by Ryan Meehan with Svenn Cravens
This week FOH gets death metal as we welcome Steve Cravens to do our guest picks. Steve’s been a huge fan of the pigskin his entire life and we’ve both played together in numerous bands at plenty of dives that didn’t request our services thereafter. He’s also a Bears fan, but we won’t hold that against him and he happens to be very educated when it comes to football. So let’s get started…
Week thirteen began on Tuesday morning as Ndomakung Suh was suspended for two games for the stomping incident against the Packers the week before. It sounds fair that Goddell did this, but I didn’t foresee it actually going down. I just figured for a huge fine and more protection of a star player by a league notorious for protecting its most popular players. So that’s a good thing and it shows some balls on their end.
The other big story Tuesday morning was that the Jacksonville Jaguars have finally fired head coach Jack Del Rio and CEO Wayne Weaver agreed to sell the franchise to businessman Shahid Khan. Instead of spewing a bunch of legal and financial lingo in your direction, I’m just going to go ahead and admit I have no idea what the fuck that means. Both parties say that there’s no immediate need for the business to operate out of the state of Florida, but we all remember what happened to the Baltimore Colts. And if you’re looking towards trusting anybody nowadays, you’re probably going to want to stay away from anyone that has access to over 500 million dollars.
Philadelphia (4-7) at Seattle (4-7)
In the second half last week during the loss to the Patriots, the Eagles fans (who are notorious for their heavy drinking and overall rowdy behavior) began to boo loudly and chant “Fire Andy” so you have to think it’s coming when the season wraps up. Both of these teams beat the Giants so it’s hard to call…going to go ahead and give the edge to Philadelphia here. Jeremy Maclin and Michael Vick have been deactivated for this game, but the Seahawks don’t have any players like that to begin with. That being said, it would be salt on the wound and totally hilarious if the Seachickens won.
Meehan’s Pick: Eagles 24, Seahawks 20
Cravens’ Pick: Wow, I am not sad that I do not have the NFL network tonight. That being said I guess I am going to pick the “Dream Team”. I kind of forgot Seattle had a team. (Editor’s note: Seattle may or may not still have a team. We are based in NFC North territory here and we don’t get a lot of NFC West news. Team could possibly be operating out of Portland. One thing’s for sure though, if it happens this’ll be the last place on earth to find that information.) Pick = Eagles
Tennessee (6-5) at Buffalo (5-6)
Two teams that I can’t trust playing each other in a game I won’t watch. I’m not going to bust my balls going into detail here, but I will say this: Tennessee has done a lot better than I expected them to do overall. Buffalo gave me the same impression early but I could tell it was an illusion from the start. I have to take Tennessee here because they have more to play for. Buffalo can act like their season is still salvageable but they’re only lying to themselves because we aren’t buying it. Stevie Johnson got $10,000 from the NFL for his creative little tribute to Plax last week, but most pro athletes would take that over actually being shot a majority of the time. However, some of them would have to ask their agent to make that decision for them.
Meehan’s Pick: Titans 20, Bills 18
Cravens’ Pick: This one has me scratching my head, which is better than my balls. That being said I think I am going with the Harvard QB and hoping Buffalo pulls this one off.
Kansas City (4-7) at Chicago (7-4)
The Bears have to win this game. No excuses, no bullshit. The Lions will likely lose to the Saints and the Giants will definitely lose to the Packers so this is massive as they can gain a game on each of those teams. On Wednesday night it was reported that Jay Cutler may miss the entire season (playoffs included) so there’s going to be a lot of scrutiny hurled in his direction because this will obviously be the second consecutive year he’s had an injury shut him down for good. You have to wonder. Kyle Orton will be starting for the Chiefs and visiting the team who believed “his services were no longer necessary”, but he’s only has about a week and a half to learn that offense so don’t think he’s going to put up Dan Fouts-type numbers.
Meehan’s Pick: Bears 26, Chiefs 9
Cravens’ Pick: Well this is where my bias and common sense will show, I am going with Da Bears. Hanie should play much better with a week under his belt and hopefully the assertion of the running game.
