We're almost to the finish line of NFL 2010's regular season. So far only the Patriots have clinched a playoff berth, but we could be watching a couple more teams join them this week. There's actually quite a few games worth watching this week, including the Jaguars/Colts de facto AFC South title game, Chiefs/Rams, Saints/Ravens and Jets/Steelers.
Onto the picks we go. Much like last week, nobody cheated on the Thursday Night Football picks.
San Francisco (5-8) at San Diego (7-6) - Both teams have their season on the line in the Thursday Night Football match up of the week. The Chargers have plenty of momentum coming off their thrashing of the Brodie Croyle-led Chiefs, and the 49ers, well... they're 5-8 - how much momentum can you have?
- Robbie Griffin: Chargers - Somehow this just feels like one of those games the Chargers will lose and it will vault the 49ers to the playoffs. Not betting on it, but it's how it feels.
- Maurice London: Chargers - The Chargers finally get revenge for Super Bowl 29.
- Christopher Fittz: Chargers - The beasts of the West, ladies and gentlemen.
- Liam Ponting: Chargers - Alex Smith's one game revival proves to be temporary. San Diego carries over their momentum from their domination of the Chiefs.
- Charley Code: Chargers - The AFC west is freakin awesome.
- Brett Perryman: Chargers - Norvell can't lose an important home game to San Fran, can he? Oh, he can?
- JP Starkey: Chargers - As I've said, I will never pick the 49ers again this year. Maybe ever.
Cleveland (5-8) at Cincinnati (2-11) - If you're a frustrated Cowboys fan, just look for solace in the Bengals. While Dallas has been one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL, the Bengals are right there with them. Unlike Dallas, Cincinnati has shown no signs of hope and it doesn't look like Carson Palmer is a franchise quarterback. On the other side of this game, the Browns have definitely shown signs of improvement - probably enough to have Eric Mangini keep his job.
- Griffin: Browns - Cincinnati has played close games against teams better than the Browns, so I think they could win with home field. But they're such screw ups, I doubt they will.
- London: Browns - The NFL should just cancel the Bengals.
- Fittz: Browns - May the brownest team win!
- Ponting: Bengals - Both of these teams are a mess, so I'll take the one playing at home.
- Code: Browns - Peyton hillis is the only reason this game is interesting...and Colt, my hook em hero. Oh and TO, on the TOCHO SHOW, decided to blame the coaching staff because the bengals suck at football. That's always helpful. Maybe this is an interesting game after all.
- Perryman: Browns - Interesting reversal of fortunes for these two teams: Browns have been a .500 team since the start of October, Bengals are on a double-digit losing streak.
- Starkey: Browns - I believe I also said I would not pick the Bengals again this year.
Washington (5-8) at Dallas (4-9) - The Cowboys will be looking to extract revenge on the Redskins for the embarrassing Week 1 loss. Dallas will have to beat a very, very fearsome quarterback - Rex Grossman. Mike Shanahan has benched Donovan McNabb, the prized acquisition of the off season. Jason Garrett could use the win to help his case to be the Cowboys head coach in 2011.
- Griffin: Cowboys - I'm annoyed by how irrelevant this game is for anything meaningful.
- London: Cowboys - No Patrick Peterson is making me sad. Prince Amukamara is a nice consolation prize, I guess.
- Fittz: Cowboys - If the Cowboys are just going to keep playing NFC East teams, I'm going to just keep picking them.
- Ponting: Cowboys - The Cowboys have not been playing terrible football. The Redskins have.
- Code: Cowboys - I can't believe how often I have picked the Cowboys in the 2nd half of the season. What if Jerry fired wade after that ridiculously embarrassing loss in the playoffs last season? Would the Cowboys be on their way to the Playoffs? SuperBowl?
- Perryman: Cowboys - Dallas is the better team right now, and at least we can get the taste of that ridiculous season opening loss out of our mouths.
- Starkey: Cowboys - Which Rex will have a worse Sunday: Ryan or Grossman?
