Tag Archives: NFL Predictions

Red’s NFL Picks – AFC North

Red has a distinct fondness for this division.  Not because it is easy to pick (even though it only has 3 teams – take that Browns fans).  But because it is challenging. Every season one team really outperforms expectations and mystifies the pundits – Red included.  So here goes nothing.

Stealers. Many long years ago, Red went to see a late-season game between the Oilers and Stealers in the last days of the Astrodome. He chatted up a few Stealers fans before the game – one of whom told him that it was cheaper for him and his son to fly to Houston, spend the night at a reasonable hotel and buy tickets for the game than it would be to get two ticket to a Stealers home game.  With fans like that name Red one good reason why the AFC Championship game should not be a rematch of last year when the Patriots steamrolled the Stealers 36-17 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Of course, losing Le’Veon Bell early on and having some dude named Chris Hogan be the hero with 2 TDs and 180 yards doesn’t help your cause.  So why pick the Stealers? It’s a good question.  Will this be the year that Bell actually suits up for 16 games?  He is playing on the franchise tag, so he has a lot to prove for a big payday.  Can Big Ben hold his battered, bruised and frequently broken body together for one more season of greatness?  Can a Stealers defense that was nothing short of awful against the Pats snap back? Will the Stealers avoid last season’s horrific start? Will dead Dan Rooney (ensconced in the luxurious NFL wing of St. Peter’s Estates) be taunting the emaciated ghost of Al Davis as he walks the netherworld searching for another Superb Owl ring for all eternity?  Lots of questions?  Red has no real answers, except that with a relatively easy first 5 games, the Stealers should not have to count on a 7 game winning streak to secure a playoff spot like they dead in 2016.  And to give you one good reason the Stealers might not be in the AFC Championship game.  They’re called the Oakland Raiders (somewhere Al Davis lets loose a creaky “Just Win Baby”).   Pittsburgh goes 10-6 and win the North nonetheless.

Ravens. Flacco Joe’s deal with Satan must have timed out.  After all, the first 5 seasons of FJ’s NFL career are basically unmatched by any other quarterback.  Flacco Joe led his team to 5 straight playoff appearances culminating in the Ravens second NFL title in 2012.  He was the first rookie quarterback to win 2 playoff games.  He had the most wins by a quarterback in his first 6 and 7 seasons. He was the first NFL quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons.  But since 2012, there has been one playoff win (albeit against a good Stealers team in 2014) and lots of disappointment on the Chesapeake.  So it was good while it lasted for FJ, but Red thinks he needs a change of scenery.  Perhaps the Argonauts are in the market for a tall, strong-armed, washed-up quarterback.  Ravens do have some positives.  The combination of Maclin and Perriman at wideout will keep defenses wondering.  Meanwhile, the Ravens defense is a palimpsest of the former playbook  and they are searching for a running game.   Ravens will have to score lots of points to win this season.  They do have longfoot Justin Tucker and his ability to hit from range will keep them in a few games – just not enough games.  Baltimore is 8-8 and sitting at home in January.  

Bengals. Last year Red wrote, “So it’s pretty much make or break time for this current iteration of the Bengals.” Well, “break” it was as the season was pretty damn miserable for the Bengals.  They finally figured out that Jeremy Hill sucks and that Gio Bernard is a “specialty back” and that. yep losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu does make a difference.  So they are going young on offense this year with wideouts John Ross and Josh Malone.  And to meet their NFL minimum  requirement of at least one girl-beater per team, they drafted Joe Mixon from OU. The big problem for the Bengals is up front.  They lost all-world left tackle Andrew Whitworth to the Rams and are expecting unproven backups to take up the slack.  As for Red’s favorite distant relation “Red Rifle” Dalton – it looks more and more like one of those wasted careers as far as playoff success goes.  He can cry on LaDanian Tomlinson’s HOF shoulder about that one.  The good news for Bengals fans (and Red) is that this won’t be the year when the Bengals ignominiously lose their 9th playoff game in a row – because they won’t have a chance.  Cincinnati goes 7-9.

