Pick 6 week 16
- Updated: December 24, 2016
The gift of the unexpected has been the trademark of 2016 throughout the world of sports. Of course, we have those surprise darlings who have made their way into the limelight. There are also the defending champs who are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. The Rams fired Jeff Fisher and the Cardinals released Michael Floyd who days later locked on with the New England Patriots. I still feel like his agent set that up for him. How about the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers looking to push into the playoffs! Both franchises placed their future on the arms of two quarterbacks and neither have disappointed in year two in the NFL. Mariota has looked questionable in recent weeks, but overall numbers are solid for his sophomore campaign with 25 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Well “Famous” Jameis has done a great job leading the Bucs into the hunt for the playoffs. The Bucs five game win streak was snapped Sunday night, but Winston’s season has been a winner. He has 25 touchdowns, but the 15 interceptions are a bit disturbing. I do recall a source stating that Jameis Winston might get some MVP considerations this season. If Tampa is able to push their way into the playoffs, he very well may get a lot more. The most obvious gift of this year has been the changing of the guard. Denver saw Peyton retire and enter Trevor Siemian, the Redskins officially let go of RGIII and enters permanently Kirk Cousins, and the Houston Texans released Brian Hoyer and enter Brock Osweiler. The problem with the latter is Osweiler may have only become more of the problem than the solution in Houston. Houston we have lift off and a new quarterback which leads me into my Extra Point.
As the skipper in baseball, sometimes you need to know when it’s time to go to the bullpen. The regular closer just doesn’t have it. You change the lineup a little bit and some magic happens. This is case in point last Sunday as the Texans trailed to the Jaguars 20-8 close to halftime. Coach Bill O’Brien makes the healthy scratch bringing in Tom Savage to lead the team and he does leads the comeback win at home to keep the Texans on top of the AFC South. But the question is “Should this move have been made earlier in the season?” I mean Savage made the Texans offense bearable. Osweiler has struggled to be the leader that Houston needs especially if they are looking to make a playoff run. Houston’s defense really has kept the team afloat. Osweiler was paid handsomely this offseason to be a solid and reliable closer for Houston who really hasn’t made much noise even though the team has made the playoffs 3 times in the last six years. If Houston wants to get out of the wildcard picture, this team needs a reliable signal caller to lead them to the Promised Land. Could Tom Savage be “The Man”? Perhaps. Conventional wisdom says that the team could very well go back to Osweiler, but how much has the team killed the confidence of this young man? All I know is this will be an interesting stretch for a team in need of a spark. In sports, we all know that a little spark can take a team a long way. Just ask the New York Giants back in 2007.
When fools rush in, everyone eventually takes notice. The shenanigans begin on a holiday version of Mr. T’s Fools of the Week. Let’s begin the festivities at number three as Dallas hosted the upstart Tampa Bay Bucs. The Boys lead heading into the break, but Tampa came out like a house of fire. Jameis on this play rolls out after the play action and somehow someway finds a way to find Adam Humphries off the deflection by Brandon Carr. It seems like Carr might need to find a bar after that embarrassing play that should have been an INT. Brandon Carr gets into the holiday spirit at number three on this week’s Fools of the Week. With some holiday spice, let’s go Chicago as the Bears and Packers renewed the oldest rivalry in football. The Packers have been on fire and that fire was felt on this play in particular. With the 3rd quarter winding down, Rodgers hands off to Christine Michael and Michael must have been watching his old teammate Marshawn Lynch’s greatest highlights because this run was on the highlight reel. Michael took the hand off and ripped into the secondary while welcoming the rookie corner Cre’Von LeBlanc to the NFL with a vicious stiff arm on his way to paydirt. The rook must have been naughty all season long because that stiff arm was ugly. LeBlanc gets into the holidays coming in at number two on this week’s Fools of the Week. Finishing off the holiday eggnog of fools, let’s proceed to number one as we swing over to Minnesota as Adrian Peterson returned for the Vikings against the Colts. However, the Vikings have methodically dismissed themselves from contention and Andrew Luck took full advantage and the Vikings played their worst game of the season. The Vikings secondary was gashed over and over again even the dominant defensive line was dormant. Minnesota must have decided to pack all their talent and fight to the North Pole because they had none of that on this day. This is the biggest reason why Minnesota is the biggest and number one fool of this week’s Fools of the Week.
