After taking a break for Thanksgiving, we’re back. But we’re doing things a little differently this week as I’m doing more of a “quick pick” style rather than breaking down how each team fared in their previous games. Before we dive into the picks, let’s talk about the state of the Seahawks.
Seattle is sitting at 3-8 and in last place in the NFC West. The team’s playoff hopes are all but gone following a 17-15 loss to Washington in Week 12. The Seahawks have lost eight games – including the last three straight – for the first time since back-to-back 7-9 seasons in 2010 and 2011, the last two years without Russell Wilson under center. Out of the 16 teams in the NFC, Seattle sits in 15th place under the 4-7 Bears and above only the 0-10-1 Lions.
Are the Seahawks eliminated from playoff contention? Technically, not yet. But it would take an absolute miracle for them to make the postseason at this point.
As for the game itself, Week 12’s loss to Washington nearly had the come-from-behind magic Seattle fans have come accustomed to over the previous nine seasons. Following a goal-line stand by the Seahawks defense, Wilson and Co. got the ball back on their own 4-yard line with 2:04 remaining and a 17-9 deficit. The star quarterback led a 96-yard drive that took up all but 15 seconds of the clock as he hit a wide-open Freddie Swain for a 32-yard touchdown strike. However, Wilson’s pass to Swain on the two-point attempt was intercepted. Seattle seemingly recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, but an illegal formation forced a re-kick, which was recovered by Washington – game over.
The Hawks’ season is seemingly over, but it’s unknown how the team reacts to the unknown territory of the league’s bottom feeders.
Without further ado, my quick picks.
My season picks record: 10-5 in week 11, 93-58 overall
San Francisco (6-5) at Seattle (3-8)
The Seahawks’ season might be unsalvageable, but games between these two always seem to be close and often come down to the wire. Look for Wilson to give the home crowd something to cheer for as his finger continues to heal. Seattle wins in dramatic fashion.
Pick: Seahawks 24, 49ers 22
Dallas (7-4) at New Orleans (5-6) – Thursday
Two teams heading in the wrong direction. Taysom Hill adds an exciting dynamic to a Saints team that has lost four in a row, but will it be enough to overcome the Cowboys’ offensive firepower? I think New Orleans will strike early, but Dallas wins in the end.
Pick: Cowboys 34, Saints 24
Tampa Bay (8-3) at Atlanta (5-6)
Tampa has shown some vulnerability of late but is still the superior team in this matchup. If the Bucs can contain Cordarrelle Patterson, they win easily. If not, Atlanta keeps it closer, but Tampa still wins.
Pick: Buccaneers 29, Falcons 20
Arizona (9-2) at Chicago (4-7)
It’s looking like Andy Dalton will get the start for the Bears. Kyler Murray should be back for the Cards. Give me the latter anytime, even in the Windy City.
Pick: Cardinals 27, Bears 19
Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati (7-4)
This one is intriguing all around—two highly potent (yet inconsistent) offenses against not-overly-impressive defenses. Expect a high-scoring game, which Cincy will win.
Pick: Bengals 41, Chargers 37
Minnesota (5-6) at Detroit (0-10-1)
Will this be the week the Lions finally break into the win column? The Vikes are without Dalvin Cook, but Alexander Mattison has filled the role exceptionally well in the past. So I say no, Detroit falls again.
Pick: Vikings 23, Lions 16
New York Giants (4-7) at Miami (5-7)
However unlikely, both teams are coming off wins in Week 12. Miami seems to have found something on offense while New York is playing surprisingly well on defense. The problem for the G-Men is the Phins have a solid defense too. Miami holds off New York in this one.
Pick: Dolphins 20, Giants 13
Philadelphia (5-7) at New York Jets (3-8)
This matchup is almost a toss-up at this point. Philly was utterly dismal in its loss to Miami but should rebound against New York, beating lowly Houston in Week 12.
Pick: Eagles 25, Jets 17
Indianapolis (6-6) at Houston (2-9)
We all know Jonathan Taylor is licking his chops for this one. I doubt he’ll score another five touchdowns as he did against Buffalo in Week 11, but I think three trips to the end zone is in his future as Indy regains its winning record.
Pick: Colts 40, Texans 23
Washington (5-6) at Las Vegas (6-5)
The Raiders ended a three-game skid by downing Dallas in overtime. Washington is currently on a three-game win streak. I see the Football Team pressuring Derek Carr early and often in a mini upset over Vegas in a somewhat surprising pick.
Pick: WFT 22, Raiders 18
Jacksonville (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Oof. LA has lost three straight after a 7-1 start. Sure, they lost Robert Woods to injury, but the Rams signed Odell Beckham Jr. and traded for Von Miller, so what’s happening in Hollywood? Who knows, but I bet it’s nothing playing against Jacksonville can’t fix.
Pick: Rams 37, Jaguars 13
Baltimore (8-3) at Pittsburgh (5-5-1)
Two teams accustomed to winning ugly. The Ravens have been better at that so far this season, so I see Baltimore eking out an ugly one in Pittsburgh.
Pick: Ravens 19, Steelers 16
Denver (6-5) at Kansas City (7-4)
In a game that flexed the San Francisco-Seattle game out of Sunday Night Football, the Broncos and Chiefs meet in a battle for first place atop the AFC West. Denver’s defense is one of the few that match up decently well with the KC offense (at least on paper), but I just don’t see that being enough at Arrowhead.
Pick: Chiefs 24, Broncos 20
New England (8-4) at Buffalo (7-4) – Monday
The Patriots are arguably the hottest team in the league as they’ve won six straight while outscoring their opponents 211-63 (a 148-point differential). The Bills, meanwhile, are 3-3 in their last six, including a 9-6 loss to Jacksonville. It’s never easy to win in Buffalo, but New England is in a groove – and Bellichick doesn’t lose in the AFC East too often.
Pick: Patriots 26, Bills 23
Teams on bye: Carolina Panthers (5-7), Cleveland Browns (6-6), Green Bay Packers (9-3), Tennessee Titans (8-4)