The Wait is Over, Now What Does the Future Bring?

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Germaine Pratt!

And the wait was over.

I was sat on my couch at home, agonising over the closing of the game and driving my partner, who doesn’t like the NFL at the best of times, round the bend with my nervous energy and occasional outbursts at the telly.

And finally, in the last minute of the fourth quarter with the Raiders on the Bengals’ nine-yard line and looking for all the world like they could take the game into overtime when linebacker Germaine Pratt got in front of the Raiders’ receiver to grab the ball and make the interception so the Bengals could kneel out the game.

What I felt was relief.

I was so happy. I didn’t see the last Bengals playoff win in 1991. I’m pretty certain there was no way for me to see that game in the UK except for the highlights, but what I did see was the sequence of losses that plagued the Marvin Lewis era. A period where despite multiple seasons with strong rosters and the turn around of the Bengals from league laughing stock to genuine competitor, the Bengals just could not get over the hump.

The 2015 team is the season that still haunts me with how good the offence was and Andy Dalton’s thumb injury that did for us in the post season.

These are not those Bengals though. They had to work hard to beat a team who had played a full over-time period the week before, but they held together and in Joe Burrow’s own words, set the standard.

I don’t know if they will win tonight against the Tennessee Titans, a team I have a huge amount of respect for, particular with what head coach Mike Vrabel has done in his time in charge.

However, what I do know is that for the first time, and I mean the first time given I remember the loss to the 49ers in the second of the Bengals Super Bowl losses but I was nine and knew nothing of what was to come, I am excited about tonight’s playoff game. The thirty year wait is over and while a new one begins and could very well extend into next season, I don’t expect anything like what has just ended.

I was only looking for some genuine progress this year and I got so much more so it is time to sit back and see if Joe Burrow with one of the most exciting collection of skill players in the league can pull of another win, without the weight of the history of the last thirty years hanging around them.

And whilst those players will have had a very different experience to that history, they have changed the relationship of the fans to the team.

And so, we’re on to Tennessee.

2021 Competition Roundup

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It’s been a bit quiet on the blog thanks to some illness after new year that saw me drop the ball completely on the picks competition so let’s see how things stood after I conceded ahead of the week seventeen games.

Gee:Week 16:  8 – 8Overall:  125 – 115
Dan:Week 16:  10 – 6Overall:  133 – 107

Clearly congratulations are in order for Dan, who wins for a second straight year, meaning the TWF social media stays in Dolphins colours for another season and it is now four years since I have won a picks competition with Dan taking a 3-2 overall season lead over me.

Clearly, I need to look again at my process in the off-season!

Survivor Competition

The good news for me is at least in the survivor competition I was more competitive, as already sitting on a four point lead the Chiefs came through for me against the Steelers while the Chargers laying an egg against Texans served to extend my lead.

Final Score

Gee: 12
Dan: 7

The Wrong Football Dynasty League

I had a very solid dynasty season, going 11-4 in the regular season to win my division, but sadly I was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Dan who in turn was beaten by our eventual winner Adam.

A hearty congratulations goes out to Adam, and thank you to everyone else in the league who is currently licking their wounds and planning their revenge for next season.

Playoff Football

It’s both the best time of season and the warning that soon we will be without football for too many months. Dan and I will be backing teams to progress in the playoffs, but it’s time to make the best of the fiercest matchups of the year as we see who makes the Super Bowl.

I’m just hoping that the Bengals can end the longest playoff win drought in US sports. It’s not that much to ask, is it?

2021 Week Sixteen Picks

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Whilst the NFL doesn’t stop for Christmas, the TWF blog does slow down so here are our picks for this evening, with Dan having already picked up a point on me.

Early Games:

Lions @ Falcons (-5.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Lions
Dan’s Pick:       Lions

Ravens @ Bengals (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:       Bengals

Rams @ Vikings (+2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Rams
Dan’s Pick:       Rams

Bills @ Patriots (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bills
Dan’s Pick:       Patriots

Jaguars @ Jets (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jets
Dan’s Pick:       Jets

Giants @ Eagles (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Giants
Dan’s Pick:       Giants

Buccaneers @ Panthers (+10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Panthers
Dan’s Pick:       Buccaneers

Chargers @ Texans (+9.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Chargers
Dan’s Pick:       Chargers

Late Games:

Bears @ Seahawks (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:       Seahawks

Steelers @ Chiefs (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Steelers
Dan’s Pick:       Chiefs

Broncos @ Raiders (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Raiders
Dan’s Pick:       Raiders

Sunday Night Football:

Washington @ Cowboys (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Washington
Dan’s Pick:       Washington

Monday Night Football

Dolphins @ Saints (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:       Dolphins

Competition Thursday and Christmas Picks

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After a topsy-turvy week that I was sure at one point would extend Dan’s lead in the picks competition, we ended up both having a nine-point week that keeps us both over a fifty percent win rate and leaves Dan six points ahead.

