“This is the end. My only friend, the end.”
– The Doors
“That’s all, folks!”
– Porky Pig
That’s all she wrote, people.
I e-mailed KP earlier this week to congratulate him on his victory. While several games on the final Sunday of the season will determine playoff seeding, the winner of our season-long pick ‘em is already determined.
After a strong Week 16 in which he nailed four of five games correctly, KP took a commanding lead, one which can’t be bested unless he plays this week, which I doubt he’ll do. This is why playoff teams bench their starters in Week 17. No sense playing ‘em if victory is ensured.
Here are your current standings:
Dr Laura: 14
Captain White Belt: 13
Kid Sheraton: 6
Sauze Bauze: -19
Deacon Blues: -25
While our newly crowned champion lines up for his victory formation, I’m still going to make picks this week because a) I’m stubborn and b) I’m convinced I can finish this thing in the positive.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you for participating in this year’s contest. God willing, we’ll be back next year to do it all again. Also, a very special thank you to both KP and J-Dub for helping me run this thing. Theirs are sister sites run by guys who have nothing better to do than kvetch about sports. They are definitely worth a read and a comment if you’re ever so inclined. I’d also like to thank my lovely accountant for helping me make sure the numbers were only sometimes screwed up.
Now, for this week’s lines and final picks. Here goes nothing.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (Giants – 6)
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs -13.5)
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Saints – 7)
New York Jets at New England Patriots (Patriots -13.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (Redskins +7)
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (Packers -8)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (Texans -6.5)
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (Ravens -6)
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Buccaneers +1.5)
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (Bills -3.5)
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Titans +3.5)
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (Steelers -14.5)
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Vikings -5.5)
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos (Broncos +6.5)
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks -13.5)
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (Rams -10)
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-3.5) for FIVE CONFIDENCE POINTS
That was a disappointing home loss for the Dolphins last week, crapping the bed against the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. This week, they travel to Buffalo and you can’t tell me they’ll be happy about leaving the Sunshine State to finish their season in the snow. The Dolphins will be playing to finish the season at .500 but that’s hardly inspiration to wake up and play in freezing cold weather. While the Bills have been pretty bad themselves, at least they know who their starting quarterback will be and appear to be headed in the right direction. Miami can’t say the same, proving yet again that they are not ready for prime time. They’ll be reminded of that this weekend when they lose in Buffalo. Bills cover the three-and-a-half.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5) for FOUR CONFIDENCE POINTS
Since I quoted the Doors earlier in this segment, I thought about quoting the Grateful Dead here in the picks section. I’d like to say what a long strange trip it’s been for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but that would be giving this team too much credit. If you’ve been reading these posts and others this season, you know I’m nowhere close to doing that. After a brilliant, flash in the pan start behind back up quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bucs came out flat the rest of the season. They lost seven of their next eight and three of their last five. This team needs a cold hard look in the mirror this off-season with question marks at virtually every position, not only on the field but in the front office. Another team that has grossly underachieved this season has been the Atlanta Falcons. In an otherwise meaningless final Sunday of the 2018 season, the Falcons will travel to Tampa to see which team will be the worst in the NFC South. As much as I’ve complained about the Bucs this season, I think they have enough to get this thing done. There are a lot of players vying for jobs on this roster next season so they’ll play hard. And as much as Bucs’ fans have suffered yet again, I think the home team will give it their all. Heck, this could be Jameis Winston’s last game as a Buccaneer. Expect a shootout as the Bucs win at home.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+3.5) for THREE CONFIDENCE POINTS
You’re the owner, coach or player on any NFL team. If I told you that I’d give you a Week 17 opportunity to play at home, at night, in front of your rabid, adoring fans and all you needed was to win that game to make it into the playoffs, you’d jump at the chance. That’s what the Titans have in front of them this Sunday night. One home game for all the marbles. Unfortunately, they’re playing against their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, who have put together an impressive season of their own. Rumors of Andrew Luck’s demise were grossly premature. The Colts are actually the favorite in this game, laying three-and-a-half. I thought I saw this line open at pick. Either I read that line wrong or there is some heavy money being bet on Indy. Someone must think Mariota’s injury is worse than the Titans are letting on. Oh, waiter, can I have your finest helping of Toradol? I really like the hook in this game. While I’m not convinced the Titans will win, I doubt they’ll roll over. A home team looking to make it in, getting points at home on a Sunday night? I just have to take the three-and-a-half here.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.5) for TWO CONFIDENCE POINTS
Does anyone have the visual of Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin, swashbuckling away as his team goes down like a sinking ship? The Steelers have lost four of their last five and found themselves a Ravens win away from missing the playoffs entirely. In retrospect, with all the LeVeon Bell drama, perhaps this wasn’t all that hard to predict. But technically, they are still alive. And they have to be pissed. This week, they’re hosting the Cincinnati Bengals and laying two touchdowns. While they’re dismantling the Bengals, which by all intents and purposes they should do, they’ll also be scoreboard watching as the Ravens-Browns game also goes off at 1 o’clock. The only thing that concerns me is the Steelers giving up in this game if they see the Ravens game get out of reach. I can only assume Tomlin will have this team coached up enough with enough pride to finish strong. They will… and they’ll cover.
Cleveland Browns (+6) at Baltimore Ravens for ONE CONFIDENCE POINT
Speaking of Ravens-Browns, this Sunday will be Baker Mayfield’s first NFL experience with spoiling. All the Ravens have to do to make the playoffs is win at home against the Browns. In years past, this game would have been an afterthought. With this year’s Browns, not so much. Bakers and his boys would like nothing more than to go into Baltimore and spoil their season. A win also means the Browns will finish the season above .500. That hasn’t happened since 2007. Baker Mayfield has shown us in season one that he has no allegiances to anyone outside his locker room and especially not to those within his own division. This week, they’ll be getting six points and you can be assured they will play hard until the final second. Although I’ve been wrong on the Ravens every game that Lamar Jackson has started, the law of averages is in my favor. Every Steelers fan in the world is a huge Browns fan (gulp!) this Sunday. The Browns might not win but they’ll certainly give it their all. I’ll take the Browns plus the points to give every Steelers fan reading this one last glimpse of hope.
And now, a few words from our champion…
The Chump is right. There’s no reason to pick this week. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I’ll be smart and just enjoy the victory. I’ll bathe in it like it’s a vat of top-notch craft beer.
As for my “five confidence picks”, nothing to see here. I’ll pick every game at TWHS, just for ____s and giggles.
THIS SPACE FOR RENT.
It has been an honor. I always enjoy the time I spend collaborating with the SportsChump and J-Dubs. I enjoy talking sports with all of you and hope that some of you will stop by The Wife Hates Sports and talk sports with me. If not sports, then pop culture… or marriage. There’s more to come at TWHS in 2019 – and I hope you will be a part of it.
KP (The Wife Hates Sports)