Baltimore (8-3) at Cleveland (4-7)
I would think this would be a free one for the Ravens, but you never know with them. I know which Browns team will show up: The boring one. But let me double check…Oh yes, here it is – When it comes to offensive weapons the Browns have Peyton Hillis and…OH, NOBODY. How about that. The Ravens on the other hand have lots of offensive weapons but they have to be able to put them to use. Everybody knows that franchise is built on defense and they reminded everybody of that Thanksgiving night by only allowing 6 points to San Francisco. In other words, the Ravens should crush Cleveland here.
Meehan’s Pick: Ravens 24, Browns 6
Cravens’ Pick: If Lewis plays the Browns lose. If he’s on the bench the Browns have a slim chance. Pick = Ravens
Oakland (7-4) at Miami (3-8)
The Raiders will most likely be watching hours upon hours on end of the Thanksgiving game where the Dolphins almost beat the Cowboys, in which Tony Romo was slowed down by a much improved Dolphins defense. I’m going to say evil Carson comes out and throws two picks on the road here and it just barely costs Oakland the game. And I would assume since every God-fearing American is all of a sudden a Broncos fan, that a lot of football fans will want the Dolphins to win. In Darren McFadden’s absence, Michael Bush is really developing as a back that the Raiders can rely on for 20 carries a game, so he needs to be ready for a challenge as the Dolphins are seventh in the league when it comes to running yards allowed. Good news for Oakland is that Darius Heyward-Bey will be active after a frightening neck injury last week against the Bears. The bad news is that Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore will not play, so the Raiders will be a little thin at wide receiver.
Meehan’s Pick: Dolphins 23, Raiders 20
Cravens’ Pick: What happened to the days of Dan Marino? The fish suck bad and Tony Sporano’s days must surely be numbered. Oakland wins this one without much trouble.
Detroit (7-4) at New Orleans (8-3)
Meehan: It’s a good thing DonkeyKong Suh got a 2 game suspension for his sake, because if he thought he was going to get away with some of the underhanded bullshit he’s pulled all year in the Superdome this weekend, he would have been sorely mistaken. If he were to so much as dreamed about grabbing Drew Brees by the facemask those people would have jumped right out of the stands and beat his ass. But now that he won’t be playing, the league doesn’t have to worry about that AND Drew Brees doesn’t have to worry about the Lions’ pass rush being as violent as it has been. 34 points sounds about right against that defense without Suh. Hell, the Panthers racked up 35 against them WITH Suh on the field so it’s possible we could be looking at even more of a blowout than that.
Meehan’s Pick: Saints 34, Lions 21
Cravens’ Pick: No fan of Drew Brees, but I hate the Lions even more and they have been very average the last few games. New Orleans wins easy on Sunday night.
Carolina (3-8) at Tampa Bay (4-7)
You have to like Carolina here because Tampa is an average home team who is still extremely scattered every time they approach the line of scrimmage. The Panthers are scattered as well, but seem to be more pleasant to watch for some reason. I’m assuming that reason is Cam Newton or somebody on the offensive side of the football because their defense is inexcusably poor. NFL.com has a great headline on the preview page that simply reads “Bucs look to salvage season of regression”. I couldn’t possibly sum it up better than that…They finish 10-6 last year, don’t make the playoffs but a team who does have the same record that they do wins the Super Bowl. Then they lose a close home opener to a very tough Detroit Lions team, and respond by winning three straight, getting everybody to believe that Josh Freeman is indeed the real deal. Since then, it’s been like someone threw a bunch of lit firecrackers in a hen house.
Meehan’s Pick: Panthers 22, Bucs 21
Cravens’ Pick: What the hell, I will ride the Cam Newton train, even if for just one week. Pick = Panthers
NY Jets (6-5) at Washington (4-7)
As I said in last week’s wrap-up piece, Mark Sanchez showed some real signs of maturity last week. He was aided by Stevie Johnson’s display of immaturity, but he still won the game and for only winning by four points he earned a lot of respect amongst writers who had been pretty harsh on him up until now. Sure, the Redskins were good last week, but let’s not get too crazy here. The Jets and the Bengals seem to be on pace to be competing for a six seed week seventeen. I’m looking for the Jets to win this one, and then Rex to get up on the microphone and start talking mad shit like he’s only lost one or two games all year.
