Pick 6 week 14

todd-bowles

As Christmas is less than 3 weeks away, for some teams it could be the most wonderful time of the year while for others, they could be expecting some lumps of coal in their stockings. The division races around the league are getting down to the nitty and the gritty. The Patriots and Seahawks have history and bad blood, but both felt the wrath of a grueling NFL season as Gronk was placed on season-ending IR following back surgery to repair a herniated disc. The Madden Curse does it again! In the most ironic of ways, Earl Thomas who possibly is responsible for Rob Gronkowski’s back injury, is done for the season after fracturing a bone in his leg on Sunday night. This will be a big adjustment for both teams especially when title aspirations loom large in both respective futures. The NFC South and AFC South have given us the gift of surprise. Let’s give first year coach Dirk Koetter some love because he has the young Bucs on the verge of possibly making the playoffs. This team has wins on the road in Kansas City, a win at home against Seattle, and following a win on the road against San Diego, Tampa is a half game back from seizing control of the division. Jameis Winston has finally settled in as an NFL quarterback and has been locked and loaded over the course of the team’s four game winning streak. He has 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions passing for 1,143 yards. The Colts, Titans, and Texans are log jammed in a 3-way tie for the right to represent the AFC South in the playoffs. The Colts feel like they are the team with the most momentum going down the stretch, but they have the toughest schedule out of the three who all want to be smiling into the holidays the opportunity to chase the Lombardi. There are some teams that will find some coal in their stockings. I must point to one team and one coach in particular which leads me into the Extra Point.

This week, I dive into what has happened in the Meadowlands. No we’re not talking about Odell Beckham Jr throwing another temper tantrum. I know I’m relieved that’s not what we are discussing. I have to talk about how the Jets have completely tanked this season. The Jets have stars on their defense, but these stars have faded into black holes for any offense to take full advantage of. The evidence was there on Monday Night as the Colts annihilated the Jets on national TV en route to a 41-10 win for Indy. The Jets never put up any resistance AT ALL. What we witnessed on Monday was a team who wants a new voice in the locker room. There isn’t any effort and the secondary seems confused on the coverage more than a kid trying to find his math homework in his junky room. Now this is just about the same team with a few additions that was 10-6 a season ago. You would think that players would actually want to play for a coach that helped the team come so close to a playoff berth. The problem this season is no more FitzMagic as Ryan Fitzpatrick can’t connect with any of his receivers not named Brandon Marshall to save his career. The defense is pathetic and Revis Island has been renamed into Receiver’s paradise. A lethargic offense and a confused defense equals a top five pick in next year’s draft. It can’t be all on Todd Bowles to fix, but it all falls squarely on his shoulders to persuade a city of Jets fans why they should even want him back as coach next season. This shows that with coaching, you may have authority, but the players will always have the power. This concludes this week’s Extra Point.

It’s time for a laugh. It’s time for a chuckle or two. Back again, it’s time for this week’s Fools of the Week. Starting at number three, we begin the festivities in Oakland as the Bills came to town to face the Raiders. We head inside the 4th as the Bills were driving. Tyrod Taylor AKA T-Mobile drops back but here comes Khalil Mack with the football hat trick of the sack, forced fumble, and the fumble recovery to seal the victory for the silver and black. He completely bullied Jordan Mills on the play with the bull rush which leads me to believe that Mills didn’t have the skills to hold down Mack which is why Jordan Mills is number three on this week’s Fools of the Week. We move to number two to take a trip to Lambeau as the Packers played host to the visiting Texans. I’m not sure if the defense was ready of the jet for snow, but a winter wonderland awaited them in this game. Let’s go into the 2nd quarter as Rodgers had the Pack on the attack inside the red zone. Rodgers is flushed out of the pocket and squeezes a wobbler into the hands of Randall Cobb for the touchdown between two defenders. To add salt to the wound, Cobb thought it he would relive his childhood with a snow angel in front of his foes. How embarrassing for Kareem Jackson and Eddie Pleasant. You not only allow a touchdown, but the man that beat both of you hits you with a snow angel to show how bad he played you out. There was no action from Jackson and the end result wasn’t pleasant which is why Kareem Jackson and Eddie Pleasant team up to get number two on this week’s Fools of the Week. To top things off, we go down to the dirty south. The ATL to be exact for Falcons and Chiefs. The Chiefs were ready to punt after their first drive of the second half, but little did the Falcons special teams know it was a fake. The snap went to the hands of wide receiver Albert Wilson who fired out the hole like a cannon, racing up the field, and somersaulting his way for his 2nd touchdown of the season. Andy Reid had the kahunas to call a fake punt after halftime and the Falcons special teams was played like a yo-yo. This reason alone is why the Falcons special teams receives number one on this week’s Fools of the Week.

