A new year can mean many things. It can be a new beginning. It can be a fresh start.
It can be the final weekend of the NFL regular season, which is probably the most applicable thing to write about in an NFL picks column. If this were a column about baseball, I’d happily write about how a perfectly turned 6-4-3 double play reminds me of how my dad didn’t hug me often enough. But since this is football, I’ll instead make some bad jokes, curse too much, and look for some sort of excuse to post a boobsy photo of some tangentially-related woman, because, you know, America.
Final regular season picks after the jump.
Because it’s the one New Year’s song I could think of not by U2.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Week 16 Record: 10-5-1
My Record So Far: 119-112-9
Sunday Early Games (1/1 1PM ET)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-12)
Because it’s the final week of the season and a number of teams have nothing to play for, some of the lines are really out of whack, but this is not one of those lines. The Buccaneers have really turned out bad enough to be two-score dogs to the Falcons, who still have seeding position to play for amongst the NFL Wild Card teams. The Falcons are pissed after more than one Drew Bree broke records off in dat ass when the game wasn’t on the line, and because they are the Falcons, and not a legitimately good team, they’ll take it out on the Bucs instead of saving up that anger and maybe, you know, actually beating the Saints for once later on.
My Pick: Falcons (-12)
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5)
Both of these teams also have something to play for, the Ravens for whether or not they’ll get a bye in the first week of the playoffs, the Bengals for whether or not they’ll make the playoffs at all. The Bengals have truly been the surprise team this year, with a rookie QB and wide receiver combo that should be a nice connection for years to come. I say “should be” instead of “will be” because Mike Brown will probably find a way to screw it up, trading Andy Dalton for Curtis Painter and A.J. Green for the dude in Pacman Jones’ entourage who carries his weed, but it is nearly impossible for him to screw it up between now and game time, and the Bengals really do have more to play for in this game. They should win.
My Pick: Bengals (+2.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+7)
The Browns lost to the St. Louis Rams. The Steelers, playing for seeding, will win this by more than a score no matter who ends up starting at quarterback. Speaking of, it will probably be Charlie Batch, which I like to think of as slang for a group of Vietcong. You know, because people called the Vietcong Charlie. And a batch is like a bunch, which could also be a grouping. And the further I beat this joke into the ground, maybe it has a chance of becoming funny again.
My Pick: Steelers (-7)
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (+3.5)
See, this is where the lines get silly. Because the Packers have nothing to play for, and may start resting important players, the Lions, who do have something to play for, are favored over the Pack in Lambeau. I don’t imagine the Pack will put Aaron Rodgers out there for too long, especially with a thinned out offensive line, since they’re no longer going for an undie-feeted season.
My Pick: Lions (-3.5)
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (+10.5)
The 49ers are obviously going to win by a bunch, so I’m going to use this space to say that if the Rams get the first pick, they should take Andrew Luck. I don’t care that they drafted Sam Bradford only two years ago, and that when Sam Bradford is not hurt he’s been good, with the promise of being great, because Sam Bradford is always going to be hurt. Sam Bradford is made out of glass, and Luck is as close to a can’t-miss as there has been at the top of the draft in forever. That being said, if I were Andrew Luck, and the Rams drafted me, I’d totally pull an Eli Manning and be like fuck this shit I don’t wanna play here, because other than the insane good fortune that led to Marshall Faulk (who wasn’t supposed to ever recover from the injuries he suffered as a Colt) and Kurt Warner (who was never supposed to be good in the first place) ending up on the same team, what have the Rams ever done?
My Pick: 49ers (-10.5)
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-2)
I’m tired of the Rex Ryan schtick, because it’s really not funny when they aren’t winning, and I think it sucks that Mark Sanchez gets to bang Kate Upton (and here’s my excuse to post a picture of a hot chick! America!)
My Pick: Dolphins (-2)
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (even)
Bears without Cutler and Forte. Vikings without Adrian Peterson. Two teams with absolutely nothing to play for, with neither team favored. The Bears defense is better, so I’ll go with them, but I feel about as confident about this as I do that I will one day be a millionaire.