Meehan’s Pick: Jets 23, Redskins 14
Cravens’ Pick: Don’t care. Hate the Jets and the Redskins are no good. Maybe good Rex shows up and they Redskins steal one.
Atlanta (7-4) at Houston (8-3)
No matter who starts for the Texans they won’t be ready, and Atlanta hasn’t lost a game against an AFC team yet this year. It’s strange; when the Falcons are running on all cylinders they look amazing. The only problem is, they can never seem to get all of the cylinders to operate at the same time. When they have the passing game going, Michael Turner struggles. When Michael Turner is stepping all over people, all of a sudden Matt Ryan has no idea what the hell is going on. The Texans on the other hand have signed Jake Delhomme, and on paper it’s not hard to see why they’d have home field advantage in the AFC if it all went down today. But at the same time, I don’t believe the whole “Numbers Never Lie” thing is always true, and the Texans are the perfect example. They’ve historically struggled at the end of the season and I’m just waiting for them to fall through the wet paper towel on the left hand side of the commercial.
Meehan’s Pick: Falcons 31, Texans 17
Cravens’ Pick: Up until last week I would have said Houston, but now they have to QB, so it looks the Dirty Birds get the win. Pick = Atlanta
Cincinnati (7-4) at Pittsburgh (8-3)
Cincinnati will make this one closer than one might expect but they won’t come out with a win in the big ketchup packet. Look, they had a great year, and you can’t take anything away from Andy Dalton because if the Bengals were in the AFC West they might be 10-1 right now. The Steelers had some problems with the Chiefs, and do kind of have a cardiac nature to them. A couple things to watch here: Ben Roethlisberger is still having a problem with a fractured thumb, and Troy Polamalu fell victim to a head injury last week. I look for Mike Wallace to get at least ten touches against a Bengals defense that ranks fifth against the run.
Meehan’s Pick: Steelers 30, Bengals 24
Cravens’ Pick: Bengals – Anything that keeps the Steelers from having an easy path to the playoffs I am all for.
Denver (6-5) at Minnesota (2-9)
This week the Tebow train will be swinging by the Metrodome, and pretty much any team in the NFL would like to stop by and pay the Vikings a visit. Denver hasn’t been scoring a whole boatload of points lately, but they’ve been winning nonetheless. Tim Tebow is getting a lot of the credit but let’s face it, if the Broncos are the Black Eyed Peas Tebow is definitely the Indian guy. And if Tebow is indeed the Indian guy, the Vikings are the people who have to empty the toilets on the tour bus. (And I’m not talking Dave Matthews Band style, I mean having to seek out a facility in each city to dispose of it properly) The Minnesota Vikings were toast long before Adrian Peterson was banged up, and Christian Ponder is starting to make Jay Schroeder look like Fran Tarkenton. So what will happen? The Broncos defense will play lights out and you won’t hear a damn word about it. Breaking news at press time: The Vikings have granted Donovan McNabb his request to be released. Shocking. Let’s see who falls for it next…
Meehan’s Pick: Broncos 26, Vikings 11
Cravens’ Pick: All I can say is there must be a God if this jackwagon Tim Tebow can continue to win without throwing the ball. I think Jesus, er…I mean Tebow should lead the Broncos to victory. And Johnny Unitas rolls in his grave.
Green Bay (11-0) at NY Giants (6-5)
As a Giants fan, I don’t think I need to mention that I’m not necessarily looking forward to this one. There is no reason to believe the Giants have a chance in hell against Aaron Rodgers after they got stuck the way they did when they faced the Saints on Monday Night. These two teams couldn’t be more opposite: The Packers are calm, have a great understanding of the pace of the NFL this year, and don’t commit unnecessary and unexplainable penalties. The Giants freak out whenever anything confusing happens, probably don’t even know where the game clock is located inside the stadium, and get flagged for almost everything other than stealing those golf carts they have on the sidelines for when some cornerback splits Chad Ochocinco’s fingernail. The Packers are going to come out of this looking and smelling sweet, as everybody in the world (but my father and I) thought the Giants were unstoppable three weeks ago after the win over the Patriots. It’s going to look like they “faced an upper-echelon team” and all of that fancy talk. Trust me, New York is anything but that.
