Happy New Year, everyone!
The final week of the 2010 regular season is upon us, which means only one more week to pad my percentage of correct picks for the season.
I went a pretty average 9-7 last week thanks to a handful of upsets, and this week doesn't look to be any easier since you never know which teams are going to sit starters, for how long, and how exactly that will affect the outcome of a game.
Last week's record: 9-7
2010 season record: 158-82 (65.8%)
Falcons over Panthers — Carolina has already let it be known they'll be cleaning out the entire coaching staff, and there's no way Atlanta rolls over heading into the playoffs after a disappointing home loss to the Saints last week.
Steelers over Browns — Pittsburgh will probably be without Troy Polamalu, but I otherwise expect them to play their starters most of the game and play hard, so I think they'll win.
Vikings over Lions — Detroit is on a winning streak like they haven't had in years, but Minnesota is coming off an impressive upset over the Eagles and will be playing to help Leslie Frazier shed the interim tag from his title.
Chiefs over Raiders — It's surprising to see Charlie Weis likely leaving for the college game after helping turn the Chiefs' offense around, but he's still there now and I think they'll have another good game heading into the playoffs.
Patriots over Dolphins — I really want to pick Miami in a game where I expect New England to rest starters for much of the game and where player favorite Tony Sparano really needs a win to help save his job, but New England is just so much better and the absences of Karlos Danby (toe) and Anthony Fasano (knee) are really going to hurt.
Saints over Buccaneers — They've made strides this season, but Tampa Bay isn't quite there yet and New Orleans has plenty to play for.
Bills over Jets — New York already has the wild card spot wrapped up, so I'll take a Buffalo team that's better than their record against the Jets, as Mark Sanchez may not play much if at all.
Ravens over Bengals — Baltimore is neck-and-neck with Pittsburgh trying to win their division and is going to give the Bengals their best on Sunday.
Chargers over Broncos — Tim Tebow sucks.
Packers over Bears — Chicago isn't going to roll over for their hated rival despite already having the division in the bag, but I think Green Bay does their part to try and earn a Wild Card spot.
Colts over Titans — Peyton Manning has carried this team from mediocrity back to the playoff picture, and I don't think he'll be denied another division title this week.
Eagles over Cowboys — Dallas is coming off a disappointing loss to the Cardinals after really stepping up their play lately, but Philly is heading to the postseason and needs a rebound even more after last week's loss to the Vikings.
49ers over Cardinals — The 49ers are just a bit better than the Cardinals. Plus, everyone knows interim coaches always win. It's science.
Giants over Redskins — I refuse to believe a Rex Grossman-led team that's been in disarray all season can be decent, and the Giants have a lot at stake this week.
Texans over Jaguars — Jacksonville is a now a long shot to make the playoffs with the Colts in the driver's seat and Trent Edwards starting at quarterback in the finale. I like Houston to play spoiler here and help Gary Kubiak keep his job.
Rams over Seahawks — Everyone knows the winner of this game will be embarrassed in the playoffs in a few weeks. But Seattle is just terrible and has no talent on offense, while at least St. Louis has at times looked promising.
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Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.
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