Pick 6 week 17

steve-smith

All good things must come to an end as the regular season comes to its conclusion as we bring in the New Year. This NFL season has been full of ups and downs while mixing in a few surprises. Don’t get me started about the Browns. I don’t think Rex Ryan had too pleasant of a Christmas following his dismal as the head coach of the Bills after an overtime loss to Miami. The up and coming teams like Tampa Bay and Tennessee will be sure to make noise next season as Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota continue to progress as NFL quarterbacks. By the way, Marcus get well soon after breaking your leg last Sunday. I know that Raiders fans have a broken heart after Derek Carr was lost for the season breaking his leg against the Colts. Matt McGloin has to carry the reins of a team looking to possibly contend for a Super Bowl. The Packers have been hotter than an inferno in a blizzard. Aaron Rodgers has a chance to do something only the true legends are able to do; call his shot. If you don’t remember, let me rewind the tape. Green Bay was 4-6 once upon a time and all hope seemed lost, but A-Rod went on record saying “ We can run the table” following a loss on November 23. He may not see it as a prediction, but it sure seems that way. This remark just might push Rodgers into legendary status like Joe Namath guaranteeing the Jets would win the Super Bowl. The Pack can make the playoffs and win the NFC North with a win on the road in the Motor City. The Steelers and Ravens produced another classic in their historic rivalry, but this Sunday is more about the end of an excellent career for one Steve Smith. This leads me into this week’s Extra Point.

Every wide receivers is a diva. Let me make that clear. From the Terrell Owens of the world to Chad Ochocinco, throw in Keyshawn Johnson and receivers feel like they deserve ALL the attention. The same can be said for Steve Smith. The 5’9 wide receiver from Utah by way of Los Angeles wasn’t expected to be much of an NFL star, but Smith made sure he was a house hold name in the league. As we have seen over the years, Smith has always said what was on his mind. Let’s revisit back in 2013 when Smith played for the Panthers and former cornerback for the St. Louis Rams Janoris Jenkins had some testy things to say about Smith and his family. Smith rips Jenkins through the ground stating” He thinks he’s Deon” and “He needs to wear some condoms” after Smith torched the young corner for a couple of touchdowns. 89 has always loved to find his way in the paper throughout his career, but his play has done more talking than his usual trash talk every game. A potential future Hall of Fame career as Smithy is 7th all-time in receiving yards, 12th in receptions, and 25th in touchdowns with 81. For all of us in the media, we are sure to miss his great sound bites. “I’m 35 years old and I’m running around these boys like they school yard kids.” I mean you gotta have some spark, spunk, and grit when you stand at 5’9 at 195. It’s been a career you can hang your cap on. So here’s to 16 years of greatness and just for you Steve “Ice up son. Ice up!” It’s been a stellar career. This ends things for this week’s Extra Point.

Who doesn’t like a good laugh? I do especially with all the good, bad, and ugly with this year. Ready or not, here we go with another week of Mr. T’s Fools of the Week. We begin things in Green Bay as the Vikings traveled to their arch rival in at Lambeau. The action takes us to the 2nd quarter with the Vikings trailing. Sam Bradford rolls out on a play action and fires a deep ball into the waiting hands of Adam Thielen who waltz in for the house call. On the play, Thielen broke the ankles of Quentin Rollins and easily found his way in for the score. To add some salt, he made his way over to some Vikings fans for a visitor style Lambeau leap. Rollins, you’re just going to have to roll with the punches and accept the fact this week you’re number three on Mr. T’s Fools of the Week. For number two, we fly over to Kansas City as the Chiefs squared off against the defending champ Denver Broncos. With the Chiefs looking to nail in the final dagger, with less than two minutes enter Dontari Poe. At quarterback. Of course, he takes the snap from the shotgun and almost throws the ball into the 3rd row but the pass is caught by Demetrius Harris for the score. The mighty Denver defense has been torched over and over again in recent weeks, but seriously a Tebow jump pass from a 360 lb man? That’s a new low for this unit and this is the reason Denver comes in at number two on this week’s Fools of the Week. It pains me to say this as we take a trip up to Cleveland for number one as the Browns welcomed the injury plagued San Diego Chargers. All any Cleveland fan wanted for Christmas was a miracle and possibly a win to boot. Well here’s to you Cleveland, with no time outs the Chargers special teams rushes onto the field for the potential game tying field goal. Lambo lines up the field goal, but its wide right and the Dawg Pound gets an early Christmas present with the first win of the season. Every dog has his day but seriously how does anyone lose to the Browns? The Browns!! You have got to be kidding me? This is the absolute most embarrassing loss I have witnessed as a Chargers fan and the prime reason the Chargers organization is deservedly number one on Mr. T’s Fools of the Week.

