offer what he’d get on the open market. Cousins may not be a superstar quarterback, but he’s certainly a serviceable option in a league without much of a middle ground at the position. Cardinals 17 Redskins (-4.5) 20
Game of the week: Patriots vs Steelers: As the game that could ultimately decide the one seed in the AFC, I didn’t have much of a choice with this one. The Patriots come in off a surprising Monday night loss which the Dolphins clearly were waiting all season for, but that usually bodes well for them. In today’s social media climate, we love instant reactions and many can be over the top. Sure Tom Brady and the Patriots offense struggled, but writing them off after one game just gives outlets like “Old Takes Exposed” that much more material for when they bounce back.
The Steeler offense has always seemed to perform better at home, and it’s no coincidence the passing attack has really clicked with three of their last four games in Heinz Field. Antonio Brown is producing at a historic rate, and with Le’Veon Bell also seeing so much volume it will be interesting to see who Bill Belichick and company key in on eliminating from the offense as both see such a high volume of touches. Overall I feel the loss of Ryan Shazier could be too much to overcome for the Steelers on defense. Between the running backs catching passes out of the backfield and Rob Gronkowski returning, the Patriots will look to capitalize on opportunities over the middle of the field. Patriots 31 Steelers (+3.5) 27
Bears 20 Lions (-5.5) 24
Chargers 26 Chiefs (+1.5) 23
Dolphins 17 Bills (-3.5) 21
Ravens 24 Browns (+7.5) 16
Bengals 14 Vikings (-10.5) 26
Jets 13 Saints (-16.5) 30
Eagles 23 Giants (+7.5) 16
Packers 24 Panthers (-3.5) 26
Texans 14 Jaguars (-11.5) 27
Rams 24 Seahawks (-2.5) 28
Titans 20 49ers (-2.5) 23
Cowboys 26 Raiders (+3.5) 21
Falcons 28 Buccaneers (+6.5) 21