Football does not get more exciting than the month of December, this is when teams show their mettle and either soldier on through in spite of injuries and off-field issues or they fall apart. 4 Weeks ago we had a 3 horse race for the top with the Pats, Chargers, and Texans looming just behind. Now? It’s all up for grabs, we’ve got the Chiefs and Chargers tied for the top of the AFC West. We’ve got the Rams dropping back to back games for the first time under the Sean McVay era, and we’ve got the Pats staring down a wildcard game for the first time in god knows how long. This season is crazy, and I now truly have no idea who the MVP is, because if the Chargers win the Division, can you really give it to a dude who only took his team to a Wildcard berth? That’s what Monday’s are all about though, speculation. So let’s get to it.
Falcons vs Panthers
Man, that’s rough for Carolina, the ol’ Monday night –> Thursday night turn around, 3 days rest is not great especially when you’ve just played one of the top 3 teams in the league in that first game and when also both of them are Division games. The hard thing about looking at teams who are due to play on the same night I write this, means I haven’t actually seen them play this week when trying to predict them. The Panthers looked bad in their last game, whereas Atlanta looked great. Yes, they were playing Arizona, but Arizona did beat Green Bay. Atlanta is still banged up to all hell, but their Run defence has improved visibly with the return of Deion Jones, couple that with the fact that nearly all of the Panthers offence runs through CMC looks to me like they keep slumping. (Knowing my luck they blowout the Saints tonight.)
Oz’s Pick: Falcons.
Bills vs Patriots
Part of me wants to get really stupid with this one, the Bills are surging, the Pats are slumping on the back of 2 straight losses, I mean they could win, right? The answer to that is “probably not.” New England may be slumping, but they’re still New England, not Detroit. So yeah I think it could be an exciting game, Brady is looking his age this year, Gronk is not pulling his sizeable weight, and Bill can’t seem to figure out his 3 headed monster at running back that looks more and more like a mistake the more of it I watch. Ok, Josh Allen I see you, making plays through the air and curtailing the running a bit, I can get behind that. It kinda helps he’s got a literal cannon for an arm and Robert Foster is very fast. The revolving door of injured RB’s is not so entertaining. Still, I think NE right’s the ship in this one.
Oz’s Pick: Patriots
Bengals vs Browns
This is a game where I can get behind the supposed underdog, but the thing is, they’re not really the underdog anymore, at least not for this game I don’t think. That’s right, I’m picking the Browns baby, all aboard that hype train it is full steam ahead. Look, the defence is legit. Chubb is legit, Mayfield is on his way to legit. What’s not to like? Things are going from bad to worse for this Bengals team, as it looks like we could see Tyler Boyd miss the rest of the season with a low-grade MCL sprain, great news it’s not serious, but still not good for an offence already depleted of weapons. This is an easy pick for me, the defence is bad and outside of Mixon so is the offence. No brainer.
Oz’s Pick: Browns
Packers vs Jets
Soooo, in 2017 all we heard from Packers fans was how the only reason they didn’t make the playoffs is that they didn’t have Rodgers, I’d love to know what the excuse is this year. Nah I’m kidding, he’s had a rough year, a few winnable games taken out of his hands, but at the same time. Playing the way he has this year, I don’t know if they’d win those games. He’s been bad this year by his standards and it’s showed with the Packers missing the postseason. That still doesn’t mean I think they lose this game. Darnold looked great against the Texans, and the Jets still lost, they’re just not a very good football team at the moment. They have potential, but they need a lot more pieces.
Oz’s Pick: Packers
Texans vs Eagles
Speaking of the Texans, they now get to go into Philly as they look to secure the 2 seed in the AFC. Imagine that, Houston, not only making the playoffs but making past the Wildcard round. But to do that, they need to Beat the Eagles team which has got their Super Bowl MVP back. LA looked bad against the Eagles and I’d say it was only half Philly’s doing, the other half was just straight Goff. This Texans team also has a defence which is a whole different kettle of fish. You can’t just double or triple one player on the line and expect to be ok, this defence is scary and I don’t think Philly is good enough to control the game the against them as they did in their game last night. Look Jeffrey was amazing, and Smallwood surprising, but I don’t think it matters.