Houston (5-8) at Tennessee (5-8) - The Lame Duck Coaches Bowl? I would be surprised if Gary Kubiak or Jeff Fisher hold onto their jobs beyond this year. It seems like Tennessee's owner will take Vince Young's side in that schism and, well, the Texans always underachieve - or maybe they're just never good. Also, I've said it before but I'll say it again: poor Randy Moss.
- Griffin: Titans - I'm really bored by both of these teams.
- Fittz: Titans - The Houston curse might be my favorite thing about this season.
- Ponting: Texans - Houston has to eventually catch a break.
- Code: Texans - The Texans are not a good football team, but they didn't deserve to lose ALL of their close games. Did they?
- Perryman: Texans - The "guess the crazy way the Texans will blow a win this week" game is getting pretty fun.
- Starkey: Titans - I want to see Kenny Britt and Randy Moss on the field at the same time.
Jacksonville (8-5) at Indianapolis (7-6) - Here's the Jaguars Super Bowl. If they win this game, they win the AFC South and will likely eliminate the Colts from playoff contention. Advantage Colts, though: the game is in Indianapolis. This game will likely come down to Maurice Jones-Drew versus the Colts 29th ranked run defense. We'll see what the so-called best quarterback ever Peyton Manning can do with his back up against the wall.
- Griffin: Colts - This would be one of those generational-defining games if the Jags can win it. They'd likely be taking the division, and probably ending the Colts' run of playoff appearances.
- London: Colts - Jacksonville won't beat Peyton Manning twice.
- Fittz: Colts - Peyton Manning is fine everyone, chill out.
- Ponting: Colts - Indy desperately needs this win, and I'll take them at home.
- Code: Colts - Peyton puts up great fantasy numbers this week. Colts win by 4pts. 35 - 31.
- Perryman: Colts - Seriously, Jacksonville isn't good. Neither is Indy, but, seriously, Jacksonville isn't good.
- Starkey: Jaguars - Na na na na, Na na na na, Hey hey hey, Goodbye!
Kansas City (8-5) at St. Louis (6-7) - Oh boy, it's what we've all been waiting for, the Missouri Bowl! Seriously though, this game has some pretty serious playoff implications. Both the Chiefs and the Rams would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Further, both the Chiefs and the Rams would host playoff games if the season ended today.
- Griffin: Chiefs - I know KC seems to have slipped some, but they still seem so much better than the Rams to me, I'm amazed by how popular the Rams are in this game.
- London: Rams - Sam Bradford is very good. Brodie Croyle is very bad.
- Fittz: Chiefs - The battle for Missouri. Winner gets to wear the Bible Belt.
- Ponting: Rams - Chiefs coming off of an insipid performance against the Chargers...I'll take St. Louis at home. These NFC West vs AFC West match-ups are horrific.
- Code: Chiefs - My hunch is that the home team is going to win this one, but I don't want to pick against the chefs because I like them.
- Perryman: Chiefs - Wouldyabelieve two division leaders in these two? This should actually be a good game, since it's in the dome.
- Starkey: Chiefs - Matt Cassel is a good quarterback. Also, it's much more fun to say Matt Cassel if you use the Matt Damon voice from Team America. Matt. Cassel.
Buffalo (3-10) at Miami (7-6) - So are the Dolphins better than everybody thinks or are the Jets that bad? Probably a bit of both. If Miami had a legitimate quarterback, they'd likely be a playoff team. Still, they've got a chance to make it and will look to improve to 8-6 with a win over Chan Gailey's Buffalo Bills.
- Griffin: Dolphins - I expect a beat down that reminds people the Dolphins aren't bad, they're just not particularly good.
- London: Bills - Miami needs more Patrick Cobbs. They just do.
- Fittz: Dolphins - If this were 1993, I would care.
- Ponting: Dolphins - Two teams running out the clock. Go with the one at home.
- Code: Dolphins - Miami is average, at best. Buffalo is somewhere between almost average and the 8th grade B team.
- Perryman: Dolphins - I almost wonder if the Dolphins wouldn't prefer to play this game in the snow right now.
- Starkey: Dolphins - I picked the Dolphins to make it to the AFC title game this year. Whoops.