I really need to put together some strong weeks together to pull this one out but I’ll keep trying.

Gee:Week 15:  9 – 7Overall:  117 – 107
Dan:Week 15:  9 – 7Overall:  123 – 101

49ers @ Titans (+3.5)

The Christmas Eve’s Eve game sees the Tennessee Titans hosting the 49ers having lost three out of their last four games and with Julio Jones pulling up with a re-occurrence of his hamstring injury. While the Titans try to hold on to the AFC South, the 49ers have dragged themselves into the wildcard hunt thanks to a run of form and are laying points in this one for a reason. It’s one thing to lose Derrick Henry but compounding that with the loss of both AJ Brown and Julio Jones at receiver largely explains the Titans losing record over the last month so whilst the number makes me somewhat nervous, I’m going to back the 49ers as the form team as I have to make some big swings if I am going to catch Dan.

Gee’s Pick:      49ers
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Browns @ Packers (-7.5)

The Browns have had a season to forget, and with defensive star Myles Garrett dealing with a groin injury on top of all the Covid positives plus having played a game on Monday, a Christmas trip to Green Bay is probably the very last thing the Browns need right now. The Packers clearly have issues on special teams given they are ranked thirty-second in the league by DVOA, and the defence is only twenty-second, but with Aaron Rodgers playing this well the Packers are the rare case where a superstar quarterback can genuinely carry a team. Although running back Aaron Jones and receiver Davante Adams are damn capable in their own right. As is traditional, the number of points worry me, but I have a feeling the Browns could be in for a long one in this game.

Gee’s Pick:      Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Colts @ Cardinals (-1.5)

The Cardinals might well have hit a late season wall, although I think it might be a little unfair to question if Kyler Murray can last a full season given the injury to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins that would hurt any offence. The Cardinals welcome a Colts team with the belief they can get themselves into the playoffs despite their 1-4 start. Fresh off beating the Patriots the Colts should go into this one with plenty of confidence and as long as Carson Wentz continues to reign himself in I think this should be another win for Frank Reich, who is 36-26 despite having a different starting quarterback at the beginning of each of his four years in charge.

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Survivor Competition

Dan was not enjoying making a pick last week, but his faith in the Chiefs was rewarded with a point, whilst I had some concerns thanks to the number of Miami players on the Covid list but also got the point. This week I am hoping the Chiefs’ win streak holds against the Steelers whilst Dan is backing the Chargers to win out over the Texans.

Current Score

Gee: 11
Dan: 7

Week 16 Selection:

Gee:    Chiefs
Dan:    Chargers

Bold Prediction of the Week

As ever I struggled with this one, but in the end, I plumped for Washington to keep it within three of the Cowboys.

2021 Week Fifteen Picks

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Just a list of picks today as the festive season continues, and this week it very much feels like there will be a lot of randomness thanks to the number of players on the Covid list and the way games have moved round.

Early Games:

Panthers @ Bills (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Raiders
Dan’s Pick:       Raiders

Jets @ Dolphins (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:       Dolphins

Cardinals @ Lions (+13.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Lions
Dan’s Pick:       Cardinals

Cowboys @ Giants (+10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Giants
Dan’s Pick:       Cowboys

Titans @ Steelers (+1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Titans
Dan’s Pick:       Titans

Texans @ Jaguars  (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:       Texans

Late Games:

Bengals @ Broncos (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Bengals
Dan’s Pick:       Bengals

Falcons @ 49ers (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:       49ers
Dan’s Pick:       49ers

Packers @ Ravens (+4.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Packers
Dan’s Pick:       Packers

Sunday Night Football:

Saints @ Buccaneers (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Saints
Dan’s Pick:       Buccaneers

Monday Football

Raiders @ Browns (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Raiders
Dan’s Pick:       Raiders

Vikings @ Bears (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Vikings
Dan’s Pick:       Vikings

Tuesday Football

Washington @ Eagles (-4.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Eagles
Dan’s Pick:       Eagles

Seahawks  @ Rams (-6.5)

Gee’s Pick:       Rams
Dan’s Pick:       Seahawks

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

A Solitary Pick

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The festive period is definitely messing with my schedule, and with the Omicron variant sending cases rising everywhere it’s all feeling a bit eerily familiar. There were meant to be two games this Saturday but now we are left with a single high quality matchup.

