The first games of the month of December will be played this week. The season is quickly running away from us, as are the true contenders competing for that coveted Super Bowl trophy. I say this every week, but it is true. The season is going to be over before we know it! Nonetheless, a wise man once said to live in the present, and we have 16 games this weekend to enjoy. Who will win those games? Glad you asked. I'm your man. Let's predix some football games!
My overall record last week: 14-2
Lock of the Week record: 10-2
My overall season record: 120-56
Both teams are desperate, and usually that makes for good football. But these teams are ravaged with injuries and suspensions. The Redskins badly miss Chris Thompson. They can be grateful to squeak by the Giants like they did. As for Dallas, they are essentially out of the running. They are winless without Ezekiel Elliott, and last year's darling, Dak Prescott, has shown us that he is not who we thought he was. If you take away a good running game and offensive line, he is average. He cannot carry a team on his back and win a game like Brady or Rodgers or Wilson can. Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, is the real deal, and he's gonna cash in when it is time for the Redskins, or somebody else, to pay up.
Prediction: WSH 20, DAL 10
Quite honestly, I wrote off Atlanta by midseason. They weren't playing well. The offensive coordinator wasn't getting Julio Jones involved, Devonta Freeman has been injured, and Matt Ryan hasn't looked himself. But now they are 7-4, and every much in the running. And they have a tough test with the Vikings coming into town. They've had since Thanksgiving to rest, recover, and gameplan for the Falcons. They're playing very well on all three phases. They can run the ball, Case Keenum is balling, and the defense is elite. They have everything going their way, but the Falcons are trending at just the right time for this matchup. I honestly can't decide. This game is so good.
Prediction: MIN 23, ATL 20
The Ravens have been awful this season. They're frankly unwatchable. No fan deserves to watch that offense go to work. But because of their defense, and the best kicker there ever was, the Ravens are the favorite to land that sixth seed in the AFC, since everybody else is a mess. They welcome the Lions, who had a horrible Thanksgiving. They can't stop anybody on defense, and they're asking Matthew Stafford to be the MVP of the league, bailing them out every week. Nobody thinks about it, but without Stafford, the Lions would be among the worst teams in the league. Stafford has been that good. But against a great defense on the road like this, it just doesn't match up well for Detroit.
Prediction: DET 17, BAL 27
The Chiefs did not win a game in November. Yes, you read that right. They were 5-0, and now they're 6-5. How does that happen, especially under an Andy Reid coaching staff? No idea. Against the Bills, their offense was putrid. Terrible. If you love screens, in routes, and one, two, three yard runs, you'll love the Chiefs offense. Based on how the Chiefs are playing, I'd have to tip the Jets to win. The Jets have played good football all season. Also, Robby Anderson is quite a player. An undrafted free agent, Anderson has scored six touchdowns in the past seven games. That's insane! Josh McCown is playing well, the young defense is swarming over the ball, and they can run the ball. And with a good draft, the Jets have a bright future.
Prediction: KC 15, NYJ 23
This is a tough spot for Buffalo. This is their first matchup with the Patriots this season, so they have to play again later on when the Bills are desperate to break the longest playoff drought in American sports. Although they won last week, the Bills offense was bad. They could not convert on third down last week out of seven attempts and mustered 69 yards in the second half. And this is a horrible matchup for them, as Tom Brady is 26-3 against the Bills in his career, and he dominates them every time. There is only one way this game goes. Also, enough of the narrative that Tyrod Taylor deserves more for what he does for the Bills. I'm sorry, I know that his interception rate is very good, but there is not a stat that measures plays that could have been made because of Taylor's reluctance to give his receivers a chance to make a play. Why do you think Brady is great? He does just that.
Prediction: NE 44, BUF 24
The Titans are not as good as their record says they are. Nonetheless, in a bad AFC, Tennessee should have no problem qualifying for the playoffs. They already have seven wins, including one at Jacksonville. Their opponent is coming off of a bad loss, because of their quarterback. Man, do they miss Deshaun Watson. Tom Savage is just not the same player, or effective at that. Watching Tom Savage play while a guy like Colin Kaepernick is unemployed is quite disgusting to be honest. He's going to have a bad game this week, I'm telling you.
