Booom!!! That’s right, I’m back from the dead (violent puking last week) and I’m here to emphasise one thing mainly. F**K YOU WEEK 13!! Now, I’m going to cop a lot of flak for that because I try to keep it family friendly around here. But seriously, before I can look forward to the upcoming schedule I need to rant about what just happened. This was an absolute s**t show of a week not only for results and predictions but for fantasy implications too. Side note, I might be a Jinx. Last Thursday I prised myself out of my deathbed to help Moose with the Podcast, and a few things I singled out, didn’t go so well. Namely, the Saints, A.J. Green and the Colts Wildcard hopes. But I’ll complain more about that stuff tomorrow. Let’s move on to take an in-depth, brief glance at what’s to come this week.
Titans vs Jaguars
First up this coming Thursday night, we’ve got the heated AFC South rivalry, in a game that got a bit more interesting now that the real Jags defence is back from their 12 Week hiatus. Fournette returns from his suspension and the Jags look like they know how to stop teams again, after just suffocating Luck and the Colts last week, Kessler isn’t good, but the alternative is just as bad, so I could easily see Marrone sticking with him. The Titans struggled against the Jets, and have looked out of sort since they took the ball out of Dion Lewis’ hands and put it into Derrick Henry’s. An intriguing bright spot, however, is the developing chemistry between Mariota and Corey Davis. Expect a real test of it when Davis faces off against Bouye and Ramsey. I need to see the Jags D play like this more than once before I’m willing to trust them, but I could easily see this game going either way.
Oz’s Pick: Titans
Packers vs Falcons
Now, I know that the Packers needed to fire McCarthy, it was inevitable after losing to the Cardinals. But, I’m not sure that Joe Philbin will be much (if any) better for them. I suppose it depends on which Philbin shows up. Will it be the former OC of the Packers that had their offence ranked in the top 10 in the NFL for points scored and total yards every year from ’07 to ’11 including their Superbowl run. Or, will it be the dude who was the head coach of the Dolphins and went an ignominious 28-24 during his tenure… Either way, their not the only team free falling in this game, the Falcons are hot garbage, especially if Julio isn’t 100% healthy, I think this might be the old “Rallying for new coach” game that we tend to see after a firing.
Oz’s Pick: Packers
Ravens vs Chiefs
Does Lamar Jackson keep the starting gig? That is the main question surrounding this game. He’s won three straight, but Flacco has been injured and hasn’t practised. The other thing is, it’s not like the schedule has been overly difficult for him. Cincy, Oakland, and Atlanta. Not exactly powerhouses, and he looked at his worst in the most recent game, plus KC is a whole different kettle of fish. Where previously, I didn’t think it mattered who played at QB because Baltimore would win, I’m still kinda sharing that view. Except, this time the reason it doesn’t matter is that they have only a minimal chance of victory no matter who’s under centre. Now, this should be a betrayal of my team, but I’m just being a realist, because even without Kareem Hunt, KC should handle their business comfortably.
Oz’s Pick: Chiefs (Sorry boys)
Panthers vs Browns
Hell, you want to talk about free falling NFC South teams you’ve come to the right place. What on earth is going on in Carolina? This team was 6-2, then they got absolutely pumped by the Steelers in Week 10 and they haven’t recovered since. Olsen is now on IR and their best receiver was largely ignored for the first half of their most recent game. Now they’ve gotta go into Cleveland and try to get their act together against a Browns team that has been surprisingly competitive at home. The Browns went away from their feed Chubb, avoid Landry strategy, and it resulted in Baker’s worst game since week 6. Expect them to go back to the ground this week to right the ship. Now, I really wanna say Browns, but I need a huge week again from CMC to make Division semi’s in Fantasy (THAT’S RIGHT I MADE PLAYOFFS AFTER STARTING 0-3!!!) so I’m praying he’s got it in him.
Oz’s Pick: Panthers
Colts vs Texans
9 straight wins, that’s Houston’s record since starting 0-3. First team in NFL history to do so. This division is pretty much all but a Mathematical certainty of being theirs, that loss to the Jags really hurt the Colts chances, plus I also think that Houston is just the better team. Luck couldn’t get anything done against the Jacksonville offence this past week and some more shotty decision making from the coaching staff gave another division rival a victory. (Turning down 3 field opportunities, Really?) Houston’s pass rush is just as good, if not better than the Jag’s is, and their Offence is certainly better and able to exploit the weakest Defence in the Division. Luck did torch the Texans in Week 4, so we could see another shootout. Unfortunately for Indy fans, I think it’s the same victor at the end.
