What a day for football! Yea sure the playoffs are coming up and wild card races are heating up and all that hogwash. The more important news is that this is the week of the FANTASY FOOTBALL SUPER BOWL! Somehow I've made it this far with a pretty pathetic and ridiculous quarterback carousel (we start 2 in our league). I started the season with Mike Vick, Jay Cutler, and Ryan Tannehill. Then things got weird: Jason Campbell, Joe Flacco, Brandon Weeden, Case Keenum, back to Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, and finally after a plan to keep Jay Cutler injured failed miserably, I had to start Kirk Cousins.
All I know is today I am finding a television with the RedZone package, not moving for 10 hours and drinking egg-nog until I get either wasted or lactose intolerant. On to the games...
Dolphins (-1.5) OVER BILLS
Could somebody please tell me why the Bills keep getting favorable lines? A win at Jacksonville should not be enough to erase the memories of a 1-5 streak beforehand. The Dolphins are in the midst of a wildcard race and need the win to stay alive. Recent history suggests the Dolphins repeat the same old story of being mildly competitive before falling short of the playoffs, but that recent history prominently involved Jay Fielder, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, Matt Moore and Cleo Lemon. It's safe to say Ryan Tannehill is on a different level than any quarterback the Dolphins have had since Marino. Tannehill drove a two-minute drive to outduel Tom Brady last week, and I'll be shocked if he lets E.J. Manuel get the upper hand.
Bengals (-7.5) OVER VIKINGS
On one hand, you have the Vikings, a horrible team, coming off their game of the year. On the other, you have the Bengals, a playoff team, coming off a primetime beatdown in Pittsburgh. Also, in Minnesota, rumors are aflutter about Leslie Frazier's impending doom as a head coach. With the Vikings out of the playoff picture, coming off a big win and having trouble at the leadership position, it's tough to find sources of motivation. The Vikings crash back down to earth in a Cincinnati beatdown.
CHIEFS (-7) OVER Colts
Possible preview of the round 1 matchup. Since a second hiccup against Denver, Kansas City has won their last two games by an average of 30 points. Arrowhead is going to be rocking, hoping to send a message to Indianapolis before the Chiefs have to travel. Chiefs lay the smackdown at home.
RAMS (-3.5) OVER Buccaneers
The Rams could be a legitimate playoff team if they weren't the loaded NFC West. It also can't bode well for Sam Bradford that some of their most convincing wins have come with Kellen Clemens at the helm. The Rams have no need to tank since the Redskins are gifting them a top-5 pick, but the Buccaneers are in the awkward conflict of trying to save their coach's job while not slipping in the draft. The Rams have been lights-out at home recently, and Tampa isn't good enough to change that.
Browns (+1.5) OVER JETS
The Browns have suffered a few heartbreakers in a row. After Cecil Shorts hauled in a last minute touchdown for Jacksonville and New England recovered their first onside kick in 18 years, the Bears wide receivers started catching Hail Mary's for touchdowns. The Browns are a talented team, and if they are going to win any of these, it will be against Geno Smith.
REDSKINS (+3) OVER Cowboys
I love Romocember. Another blown game last week was beautiful to watch. I suppose, if I had a heart, I could find myself rooting for Romo, but it's just so much fun watching these last minute collapses. The Redskins need a win for Mike Shanahan to keep a modicum of respect. I'm expecting all the tricks to be pulled out for Kirk Cousins and the Redskins to make plays in a rowdy Washington stadium.
Well, or in spite of the stadium...
PANTHERS (-3) OVER Saints
The Saints are undefeated at home and 3-4 on the road. The Panthers are looking for their first division title with Cam Newton under center. I'm expecting a team with Cam and Steve Smith to enter this game with a hearty amount of swag. Luke Keuchly and the defense harass Brees, and if they don't get flagged and fined, they are going to get to him.
JAGUARS (+4) OVER Titans
For some reason, I'm enjoying this Jacksonville team. They have a strong defense, and without Blaine Gabbert throwing the ball backwards and fumbling every snap, they are competent enough on offense to stay interesting. Blackmon and Cecil Shorts can make plays and Maurice Jones-Drew provides a stable force in the backfield. I'm not saying this team is good, by any means, but they are good enough to beat the Titans.
Broncos (-9.5) OVER TEXANS
Evil Peyton Manning returns! He lost in primetime, which is more rare than catching mommy kissing Santa Claus. Today he could get Denver back on the winning streak while also breaking the record for touchdowns in a season. The Texans lock up the first overall pick and Manning locks up his spot in the record books.
Giants (+10) OVER LIONS
I don't really trust the Lions. Last week was ridiculous. Calvin Johnson dropped huge passes, Stafford made what seemed like millions of sidearmed throws, and Jim Schwartz still got confused over when to use timeouts. I would love to think the Lions would blow them out and make a statement, but it just wouldn't be in line with their recent history. Schwartz and the crew blow another chance to win the division.
SEAHAWKS (-9.5) OVER Cardinals
The motivation isn't there for Seattle, as they have already clinched home field advantage. But they never play at home without making a statement. Pete Carroll isn't the type to give his players 3 weeks of rest before the NFC Semifinals. The Seahawks make one final statement going into the playoffs.
Steelers (+2.5) OVER PACKERS
This was only in question before Aaron Rodgers decided to discount double-check out of the game. The Steelers are on a mission to not finish under .500. While the Packers have a history of winning in Lambeau in the snow, those were with teams with formidable defenses and Brett Favre. Not a defense toward the bottom of the league and Matt Flynn. Pittsburgh gets the win.
CHARGERS (-9.5) OVER Raiders
The Chargers are going to know their playoff fate by the time this game kicks off, and I'm thinking it will prove to knock San Diego out of it. Either way, Phillip Rivers will throw a temper tantrum and make it rain on a terrible Oakland secondary.
RAVENS (-1) OVER Patriots
Justin Tucker should legitimately be involved in all League MVP conversations. That was the most sure I was that a 61 yard field goal was going in. He is the highlight of a Ravens team who is pulling out close wins in the form a defending champion would. The Ravens play hard against the Patriots regardless of geography, but it will be an especially motivated performance in Baltimore.
Bears (+3) OVER EAGLES
This is going to be a great game. An offensive shootout should provide some fireworks on Sunday night. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are unstoppable for the Bears and Nick Foles, Shady McCoy and DeSean Jackson fly up and down the field. Some holes were exposed in Minnesota last week, and I'm expecting the Bears to find them. This one's going to be fun.
49ERS (-14) OVER Falcons
This line is sad. The rule is that if you can't picture the double digit underdog winning outright, you shouldn't pick them to cover. Atlanta has zero chance in this game, and San Francisco crushes the depleted Falcons in securing their trip to the postseason.
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