By IAN WUKITSCH
Welcome back football fanatics! Before I give ya’ll my predictions I just want to touch on Johnny Football’s performance last week. People are getting ready to write this guy off as a “bust” and saying he’ll never make it in the NFL. Really? The guy has made ONE start in the league, with a struggling team desperately needing a win. Will he be a great quarterback? Probably not. But are we jumping to conclusions, and writing this guy off far too soon? Absolutely. If there is a place in this league for guys like Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, and Jimmy Clausen, then there is absolutely a place for Manziel. Oh and by the way, lets not forget about Peyton Manning’s rookie season and how poorly he performed. All right….enough defending my boy, and on to the picks for Week 16.
HOME team in CAPS
Detroit Lions (-9) over CHICAGO BEARS
What is going on in Chicago? This team had all the makeup to be a playoff contender at the beginning of the season, and Brandon Marshall came out and said Jay Cutler would be the MVP of the league. Well, 15 weeks later, Jimmy Clausen has replaced Cutler, and Brandon Marshall is out for the rest of the season. Their defense is a flat out disgrace and they get blown out regularly. There is no way on earth that the Bears can overcome what has happened so far this season, and no chance that the Clausen and his 1-9 career record will be able to move the ball against the stout Lions defense. Detroit is one of those teams that you really don’t want to play right now. They’ve always had a great offense, with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford, and now Golden Tate, but their defense always underperformed. Not this year. The Lions allow a mere 17 ppg, and hold opponents to just 300 yards of total offense. Chicago’s only hope is to establish a running game with Matt Forte, but considering the Lions only allow 64 ypg on the ground, I wouldn’t count on it. Look for the Bears to continue their struggles this week against the Lions.
Seattle Seahawks (-7.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Cardinals are in all sorts of trouble right now at the QB position, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. After injuries to both Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, the Cards have to turned to their third string guy – Ryan Lindley. This spells absolute disaster for the Cards, with an inexperienced QB facing off against the Legion of Boom. After a sluggish start, Seattle has seven wins in their last eight games, and their defense has returned to their dominant ways of old (1st in NFL in yards allowed and 2nd in points allowed). The Cards have a stout D as well (17 ppg allowed), but how long will they be on the field? The Seahawks are going to force turnovers and a lot of three and outs, leaving the Cardinals defense to hold their own against Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. However, I do not think they will be able to answer the bell this time around, mainly because of Seattle’s running attack. In addition, Seattle controls the ball very well, and will win the time of possession battle. You can’t score if you don’t have the ball, and I think that will be the death knell for the Cards this weekend. Look for Seattle to play keep away from Arizona, and beat them by 10 in a low scoring affair.
Not So Fast My Friend
The following games are matchups I’d try and stay away from this weekend — unless you’re a complete degenerate gambler and are feeling lucky. In that case, good luck.
Philadelphia Eagles (-7.5) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS
In one of two Saturday night games this week, we see the struggling 9-5 Eagles taking on the 3-11 Redskins. I don’t like this game for a few reasons. The first reason being: Mark Sanchez sucks. Lets face it, the guy is just not an NFL quarterback. He can manage games well, but that’s only if he is in control. He can’t come back and win, and he certainly does not perform well under pressure. The success he had against Tennessee and Dallas the first time around was nothing short of a fluke, and he’s been dreadful ever since. Another reason I don’t like this game, is because RGIII is still RGIII, and I think this guy can still play some ball in the NFL. He is facing a poor secondary this weekend that allows over 250 yards per game and the Eagles defense is prone to giving up points (25 ppg allowed). I see this game staying close until the end, with some possible RGIII magic appearing in our nation’s capitol. I also predict this spread to drop to about 5.5 or 6 points before kickoff. I don’t trust Mark Sanchez to play well, and RGIII could perform. Who knows? Too many variables to be certain either way.
Cleveland Browns (+3.5) at CAROLINA PANTHERS
This may be the most entertaining game between two non-playoff teams that we see all season. I love this QB matchup, pitting two electrifying guys against each other. Cam Newton has had his struggles this year and the recent car accident doesn’t help his case, but we have seen signs that he can still perform well. He has two solid receiving threats in Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin, and is taking on a struggling Cleveland defense. As for the Browns, I would be very surprised to see Manziel struggle against a poor Panthers D like he did last week. Look for the Browns to establish a little run game early, maybe through an option-orientated offense, and progress to a play action game, with heavy utilization of their big time playmaker Josh Gordon. This is another game I would stay way from though, just because of the lack of predictability with two up-and-down QBs. Manziel is young, inexperienced, and we don’t know how he is going to rebound. Newton has struggled at times this year and has an injured back from his car accident, but he’s also capable of Pro Bowl caliber play. This one will be about which quarterback steps up and has a big game. No idea who will show up for this one, but it should be exciting.
No “Feeling lucky” pick this week, considering the only double digit spread is the Patriots against the Jets, and there is no shot the Jets win. I can’t even fathom trying to give some sort of asinine reason as to why that collection of misfits could ever upset a Tom Brady led team. It would be complete and utter nonsense.
We have a good weekend of football ahead of us fans. So sit back, relax and enjoy not only this slate of NFL action, but the holiday season as well. From my family to yours, have a safe, happy holiday season and we’ll see ya next week for more picks!