NFL Week 16 Picks, Predictions: Packers, Titans move closer to playoff spots

Photo: Mike Morbeck via Flickr.com

Photo: Mike Morbeck via Flickr.com


Thursday, Dec. 22

New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)

The Giants are still fighting for a playoff spot, the Eagles are not.

It’s easy to assume the Giants, with the NFC East title still within reach, will come out and dominate but they have a history of playing poorly in Philadelphia and Eli Manning has struggled in the past against the Eagles.

Don’t be surprised if the Eagles win, but the Giants should topple them in prime time.

 Q’s Pick: Giants, 24-20


Saturday, Dec. 24

Washington Redskins (7-6-1) at Chicago Bears (3-11)

The Redskins have a ridiculously low chance of getting into the postseason, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

Kirk Cousins has to be thrilled going up against a Bears defense that has struggled against the passing game.

DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder could be in for big nights.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 30-24


Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-7)

The Bills would love to play spoiler against a Dolphins team that is without Ryan Tannehill and playing on the road again.

Buffalo doesn’t have any real shot of getting into the postseason but keeping their division rival from clinching a spot should serve as motivation enough to get the upset win.

LeSean McCoy is also expected to play, as the anchor of the league’s top run offense.

Q’s Pick: Bills, 24-23


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) at New Orleans Saints (6-8)

The Saints season has already been a disappointment, but Jameis Winston would love to make it a completely forgettable one by beating New Orleans at home.

The Bucs have hung around with some of the best teams in the NFC, including the Cowboys, and the Saints aren’t in that category.

Expect a shootout.

Q’s Pick: Buccaneers, 31-28


Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-8)

If the Seahawks lose this week, the Falcons have a real shot at clinching the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs, which would assure a first round bye and some home games.

They have to beat the Panthers first, the defending NFC champions who have been a thorn in the side of Matt Ryan and company for the last two years.

Julio Jones and the Falcons will get the last laugh.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-27


Minnesota Vikings (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (8-6)

Aaron Rodgers once told the media to R-E-L-A-X, but this is far from the time to do that if you’re the Packers.

A team that just a few weeks ago allowed 42 points to the Redskins and fell to 4-6 on the year now has a legitimate shot to win the NFC North.

If they can beat the Vikings it sets up a date with the Lions for the division crown next weekend.

Q’s Pick: Packers, 27-23


New York Jets (4-10) at New England Patriots (12-2)

The Patriots don’t want to rest any starters in this game because the No. 1 seed in the AFC postseason is still in play.

That’s bad news for the Jets, who haven’t won a game at Gillette Stadium since 2011.

Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount should go off for major fantasy points in this one.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20


Tennessee Titans (8-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

Would you believe the Titans are just a win or two away from winning the AFC South? Would you believe the Jaguars have only won two games this season?

Both are true and each team’s trajectory should continue curving in those directions following this game.

Jacksonville would love to be a spoiler but can they really stop Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray?

Q’s Pick: Titans, 26-20


San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (0-14)

I don’t see the Browns going 0-16 this season, but I also don’t see an offense as high-powered as San Diego’s falling victim to Cleveland’s defense.

Then again, if there’s a team that’s going to lose to the Browns, it’s probably the Chargers. They’ve figured out ways to lose close games all season.

This time, they should be able to hold onto the lead.

 Q’s Pick: Chargers, 28-23


Indianapolis Colts (7-7) at Oakland Raiders (11-3)

The Raiders can still get the No. 2 seed in the AFC postseason if they win out, something that would have been unheard of just a few seasons ago.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper have paced an offense that seems ready for the playoff limelight.

But Oakland’s defense needs to make some stops here at the end of the season and they might allow a shootout against Andrew Luck and the Colts.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 33-29


San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

The last time these teams met was the season opener — which was also the last time the 49ers won a game.

The Rams are a bad team but they aren’t as bad as the 49ers.

Unless you’re forced to because of local television regulations, try to avoid watching what could become a battle of terrible teams.

 Q’s Pick: Rams, 20-17


Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)

The Seahawks are still in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC which would mean a bye and fewer games on the road.

That’s been their Achilles heel all season so if winning this weekend will help them avoid that, you can bet they are going to do everything in their power to beat the Cardinals.

These teams are so evenly matched, it could come down to a game-winner from Steven Hauschka.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 28-26


Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1) at Houston Texans (8-6)

The Texans, like the Titans, are just a few wins from clinching the AFC South, as crazy as that sounds.

After all, Brock Osweiler is far from the quarterback his contract says he is and the Texans defense has been good but not great.

Luckily, the Bengals aren’t much better so the Texans might be able to steal this one at home.

Q’s Pick: Texans, 27-21


Sunday, Dec. 25

Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

With the AFC North title on the line, I would have given this game to whichever team was playing at home.

That’s how big a factor the crowd is going to be. Baltimore has won the last four meetings and six of the last seven, but Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown aren’t going to let them win another.

The Steelers have been rolling and not even the Ravens defense is going to stop them this Christmas.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 27-23


Denver Broncos (8-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)

The defending Super Bowl champs are just a loss or two away from being eliminated from the postseason.

The Chiefs know they are in a position to deliver the knockout blow and with postseason seedings still a factor, they should win this one at home.

Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 26-23


Monday, Dec. 26

Detroit Lions (9-5) at Dallas Cowboys (12-2)

Matthew Stafford is still hurt and the Cowboys are still rolling.

Dak Prescott is just one win away from tying Ben Roethlisberger for the most wins by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.

He should get the win against Detroit’s defense, who has a strong secondary but has struggled against the run game in the past.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 27-24


Last Week’s Record: 12-4

Season Record: 144-78-2


** Bye Week: N/A

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NFL Week 15 Picks, Predictions: Seahawks clinch NFC West against lowly Rams

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Thursday, Dec. 15

Los Angeles Rams (4-9) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4-1)

Seattle made themselves look ridiculous in a 38-10 blowout loss at Lambeau Field last weekend, thanks in large part to Russell Wilson‘s career-high five interceptions.

But expect a big bounce-back this weekend, even on short rest.

Their opponent is stumbling into this matchup and the Seahawks have a chance to obtain another NFC West crown with a win in front of their fans.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 28-17


Saturday, Dec. 17

Miami Dolphins (8-5) at New York Jets (4-9)

The only thing that might keep the Dolphins from running away with this game is if they can’t learn to adjust on the fly without Ryan Tannehill.

