Happy New Year!!! And the gift for us on New Year's Day is the final week of the NFL regular season, as we settle the rest of the NFL playoff picture. Let's get started.
GREEN BAY (+6) over Detroit
For some reason, I'm not sold that the Packers won't beat the Lions. I know Detroit has huge stakes in terms of who they get to play (win and you play the flawed NFC East winner, lose and you will lose in New Orleans), but I think Green Bay decides to play (perhaps from the Lions pissing off the Packers at some point) and if they play, they win. Wait, no Aaron Rodgers today? Oh, then...
Detroit (-6) over GREEN BAY
San Francisco (-11) over ST. LOUIS
Niners have everything to play for with a bye and playing Saints at home instead of in the Superdome. Rams will lose by winning (even though a loss guarantees nothing in terms of 1st pick in the draft).
Jets (+3) over MIAMI
If Reggie Bush was playing, I'm taking the Dolphins. He's not, so I have the Jets avoid eliminating themselves.
Tennessee (-1) over HOUSTON
Too bad for the Jets that the Titans will win in Houston and eliminate them. No confidence in the Texans to win this game, and an easy team to pick against in the wild card round.
Chicago (+2) over MINNESOTA
NEW ENGLAND (-10.5) over Buffalo
Tom Brady will play and the Patriots always seem to crush AFC East teams in the second meeting after a loss in the first one. Plus, it locks up home-field for the Pats in the playoffs, so there is a reason to show up.
Carolina (+8) over NEW ORLEANS
Only because I think the Niners win and I fear a back-door cover by Cam Newton and company to risk laying eight points. Otherwise, this is an easy Saints pick.
PHILADELPHIA (-9) over Washington
Watching the preview of the Winter Classic, Deb Placey mentions this game as part of the big weekend in Philly. No, this game means nothing. Which means the Eagles will romp. And Philly's attention will move to Citizens Bank Park for Monday.
Indianapolis (+3.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Something tells me that the Colts are going to blow the 1st pick in the draft. Besides, the Jaguars have been almost the worst team in football in the last month (ahead of the Bucs, who they crushed).
ATLANTA (-10.5) over Tampa Bay
Even if this means nothing the Falcons, the Bucs have been so bad in the last two months that the Falcons reserves will have no trouble. End of the Raheem Morris era tomorrow. Falcons-Saints for a third time next week, who has the best chance to win in New Orleans among anyone in the NFC.
CINCINNATI (+3) over Baltimore
Baltimore is capable of being the best team in the AFC, except they don't travel well. And with a chance to clinch a bye, the Bengals come up big to clinch the 6th seed and matchup with Houston. Leading to...
Pittsburgh (-7) over CLEVELAND
The Steelers trouncing the Browns and getting the AFC North and the first-round bye.
Kansas City (+3.5) over DENVER
Kyle Orton's revenge!!!! To be fair, it'll be the Chiefs defense who will stop the Broncos and Tebow, and lose three in a row to end the year.
OAKLAND (-3) over San Diego
Raiders take care of business to win the AFC West, and will host the Ravens next weekend in a rematch of the 2000 AFC Championship game.
ARIZONA (-3) over Seattle
What could have been if either team won last week?
GIANTS (-3) over Dallas
Can't pick against the Giants in the biggest game in MetLife Stadium history, as well as the biggest Giants game since the 2008 Eagles-Giants playoff game.
Last week: 9-7
Season record: 120-109-10