Red just can’t quite get out of the hole he dug for himself in September. Red maintained by going 3-3 in Week 12 which puts Red at 31-33-2 for the season. He may demand a recount.
Sure Bet Pick of the Week –OTNAs overtake Cardinals. At the beginning of the season, the Cards talked about “stacking wins” presumably meaning having a couple of nice 4 to 6 game winning streaks. Right now the Cards have been reduced to talking about “stacking first downs.” Meanwhile in Maryland, the OTNAs are putting together an offensive powerhouse with Kirk Cousins at the helm (words Red never thought he would write). KC has 20 touchdowns and an outside shot at a 4500 yard season. The Kelley-Jones tandem at RB is mediocre but will suffice when you have 3 receivers who might catch 80 and surpass 900 yards on the season – especially when that group does not include DeSean Jackson (who doesn’t lag too far behind in yards and TDs). The Cards have the remarkable David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and squat after that. Yet somehow the Cards are favored by 2.5. The consensus O/U is a hefty 50.5 but that doesn’t scare Red too bigly. Take the OTNAs and the points and the over if you must. Landover, Md. 33 Arizona 24.
Underdog Pick of the Week – Buccaneers belt Chargers. The Bucs still are in the thick of a playoff race with the Falcons in their division and other Wild Card contenders. The Chargers are going nowhere in the incredible AFC West and have no realistic change of a Wild Card berth. Yet the professional prognosticators are fairly unanimous in calling this one for the Chargers. Go figure. It might be that others are catching on to Red’s long time fixation on the triple-reverse time zone, inverse coast hex and think that the Bucs can’t win bigly on the West Coast. Red factors that in, but he also factors in having something to play for in December and gives the edge ever so slightly to the Bucs in a match-up of equals. But he is predicting a shoot-out that could go to OT. Tampa Bay 36 San Diego 33.
Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Jets jettison Colts. Not much in the old rivalry closet this week. These teams have played each other a respectable 72 including 4 post-season games. The Colts lead 41-31 but with the Jets having won the biggest one of them all in Superb Owl III. The Jets have had the Colts number winning 4 of the last 5 dating back to 2009 (another era in NFL terms) and won the 17-16 playoff “thriller” on the road after 2010 season. Red predicts that Luck is the next Ryan Fitzpatrick – that is a smart QB from an academically challenging school that has early success and morphs into a caretaker QB as his career winds down. The old caretaker wins this one but not too bigly. New Jersey 24 Indianapolis 14.
Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Packers pick on Texans. For just a moment last week, Red thought the Chargers were going to find a way to blow an 11-point lead with 41 seconds to go in the game. But alas, these were the Texans and while Red has seen offenses suck before, the Texans offense is (with apologies to Homer Simpson) “the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.” Sorry, Red is under a court order to use that phrase at least once every season. The Pack is back, way back, but on the way back, unless it packs its bags and heads back backwards. And that’s just the Dom Capers-led defense. But remember, the Chargers were supposed to have a subpar defense that was borderline godawful at stopping the run. And the Texans scored how many points last week? Game time temps are expected to be in the low 30s with sleet and snow. Maybe A-Rodg’s pee will freeze before it hits the bucket in his sideline tent. But Red digresses. Please God, let this be a blizzard game so that the Texans will have one last excuse for a pitiful offensive performance. Sadly, even at 6-6, the Texans are a good bet to win the AFC South, get a home playoff game (Ka-Ching) and get stomped bigly by the Dolphins or Chiefs or Broncos or Stealers or Ravens or . . . ??? in front of the not-so-faithful. Green Back 21 Houston 11.
Prime Time Pick of the Week – Panthers punch Seahawks. And speaking of division leaders with crappy offenses – one cannot ignore the stench emanating from the Seahawks sideline. The current leading rusher for the Hawks is (drum roll please) C.J. Prosise with 172 yards and 1 touchdown. With a running game like that you end up scoring 5 points. With the falloff of the defensive unit formerly known as the “Legion”, the Hawks are going to have trouble down the stretch. If not for playing in the god-awful NFC West, the Hawks would be lucky to be .500 and scrambling for another playoff berth with a 7-9 record. Everyone but everyone is picking the Hawks to win this one. Red will look like a genius when the Panthers win bigly. Pete the Cheat still makes the playoffs for one last season, but only by default and only for one game. Carolina 35 Seattle 14.
Shit Bowl Pick of the Week – 49ers foul Bears. Red has pretty much avoided Chip Kelly’s disaster on the West Coast this season because he kind of likes the Chipster while thinking that he should return to being the great college football coach that he is. Lord knows he won’t take much of a pay cut when Nebraska or the like come calling. In the meantime, Red is really proud to present one of the shittiest of the Shit Bowls in recent memory. Really, who hasn’t been waiting all season for the Brian Hoyer – Colin Kaepernick show down of sub-prime, fan-hated NFL quarterbacks. It will be an exciting race to see which of these two giants of the gridiron will move past 1500 yards passing for the season first. Throw in a little Jordan Howard and Carlos Hyde at running back and you have the makings of a good afternoon nap on the couch in Red’s man cave (also known as the broom closet). Even Alshon Jeffery has managed to delight his fantasy football backers with all of 1 – count ‘em 1 – touchdown this season. Red will be hanging the Christmas lights instead of watching this beastly bowel battle lest he string up a noose with those lights and bigly hang himself from the eaves instead. Santa Clara 10 Chicago 9.