Would you look at that, I wasn't awful last week. After going 11-5, my year long goal of going .500 is within reach. It's been a long, bumpy road, but now, there is at least some hope. Will I achieve my goal? Probably not, but will I still act like I think I can? Most certainly. I'm not going down without a fight, so, for the last time this season, it's time to jump into the picks.
CURRENT RECORD: 117 - 123 - 0
MIAMI DOLPHINS @ BUFFALO BILLS (-3.5)
PICK: BILLS (-3.5)
This is extremely simple. The Dolphins don't want to play this weekend. They're leaving Miami, where it's never below 60 degrees, and are heading north to possibly the coldest place known to man. There will be approximately 3 fans in attendance, while the rest of the stands are going to be occupied by drunken 30 year olds whose wives are frantically searching for their "missing" folding tables. If there's someone I trust in week 17, it's Josh Allen, so I love this pick.
DETROIT LIONS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS (-8.5)
PICK: LIONS (+8.5)
Honestly I have no clue what's going to happen in this game. Not even an inkling. The Packers almost lost to the Jets last week while the Lions got spanked with a Skol clap. Detroit hasn't scored 20 points in over a month, so I don't expect them to keep up with ARod and the boys, but 8.5 is way to much to give the cheeseheads. There's pride on the line here in a divisional game, so I think Staff will leave 2018 showing the world he isn't a complete and utter bum and keep it close.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ HOUSTON TEXANS (-6.5)
PICK: TEXANS (-6.5)
The Jags have NOTHING to play for. If they win, they're losing out on a primo draft pick, and if they lose, nobody will be surprised. They're more fraudulent than Frank Abagnale Jr., while, on the other side of the ball, we have the,Texans, who still have a shot at the 2nd seed. They aren't going to let up at all in this one as they attempt to get a bye and homefield for the playoffs. Sure, Blake Bortles (the gawd) may be under center, so there could be a little magic, but certainly not enough to keep it within a TD. Texans by a million.
NEW YORK JETS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-13.5)
PICK: JETS (+13.5)
Believe it or not, the Jets haven't been bad recently. Over their last 4 weeks, they've either lost by 7 or less points, or ended up leaving the game with a dub. 5 weeks ago, though, they faced the Pats, in New York, and lost by 14, but they had McCown at the helm. If Darnold continues his recent dominance, he'll be a huge upgrade over Josh, and could even be the best QB in this game. I don't think they'll walk out of Gillette with a win, but I have faith in them keeping it within 2 TDs against division rivals who look to be on death's doorstep.
CAROLINA PANTHERS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-8.5)
PICK: SAINTS (-8.5)
The Saints already locked up the 1 seed, so guys like Brees and Kamara won't be out there on Sunday, but at this point, I trust New Orleans' backups more than whatever is left in Carolina. The Panthers are down to their 3rd string QB, who I don't even know the name of (I'm not going to waste my time trying to find out), while the Saints will be rolling out Big Dick Bridgewater. Teddy B is probably better than half the starters in the NFL anyways, and although he hasn't played this year, I'm sure learning from Drew Brees for 16 weeks will work to his benefit. The only reason I'm somewhat apprehensive is because of how much NOLA is favored by while sporting a backup QB, but if there's one thing I know about Bridgewater, it's that when he sees a big spread, he hammers it (nice).
DALLAS COWBOYS @ NEW YORK GIANTS (-6.5)
PICK: COWBOYS (+6.5)
The big question mark about this game is whether or not Dallas will roll out their starters. It would make sense if they didn't because they locked up the 4th seed, but the Cowboys' front office isn't known for their brains. If Dak, Zeke, Cooper, and all the others play, there's no chance the Giants win by a TD. If they sit, though, it's certainly possible that the G-Men try to assert their dominance against division rivals, even if everybody on the field are undrafted free agents. Until we know for sure that the starters are playing, I'd keep my distance with this one.
ATLANTA FALCONS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-1.5)
PICK: FALCONS (+1.5)
Both teams are out of the playoff picture, and neither have shown any consistency all season long. This is why week 17 is so tough. We don't know if either side just wants to pull their starters in the 3rd quarter to see what kind of depth they have, or if they want to make a statement and play as if their playoff hopes were on the line. The only reason I'm rolling with the dirty birds is because I think they're less of a shitshow, and if this game becomes a shootout, which it very well may, I trust Matty Ice a whole hell of a lot more than Crableg Winston.
CLEVELAND BROWNS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS (-6.5)
PICK: BROWNS (+6.5)
This is the LOCK OF 2018. I absolutely love this pick. The Ravens are on the brink of a playoff birth; if they win, they're in, and if they lose and Pittsburgh wins, they're out. Because of this, you'd think the Ravens would dominate in this spot, especially at home, but there's just one problem: Baker is is danger mode. The Browns have won 4 of their last 5, including two games where they clowned Hue Jackson, and although they can't make the playoffs, they're out there proving they aren't hot garbage. Sure, on the other side the Ravens won 5 of their last 6, but in 2 of their last 3 they won in games where they were underdogs and had to fight for 60 minutes (or more) against KC and the Chargers. It may sound foolish to say, but I'm not sure they have much left in the tank. Their defense is legit, I get that, but there's something about Mayfield that sparks confidence in this pick. Bet the house, the car, or even your life savings on Cleveland, you won't be disappointed.