Oz’s Pick: Texans
Steelers vs Raiders
Now that is how you tank in style. Oakland is pretending like their trying to win football games, all the while laughing while teams like Arizona actually do. Right now it’s neck and neck for the #1 pick between the soon to be LV Raiders and their current Bay Area rivals the 9ers. The 9ers look a lock to lose to the Broncos, so it’s lucky for Oakland that they’re in line to play a Pitt Team desperate for a win to hold their division lead over the surging Ravens. Pitt has a better Defence that KC does and can be just as explosive on Offence, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers put up 40 or more as the Chiefs did, but concede less than 33.
Note: this game was scheduled for Sunday Night Primetime but was flexed for the Rams vs Bears Matchup
Oz’s Pick: Steelers
Patriots vs Dolphins
Remember at the beginning of the year, when the Dolphins looked great and the Pats were struggling, and then the played each other and the Dolphins got absolutely thrashed? Pepperidge Farms remembers. Because New England has gotten better since then, and Miami has gotten worse. All signs point to an absolute hiding at home for the Dolphins only 1 week after they had a lucky escape against Buffalo. I don’t see much else to talk about for this one, it’s a foregone conclusion to me.
Oz’s Pick: Patriots
Saints vs Buccaneers
The theme of this game for me is, “I don’t care.” I don’t care that the Bucs won the last game between these two teams. I don’t care that the Saints looked awful against the Cowboys and that the Bucs looked good vs Carolina. I don’t care that the Bucs defence has greatly improved since they switched their safety’s around and Lavonte David came back. I don’t care that Brees always plays worse outside of a Dome, especially on the Road. I will repeat it again, I DON’T CARE!! Brees took a massive knock to his MVP campaign with that performance, because even though the Chiefs have lost 2 games as well, Mahomes hasn’t looked that bad. To me, it’s a 3 horse race, Brees, Gurley, Mahomes, and one of those horses might not be long for pasture, He goes off in this game and I feel bad for all Bucs fans for what they will have to witness. I will say this, Jameis has looked great the past couple of weeks, and I do think Tampa will score a fair few points, it just won’t be enough.
Oz’s Pick: I’m so confident in this one, I’ll chat to one of our Picksters who I know is a die-hard Bucs fan and sort out a forfeit. If the Saints lose, I’ll record the forfeit and post it up.
Giants vs Redskins
I feel for New York, Barkley and this defence are playing their hearts out, and Eli is probably playing for his career at this point. But in the end, all the reward will be is, no trip to the playoffs and a mid-range draft pick. With the Redskins and Eagles due to play tonight/tomorrow morning, if the Saints had done what they were supposed to have done. We could have been looking at a 3-way division tie for the lead and New York only 2 games back with a realistic chance. The reason I say this is I picked the Eagles to win tonight’s match-up because I think Washington is done. Not because McCoy is awful per se, he’s a serviceable backup especially if you want your replacement to be near identical to your starter, but just because I don’t think they’re as good as they’ve shown earlier in the year. Because of this, I think the Giants anti-tank continues and people continue to think “huh, maybe Eli can do it for 1 more year if we improve the O-Line as there’s no great QB’s in this draft coming up.”
Oz’s Pick: Giants
Jets vs Bills
I pretty much ignored this matchup last time they played, and the Matt Barkley experience happened. Well, I intend to do something similar this time around in the hope we get another show similar to what we got in that game. What I will say is, Josh Allen makes me think of a Pound store version of Pat Mahomes. If Buffalo can put any talent at all around him they might actually get out of the AFC East basement. The kid is electric, watching him extend the play with his feet and then still fire an absolute missile across his body on the run is insane. The fact he overthrew Robert Foster on like a 60-yard bomb is unreal, he has elite level arm talent. He just needs coaching and a supporting cast. I have nothing to say about the Jets.
Oz’s Pick: Buffalo
Bengals vs Chargers
A.J. Green is on IR, Andy Dalton is on IR and the defence is one of the worst in the NFL, that tells you everything you need to know about the Bengals for this week. Eyes are on the Chargers, they’re one game back from the Chiefs and almost 100% locked into a playoff spot. The offence found a way to get it done even without Melvin Gordon against Pittsburgh and that was huge. Especially when the news comes out from Adam Schefter last night that Gordon is ahead of recovery schedule and could return sooner than expected. If I’m LA, I sit him vs the Bengals in what should be a locked victory, let him rest longer and hopefully have him for the all-important week 15 rematch against the Chiefs.
