But does it really have to come at the expense of the regular season?
The routine for Sundays from September through December becomes such a routine that, as we now approach the penultimate weekend of the season, it's scary to think what we'll all be doing come February.
But while the end may be nearing, we've still got a ways to go. Let's just try and make the most of it.
(Home team in caps.)
San Diego (+3) over TENNESSEE
Here's what I don't understand about this game: Why does the NFL Network have to call it a Friday edition of Thursday Night Football? If the game is not played on a Thursday, then it's not, by definition, Thursday night football. It is Friday night football. On Christmas Day. Yet the best they could come up with was Thursday Night Football. I guess the league figures it worked last week on Saturday.
As for the game itself, it's pretty much a wild card. You've got a West Coast team traveling across the country to play on a Friday night, you've got two teams that are a combined 15-1 since Week 8 and you've got a winning streak of nine games that has to snap at some point.
I'm going with the Chargers on the belief that they'll play their best in an effort to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
GREEN BAY (-14) over Seattle
I got burned by the 14-point spread last week (though not as badly as the Broncos did), but I'm thinking the Packers have to come out with a bit of pep in their collective step after that brutal loss in Pittsburgh. With the logjam in the NFC playoff picture, they don't have any other choice.
Oakland (+3.5) over CLEVELAND
Oakland ranks 27th in defense; Cleveland ranks 31st. Cleveland ranks 31st in offense; Oakland ranks 32nd.
Who will win this game? I don't know. But I do know that the loser is anyone who has to watch it.
CINCINNATI (-14) over Kansas City
Yes, Kansas City is that bad.
Buffalo (+9) over ATLANTA
The Falcons' offense has some issues to work out, and maybe, just maybe, the Bills will make a couple plays on offense to pull this one out. Maybe?
MIAMI (-3) over Houston
I am 5-8-1 in picking Miami games this year and I'm 8-6 picking Houston games. My point? You're on your own here.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-7) over Carolina
Maybe the Giants have actually awoken from that seven-week nap and are playing as well as they can. As well as the Panthers have been playing this month, I like the Giants' chances in what is likely their final game in their stadium.
Tampa Bay (+14) over NEW ORLEANS
Quick: Do you know who the backup quarterback in New Orleans is? No? That would be 39-year-old Mark Brunell, of course. Check out his official team photo. He's got that "touch of gray" look going on.
It is probably safe to assume he'll be taking some snaps this week. Drew Brees will probably open up a nice lead, but this spread seems like the one that is completely safe at halftime and then destroyed by the final gun.
In other news, 14-point spreads should be banned.
NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) over Jacksonville
I really liked what I saw out of the Jaguars last Thursday night. They weren't good enough to beat the Colts, but so far this year, nobdoy has.
Still, I'm not convinced the Patriots are back to their 2001 selves — you know, the team that has to scrap and fight to get ugly, seven-point victories in Buffalo. Or ugly, 10-point victories at home.
Things have been shaky, but an offensive explosion could be in order for the Pats, who will be facing the team that ranks 27th in passing yards allowed per game (244.4) and 21st in points allowed per game (23).
Plus, Wes Welker is feeling like he's 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, so he's got that going for him.
Baltimore (+2.5) over PITTSBURGH
Picking against Pittsburgh has just been too easy lately, and they continue to be favorites. Let's see Mr. Roethlisberger throw for 500 yards against Baltimore, then we can talk about favorites.
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over Denver
I don't think I've ever liked a Philly team as much as I do this one. Every year, they seem to have some flaw that you just know will do them in. This year, it's just been different.
Oh, and there's the whole "Broncos lost a heartbreaker to the Raiders" thing going on. If first-year head coach Josh McDaniels can rally his troops for a crucial road game in December after losing to one of the NFL's bottom feeders, then color me impressed.
ARIZONA (-14) over St. Louis
The dreaded 14-point spread makes its fourth appearance of the weekend. But boy oh boy, those Rams are bad. Love the throwbacks, though.
SAN FRANCISCO (-12) over Detroit
Here is another pair of teams that have killed me all year. I'm 5-8-1 picking Niners games and 8-6 picking Lions games. I could give you advice here, but really, do you want it?
New York Jets (+5.5) over Indianapolis
It's a rare day when I say that I have confidence in the Jets, but I just do this week. They're busting out the "Super Bowl" lines again, and last time they did that, it worked.
Plus, Curtis Painter will probably play, so I mean …
Dallas (-6.5) over WASHINGTON
I really don't want to pick the Cowboys. I really, really don't. But I just can't shake the image of that fake field goal/fake punt/fake screen disaster that Jim Zorn wanted to run but was forced not to because Tom Coughlin called a timeout. Then he ran it anyway. I'm still flabbeghasted. I am aghast. My mouth is agape.
Normally, I like the NFC East matchups to stay close, but I think that one play was the dagger to the Redskins' season.
Minnesota (-7) over CHICAGO
I wish the whole "Favregate" saga happened during a week that the Vikings were playing the Packers, but we can't be too greedy here.
But really, this whole drama seems to be a bit overblown, and Adrian Peterson will be happy to be facing the league's 25th-best rushing defense. With a chance to clinch the second seed, the Vikes will take care of business early.
Last week: 9-5-2
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