Tag Archives: NFL Predictions

Red’s NFL Weekly Ratings 2020 – Week 16

Red’s long held dream of a 6-10 team making the playoffs is still alive thanks to the pathetic excuse for a professional football division that is the NFC East. If the 6-9 Washington FTs lose to the we-can’t-believe-we-are-out-of-it Philadelphia Eagles and the 5-10 New York Football Giants beat the 6-9 Dallas Cowboys then all three teams will finish with 6-10 records and the Giants will make the playoffs on a tiebreaker. Sadly, however, there appears to be no chance for a blizzard game in New Jersey on Sunday. You can’t have everything. But on a positive note, we did have Steve Kornacki breaking down the playoff picture on Sunday Night Football for NBC – wearing the Kornacki Khakis of course. Onward through the fog.

Red’s Top Ten:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-1). Having clinched the top seed in a sloppy game against the Falcons, the Chiefs will not play on the road until either the Superb Owl or next season. Red thinks the BIlls are the only AFC team that can beat the Chiefs.
  2. Buffalo Bills (12-3). Bills fans celebrate the first AFC East Championship since the days of Jim Kelly. That a complete dismemberment of the Patriots on MNF makes for a glorious season. Only the Chiefs stand in the way of another Superb Owl loss (or possibly victory).
  3. Green Bay Packers (12-3). Packers were certainly impressive in dispatching the Titans as if they were a Trump lawsuit challenging the election results.
  4. New Orleans Saints (11-4). Four straight NFC South Division Titles and a dollar will get you a Jack-in-the-Box taco. That said, Red doesn’t think that Alvin Kamara is going to rest on his record tying 6 rushing touchdowns against the Vikings on Christmas Day. AK tied Ernie Nevers who had 6 for the Chicago Cardinals in 1929. Red isn’t sure but that probably was the longest standing single game record left in the books. That probably leaves Norm Van Brocklin’s single game passing yardage record as the longest outstanding single game record.
  5. Pittsburgh Stealers (12-3). The Stealers rebounded with a big come-from-behind victory against the chocking Colts. Red still wonders if the Stealers will make it out of the first round of the playoffs against the Dolphins, Ravens or Titans.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (11-4). Give the Seahawks their due, they punched the Rams to the brink of playoff elimination while securing the NFC West title. That may be as good as it gets for the Seahawks.
  7. Miami Dolphins (10-5). Is there another miracle finish in store for the Dolphins? The Dolphins are Just a victory over the Bills away from the playoffs. And Red is just a few hundred million short of being a billionaire. Miami will be a hot pick for the Superb Owl next season with oodles of draft picks and cap space.
  8. Baltimore Ravens (10-5). The Ravens have righted the ship and trimmed the sails with four consecutive wins over weak competition (with exception of the Browns). Can the Ravens beat a good football team?
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5). The reward for what Red views as an entirely mediocre season (the Bucs will likely finish with exactly one win over a team with a winning record (how this team beat down the Packers is a mystery) probably will be getting to play the winner of the NFC East and an almost assured second round playoff game against more formidable competition. If they win against the Falcons on Sunday, the Bucs might just be the worst 11-5 team in NFL history.
  10. Chicago Bears (8-7). Bears will clinch a playoff spot with an upset win over the Packers at Soldier Field.

Still in the Hunt:

11. LA Rams (9-6). A win against the Cardinals and they are in the playoffs. Sounds exciting.

12. Arizona Cardinals (8-7). A win against the Rams and they are in the playoffs. Sounds exciting.

13. Tennessee Titans (10-5). Red has been on the Titans’ bandwagon all year. His horn was ripped out of his hands this week by the Packers – who exposed all the flaws in the Titans. Titans still have a clear path to the playoffs if they can beat the Texans. And if they cannot, then the Titans deserve to sit and watch.

14. Cleveland Browns (10-5). Red can’t really blame the crippled Browns for losing to the Jets but it was about the most Browns’ thing yet this season. Red still thinks they can beat the Stealers at home and make it to the dance.