Browns. Does Red really have to say anything here?  He thought not, but here goes anyway.  Red gives the Browns credit for trying to build a team in the old-fashioned way with major upgrades to both lines with additions of JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler on O line and first round pick Myles Garret and rookie Larry Ogunjobi on the D line.  Browns might actually win a division game with Bengals and Ravens trending down.  Jets, Jaguars, Chargers and Bears are other chances to win.   Browns improve, Brock Osweiler doesn’t completely suck, but no one notices.  Cleveland swaggers to 4-12.

Red’s NFL Picks – AFC West

The Wild Wild West.  A dangerous place for the pundit.

Raiders. Raiders would have almost certainly been playing in the second round of the playoffs if not for losing first and second string quarterbacks and suffering a season-ending loss to the Broncos that cost them a division title and home field advantage.  The only team in recent memory to win a playoff game with a third stringer under center was the Texans in 2011 with T.J. Yeates.  But they beat the Bengals so it almost doesn’t count.  And nothing against Connor Cook, but when your QB is 18 of 45 with 3 INTs and rating of 30.0, it’s going to be a long plane flight back to California.  With even an average Derek Carr day, the Raiders had a decent shot at beating a Texans team with Brock Osweiler at the helm.  So Carr (brother of David – who, by the way, still sucks) and most of the offensive weaponry is still intact.  And they now have “The Beast”. With that addition, Latavius Murray might become the league’s best third down back and catch about 60 passes when it really counts. The Raiders defense is the weak link here – which is a surprise on a Jack Del Rio coached team. The Raiders end their championship drought when they clinch the title in the last game  against the Chargers.  The emaciated ghost of Al Davis croaks “Just win Baby” as the champagne pours.  But sadly, Walking Dead Al continues to roam the soon-to-be abandoned corridors of Oakland Coliseum hoping for an Uber ride to Vegas for all eternity.  Oakland takes home the silver and black cake with an 11-5 record.

Chiefs. It’s hard to bet against the Chiefs.  Red thinks they got the steal of the draft in Patrick Mahomes.  He looks like the real thing and may be starting by November.  Of course he will have to find someone other than Travis Kelce to throw to.  And C.J. Spiller and the running back committee will have to take charge at times.  A lot rides on the Thursday night opener in Foxboro.  If they knock off the champions, then the Chiefs may swoop in on their war ponies and beat enough of the weaklings and mediocrities on the schedule to grab a wildcard spot.  A humiliating loss could send the team into a tail spin.  Red likes the Chiefs chances.  Kansas City grabs the last AFC Wildcard spot with 9-7 record.

Broncos. New head coach Vance Joseph is going to be a winner.  But sorry Vance, probably not this season.  Yes the Broncos defense will keep them in a lot of games.  But this may be a year that Red’s Rule (score 13 points and beat the Cowboys) takes a road trip to Colorado.  Neither Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch is going to drag this offense over the goal line anywhere near enough times for the Broncos to have a shot at playing in January.  Having the injury prone Jamaal Charles and C.J. Anderson as your best options in the backfield is not encouraging.  Denver stumbles out of the gate and are lucky to finish 8-8.

Chargers. Red has always like this franchise.  Everyone in Southern California seemed so happy at the games sitting half-naked in the warm sunshine of Jack Murphy Stadium. The fans were in fact beautiful and so was the way the Chargers played the game. The offense was exhilirating and the high scoring games were entertaining.  Having Red’s favorite LT for a decade helped cement his love for this franchise.  But that love has been a one-way street.  Red has repeatedly picked the Chargers and they have rewarded him with disdain.  So the best thing Red could do for the Charges is shit all over their prospects for this season.  That he will gladly do.  Charges are woeful in their new home.  Just how stupid do you have to be leave San Diego?  You’ll go  4-12 and like it.

