Week 16 NFL Picks Have Dolphins Delaying Patriots’ Super Bowl Plans, No Fairy Tale in New York for Giants


December 23, 2011

Week 16 NFL Picks Have Dolphins Delaying Patriots' Super Bowl Plans, No Fairy Tale in New York for GiantsIt says a lot about us as Americans that we can't have holiday gatherings with our families, friends and loved ones without sports on the television the entire time.

It says that we're awesome.

That'll be the case this weekend, with the NFL taking a slight step out of the spotlight on Christmas Day (you're welcome, NBA) but still dominating the Christmas weekend with 16 matchups, 10 of which will impact how the playoff picture will be shaped in two weeks.

It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, and in absence of posting Ridiculous Quotes From Last Week's Picks, because I was on fire last week and kept the ridiculousness to a minimum, I will instead equate each game this weekened to a Christmas song and explain the reasoning. It will be more fun than it sounds, I swear.

Let's get to it.

(Home team in caps.)

Houston (-6) over INDIANAPOLIS
Vegas must think Dan Orlovsky and the Colts are about to go on some kind of roll. That's hilarious! Thanks for letting me start 1-0 thanks to the easiest pick of the weekend.

Christmas song equivalent: Band Aid — Do They Know It's Christmas?

Seriously, does the NFL Network know it's Christmas? We suffered through Atlanta-Jacksonville last week, and this ugly mess is our gift this week?

KANSAS CITY (-1.5) over Oakland
I try my darndest to write this column with no bias whatsoever, but to be completely candid, that all comes crashing down when I see the image of Romeo Crennel getting the Gatorade bucket dumped on his head and him loving every last second of it. So as much as I doubted him last week, all those marvelous memories I have of him wearing that bright red coat, dialing up some of the craziest blitzes you've ever seen and winning Super Bowls every year come rushing back. I cannot pick against RAC. I just cannot do it.

Christmas song equivalent: Dean Martin — Baby It's Cold Outside

It's going to be freezing in K.C., which won't help Oakland play any better, and who knows? Maybe someone will try to take advantage of someone who drank too much? Isn't that what this song is all about?

(Joking aside, what's the deal with that song? Creepshow city.)

TENNESSEE (-7.5) over Jacksonville
The Jaguars are the worst football team I've watched in a long, long time. Well, at least since last season's Panthers.

Christmas song equivalent: Paul McCartney — Wonderful Christmastime

It's without question the worst Christmas song in existence (question me on that and we're no longer friends), and this happens to be the worst game on the NFL slate. It's a match made in heaven.

Arizona (+4.5) over CINCINNATI
Since their Week 6 bye, the Cardinals' only road losses have been to playoff teams (Baltimore, San Francisco), and they've won six of their last seven. The Bengals, meanwhile, are in an absolute tailspin, losers of four of their last six. The only teams they've beaten at home are the Bills (5-9), Colts (1-13) and Browns (4-10). 

Christmas song equivalent: Wham! — Last Christmas

This is the second-worst Christmas song of all time (again, disagree and we'll have to throw down), so it goes to the second-worst game of the weekend.

Denver (-3) over BUFFALO
It's like Vegas' Christmas gift to me that the oddsmakers are going back to doubting Tim Tebow again. I mean, have you watched the Buffalo Bills play football? They allowed Reggie Bush to go off for 203 yards, which I think matches his total rushing yards from 2006-09. They let the Dolphins fly to Buffalo and win in the snow. They haven't won a game since November started and they've won twice since October started. They're brutal.

Get ready to Tebow on Christmas Eve. It's going to be a life-changer.

Christmas song equivalent: O Come All Ye Faithful

Tim Tebow was received by the media pretty much the same way as the subject of this song: "Oh, come let us adore him/Oh, come let us adore him/OH, COME LET US ADORE HIM!"

Miami (+9) over NEW ENGLAND
Frankly, there's been a little too much belief in the Patriots lately. People are talking Super Bowl — guilty — and a No. 1 seed and all sorts of talk that forces me to remember this defense allowed Chad Henne to throw for 416 yards (not a typo) in Week 1. Matt Moore's played roughly 29 times better than Henne, so he should be trouble, and if Brandon Marshall (seven catches, 139 yards in Week 1 matchup) can play, the Patriots still don't have an answer. Bush has a chance to do something, too, after the Patriots' run defense has been awful for two straight weeks. This game could be a lot closer than some people might think, and a tight one with the Dolphins might put that Super Bowl talk back on hold.

Christmas song equivalent: Bon Jovi — I Wish Every Day Could Be Like Christmas

BB loves Bon Jovi, and you just know this song is blasted on repeat in the Belichick household. This also might be a good time to alert you to the fact that this photo is still in existence.

St. Louis (+17) over PITTSBURGH
I think the chances of the Steelers throwing up another stinker like Monday night are slim, but they are in no way, shape or form a 17-point favorite at this point in the year — not with One Leg McRoethlisberger hobbling around like a drunk in the pocket. 