15. Indianapolis Colts (10-5). On life support now despite a pretty good season.

15. Washington FT’s (6-9). See above.

16. New York Giants (5-10). See above.

17. Dallas Cowboys (6-9). See above. Is Andy Dalton better than at least 10 other current starting quarterbacks in the league? Let’s see – Newton, Bridgewater, Cousins, Jones, Fitzpatrick (sort of) and whoever is starting for the Jaguars, Bengals, Broncos, Jets and Bears.

The Dogs of the Downs:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14). Nobody does football worse.
  2. New Jersey Jets (2-13). Red is rooting for a 3 game win streak to finish the season. Watch out 2021.
  3. Houston Texans (4-11). It’s not a dumpster fire on South Main – the entire dump is ablaze. Is Urban Meyer really interested in this franchise?
  4. Atlanta Falcons (4-11). Never have so many done so little with so much.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1). A truly pathetic season all around. And the prospects are not looking good.

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – AFC South

Red gets to cheat a bit on this one as he ran out of time before the season started to make his selection in the former NFL Division of Excellence.  Oh yes, there was a time when the AFC South routinely put up the best numbers of any division in football.  That has long since passed.  The AFC South did post two play-off teams last season – that is, if you considered the Texans to actually be a playoff team after getting rolled and smoked by the Colts in January.  Jacksonville regressed to recent form and perhaps the Titans did not get the love they deserved for their close to the play-offs 9-7 record last season under new coach Mike Vrabel.  So with the benefit of Week One under his belt, Red goes all in.

Tennessee Titans –   Again, yet another pick that Red will likely regret.  The Titans were at best erratic last season.  They started 3-1, then lost three in a row (including 2 one-point losses to the Bills and Chargers before blowing out the Cowboys and Patriots in back to back weeks to seemingly right the ship at 5-4.  Then they get smacked by the Colts and Texans before winning four in a row against the weakest of the weak sisters last season (Jets, Jags, Giants and OTNA’s) and then blew amy shot at the playoffs in the last game to the surging Colts.  The Colts probably had all the tie-breakers anyway, but . . .    The Titans bring basically the same team back – with a few additions.  Derrick Henry leads the league in rushing and M&M proves that he is a serviceable NFL QB if not a star.  Tennessee is 10-6 and back in the mix.

Jacksonville Jaguars –  Losing Nick Foles in the first quarter of the first game might not be the end for the Jags.  They still have a rough-house defense (ask Patrick Mahomes how he feels this week) and strong running game.  Rookie QB Tyler Minshew made an impressive and record-setting debut (completing his first 13 NFL passes in a row) before the Jags simply could not keep up with the Andy Reid show feature Patrick Mahomes and the Powerhouse Chiefs Offense Band (words that will be written many times this season).  Jags will win low scoring ugly games and just enough for an 8-8 finish.  

Houston TexansDisorder be an easy one.  The problem starts riot at the top.  What is up with Cal “the Idiot Son of Deceased former owner and once-hailed Houston football savior Bob” McNair?  Is he stupid or just morass than previously thought?  Here’s Red’s tangle on the situation.  Janice McNair needs to cut discord with Idiot Son and find a real person to ruin the franchise.  Otherwise, Red will be one pandemonium all season about the Texans.  The trouble will travel from the owner’s box down to the sideline and into the muddle on the field before plays.  Before the season is over, attendance drops, ticket resale lags, and tickets will be free for all practical purposes.  Even turning tumult-iple formations on the field doesn’t revive fan interest.  Disarray of different offensive schemes can’t cure the problems with management. The problems compound and even moving the bollix a problem for the offense. In the last game of the season, angry maelstrom the field and call for Cal’s sizeable head on a pole.  Has Red made his chaos?    Texans tough schedule and rudderless front office lead to anarchy on South Main 7-9 rat’s nest

Indianapolis Colts –  Red hates the Colts.  The Colts would hate Red if they ever thought about him – which of course they don’t.  Red tempers his hate by season end and gets some much needed help.   Indianapolis is lucky to finish 7-9 as well. 

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – AFC North

Usually a tough division to pick (with the notable exception of the Cleveland Browns for about two decades). This season is no different. One betting site refers to the AFC North as “one hell of a puzzle box for NFL bettors.” Fortunately for you, Red is pretty damn good at puzzle boxes.

Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens have traditionally featured a ferocious defense, decent special teams and an offense just good enough to win close games. The Ravens are now an offensive juggernaut. Discount QB Lamar Jackson’s poor in the playoff game against the Chargers who lined up 7 defensive backs at times. LJ is a better passer than anyone knows right now and his legs will keep defenses honest. The additions of RB Mark Ingraham and rookie Justice Hill (Red’s pick for All Rookie Team) will add to a triple headed rushing monster for the Ravens. The Ravens ran more than any team last season and that clock-eating offense only helps what is still a very good defense – now shored up with Earl Thomas. Baltimore shocks a lot of folks going 12-4.
Cleveland Browns – The Browns were Red’s off the dung heap pick to make the playoffs last season and they almost pulled it off despite blowing at least 3 winnable games with questionable play calling and clock management. New Head (and former interim) Coach Freddie Kitchens won’t be making those same mistakes. He has lots of talent to work with in Baker Mayfield, OBJ and Nick Chubb and a decent O-line. Browns are 3-3 before their week 7 bye. They turn season around by beating Pats in Foxboro in week 8. A bit of a sugar high, but they hold on against the Broncos and Bills to be 6-3 and facing the easier part of their schedule. Cleveland is 10-6 and in as a Wild Card.
Cincinnati Bengals – Will not be as bad as expected. But won’t be very good either. They have an easy schedule but not easy enough. Cincinnati is 6-10 and continues league worst streak for lack of playoff wins.
Pittsburgh Stealers – The window is closed. Ben is tired and old and his main weapons are gone. JuJu will still be spectacular but it won’t be enough. The pathetic defense of last season did not get any better (15 takeaways in a division filled with turnover machines). They get drubbed by the Pats in week 1 and it is downhill from there. Pittsburgh brings up the rear at 5-11.

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – AFC East

Since Red is making NFL predictions, he is technically obligated to pick a winner in the AFC East. For 16 of the last 18 seasons, that has not exactly been a particularly taxing chore. Here goes again – Damn it.

New England Patriots – Almost every year, Red writes, “It is cowardly and spineless to pick New England year after year. And Red will keep doing it until he is proved wrong. (Hey, this is about the point Red has trouble coming up with new material – so excuse me).” (Hey, this is about the point where Red has trouble coming up with new material – so buzz off). Barring catastrophic injury to TB-12 or early onset of dementia or the possibility of Trump taking a Sharpie and making a mess of Bellicheat’s game plan, the Pats should ride into the playoffs. But it won’t be quite as comfortable a ride as usual because go-to target Rob Gronkowski will be celebrating his new physique somewhere other than the friendly confines of Insert Corporate Name Here Stadium. Every other team in the division will be better than last season, but not better enough. As always, Red hopes that he is wrong and the loyal readers can shout from the hilltops, “Red, you were cowardly and spineless to pick New England yet again.” But Red doesn’t hear the fat lady warming up yet. New England slogs to a 10-6 record but still repeats as division champ.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills have made improvements on offense shoring up the O-line with five signings. They give LeSean McCoy a new lease on life and provide some breathing room for second year QB Josh Allen – who got way too much OJT last season. The Bills actually played decently after a 2-7 start. If they can keep that pace a winning record will be in sight. The defense is solid, the return game could be interesting and if you haven’t read about Stephen Hauscha’s back story and rise from kicker for the Middlebury College Panthers who play in the NESCAC, then you are missing out. It’s quite a story. Look it up. At any rate, he is the tallest kicker in the league. Buffalo bulls its way to a 9-7 record and as for the playoffs – hmmm.

New York Jets – After a 1-9 finish to the 2018 season, a real house cleaning was in order with a new head coach, new offensive and defensive coordinators and the hopefully fresh legs of LeVeon Bell who sat out last season and middle-of-the-pack wideout Jamison Crowder. Darn Old Sam is still the QB and that is the biggest limitation on the Jets prospects this season. Although the house may be clean, the hedges still need trimming and there are a lot of weeds in the backyard. And when you are getting your new head coach from the Miami Dolphins – well you are getting new head coach that was fired from the Miami Dolphins. Let Red repeat – Fired by the Miami Dolphins. At least the Jets finish ahead of the Dolphins but 6-10 is the ceiling here.