Prediction: HOU 19, TEN 28
I really think the Jaguars have the best defense in the league. They're just so good! If you like Madden, play as them because of their defense. But if you do, like I did, then you'll soon find out that Blake Bortles will kill you. As the Cardinals showed us last week, he is not cutting the mustard as a quarterback, and clearly, Doug Marrone has zero confidence in him. That hurts any player, when your coach doesn't believe in you. If this continues all season, the Jaguars will undoubtably be bounced early in the playoffs. But the Colts don't have the defense or the team to expose this talented Jaguars squad.
I don't want to spend too much time talking about this game, but...
John Fox has to go, as Mitchell Trubisky's performances get worse and worse every week, as does the Bears offense. Also, Jimmy Garoppolo isn't necessarily going to light it up right away, but he's gonna be the starter for the rest of the season as well as in 2018.
Prediction: SF 13, CHI 14
So apparently Aaron Rodgers is gonna return fairly soon? Great! So the Packers just have to hang in there for two or three weeks and they will be destined for the playoffs once again! Well, they played well last week only to lose in the end to Pittsburgh, which was rather uncharacteristic. They've been rather abysmal without Aaron Rodgers. I'd expect them to come back down to earth this week, but still beat the Buccaneers who aren't equipped to win in Lambeau, with or without Jameis Winston.
Prediction: TB 16, GB 26
It's the Unwatchable Bowl! Two awful teams who don't deserve to win ever again this season. For me, it's quite amazing that since the Broncos started 2-0 and looked like the 2015 Broncos but with a quarterback, they are 1-8 since, including six straight losses. I have no confidence in Denver going forward, even in this matchup. The Dolphins are much more talented, and they have a much more stable quarterback room than Denver's at the moment. I think the Dolphins go off on Denver this week, like so many teams have already this season. This is my Lock of the Week.
Prediction: DEN 22, MIA 31
The Chargers should be considered the favorite to win the AFC West based on recent form. While the Chiefs are collapsing, the Chargers are trending at the right time. Philip Rivers is playing well, they can run the ball, and their defense is playing as well as anybody this season. What a great game for them to get back to .500 this week, at home against the Browns. And one more thing: kudos to Anthony Lynn and his staff. This team started the year 0-4, and now they can be back at .500 after this week and are very much a favorite to get to the playoffs.
Prediction: CLE 12, LAC 33
I believe trap games are real, and the Cardinals played upset in their game last week. But how often does the same team play spoiler for two straight weeks? I don't see that coming again. I think the Rams win their third straight game in Arizona, and they put on a show again like they did in London back in Week 7. I was really impressed with their win over the Saints last week, which was something we haven't seen yet: a gritty win against a good team.
Prediction: LAR 27, ARZ 14
It's the Who's Been More Disappointing Bowl. These teams were a combined 23-9 last season, and are now a combined 7-15 right now. I think the Raiders win because their defense can certainly beat a Geno Smith led offense. Their roster in Week 13 has more talent than the Giants' right now, but that's mostly due to injuries. Although I'm not sure if Amari Cooper plays this week, as Crabtree is serving his suspension for that ridiculous spat with Aqib Talib last week. Enough with this gold chain crap.
Prediction: NYG 14, OAK 24
The last time these two teams played, the Saints earned their first of eight straight wins. They lost for the first time since then on Sunday, and need to win to stay atop the division. And against the Panthers offense, I like their chances. This defense shut them down back in Week 3, and they should do so again, considering how badly Cam Newton is playing right now. Also, the Saints can run on that Panthers defense without a concern for me. You have Ingram and Kamara in the backfield, and you have a Hall of Fame quarterback to win games for you through the air if you still need him. What a team, man. Saints-Pats in Super Bowl LII, book it.
Prediction: CAR 17, NO 33
This is the Eagles' biggest test of 2017. They've had an easy schedule and have played some bad teams, but this game is the real deal. Seattle is by far the toughest venue to win in, and the Falcons showed us two weeks ago that winning there can in fact be done. And frankly, I think the Eagles will do it. They match up very well against the Seahawks. Their defensive line will win the point of attack and contain Russell Wilson, and the receivers will struggle to get open on this secondary. Also, Wentz has the chance to go off on this banged up secondary of Seattle. It's gutsy, but I like Philadelphia to win in Seattle, making a statement win.
Prediction: PHI 34, SEA 16
The third straight game for the Steelers in primetime. This is pretty juicy, considering the tension and hatred between these teams. But then again, if this is a rivalry, it's pretty lopsided. I still like this for a Monday Night game: a division game between two teams that usually produce good games. And don't talk to me about Cowboys-Giants, those games are hardly ever good. Enough of that.