Can the Saints still climb into the playoff race after their tough loss to the 49ers last week? Or how about the Cowboys, who still have a chance at the post-season despite their obvious deficiencies?
Lots of questions to be answered. Here's my weekly offering for your comedic pleasure.
Picks in BOLD.
Last Week: 9-7
New Orleans at Atlanta
The Saints' brief dreams of making a late playoff run come to a screeching halt after dropping a game to their hated division rival. Matt Ryan doesn't have to be perfect, just efficient, which he will be against the Saints defense.
Jacksonville at Buffalo
The Jaguars have had a bit of a resurgence with Chad Henne at quarterback, but Buffalo late in the year is a tough place to play for the best of teams. The Jaguars do not qualify for that distinction. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson power a Bills win.
Seattle at Chicago
San Francisco at St. Louis
It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, the 49ers are the best team in the league right now and the moral victory of the tie the Rams played to a few weeks ago will have faded long before the end of this beatdown by San Francisco.
New England at Miami
The Patriots are clicking on offense and are very improved on defense over where they were at this point last year. The Dolphins have an exciting young quarterback and a defense that can get after the passer. This will be a great game, but New England is just better in nearly every phase of the game.
I can't believe I'm picking a team whose starting quarterback fumbled the ball after running into his lineman's butt last week—but I am.
Indianapolis at Detroit
The Colts are the exciting young team with the Golden Boy at quarterback, but this week they run into the schoolyard bully that is just talented enough beat them up and to make it hurt along the way. The Lions defensive line in particular will make things miserable up front for the Colts.
Minnesota at Green Bay
The Packers bounce back against a divisional foe they know extremely well and that they match up well against. Adrian Peterson will get his yards, but Aaron Rodgers gets back into a groove in Lambeau.
Houston at Tennessee
Carolina at Kansas City
Tampa Bay at Denver
Tampa's flickering playoff hopes take another hit as they run into Peyton Manning and company. The Buccaneers can keep up on the offensive side of the ball, but that Bucs secondary, especially now without Aaron Berry, will be lit up by Manning.
Cleveland at Oakland
The Raiders are in the midst of a massive rebuilding project, while the Browns are playing hard trying to convince new ownership they don't need to be blown up. No matter if it's Weeden or McCoy under center, the Browns are the more talented team and get it done on the road for once.
Cincinnati at San Diego
The Bengals continue their march toward back-to-back playoff appearances since forever, while the Chargers continue their march toward the offseason and finding out who their new head coach is going to be.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore
This is the game where the Steelers bottom out after spending the last two weeks fighting the good fight. The Ravens will have to work against the Steelers defense, but Ed Reed and company will feast on the Steelers offense.
Philadelphia at Dallas
The Eagles have quit on Andy Reid. It seems, in that context, a minor miracle that the Cowboys haven't quit on Jason Garrett. Even with all the injuries on defense, the Cowboys will handle an Eagles offense that has completely lost its identity (if it ever had one in 2012).
New York Giants at Washington
RGIII and the Redskins almost pulled one out when these two met in MetLife, and they get it done at home this time around. The Giants looked revived against the Packers, but the Redskins won't back down and will match the G-Men blow for blow, with their phenom rookie quarterback making a play at the end.
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