Miami Dolphins – Tanks to their many off-season moves, it looks like a long season for the Aquatic Mammals. Expect a lot of dive plays from the offense. Red is disgusted and must quit now.  Oh, did Red say that every team in the AFC East will be better?  He meant every team that is actually trying to field a team. Someone has to suck and its Miami at 1-15.

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – NFC West

This division seems like the easiest of calls in 2019. That is exactly what worries Red. So here he is calling for the biggest upset of 2019. Overall this division probably has the toughest schedule with games against the loaded NFC South and the AFC North.  Fasten your seat belts.
Arizona Cardinals – Every season one team rises from the dung heap and makes the playoffs. This season it just might be the Cardinals. New coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offensive scheme is going to catch some offguard early in the season. It may not work over the long haul, but it just might work for one season. He has the guns to do it with Kyler Murray throwing to possession receiver and ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald and deep threat Christian Kirk – not to mention KK’s Red Raider buddy and still effective Michael Crabtree. A refreshed David Johnson rounds out the offense The Cards start 3-0 with wins over the Lions, Ravens and Panthers. They are 6-2 and the talk of the league at mid-season. Then they rip off another 3-4 wins before the challenging back to back roadies in Seattle and LA to end the season. If the Cards can win one of those they clinch a hard fought division title. You read it here first Cardinals go 10-6 and win the West.
Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are another team that Red frequently discounts frequently to his disadvantage in this prediction game. Red’s visceral dislike of Pete the Cheat has overwhelmed his judgment at times. The offensive line is very good and will make R. Penny look like the second coming of Walter Payton at times this season. Russell Wilson could use some more help from the receiving corps but as long as he is under center, the Seahawks offense is more than capable of scoring just enough points to win close games. The defense isn’t exactly the Son of the Legion of Boom, but it is more than adequate to keep the Hawks in most games. Seattle probably makes the playoffs at 10-6 but loses the division title on a tie-breaker with the Cards.

Los Angeles Rams – Despite putting on the worst Superb Owl performance since the Vikings in the 1970s or the Patriots in the 1985 (those were the days), the Rams would have to be considered the favorites in the NFC West. But Red has to pick at least one upset. Red thinks the Rams are going to have that all too familiar Superb Owl hangover that befalls teams that performed as poorly as the Rams did in the Big Show (may Red refer you to the Falcons here). The Sean McVay miracle lasts but two seasons. More importantly, the Rams play a tough schedule. An 0-3 start is not out of the question with games on the road in Carolina and Cleveland and the revenge-seeking Saints at home. At some point in the season Todd Gurley is going to out of action. If it comes at the worst time, then the Rams will also rack up losses to the Stealers, Bears and Ravens for another 0-3 stretch. After losing to the Cowboys on the road, the season is all but over and the Cardinals put a bullet between the horns in the season finale. Disappointment reigns in Los Angeles as the Rams slog to a 7-9 finish.

San Francisco 49ers – The Niners will be better. Unfortunately for them better is still not very good  But fear not, better days are on the way – if you have a time machine that will take you back to the 1980’s.  San Francisco brings up the rear at 6-10.

Red’s 2019 NFL Picks – NFC North

As he has mentioned more than a couple of times over the years, this is Red’s least favorite division when it comes to preseason picks. All four teams have made the playoffs in the past three seasons and there have been three different division winners during that stretch. If Red could skip this one he would, but that is not how the game is played.  And he has to pick it today because the NFC North has the honor of kicking off the 100th NFL season with the two oldest franchises still playing.  The Bears host the Packers in the Thursday night opener much to the chagrin of NFL Champion Patriots who are denied that traditional spot because of the 100 year anniversary. Oh, to be at Soldier Field tonight.
Chicago Bears – Da Bears are da team to beat in this division. Red expects Bears to come out of the box strong with win over the Pack in the historic season opener. By mid-point they should be 6-2 with a possible 5-0 start with a win over the Packers. The mid stretch of the season is the toughest with challenges from Saints, Chargers, Eagles and Rams. After that a break and then the Cowboys, Packers and Chiefs before a season ending laugher in Minnesota. If Da Bears win the games they should win and split the tougher match-ups they are in driver’s seat in what some are calling the best division in football this season. The only troublesome spot remains the redoubtable Mitch Trubisky who can be a turnover machine. The Bears won several games despite his lowlights. Look for the Bears defense to be even better and keep the team in enough close games to pull out more than a few. This could be Red’s best pick or his worst. Chicago has a solid season and wins division with 11-5 record.