My Pick: Bears
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-11)
Back when the Bills seemed surprisingly good, and I used that as an excuse to call them the Williams because I’m not very clever, they beat the Patriots. I might think that some other team would be content to rest starters sitting atop the AFC, I really doubt that Belichick and Brady can resist the temptation to come out and try and put up 50 on Cullen McCambridgefacialhair and the rest of the future Toronto Tims (to be named for Tim Horton’s).
My Pick: Patriots (-11)
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-8.5)
I’m gonna pick the Saints, so that’s out of the way, so now I can give my unsolicited opinion on the Falcons whining about the Saints running up the score and passing so more than one Drew Bree could eclipse Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record at home on Monday Night Football: tough titties. If you don’t want a team to run up the score, stop them. It pisses you off that they’re passing when they’re up a few touchdowns at the end of the game? Hit them, hard. It’s football, that’s what you’re supposed to do.
My Pick: Saints (-8.5)
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5)
Andy Reid saves his job, both angering Philly fans and giving them false hope for how team this can be next year, with all the pieces finally fitting together, in a blowout.
My Pick: Eagles (-8.5)
Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5)
I think the dudes on the team have Peyton Hap’s back, and are playing hard to avoid having the first overall pick, and will come through yet again. Also, the Jagwires are really terrible, and Dan Orlovsky has seemed at least moderately competent AT THE QUARTERBACK POSITION, making up for that one time he just straight up ran out the back of the endzone (okay, you can never really make up for that; that’s what he’s always going to be remembered for, but still, he’s much better than Curtis Painter).
My Pick: Colts (+3.5)
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (+3)
Things fell apart for WB Yeats at QB last week, as he and the natives of Texas lost to the Colts on the final Thursday Night Football broadcast the majority of American homes cannot watch. The residents of the Lone Star State have nothing to play for, and the pre-Olympian Gods do have something to play for. Saturn eats his children and the Titans win.
My Pick: Titans (-3)
Sunday Late Games (1/1 4:05/4:15PM ET)
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
Win by Threebow turned into Poop-and-Peebow last week, throwing four interceptions in a loss to the Bills. Kyle Orton will helm the Chiefs as they try to spoil things for the team that benched him, then let him go. Even if Win by Threebow returns, it’ll still be within the spread, so I’m going with the Native American Tribal Leaders over the Horsies.
My Pick: Chiefs (+3.5)
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (-3)
I have absolutely no feeling about this game one way or the other. The Chargers tend to play well late in the year, but the surge has come too late this year to get them into the playoffs, and last week they got stomped by the Lions. The Raiders have been alternately awesome, awful, and mediocre, often within the same game. Choosing the Raiders means saying that Carson Palmer will lead a team into the playoffs, which feels insane, but I think the Chargers have had enough of Norv Turner that this’ll be how it goes.
My Pick: Raiders (-3)
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-3)
I’m picking the Cardinals purely because the Seahawks are on the road. Also, the Cards will play John Skelton at quarterback, and one of their team colors is red, because they’re the Cardinals, and Cardinals are red, so, like, Red Skelton, you know? No, I’m not high, just tired.
My Pick: Cardinals (-3)
Sunday Night Football (1/1 8:20PM ET)
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-3)
I’m glad the regular season could conclude with these two mediocre teams in the spotlight in a winner-takes-all game to claim the title in the most overrated division in the world of professional sports (unless there’s some division in Bolivian soccer or something I’m missing). None of your teams reach double-digits in wins and you still receive a lion’s share (not a Detroit Lion’s share, but the figurative lion’s share) of the coverage? Great. You combined the shittiness of East Coast bias with the paved over fake glitz of Dallas? Fantastic. Hopefully you can realign to add in some Boston crypto-racist scrappiness next year so I can hate you even more! Oh yeah, I think the Giants will win because they’re sort of better.
My Pick: Giants (-3)
That’s it for the regaller seezon, fokes. But don’t worry, I’ll be back next week for what is actually my favorite week of the NFL year, Wild Card Weekend. Two games Saturday, two games Sunday, wall-to-wall playoff action. Shit. Is. On (pronounced like oh-wan).