OAKLAND RAIDERS @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-13.5)
PICK: RAIDERS (+13.5)
The last time these two teams played, the Raiders lost by only a 7 spot and it was close all game long. Now, was this because the Raiders are #good or because the Chiefs are fraudulent? Well, let me just say this, you'll NEVER see me say the Raiders are good. As for the Chiefs, they aren't frauds, but they've lost 3 of their last 5 and haven't won by more than 13.5 points since Week 10. Their defense is a real liability, so much so that their offense hasn't been able to make up for it recently, dropping their last two games. In these losses, though, they played two playoff teams, something the Raiders aren't even close to identifying as. Despite this, I'm rocking with Jon Gruden...as I'm writing this I realize that there's no reason for me to side with Chucky, but whatever, I'm sticking with it.
CHICAGO BEARS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-4.5)
PICK: BEARS (+4.5)
The Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot and are at home, so they'll put up a good performance, but will it be enough to edge out Chicago? If the Bears win, they'll get the 2 seed, which is much better than getting the 3 and playing either the Seahawks/Vikings next week. Both the Vikings and Bears boast elite defenses, and although Minnesota may have more offensive talent, I'd give the edge to the Bears. On paper, they're very similar, but Chicago has proven to dominate all year, a trend which I would expect to continue come Sunday. Give me Da Bears as underdogs in a divisional game to close out the regular szn.
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-14.5)
PICK: STEELERS (-14.5)
The Steelers need to win (and have the Ravens lose) to make the playoffs, and against the lowly Bengals, this should be no issue. Obviously, the elephant in the room, other than Big Ben, is the spread. 14.5 points? I hate siding with this big of favorites, especially if it's a divisional game, but Cincy is really just that bad. I don't see how they score more than 17 points, and Pitt shouldn't have an issue dropping a light 30. Since it's such a big game for them, I don't see them fooling around, so if they get up big, they'll do their best to pile on to ensure the dub. Would I be surprised if Mike Tomlin shits the bed and they edge out the Bengals by 3? No, but it's far more likely that the dynamic duo of Hue Jackson and Marvin Lewis will outshine Tomlin in terms of terrible decisions and lack of ineptitude this Sunday.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-6.5) @ WASHINGTON REDSKINS
PICK: EAGLES (-6.5)
'Ol Saint Nick is in big dicko mode. I feel bad for Washington, like seriously. They're on their 4th QB, they released one of their better defensive pieces because he was talking shit about the team, and two separate players, Alex Smith and Derrius Guice, are dealing with complications following their respective surgeries. What is this, the Civil War? Maybe this is some sort of elaborate karma for their problematic mascot, who knows. On top of all this, now they get Foles, who is HOT. Once BDN (you can figure out what that acronym means) starts rolling, there's really no stopping him. 6.5? Are you kidding me? Nick would be ashamed if he won by anything less than 14. Let's just hope the Skins leave this one healthy.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-6.5) @ DENVER BRONCOS
PICK: CHARGERS (-6.5)
If the Chiefs lose, the Chargers have a shot at the one seed. If the Chiefs win, they're the 5th seed. With how the Broncos have looked lately, they should have no issues leaving Mile High with a W, even if they give Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon some time off during the game, so the Chargers' fate lies in Jon Gruden's hands...great. As always, I'm going to side with the Chargers even if I don't think they'll win, but in this spot, even my unbiased pick is the boys in blue and gold.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ LOS ANGELES RAMS (-9.5)
PICK: 49ERS (+9.5)
Hey Rams, you think you're tough because you kicked the shit out of the Cardinals? News flash pal, they blow, and I'm not so sure you guys don't, either. Jared Goff? Fraud city. Nick Mullens? GOAT. Hotel? Trivago. The 9ers have played extremely well recently, beating Seattle and giving the Bears a run for their money last week while the Rams have lost 2 of their last 3. In my extremely humble opinion, 9.5 is way too much to give to the Rams at this point, even against the 9ers, who, on paper, don't look like they have any sort of talent on either side of the ball.
ARIZONA CARDINALS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-13.5)
PICK: SEAHAWKS (-13.5)
I'm keeping this short and sweet. The Cardinals have screwed me over one too many times as 13+ point dogs. I choose them EVERY time, and week in and week out I look like a fool. In Week 17, I say no more to this blasphemy. Give me Seattle or give me death.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-2.5) @ TENNESSEE TITANS
PICK: TITANS (+2.5)
This is a classic reverse jinx. I HATE the Titans, which is odd, because I care very little about them. I don't know what it is, maybe it's how they play, or why they play. Either way, I despise picking them, and when I saw this line, knowing the winner would advance to the playoffs, I immediately wanted to side with Indy, but then I stopped for a second and realized something important: would there be any better way to cap the 2018 season than me losing my final selection picking against a team I want no part of? In that moment, there was some sort of clarity. Did I outsmart my brain and screw over Andrew Luck and Indy with a classic curse? Yes, yes I did. I'm leaving 2018 with a bang, and if that means picking the Titans as home dogs, then so be it.