The last week of the NFL season isn’t nearly as interesting for Lions fans as it was before kickoff last Sunday, but that hasn’t stopped the rest of the league from generating enough drama and dysfunction to appreciate from a distance.
James Harrison, the sack artist and weight-lifting maniac formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers was released late last week, and after not being claimed, signed with the New England Patriots for the rest of the season because of course.
My dislike for the #Patriots is documented. But this is so good. pic.twitter.com/RIEfteQGbw— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) December 28, 2017
Eli Apple was labeled a “cancer” by teammate Landon Collins—for which Collins apologized for a day later—but then the Giants ended up suspending Apple for the rest of the season. Follow that logic train for a minute.
And not to be upstaged by those two news stories, Dez Bryant was in the news talking about his future with the Dallas Cowboys, and the factors that may see him in a new uniform for the first time in his professional career.
What a week, but enough of the ancillary stuff; let’s get to the picks.
LIONS -6.5 over Packers
It shouldn’t even be close. If Detroit doesn’t win this game by at least three scores, something really, really wrong happened.
Whereas the Packers are resting a bunch of their difference makers for the second week in a row, the Lions are playing their starters, presumably because it’s a chance for the team to finish strong, sweep the Packers for the first time in like forever, and put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in over two decades.
COLTS -3.5 over Texans
Indianapolis did me a solid last week and covered against Baltimore with a larger-than-it-should-have-been spread. This week they get the Houston Texans who are terribad at home, and I hope I never have to write this sentence ever again: I trust Jacoby Brissett more than T.J. Yates.
VIKINGS -11.5 over Bears
Super Bowl LII goes through Philadelphia, but the Vikings still have a first-round bye to play for in Week 17. Minnesota’s at home, they’re playing Chicago, and they have a break to play for: that’s enough to let me know they’ll take care of business.
JETS +15.5 over Patriots
( (> Many
<) )> Points
In their last meeting, the Jets nearly upset the Patriots, but a touchdown reception by Austin Seferian-Jenkins was taken off the board because the officials back in New York are meddling too much and sucking at their jobs.
J-E-T-S: JETS JETS JETS!
WASHINGTON +3 over Giants
After playing valiantly in the return of Eli Manning to the starting quarterback throne in New York and losing narrowly to division rival Philadelphia, the Giants got throttled by Arizona last week, 23-0.
Washington, winners of two straight against Arizona and Denver, have a .500 record against the spread as road underdogs this season. Give me Kirk Cousins and the points to send the football team from Washington over .500 in a stat that truly matters!
EAGLES +3 over Cowboys
As previously mentioned, the Eagles have already wrapped up home-field advantage through the playoffs, but they have plenty to work on in this one against the Cowboys. With the crushing loss of Carson Wentz for the season, Nick Foles has assumed quarterback duties, and it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies since he took over. Sure, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 115.8 quarterback rating against the Giants seemed like the offense wouldn’t skip a beat in Wentz’ absence, but last week, Foles looked woeful, completing just 50 percent of his passes and converting just one of 14 third-down attempts against the Raiders.
The Cowboys are a dysfunctional bunch and the Eagles have plenty of kinks to work out in the season finale. Eagles. Points. No regrets.
BROWNS +11 over Steelers
The Browns cover! The Browns cover! They do it!...
But they lose the game, finish the season 0-16 and seal their fate as the worst football team in NFL history.
PANTHERS +3.5 over Falcons
In what will be a total and complete letdown, the Falcons will bungle away the opportunity to build on their total and complete collapse in last year’s Super Bowl.
I’ll go on the record right now: It wouldn’t shock me to see Atlanta move on from Dan Quinn. Hiring Steve Sarkisian was the kiss of death for an offense that scored 540 points last season, but has only scored 331 points through 15 games this year under Sarkisian. There’s simply too much talent on this offense for it to completely fall apart with the departure of Kyle Shanahan.
BENGALS +9.5 over Ravens
( (> Many
<) )> Points
BILLS -2.5 over Dolphins
Here’s how this is going to play itself out: Buffalo beats Miami, they still miss out on the playoffs because other AFC teams didn’t choose to start Nathan Peterman in the middle of the season, they make the decision to move on from Tyrod Taylor and in turn ruin themselves for the foreseeable future.
Congratulations, Buffalo! You almost made it!
SAINTS -6.5 over Buccaneers
We’re no longer fans of the Buccaneers. We never were. That never happened. The Saints are super fun to watch and they’re going to be fun to root for in the playoffs. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, were completely disappointing this season and no fun to root for, ever.
49ERS -3.5 over Rams
If the Browns could go back to the days leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, they’d definitely trade the No. 12 pick to the Patriots for Jimmy Garroppolo, right? You’d rather have Jimmy G than Jabrill Peppers and whoever it is the Browns decide to select with the extra pick they got from Houston, right? Right?
Football is boring, let’s rip through these last few games.