Cue the lights. Camera. Action!! If you’re not ready, it’s time to get ready for this week’s Stop playin awards. The winner of this week’s Stop playin award goes to….. Colin Kaepernick! Yes give him a round of boos. I mean you have to be kidding me. How do you have the audacity to say you’re an NFL quarterback when you throw for 5 yards the entire game? He passed for 5 yards! He was benched, but how do you start a game and that is what is on the stat sheet at the end of the game? It doesn’t register to me how terrible he has become. Once upon a time, this cat was highlighting SportsCenter with pinpoint dimes to receivers and electrifying Candlestick with breathtaking runs away from would be tacklers. It almost seems like his powers were stolen. He doesn’t have the juice anymore to be an effective NFL quarterback. Who is going to sign this man in the off season if he doesn’t resign with the 49ers? Imagine if Cleveland decided to have Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin on their roster. Could a trade to the AFC be what the doctor order to give Kaepernick a shot a redemption and reviving what is left in his NFL career? He has shown glimpses of what “used to be”. With all that said, can a general manager really feel like it is worth a shot to add him to a 53 man roster? This is the beauty of sports. Everyone loves a comeback story and believe it or not, this smells like story Andy Reid would love to possibly take a shot at. I know you got it in you Colin, but seriously you can’t pass for 5 yards the entire game as a starter. Once again ladies and gentleman, the Stop playin awards goes to Colin Kaepernick.

Hard work and perseverance finally pays off. For weeks, I have been under .500 on the picks. Last weekend, we break through thanks to the Jets deciding not to show up for Monday Night. The record last week was 4-3 which improves the overall season record to 40-47-1. It’s time for a nice run before the playoffs. Here it and here are the week 14 picks!

Oakland vs Kansas City
This game could determine who wins the AFC West. Both teams look to be peaking at just the right time of the season and almost making the defending champ Broncos seem like an afterthought. The Raiders are the feel good story of the season around the NFL. We knew this team had potential, but this meteoric rise to the cream of the crop has been a welcomed surprised. The Chiefs have found ways to win thanks to special teams over the last few weeks. Tyreek Hill has been stellar infusing a stagnant offense with life along with the kick return he had against Denver a few weeks back. Albert Wilson found his way to pay dirt when special teams coach Dave Toub dialed up a fake punt the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. The Raiders defense has really stepped up over the last month, but still find themselves at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to defense. Khalil Mack has been a sack artist all season long with 10 sacks, 58 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and an interception to boot. Both teams are opportunistic, but the Chiefs allow 47% conversion on 3rd down. To me, that gives the edge to the Raiders. Oakland knocks the noise of Arrowhead.
Raiders 31 Chiefs 27

Houston vs Indianapolis
Another game with big playoff implications goes down in Indy this Sunday. The Texans are sliding fast. After a commanding two game lead in the division a few weeks back, Houston we have a problem. The Texans offense has been anemic all season long. The price to bring in Brock Osweiler to lead this offense hasn’t looked like a good deal for both parties. Osweiler doesn’t meet the commands of an elite quarterback, but ask Alex Smith if you can still be effective while not being amongst the elite. This Houston offense will stall out in a heartbeat which puts a lot of pressure on the defense to make a play. The Colts defense is a joke which may favor the running game of Lamar Miller to get going especially with D’Qwell Jackson suspended for the remainder of the season. However, Indy is 12-3 with Andrew Luck at the helm and 6-0 at home in December. The offense has found a groove and even wily vet Frank Gore is running the rock with a little more swag. Mr. Luck loves this time of the year which leads me to think the Colts will prevail at home to seize control of the AFC South.
Colts 27 Texans 19

Washington vs Philadelphia
The Redskins need this game to stay in the hunt for the postseason. The Eagles are fading faster than Nick Cannon’s music career. The Eagles offense that was efficient in the first month of the season has withered into some kind of overcooked oatmeal because there is no substance. Carson Wentz has showed that he is still a rookie and is beginning to make mistakes that NFL rookies make with some of his decision making, Since Week 7, Wentz has thrown 10 interceptions to only 5 touchdowns. That’s a real big issue especially for Eagles fans. This game is unique because DeSean Jackson comes back home. Now there have been rumors of a possible reunion this off season. We’ll probably uncover more information as we go along. Washington’s offense has reminded the league that “it can contend with the best of them”. However, the defense just allowed Carson Palmer to look like he was back in Cincy throwing deep balls to Chad Ochocinco. Washington’s defense is sketchy at best, but tends to be opportunistic at the right opportunity. The Eagles offense has been unable to crack 20 points in the past month, this is a match made for the Skins to add more dirt on the Eagles slumming season. Skins scalp the Eagles in Philly.
Redskins 28 Eagles 17