The best part of the holidays is when the family comes together and that one uncle always says something that leaves you thinking “Stop playin”. Yes it’s time for the Holiday Edition of the Stop playin awards. The holiday award goes to… Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw is royalty in the city of Pittsburgh, but he came out this week blasting the current coach of the Steelers in Mike Tomlin. “I don’t think he’s a great coach at all,” Bradshaw said on Speak For Yourself. “He’s a nice coach. To me, I’ve said this, he’s really a great cheerleader guy. I don’t know what he does. I don’t think he is a great coach at all. His name never even pops in my mind when we think about great coaches in the NFL.” Okay Mr. Bradshaw. If Mike Tomlin isn’t a great coach how is it that Tomlin is the fastest in franchise history to win 100 games, he has never had a losing season in his 10 year career, won the division 4 times and has the same number of Super Bowl wins as Bill Cowher who he replaced. However, Bradshaw praises Bill Cowher as a great coach. How is that?? Don’t get me wrong. Cowher was a great coach for the Steelers after Chuck Noll, but Tomlin has filled his shoes and some. There aren’t too many coaches that can say I have never had a losing season. I don’t know maybe Bradshaw is showing us that he had a little too much eggnog this holiday season. The drunken uncle who spits out nonsense. Tomlin may not be the greatest coach in Steelers history, but he is a great coach for his era by and large. Bradshaw lay off the alcohol and seriously stop playin. You get this week’s Stop playin award.
The holidays are upon us, but my record isn’t too jolly. The record last week was a disappointing 3-4 once again dropping the overall record to 46-55-1. I’m in desperate need of a Christmas miracle if the playoffs are calling my name. Let’s start it up for the sweet week 16 picks.
Minnesota vs Green Bay
Green Bay has their groove and A-Rod is closing in on his prophecy coming to fruition. The Pack are back on the attack in the NFC. The offense has been clicking on all cylinders and even Christine Michael laid out a few guys running the rock. During the Packers win streak, Green Bay offense has been stellar, but the defense has been porous leaving a lot to be desired especially in the secondary. Green Bay is 29th in the league against the pass which seems more than problematic if they are looking to be a playoff team. Minnesota was once a revered playoff contender, but Murphy’s Law has plagued this once formidable team. The defense has slid into mediocrity and the offense has been in the D- league most of the season. Minnesota has had a tough time stopping anyone as of late. I mean when you allow the Colts to completely run roughshod against you all day long in your crib, you have to question a lot of the players manhood. I just don’t feel like this Minnesota team trust Mike Zimmer anymore and losing will definitely do that. The Vikes will get their yards, but the Pack will get the last laugh. Pack Attack stay jolly in front of the faithful at Lambeau.
Packers 28 Vikings 23
Arizona vs Seattle
Seattle is still trying to recover from the loss of Earl Thomas. We saw the difference he makes for the Legion of Boom, but never count out the Seahawks especially when Russell Wilson is still throwing the rock down the field. The Seattle defense still has playmakers like K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril that don’t get enough credit they deserve. Michael Bennett returned from injury a few weeks back, but he still looks to be functioning on 70%. The Hawks have had a hard time shaking the Cards over the last few seasons. Arizona has been able to find a way to fly back to the desert with a couple of wins around their waist which is a big deal especially winning in the loudest stadium in the NFL. Arizona released Michael Floyd after a “planned” DUI to leave town. This has been a disappointing season for the Cards who were expected to challenge in the NFC once again after reaching the NFC championship last season. How will Arizona be able to run the rock against the Hawks rush defense? David Johnson has been remarkable for Arizona and the shining star in the midst of a down season. Johnson has over 1,000 yards on the season and has put Norther Iowa on the map. Carson Palmer’s play has held back the offense. His turnovers have been problematic all season long and I believe they will come back to hurt the Cards yet again. The Hawks rejoice with the present of victory in front of the 12th man.
Seahawks 27 Arizona 20
Cincinnati vs Houston
The Bengals are another team that have underachieved this season. There were high expectations and once again in Cincy fashion, the team has not come through. Injuries and inconsistent play have hindered the team from making a trip back to the playoffs. AJ Green has been down for a good while and even Gio Bernard has been shut down for the year with a torn ACL. The Bengals D has been a shell of themselves in recent years. Veterans Domata Peko and Geno Atkins have not been as effective shutting down the run. Cincy is 26th against the run allowing more than 117 yards/game. A few seasons ago this was the AFC wildcard game, but the true wildcard in this game is the insertion of Tom Savage as the quarterback. Brock Osweiler has been benched and for good reason. The young quarterback from Arizona State just doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor necessary to get the Texans off the hump. His season has been pedestrian with a touchdown to interception ratio below standard for a young quarterback that was paid over $70 million. How can you expect to stay a starter in this league throwing more interceptions than touchdowns? Houston has an issue pushing the ball down the field, but Clowney and his bros on defense will find a way to keep the Texans alive. Texans hit the right tune and take out the cardiac cats from the Queen city.
