Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 NFL Pickery -- Week #16

Last Week

Joe: 10-6
Aaron: 9-7

Current Standings

Joe: 148-76
Aaron: 143-81

Houston at Indianapolis (Thursday Night)

Aaron: Just so we're clear…the smattering of "Oh, no, what if the Colts win one or two of their remaining games and put the #1 pick in next year's draft at risk?!" chatter isn't a real conversation that anyone has had with anyone else, right? Peter King of Sports Illustrated just needed space to fill in his weekly 12-page, single-spaced column, yes? Pick: Houston

Joe: Normally I wouldn't boast about calling the ONLY Colts win of the year last week -- without any hesitation or second-guessing or anything AND after Cam ill-advisedly taunted me, not knowing I was already making the pick -- but it's Christmas, and I'm a big believer in getting one gift for yourself. Pick: Houston

St. Louis at Pittsburgh

Aaron: The next time anyone deifies professional athletes who play hurt, I think I'll point them to last Monday night's Steelers loss when QB Ben Roethlisberger spent three hours shuffling around like one of the pre-diabetic black women who capably played the stereotypical role of "big momma" in every 1970s urban sitcom. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: I believe I made the same point on Monday night, only much louder, more profane, and far less in control of my own sanity. Luckily, this week, I'm not putting all my eggs in Antonio Brown's basket. Until I can see Big Ben move two steps under his own power, I'm out on the Steelers offense. Odds are, their defense can handle this one on their own. Pick: Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay at Carolina

Aaron: I'm going to do my best to avoid mentioning my fantasy football playoff run within each and every analytical blurb. But, I'm in the championship game this weekend and Panthers WR Steve Smith is one of my players. If anyone reading this knows him, I'd appreciate it if you could let him know. Pick: Carolina

Joe: Somebody call O. Henry, because I am ALSO in my league's fantasy championship, with Steve Smith on my OPPONENT's team. Cam, this could get awkward. Pick: Carolina

Denver at Buffalo

Aaron: I hate when "experts" use the weather as a talking point in picking winners. Outside of Taun-Tauns and abominable snowmen, no one likes to play in very cold conditions. I'm sure mid-to-high 30s won't qualify as "very cold" in Buffalo, but I'm willing to bet it's the coldest game that Tim Tebow has ever played in. Yup, I'm using weather as a talking point. But, as my win-loss record shows, I'm clearly not an "expert". Pick: Buffalo

Joe: I know it's ridiculous to claim that Tim Tebow is suddenly being UNDER-rated, but I do think maybe all this "Tebow Experiment's Over!" crowing after that Patriots game is a bit overblown. New England just did the one thing other teams haven't been able to do against Denver: score touchdowns in between Tebow miracle drives. He'll be back in full force this week. 5-11, here we come! Pick: Denver

N.Y. Giants at N.Y. Jets

Aaron: I think we can all agree that when the build-up to this game and the inevitable breathless aftermath leads to the collapse of all local sports-talk radio on itself, we're all winners. And, I don't even live there. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: Well, at least we know ONE of these teams won't blow a crucial game that could impact their playoff chances. Pick: NY Giants

Miami at New England

Aaron: I've got Tom Brady (and Wes Welker) on my money-league fantasy team championship this weekend. I'm playing against a guy with Drew Brees. Since the Saints don't play until Monday, the only way I'll be able to sleep comfortably on Christmas Eve is if Brady throws for six touchdowns and 800 yards. (Next year, I think I'll root for myself to miss the playoffs, so I don't have to live through this virtual ulcer again.) Pick: New England

Joe: I love that the New England fans have settled into my favorite variety of Boston sports fan: the one-week amnesiac. They win, they're unbeatable! Best offense in the business! All other teams are frauds! They lose, it's all over! Not our year! How is Brady combing his hair these days? Look for another week of making Super Bowl plans from your Pats fan friends. ("Friends.") Pick: New England

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Aaron: Forget Tennessee's loss last week to previously winless Indianapolis…this is the game that'll be the measure of the Titans' season. The Colts were at home and had played better since a recent change at quarterback. Here, the Titans are playing a terrible offensive team at home with their faint playoff hopes still alive. "So I want you to remember some inspiring words that someone else might have told you…" Pick: Tennessee

Joe: It's so hard to trust this Tennessee team! It's so hard to care about this Tennessee team! Pick: Jacksonville