 

Red’s NFL Picks – NFC South

Surprisingly, the NFC South (unlike almost every other division) is actually comprised of teams entirely from the South.  More fun facts to follow.

Falcons. You know how many times Red has picked the Falcons before giving up on them last season. That’s right – a whole shitload. And how did that work out?  And then last season Red finally wakes up picks the Panthers – who decide to suck while the Falcons finally wake up – at least until the second half of the Superb Owl. Take heart Falcons fans, Red can failure pain.  And despite their pathetic performance in Houston, Red is biting on the Falcons. It may be a collapse of judgment to pick this team to win the NFC South, but this fall apart from some questions about a Superb Owl hangover, the Falcons look solid. Choking the list of positives, they have Matty Ice and the same basic offensive crew around him.  Expect lots of bombs and dive plays.  There may be a few questions – suck gas what happens without offensive wiz Kyle Shanahan? And is crack-up quarterback Matt Schaub capable of tanking over if needed? What will their record be?  10-6 or 11-5? Just flop a coin and don’t sink about it too much.   Really, Falcons fans you should stop gripping, just say “Tanks” for a memorable season last year and hope for the bust in 2017.  Atlanta strolls to an 11-5 record.

Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have a decent shot at a Wild Card spot. Their 5 game win streak to close the season almost almost landed them in the playoffs where nobody wanted to face them. They look to have two elite talents in Jameis Winston and Mike Evans. Doug Martin remains a question mark – he is either great or injured with little room in between. Jaquizz Rodgers needs to take over as the Number 1 back. Adding DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard makes this a formidable offensive unit.  On defense, Kwon Alexander put up Defensive ROY numbers in 2015 and improved last season and the rest of the defense looks good enough to win a lot of games.  The Bucs have had trouble finishing off close ones.  Dumping erratic kicker Roberto Aguayo and bringing in Nick Folk may help in that area.  Look for the Tampa Bay to go 10-6 and make it to Wildcard Weekend.

Panthers.  Panthers are a sexy pick to with the NFC South despite their first to worst performance in 2016. Losing six games by 3 points or less will get a bad record. Red thinks the Panthers are sadly headed in the wrong direction as evidenced by the firing of GM Dave Gettleman in July.  Rivera’s job is on the line this season and his best work is not done under pressure.  They do have an easy loser’s schedule and will not be playing with a makeshift O line as in 2016. But lack of a real running game will limit Cam’s options.  CN does improve his woeful 52% completion rate last season, but it would be hard not to.  On the other side the additions of Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn (perhaps Red’s favorite name in all of the NFL) will bolster a defense that distinctly underperformed last year.  Still it is a difficult climb back to the excellence of 2015.  The Panthers make it back a ways, but not a long ways.  Carolina fans can expect an 8-8 record at best.

Saints.  The Saints’ window of opportunity has closed. Not that it was all that wide open anyway with three consecutive 7-9 seasons.  Adding boy-beater Adrian Peterson might help, but probably doesn’t offset losing rising star wideout Brandin Cooks.  Last year Drew Brees refused to look tired and old. The ageless wonder completed  a league-leading 471 of his league-leading 673 attempts for 70% completion rate (who in God’s name completed more than 70% of their passes last season?) for a  league-leading 5208 yards (are you getting the drift here?) and 37 touchdowns!  Imagine what that could have done for a team like say – the hapless Texans.  Even though DB should be tired and old in his by-God 17th NFL season, he again refuses to follow the script and that alone will carry this team a long ways – just not long enough.  Saints cannot score enough points to make up for sadly sagging defense.  New Orleans slumps to 6-10.

Answer:  Sam Bradford completed 71.4% and Matt Ryan completed 70.1% of their attempts to edge out Brees.

 

Red’s 2017 NFL Picks – AFC East

As long time readers know (and Red hopes they are both awake and not too terribly hung-over this morning), this part of the annual predictions is where Red always writes that it is “cowardly and spineless to pick the Patriots year after year” and then confirms his cowardice and utter lack of vertebral support by picking the Patriots anyway.

