The final Thursday Night Football game of the year. Thank goodness. Don't get me wrong—I love getting as much NFL football as I can whenever I can. But there simply is no denying that the quality of the games on Thursday night, with teams coming off shortened weeks of preparation (not to mention precious little recovery time) has not been pretty.
While I didn't mind Thursday Night Football post-Thanksgiving, nearly every week of the season was simply too much. Of course, the ratings are gold, even for the less-than-stellar matchups—which means it won't be going anywhere any time soon.
Last Week: 9-7
Picks are in BOLD.
Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia
Andy Dalton and company show that lesson has been learned against the Eagles.
New York Giants vs. Atlanta
Minnesota vs. St. Louis
The Vikings can only hide Christian Ponder for so long.
Jacksonville vs. Miami
The Dolphins are a typical rebuilding team—some impressive parts that aren't nearly complete when put together as a team.
But their parts are better than the Jaguars' parts.
Green Bay vs. Chicago
The Bears have relied on Brian Urlacher to match wits with Aaron Rodgers at the line of scrimmage over the years. His absence makes a huge difference in this game. The Packers win with a running game and a secondary that lives to take the ball away from Jay Cutler.
Washington vs. Cleveland
RGIII? Cousins? It doesn't matter. The Redskins offense will move the ball with Alfred Morris on the ground and keep Brandon Weeden and the Browns offense off the field.
Yes, that felt as weird to type as it did to read.
Denver vs. Baltimore
I fully expect the scapegoating of Cam Cameron to go as well in Baltimore as the scapegoating of Juan Castillo went in Philadelphia. Peyton Manning carves up the Ravens defense, and Von Miller cleans up by putting Joe Flacco on his back.
Indianapolis vs. Houston
After a dispiriting effort in New England, the Texans return home and get back to doing what they do best: running the football and working the ball downfield off the play action. Also, they get to Andrew Luck a bunch.
Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans
Josh Freeman will have opportunities, but he'll be playing from behind after Brees comes out on fire and leaves Saints fans thinking about what might have been.
Detroit vs. Arizona
The Lions have a quarterback. The Cardinals have a secondary. The Lions do not have a secondary. The Cardinals do not have a quarterback. Both teams have superstar wide receivers. You need a quarterback to get the ball to one of them.
Carolina vs. San Diego
Even after they beat the Panthers, Norv is still gone at the end of the year.
Seattle vs. Buffalo
The Seahawks won't find things so easy this week when they head across the country to take on a Bills team that has a bit more bite to them than the Cardinals. But Russell Wilson and Marshwan Lynch both still find plenty of space to operate
Pittsburgh vs. Dallas
The Steelers laid an egg at home against the Chargers, but get back on track on the road. The Cowboys have been playing a gritty brand of football, but there is simply no way the Steelers secondary plays such a poor game two weeks in a row, especially against an erratic Romo and Cowboys offense.
Kansas City vs. Oakland
In a game that could redefine "ugly football," the Raiders finally figure out a way to move the ball and score points prior to garbage time.
The Chiefs' tough march toward the offseason continues.
San Francisco vs. New England
The 49ers will prove a much tougher test than the Texans did in Foxborough, but Tom Brady has too many ways to beat a 49ers defense that is tough and physical but won't be up to the track meet Josh McDaniels will undoubtedly have prepared for the Pats offense to run.
New York Jets vs. Tennessee
The Titans are not an extremely talented team, but they match up well with with the Jets. Jake Locker and Chris Johnson do just enough to outscore Sanchez and the Jets—meaning it will probably be 13-10.