Meehan’s Pick: Packers 32, Giants 10
Cravens’ Pick: Uh yeah, I hate to say it but Green Bay is going to go 12-0. Eli looks worse and worse every year.
Dallas (7-4) at Arizona (4-7)
With the way the Giants are playing, it’s not the end of the world for the Cowboys if they lose here. No matter what happens these last five weeks, they will win some games and they WILL make the playoffs, mark my word. Their main goal from here on out should be to make sure they end up playing the Falcons instead of the Saints. They can run with the Falcons, they won’t be able to run with the Saints. Speaking of running, the Arizona Cardinals may have found something for their backfield in Beanie Wells. He works out quite well, but he can’t do it all himself, and that’s why Arizona is 4-7. I can project 260 yards for Romo and feel confident about it.
Meehan’s Pick: Cowboys 31, Cardinals 24
Cravens’ Pick: Dallas.
St. Louis (2-9) at San Francisco (9-2)
San Francisco is going to be looking for revenge after that loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving. And who better to take it out on than the Rams in a sunny afternoon game in the Bay. The Rams are ranked dead last against the run, yet 8th at stopping the pass. One common characteristic about teams that are that imbalanced is that no matter how hard they work during the week to strengthen that weakness, the opposition spends so much of time preparing to expose it they just rip a team like the Rams to shreds. And nobody’s saying you have to throw deep to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis the whole game anyway: Keep the ball close to the line of scrimmage and everything will be just fine. And for you fantasy people it should be a no brainer to not start Stephen Jackson in this one, providing of course your fantasy team is constructed well.
Meehan’s Pick: 49ers 28, Rams 13
Cravens’ Pick: San Fran is going to have an easy day. Enjoy.
Indianapolis (0-11) at New England (8-3)
I’m not even sure that this would have been a very interesting game even if Peyton Manning was starting. What will be interesting is the race for the one and two seeds that’s going on in the AFC. There’s no one or two loss team in that entire conference. If the playoffs started today, the 8-3 teams would be 1,2, and 3, respectively as follows: Houston, New England, and Pittsburgh. And if the playoffs DID in fact start today, I would have to guess that deep down NFL officials would like to be able to euthanize the Colts for the opening ceremonies. The Colts are officially in need of a complete overhaul now, as they still have good players on their D but haven’t been able to produce points all year long.
Meehan’s Pick: Patriots 37, Colts 7
Cravens’ Pick: Well the mighty have fallen. I mean you talk epic (I hate that word) failures. I mean I thought Manning always carried that team, but I never knew he played on defense too. Andrew Luck I hope you like Indy. Tom Brady reminds Indy what a QB looks like. Hope no one cries too much when The Pats run up the score.
San Diego (5-6) at Jacksonville (3-8)
The Chargers have the edge here because they didn’t wake up Tuesday morning to their franchise being sold and their coach suddenly out of a job. Secretly you would have to believe that San Diego wouldn’t mind waking up to their coach being fired, but since they technically aren’t yet mathematically eliminated it looks like they’re stuck with Uncle Norv until they go on vacation. (There are rumors as well that the Chargers could be making some serious front office changes after January) It will be interesting to see what will happen with Jacksonville this offseason, to see if there are a pool of free agents that are willing to go live down there and play football next year. Additionally, I am convinced that Marshawn Lynch and Maurice Jones-Drew have become best friends, or at least can understand each other’s ordeal: They are both putting up killer numbers on small market teams that are having very poor years. For some odd reason, I can see this being the game where Philip Rivers returns to his normal determined, obnoxious self.
Meehan’s Pick: Chargers 31, Jaguars 16
Cravens’ Pick: Talk about a horrible fucking game on Monday Night. I will go with the Chargers. I would also like to add that Chuckie will say “this guy” 10 times and fall “in love” with at least two players before the game ends.
Enjoy the games this weekend, get your Christmas shopping done early, and drive safely!!!
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