In fairness to Red, look at this division.

Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs in 17 years – the longest active post-season drought in the NFL (yes – worse than Cleveland even). Do they deserve a second look in 2017?  Emphatically not!

The Jets have been a reality TV show for the last several seasons – and a really bad reality TV show at that.  What is going on with that franchise.  Go to their official website – they don’t even have a depth chart posted!  Maybe when your choices for starting quarterback are the appropriately named Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty it’s just as well to keep everyone in the dark.

The Dolphins at least went 10-6 and with some help made the playoffs last year. But against the Pats, they were behind 31-3 in week 3 before rallying to lose by only 7 and then were blown out 35-14 in week 17.  In the playoffs the Stealers pushed them aside like a Latvian President and that was it for the Fish.  Red holds out some hope for the Dolphins in 2017.  He also still plays the lottery.

Red has finally come to terms with the fact that Brady and Bellicheat long ago made a pact with the Dark Lord and while their souls may be damned for all eternity to the lake of fire at least they will both end up in the Hall of Fame – which may not be an altogether bad trade-off. Realistically, Red thinks this may be the season where Tom Brady finally looks tired and old and Bellicheat gets his playbook stolen by Russian hackers.  Quit kidding yourself Red, you know you have no balls when it comes to this division.  Save your foolishness for the NFC West. Who on the schedule can beat the Pats even on a bad hair day for Tom?  Maybe the Chiefs, Raiders, Falcons and Stealers?  “Maybe” being the operative word here.

New England breezes to a 13-3 record.  Red hates himself today.

Red’s NFL Picks – Conference Championships

NFL Picks 2016 – Conference Championships

The dream of an all-Texas Superb Owl to be played in Texas died a harsh death last weekend. It wasn’t much of a dream anyway and it keeps alive the curious streak of the home team never hosting the big game.

The Texans never had a chance against the Patriots – although they did keep it close for a whole half as Red predicted. Red almost believed for an instant after Brady’s second interception.

Meanwhile in Arlington, the Cowboys must be sitting around muttering “I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender.” The problem is that Aaron Rodgers is somebody and is always a contender. But now Jerry’s Boys will be spending the off-season wondering what could have been and not making any real changes to a lineup that had a magical year – a year that is not likely to be repeated any time soon.  The Cowboys defense has real problems and the rookie phenoms – may just be rookie phenoms.  As Red has said, he is perfectly okay with the Cowboys winning one playoff game every decade. So, sorry Jerry, the win for the 10’s is already in the books.  Talk to me in 2021.

For Round 2, Red was a spectacular 4-0 and made good on both Sure Bets with the Stealers covering and the under paying off.   Good things come to those who wait and wait and wait and . . .

