Pick 6 week 13

fisher_dickerson

Around the stretch run we come. It’s the most wonderful time of year in every way as a sports fan. I mean you have college basketball getting in full gear, the college football season is closing in on the bowl and playoff part of the season, the NBA is nearing the quarter mark, and you have the NFL season heating up as team jockey for wildcard berths and home field advantage when the playoffs do begin after the New Year.

After last weekend, let’s take some time to imagine a few what ifs. What if Terrance Williams didn’t lose his mind in Week 1? Would we be talking about the Cowboys looking to go undefeated? What if Dak Prescott was selected higher in the draft? Imagine if the Raiders decided to hire another coach besides Jack Del Rio. How would the Raiders look if there was another voice in the locker room? Would this young team be this good this soon? How would the Vikings offense look if Teddy, AP, and Matt Khalil didn’t go down in the preseason? What it have been better for the Rams to stay in St. Louis instead of relocate to Los Angeles? These questions if answered or the results were different may have truly changed the outlook and condition of all of these teams this season. If the Cowboys didn’t have Dak Prescott, there is no way this team would be in this position. The Raiders possibly could be this good under the helm of another coach, but Del Rio gets this young and blossoming group of Raiders and has revived a franchise drowning in obscurity for over a decade. The Vikings are good, but we all know they would better with AP and Teddy manning the offense. The Rams are the asterisk in this equation. The Rams still have holes to fill on offense even after drafting Jared Goff with the number one pick. The headlines truly have me looking for more answers especially with the open displeasure of All-time great Eric Dickerson. He is a key part of this week’s Extra Point.

This week’s Extra Point comes from the bitter ex-best friend. There have been multiple reports that Rams legend and Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson claims that current Rams head coach Jeff Fisher called him and banned Dickerson from the sideline of games due to his open criticism of the team in their inaugural season since returning back to the Golden State. To be honest, if this is indeed true, this is seriously petty. Dickerson is like the girl that is protecting her best girl friend from the guy who talks a good game, but still wants to be a playboy. Dickerson has been openly critical of the ABC simplicity of the offense along with the emotionless defensive effort we witnessed on Sunday in New Orleans. Yes the Saints offense is amazing, but breakdowns on defense were too easy. The Rams organization has already come up short in the first year back, but adding this story will make for an easy divorce from the fans of LA if this story continues. Dickerson was the biggest cheerleader of the Rams returning back home, but if the fan base see that the organization is cutting ties with Mr. 4th quarter, fans are always going to side with the athlete. Jeff Fisher has been around for a long time. He knows what is best in this scenario and clearing the air with Dickerson and restoring order with the Hall of Famer will keep his head above water as the current coach of this team. I don’t see this story ending any time soon like a cold sore that wants to hang around even after you apply Orajel for over a week. This is reunion and renewing of the vows between the Rams and Los Angeles has now turned into the early stages of a dysfunctional and bitter divorce. I’m just saying in this week’s Extra Point.

Let’s end the bitterness and bring out the smiles and giggles. You know what time it is! Let’s get ready for another week of Mr. T’s Fools of the Week. We begin the festivities at number three where we go to NRG Stadium in Houston as the Texans welcomed in the San Diego Chargers. Inside the 2nd quarter as Phillip Rivers drops back and heaves a deep ball down the seam to a wide open by a mile Dontrelle Inman for the score. He made safety Will Demps look like a step child step child step child on that play leaving him stuck to eat a lot of turf as the young receiver found his way for a house call. Will Demps better call his momma because he found his way to number three for this week’s Fools of the Week. Two for the price of one is what brings me to number two as we head to Oakland where the Raiders welcomed the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers. We start before the half as you are taught as a quarterback to avoid turnovers before going into the locker room. Cam Newton looked to set up a screen pass, but Khalil Mack read all of the mail with the pick 6 before the break. Mack rhymes with sack and to seal the deal in the 4th quarter, the All-Pro applied pressure on Newton forcing the strip sack and recovery to end the hopes of a Panthers comeback bid. Newton wasn’t the most brilliant on this day and thus the reason why he gets number two on this week’s Fools of the Week. For the finale, we head to Tampa as the Bucs welcomed in the Seattle Seahawks. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that Tampa was the team to be reckoned with in the NFC. The Seahawks offensive line must have been dealing with jet lag because Russell Wilson was sacked 6 times. He was under pressure as soon as the team got off the plane. The offensive line left their lunch pale and looked ready to eat their Thanksgiving dinner instead of play on Sunday which is the reason why the Seattle offensive line deserves the number one on this week’s Fools of the Week.

