Christmas Eve - Thursday, December 24th
Chargers (4-10) vs. Raiders (6-8) - NFL Network, 8:25
The Raiders didn't play terribly on Sunday against the Packers, but they also didn't win the game and thus their playoff hopes have fully died. That said, they have a legitimate chance at getting to .500 and that would be a nice accomplishment for a club currently amidst the rebuilding process. And hey, we could call this the Carson Bowl!
Raiders 20 Chargers 10
Saturday, December 26th
Washington (7-7) vs. Eagles (6-8) - NFL Network, 8:25
Washington looked good on Sunday as they opened up what may be a commanding one-game lead in the NFC East as both the Eagles and the Giants loss. But even as they did win their last road game, it is still a bad team on the road and I think that Chip Kelly can dial up enough action to pull an upset and let the division be decided in the season finale.
Philadelphia 28 Washington 26
Sunday, December 27th
Patriots (12-2) vs. Jets (9-5) - CBS, 1:00
The Jets need to win this game if they want to go to playoffs, barring some assortment of shenanigans. They do come in having won four games in a row but it's not like they've faced a murderer's row of competition during that timeframe (Miami, New York, Tennessee and Dallas) and they didn't look good in taking on the garbage Cowboys on Saturday night. Their playoff hopes will effectively die here.
Patriots 31 Jets 24
Texans (7-7) vs. Titans (3-11) - CBS, 1:00
The Texans are now in command of the AFC South even as they sort through a quarterback situation the equivalent of a crap souffle with Brian Hoyer still in the concussion protocol and a hurt T.J. Yates giving way to America's Brandon Weeden as the other option. And yes, this is a team poised to get o the playoffs. Fortunately, Tennessee is not any good at all and will be starting Zach Mettenberger so Houston will be able to move closer to the divisional crown with a close win here.
Texans 17 Titans 13
Browns (3-11) vs. Chiefs (9-5) - CBS, 1:00
I may have still had a mustache the last time the Chiefs lost, all the way back in October. Granted, they haven't beaten too many good teams in that stretch save for wins against Pittsburgh and at Denver, but those games still count the same on the left side. Now they get to take on this scrub Cleveland team and that win streak will only continue.
Chiefs 23 Browns 9
Colts (6-8) vs. Dolphins (5-9) - Fox, 1:00
Matt Hasselbeck himself says he basically has nothing left but the team is expecting him to start this Sunday against the Dolphins over the journeyman's journeyman in Charlie Whitehurst. Their playoff hopes are just about gone (although not completely gone) but at least this week they get to take on a bad Miami team with nothing to play for.
Colts 16 Dolphins 12
49ers (4-10) vs. Lions (5-9) - Fox, 1:00
Cincinnati is a pretty good club but still, if you struggle to do much of anything against a quarterback making his first career start in AJ McCarron, you are a bad team. But again, we already knew that the 49ers were garbage and they will show that once again this week. Detroit showed some offensive life in a road victory in New Orleans and they will show more of that here.
Lions 28 49ers 15
Cowboys (4-10) vs. Bills (6-8) - Fox, 1:00
Remember when we thought that Rex Ryan was a good coach? Remember when he was going to change the culture with the Bills? So much of any and all of that as Buffalo will be sitting at home once again this postseason. The defense has been a huge disappointment and the team's effort seems to vary on a weekly basis. On the positive side, Dallas is awful and they've got a quarterback making his first ever start in Kellen Moore. Who doesn't love falling backwards into wins?
Bills 12 Cowboys 6
Bears (5-9) vs. Buccaneers (6-8) - Fox, 1:00
After that road victory during the Brett Favre game on Thanksgiving, the Bears have looked bad in their three games since and have lost all three as a result. Tampa Bay has lost their last two after briefly being in playoff contention but I do think that not only are they the better club and that for them, aiming towards a potential .500 finish is something they will strive for now.
Buccaneers 24 Bears 20
Panthers (14-0) vs. Falcons (7-7) - Fox, 1:00
It is important to note that in their last two road games, the Panthers have had to beat mediocre teams (New Orleans and the NYG) with field goals at the horn. So maybe there is some hope for the Falcons just yet in this game. Also, the Panthers won't be able to try to intimidate Roddy White with a bat like clowns again (although they could still call him homophobic slurs), so there's that. So maybe there's hope? Nope, didn't think so either.
Panthers 35 Falcons 14
Steelers (9-5) vs. Ravens (4-10) - CBS, 1:00
Pittsburgh is a big favorite in this contest for some pretty obvious reasons. First off, they are rolling now with three straight wins (with the last two coming against two of the best teams in the conference) and Baltimore is not only bad but they are also hobbled. Sometimes, these picks are just too easy.
Steelers 34 Ravens 17
Jaguars (5-9) vs. Saints (5-9) - CBS, 4:05
Somehow, the Jaguars lost to the Falcons at home this past Sunday but it seems like every time we think that the team may be making some progress, they drop a stinker like this one. Normally, I wouldn't be sure what to expect out of them this week but since Drew Brees is hurt and hobbled, I like the road team here.
Jaguars 23 Saints 21
Rams (6-8) vs. Seahawks (9-5) - Fox, 4:25
St. Louis comes into this game having two straight in a row but does anybody think that a team quarterbacked by the iconic Case Keenum will be able to go into Seattle and upset a team that has seven out of their last ten? That's right, the Seahawks are my Lock of the Week.
Seahawks 21 Rams 6
Packers (10-4) vs. Cardinals (12-2) - Fox, 4:25
The Packers are returning to the Playoffs once again and are poised to lay claim to the division but a win here would certainly help their cause. However, I'm not seeing it. First off, the Packers really haven't have looked all that great even in their recent wins. Second, the Cardinals are kicking ass and taking a lot of names of late as they gear up for the playoffs. You can't ever count out Aaron Rodgers but this'll be a tough one for the Pack.
Cardinals 35 Packers 30
Giants (6-8) vs. Vikings (9-5) - NBC, 8:30
We all know that Josh Norman is guilty of acting like a jackass on Sunday but even then, that still doesn't excuse Odell Beckham Jr.'s disgraceful and idiotic behavior this past Sunday (or the outrageous part that a cowardly Tom Coughlin didn't bench him or that the refs didn't eject him). Now he got himself suspended and has helped effectively kill his team's already-slim playoff chances. No way New York will go into Minnesota and take out the Vikings now.
Vikings 24 Giants 9
Monday, December 28th
Bengals (11-3) vs. Broncos (10-4) - ESPN, 8:30
Speaking of AJ McCarron, he was not asked to do a whole lot against a terrible 49ers team in Santa Clara and all in all, he did a fine job. Now he has got a big task at hand as the Bengals hope to hang on to not only a division title and a bye against the best defense in football on the road. But the Broncos have some quarterback questions of their own as Brock Osweiler isn't fully healthy and Peyton Manning may be ready to play once again. It's a tough pick but I have to lean towards that Denver defense being the difference.
Broncos 20 Bengals 18