Green Bay Packers – Things are not happy in northern Wisconsin. The Pack was in the hunt at mid-season in 2018 and then . . . Well, they didn’t quite fall off the radar, but the Bears put them in the rear view mirror. Remember when A-Rodg was the second coming of Joe Montana? That was a while back. Rodgers cannot carry a team like he used to. Fortunately he has help in a very good O-Line, Davonte Adams, Jimmy Graham (not quite tired and old yet – but check in with Red in November) and the all NFL Name Team wideout combination of Marquez Valdes-Scandling and Equanimeous St. Brown (Red picked him for fantasy on name potential alone). But it probably isn’t enough given the suspect situation at running back. Red likes Aaron Jones but can he play a full season without getting injured or suspended. If the Packers are going to have any success it will be because of an upgraded defense. Green Bay has seen better days (in the 1960s) 9-7 maybe works and maybe not.

Minnesota Vikings – Lots of pundits are going all in for the Vikings. Red will hold his chips for now. Red could never quite see what all the Kirk Cousins hype was about and if 2018 is any measure, Red was right. Red thinks the Vikings may play one of the toughest schedules in the league this year. They could lose to the Falcons, Packers, Bears (twice), Eagles, Chiefs, Cowboys, Seahawks and Chargers. If they don’t beat the Sad Sacks (Lions, Redskins, Giants and possibly Broncos), it will be a long season in the hinterlands. Minnesota misses out on chance to lose another Superb Owl at 8-8.

Detroit Lions – For more or less irrational reasons, Red has never liked the Lions. He is buying Detroit real estate however. Unfortunately for the Lions, the most exclusive real estate (their opponents’ end zone) will remain off limits for much of the season. Detroit wonders if Bobby Layne might still be available when it finishes 4-12.

Red’s 2019 NFL Predictions – NFC East

Ah the NFC East, aka the division of former champions. Red had never thought about it and it wasn’t actually true until the 2017 season, but the NFC East is the only division that features four teams that have won the Superb Owl.
Philadelphia Eagles
The only question for the Eagles is whether Carson Wentz can actually stay on the field for an entire season. There will be no all-world backup Nick Foles to fall back on this season. But Red thinks the Eagles have a decent chance of going undefeated in the NFC East and owning all tiebreakers against their division rivals. Look for the Eagles to possibly have the best running game in the NFC with an almost entirely new crew led by Jordan Howard with Miles Sanders and Wendell Smallwood in the wings. Yes, those aren’t big names but they will get a lot of space because of the big play possibilities with CW at the helm. Red also thinks there is a decent chance that Jadeveon Clowney is traded to the Eagles at some point which immediately ups their somewhat no-name defense (quick name Red a defensive starter). Red has Philadelphia going 10-6 and winning this division.