Patriots @ Colts (-2.5)

This should be a great game, but it feels like the Colts will have problems because they have a very effective formula, but it’s hard to trust Carson Wentz in the passing game, and with that kind of weakness to scheme around you would expect Belichick to have a defence ready to make the Colts rely on Wentz throwing the ball. I could be wrong, as Frank Reich is a coach I really admire, but I whilst I think it will be competitive, I like the Patriots in this one.

Gee’s Pick:       Patriots
Dan’s Pick:       Patriots

Competition Thursday: 2021 Week Fifteen

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We have what looks to be a cracking Thursday night game this week, though week fourteen was anything but cracking for me as Dan extended his lead to six games, and I’m looking at the fact that I have not won a picks competition in at least three, and by the looks of it four seasons now. Clearly the rethink I have hinted at in the last couple of years actually needs to happen in the offseason.

Meanwhile, as in so many places the number of Covid cases are rising in the NFL so picking could get very tricky in the upcoming weeks.

Gee:Week 14:  7 – 7Overall:  108 – 100
Dan:Week 14:  10 – 4Overall:  114 – 94

Chiefs @ Chargers (+3.5)

The Chiefs have found a formula for winning that’s got them six straight, with the addition of edge player Melvin Ingram via trade and the return of some of their injured defensive players the Chiefs are making lives difficult for teams despite only ranking seventeenth in defence by DVOA. They have held opponents to under twenty points in those six wins and if there is a concern, it is that the offence, whilst scoring big against the Raiders hasn’t been back to its explosive best, but if the defence can keep doing what it has been the Chiefs stand a good chance of solidifying themselves back amongst the challengers in the AFC.

The Chargers meanwhile have two very solid wins in their last two games and whilst many, including me, were wondering about their offence scheme and not taking enough of an advantage of Justin Herbert’s arm, they do seem to be pushing the ball more and the offence is now ranked third by DVOA. The defence still lags behind, but I do not believe Brandon Staley will make the same kind of mistakes as the Raiders’ Gus Bradley in scheming against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. This could well be another win for the Chiefs tonight, but with the Chargers at home on a short week getting an extra half point I’ll take that slightly nervously and hope I’m not overthinking my pick. Again…

Gee’s Pick:      Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Survivor Competition

So it turns out that if Dan and I had the courage of our early convictions we would have been fine going with the Chargers to beat the Giants, but both the Packers and the Seahawks took care of us so we turn our attention to week fifteen, and I don’t mind telling you that it is getting pretty tough to find selections now.

After staring at the list for a while I have come up with the Dolphins beating the Jets at home and I just hope that it being a divisional game doesn’t trip me up. Despite Dan saying he hated all his options, I don’t hate his selection of the Chiefs to win, though it’s not an obvious one and might make for some nervous watching tonight.

Current Score

Gee: 10
Dan: 6

Week 15 Selection:

Gee:    Dolphins
Dan:    Chiefs

2021 Week Fourteen Picks

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Well, both Dan and I took losses on Thursday, although with the Steelers remarkable comeback we had the chance of the cover despite Mike Tomlin’s team being 29-0 down until 2:11 in the third quarter. It can’t be fun being a fan of the Vikings this season.

I have also given Dan and I a Mulligan on the survivor picks this week given we both selected the Chargers before the news broke about the extent of the Covid-19 break out in their receiver room. Dan is now going against the Texans by taking Seattle, whilst I’m backing the Packers to beat the Bears given Aaron Rodgers’ ownership of the Bears. I just hope that quote and this pick doesn’t come back to bite me.