Seattle vs Green Bay
This is a crucial game for both as the NFC playoff race heats up. The Seahawks just lost safety Earl Thomas for the remainder of the season with a broken bone in his leg. How will the Legion of Boom adjust without arguably the heart and soul of the defense? I guess the Pack will look to attack the secondary especially with Green Bay finding their groove at just the right time. The Packers are now at 6-6 and his proclamation of the team finishing the season 10-6 by A- Rod looks more than just fantasy. Green Bay has played with more rhythm offensively and it can be contributed to the play of Jordy Nelson who finally looks healthy after suffering his torn ACL last August. How can Green Bay stop Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham? Both have been a terror for opposing defenses through the end of November heading into this month. Green Bay will need to slow down Thomas Rawls as well, but the young back could be hampered with an injury heading to Lambeau. The Seattle defense will have something to prove without one of their brothers and for that reason, I’ll take the birds from the West Coast to get the job done on the Frozen Tundra.
Seahawks 28 Packers 23

Dallas vs New York Giants
The heavyweights of the NFC clash again as Big Blue will host the arguably the best team in the National Football League in the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have been dubbed the nickname of The Triplets 2.0 with Dak Prescott at quarterback alongside running back Ezekiel Elliot and the phenomenal wide receiver and prima donna in Dez Bryant. The Monstars of offensive lines has kept Dak pretty clean all season long and Ezekiel Elliot is leading the league in rushing with 1,285 yards with 12 touchdowns. You could say that if Dez didn’t get hurt for a month, he would be in the top five when it comes to receiving yards. The Cowboys defense is the lone vulnerable piece that would eliminate the Cowboys from reaching Houston. The secondary gives up a lot of big passing plays which we saw in their lone loss of the season where Eli was able to find open receivers late to seal a Giants victory. New York will be without JPP for a while which will limit the effectiveness of a pass rush. A pass rush is the only way to really rattle Dak when he is operating in the pocket. The key matchup is Cole Beasley in the slot. If he has a solid day and relieves some of the pressure off Dez, it could free up Dez later on against Landon Collins. Odell Beckham Jr will get his against the Dallas corners, but how many times will he have a chance on the field to create damage to a weak secondary? Dallas will control the clock and pound the rock with Zeke along with a couple of dimes from Dak and I sense another Cowboys victory on Sunday Night. How about them Cowboys! That hurt for me to say that.
Cowboys 27 Giants 20

Baltimore vs New England
A pivotal game in Foxboro could potential seal the playoff fate of the Ravens. Baltimore sits atop the AFC North for now, but it’s going to take more than defense to take down the Patriots. The Patriots will begin to really find out what life is like without Gronk with a more fearsome defense in Baltimore which is best in the NFL allowing just 296 yards/game. We can’t forget how versatile and productive Martellus Bennett has been all season and with Gronkowski out for the year, look for Brady to find Bennett when he is feeling the heat. Baltimore’s offense has been horrible all season long. Okay you had a day against Miami, but overall this team is mediocre moving the ball down field and the running game has stalled any true momentum. I think the team might be missing Justin Forsett just a little bit. This is going to be a classic bare knuckle fight type of game. It will not be for the faint of heart because if you’re not ready to buckle your chin strap for this game, you better stay home. Can the Ravens offense move effectively against the Pats defense and control the clock? This is the main key if the Ravens are going to knock off New England. Without a running game, New England can look to drop back in coverage and make Flacco beat them with his mind. Advantage; New England. Game; Patriots. Brady and Co. shoot down the buzzing Ravens.
Patriots 24 Ravens 16

Red alert!! Red alert!! It’s time for the Go Big or Go Home Pick of the Week.
Denver vs Tennessee
Denver is coming back East for an intriguing ball game in Nashville. The Titans were not expected to be here. The team is in a 3-way tie for the top spot in the AFC South. Houston and Indy will lock horns Sunday afternoon so if the Titans are going to keep pace with the winner of that game, this game is a must. The improvement of Marcus Mariota from year one to year two has been golden. The Titans couldn’t have asked for anything more. Mariota has thrown for 25 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions on the season while throwing for close to 3,000 yards. The massive leap of growth has created a sense of belief in Nashville. Throw in the running game of DeMarco Murray plus a drastic improved defense shows the dramatic change the franchise is undergoing. The Broncos could possibly be without Trevor Siemian under center again which means the ball could be given to Paxton Lynch again. Lynch has shown some signs of a bright future, but the defense brings home the bacon for Denver. The Broncos front seven led by the one and only Von Miller have the best pass defense in the NFL allowing 192.7 yards/game. The Titans should look to go to the ground and pound of Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray to neutralize the defense before Mariota looks up top to suck the defense in. Denver won ugly in Jacksonville last week, the Titans are a better team than the Jags. The Tennessee offense is excellent in the red zone with 32 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. The equalizer; Denver has the 24th ranked rushing defense in the league. I love the Titans to pull off the upset and make things interesting down the stretch in the AFC.
Titans 24 Broncos 21

There are the picks. There is nothing more to say, but hope for the best come Sunday. For all your comments, feel free to leave them at www.hsrn.com under the article. Also if you haven’t already make sure you go download the HSRN app. As college basketball starts bumping, make sure you spend some time with your Voice of Choice to give you comprehensive coverage of the all the action around college hoops. Until next time, remember that the gift of giving will always go farther than selfishness. Have a warm and cozy NFL weekend.