Dallas Cowboys 
Red begins with his annual bitch about the incredibly favorable TV treatment afforded the Cowboys year after year – despite the now decades long stretch of mediocrity of this franchise (3 playoff wins in the last 21 seasons). This season the Cowboys have only 4 noon starts one of which is the traditional noon start on the last Sunday of the season to avoid intentional playoff maneuvering. They have 6 late afternoon games – none of which are time zone related (Giants, Packers and Rams at home and Jets, Patriots and Eagles on the road). Then there are 3 coveted Sunday night games (Eagles, Vikings, Saints), one Monday nighter (Giants), the obligatory Thursday night appearance (Bears) and the sweet late afternoon spot on Thanksgiving (Bills). Maybe watching all of these Cowboy games will make you as sick of winning as Trump claimed he would – but don’t count on it. In the battle of the big egos between Jerry Jones and Zeke Elliot, Red will take JJ everytime – even if it means sacrificing a season. The once vaunted offensive line is tired and old, but otherwise the Boys are remarkably young. There is really no reason why they shouldn’t be competitive. But the schedule looks brutal albeit with a relatively easy start against the Giants, OTNAs and Dolphins and the Boys could be 3-0 by the end of week 3. Then things get rough with the Saints, Packers, and Eagles (with the Jets thrown in as a palate cleanser). Now they are 4-3. A couple of week breather gets them to a respectable 6-3, but then Patriots, Bills, Bears, Rams and Eagles are next and they are 9-6 at best. Here is the kicker, they have to play the Pats, Bills and Bears in 12 days. Red doesn’t think they survive that stretch and the OTNAs beat them at home in the last week to knock them out of the playoffs. Arlington goes 9-7 and misses the dance.

New Jersey Giants 

It has been fruit basket turnover in the Meadowlands. GM Dave Gettlemen ditched OBJ and has brought in a host of free agents and ten count ‘em ten draft picks. Many have concluded that the Giants reached to select Duke QB Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick. Red thinks the Giants will be glad to have a warm body to take the snap once it is proven that Eli Manning is a likely front-runner for the 2019 NFL Deadman of the Year Award. The Giants will cause some trouble with all-world RB Saquon Barkley behind a decent O line. But really this team will go only as far as SB can carry them. New Jersey is a 7-9 team on a good day.

Washington OTNAs
As noted above, the highlight of the OTNA’s season will be knocking the Cowboys out of the playoffs. Look, Red likes Case Keenum – he should still be the Texans backup quarterback, but the idea that he is going to lead the OTNAs to glory just doesn’t fly. And starting rookie QB Dwayne Haskins would be a recipe for disaster with as little support as there is available. Maybe Adrian Peterson has something left in the tank – but Red thinks last season was the last hurrah (and quite a hurrah it was) for AP. The defense will be much improved by the addition of Montez Sweat and Landon Collins. Does Red really need to say anything else. Landover, MD will be lucky to finish 6-10.

The 2018 NFL Deadman of the Year Award

Every season Red kicks-off with the Annual Deadman of the Year Award – which goes to player who contributed about as much to his team’s success last season as would a dead man. The award can only go to a player who at times has shown signs of actual life in being a true contributor on the field. And injuries rarely factor into the DMOTY Panel’s decision making.

There were several worthy candidates. Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles endured an awful start to the season losing 9 of his 12 starts while boasting a QB rating of 79.8 and ultimately making way for Cody “Who’s He” Kessler. New Jersey Jets WR Terrelle Pryor was similarly unimpressive totaling 14 catches in the six games he played before being escorted to the door only to be picked up by the Bills and released again after two games. Pittsburgh Stealers K Chris Boswell cost his team at least 2 games with errant kicking and made only 65% of his attempts – making only 5 of his 10 attempts from 40-49 yards (he missed 5 PATs to boot). Red discounts the candidacy of Washington OTNAs QB Mark Sanchez because he might have been technically dead since 2016.


But the undisputed winner of the 2018 Dead Man of the Year Award goes to Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford (make that former Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford). After signing a one-year $20 million contract in March, Bradford was expected to start for a full season while highly regarded rookie Josh Rosen learned the ropes. SB lasted all of three games before being dumped in a ditch in the desert. In his three starts Bradford went 50 for 80 (not awful), for 400 yards (quite pathetic), 2 TDs (aaarg!), 4 INTs (that don’t work) and 2 lost fumbles (oops). Amazingly, no other NFL team picked up SB (instead of Colin Kaepernik). And although the oft-injured Sad Sack Sam has never really had what one could call a “good NFL season”, he has not been horrid since 2011 when playing for the hapless St. Louis Rams. Still his remarkable 2018 season of ineptitude will not go unnoticed here at PinH. Congratulations Sam, you are last season’s Dead Man of the Year.

PS:  Red likes how the only trading card image he could find of Bradford shows him in training camp attire.

