All hail the Denver Broncos.
Denver gave the Kansas City Chiefs the Alderaan treatment last weekend, knocking off the NFL’s last undefeated team in convincing fashion. OK, so maybe it wasn’t an Alderaan-style obliteration, but the Broncos made it clear who’s in charge of the division and the conference, if not the entire league. Call it a Hoth-level event.
On the other end of the spectrum, the scrappy New York Giants have won four straight, and are a game and a half out of first place in the woeful NFC east. At 4-6, it’s not unreasonable to think they stand a chance of making the playoffs.
As history has shown, the best teams don’t always succeed in the postseason. In fact, while Peyton Manning has the numbers and the regular season record to be a lock for Canton, little brother Eli has two shiny rings to Peyton’s one. Once the playoffs start, it’s totally up for grabs.
That said, there’s still six weeks to go before the playoffs, so on with the picks! (Winners in italics.)
New Orleans at Atlanta: The Saints won’t need any voodoo to take care of these angry birds.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: The Browncoats are up against some rejuvenated Reavers here.
Tampa Bay at Detroit: The Lannisters will defeat these upstart pirates, or their gold will be worthless ever more.
Minnesota at Green Bay: After losing in New York, Green Bay is at home against the Vikings. Perfect antidote.
San Diego at Kansas City: The Chiefs are vulnerable, as Denver showed. This could be a big one for the Chargers, but that swarming defense will win out.
Chicago at St. Louis: Tough to discount the Rams these days, but they’re as inconsistent as any given plot on Sleepy Hollow.
Carolina at Miami: Superman lives!
N.Y. Jets at Baltimore: Throw it to the guys in green shirts, Jets.
Jacksonville at Houston: You have heart, Jaguars, I’ll give you that.
Tennessee at Oakland: Tough to escape the event horizon at Oakland’s black hole.
Indianapolis at Arizona: Andrew Luck is actually a Life Model Decoy of Peyton Manning.
Dallas at N.Y. Giants: This used to be Clash of the Titans territory, but just like the remake, this rivalry pales in comparison these days.
Denver at New England: This used to be Pacific Rim territory, with two juggernauts slugging it out. But while New England remains scrappy despite injuries, I just can’t see them beating this particular kaiju.
San Francisco at Washington: Remember when San Francisco was considered a playoff lock? Beating teams like this is necessary to get back there.
Last week’s record: 10-5
Season record: 106-55 (still better than all but three of these guys)