Oz’s Pick: Chargers
Broncos vs 49ers
This game is the story of two defences, one that is slowly finding their way back to the elite level they used to be at, and the other, which just gave up 4 passing/receiving Touchdowns on only 11 completions, or 17 pass attempts. I’ve said it many, many times already this year, this season is a wash for San Fran. Shanahan has job security, so it’s time to blood your younguns, work on your playbook and get a high draft pick. With that said, at least try to stop your opponents, damn. Not much else to say that I haven’t said before, Denver is best if they can run it with Lindsay and Freeman and restrict Keenum from having to throw and make mistakes. This game will be no issue for the Broncos to execute on that plan and continue their push for a playoff berth.
Oz’s Pick: Broncos
Lions vs Cardinals
Jesus, this is Week 14’s version of Dumb and Dumber, except it’s called Bad and Worse. The main difference for me is that the Cardinals just lost one of their major weapons putting Christian Kirk on IR tonight, and the Lions may get Kerryon Johnson back. That’s pure speculation and hope on the Kerryon front as he still hasn’t practised in any capacity since injuring his knee 3 weeks ago. Yes, the Cardinals beat the Packers this past week, but I think that says more about Green Bay than Arizona, Rosen is lumped with Darnold for me and is clearly behind Mayfield and Allen in this years QB Class and their performances. We’ll need some vintage DJ and Larry performances if Arizona wants to beat this floundering Detroit team.
Oz’s Pick: Lions
Eagles vs Cowboys
I must seem like a hater because even after their amazing strangulation of the Saints, I’m still not a believer in the Cowboys. Now, not being a believer and picking the Eagles to win this are two completely different things, especially when I haven’t seen the Eagles since they struggled to beat the Giants. Because of this, I have to go with the Devil I’ve seen which is Dallas, not only do they get the recency nod, they also took the last matchup between the two back in Week 10. Plus, I don’t think the Eagles are good enough to stop Zeke at all, and Philly doesn’t have anyone remotely close on their Offensive side of the ball to lean on in the same way. (Please stop, before you embarrass yourself, Adams is good, but he’s not close to Zeke at all)
Oz’s Pick: Cowboys
Rams vs Bears
This entire result hinges on, does Trubisky play? If he doesn’t it’s a blowout, even though LA struggled slightly against the Lions for some reason, well everyone except Gurley did. It’s more that I literally fear for Chase Daniel’s life with Aaron Donald chasing him. Talib is back and was on a snap count against the Lions so an extra week of practice will help him erase at least 1 of the Bears Wideouts. The thing that makes the bears Offence truly tick though is Mitch’s feet, his ability to extend the play or tuck and run when it breaks down. I’m going to say Trubs does play, and that the reason they sat him for 2 weeks, was that they thought they could afford to against NY and DET. I’m intrigued by this matchup, the Bears D looked vulnerable against Saquon, and the Rams O sputtered in Detroit, should make for a great game.
Note: this game was scheduled for Sunday Arvo/Night but was flexed to Sunday Night Primetime to replace the Steelers vs Raiders Matchup
Oz’s Pick: Rams
Seahawks vs Vikings
In what seems to be an ongoing theme with these two teams, the Monday Night Primetime game is a must-win for both teams. Neither team is catching their division leader, so their playoff hopes rest upon those elusive Wildcard spots. Currently, Seattle holds a half-game lead on Minnesota for one of those spots, but I think it might be a bigger matter of pride for the Vikings. Last years NFC finalists, after being well and truly beaten in the Championship game, they kept almost the same roster, except for spending an NFL record on bringing in Kirk Cousins at QB. So to not make playoffs when Green Bay is 3rd in the division is almost criminal. Russell Wilson has been unrealistically efficient this season (See 4 TDs from 11 completions) but the Vikings have a much better D than San Fran does, the might be the underdogs in this, but I’m going to back them to get it done when it counts ala Minneapolis Miracle.
Oz’s Pick: Vikings.
That is Week 14 reviewed and ready to pop. I should now be back to my regular Monday-Thursday schedule, which means I will be back tomorrow with less cussing (I can see a chastising coming…) but still a lot of whinging about how I was screwed by the unlucky Week 13. Week 14 is open for entries, so make sure you get yours in.
Ciao for now,