Christmas song equivalent: Elvis Presley — Blue Christmas

The Steelers are most definitely going to have a blue Christmas without Ben Roethlisberger, which could cost them a bye, a home game in the playoffs and, as a result, a great chance at winning the Super Bowl.

Both of these teams are the home team, no matter what color the end zones are painted.

In any case, you can't look at this game and not pick solely on the hopelessness and lack of fight within the Giants' locker room. They might as well bring cardboard boxes to the stadium on Saturday because this season's all over.

Christmas song equivalent: The Pogues — Fairytale of New York

This song is about Christmas Eve in New York City, so it's perfectly appropriate. It's also about drunks, and I'd venture to guess there will be more than a handful of those to watch this one.

Minnesota (+6.5) over WASHINGTON
Adrian Peterson hasn't run for 100 yards in far too long. Washington, being my favorite mediocre team, looks to be the perfect partner to let that happen. 

Christmas song equivalent: David Hasselhoff — Feliz Navidad

If you find yourself listening to all 3:18 of this song, you'll be scratching your head, wondering where in life you went wrong. Likewise, as you sit on your couch on Christmas Eve, randomly watching the 2-12 Vikings take on the 5-9 Redskins, you'll wonder what's wrong with you. The worst part is that you know you'll be watching.

Tampa Bay (+7.5) over CAROLINA
The Panthers are on a quiet, meaningless little run of success (3-1 in their last four), but they are not nearly at the level where you trust them to beat anybody by more than a touchdown, even if it's against a team they beat by 19 points just a few short weeks ago. Logically, that statement makes no sense, but it's still true.

Christmas song equivalent: Bobby Helms — Jingle Bell Rock

I know Cam Newton has his little Superman celebration, but maybe this week he can create the "Giddyup jingle horse" move, if only because that's the most underrated lyric in music history.

BALTIMORE (-13) over Cleveland
You just have to feel bad for the Cleveland Browns here. They have to spend their Christmas Eve letting the Ravens take out their rage and anger from Sunday night on them. It could get ugly, fast.

Christmas song equivalent: Lou Monte — Dominick The Donkey

This song is awesome, but it can really hurt your ears, much like this football game may hurt your eyes.

San Diego (+2.5) over DETROIT
I just love the Chargers right now. Love Philip Rivers, who continues to make his December stats light years better than any other month. Love them getting a couple of points just for good measure. Love them to win outright.

Still don't love Norv Turner, though.

Christmas song equivalent: Trans-Siberian Orchestra — Carol Of The Bells

When the Chargers' offense is clicking on all cylinders, it can be a little badass, not unlike the super-electrified version of Carol Of The Bells that is Dwight Schrute-approved.

DALLAS (-2) over Philadelphia
I remained onboard the Philadelphia bandwagon about three weeks longer than anyone else before I finally abandoned ship. Now, the Eagles seriously want to try to make a run at the postseason? Yeah right.

But because my own beliefs in the Eagles from October won't actually have any bearing on this game, I do have to consider if the Eagles have it in them to win out and make a run at the postseason. It's so possible that it's almost funny. But ultimately, when situations like this arise, I think to the legendary Bill Parcells quote, "You are what your record says you are." And the Eagles are 6-8 heading into Week 16. Recent mirages aside, they are not very good, and the Cowboys are better. Through 14 games, you know this, and you just need to trust it. 

Christmas song equivalent: Bing Crosby — White Christmas

Because the state of Texas has somehow gotten more snowfall than New England this year. And because it's not Christmas without Bing Crosby.

San Francisco (-2.5) over SEATTLE
Provided the power stays on, San Francisco should have a fine little tune-up for the playoffs with this one. There's also a 0.0000% chance the Seahawks win four straight and get a winning record. Not happening. 

Christmas song equivalent: Brenda Lee — Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

I'm probably crazy, but I can just picture Pete Carroll rocking the hell out to this song, wearing sunglasses inside and playing air guitar on the couch like a raving lunatic. I bet Christmas gets him pumped and jacked.

Chicago (+13) over GREEN BAY
I'm kicking myself for predicting the Green Bay loss to a lousy AFC West team one week early (I thought Oakland was going to do it in Week 14). That's frustrating.

I do think the loss last week will shape the rest of Green Bay's season. With no reason at all to gun for a 40-point victory every week, there could (and should) be some letting off the gas pedal in the next two games, particulary late in the fourth quarter when bad teams could storm back to cover big spreads.

Christmas song equivalent: Mariah Carey — All I Want For Christmas Is You

With the undefeated season out of the way and no longer distracting the best team in the NFL, the Packers can focus on the only thing they want — a Super Bowl.

NEW ORLEANS (-6) over Atlanta
The Packers may be the best team in football, but the Saints are the most dangerous. You don't want to head into the Superdome to face Drew Brees in front of that crowd with your season on the line and with an important NFL record there for Brees' taking. More simply put, you don't want to be Matt Ryan right now.

Christmas song equivalent: Louis Armstrong — Christmas In New Orleans

Sure, Christmas will be over by Monday night, and this isn't exactly the most creative pick, but there's really no other way to go with it. So just enjoy the holiday and enjoy the music.

Last week: 10-5-1
Season: 114-102-8

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