Texans 24 Bengals 19
Baltimore vs Pittsburgh
The most sinister and vicious rivalry going in the NFL has to be the Ravens and Steelers. Every time these teams get together it’s almost like two brothers arguing over who has the better looking girlfriend. This blood bath will be gruesome, but if you love violence this is the game for you to bring in your Christmas. This game will play a big role in the playoff picture. The winner of this game will have the inside track to the playoffs. If the season ended today, Pittsburgh would find a way into the 3rd spot. The Ravens D which lacked some spark last season has made a swift turnaround. I mean when T Sizzle can return from rupturing his Achilles and providing the leadership to a young core, good things are sure to happen at Ball So Hard University. C.J Mosley has been tremendous since being drafted out of Alabama. He has 317 tackles along with 5 interceptions since coming from Tuscaloosa. The Steelers offense will be tough to contain especially with Le’Veon Bell balling how he has. He has over 700 yards rushing since Week 11; most in the NFL. I mean there aren’t many backs that can run between the tackles, be patient hitting the hole, block out the back field, and catch the ball out the flat. He does EVERYTHING, but Big Ben is the straw that stirs the drink for this offense. Ben is probably the greatest at evading the pressure and throwing dimes to his receivers. I mean he made Hines Ward a legend. The Ravens don’t have an effective running game and relying on Joe Flacco to knock off the Steelers vastly improved defense is like wishing for $1 million in your stocking. Steelers wave goodbye to their rival en route to the playoffs.
Steelers 28 Ravens 23
Denver vs Kansas City
The Broncos playoff hopes are on life support heading into Arrowhead on Christmas night. In order to avoid the coal in the stocking, the Broncos will need to do a much better job at stopping the run. The Broncos run defense has been vulnerable all season long and for Kansas City the X factor has been rookie Tyreek Hill. The rookie has 10 touchdowns and it has come in the most diverse of ways. He has one punt return, one kick return, two rushing touchdowns, and 6 receiving touchdowns. Remember the days where the Chiefs struggled to score. Well it seems like the secret weapon comes in the form of Tyreek Hill. Denver will not be able to settle for field goals against the Chiefs stingy defense. Denver is sure to be angry and this could truly be the last stand for the defending champs. Trevor Siemian has been a revelation and could even be looked at as the shining ornament on the Christmas tree for the Broncos. The team had no idea after the retirement of Peyton Manning that this young man would be so poised and possess the characteristics of a veteran signal caller. On the season, Siemian has 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He will need to watch out for Justin Houston because there was no way the offensive line could contain him in Denver. How the Broncos try to neutralize the premiere pass rusher will be intriguing. An angry Broncos team finds a way to adjust from the loss in the Mile High to send the Chiefs faithful home in dismay.
Broncos 24 Chiefs 20
Detroit vs Dallas
The night after Christmas will be a buzz in the Big D especially since the Cowboys will be the number one seed heading into the NFC playoffs. The Boys have created a stir that many believe the Triplets were able to accomplish in the early 90s. Dak, Zeke, and Dez have provided the world with a different version of what Aikman, Emmitt, and Michael showed and it has been glorious. I’m sure a lot of GMs are kicking themselves for not drafting Dak sooner. Imagine if Dallas would have drafter Johnny Manziel a few years back. How impactful would this offensive line be? The Lions have to WIN this game. The Packers are hot and on the heels of an improbable chance to win the NFC North. Matt Stafford deserves some accolades and MVP considerations for leading this Lions team that on paper doesn’t have any right leading this division. The Lions D has shown glimpses of greatness especially corner Darius Slay. The young man is a budding star in the secondary and will one day be an All-Pro player. The problem with the Lions is they don’t know how to finish when the lights are the brightest. I just don’t trust Detroit like I do Dallas especially when you have the Monstars of offensive lines. Cowboys lasso the Lions and spread more holiday cheer.
Cowboys 30 Lions 21
Red alert!! Red alert!! Go Big or Go Home Pick of the Week.
Atlanta vs Carolina
The Falcons and Panthers have had their fair share of classic games. Just think back to the Michael Vick era and his Madden like runs that will forever highlight his tumultuous career. Atlanta doesn’t have Vick under center but Matty Ice has been instrumental in the success of the dirty birds. First year offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has infused his genius on an offense already with a prolific weapon like Julio Jones on the outside. Matt Ryan has to be in the top five of the MVP race and these stats will prove it. Ryan has 34 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while flirting with passing for close to 5,000 yards. The defense has created a buzz of late thanks to Vic Beasley who has been rolling. The sophomore from Clemson has 14.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles and has helped an opportunistic defense make plays at the right time. Carolina has found out that staying on top is just as hard as momma said it would be. The team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention and will look toward the off season, but there is nothing better than sticking it to your division rival. The Panthers defense put the clamps on a high octane Washington offense and could quite possibly do the same to the Falcons offense. The Carolina offensive line will be a focal point because they need to protect Cam so he can make plays down the field. Somehow I believe the Panthers have just enough bite to knock down the flight of the Falcons. Panthers bear down on the Falcons.
Panthers 26 Atlanta 23
This ends the holiday special of picks. Please leave any comments at www.hsrn.com and download the HSRN app to be on the lockout for all the action around college basketball right on the Voice of Choice. Good tidings to all and remember how important family is during this season. We give thanks for another year and another year we share good holiday spirit with friends and family. To all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!!