Matt Moore will be making a spot start, but he should only need to play just-well-enough for Miami to keep their playoff hopes alive against such a bad Jets team.

Q’s Pick: Dolphins, 24-17


Sunday, Dec. 18

Detroit Lions (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4)

The Lions can clinch the NFC North with a win and a Packers loss, but their test is a challenging one in the Big Apple.

The Giants are fresh off a big win against the Cowboys and Detroit has to win with an injured Matthew Stafford, who has torn ligaments in his throwing fingers.

New York is fighting just to get into the postseason and that grit should show Sunday.

 Q’s Pick: Giants, 27-26


Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6)

Baltimore’s defense remains among the league’s best with the No. 1-ranked run defense to boast (75.5 ypg).

In Philly’s favor, Carson Wentz is the focal point, not the run game.

But the Ravens play well at home, winners of four-straight at M&T Bank Stadium, and they have more to gain from a win.

Q’s Pick: Ravens, 23-20


Green Bay Packers (7-6) at Chicago Bears (3-10)

The Packers playoff hopes are bleak at best, but the Bears won’t pose much of a challenge.

Green Bay’s newly-found secondary has held three-straight opponents to 13 points or fewer and their average margin of victory in those games has been by more than two touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers, the floor is yours.

Q’s Pick: Packers, 30-20


Indianapolis Colts (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (7-6)

The Colts’ best chance to win their division may have slipped away from them last weekend when they failed to beat the Texans at home.

The Vikings aren’t playing for much, but their defense is much better than Houston’s and a win at home still helps their playoff chances.

Q’s Pick: Vikings, 27-23


Cleveland Browns (0-13) at Buffalo Bills (6-7)

The Browns haven’t just been bad, they’ve been dismal this year.

It’s unfortunate, because no team deserves to lose every game, but even in games they might have had chances to win, they’ve blown it.

LeSean McCoy and the Bills are too talented a squad to fall victim to an upset win at home.

Q’s Pick: Bills, 26-16


Tennessee Titans (7-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)

The Chiefs have powered into position to win the AFC West, thanks to eight wins in nine games, including two against the Raiders.

The Titans aren’t a pushover team, they’re very much in play to win the AFC South for themselves and a statement win in Kansas City would help do the trick.

But Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill have had 10 days to get ready for Marcus Mariota and company and they should demonstrate that Sunday.

Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 30-24


Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Houston Texans (7-6)

The Texans, like the Titans, need to win-out for a shot to win the AFC South.

They took care of Step One last weekend by beating the Colts on the road, now they can return home to focus on Blake Bortles and the Jaguars.

This game is Houston’s to lose.

Q’s Pick: Texans, 27-17


Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-7-1)

What do the Steelers need to sneak into the postseason? A win and some help.

It starts with a win though and they can’t get caught snoozing on the Bengals, a team that has scored 55 total points in their last two games.

Pittsburgh has the offense, but do they have the defense to win?

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 31-23


New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1)

Drew Brees continues to struggle leading to what could be an ugly finish for a team that has had one of the league’s best offenses all season.

The Bird Gang will counter with one of the league’s best defenses, including a secondary that only gives up 201.8 passing yards per game.

On a side note, if David Johnson rushes for 100 yards, he would break the record set by former Colts running back Edgerrin James for most consecutive games with triple-digit total yards.

 Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 27-24


San Francisco 49ers (1-12) at Atlanta Falcons (8-5)

The Falcons probably thought that they would be battling the NFC champion Panthers right now for the chance to win the division, but they are actually battling the 8-5 Buccaneers.

Atlanta can’t afford to lose because it could cost them the chance at the NFC South title.

Expect them to come out firing on all cylinders for that very reason.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-13


New England Patriots (11-2) at Denver Broncos (8-5)

These teams love playing in primetime and the rivalry will be even more heated with the fact that both teams have a lot on the line.

The Patriots can win their division and get close to a No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win — Denver could be eliminated from the postseason with a loss.

Tom Brady‘s history against Denver isn’t great but history re-writes itself.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 24-20


Oakland Raiders (10-3) at San Diego Chargers (5-8)

The Raiders all but had the AFC West locked up but now they are in a race to win-out before the Chiefs can.

That starts against Philip Rivers‘ high-flying offense in Southern California.

The Raiders should have their own firepower working well enough to get the win, but their exposed and deteriorating defense could make this a close one.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 34-30


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-2)

The Bucs are playing their hearts out so don’t expect them to roll over against Dallas, who still only has a playoff spot clinched.

This game was flexed into primetime rightfully so, but I would still be extremely surprised if Jameis Winston manages to lead an upset against America’s Team.

That being said, Ezekiel Elliott might have a big night against Tampa’s run defense that allows 110.7 yards per game (21st).

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 27-22


Monday, Dec. 19

Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Washington Redskins (7-5-1)

The Redskins are longshots to make the postseason, but Kirk Cousins isn’t going to let them disappear quietly.

Washington hasn’t played at home since Nov. 20 so the crowd should be amped and cheering on the league’s No. 2-ranked pass offense (302.8 ypg).

Cam Newton will keep things close, just not close enough.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 29-24


Last Week’s Record: 10-6

Season Record: 132-74-2


** Bye Week: N/A

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NFL Week 14 Picks, Predictions: Chiefs make statement in quest for AFC West

Photo: Kelly via Flickr.com

Photo: Kelly via Flickr.com

Thursday, Dec. 8

Oakland Raiders (10-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)

The Raiders are facing perhaps their biggest test of the season on the road in Kansas City against a team that already beat them this year.

In that game, Derek Carr only managed to throw for 225 yards and Oakland’s offense was held scoreless in the second half.

The Chiefs’ defense has countered their own offense efficiently — the team has played in five-straight games decided by five or fewer points and they’ve won four of them.

Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 30-28


Sunday, Dec. 11

Denver Broncos (8-4) at Tennessee Titans (6-6)

The Titans are in a three-way tie for the AFC South lead while the Broncos are in danger of missing out on a Wild Card spot. Interesting how that works out, given both of these teams’ records.

