Perhaps picking football games does not manufacture the same quandaries of getting involved with a spat between fellow friends, but the decisions could feel just as difficult to reach. The Indianapolis Colts are your smart friend who'd get all A's if they didn't suffer lapses of effort and procrastination. The New York Jets are the group's wild card that somehow maintains a spot in the AFC Wild Card race.
So which posse will emerge victorious in each of the weekend's remaining battles? Do you now have a Party Posse song stuck in your head? Who deserves our allegiance in their fight for the postseason?
To the Pickmobile!
|Away||Home||Time (ET)||Predicted Winner|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Cleveland Browns (-1.5)||1 p.m.||PIT|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Detroit Lions (-9)||1 p.m.||DET|
|Minnesota Vikings||Green Bay Packers (-4.5)||1 p.m.||GB|
|San Diego Chargers||Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)||1 p.m.||KC|
|Chicago Bears||St. Louis Rams (-1)||1 p.m.||CHI|
|Carolina Panthers (-4.5)||Miami Dolphins||1 p.m.||CAR|
|New York Jets||Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)||1 p.m.||BAL|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Houston Texans (-10)||1 p.m.||HOU|
|Tennessee Titans||Oakland Raiders (-1)||4:05 p.m.||TEN|
|Indianapolis Colts||Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)||4:05 p.m.||IND|
|Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants (-2.5)||4:25 p.m.||DAL|
|Denver Broncos (-2.5)||New England Patriots||8:30 p.m.||DEN|
|San Francisco 49ers (-6)||Washington Redskins||8:30 p.m. (Mon.)||SF|
Spreads courtesy of Vegas Insider
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions
The Buccaneers are gearing up to play spoiler throughout the season's final six weeks. Will the fun begin at Detroit?
Tough luck losers with four defeats of three points or less, the Buccaneers were never as bad as their winless record suggested. They have proved it lately with two victories after falling just short against the Seahawks in Seattle.
So while the aggregate numbers indicate that their bout against the Lions is a clear mismatch, don't write off Greg Schiano's emerging squad. The Bucs have loosened up as Schiano has coached aggressively with a nothing-to-lose mentality, and Mike Glennon is giving them much better quarterback production than Josh Freeman.
The Lions, on the other hand, watched their defense continue to gash open in a 37-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Glennon and Vincent Jackson can make some plays on this secondary, but probably not enough to match Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
Sometimes the best offense is just a great offense. Stafford is on pace to eclipse 5,000 yards for the second time while Johnson has already compiled 1,083 receiving yards and 11 scores despite missing a game.
Tampa Bay will make this interesting but not enough to extend the winning streak to three.
Prediction: Lions 27, Buccaneers 20
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
We now know for sure that the Chiefs are not perfect, but will their flaws continue to leak out against the Chargers?
When they're not pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers, the Chiefs are not the dominant squad exuded by their 9-1 record. With no sacks or turnovers against the Broncos, they could not contain Peyton Manning enough for the offense to keep up.
Who will win?
For the Chargers to garner a major victory over their AFC West rivals, they must mount some points, preferably early as Alex Smith struggled on Sunday while playing from behind. This team is not built to win a shootout, which is the way the Chargers usually claim their victories.
Before forecasting a breakdown in Kansas City, Philip Rivers is not Peyton Manning. His team only mustered 20 points against the Broncos during the Chargers' recent three-game swoon.
Denver's offensive line also surrenders the NFL's lowest sack tally, so it was truly a matchup nightmare for Kansas City. Look for the team to rebound with a victory more reminiscent of past weeks.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Chargers 13
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
There's nothing like a late-November battle between two teams with a combined 9-11 record to help determine the NFC East.
The Philadelphia Eagles could make it meaningless by staying hot after their bye, but their inactivity this Sunday gives the Cowboys and the Giants enormous aspirations. Dallas can reclaim a tie for first place while the Giants would lessen the gap to a game after starting 0-6.
This matchup could again be settled during the fourth quarter. Contrary to popular belief, Tony Romo's Cowboys are one of the league's best offenses in close, late-game situations. According to ESPN The Magazine, Eli Manning's crew is the only offense that has generated more points per drive in the fourth quarter of one-score games than Romo.
Manning has not found much success since torching the Cowboys for 450 yards and four touchdowns, but he should again have a nice game against the league's worst defense. That puts all the pressure on Romo to carry his weak supporting cast.
New York has not faced a worthy passing offense during its past four wins, so look for Romo to remind everyone that its rough-patch secondary can be exposed.
Prediction: Cowboys 34, Giants 26