Red’s NFL Picks 2018(sort of) – Division Championships

After going 0-4 on Wildcard Weekend, Uncle Red decided to skip the poorly named Divisional Round but would probably have gone 3-1 (picking the Chargers foolishly) if he had bothered.  But he didn’t – so no countee!  But today is a bit slow and Red is a bit down in the mouth and what better time could there be to make some more foolish choices and almost cap off a season of sub-mediocrity in the prognostication game.

AFC Championship –  Chiefs over Patriots.  How can the Pats have possibly played in 8 consecutive AFC Championship games?  The odds of that happening in the modern NFL are pretty low – given “parity”, injuries, the odd bounce of the ball and bad calls.  But they have done it – so a tip of the ancient sombrero to Bellicheat and gang who call it up year after year after year after year . . . shampoo, rinse, repeat.  But notably, the Pats have only won 2 NFL Championships during that run and both of those were very close calls in which the opposition essentially self-destructed (Pete the Cheat’s absurd call on the goal line that kept the Seahawks from winning in the 2014 playoffs and the Falcons total meltdown to lose in OT after 2017 season.   Is there any real reason to pick against the Pats here?  Probably not.  The offense was absurdly efficient in destroying the Chargers last week.  Here is the one glitch in Perfect Pats Playoff Performance.  They haven’t won a road playoff game since 2007 and the only time they have won the AFC title game on the road in the B&B era is when they played at Pittsburgh in 2001 and 2004 playoffs.  First, no wonder Stealer fans have a special place in Hell reserved for the Pats.  And second that is, of course, ancient history in the NFL scheme of things.  However, more recent history does not look that great for the Pats.  They were 3-5 on the road this season and all 5 road losses were to non-playoff teams.   Bad weather will probably mean nothing to the Pats and will more likely impact the Chiefs wild offensive scheme.  The latest forecast seems to have the precipitation moved out by Sunday – but with brutally cold (below 10F) temperatures.

As for the Chiefs, they were Red’s preseason pick to win it all and he certainly is not going back on that call.  Mahomes is almost certain to win the MVP in his second season.  He is playing with confidence.  Even after the wild 43-40 loss to the Patriots in the regular season, it seemed to Red that the Chiefs were walking off the field thinking “Yeah, we can play with these guys” while the Pats looked like “What the hell just happened and how did we win that one?”  The Chiefs simply have to score early and often before the Pats defense makes the inevitable in-game adjustments.   And maybe just maybe the Chiefs defense is playing with some confidence after ass-whomping the Colts last week.  All in all it adds up to Red picking Kansas City 31 New England 24.

NFC Championship Game – Saints over Rams.  No weather worries here.  Saints have huge homefield advantage in the Superdome with a rabid Saints crowd.  If you haven’t been to a Saints game, you just really cannot appreciate how crazy that scene is for a big game. Yes, the Saints have looked vulnerable at times this season – losing to the Cowboys doesn’t seem quite as bad as it did at the time and the opening game loss to the Buccaneers seems darn near inexplicable now (the season-ending loss to the Panthers was meaningless).  But other than a few such glitches the Saints have been about the most consistent team in the league.

Meanwhile, the Rams only lost to the Saints, Bears and Eagles (all playoff teams) and they won the wild shoot-out with the Chiefs in week 11.  They clearly can play with anyone.  This just might be the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history.  And of course you ask – what was the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history.  Well, actually it’s a tie between the Chargers 41-38 win over the Bengals in 1981 and the Bills 41-38 win over the Oilers in 1992 (the game  which made Red never really care about the outcome of another game after that).  Both were overtime games won by a field goal obviously.  Red is not predicting OT here, just massive amounts of yardage gained and goal lines crossed.  Brees and Goff both have so many weapons at their disposal.  On defense, the Rams gave up 30 or more points seven times and more than 40 points twice.  Meanwhile, the Saints gave up more than 30 only four times and those included  the inexplicable (Bucs) and the meaningless (Panthers) losses of the season.  Given all of this, Red is calling for a “Don’t miss a minute of this one because you might miss out on 3 scores” doozy of a game.  New Orleans 45 Los Angeles 38.   