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Stealers smack Patriots.    About the only good thing to come out of the Texans’ defeat on Saturday was that the defense beat the everloving crap out of Tom Brady.  Even Mrs. Red was getting excited when Chris Covington body slammed TB and Whitney Mercilus dragged him to the ground.  Brady took more hard shots in that game than he usually does in a month.  The Pats running game was also exposed.  Brady won the game with repeated strikes downfield against  Texans defensive backs who always seemed to be clueless as to where the ball was going.  That won’t happen against the Stealers.  Brady will face even more pressure (the Stealers had 30 sacks in the last 8 games). And the Pats are not likely to run against the Stealers any better than they did against the Texans.  But the real question is for the Stealers.  Can they score against the Pats league-leading defense?  The mid-season matchup tells us – well, not much.  The Stealers didn’t have Ben and Pats still had Gronk. Landry Jones had to chuck it up 47 times that day in a losing effort for the Stealers – which is something Ben almost never does. LaGarrette “Fat Pig” Blount rushed for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Pats to victory.  That does not happen Sunday.  The Pats also will not be bailed out by Dion Lewis – who had more touchdowns on Sunday than in the rest of his career going back to 2011.  Red doesn’t know how the Stealers are going to win, but he knows they are going to win and thus, cover the spread whatever it is.  The Stealers are getting 5.5 just in case you are interested.  The O/U is at 51.  Which strikes Red as way too high. Take the under here.   Pittsburgh 21 New England 20.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Packers pelt Falcons.  Aaron Rodgers – great family man that he is – will always have a place in Red’s heart.  Driving a stake through the heart of the Cowboys’ season will do that for you.  And the Packs’ reward is to be a 4.5 point dog on the road against the Falcons.  The Falcons looked like a well-oiled machine on Saturday – with the big exception of letting Devin Hester run wild on kick and punt returns.  Without Hester, the game was not even close.  With him, the game wasn’t that close.  The Pack has no one like Hester.  Although Ty Montgomery’s brilliant play during the Lions-Packers game showed that he is the thinking man’s kick returner.  One of the Lions’ kickoff was dying at about the Green Bay 3 yard line.  But since it was near the sideline.  TM stepped out of bounds and fell on the ball (still in bounds).  Under the very complicated NFL kicking rules, that made the ball out of bounds and put the Packers at the 40 yard line.  It pays to know the very complicated NFL kicking rules.  Red has been duly impressed by the Falcons this season.  He has picked them repeatedly in the past – only to be disappointed.  The long-suffering Falcons fans are not disappointed – well not yet anyway.  It’s a little too good to be true and reality is coming home.  The first meeting of these teams at mid-season was a complete shootout with Rodgers and Ryan combining for 7 TD passes, 534 yards and no INTs. Expect about the same on Sunday.  The oddsmakers sure do.  The O/U on this one is a whopping 61.5.  Red sees them getting there.  The Packers defense is suspect merely by virtue of having Dom Capers in charge.  The Falcons defenses has toughened up considerably over the last month of the season, but these are the Packers after all.  This one could last 4:15 and conceivably goes to OT.  Okay, Red calls OT.  Take the Pack and the points and the over. Green Bay 35 Atlanta 29.

And of course, that gives us a Packers-Stealers Superb Owl.  Who doesn’t want to see that?

Red’s NFL Picks – Playoffs Round 2

Red has now seen every Texans playoff victory in person as he had the good sense to be in New Mexico for last year’s 30-0 buttwhipping at the hand of the Chiefs. He would dearly love to be in Arlington on Sunday afternoon but will have to settle for hearing about the Cowboys game after playing golf (or possibly at the turn).

For Wildcard Week Red was 2-2. Only Red would pick a team that hasn’t won a playoff game on the road since 1957.  That would be the Lions if you weren’t paying attention.  Picking the Giants turned out to be a less than smart move.  Red will not dis A-Rodg again.  Onward and sideways.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Stealers slap Chiefs.    What in God’s name was Ben still doing in the game on the second-to-last play of the game?  The Stealers were lucky that BR was not seriously injured (and by Rotlessburger standards that means not in a coma or on life support in the ICU).   The Stealers simply manhandled an inferior Dolphins squad as expected.  The Chiefs will be a different story, but the ending looks the same.  As one site puts it, the Stealers “look mean as hell” right now.  Look at former Stealers linebacker and current assistant coach Joey Porter who was arrested for assault when he attached a doorman at a bar and topped that off with an aggravated assault charge when he got huffy with an arresting officer. When did the Chiefs last have a coach in a bar fight much less getting arrested?  The Stealers are getting 2 in most lines.  If that goes to 3, jump in with both feet.  The O/U at 51.5 is somewhat surprising.  Red likes the under here.  Enjoy your NFL game of the week.   Pittsburgh 27 Kansas City 20.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Falcons f#©k Seahawks. Matt “No One is Going to Mistake Me for Johnny Unitas” Ryan has one thing going for him this weekend.  He knows how to beat the Seahawks in the playoffs.  That is exactly what he did in 2012. Unfortunately for Mr. Mr. that’s the only thing he knows how to do.  That’s his only postseason win ever. We do have a bit of recent history here as the Seahawks beat the Falcons (Red loves him and all-avian playoff matchup) 26-24 back in October.  But Ryan threw 3 touchdowns against a much better secondary than the Seahawks are putting on the field right now.  The Seahawks missing Earl Thomas is like Red going hog hunting with a BB gun instead of his 7mm mag.   You might remember that just last week, Red made fun of Seahawks running back Thomas “Lou” Rawls and his season total of 349 yards rushing. After torching the Lions for 4332 yards or roughly 2.5 miles, Red takes it  all back.  All Hail, Mr. Rawls – last seen still shedding Lions tacklers somewhere near Butte, Montana.  The Seahawks best hail Mr. Rawls because it’s hard to see them winning this one without a similar performance this week. , Red wants some of what Mr. Rawls is smoking or at least a contact high.  Detroit 21 Seattle 20.

