Last Week: 9-7
Sunday, January 3rd
Jets (10-5) vs. Bills (7-8) - CBS, 1:00
This game could either mean a whole lot, or mean nothing because if Pittsburgh loses to Cleveland, the Jets are into the playoffs no matter what they do in Orchard Park. You know that Rex Ryan will be gunning to potentially kill the Jets' season, but Ryan Fitzpatrick also has something to play for against his old team on the other side. It would be classic Jets to blow this and fall out of the playoffs, but I don't see that happening.
Jets 20 Bills 14
Patriots (12-3) vs. Dolphins (5-10) - CBS, 1:00
Miami has now lost three in a row as the Dan Campbell era is going out with a whimper. The Dolphins don't look like they have anything for the Patriots, especially as they have something to play for in securing homefield advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. The Patriots are my final Lock of the Week for 2015.
Patriots 31 Dolphins 7
Saints (6-9) vs. Falcons (8-7) - Fox, 1:00
I did project the Falcons to defeat the Panthers exactly one month before it happened so I deserve some, or all, of the credit for not picking them since. Anyways, they did put together a surprisingly good defensive performance while Matt Ryan looked good en route to the huge upset. I don't think they'll get up for this game like they did a week ago but I do think they're the superior club and will win at home.
Falcons 31 Saints 26
Ravens (5-10) vs. Bengals (11-4) - Fox, 1:00
I don't think anybody is quite sure how the Ravens, led by the iconic Ryan Mallett, pulled off the upset of the Steelers at home, dealing quite a serious blow to Pittsburgh's playoff chances. It certainly was a bizarre result and one I don't think we will see a repeat of considering that they are both on the road and going up against an elite Cincinnati defense.
Bengals 17 Ravens 9
Steelers (9-6) vs. Browns (3-12) - CBS, 1:00
As I just noted, the Steelers being upset by the Ravens really does not make any sense but regardless, now the Steelers need both to win this week but also get the Bills to take out the Jets at home. It isn't far-fetched that that all happens considering that a) Cleveland is atrocious and b) there is nothing that Rex Ryan would like to do more than sticking it to the Jets.
Steelers 28 Browns 10
Jaguars (5-10) vs. Texans (8-7) - CBS, 1:00
Gus Bradley will return in 2016 with the Jaguars but while I don't think he's a terrible coach and there has been some progress, his team has just been so inconsistent this season. Ultimately, they should have been more of a factor in this divisional race but alas, it was not to be. Jacksonville has lost two in a row and have not won on the road in a month. Houston is doing well with trash at quarterback and I think that will continue.
Texans 19 Jaguars 17
Titans (3-12) vs. Colts (7-8) - CBS, 1:00
The Colts need to win this Sunday and get a lot of help if they want to make the playoffs but here's the big problem: their healthy quarterbacks are Stephen Morris, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley. Morris was signed on the 24th and has never played in a game while Freeman and Lindley were signed on Tuesday, and both are terrible. At least the Titans are pretty bad but I don't even think that matters, give me Tennessee on the road.
Titans 10 Colts 9
Washington (8-7) vs. Dallas (4-11) - Fox, 1:00
I'm not sure that many would have expected that Washington would have won the NFC East behind a pretty good season from Kirk Cousins but hey, that's life. Washington really doesn't have anything to play for, other than securing a winning season, considering they have already clinched the division and can't climb any hire than the fourth seed but Dallas will be starting Kellen Moore, so there's that.
Washington 20 Dallas 10
Eagles (6-9) vs. Giants (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
This game could have had some meaning other than deciding who will play St. Louis in London next season but both clubs blew their chances to win the NFC East so here we are. Maybe the Eagles will respond to the dismissal of Chip Kelly but I think that the fact that this is likely the final game that Tom Coughlin will coach the Giants will get them a slight motivational edge.
Giants 28 Eagles 24
Lions (6-9) vs. Bears (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
Even the truest Black-and-Blue division fan will not find a whole lot of things to watch in this contest, other than seeing who will finish in the cellar. Both clubs are coming into this game with victories in their last game, Detroit has won their last two, but not only are the Lions looking better of late, the Bears have been terrible at home this season.
Lions 16 Bears 14
Buccaneers (6-9) vs. Panthers (14-1) - Fox, 4:25
So the Panthers have now finally lost and they better be careful because if they lose here and Arizona wins, the Panthers won't even get the top seed in the NFC. I don't see that happening because Carolina will win here. They'll play to win the game to secure the homefield and Tampa Bay hasn't looked good amidst their three game losing streak.
Panthers 23 Buccaneers 12
Raiders (7-8) vs. Chiefs (10-5) - Fox, 4:25
Remember when the Chiefs were left for dead with Jamaal Charles being lost for the season and were sitting at 1-5 after losing to Minnesota in mid-October? Now they have secured a playoff berth after winning nine straight (albeit against a mediocre schedule). Football is awesome. They don't have a whole lot to play for and I think that makes them vulnerable against an Oakland team aiming to go .500.
Raiders 28 Chiefs 27
Chargers (4-11) vs. Broncos (11-4) - CBS, 4:25
Denver was able to knock down a playoff spot with the overtime victory in Cincinnati on Monday night but they still have things to play for, including potentially getting homefield advantage. Now I don't see that happening but I do see them taking out a Chargers team that has seemingly everybody and their aunt hurt.
Broncos 20 Chargers 7
Seahawks (9-6) vs. Cardinals (13-2) - Fox, 4:25
As I mentioned earlier, Arizona has the opportunity to potentially get the top seed in the NFC Playoffs if they win and Carolina loses. And as I also mentioned, I don't have Carolina losing to Tampa Bay. Arizona looked awesome on Sunday night and at home against the Seahawks, they will finish the regular season strong.
Cardinals 35 Seahawks 28
Rams (7-8) vs. 49ers (4-11) - CBS, 4:25
If you have not been paying close enough attention, the Rams have won three games in a row and now have a chance to finish at .500. Granted, Jeff Fisher's Rams teams always finish around .500 but alas, they have gotten just about nothing from the quarterback position this season. I mention this every week but the Niners are trash. Also as we saw last week, the Rams play well in-division.
Rams 19 49ers 10
Vikings (10-5) vs. Packers (10-5) - NBC, 8:30
Are the Packers as bad as they looked on Sunday afternoon and are the Vikings are as good as they looked on Sunday night? I don't think either is the case to be honest but there is no question that something seems a little off with this Packers team as they haven't beaten anybody really good this season. They did defeat the Vikings in Minneapolis before Thanksgiving but I am feeling the road upset here.
Vikings 27 Packers 21