With every team now having played at least eight games, it’s time to see how my pre-season playoff picks (alliteration!) are holding up. On the whole? Not horrible.
I picked Denver, Indianapolis and New England as AFC divisional winners and they’re all leading their divisions right. But I’m holding off on the back-patting because I picked Baltimore for its division and, well….yeah. They’re in Serenity Valley this year. Instead, the Bengals are atop the AFC North, and I didn’t pick them to go anywhere. My bad. As for my wild-card picks, I had Miami and Pittsburgh — let’s call it one out of two.
In the NFC, I had Arizona, Carolina, Dallas and Green Bay for the divisions, and Philly and Seattle for wild cards. Arizona and Carolina are indeed atop their divisions, and the Pack is tied for its lead there. As for Dallas, losing Dez Bryant and Tony Romo pretty much torched things for them. The Giants are actually leading the NFC East, which…well, OK then. Who knew? Seattle and Philly are in a tough spot, whereas Atlanta and Minnesota are very much in play for the wild card spots, if not the divisions.
So who would I pick today? I’m calling Denver, Indy, New England and Cincinnati for the AFC division winners, and the Steelers and, yes, the New York Jets for the wild cards. Crazy, I know. Buffalo and Oakland are in play as well. In the NFC, I think Arizona, Carolina, Green Bay are locks, with the Giants winning a very mediocre AFC East. Minnesota and Atlanta should be the wild cards, but I wouldn’t count Seattle out yet.
Now, on with this week’s picks. (Winners in italics.)
Buffalo at N.Y. Jets: I was late getting to this post, so put my pick up on Twitter for accountability:
Detroit at Green Bay: The Lannisters head to the North. It works out as well as you might expect.
Dallas at Tampa Bay: Just run the ball, don’t over think things, and you’ll be fine, Dallas.
Carolina at Tennessee: I’ve had a hard time accepting that the Panthers are for real, but they are. I also now accept that the Doctor Who episode with the Vikings this season was…not good.
Chicago at St. Louis: You’ve seen those commercials where Ditka puts on a Packers sweater to shill McDonald’s? It’s out of disgust for his old team’s performance this season.
New Orleans at Washington: You know how you cringe when you see young kids gnawing on their Star Wars toys and you’re thinking, “They could be valuable!” and you cry a little inside? This is how I feel knowing Dan Snyder owns an NFL team.
Miami at Philadelphia: Chip Kelly will play a four-man O-line, two wideouts left, the beer guy in the backfield with Kirk and Spock split right, and three — yes, three! — quarterbacks, one of whom will be a dinosaur.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh: Playing the Browns regularly is why I think the Steelers will grab the AFC wild card.
Jacksonville at Baltimore: Your Netflix game of the week. My daughter likes Worst Cooks in America. It will be better than this game.
Minnesota at Oakland: Someone tell Chris Berman that Oakland is not, in fact, in Boston, and that nobody in the Bay Area says “DAH RAIDAHS.”
New England at N.Y. Giants: Yep, I’m going for the upset. No matter how mediocre the Giants are in any given year, they have the uncanny ability to play the Patriots well. And nobody really wants New England to have a perfect season.
Kansas City at Denver: Peyton Manning is fine now. Looking good. He just needs to tell his teammates not to poke people in the eye. Like it’s freakin’ kindergarten. Sheesh.
Arizona at Seattle: I do believe Seattle’s on the rise. But then, I had high hopes for Phantom Menace back in the day. We’ll see.
Houston at Cincinnati: You can totally skip this to watch Supergirl. No judgments here.
Last week’s record: 8-5. It was a rough week, but most of these guys did worse.
Season record: 84-48, which is kind of the middle of the ESPN pack. One day, I’m gonna pick all the games right. ONE DAY.