 

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Packers pucker up Cowboys.   Speaking of teams playing “mean as hell” consider the Packers.  They lose their best non-quarterback player and big time playmaker (J. Nelson) to a cheapshot and still cruise to an easy win over the best all around defense in the league.  Nelson claims he is going to play Sunday – fractured ribs and all.  The Pack still have the best player in the game right now in Aaron Rodgers – and here Red must again eat crow.  Rodgers was phenomenal last week.  He should fare just as well against  Red once pulled an interstitial muscle in his rib cage mowing the lawn and couldn’t get out of bed for a week.  Red doesn’t belong in the NFL.  Jordy Nelson does.  Meanwhile in the Metroplex, the Cowboys have pretty much stuffed all comers not named the New York Football Giants this season with a rookie QB at the helm.  A rookie QB that was the 113th quarterback taken in the 2016 draft –  okay he was really the 15th.  And to think it could have been Johnny Football.  But Red digresses.  Rookie quarterbacks typically have a hard time in playoff games.  Dom Capers is no dumbass and he will make life difficult for Dak Prescott.  Red predicts that before the game is over – Tony Romo attempts to ride to the rescue and fails miserably. Green Bay 37 Arlington 20.

 

Prime Time Pick of the Week – Patriots punish Texans.   Okay by now you have heard that this is the biggest point spread since David v. Goliath (Red had David at 5-1 just in case you were wondering).  Only around six times in the modern NFL era has a playoff team been disfavored by such a large spread.  One of those times was in 1979 when the Oilers were huge dogs to the Chargers because they were missing Dante Pastorini, Earl Campbell and Kenny Burroughs.  Guess what, they blasted Air Coryell and advanced to the AFC Championship game.  It’s probably the second biggest upset in modern NFL Playoff history.  Unfortunately for Houston fans it seems like no such surprise is in the works Saturday night.  The Texans are 1-7 lifetime against the Patriots.  Red was at the only Texans victory in the last game of the 2009 season and the Texans barely won even though by halftime Tom Brady was sipping a Crown and Coke in a Barcalounger on the sideline and some guy named Brian Hoyer was under center for the Pats.  It still took a fumble recovery in the end zone by Bernard Pollard and three 4th quarter touchdowns for the Texans to pull off a win in what was a meaningless game for the Pats.  It’s not like the Texans haven’t been competitive against the Pats at times.  The Lost 34-31 in December of 2013 at Foxboro and in the first meeting ever on a Sunday night in 2003, Brady had to rally the Pats to tie the game with 40 seconds left before winning 23-20 in OT.  But in the NFL, all of that is ancient history.  The Pats have simply demolished the Texans the last two seasons.  Are the Texans a different team than the one that got slobberknockered in September.  Yes.  But so are the Patriots – they have that guy Tom Brady – you know the one who sells magic pajamas (see above) and has a garage full of trophies. The Texans only win with at least 17 points scored or set up by defense and special teams, one long TD drive and one 75+ yard TD.  If those things happen – and they won’t – the Texans have a chance.  All that said, Red expects the Texans defense to keep it close for a while.  But if it goes according to form, Red will be able to switch over and watch Have Gun Will Travel reruns by the middle of the third quarter.  There are worse ways to spend a Saturday night.  New England 24 Houston 11.