Honestly this entire year of 2016 has been full of moments that leave you like “Stop playin”. This week’s award is special because it’s the end of the year version of the Stop playin awards. The award is near and dear to my heart and for this very reason the award for the Stop playin award for the season goes to… Los Angeles Rams franchise. I mean the season has been atrocious, full of drama between the head coach, front office, and an all-time great in Eric Dickerson. The return to the stars of Hollywood has been more like a nightmare horror movie for fans excited about the team’s return to its roots. The organization has failed to keep their end of the bargain. The Rams have budding stars in Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley, and Jared Goff, but who is the right head coach to lead these future stars? The owner will always fire the coach before placing blame on himself. Goodbye Jeff Fisher! A breathe of fresh air is need to reinvigorate a fan base yearning for a football power in the biggest market in nation. LA, I’m sorry to inform you that the Cinderella story that was expected this season was a bust like Ryan Leaf’s NFL career. The truth hurts and the truth is that the Rams hands down win the year in review Stop playin awards. Congrats boys and girls in the front office. You deserve this one.

Okay I’m off the soapbox and let’s move on to what matters most. The record last week steadied at 4-3 which means I won’t be making the playoffs this season. The overall record stands at 50-58-1. Now I truly know how the Broncos, Panthers, and Cardinals feel after being on top and crashing the next year. However, I won’t sing you a sad story, but here is the final week 17 picks.

Baltimore vs Cincinnati
The Ravens and Bengals have been the watered down version of the Ravens vs Steelers, but this game will mean a lot to both franchises moving forward. Could this be the last game that Marvin Lewis coaches for the cats? It seems like he has been grandfathered in as a Bengal for life. This will end his 15th season as the head man, but it seems to me like it’s time for a new voice in this locker room. The once stacked defense has suffered a major setback this season which has been blistered with injuries. B-more probably feels like the playoffs were just a few seconds away. After a defeat in the hands of their arch nemesis, the Ravens will miss the playoffs in back to back seasons. Is the seat growing hotter for John Harbaugh? There is an 89% probability that this will be Steve Smith’s last NFL game. Smith will go down as one of the all-time greatest trash talkers in league history. Well his career was more than talk, Smith will leave the league as a better receiver than some of his peers like Freddy Mitchell, Rod Gardner, and appropriately Chad Johnson AKA Chad Ochocinco. The Ravens defense will look for some sort of retribution to end the season and send 89 out on top. The Bengals offense has sputtered all year. Edge goes to the Ravens to fly over the Queen City and Mighty Mouth is sent off like a champ.

Ravens 27 Bengals 23

New England vs Miami
The Pats and Fins end the season in the AFC East. The Dolphins were resurrected from the dead if you will after beginning the season at 1-4 and have scorched the conference and NFL winning 9 of 10 on their way to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. I was still in high school around that time. It feels so long ago. Adam Gase has done wonders down in South Beach and the emergence of Jay Ajayi and adding balance to a running game which was in desperate need of a spark following the retirement of Arian Foster. Ryan Tannehill will be in street clothes for this one as he continues to nurse the sprained MCL and ACL back on December 18th. The fins defense will have to try to contain a Patriots offense that is 4th in scoring at 29 points/game. The coaching job of Bill Belichick probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves due to Spygate and Deflategate, but he just knows how to coach em up. I mean the team goes 3-1 without Brady and still has the chance to clinch the number one seed in the AFC. There isn’t the threat of Denver this time around which might play into an easy road to the Super Bowl for the Brady bunch. The key to this game is can Miami stop the running game of LeGarrette Blunt? Miami rushing defense is laughable. Dolphins are below average at 142 yards/game on the ground. This makes for easy work for the Patriots and a statement rolling into the playoffs. Patriots tame the fins in South Beach.

Patriots 34 Miami 20

Houston vs Tennessee
We should probably call this the Oiler Bowl since both teams have ties to each other. The Texans have clinched the AFC South after the Bengals had a golden chance to pull off the upset and make this game much more interesting. The Titans are reeling after losing Marcus Mariota for the remainder of the season following a broken fibula against the Jags. The team was unable to recover from the blow and Jacksonville punished and embarrassed Mike Mularkey’s group. Matt Cassell must answer the bell on a day that doesn’t matter to either team, but this game could give this young team a boost of confidence heading into the off season. Houston will trot out Tom Savage for act two as the starting quarterback. Savage became the 9th starting quarterback in Houston since 2013. Huge problem Houston! A good problem to have is a stingy defense that knows how to make plays. Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney have created nightmares for opposing offenses all year long. This tandem has definitively lessen the blow of losing J.J. Watt to back surgery. Which team will have the more effective offense with two backups under center? The Titans will rely heavily on a lot of Thunder and Thunder AKA DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The Titans will make it close, but Houston’s defense makes just the right plays to escape the Music City.