The Broncos should win even though the Titans will be well-rested following their bye week, meaning Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray should be ready to test Denver’s defense.

Q’s Pick: Broncos, 27-23


San Diego Chargers (5-7) at Carolina Panthers (4-8)

The Chargers have a more excitable offense behind Philip Rivers than the Panthers have going at defense.

San Diego should take care of this one.

 Q’s Pick: Chargers, 30-20


Houston Texans (6-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

In a battle for the AFC South, you would think a team led by Andrew Luck would be having an easier time than this.

They’re fortunate that they get to face Brock Osweiler‘s dismal offense this weekend.

 Q’s Pick: Colts, 30-20


Cincinnati Bengals (4-7-1) at Cleveland Browns (0-12)

There’s no way the Browns are going to go 0-16… is there?

For their sake, I hope not, but they’re going to go 0-13. Thanks, Andy Dalton.

 Q’s Pick: Bengals, 28-21


Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) at Buffalo Bills (6-6)

Both of these sqauds boast the game’s best run offenses, thanks to Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy.

But the team from Pittsburgh also has a pass offense and a better defense.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 30-24


Arizona Cardinals (5-6-1) at Miami Dolphins (7-5)

The Bird Gang’s hopes for back-to-back NFC West titles look bleak, but they need a win to keep their season alive.

They should get one, even against the streaky Fish.

 Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 31-26


Chicago Bears (3-9) at Detroit Lions (8-4)

The Lions have been struggling far too much to stay in the way of a Detroit team that still has a chance to win their first NFC North title since, well, ever.

The last time they won a division title was 1993 when the division was called the NFC Central Division.

Q’s Pick: Lions, 30-17


Minnesota Vikings (6-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

That 5-0 start seems so long ago for the once promising Vikings, but they’re still a better team than Blake Bortles‘ Jags.

Jacksonville has a lot of work to do this season. How they perform against a defense like Minnesota’s will dictate some of that work.

Q’s Pick: Vikings, 24-20


New Orleans Saints (5-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)

The Buccaneers are rolling. I didn’t believe in them but I do now.

If you still don’t believe in them, tell me how you feel when they shut down Drew Brees.

Q’s Pick: Buccaneers, 28-24


Washington Redskins (6-5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

The Redskins are on the outside-looking-in when it comes to the postseason but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance.

Those chances will be a lot more bleak if they can’t beat Philly.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 27-24


New York Jets (3-9) at San Francisco 49ers (1-11)

Another battle of the bad teams includes the 49ers this season, but I still don’t see them getting a win.

Does that make the Jets a good team? For this week, it does.

 Q’s Pick: Jets, 26-24


Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) at Green Bay Packers (6-6)

The Seahawks are on their way to winning their third NFC West title in the last four years.

In their way this week is Aaron Rodgers‘ 15-2 record at home in December. Expect snow and a lot of scoring in this game.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 28-24


Atlanta Falcons (7-5) at Los Angeles Rams (4-8)

The Falcons continue to fly-high behind Matt Ryan‘s video game numbers and the Rams contine to look lost in their first season in Los Angeles.

Good thing the Rams have a good run defense for Julio Jones and company?

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-20


Dallas Cowboys (11-1) at New York Giants (8-4)

I know the Giants won this matchup in Week 1 but both teams are much different than that day four months ago.

I also am not sure New York is as good as their record indicates. They would prove me wrong with a win.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 27-21


Monday, Dec. 12

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at New England Patriots (10-2)

Baltimore’s top-ranked defense is a tempting choice but it’s hard to bet against Tom Brady in a late-season conference game.

Still, don’t expect a blowout by any means.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 24-20


Last Week’s Record: 10-5

Season Record: 122-68-2


** Bye Week: N/A

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College Football Playoff teams set, Penn State glaringly, alarmingly snubbed

Photo: Ben Stanfield via Flickr.com

Photo: Ben Stanfield via Flickr.com

For months, debates have been held and cases have been made, but on Sunday, the College Football Playoff’s 2016-17 participants were finally revealed.

The final four teams will be as follows:

  1. Alabama (13-0)
  2. Clemson (12-1)
  3. Ohio State (11-1)
  4. Washington (12-1)

On New Year’s Eve, the Crimson Tide and Huskies will square off in the Peach Bowl and the Tigers and Buckeyes will battle in the Fiesta Bowl.

But one team was notably left out of the Playoff — the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Champions of the Big Ten, Penn State deserves the spot currently held by Ohio State and it’s a travesty that the CFP selection committee decided to give the Nittany Lions the cold shoulder after a fantastic season.

According to the College Football Playoff’s official website, “the selection committee ranks the [top four] teams based on conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and other factors.”

At least half of those factors are already in the Nittany Lions’ favor.

Ohio State, while a talented and proven football team, didn’t even play for their conference title, a knock that should be taken into account.

Further, Penn State won the head-to-head matchup with Ohio State this season, 24-21, at the end of October.

Neither mattered to the selection committee who made the Buckeyes the first non-conference champion in the Playoff since its inception three seasons ago.

CFP committee chair Kirby Hocutt made things even more interesting on Sunday when he told reporters that the debate for the final spot wasn’t even between Penn State and Ohio State, it was between the former and Pac-12 champion Washington:

“We looked at a lot of things,”Hocutt told ESPN.“We looked at two conference championship teams. … We looked at one-loss Washington — that loss being against a top-10 opponent — compared to a two-loss Penn State team — one loss they were not competitive in that particular game, the other loss was to an 8-4 team. We talked about strength of schedule. Obviously, strength of schedule favored Penn State. Had Washington had a stronger strength of schedule, I don’t think the conversation and discussion would have been as difficult.

Penn State’s glaring blemishes include a 49-10 beating at the hands of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the fourth game of the season.

The other is the loss “to an 8-4 team” Hocutt is talking about, which was a three-point loss to Pittsburgh in the second game of the year, a non-conference loss that wouldn’t have seemed detrimental at the time but cost the Nittany Lions a Playoff spot.

Still, Washington deserves to be in and that shouldn’t be up for debate — they are their conference’s champions.

In that same respect, so should Penn State.

The selection committee has been wish-washy about what constitutes the “best” teams in the nation and while history tells us they like to watch conference champions play, apparently they can make exceptions.