Philadelphia (9-4) at New York (9-4) - One of the best match ups of the day. The NFC East could very well be decided in this game - especially if the Eagles win. Both teams are pretty good bets to make the playoffs, but it's definitely no certainty with the NFC South possibly sending three teams between the Bucs, Saints and Falcons.
- Griffin: Eagles - I know they're at home, but how are the Giants favored in this game? The Eagles seem like such a vastly superior team at this point.
- London: Eagles - Being at home, the Giants should win this one. I just think that the Eagles are the better team.
- Fittz: Giants -
Detroit (3-10) at Tampa Bay (8-5) - With one of either the Eagles or Giants losing, this is a game the Bucs have to win if they want to make the playoffs. It should be a relatively easy win against the Lions at home, but it's also a trap game. The Lions have played better than their record for the most part, but the Bucs have every reason not to overlook this game.
- Griffin: Buccaneers - I think all three NFC South teams are in tough spots this week, and it could set up the division. The Bucs have the easiest time of things, though, I think.
- London: Buccaneers - I actually want to watch this game. Exciting young talent on both teams.
- Fittz: Buccaneers - I'm now openly rooting for the Buccaneers to make the playoffs solely on the off chance that they wear the Bucco Bruce helmets.
- Ponting: Buccaneers - Detroit on the road against a team that needs this win...nah.
- Code: Buccaneers - Detroit has a losing record. The Bucks beat teams with losing records. I think.
- Perryman: Buccaneers - Your Tampa Bay Bucs could be back in a playoff spot after this week.
- Starkey: Buccaneers - I'm tempted to take the Lions.
Arizona (4-9) at Carolina (1-12) - Ugliest game of the year? If you enjoy watching inept quarterbacks, tune in!
- Griffin: Panthers - Blech.
- London: Cardinals - The Panthers drafted 2 quarterbacks last year, they both suck.
- Fittz: Cardinals - The Unwatchable Game.
- Ponting: Panthers - Two teams running out the clock. Go with the one at home.
- Code: Cardinals - Awful.
- Perryman: Cardinals - I had hoped to not pick either of these teams again this season.
- Starkey: Cardinals - Only because the St. Louis Cardinals are my favorite MLB team.
New Orleans (10-3) at Baltimore (9-4) - Possibly the best game of the week. Drew Brees leads his high-powered Saints offense into Baltimore to take on Ray Lewis'
murdering tough defense. Both teams would still be in the playoffs with a loss if the season ended after this week, but if either team wants a chance to win their division and earn a first round bye, they need to win.
- Griffin: Ravens - Tough game, probably the hardest for me to pick this week. I think the Saints are the better team, but the Ravens are just close enough to be favored at home. Barely.
- London: Ravens - Home team gets the nod in this possible Super Bowl preview.
- Fittz: Saints - This looks like the third option you'd draw out of a hat for a foreshadowed Super Bowl match up.
- Ponting: Ravens - Best match-up of the week. I'll go with Baltimore out-muscling the Saints at home.
- Code: Ravens - Baltimore seems to find a way to win most weeks.
- Perryman: Ravens - I'm not that impressed with the Ravens, but they don't want to fool around and let a SD or Indy sneak up on them for a wild card spot. They need this one at home.
- Starkey: Saints - I think the Saints are going to the Super Bowl again. This time they lose, though.
Atlanta (11-2) at Seattle (6-7) - Pete Carroll's season might be riding on this game. Then again, eight wins might actually win the NFC West. They'll face a tough test when Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White head into Seattle. The Falcons will almost certainly make the playoffs no matter what, but if they want to keep the division crown and the No. 1 seed, this is a game they need to win.
- Griffin: Falcons - Like the Bucs, I've got Atlanta winning, but I think it's a more losable situation than it's given credit. For a team whose luck has to catch up to them sometime, a game against a mediocre team with a great homefield is a trap.
- London: Falcons - The Seahawks are a mess, the Falcons are not.
- Fittz: Falcons - A possible playoff preview! Oh. :(
- Ponting: Falcons - Atlanta's playing the best football in the NFC. The Seahawks are...not good.