If you believe what I’m saying, you will know what is next. Once again it’s prime time for the Stop playin awards. The winner of this week’s Stop playin awards goes to…. Chip Kelly. My reason well he is the former head coach of the Oregon Ducks. The man they brought in to replace him just got his walking papers. The current team you coach in the NFL is 1-10. You tell your old boss you are willing to help with their coaching search for the new head coach at Oregon. Let’s be real Chip! We know this is your diabolical way to try to feel your way back into the college game. You finally see that your way of coaching doesn’t translate well into the NFL way. Honestly, it could be time for Chip to go back home because since 2015, Kelly’s record is 7-19. Now we all know the 49ers don’t have the most talented roster, but gotta think that solid coaching would be able to make a real difference at some point. The jury is out for Chip and even though he is saying all the right things, don’t be surprised if he wants to dip out of the Bay Area to go back to greener pastures. Chip we all know the truth and I know you deserve this week’s Stop playin awards.

It’s truly been a disastrous season, but just like Eric Dickerson was donned the nickname “Mr. 4th quarter”, it’s time to make the real playoff push as the season whines down. Another week at 3-4 drops the overall record to 36-44-1. It’s now or never as the pressure builds. Sometimes you gotta make lemons into lemonade so here’s go nothing. Here are the week 13 picks!

Dallas vs Minnesota
The Cowboys are a few different plays away from possibly being undefeated heading into this pivotal NFC match up. Luckily for Dallas, that pressure is nonexistent. The reality is this team is real good and above the rest in the NFC. Dak and Zeke may sound like they should have a sitcom, but both of these outstanding rookies truly deserve the right to be in the MVP conversation. This is unbelievable to me. It’s almost like going from the kiddie table to the big kids table in less than a week. The Vikings defense is legit. The Vikings offense is horrid at best. The Vikings truly lack any true playmakers on the outside which will always play into the hands of the opposing team. The Cowboys D isn’t going to dominate anyone. They are near the bottom of the NFL in yards, third down percentage, and passing yards allowed a game. They are the epitome of a bend but don’t break defense in every way. The lack of offensive playmakers makes Minnesota vulnerable which means expect some Zeke out the backfield and Dez to make his usual appearance in the end zone. Dallas controls the clock and the game while continuing the tail spin of the Vikes.
Cowboys 27 Minnesota 21

Kansas City vs Atlanta
The Chiefs come off an emotionally charged game in the Mile High after taking down the defending Super Bowl champs in overtime. That game truly could have kept going and going like the Energizer bunny. An instant classic in my opinion. Now the Chiefs have to turn their attention to the most dynamic offense in the NFL in the Atlanta Falcons. The Chiefs now have a healthy Justin Houston which will send shivers up the spine of every offensive lineman in the NFL. The Chiefs defensive house party doesn’t truly turn up until he is in the mix. Atlanta is back to being Hotlanta again. It’s not on the legs of Mike Vick, but on the arm and shoulders of Matt Ryan. The Falcons defense has taken its lumps especially with Trufant going down for the season. Even when the All-Pro was on the field, the Falcons defense is opportunistic at best. Atlanta will not impress you with their schemes, but Kansas City’s offense is predicated upon controlling the clock which doesn’t always produce points. The Falcons offense is about Julio Jones, but the running game of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman along with outside weapons of Mohammed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel allows this team to be so hard to contain. If Houston can get after Ryan and rattle the inconsistent offensive line, the Chiefs do have a shot. Atlanta has too many weapons. I roll with the dirty birds at their home nest.
Falcons 28 Chiefs 24

New York Giants vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Eli vs Big Ben. The Class of 2003 comes back for a little class reunion with a lot riding on this game in the Steel City. The Giants are rolling and are on a six game winning streak which means a lot when you represent the Empire State along with part of Jersey. The Giants spent some cheese this off season to reshape a defense which had struggled to produce. It looks like the investment is paying off with the Big Blue defense showing signs of the 2007 version of the team that knocked off the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The run defense has been stifling opponents as the Big Blue defense is allowing just 90 yards/game. The Steelers defense has been less than stellar without Dick LeBeau calling the shots from the sideline. Before their recent two game win streak, the Steelers had allowed 119 points. Okay you beat the Browns led by rookie Cody Kessler and the Colts led by Scott Tolzien. The game within the game between Antonio Brown and OBJ will be must see TV. My question is “Who will score first and what touchdown dance are we going to see?” This could be a trap game for the Giants who could be looking ahead to next week with the Cowboys coming to the Meadowlands. Pittsburgh will be the more desperate team especially with the AFC North title. The Curtain puts the Giants to sleep.
Steelers 27 Giants 20

