It’s the unofficial half-way mark in the NFL season — unofficial because, really, it’s a 17-week season. What are we supposed to do analyze everything through the third quarter of the 1 p.m. games on Sunday? Of course not.
Anyway, raise your hand if you thought Dallas would lead the NFC East. *crickets* Thought so. In fact, if you had any doubt as to my prognostication abilities, just look at my Week 1 picks, where I attempt to predict all the playoff contenders. Let’s review!
Right now, Denver and New England look like locks, along with Indy because of the division in which they play. The AFC North looks like a dogfight, but my original call regarding Pittsburgh is still possible. I still feel good about San Diego in a wild card spot, but the other is up for grabs between Baltimore, Cincy and Buffalo. Heck, throw in KC, Houston and Cleveland while you’re at it.
As for the NFC, I said Philly and Green Bay would win their respective divisions — again, still a good shot — but New Orleans looks anemic and Seattle is tripping over themselves. Those two still might win the division, but they have work to do. As for wild cards, I don’t think anybody is putting Chicago in a wild card slot now, and San Francisco has a tough road ahead.
Mid-season adjustments? Dallas is in, either with the division title or as a wild card, with Philly on the other end of that either-or. I think Detroit and someone from the NFC West duke it out for the other wild card slot, and I can’t see Arizona not getting in somehow, either as division leader or wild card. I think Seattle gets in as well, but they still have to right the ship. I still see New Orleans winning the division, but only because someone has to. I think the other AFC wild card will still go to Baltimore but, frankly, that’s a very low-confidence pick.
Anyway, good luck with doing anything meaningful with that, because I’m probably wrong. Now, on to this week’s picks! (Winners in italics.)
New Orleans at Carolina: This matchup smells of desperation. And humidity, since it’s outside in Carolina. Picking Saints, but I’ll be watching the new trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron on a loop instead.
Tampa Bay at Cleveland: I want to see the Browncoats really own this game, because if they dominate here, it shows they could be for real.
Arizona at Dallas: Total upset opportunity here. This one’s too close to call, so I’m going with the home team. This I would watch over most geek shows.
Philadelphia at Houston: J.J. WATT SMASH. But he’s only one guy.
N.Y. Jets at Kansas City: The Michael Vick era begins in New York. Acutally, it begins at Arrowhead, which is like crossing the Bridge of Khasad-Dum.
Jacksonville at Cincinnati: The battle of the Thundercats! (Not really.)
San Diego at Miami: No love lost for the Chargers after falling to Denver last week, because pretty much everybody loses there.
Washington at Minnesota: And Odin smiles upon his Vikings and sends them a lesser team.
St. Louis at San Francisco: Nobody will be watching this because…
Denver at New England: …they’ll all be watching this. This time, the Manning T-1000 prevails.
Oakland at Seattle: The Raiders are really the pause that refreshes other teams at this point.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Will Big Ben throw for another 500 yards and six TDs? Doubt it, but the Steelers got their groove back.
Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants: The Giants are officially rebuilding…possibly with Minecraft.
Bye: Atlanta, Chicago and Tennessee get a chance to go home and think about their lives. Green Bay, Detroit and Buffalo — yes, Buffalo! — get to look forward to a meaningful second-half of the season.
Last week’s record: Another respectable 11-4.
Season record: After a string of good weeks, I’m sitting at 78-43, which means I can now link to these expert picks without shame.