Ohio State had a few things in their favor, like strength of schedule, and I can live with that. They aren’t a bad team to be in the Playoff but it doesn’t make sense to me that you can be considered one of the best teams in the nation without even playing for your conference’s title.

Had Penn State been in the CFP with no conference championship and a head-to-head loss to Ohio State, wouldn’t more people be upset that the Buckeyes were snubbed?

Apparently winning your conference’s championship doesn’t make you your conference’s best team.

There’s a lot of factors that go into making a “great” team, but a conference title should be a huge part of it, and the selection committee showed us it’s a mere footnote.

Ohio State just proved that and Penn State will have to settle because of it.

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NFL Week 13 Picks, Predictions: Ravens, Redskins toughen up for edgy wins

Photo: Keith Allison via Flickr.com

Photo: Keith Allison via Flickr.com


Thursday, Dec. 1

Dallas Cowboys (10-1) at Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

The Cowboys are going to lose again at some point this season… right?

If they lean on Dak Prescott in this game too much, they might because Minnesota’s secondary is among the league’s best — but the Vikings run defense is not.

Ezekiel Elliott has a chance to rush for his sixth 100-yard game against Minnesota’s No. 14-ranked rush defense and the Vikings don’t have many offensive weapons to counter, having scored only 19.8 points per game to this point in the season.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 29-20


Sunday, Dec. 4

Denver Broncos (7-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

After falling to the Chiefs at home last weekend, the Broncos are in danger of missing their first postseason since 2010.

The Jaguars haven’t been particularly good this season, but Denver’s Trevor Siemian is questionable to play with a foot sprain.

Still, Denver’s defense ranks in the top-5 in most major categories while the Jaguars offense is in the league’s bottom-third in most offensive categories.

Q’s Pick: Broncos, 27-17


Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Atlanta Falcons (7-4)

The Chiefs offense stood tall in the Mile High City last weekend behind an outbreak performance by Tyreek Hill, who became the first person in half a century to record a rushing, receiving, and returned touchdown in the same game.

Now the Chiefs must visit Matt Ryan‘s high-flying pass offense which put up 38 points against the best secondary in the league last weekend and which remains one of only three in the league that averages more than 300 yards per game through the air.

Kansas City’s defense has been as mysterious as it has been brilliant. They allow the 28th-most yards per game but give up the 8th-fewest points.

Atlanta’s defense hasn’t been nearly as impressive. Expect a shootout.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-28


Houston Texans (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (5-6)

The Packers defense finally got back on track last weekend, allowing 13 points, their fewest since Oct. 20.

They now get to face a struggling Brock Osweiler, who’s 195.9 passing yards per game are the second-fewest in the league.

Aaron Rodgers should continue to produce, especially in front of his home fans, which the Packers haven’t played in front of in a month.

Q’s Pick: Packers, 24-20


Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)

Carson Wentz and the Eagles were outplayed last weekend but they now face an offense that is not on the same level as the Packers.

Led by Andy Dalton, Cincinatti only scores 19.4 points per game and hasn’t topped 20 in a month.

Philly’s secondary is also just outside the top-1o in terms of yards allowed so they have the advantage in most categories in this one.

Q’s Pick: Eagles, 27-22


Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-6)

The Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter in every game this season, but somehow turned the majority of those games into wins.

That could be viewed as a good or bad, but one really bad thing for the Lions is they will need to figure out how to contain Drew Brees‘ No. 1-ranked offense this weekend.

Detroit’s defense is relatively average and even though they have shutdown their last few opponents, they haven’t faced an offense like New Orleans’.

 Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-23


San Francisco 49ers (1-10) at Chicago Bears (2-9)

While the college football realm prepares for bowl season, these teams should give us a bowl game of their own — the Toilet Bowl.

Alright, that’s a little harsh and probably unfair. Actually both of these teams are better than their records indicate.

The 49ers have given the Cardinals and Dolphins good games and the Bears have played the Giants and Titans tough — but neither team has much to show for it.

I’ll go with the Bears in this one only because their defense is much better and they are at home. And that being said, the 49ers may make me regret it.

 Q’s Pick: Bears, 26-17


Los Angeles Rams (4-7) at New England Patriots (9-2)

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are still banged up, but the Patriots are a far superior team than most in the NFL and the Rams are no different.

Jared Goff looked really good last weekend against the Saints, but now he’s facing a much stiffer opponent and will need some real magic to lead an upset.

New England won’t take the Rams lightly, but they shouldn’t have too much issue in the win.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20


Miami Dolphins (7-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

The Dolphins have now rattled off six-straight wins to earn a spot in the playoff race, but the Ravens represent a serious heat check in the Northeast.

Baltimore’s defense allows the second-fewest total yards per game and have allowed 14 points or fewer in three of their last four games.

The Ravens offense is fairly average but so is Miami’s defense so the game will be decided with the other units on the field.

Q’s Pick: Ravens, 23-17


Buffalo Bills (6-5) at Oakland Raiders (9-2)

The Raiders have joined the Cowboys in the “they’re for real” conversation.

Led by Derek Carr, Oakland has the fourth-best passing game in the league and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.

But the Bills can expose Oakland if they can get their No. 1-ranked run offense going. You read that right, LeSean McCoy is the reason Buffalo averages a yard more per game on the ground than Dallas does.

Oakland’s defense has been a little better lately but they still aren’t great, making an upset possible.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 31-27


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (5-6)

The Buccaneers absolutely shut down the Seahawks last weekend, allowing only five points, but now their test is a Chargers offense averaging 28.5 points per game.

The Bucs have moved over .500 by beating Seattle and the Chiefs in consecutive weeks, so their resume looks good, but I’m not yet convinced they can do it three weeks in a row.

Philip Rivers and the offense are ready to score points and they do a lot of that at home.

 Q’s Pick: Chargers, 30-23


Washington Redskins (6-4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1)

The Redskins have quietly developed one of the most efficient offenses in the league, led by Kirk Cousins and Jamison Crowder.

That makes things interesting against the league’s leading secondary who will be playing host to this game.

The Cardinals may be able to stop Washington on defense but they don’t have nearly as many offensive weapons to consistently keep up if the Redskins start posting major points.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 27-22


New York Giants (8-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

The Steelers are on the bubble for a playoff spot so they still have a lot to play for.