Oz’s Pick: Texans
Jaguars vs Dolphins
Don’t care, next game… No, but seriously, even though you could claim this game has playoff implications due to the Dolphins still being 7-7, it doesn’t matter. These are two bad teams, playing in a next to meaningless game that only their specific fan bases care about. Maybe Kessler gets benched in this for Bortles for one last hoorah should he struggle to get over 60 yards passing again. One bright spot, Miami Rookie Kalen Ballage, keep an eye on him for possible fantasy value next year.
Oz’s Pick: The coin, and it chose Miami.
Vikings vs Lions
This should be a blowout, it was last time around as Minnesota’s defence committed GBH against Stafford to the tune of 10 sacks and the Lions Offence has gotten worse since then. Detroit has apparently improved against the Run since acquiring Snacks Harrison, but the Vikings have improved their run game immensely with Cook returning to full health. Even if they can’t run it, Cousins, Theilen and Diggs should be comfortable enough scoring. Golladay was a monster against Tre’Davious White, an absolute freak, he gets the Xavier Rhodes treatment this week so let’s see how he goes. If the answer is poorly, I could see a shutout on the cards for Minnesota.
Oz’s Pick: Vikings
Giants vs Colts
There’s the 2018 Eli we saw at the start of the year, the one who vomits on himself and screws over fantasy owners of Giants players. I honestly can’t be mad though, I had to play against Barkley this week in Fantasy semi-finals so I was stoked he was held in check. Do I think the Colts will do the same? Well, they did just do it to Zeke so it could be a maybe, but I doubt they do it completely. Barkley is better than Zeke, especially when you look at what Zeke gets to run behind compared to Saquon. I don’t know what to make of Indy, how do you go from getting shutout by the Jags, to beating the Texans and then shutting out the Cowboys in back to back weeks? I honestly don’t know, what I do know is that Indy needs this win to stay alive in the hunt for the 6 seed. Baltimore plays LAC and the Titans play the Redskins so this game is a MUST Win.
Oz’s Pick: Colts
Buccaneers vs Cowboys
Hey everybody, Jameis is back. He went away for a while and looked super efficient and crazy good, and then we got him back halfway through last week. Baltimore has a great Defence, but not as great as the Bucs made it look, Tampa is struggling for offence and it’s so weird. 1st half of the season they couldn’t run the ball to save themselves but could pass for over 400 yards. Now, they haven’t thrown for over 250 in 4 of their last 5 but they can run the ball, kinda. The Colts punched Dallas straight in the mouth, I don’t rate this Dallas team, but it doesn’t happen two weeks in a row. Dem Boyz, get back on track with a comfortable win over a team that could have a new QB and Head Coach next year.
Oz’s Pick: Cowboys
Redskins vs Titans
I’ve already briefly touched on the Playoff implications of this game, 3 teams tied at 8-6 in the AFC, one has a difficult matchup, the other two, fairly easy ones against NFC East teams. Yeah, Washington scraped a win against Jacksonville, but that was a team that gave Fournette 1 touch in the second half to be able to blood one of their rookies. They don’t care about the W/L column it would seem. That will not be the case this week you wanna know why? Let me give you some numbers, 400 rushing attempts, 3264 yards and 48 TDs. Now want me to tell you what that is? That would be Derrick Henry’s season numbers based on 16 game season using the last two games as a sample size. Now, I’m not saying he’s going to have the same production as the last two weeks, but Washington is bad on offence, so he should get plenty of opportunities to do so.
Oz’s Pick: Titans
Ravens vs Chargers
Ahhhh man, I hate games like this. Ones, where my team plays against a clearly better opponent because if I pick them, all it proves is flawed analysis and just straight up homerism. Yes, the Ravens are 4-1 with Jackson as the starter and that only loss came to the Chiefs. But, they didn’t play anyone over .500 and the Chargers just beat the Chiefs. Melvin Gordon is expected back for this game too, Anthony Lynne said if the game had been on Sunday he would have played, well guess what? He got 10 days extra rest and practice, so he should be just fine. Lamar Jackson has struggled with ball security against average defences, and unfortunately for him, the Chargers are a very good defence. So, his 10 Sacks taken, 7 Fumbles and 3 Int’s in 5 games previous is not heartening. Even if Keenan Allen doesn’t play I still lean Chargers, sorry boys.