Dan:     Seahawks
Gee:     Packers

Early Games:

There’s a couple of big divisional games in the early slate and it’s one of them that I’m picking, although if you like bruising competitive football you could do a lot works that watch the Ravens taking on the Browns, but I have settled on the Cowboys travelling to Washington to take on the Football Team. The Cowboys are taking on a team who have won their last four games coming off their bye, whilst the Cowboys have gone 2-3 in the last five, though have had some injury/Covid-19 problems in this stretch. If the Cowboys are the team that we thought they were early in the season, they need to win this game to extend their lead at the top of the division. The truth is that whilst I have been impressed with the way Washington have found their feet since their bye, I have more faith in Dak Prescott to find a way through the Football Team’s defence than Taylor Heinicke not to have a turnover or two against an opportunistic Cowboys defence.

Points from the rest:

  • The Ravens’ injuries meet the Browns’s in what feels like it could be an absolute mess of a game. It’s certainly odd to see the Ravens ranked as lowly as sixteenth overall by DVOA but the Browns are only ranked two places higher and have distinctly whelmed this season.
  • You know it is bad when the league’s own website is carrying a story about the disfunction of your team. The Titans have a bunch of injuries and may well have problems covering this line, but it would be a genuine surprise if they lost to the Jaguars.
  • Divisional games are funny things, and I am still not convinced by the Chiefs’ offence, but their defence genuinely have found their feet and the Raiders insisted on playing the wrong defence the last time these two teams met and it’s hard to see Gus Bradley changing it up this time so whilst hesitant, I think the Chiefs may cover this one.
  • The Saints are so injured on offence, but the Jets have so far to go before they will be truly competitive, and the Saints have a really good defence so that’s where I’m inclined to pick in this one.
  • I’m not sure what to expect from the Panthers after the firing of Joe Brady, and the Falcons have been at least competitive so far this season so it’s hard to find a side in what is a meeting of two bad teams that is strangely intriguing as a watch.
  • The Seahawks still have a lot of problems, and it feels like there will big changes in the off-season, but the Texans are just plain bad and it feels like they are not even finding young players to build around for the future.

Ravens @ Browns (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Jaguars @ Titans (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Titans
Dan’s Pick:      Titans

Raiders @ Chiefs (-9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Chiefs

Saints @ Jets (+5.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Cowboys @ Washington (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cowboys
Dan’s Pick:      Cowboys

Falcons @ Panthers (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Falcons
Dan’s Pick:      Falcons

Seahawks @ Texans (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Seahawks

Late Games:

The big game from the slate game must be the Bills trying to get over the tough loss to the Patriots on Monday by taking on the Buccaneers in Tampa. The absence of a Bills run game will be less of an issue against a defence that is one of the toughest to run against in the league and perhaps the bigger test will be the Bills defence going against Tom Brady on the road without corner Tre’Davious White who was lost for the season in week twelve. This was meant to be the year the Bills took the next step and instead they find themselves two games behind a Patriots team resurgent in 2021 despite a bad start to the season. The Bills have not had a marquee win since beating the Chiefs in week five and need a performance to settle the nerves and give themselves a platform to build on with their crucial return visit to New England in week sixteen on the horizon.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Broncos should beat the Lions as they have for the most part beaten the teams they should do and are at home, but there are plenty of questions around the Broncos as they still have not found a franchise quarterback and who knows how the Lions will respond to their first win of the season.
  • The Chargers will just be happy to get a win against the Giants given the issues they are having at receiver thanks to a Covid-19 outbreak. The Giants have been competitive at times this season, but it feels like they will be going into the offseason with more questions than answers after second year head coach Joe Judge struggled to build on some glimpses of hope from last season.
  • The Bengals had enough bad turnover luck last week that I am not freaking out about their loss to the Chargers, but the 49ers are not an easy team to beat and I don’t think any Bengals fan will feel relaxed about Joe Burrow’s hand problem until he’s got through the game looking good, even if he did nearly pull of the comeback last week with his hand swelling after the dislocation of his little finger. The 49ers are a strange team to pick this season and with Deebo Samuel and Eligah Mitchell injured they could struggle in this one.