Ben Roethlisberger is continuing to have a great season and Antonio Brown is fresh off his first-career three-touchdown performance.

The Giants aren’t as good as their record indicates and Pittsburgh should be able to expose that on Sunday.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 30-24


Carolina Panthers (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)

The Panthers played really well last weekend and the Seahawks didn’t.

The problem for Carolina is that the Seahawks are really good in primetime games — in fact, they hold a 17-3-1 record in primetime games under Pete Carroll.

The Seahawks should win the NFC West and currently hold a comfortable lead, but they would like a more padded lead and avenging last year’s loss at home to the NFC champion Panthers should do the trick.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 24-20


Monday, Dec. 5

Indianapolis Colts (5-6) at New York Jets (3-8)

The Colts are getting Andrew Luck back this week after he missed a game with a concussion, and that should be more than enough for Indy to celebrate.

They are also more rested than the Jets after getting to play on Thanksgiving, and have more weapons than the Jets do.

New York can keep things close by utilizing the fourth-best run defense in the league, but the Colts don’t really run the ball.

The bigger question for the Jets is if they can stop Luck.

 Q’s Pick: Colts, 29-20


Last Week’s Record: 11-5

Season Record: 112-63-2


** Bye Week: Cleveland Browns, Tennessee Titans

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Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith gives Jason Terry a hug, forgets to play any defense

Photo: Screenshot via ESPN.com

Photo: Screenshot via ESPN.com

The Cleveland Cavaliers are a well-oiled machine that looks well-ahead of the rest of their Eastern Conference foes in their quest to defend their NBA title.

But that doesn’t mean they are perfect, and on Tuesday night they showed why.

During a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, veteran J.R. Smith made himself trend-worthy across various social media platforms when he made one of the most boneheaded decisions of the year.

While the Bucks were moving the ball across half court, Smith took a second to walk off the court and hug the Bucks’ Jason Terry, who was sitting on Milwaukee’s bench.

While the two greeted each other, the Bucks completed a near-half court pass to a wide-open Tony Snell, whom Smith was supposed to guard, leading to perhaps the easiest dunk attempt the Bucks will have this season:

The Cavaliers ended up losing the game, 118-101, so Smith’s blunder was far from the only reason Cleveland lost, but it doesn’t make the play any more acceptable.

Still, it gave fans a pretty good laugh and the Cavs’ season is going so well they might have a laugh about it afterwards as well.

What made the play all the more eye-roll and chuckle worthy was that it was Smith who once again made a questionable on-court decision.

Smith has spent the majority of his career gaining a reputation as one of the more entertaining characters in the league, to the point that there are several internet articles that compile lists of “the most J.R. Smith moments”.

Complex News created a YouTube video when Smith left the New York Knicks in 2015 to commemorate his best moments in the Big Apple, some of which were complete blunders.

Teams tend to forgive him because he has proven that his talent can be a valuable commodity, beyond the questionable decisions.

The veteran, now in his 14th NBA season, is averaging 31 minutes per game this season but only averaging 8.7 points, 2.5 boards, and 1.3 assists per game.

It will be interesting to see when he will be in headlines again — my guess is not very far from now.

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NFL Week 12 Picks, Predictions: Cowboys, Vikings earn tough Turkey Day wins

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Photo: Keith Allison via Flickr.com


Thursday, Nov. 24

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Detroit Lions (6-4)

The Vikings have noisily dropped four of their last five games while the Lions have quietly climbed into a first-place tie with Minnesota for the NFC North lead.

Detroit has won five of their last six games, but none of them have been by more than one possession. That’s primarily because the Lions offense has been average, even with Matthew Stafford at the helm, and their defense is mediocre at best.

The Vikings, on the other hand, have one of the best defenses in the league and a secondary that should be able to handle Stafford.

Minnesota’s run defense has struggled as of late, but they won’t really need it against a Detroit rushing attack that averages only 79.5 yards per game, third-fewest in the NFL.

Q’s Pick: Vikings, 24-20


Washington Redskins (6-3-1) at Dallas Cowboys (9-1)

These teams met at the dawn of the season, a Week 2 game in Washington that ended with a Cowboys win and started what is now a franchise-record nine-game winning streak for Dallas.

It took a late touchdown to preserve Dallas’ 27-23 win, but it also came before the Cowboys had really gelled together.

Ezekiel Elliott only rushed for 83 yards, his fewest in a Cowboys win this season, and Dak Prescott didn’t throw a touchdown pass, a goose egg he hasn’t posted in that column of the stat sheet since.

The Redskins are a solid team, we saw that when they put up 42 points against a depleted Packers secondary, but Dallas is fresh off scoring 27 against Baltimore, one of the best defenses in the league.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 30-23


Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

A Colts offense that already ranks outside the top-10 in most major categories may now have to perform without Andrew Luck, who is still in concussion protocol.

Pittsburgh’s secondary isn’t anything special, but their offense has found its footing, scoring a combined 54 points in their last two games after failing to score more than 16 in each of their previous three.

On the other side, Indy’s secondary is the league’s worse, statistically, allowing 284.5 yards per game through the air.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown should post big numbers in what could turn into a shootout.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 33-26


Sunday, Nov. 27

San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Houston Texans (6-4)

The Texans defense kept up with the Raiders last weekend but things won’t get any easier this weekend against Philip Rivers and the fifth-best offense in the league.

Houston’s much-improved secondary allows the fourth-fewest yards per game (206.6) and has playmakers that should be able to keep up with San Diego.

The problem for the Texans is their horrendous offense, which only scores 18.1 points per game and is led by a struggling Brock Osweiler.

Expect a close, hard-fought, low scoring game.

Q’s Pick: Texans, 23-20


Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Chicago Bears (2-8)

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Titans score a lot of points against bad defenses and struggle against good ones.

They get something in between on Sunday.

The Colts were able to shut down Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray last weekend, but I don’t expect them to get blanked for consecutive weeks.

Further, the Titans defense is much better than the Bears offense, especially with Jay Cutler still listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.

Q’s Pick: Titans, 27-23


Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-5)

LeSean McCoy is fresh off a surgery that repaired his thumb, but he is expected to play against a Jaguars defense that gives up more than 113 yards per game on the ground (23rd).