 

Red’s NFL Picks – Week 15

Red was so depressed after Week 13 that he could hardly brush the chips off his sweater and get off the couch. He had to take Week 14 off because of that and the press of other crap coming down the pipe.  Anyhow, 2-4 in Week 13 dug that hole just a little deeper. Red is a sorry 33-37-2.  Down but not quite yet out.

Sure Bet Pick of the Week –Texans tackle Jaguars. After saving the season with a win over the Colts last week, the Texans have the bye week that is otherwise known as having the Jaguars come to town.  Texans now have the playoffs squarely in their sights and the Jags have the offseason and cheeseburgers in mind.  The Texans running game is probably too much for the Jags 4-3 to handle and expect the T-men to grind it out on the ground and control the ball for most of the game.  It won’t be exciting but it will be better than turning the game over to BO and the pathetic excuse for a passing attack that is the Texans offense.  If the Texans aren’t tight, then the crowd could be headed for the exits to celebrate in the parking lot with about 12 minutes left.  If the Texans are tight, it will get ugly at NRG.  Red will bet the South 40 on the Texans giving up 6 against a team that seems to have their bags packed and ready to go.  And whatever the under is – Red likes it.  Houston 20 Jacksonville 7.

Underdog Pick of the Week – Broncos bust Patriots. The defending champions aint going down without a fight.  Broncos draw a line in the sand and dare the Pats to cross.  But not for a first down.  This will be one mean and ugly tussle.  Keep the body bags handy boys. Denver 21 New England 20.

Rivalry Game Pick of the Week – Raiders ransack Chargers. Derek Carr cements his claim to an MVP nod after these two old rivals meet.  This one dates back to the very beginnings of the AFL in 1960 and they have played twice every season since with the Raiders holding a 62-50-2 edge and having won the only playoff game in the series in January of 1981. Raiders just have too much offensive firepower for the Chargers (no slackers either) to keep pace. Both defenses will be sucking gas by halftime.  Will this be the last time that San Diego and Oakland meet?  And who can really get excited about a matchup between yet another team from LA and the Las Vegas Raiders?   Oakland 45 San Diego 37.

Texas Franchise Pick of the Week – Buccaneers beat back Cowboys.   Has the league figured out Dak Prescott just enough to make life fairly difficult for the Rookie phenom?  If a relatively bruised and battered Giants defense can hold you to 7 points and those 7 points came on a blown defensive play, then just how good is your formerly high-octane offense?  Probably not that good.  Meanwhile, the seafaring criminals have developed a pretty defense if you ignore their No. 21 ranking against the run.  But that does not account for the way that the Bucs have been playing for 5 weeks.  Look for a couple of big plays as Jameis connects with Mike “I won a Heisman Trophy for Johnny F. Football” Evans.  Two big TDs to Evans sink the Boys ship for a second week in a row and get all of Cowboy Nation wondering if Dak was a flash in pan and calling Romo, Romo, where for art thou Romo?   Tampa Bay 21 Arlington 10.

Prime Time Pick of the Week – OTNAs outplay Panther.   Red was raised on OTNA hate – back when  he was a Cowboys fan and they were still the OTNAs but Red was not offended by their name. Red still hate him some OTNA (and now some Cowboy), but has to accept reality this week while still wondering what the hell happened to the Panthers who simply could not lose last season.  Red aint got a clue. Landover, MD 29 Carolina 14.

Shit Bowl Pick of the Week –Browns best Bills. Red  is picking the Browns to win.  Red is picking the Browns to win.  Red is picking the Browns to win.  Red is picking the Browns to win.  Say it as much as you like, it still doesn’t make sense.  Duct tape all objects weighing under 5 pounds in place during the pre-game, lest ye be tempted to hurl them at your big 70” baby when you have been tricked into watched this turgid turd tussle. Cleveland 3 Orchard Park 0.