Lions @ Broncos (-8.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Lions
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Giants @ Chargers (-10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Giants
Dan’s Pick:      Chargers

49ers @ Bengals (-1.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Bills @ Buccaneers (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Bills
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Sunday Night Football:

Bears @ Packers (-12.5)

This should be a marquee game, except the Bears have struggled all season and the Packers have only looked bad when Roders was out through Covid, although they did drop a game against the Vikings in week eleven. Still, coming off a bye with Rodgers talking about his toe feeling better it is hard to see anything other than a Packers win in this one, although whether it will be by thirteen is a different matter.

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Packers

Monday Night Football

Rams @ Cardinals (-2.5)

This is one of the matchups of the week and I’m just hoping I can find time to watch it at some point. That said, I’m not convinced that the Rams will silence their critics this week given their only win in four games was against the Jaguars last week. The Cardinals may still have questions about what they can do in the playoffs, but with a 10-2 record despite missing their starting quarterback for three weeks they are definitely a team to take seriously. A top three defence under Vance Joseph has every chance of causing problems for a Rams’ offence that hasn’t looked right until it faced the Jaguars, so I see the Cardinals as favourites in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.

Competition Thursday: 2021 Week Fourteen

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I finally put together a strong week of picks and so was able to scramble a couple of points back from Dan, but it is getting to the business end of the season and I’m still three points behind so let’s see how the next couple of weeks go.

Gee:Week 13:  10 – 4Overall:  101 – 93
Dan:Week 13:  8 – 8Overall:  104 – 90

Steelers @ Vikings (-3.5)

I am definitely intrigued by tonight’s game as the Vikings seem to be stuck in a recurring nightmare of close losses and wins, while the Steelers feel like they are in a very similar place. I don’t have a strong feel for how this game will work out and I could be horribly wrong, but to me this line is off thanks to being over the key number of three so even though I don’t have a strong inclination for how this matchup will play out on the field, I am very happy to pick the Steelers. That just leaves me to watch the game without worrying if my analysis was right and I think it should be a pretty entertaining game too.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Survivor Competition

I am afraid Dan got eliminated again last week off the back of the Lions first win of the season, and this isn’t even the first time the Lions eliminated Dan despite only having one win on the board. He is also running out of weeks to catch me so can ill afford another slip up as the Colts kept me going with their routine looking win against the Texans on Sunday.

This week, I am going to be taking the Chargers as they are hosting the Giants and by coincidence so is Dan, although we are running out of teams at this point of the season.

Current Score

Gee: 9
Dan: 5

Week 14 Selection:

Gee:    Chargers
Dan:    Chargers

Bold Prediction

I completely understood why Dan vetoed my tentative suggestion of the Falcons to beat the Panthers as not being bold enough, but I’m not sure if last week’s results had an undue influence on me suggesting the Lions will be within three of the Broncos this weekend, but that’s what I went with on the pod so I just have to will it to be true I suppose.

2021 Week Thirteen Picks

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It’s been another busy week that has left me a bit all over the place so here is a shortened and combined Competition Thursday and Sunday as I stare dispiritedly at the widening gap between Dan and I in the picks competition.

Gee:Week 12:  6 – 9Overall:  91 – 89
Dan:Week 12:  9 – 6Overall:  96 – 84

Survivor Competition

Both Dan and I were eliminated last week as the Giants made me pay for backing the Eagles while the Raiders got a late win against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. This week Dan is picking against the Lions and whilst the Vikings have had an up and down season, it’s hard to see them losing this one. I am going for the Colts visiting the Texans and hoping that the Colts’ winning streak holds for another week.

Current Score

Gee: 8
Dan: 6

Week 13 Selection:

Gee:    Colts
Dan:    Vikings

Early Games:

It’s a bit of a weird early slate and a lot of the games have high lines except for the Dolphins hosting the Giants, which seems strangely low to me given that the Dolphins have now won four straight games, but the closest contest looks to be the Bengals hosting the Chargers.

I’m actually somewhat nervous about this game as the Bengals have not won more than two in a row this season and after convincing wins against the Raiders and Steelers, my heart wants to believe but I can still see the flaws. The Chargers started the season 4-1 and have only won two of their last six games but are also ranked higher than the Bengals by overall DVOA. I had not really realised that the Chargers offence was ranked second overall by DVOA, but interestingly their defence ranks twenty-third which I would not have expected given what Brandon Staley managed as coordinator of the Rams’ defence last year. I think this should be a close contest that I hope the Bengals edge it but I’m not confident. I would be looking forward to getting another look at the Chargers if it wasn’t happening against the Bengals.

