PIGSKIN PUNDIT’S PICKS, WEEK 16
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Surge Summary: Things continue to churn in this year’s especially unpredictable season as playoffs close in. Pigskin Pundit here offers his forecasts for Week Sixteen’s – Christmas weekend – games.
by Pigskin Pundit (Nathan Clark)
Ho Ho Ho and away we go! What a crazy week with this crazy league! Several coaches and coordinators and not a few general managers and owners richly deserve some coal in their stocking for appalling performances to date, not the least of which is Matt Patricia for putting a moribund offense on the field weekly that actually frustrates his quarterback’s abilities, and then calls a timeout that takes away his team’s only first half touchdown. And what has gotten into 1-12-1 Houston, taking the Cowboys and Chiefs to overtime in subsequent weeks? Speaking of the Cowboys, their loss to the Jaguars was a serious indicator that they are not the team we thought they were a few weeks ago. Anyway, it’s Christmas and time to unwrap some great games. Speaking of gifts, I posted a 12-4 record last week, to lift me to a season-high 61%, just a tick above Nick Shook at NFL Network. Pass the candy canes, here’s the picks.
Jaguars at Jets – Both of these teams played to their abilities, with the Jets just losing on one blown coverage late and the Jags taking mighty Dallas to OT and snagging a pick-6 FTW. The Jets should have won, but Robert Saleh got caught watching the game and not the clock, piddling away his 3 timeouts after it was too late. He let his team down, not the other way around. Wilson was just okay, and one wonders whether he will ever adapt to being a pocket passer. Trevor the Lever has an over-100 rating in his last 5 games, including 110 and 4 tds over mighty Dallas. Great matchup here. Like Santa, Quinnen Williams is likely to bring a big sack…or two. Yule be happy when the Jets land safely at home for Christmas.
Falcons at Ravens – The Ravens got stymied by Cleveland’s stubborn defense and workmanlike offense last week, with Tyler Huntley in the saddle. All the Ravens want for Christmas is their old QB…and the Injury Grinch has decided to return him! Atlanta resembles a holiday fruitcake…full of icky bits and pieces, poor consistency, and generally unappetizing. Harbaugh’s storm crows say ‘Humbug’ to the dirty birds.
Lions at Panthers – The Lions continue to play better on both sides of the ball, with their D giving the Jets lots of trouble last week. They pulled out a great win on a very smart play call to their young tight end who was NOT covered by anyone named Reed or Gardner, and he rumbled 58 yards for the winner. Carolina returned to mediocrity again in Pittsburgh, and the crazy thing is that this horrible 5-9 team could still win their division. Dan Campbell’s big cats have a clear sense of where they are going, while Steve Wilks’ Panthers are more an exercise in herding cats. The Kings of the jungle feast on Charlotte’s feckless felines during this festive furlough.
Bills at Bears – This is a Christmas gift to Buffalo, who could use a little breathing room atop the AFC Christmas tree. Fields is a tailback, not a quarterback, so Buffalo only has to scheme to stop his running. Let’s not forget that Josh Allen runs about as well, and can also sling the ball all over Illinois, while Dawson Knox people over on his way to the end zone. Buckeyes look a lot like chestnuts, and Fields will feel like he’s been roasted on an open fire when Milano, Poyer & Greg Rousseau get done with him. Bills come due at Christmas.
Saints at Browns – The Red Ryder tries not to shoot his eye out in Ohio. Dalton’s Gang has played decent of late, and strangely enough is still in the playoff hunt in this division nobody wants to win. Cleveland clamped down on Baltimore last week, and Chubb should carve up the weak Whodat run D like a Christmas turkey. Here’s your headline: ‘Saints Nicked by pumpkinheads in nightmare before Christmas.’
Seahawks at Chiefs – Here’s a Christmas Carroll for Pete (sung to Winter Wonderland). “Were the Squa-wks, and we’re losin’; flying home – we’ll be boozin’; we’ll get no relief, from Pat and the Chiefs; Lockett’s in a splint – he broke his hand.”
Giants at Vikings – This is one of the shinier packages under the tree this week! Everybody will want to shake it. The Vikes pulled off the greatest NFL comeback ever last week after spotting the Colts 33 pts. Purple Lightning strikes with intense speed, and can come from so many different directions. Captain Kirk got his phasers working after the half, and they were set on ‘stun’, as the Colts reeled from hit after hit. Over in DC, Daboll’s Giants played big against Washington, but they will need much better defense to keep it close against a Minnesota team that can beat you any way they want. That comeback is what championship teams do. ‘Oh There’s no place like Dome, for the holidays…’ Vikes unwrap a gem for Christmas.
Bengals at Patriots – What Patriot fans want for Christmas is an offensive coordinator. Matt Patricia called an inexcusable game last week, when he kept quitting a dominant running game to try and establish a wimpy, predictable passing game. It was weaker fare than Bob Cratchit’s Christmas dinner. This team is in disarray from the top down (yup, said it), and the hungry Bengal team is going to come in here and feast on coaching miscues and player frustration. No need to try and dress up this ugly sweater. The Patsies won’t even be spoilers at this point, let alone playoff contenders. Bengals play Mannheim Steamroller and squash the Pats’ Christmas dreams.
