Last week’s edition of the column was the most important edition of the season. Fantasy championships were decided. Playoff berths were clinched. Things happened. This week…well, there are still some playoff spots on the line, but there’s a reason there isn’t a Sunday night game this week.
My NFL Season Recap
My fantasy season went pretty well. I successfully defended my two championships from last season and still kind of have a chance at adding a third in an ESPN league that has a silly two-week final. Add in championships in baseball, basketball & hockey, and 2017 was the most successful fantasy sports year I’ve ever had.
My picks have gone terribly. I’ll finish under .500 for the first time since I started doing them four seasons ago. I haven’t decided whether I’ll continue doing them next season, as my writing responsibilities elsewhere have increased both in number & in compensation. And let’s face it, the NFL hasn’t been as fun to write about this season since the real world insists on getting in the way. What used to serve as a fun diversion has become Ground Zero for the kind of stuff that we watch sports to get away from.
Simply put: If I wanted to waste my time writing about the idiots that run the country, I’d be writing for The Ultimate Political Blog.
The Bengals were pretty terrible, but that only comes as a surprise to Cincinnati sports media, who expected JOHN ROSS AND ALL THOSE WEAPONS to make Andy Dalton into a competent quarterback. They’re not very bright sometimes. The one sign for optimism is the idea that Bengals ownership might finally realize that Marvin Lewis isn’t the guy to take the team to the second round. Or that Marvin might actually take a hint & go somewhere else.
Either way, Cincinnati might actually see some change next season. Hopefully 2018 will bring some change for the better.
Picks Against the Spread
Cincinnati at Baltimore (-9.5): Bengals/Ravens games are often closer than we expect, and Marvin Lewis will probably be motivated to win his final game in Baltimore. The Bengals won’t win, but they’ll make it close.
Green Bay at Detroit (-6.5): The most memorable Packers/Lions Week 17 game took place back in 2012 when Matt Flynn threw 6 touchdown passes & tricked people into thinking he was an NFL starting quarterback. I’m somewhat surprised that he hasn’t been part of the parade of backup quarterbacks that the owners are pretending are better than Colin Kaepernick.
Buffalo (-2.5) at Miami: The Bills have a slim chance to make the playoffs. So it makes all the sense in the world for them to lose this week & send Jay Cutler out on a winning note.
Carolina at Atlanta (-4):
New Orleans (-7) at Tampa Bay: The Saints are playing for the division title and a home playoff game next week. They’ll be ready to go.
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3): The Jags get the three seed no matter what happens this week, while the Titans need a win to get in, and likely have a rematch with Jacksonville next week. Don’t expect Jacksonville to give Tennessee much usable game tape this week.
NY Jets at New England (-15.5): Jets vs. Patriots games are often close, but I’m not getting that feeling this week. The Patriots are going to win in style to clinch homefield.
Houston at Indianapolis (-4):
Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-11): If there was one good thing to come from the 2017 NFL season, it’s the Cleveland Browns making history & becoming the second team in league history to go 0-16. All my friends at offtheteam.com who were swearing up & down that the Browns would be improved this season have been pretty quiet since Week 8 or so. In many years this would be a chance for the Browns to get off the schnide since the Steelers already have a playoff position & a bye clinched, but this year the Steelers need to win to have a chance at the 1 seed. They’re also pretty bitter over the James Harrison business, none of which comes as a surprise to me since I saw his act in Cincinnati. He’s not a good person.
Washington at NY Giants (-3): How about the Giants being a bigger dumpster fire than Washington this season? The Rs have had the NFC East dumpster fire title for several seasons now, and now they take a backseat to a team calling each other cancers & trying to run Eli Manning out of town. Hard to believe than an organization would fall apart after sending Tom Coughlin away, isn’t it? Washington is still pretty blah, but they’re not as entertaining of a trainwreck.
Chicago at Minnesota (-11): The Vikings will win the game. The question is if they’ll score 11 points.
Dallas (-3) at Philadelphia: The Cowboys are darn near impossible to figure out, but I assume they have more to play for this week.
Oakland at LA Chargers (-8): It’ll be interesting to see if the Raiders have more fans in attendance in the Chargers’ soccer stadium this week.
Arizona at Seattle (-9.5): The Seahawks need to win to have a chance at a playoff spot, and Bruce Arians is on his way out of Arizona. It’ll be interesting to see how many of the Cardinals’ old-timers follow him out the door.
Kansas City at Denver (-3.5): I know Dustin is pretty high on Patrick Mahomes, who is starting at quarterback for the Chiefs this week. Even if KC is bringing out their second-string, the Broncos are terrible & not worth betting on.
San Francisco (-3) at LA Rams: The Rams have announced they’re sitting Jared Goff, Todd Gurley & Luke Donald this week. The difference between the 3rd & 4th seed isn’t worth the effort. So expect Jimmy G to have another big week & further establish his status as the next Joe Montana.
Week 16 Results: 7-8-1
2017 Season Results: 101-129-10