Points from the rest:

  • The Buccaneers keep rolling and should have no problem in beating the last placed team in overall DVOA, although the fact that the Falcons have five wins points to Arther Smith doing something right with a limited roster.
  • The Cardinals keep rolling and it’s hard to see the Bears springing an upset whether Kyler Murray is playing or not, which is particularly impressive given how effective Murray has been as a quarterback when healthy this season.
  • The Vikings has struggled to string wins together this season but the Lions have managed none before they were missing running back D’Andre Swift so things don’t look good for them this week.
  • It’s interesting that the Dolphins only have one more win than the Giants but seem to be heading in the right direction after the rough start while the Giants seemed to be mired in mediocrity yet again.
  • The Eagles had a rough showing last week and will be looking to bounce back against the Jets, who beat the Texans last week so honestly, I have no idea what to expect.
  • There are definitely questions about Carson Wentz in the big games, but the Colts have come on so far from how they started the season and the Texans could be the perfect get right game after a tough loss to the Bucs where they were competitive to the end.

Buccaneers @ Falcons (+10.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Cardinals @ Bears (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Chargers @ Bengals (-3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Chargers
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

Vikings @ Lions (+7.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Vikings
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Giants @ Dolphins (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Dolphins
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Eagles @ Jets (+6.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Eagles

Colts @ Texans (+9.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Colts
Dan’s Pick:      Colts

Late Games:

The late games are little uninspiring given how the season has worked out, and the one that interests me most is the now 5-6 Washington Football Team taking on a Raiders team who proved me very wrong by beating the Cowboys last week on Thanksgiving. The Football Team have now won three straight, seeming to find their way with Taylor Heinike who was sleeping on his sister’s couch and studying before the Football team late last season and somehow appearing to be playing better defence without second year pass rusher Chase Young. I don’t have a strong side in this contest as it feels like there is such a variance in how both teams have played, but it does intrigue me.

Points on the Rest:

  • The Rams need a win and this week host one of the better teams to get one against as the Jaguars moribund season continues and I increasingly wonder how they beat the Bills in week nine.
  • The Ravens visiting the Steelers should be a marquee game, but for the first time in Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach the Steelers are not good, even if it’s not like they are terrible. The Ravens have had struggles of their own, but I think they should win out in this one.
  • Another team not living up to the usual standards of their head coach are the Seattle Seahawks, with Russel Wilson clearly not right coming of his finger injuries but there being bigger problems through the roster. The 49ers have been doing much better recently, though the loss of Deebo Samuel could hurt them, but they should have enough to win.

Washington @ Raiders (-2.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Washington
Dan’s Pick:      Raiders

Jaguars @ Rams (-13.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Rams
Dan’s Pick:      Rams

Ravens @ Steelers (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      Ravens
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

49ers @ Seahawks (+3.5)

Gee’s Pick:      49ers
Dan’s Pick:      49ers

Sunday Night Football:

Broncos @ Chiefs (-9.5)

This could be a sneaky competitive game as I’m not fully convinced by the Chiefs offence and Vic Fangio is the author of the two high defences that have spread through the league this season and caused the Chiefs so many problems. Andy Reid’s record coming of the bye is excellent for wins and given how the Chiefs’ defence has been playing recently I think they should win this game, but this is too big a line for me given how the Chiefs have played this season.

Gee’s Pick:      Broncos
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Monday Night Football

Patriots @ Bills (-2.5)

This is pretty much everyone’s pick of the week’s games, and I will certainly be watching with interest, but I do wonder if this will be as competitive as it should be. The Bills have struggled on offence even as their defence continues its reign as the best in the league by DVOA and I wonder if there is a sense of déjà vu as they welcome the division leading Patriots who are playing good defence and efficient offence. Having had one down season last season, the Patriots rebuilt themselves in free-agency and the draft to make themselves the second rank team in the league by DVOA after a six game winning streak. The weather looks like it will be against throwing the ball so it looks like it could be a bruising encounter between two defences, though now would be a great time for the Josh Allen and his receivers to find some form but I’m not sure Belichick is the coach to do that against. I’m sure Dan would be very pleased to see me proved wrong.

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

DVOA is Football Outsiders statistic for measure a team’s success on every play versus the league average and you can read more about it and other football topics at https://footballoutsiders.com.