Buffalo’s defense also made a statement by allowing the Bengals only 12 points last weekend, the fifth time this season they have allowed fewer than nineteen points.

Blake Bortles has kept his team in games, but he hasn’t helped them win any. The Jags have lost five-straight, including three in a row by one possession.

The Bills simply have too much talent to let this one slip away at home.

Q’s Pick: Bills, 26-20


Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) at Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

The Ravens defense went toe-to-toe with the Cowboys last weekend but came just short of a win.

Not that the defense played poorly, they just played a team that is absoultely on fire.

Now they get to face an ice-cold Bengals offense that will be without A.J. Green and only scored 12 points last weekend.

All eyes are on Andy Dalton and his ability to move the ball because there is no use running it — Baltimore still has the league’s No. 1-ranked run defense (76 ypg).

Q’s Pick: Ravens, 26-17


Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

This game’s storyline? How about Patrick Peterson and the Bird Gang’s secondary against Atlanta’s high-flying pass game led by Matt Ryan?

Arizona has the league’s No. 1 secondary, allowing only 190.2 yards per game and now they are tasked with holding Ryan and Julio Jones in check. The latter tandem lead the league’s No. 2-ranked pass offense.

On the other side of the ball, David Johnson continues to raise eyebrows in his sophomore campaign while Carson Palmer continues to struggle.

I’m going to give the Cardinals a chance in this game and wouldn’t be surprised at all if they win, but they have struggled against teams worse than Atlanta.

Q’s Pick: Falcons, 29-21


San Francisco 49ers (1-9) at Miami Dolphins (6-4)

Remember when the 49ers blew out the Rams in Week 1 and it looked like they might be halfway decent?

Those days are long gone and the anti-Cowboys have lost nine-straight since that impressive season opener.

The Dolphins, on the other hand, have won five in a row after starting the season 1-4 and are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

That’s not to say they’ve dominated games during their run (they haven’t) but they have a chance to do just that against a San Francisco defense that is ranked last in the league in most major categories.

Q’s Pick: Dolphins, 30-17


Los Angeles Rams (4-6) at New Orleans Saints (4-6)

The Saints shouldn’t be as bad as their record indicates; Drew Brees has been at the helm of the league’s top-ranked pass offense.

The problem is their defense, which allows 382.8 yards per game, 27th in the NFL.

The good news is that the Rams offense is one of only two teams that averages fewer than 300 total yards per game and Jared Goff will only be making his second career start.

If the Saints can’t win this game, their season is in serious jeopardy.

 Q’s Pick: Saints, 30-24


New York Giants (7-3) at Cleveland Browns (0-11)

I don’t know when things are going to turn around for the Browns but things don’t look too good this weekend.

The Giants are winners of five-straight, though none were by more than a touchdown.

Still, Eli Manning is an experienced and talented enough quarterback to pick apart a secondary as weak as Cleveland’s.

At least Believeland has the Cavaliers and Indians to be proud of.

 Q’s Pick: Giants, 28-17


Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

Jameis Winston against the Legion of Boom? That should be fun.

Further, Russell Wilson is on an absolute tear, scoring seven touchdowns in his last three games, including a reception TD.

Seattle is on the road but they would still have to play a pretty disappointing game to lose against Tampa’s 26th-ranked defense.

Earl Thomas is questionable to play Sunday, but Kam Chancellor will play and as long as one of them is patrolling in the secondary, the Seahawks defense is among the league’s best.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 27-20


Carolina Panthers (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (8-2)

The Raiders are back at home and have sole possession of the AFC West lead again with their best record through 10 games since 2001.

Derek Carr and a committee of running backs have helped the Raiders remain in the league’s top-5 in most offensive categories.

But their Achilles heel, as it has been all season, is their defense which ranks 29th in total yards allowed.

Cam Newton would love to take advantage of that, but the Raiders offense has been playing too well for the Panthers to catch in a shootout.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 33-27


New England Patriots (8-2) at New York Jets (3-7)

At this point it appears both Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are questionable for Sunday’s AFC East matchup.

What’s scary about New England is that they probably don’t need either of them to beat the Jets, even in New York.

The airplanes will send Ryan Fitzpatrick back out under center, benching Bryce Petty, in the hopes that the veteran can provide some sort of spark against the Patriots’ No. 15-ranked secondary.

It still won’t be enough. The Patriots are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 30-22


Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) at Denver Broncos (7-3)

Both teams hold records that are better than four division leaders, but neither club holds their own division’s lead, thanks to the red-hot Raiders.

The Chiefs saw a five-game winning streak come to an end at home against the Bucs last weekend, demonstrating severe inconsistencies on both sides of the ball.

Denver has won three of their last four and seem to have their defense back on track behind Trevor Siemian‘s offense.

I’ll give the edge to the Broncos because they are fresh off a bye, are playing are at home, and tend to play well in big time games like this one.

Q’s Pick: Broncos, 27-21


Monday, Nov. 28

Green Bay Packers (4-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

The Packers lack of depth has been on full display this season as injuries have added up resulting in embarassing performances like last weekend’s rout at the hands of the Redskins.

The Eagles are still somewhat in the playoff picture and even though Carson Wentz has been inconsistent, he isn’t facing a very good secondary.

To make matters worse for the Packers, Aaron Rodgers has to face the league’s No. 9-ranked secondary and Green Bay doesn’t really have a running back to exploit the Eagles weak run defense.

Q’s Pick: Eagles, 29-22


Last Week’s Record: 10-4

Season Record: 101-58-2


** Bye Week: N/A

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Kevin Durant ‘don’t give a damn’ about Drake Night, stares down rapper in interview

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Photo: Screenshot via Warriors broadcast

Since joining the Golden State Warriors this summer, Kevin Durant has been the face of criticism around the NBA from analysts and fans alike.

He’s not going to make any new friends in Toronto after hilariously dissing the city’s most iconic rapper, Drake.

On Wednesday night, the Warriors beat the Toronto Raptors, 127-121, on the team’s third-annual “Drake Night.”

Durant finished with 30 points and the Interview of the Night Award after staring down Drake and telling a reporter that he didn’t care about Drake Night:

In Durant’s defense, he had been egged on by Drake for most of the evening.

After the Raptors took a lead early in the game, Drake made a point of standing up from his courtside seat to stare down Durant:

Durant obviously didn’t take it kindly and, perhaps, rightfully so.