Cleveland at Baltimore

Aaron: If the Ravens aren't motivated by last week's humiliating evisceration at the hands of the Chargers, then perhaps they'll kick Cleveland's ass for all the fantasy football players whose seasons were nearly ruined by Browns RB Peyton Hillis ineffectiveness. I see that Hillis ran for 99 yards and a touchdown last week, so it's obvious that he's throwing it in our faces now. Destroy him, Ravens. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I think maybe I've figured the Ravens out. They're embracing a more modern, European style of work, wherein they work extra hard three weeks out of a month, and then take the fourth week off completely. That'll only work in the playoffs if they end up getting a bye out of the Wild Card round, so they'll need this win. Pick: Baltimore

Arizona at Cincinnati

Aaron: The Cardinals haven't been their usual awful and unwatchable selves lately. And, when that's the best thing that can be said about an NFC West team heading out on the road to play a fringe playoff contender in December… Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: Not only not-awful, they've been delightful spoilers, both at home AND on the road. The Bengals have been flirting with defeat a LOT in recent weeks, only to see themselves pull games out of their asses. This is the week it falls apart. (RIGHT?? This can't possibly be a playoff team.) Pick: Arizona

Minnesota at Washington

Aaron: Last week, it was the Giants who lost at home after a surprising road win the week before. This week, it'll be the Redskins who stumble at home after beating the Giants on the road. Wow. Picking games is easy when you find the patterns. Pick: Minnesota

Joe: Minnesota might be the best 2-win team in NFL history. I don't think the Redskins can't keep up with this team at all. Pick: Minnesota

Oakland at Kansas City

Aaron: When these two teams met earlier in the season, the Raiders were surging and the Chiefs were reeling. My friend Joe wrote "…has there ever been a Chiefs v. Raiders game that's gone the way it was expected to?" and correctly picked the Chiefs in an upset. I've gone back and forth on this game, but if I use Joe's logic, I should pick against the…Chiefs? He'd better be right about this. Pick: Oakland

Joe: I'm fairly confident that I am. Pick: Oakland

San Diego at Detroit

Aaron: The Chargers are finally healthy. In order, this will be bad news for the Lions in Detroit, the Raiders in Oakland and – if the Chargers somehow win the AFC West – Aaron in the office on January 3. Pick: San Diego

Joe: Why do they keep doing this to YOU? What have YOU ever done to deserve this shabby treatment from the Chargers? Every year, almost! That said, I think the Lions -- whose current reputation as an unstable team of savages who are falling apart before our eyes is a leeeeettle big overblown, no? -- do Cam a solid this week after tearing his heart out last week. Pick: Detroit

San Francisco at Seattle

Aaron: I know it's just the reactive nature of today's 24/7 sports news cycle, but the only thing the 49ers "proved" in defeating a 10-win Pittsburgh team is that they can beat one-legged opposing quarterbacks at home. Unless Matt Stafford or Matt Ryan or Eli Manning step on landmine between now and the second round of the playoffs…wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Pick: San Francisco

Joe: I know what you're getting at, I agree, and I CAN'T WAIT. Pick: San Francisco

Philadelphia at Dallas

Aaron: Last week, I wrote that the Eagles could conceivably run the table and finish 8-8. If I'm going to lose this year's pool, I might as well lose with my boots on. Huh. That didn't sound nearly as inspiring as it did in my head. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: Tony Romo, I am so scared for you right now. I am pulling for you, as always, but I'm scared. Pick: Dallas

Chicago at Green Bay

Aaron: I think back-up Bears QB Caleb Hanie's performance since Jay Cutler went down with an injury is all the apology Cutler needs for the ridiculous overreaction to Cutler's NFC Championship Game injury last January. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: AGREED. Meanwhile, I almost cannot fathom the reaction to last week's Packers loss to Kansas City. They've been exposed?? Really?? That game didn't even expose the one actual weakness the Packers have -- their lenient defense. They had ONE bad week on offense. It happens. It's an aberration. Wait for, I don't know, two losses in an entire season before performing an autopsy, huh? Pick: Green Bay

Atlanta at New Orleans

Aaron: Since I pretty much need a complete and unlikely offensive shutdown of the Saints to win my fantasy football league, I might as well guarantee that I'll hit on one of my needed outcomes by picking New Orleans here. Of course, if the Falcons lose 38-37, I'mma be pissed. Pick: New Orleans

Joe: How is New Orleans STILL sneaking up on people this late in the season? How is that possible? I guess this'll keep them from getting overconfident? Pick: New Orleans

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