Oz’s Pick: Chargers
Bears vs 49ers
I can’t wait to see this 49er team healthy under Shanahan next year. Jimmy G linking up with Kittle, Jerrick McKinnon running free in this Shanahan scheme, what’s not to love? But, it’s not next year yet, and a flukey win due to some poor special teams play against a team I felt outplayed you, is not going to inspire confidence when you now have to face arguably the best defence in the league. The Bears have taken some injuries, with Jackson and Callahan banged up in the secondary, but their pass rush is still freaky and their run stuffing is second to none. This could be a tough one for San Fran, Chicago has rediscovered their run game, and Seattle just gouged the 9ers again on the ground this past week. This might end up being closeish, but I doubt it.
Oz’s Pick: Bears
Rams vs Cardinals
I’m not going to lie, I’m not feeling so confident about my beginning of year prediction of a Rams vs Chiefs Super Bowl and if they don’t absolutely slaughter the Cardinals this week coming, the alarm bells will be well and truly ringing. It’s not enough to win by a score in this game, if they want to still be seen as the NFC team to beat, it needs to be 3 scores or more. The Gurley injury is scary but looks to be non-threatening, their entire hopes rest on him, especially with the offence looking how it is with Kupp gone. I have nothing to say about Arizona, they suck, end of.
Oz’s Pick: Rams
Steelers vs Saints
I think this is the game of the week. I was worried about Pittsburgh going into last week, well not really being a Ravens fan but you get what I mean. Now, with the win over the Pats, I’m not just worried about the Steelers, I’m worried about the Pats too. They got lucky with that 40yd PI call, you’re not going to get those every week, and if the Saints put the Panthers away tonight as they should, I’d be worried as a Steeler fan. Especially when it’s home Brees and road Big Ben… Samuels has played great in Conner’s absence which speaks volumes to the argument that it was never truly Bell, or Conner but the system that made them stars, now I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know New Orleans wants that #1 seed, and Pitt needs that division title, so hopefully we’ll get one hell of a game.
Oz’s Pick: Saints
Chiefs vs Seahawks
I mentioned how I’m worried about the Rams, well I’m worried about the Chiefs too, but even more so and less so at the same time if that makes any sense. If Hill is healthy, I’m less worried, if he’s not, I’m more worried as he is about a unique player as you can find in the league at the moment. Speaking of banged up star Wide Receivers, Doug Baldwin is a top 20 receiver when fully healthy, it’s just he hasn’t been fully healthy all year with an assortment of injuries. KC can’t play defence really, I mean they kinda tried against the Chargers, but it wasn’t too effective, I could see this dissolving into a shootout, and boy I hope so for Mahomes’ sake, he needs another 4 TD 400-yard game to cement that MVP if he wants it.
Oz’s Pick: Chiefs
Broncos vs Raiders
You telling me the couldn’t flex this game for the Saints and Steelers on Sunday arvo/night? Really? This is what we end week 16 on? Jesus, ok, well let’s try to make this quick. Lindsay is great and bounces back, Keenum isn’t and doesn’t, Hamilton, Patrick and Sutton all catch an assortment of passes to make him look semi-competent but we all know the truth. Jared Cook produces pretty much the only offence we see from Carr as he spends the entirety of the game running for his life from Chubb and Miller. Sound Plausible? Great.
Oz’s Pick: Broncos
Well, that is your Week 16 Preview, and I have been Oz. Another friendly reminder, this week is the middle of the 3-week comp for the £100 Amazon voucher. If you can’t remember how it works, the top 50% from across the 3 weeks go into the draw to win the voucher. So the main objective is to make sure you’re picking every week. Week 16 is open and you can find it here. So until tomorrow night, best of luck to anyone in the Fantasy Semis with Saints or Panthers players deciding your fate tonight.
Ciao for now,