Interestingly, the rivalry seems somewhat new.

In September, Drake brought Durant onstage during his Summer Sixteen tour at Oracle Arena and promised the crowd that the addition of the former MVP would bring “big rings.”

Drake also wore Durant’s No. 35 jersey for most of the performance:

Going even further back, Durant told reporters in May that he found it “pretty cool” to be name-dropped in a Drake song.

The rapper wrote “Weston Road Flows” and included a stanza referencing the success of Durant:

A lot of people just hit me up when my name is mentioned
Shout out to KD we relate we get the same attention
It’s rainin’ money, Oklahoma City Thunder
The most successful rapper 35 and under

Apparently the respect level between the two has diminished.

Or maybe both were just caught in the heat of the moment.

Either way, watching Durant stare down Drake during his postgame interview was hilarious and watching him downplay Drake Night was even funnier.

The Warriors won’t visit “The 6” again this season, but the Raptors will come to “The Bay” on Dec. 28.

No word yet on if Drake will be there.

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NFL Week 11 Picks, Predictions: Giants win another close one, Patriots recover

Photo: A.J. Guel via Flickr.com

Photo: A.J. Guel via Flickr.com


Thursday, Nov. 17

New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Carolina Panthers (3-6)

When it comes down to it, the Saints offense is ridiculous and the Panthers defense is ridiculously medicore.

Drew Brees has led the Saints to an average of 427.7 total yards per game, the most in the league. The Panthers secondary is in the NFL’s bottom third in terms of yards allowed.

Carolina’s strong point defensively is their run defense, but the Saints rarely utilize anyone in their backfield. It’s just an air show that has worked against most defenses this season.

Cam Newton should help the Panthers put some points on the board, I just don’t think they’ll put up enough points to catch the high-flying Saints.

 Q’s Pick: Saints, 31-23


Sunday, Nov. 20

Tennessee Titans (5-5) at Indianapolis Colts (4-5)

The Titans did some major work last weekend against the Packers posting a 47-spot that included a touchdown pass from DeMarco Murray.

Murray and reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week Marcus Mariota have paced what has turned into one of the most efficient offenses in the league (and yes, you read that right).

The Titans rush for 146 yards per game, third most in the league, and average 386.1 total yards per game, sixth-most in the NFL.

That bodes well against a mess of a Colts defense that is one of only four teams allowing more than 400 total yards per game (402.8).

Q’s Pick: Titans, 27-20


Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7) at Detroit Lions (5-4)

The Jaguars’ offense continues to tail-spin, now in an un-elite group of seven teams that average fewer than 20 points per game (19.3).

That’s not to say the Lions are a powerhouse — they only score 22.8 points per game.

But Detroit has signature wins this season against the Eagles, Redskins, and Vikings in the last month and are coming off a bye week, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for Blake Bortles and the ever-struggling T.J. Yeldon.

Detroit’s also 3-1 at home this season.

Q’s Pick: Lions, 24-17


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-2)

The Chiefs are widely regarded as having one of the league’s best defenses, but really they have one of the league’s best secondaries.

The team has an NFL-high 13 interceptions this year but their Achilles heel is their run defense, which allows 121.7 yards per game and ranks 27th in the league.

If the Bucs want to win, they need to attack there. Tampa relies heavily on the run game, averaging the second-most rush attempts per game (35) but we don’t know who their running back will be because injuries have forced them to use four different starters this season.

Jameis Winston shouldn’t be expected to win this game on the road against that secondary but the Bucs have a chance if they get the run game going. I’m just not sure they will.

Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 30-21


Chicago Bears (2-7) at New York Giants (6-3)

The Bears are reeling once again, losers of five-straight road games and now they get to stumble into a “hot” Giants team that’s won four in a row.

I put that word in quotations because the Giants could just as easily have lost all of the games they’ve won this year. In fact, they haven’t won a game by more than one possession and, despite their record, have been outscored this season, 182-184.

Still, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham seem to be back to their usual selves after a slow start so the offense isn’t one to worry about for right now, even against the Bears defense.

 Q’s Pick: Giants, 28-24


Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4)

I started the year having no belief in the Vikings, then was convinced they were better than I thought when they started the year 5-0, and now I don’t believe in them again.

I do believe in David Johnson and the Cardinals and maintain that they are a much better team than their record indicates.

Arizona’s defense should have a feast against a Vikings offense that is one of the worst in terms of efficiency in the league. Minnesota’s 302.3 total yards per game are the fewest in the league and Sam Bradford has cooled tremendously since his hot start.

The Vikings defense is still among the league’s best but their run defense has struggled lately — luckily for them so has Johnson, who has rushed for only 55 and 24 yards in his last two games.

Still, if defense wins games, Arizona has a better one.

 Q’s Pick: Cardinals, 23-17


Buffalo Bills (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-5-1)

With LeSean McCoy returning to full health following a bye week, the Bills should look to use the run game to beat a Bengals defense that currently allows more than 116 yards per game on the ground.

Tyrod Taylor has turned into a weapon for Buffalo as well, but it’s McCoy’s offense which rushes for 155 yards per game, second only to the Cowboys.

Andy Dalton and the Bengals will want to utilize A.J. Green against the Bills, but Buffalo’s secondary is better than most give credit, ranking just outside the top-10 in pass yards allowed.

The bye week, which includes rest and preparation, gives Buffalo an advantage over Cincinatti who is coming off a tough loss and a short week.

Q’s Pick: Bills, 28-23


Baltimore Ravens (5-4) at Dallas Cowboys (8-1)

How ’bout them Cowboys and their record?

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott (especially the latter) are no fluke, but a handful of experts are predicting the Cowboys can’t beat the Ravens top-ranked defense.

Baltimore has quietly been winning games utilizing a bone-crushing defense that allows a league-few 71.3 yards per game on the ground and 281.6 total yards.

It’s going to be a classic power matchup against the Cowboys top-ranked run game. Defense typically wins these types of games but Dallas beat the Packers at a time when their defense was the league’s top-ranked.

Q’s Pick: Cowboys, 30-24


Pittsburgh Steelers (4-5) at Cleveland Browns (0-10)

With talents like Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell on the same field at the same time, it’s a wonder the Steelers have a losing record.