- Code: Falcons - I think we should move the Seahawks to Oklahoma City too.
- Perryman: Falcons - I'd call this a little tester for Atlanta, but this is a team that was blown out by the 49ers last week. Forty points to the Niners? Come on.
- Starkey: Falcons - I've really no interest in this game.
Denver (3-10) at Oakland (6-7) - Somebody make sure Thom Brennaman stays alive on Sunday: Tim Tebow is starting at quarterback for the Broncos. It's fitting less that he's making his first career NFL start less than a week away from Jesus' observed birthday, isn't it? If Oakland wins this game, they'll move to 5-0 in the division - and still have almost no hope of making the playoffs.
- Griffin: Raiders - Just start Tebow. His failure would be delicious.
- London: Raiders - The Raiders are good again. Wait... What? That can't be right.
- Fittz: Raiders - Oakland continues pushing the pick they owe the Patriots for Richard Seymour further down the board.
- Ponting: Raiders - Denver's just a shambles right now.
- Code: Broncos - I take it back, Arizona v. Carolina...this one is pretty sucky too.
- Perryman: Raiders - Good Raiders will be back. I'm also rooting for them to go 6-0 in division and miss the playoffs.
- Starkey: Broncos - Tim Tebow won my very scientific poll last week over the Gators' Cheerleaders. That means he'll win this game, right?
New York (9-4) at Pittsburgh (10-3) - How the mighty have fallen. Two weeks ago, Rex Ryan was telling everybody that the Jets were the best team in the NFL. This week, will head into Pittsburgh needing a win and looking to simply avoid being embarrassed for a third consecutive week. The Steelers look to move one win closer to a first-round bye with a win over Sanchize and the Jets.
- Griffin: Steelers - I hate this game because I want both teams to be embarrassed.
- London: Steelers - Sanchize fail is awesome.
- Fittz: Steelers - This might be the toughest game to pick all year. I hate Pittsburgh but I love watching Rex Ryan fail.
- Ponting: Steelers - The Jets have looked terrible recently and playing the Steelers on the road isn't going to solve any problems.
- Code: Steelers - My prediction: Steelers win. Then Sanchize asks Roethlisburger to sign a terrible towel at the 50 yard line after the game.
- Perryman: Steelers - Sanchize!
- Starkey: Jets - I think both teams kind of suck to be honest, but the Jets come out with a win somehow.
Green Bay (8-5) at New England (11-2) - It's like Mortal Kombat right now for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick: the screen is flashing "FINISH THEM." Green Bay's season is likely on the line in this game and in the hands of Matt Flynn. Aaron Rodgers will not start, turning a one dimensional offense into a zero dimensional offense against the hottest team in the league. Luckily for Green Bay, the forecast no longer calls for snow in Foxboro.
- Griffin: Patriots - This looks like a beat down. I wouldn't have expected that a few weeks ago, but I can't think of any game that looks more lpsided on paper.
- London: Patriots - Remember how young Favre looked in that Super Bowl? I wonder if that was the day he realized that he was destined to text pictures of his penis to people.
- Fittz: Patriots - The Packers likely aren't going to make the playoffs but a 7-9 NFC West team could. What?
- Ponting: Patriots - Rodgers hasn't practiced all week and is highly questionable for the game. Even if he ends up starting, I still don't think they beat the Pats.
- Code: Patriots - I bet Aaron Rogers doesn't play this week which means GB will lose.
- Perryman: Patriots - This could be fun if Aaron Rodgers plays, but I'm not sure that it will be close in either case.
- Starkey: Patriots - MVP! MVP! MVP!
Chicago (9-4) at Minnesota (5-8) - Brett Favre's consecutive games missed streak will be at two after Monday night. We'll see if the Bears and Jay Cutler can rebound from the embarrassment at the hands of the Patriots last Sunday. Since the Baggy Dome is still out of commission, this game will be played outdoors at TCF Bank Stadium. Joe Webb will get the nod at quarterback for the Vikings.
- Griffin: Bears - Da Bears.
- London: Bears - Who is Joe Webb?
- Fittz: Vikings -