Texans 23 Titans 20

New Orleans vs Atlanta
In recent years, this game would have been a pre playoff game of sorts. This season, the Saints will fail to make the playoffs once again for the 3rd straight year. The heartbeat of this franchise is in limbo right now as Drew Brees climbs up Mt. Father Time and it will time to reevaluate whether Sean Payton is the right choice to lead the Saints into the future. The offense is the calling card for the team representing the Beaux. New Orleans has the best offense in the NFL with 422 yards/game with Atlanta right at their heels at number two. Speaking of number two, Matt Ryan’s ascension into the MVP race this season following a disastrous 2015 season shows how important Kyle Shanahan has been to recover his career. The “hot” offense has been spectacular all season scoring 30 points 10 times which is the most in the NFL. The running back orchestra of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman has been a terror for defenses even more when you have to be accountable for Julio Jones on the outside. New Orleans defense can’t stop anyone. The unit allows almost 28 points/game which spells doom for the secondary of the Saints. Matty Ice legitimizes his MVP resume with a blazing performance to place the cherry on top of a comeback season.

Atlanta 42 Saints 30

New York Giants vs Washington
The Skins don’t have a chance to make the playoffs, but they do have a chance to bring in the New Year smacking the smirk off the faces of Big Blue. The Redskins secondary has taken a lot of blows with the loss of DeAngelo Hall early on and having to rely on a young group still looking to find themselves. This is a big reason why the Skins defense is 29th in the NFL. Kirk Cousins has been hot and cold throughout the season. When he is on, Kirk is Captain Kirk. If he is off, yea this man is ice cold. The impact that Jamison Crowder has brought to the offense only speaks of this young man from Duke demanding a contract extension real soon. He has produced big time play after big time play while being a reliable factor in the passing game. His 65 receptions for 831 yards with a team leading 7 touchdowns shows the determination of the 4th round pick. The Giants defense has fortified the effects of a dismal offense. In many of the Giants games this season, the defense has made enough plays to allow the offense to make a significant play at the opportune time. A running game would do wonders to opening up the passing game. This game could be a case of Eli throwing this game away. Eli hasn’t had his best performance season by any stretch. However, the Skins secondary is so bad that OBJ will have a field day and expect some fireworks in the end zone. Big Blue lays the skins to rest with a punishing attack to finish off the season.

Giants 27 Redskins 20

Green Bay vs Detroit
The Pack Attack will look to finish what they started and win the NFC North crown once again. After the prophecy of A-Rod back in Week 12, the Packers have scorched their opposition en route to a five game win streak. It has turned into Mr. Rodgers neighborhood as he has regained his MVP form completing close to 71% of his throws during the win streak. Ty Montgomery should probably get the team MVP for his versatility to becoming the team’s running back after Eddie Lacy was lost for the season following ankle surgery. Montgomery was able to give Green Bay a balanced rushing attack before the team picked up Christine Michael off waivers. The defense is still an enigma, but the dynamic offense that has made Green Bay great for so long has created the buzz of a team that could be a scary team if they make the playoffs. The question for Detroit is “Can Stafford lift the Lions in the post season on his own?” There is no Calvin Johnson, but Stafford has made a case for a possible dark horse in the MVP race. The Lions defense has kept this team in the hunt for this long, but in recent weeks, the unit has struggled to stop anyone. The tremendous offensive line in Dallas made easy work out of the defensive line of Detroit and the Detroit offense allowed Dallas to get back in the game after abandoning a running game that was thrashing the Boys up the middle. If the Lions are going to win the division, they need to effectively run the ball and keep A-Rod resting on the sideline. However, the Lions will be the Lions and Green Bay will secure their rightful spot in the playoffs and making Rodgers a legend of sound bites and guarantees.

Packers 34 Lions 27

Red alert! Red alert! The Go Big or Go Home Pick of the Week
Dallas vs Philadelphia
A tale of teams heading into different directions moving forward. The Eagles came out like gangbusters only to plummet back to reality to find themselves out the playoff picture. A strong start for the defense has fizzled out due to extended time on the field. The decision making of Carson Wentz has gone from brilliant to elementary. His meteoric rise as a fan favorite in the city of Brotherly Love has been met with a comet-like fall from grace. He has a balanced touchdown turnover ratio with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The receivers will need to make plays in order for Wentz to be more successful in the future. The drops by the receivers have hurt his confidence at times. The boys have nothing to play for as they have already wrap up the NFC East, but Zeke could be play for some history. Elliot is 178 yards away from a good friend of the article Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record. The question for these games is when do you pull out key starters to prepare for the playoffs? What is too much playing time and risking injury or risking the momentum you have gained heading into the postseason? Jason Garrett will have the task of determining that, but Doug Pederson will be sure to go for the gusto in his final game in his rookie campaign. Expect a lot of running the rock and trying to keep the Dallas offense off the field with solid passes from Carson Wentz. The Eagles fly into the New Year with a win to close out a mediocrity season.

Eagles 24 Dallas 20

This is the closing chapter to the year 2016. My hope and even prayer is that this New Year is better and greater than the past. For comments, feel free to leave them at www.hsrn.com and be sure to download the HSRN app as we pump up the volume on the college basketball season. Good tidings and good cheer! Once again, Happy New Year to you and all your kin!