Texans at Titans – Tennessee has one thing on their minds this Christmas; not losing. They have run out of breathing room as the Jags have improved and won three straight to challenge for the division. Do-or-die time for these one-trick ponies. Trouble is they are facing a 1-win team with nothing to lose who has been playing out of their minds the last few weeks, forcing Dallas to come from behind late in the 4th and pushing the Chiefs into OT before succumbing. Vrabel’s greatest strength is also his Achilles’ heel, because if you stop Derrick Henry (and teams have), there IS nothing else. If O Tannenbaum can create enough passing threat to buy Henry some breathing room, the Titans can scrap out a narrow win. Game points: Houston is TOUGH against the pass and weak against the run, so they play to Vrabel’s strengths. I’m ready to give Lovie some love for shaping this into a team nobody with post-season aspirations wants to play right now. He may look like Santa, but he’s no longer the deliverer of gift wins. Titans drum out a close ground victory, pa RUN pa pum pum.
Commanders at 49ers – Washington rolls west looking for gold, like Yukon Cornelius. What they’ll find is the Abominable No-Monster, and the teeth of the NFL’s best defense waiting for them. Saint Nick Bosa will be bringing big sacks to this party, and the all-around balance of the Niners means that the Commanders will be looking to exploit weaknesses that aren’t there. Better luck finding Sugarplum fairies, Ron. Niners give the Heiner a shiner for Christmas. “It’s the holiday season, and dipsy-do, and dickery dock, you’re gonna get beat by a player named Brock…”
Eagles at Cowboys – Looks like Gardner Minshew will be taking the snaps this week in this huge matchup, and that will change the landscape of the game. Dallas is a rollercoaster team, and they are due for a fast downhill run this week, after two lackluster performances. The trend for Prescott is that he follows underperformances with big games, and he needs one here. Dallas isn’t going to threaten for the division title methinks, but a win over Philly will stick in the Eagles’ minds later in the season. The giant Star prevails over Christmas, again.
Raiders at Steelers – “Over Three Rivers and through the woods, to seven-and-eight we go”…Vegas comes to Pittsburgh, with all their swagger from a narrow, freak victory over the Patriots that required the assistance of a bad td down call and a suicidal double lateral to secure…Vegas had no business winning that game, as insipid as some of the Patriots antics were. Don’t forget that New England SHUT DOWN Davante Adams, and limited Waller, Renfro and Josh Jacobs to minor contributions all game. Keelan Cole’s late ‘td’ catch wasn’t, as camera angles showed his foot out of bounds, but the refs called it anyway. The Steelers, for all their tough season, are the better 6-8 team of these two, and will prove it by giving Franco Harris a sentimental send-off win this Christmas. Immaculate Reception, meet Immaculate Conception. Gloria!
Packers at Dolphins – Bus Ticket Baker reverted to form last week, as the Packers got a reassurance win over the ghosts of LA. This week they won’t enjoy the same ease of the season, as Miami looks to shore up their playoff security. The Pack has improved on defense, with Alexander fulfilling his expectations as a top corner, and the Packer pass rush bagging more jerseys of late. The Dolphins are the 3rd best offense, so Green Bay has their work cut out for them. The Alexander/Hill duel will be must-see fun, over a figgy pudding. Look for Tua to have a big game, and for Miami to send the Green & Gold Polar Express back to Lambeau with empty stockings.
Broncos at Rams – This is the game to unbutton your pants after a big feast and two glasses of Uncle Norm’s ‘holiday punch’, put another log in the wood stove and snore through. Everybody else will. This is Santa’s gift to insomniacs. Bus Ticket Baker faces one of the best defenses in football, as Denver is no joke on the opposite side of the ball. We’ll get to see Suite Jeudy Blue Thighs facing off against Jalen ‘Gordon’ Ramsey, which should be fun. Brett ‘The Ripper’ Rypien is under center for the Broncs and won’t be facing Aaron Donald apparently, so we’ll see how well he does without that kind of pressure…if our eyes are still open. Otherwise, “just settle in for a looong winter’s nap.” Broncs beat the tinsel out of Tinseltown.
Buccaneers at Cardinals – The Succaneers have been horrible all season, and they are the leader of the losers in a division where nobody is even .500. This is the perfect game to keep them atop their submersed division, as the Cardinal defense is pitiful, and the offense is down to their 3rd QB. Stick a fork in Arizona, because like Sunday’s ham, they’re all done. Tampa really does get a present this Christmas…tied up in pretty red wrapping. They also get a bonus present of not having to listen to Tom Brady scream at them all afternoon, like bitter Cousin Nancy carping about her ex-husband after 4 glasses of wine… “And to all, a good night!”
Chargers at Colts – LOL, you have to chuckle about Matt Ryan holding the NFL record for presiding over the biggest choke job in Super Bowl history AND the biggest regular season choke job in league history both. He’s getting a new bench for Christmas, compliments of Nick Foles, who won a big Super Bowl over the Patriots and then vanished into the mists of obscurity. The Colts are broken, Sunday’s heroics notwithstanding. Herbert’s Chargers are on the move, getting close late-season wins to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chargers have enough juice to light Clark Griswold’s Christmas lights….they will certainly outshine the lowly Colts.
Enjoy the games, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nathan Clark)
The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge.
Image: Adapted from: Dan Schoedel, Idibri – Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/idibri/16217772928, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45769004
Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation’s Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America’s future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.
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