True, injuries have slowed the team, but at least two of those men have been on the field together for most of the season.

Anyways, Pittsburgh’s pass attack remains one of the most lethal in the league and it shouldn’t slow down at all against the Browns, who allow the second-most total yards per game (419.1) in the league.

The Browns will win a game this season, but their first one won’t come this weekend.

 Q’s Pick: Steelers, 34-20


Miami Dolphins (5-4) at Los Angeles Rams (4-5)

The biggest story coming out of this one is that this year’s No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff will officially be making his NFL debut.

It couldn’t come at a better time for the Rams offense. Led by Case Keenum, they averaged the second-fewest total yards per game with 308.

Goff has been highly-touted but hasn’t even been on the field since the preseason, and his first test is against a Miami secondary that is among the league’s top-10 in pass yards allowed. Miami has struggled to contain the run this season though, and that could open up chances for Todd Gurley.

At the end of the day, I just think Miami is too good a team for Goff to win against convincingly. The Dolphins need this game more than the Rams do.

Q’s Pick: Dolphins, 26-23


New England Patriots (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (1-8)

There’s little these teams have in common, but they can both say they lost heartbreakers last weekend.

The Patriots were stopped on 4th and goal in the final seconds against the Seahawks and the 49ers lost to the Cardinals on a game-winning field goal.

The similarities stop there.

Even with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski banged up, the Patriots have way too much talent to struggle against a team as mediocre as San Francisco.

The 49ers allow a league-worst 429.7 total yards per game and 180.4 (one-hundred-eighty-point-four) rushing yards per game.

LeGarrette Blount, anyone?

Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-21


Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) at Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1)

Every time I pick against the Eagles, they win.

Not this time. I think.

The Seahawks are finally clicking on offense, led by the resurgence of Russell Wilson, who has thrown for 630 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games.

His next test is against an Eagles secondary that shut down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones last weekend, but the Seahawks have more options than just the passing game.

Thomas Rawls is expected to return from injury this week against Philly’s 13th-ranked run defense.

On the other side of the ball, Kam Chancellor showed last weekend why his presence was missed this year and he’ll be hungry to make plays on his own field against Carson Wentz.

Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 24-16


Green Bay Packers (4-5) at Washington Redskins (5-3-1)

The Packers were absolutely embarassed by the Titans last week, giving up 47 points for the first time since 2008.

And that was right after Aaron Rodgers called out his team for a lack of effort.

Things don’t get easier against the Redskins rested offense, which ranks in the league’s top-5 in total yards and passing yards per game.

Kirk Cousins has a chance to put up big numbers against a Packers secondary that has given up at least 31 points in each of their last three weeks, all losses.

Q’s Pick: Redskins, 30-24


Monday, Nov. 21

Houston Texans (6-3) at Oakland Raiders (7-2)

Por primera vez en más de una década, la NFL está de vuelta en México.

I think that’s correct, my Spanish is as shaky as the Texans offense.

Houston and their prized quarterback Brock Osweiler have the worst pass offense in the game, throwing for 187.3 yards per contest.

The good news it they have Lamar Miller and Oakland’s defense features the third-worst secondary in the NFL.

The bad news is the Raiders also have Derek Carr and Amari Cooper and the Texans have little in terms of ways to stop that duo.

This game is in Mexico City, so there’s no homefield advantage for either team, but the Raiders are coming off a bye and have had plenty of time to prepare for the trip and the Texans.

Q’s Pick: Raiders, 34-23


Last Week’s Record: 9-5

Season Record: 91-54-2


** Bye Week: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers

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Tony Romo demonstrates class, integrity in endorsing Dak Prescott as starter

Photo: Screenshot via Dallas Cowboys press conference

Photo: Screenshot via Dallas Cowboys press conference

Longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo put aside his pride on Tuesday in a statement to the media which included his endorsing rookie Dak Prescott as the team’s true starting QB this season.

Romo was making his first media appearance since being named the Cowboys backup QB after spending the better part of the last decade as the team’s starter.

Romo entered the year expecting to be the Cowboys starter for the 11th-consecutive season, but he fractured a vertebra in his lower back during a preseason game, giving Prescott an opportunity to lead “America’s Team”.

Dallas lost their first regular season game with Prescott at the helm, but have since rattled off eight-straight wins and now have an NFL-best 8-1 record.

Prescott has been a large part of the Cowboys success alongside fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott.

The two have made the Cowboys offense one of the most formidable in the league and led many to believe Dallas is a true Super Bowl contender, something they never were under Romo’s guidance.

But Romo demonstrated a tremendous amount of class and grace on Tuesday when he admitted that even he believes the Cowboys have the best chance to win with Prescott as the offensive anchor:

Romo also said:

“Dak Prescott, and what he’s done, he’s earned the right to be our quarterback. As hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right. He’s guided our team to an 8-1 record, and that’s hard to do. If you think for a second I don’t want to be out there, then you probably never felt the pure ecstasy of competing and winning. That hasn’t left me. In fact, it may burn now more than ever.”

Romo’s display of sportsmanship and support for the team’s rookie QB shows an important leadership quality that few have.

It’s also a sentiment to Romo’s ambition to win to watch him swallow his pride and realize that he isn’t going to make the team better — the man replacing him will.

That’s not to say Romo is a bad quarterback; in fact, he’s one of the best the storied Cowboys have ever had.

In his career with Dallas, he’s thrown for 34,154 yards and 247 touchdowns, both franchise records. He’s also led the team to a 78-49 regular season record in games he started, the third-highest winning percentage in Cowboys history behind only Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

But those men also have something Romo doesn’t — Super Bowl rings.

Romo has never even played in an NFC Championship game, and the Cowboys are 2-4 in the playoffs with him as the starter.

Those stats will forever haunt his career if it ends as Prescott’s backup, giving the impression that Romo was never able to win games when they mattered most.

Prescott, who has thrown 14 TDs and only two interceptions this year, will likely lead his team to the postseason though what happens after that remains to be seen.

One thing is for certain, Tony Romo should be praised for his elegant endorsement.

It would be a shame to see his career end this way, but perhaps now the team has a chance to get to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1996.

Romo has demonstrated the definition of teamwork and the importance of integrity and selflessness.

The Cowboys will look to win their ninth game this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.

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