Tuesday, December 20, 2016

NFL Says Merry Christmas

Every touchdown from Week 15

Now we're down to two games to go, and remember when thirteen teams were 1-3?  Well entering Week 16 seventeen teams (nine AFC and eight NFC) have winning records while the Bills, Colts, and Vikings are all at .500 - far deeper competitively than I suspect anyone thought would transpire way back after Week Four.   None of this of course does anything for the winless Browns or the hopeless NY Jets or for that matter the Jaguars, Rams, 49ers, or Bears.

So it goes for this weekend - an NFL Merry Christmas cavalcade of picks -

Eagles over NY Giants - The Giants are all but in the playoffs but their longtime stuggle against the Eagles is still a factor, especially after stunning the Eagles earlier this season. Philly lost a heartbreaker last week and being spoiler to the Giants is appealing for the Eagles.

Bears over Redskins - The Redskins had their destiny in their hands and failed, and now they face a Bears team showing more fight with Matt Barkley of late.

Dolphins over Bills  - The Dolphins have the playoffs in their sight and made a statement with their backup quarterback, and they face a Bills team that's lost five of its last eight games with lameduck coach Rex Ryan and perhaps lameduck starter Tyrod Taylor,

Vikings over Packers - The Packers squandered a big lead at Chicago last week and managed to grab the win, and they face a Vikings team that's lost seven of its last nine games, but has a two-game streak over the Packers heading to Lambeau.  

Titans over Jaguars - Doug Marrone takes over as Jaguars coach and has a respectful resume from his two seasons coaching the Bills; he faces a Titans team that is on the march and has won five games against teams with winning records so far this year, so it's doubtful Marrone can author the turnaround now.

Patriots over NY Jets - The Jets packed it in last week against Miami - which doesn't mean a thing given everyone goes all in to beat the Patriots.  New England though is clicking all around despite only sixteen points scored at Denver.  

Chargers over Browns - The Browns have been hopeless for a long time even with a collapsing Chargers team that blew it last week yet again.

Panthers over Falcons - The Panthers ground out an important win last week and the Falcons have the Buccaneers hard on their heels despite the loss at Dallas Sunday night.  The Falcons hammered two hapless NFC West teams - no doubt remembering all the abuse they took as a member of the NFC West - but face a sterner foe in the Panthers, plus the Falcons have been a little spotty with a 3-2 record the last five games.

Raiders over Colts  - The Colts got back on track at Minnesota to the surprise of a lot of people, but the Raiders ground out a needed win last week and are far tougher than the Colts.

Seahawks over Cardinals - It simply wasn't meant to be for the Cardinals this season and a successor to Carson Palmer now needs to become a matter of exploration.

Buccaneers over Saints - The Bucs ground out a 16-11 win over the Saints the first time around and the inconsistency of Drew Brees in general and against Jameis Winston in particular continues - Winston has won two of his first three meetings with the Saints while the Saints were one of those thirteen 1-3 teams, except they haven't responded, going only 5-5 since then.

Rams over 49ers - Both are dismal; one is worse (the Niners) so interim coach John Fassel can get his first win here.   The longer term headache remains Jared Goff, woefully incapable of handling the NFL game.

Texans over Bengals - Tom Savage is now starter and not too soon with the Titans breathing down Houston's neck.   The big question for the Bengals is not whether Marvis Lewis should be fired - it's why has AJ McCarron not replaced Andy Dalton?  Dalton has not shown evidence he can get better; McCarron has already proven he can handle playoff football.

Ravens over Steelers - A lot of people are fooling themselves into thinking the Steelers are a Superbowl-caliber squad; the reality is they've been owned by the Ravens since the 2010 season (the Ravens have won nine of the last twelve meetings), are only 9-5 with four of their losses coming against winning teams, and haven't reached 30 points scored since the loss to the Cowboys.   The Steelers haven't been a Superbowl-caliber team since they last went to the AFC-NFL Title Game and have only one playoff win since the 2010 AFC Championship Game.  

Chiefs over Broncos - The Broncos' collapse continued with the loss to the Patriots and an argument between Aqib Talib and Russell Okung after that game, to go with pathetic trash-talking from Emauel Sanders about Malcolm Butler even though Butler contained Sanders more effectively than anyone else so far.   The Chiefs are now in must-win mode while the Broncos have lost all momentum.

Lions over Cowboys - It didn't look it against the Giants as Matthew Stafford once again failed on the road against a quality opponent, but the Lions still have momentum for their first division title in nearly three decades and the Cowboys got back into the win column but are still vulnerable.   Overall Stafford's play has improved to where winning road games against quality opponents isn't necessarily impossible anymore, though he has to actually start doing it, and now.

Merry Christmas from the NFL - which means Not For Long, Jerry Glanville.

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