Red’s NFL Picks 2018 – Week 17

It’s wrong to have to be picking for 17 weeks (Yes, Red knows he missed a couple of weeks – so sue him!).  But it gives Red one last chance to pull a winning record out of his deflated Champ.  Red was 2-4 last week – meaning that he is 38-44 for the year and if he hits on all 6 this week – perfect mediocrity – which has kind of been Red’s life plan all along.

Your Game of the Week Game of the Week – Titans over Colts.  Not much doubt about the TGOTWGOTW this week.  Titans and Colts face off in the first playoff game of the season.  Winner gets the last Wildcard spot and loser goes home.  When all the chips are on the table, Red looks to defense and running game and home field.  Here the Titans are 3-0.  Yes, the Colts have a much better overall offense, but the Titans defense is just enough better and their running game is for real.  Throw in a raucous crowd getting ready for New Year’s in Music City and Red is going with the Titans – but in a squeaker.   Tennessee 19 Indianapolis 16.

Your National TV Game of the Week – Bears over Vikings.  As noted, the Bears really don’t have to score many points to win right now.  And with two top rated defenses and a playoff berth possibly on the line for the Vikings, expect a tight low-scoring contest decided by an extra point, safety or field goal.  And these two just might get to do it over again next week in Chicago if the Eagles falter.  Chicago 17 Minnesota 14.

Your Texas Game of the Week – Texans over Jaguars.  Texans need a win for a chance at a critical first round bye and home game in the divisional round – two things they have never achieved.  Of course, they need help from the Patriots – and good luck there.  The Jaguars have a decent shot at the 2018 Dead Man of the Year Award as a collective.  They entered the season with high apple pie in the sky hopes and instead got a shaving cream pie in the face from the get go.  Texans resurrected their season but fell apart late against the Eagles to most likely dash hopes of first round bye last week.  The cracks in the Texans offense are evident.  Watson holds the ball too long, he has one reliable receiver and the running game comes and goes.  The Jags are playing for pride and could be dangerous despite their pathetic excuse for an offense. If the Texans can’t score enough points to beat the Jags, then expect a quick exit from the playoffs.  Only the whole season is riding on this one.  Houston 28 Jacksonville 16.

Your Disappointing Game of the Week –  Bengals over Stealers.  Bengals put an end to season of disappointment and misery for both teams.  Both of these teams were legitimate playoff contenders if things broke right.  Needless to say they didn’t.  Cincinnati 17 Pittsburgh 14.

Your Time Zone Hex Game of the Week – Chiefs over Raiders.  There are always slim pickings in this category with Week 17 matchups featuring exclusively divisional rivalries.  Hardly any teams are out of their time zone.  Raiders have shown signs of life lately and conversely, the Chiefs are not the juggernaut of September and October.   Still the Chiefs have a lot on the line with a home field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line.  Mahomes has been the man all season and he closes out his MVP year with a spectacular performance this week.  Red calls for 5 TDs, one sack and a possible rushing touchdown.  All the crew joins in – except for the defense which as usual sucks.  Kansas City 48 Oakland 35.

This Week’s Shit Bowl – Falcons over Buccaneers.  Nineteen collective losses earns these two NFC chumps a spot in the final Shit Bowl.  Red had the Falcons playing for a championship and cannot figure out what exactly went wrong except that the Falcons have trouble putting together a decent season more than once about every five years.  The Buccaneers were a disaster waiting to happen that kept the masses entertained for a while with Fitzpatrick’s miraculous month.  Red cautions the foolish few who might actually watch this one to put away that brand new Walther PPK you got for Christmas from weird Uncle Al lest ye be tempted to attempt some target practice on that big 64 incher that Mrs. _______ put in your mancave as a surprise during the third quarter of this turgid turd tussle.  Atlanta 27 Tampa Bay 13.

Your Bonus If Red Can go 7-0 and Post a Winning Record He’ll Be Really Happy Pick of the Week –  Browns over Ravens.  The Browns deserve a winning season and the Ravens deserve to go home.  Enough said.  Cleveland 28 Baltimore 3.