Tampa Bay vs San Diego
These two teams have a shot to crash a few parties in their respective conference as we enter the last quarter of the season. The Bucs were able to shock the world and upend the Seahawks at home last Sunday while the Bolts made the trip to Houston against the Texans to shut down the mediocre offense of Brock Osweiler. The young Bucs have flourished under new head coach Dirk Koetter. He seems to have reached the mind of Jameis Winston because the 2nd year quarterback from Florida State has found his groove. Since starting the season with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions back in Week 4, Winston has 14 touchdowns with only 3 interceptions. How can the Bolts contain Mike Evans? I mean even Richard Sherman couldn’t stop this small forward playing wide receiver. The Bucs defense will need to harness that defense prowess against a high powered San Diego offense. Can Melvin Gordon get off and establish the Bolts running attack? Tampa is vulnerable in the running game allowing more than 110 yards/game which gives San Diego an advantage. Rivers should look to push the ball down the field with Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman to see if there are any holes in this young secondary. Joey Bosa needs to play like Dennis the Menace on the edge to get after Winston. I know I’m a Bolts fan, but I like how the Bucs are playing. This is the same team that took down Kansas City in Arrowhead, but with younger teams consistency is always the main issue. Bolts overcome the push and keep things interesting in the AFC.
Chargers 24 Buccaneers 20

Carolina vs Seattle
The Panthers have slipped from contenders for a championship to an afterthought. This season is looking more and more like a wash. This has to be disheartening to a fan base who was ready to embrace another chance to claim the Lombardi that has eluded this franchise. It looks like the wait will continue with the Panthers faltering at 4-7. Now Carolina took down Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs, but that was last season. The Panthers defense is allowing almost 26 points/game. The Seattle offense won’t excite like the Carolina offense will, but the Legion of Boom will definitely look to rewrite what happened in Tampa with the loss on the road. The offensive line was humiliated so expect the team to make sure that Russell Wilson is protected, but the Carolina front seven is still a force to contend with. Luke Kuechley is still in concussion protocol which could make life a lot easier for Jimmy Graham. I don’t think the Carolina secondary will be able to contain Mr. December Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham alongside a tenacious defense only equals a victory in front of the 12th man for the Seahawks.
Seahawks 28 Carolina 17

Indianapolis vs New York Jets
The Jets had big plans for this season. After a stalemate with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets believed that there could be one more season left of Fitz Magic. Good news is the Jets signed him to a one year deal. Bad news is this team isn’t going to the playoffs. This is the epitome of a slow painful death if you’re a fan of the Jets. Revis Island has been closed for the better part of this season while the defensive line has done enough to be formidable. The team will play with a heavy heart as former running back Joe McKnight was killed in an apparent road rage incident in Louisiana. The Colts are right in the thick of it in the AFC South. The Texans have been unable to create enough separation which has opened the door for the Colts to possibly make a late season push into the postseason. The offensive line for Indy has been erratic at best keeping Luck off his backside. Luck has been sacked 35 times. Can the Jets get pressure on Luck and can the Jets contain T.Y. Hilton on the outside? The answer is yes. Yes the Jets can put pressure on Andrew Luck and the Jets can contain T.Y. Hilton, but the Jets will find a way to give this game away due to turnovers by the offense. Colts do just enough to get by a game Jets squad.
Colts 24 Jets 21

Red alert! Red alert! It’s this week’s Go Big or Go Home pick of the Week.
Miami vs Baltimore
The Dolphins have been under the radar all season, but Coach Adam Gase has the fins swimming with a six game win streak entering the final month of the season. The emergence of Jay Ajayi has solidified and created a balance on offense that quarterback Ryan Tannehill has never had in his NFL career. Tannehill looks to have found a good rhythm and it couldn’t have come at a better time especially after receiving the contract extension from the organization this off season. The Ravens are built on defense which is the primary reason why the team is successful this season. The offense is at best average with Steve Smith gaining most of the attention even at the tender age of 36. The running attack is by committee and without a true balance on offense, the puzzle of the Ravens D can be solved. I believe Miami has more weapons and Jay Ajayi can make an impact on this game. The Fins swim up the harbor and drown the Ravens at home.
Dolphins 23 Ravens 17

This concludes yet another week of picks and if you want to tell me something good about how you feel, leave your comment at www.hsrn.com. You should download the HSRN app on your Apple or Google play store to get all the action of college basketball through the rest of the holiday season into the New Year. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelo. Until next week, enjoy the holiday season and enjoy some fantastic football!