FullSizeRenderPREVIOUS WEEK’S RECAP

So my turkey hangover rolled into December, much like myself, as this has been the hardest year to pick these games. So many teams that have just been seesawing between okay, bad, and hot garbage. It’s too hard to get a handle on what is going on in this league.

Johnny Football is back under center, as the Browns have found that Austin Davis is not the answer. The Browns have now had 24 different starting quarterbacks since they were regrettably let back into the league in 1999. Bookend that with eight different head coaches in that span, all of which have losing records. Since being let back into the league the Browns, they have gone 86-179, that is a .325 winning percentage. Let that sink in at how terrible this franchise has been since, well, maybe forever? At least since Paul Brown was the head coach from 1946-1962, where Paul Brown lost only 48 games in 16 year span. Since 2011, their last three coaches have gone 22-51…that is even more losses than Paul Brown had in 16 years. Woof Woof!

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

STRAIGHT UP: 10-6-0

AGAINST THE SPREAD: 7-9-0

SEASON RESULTS

STRAIGHT UP: 117-75-0 = 61% Correct

AGAINST THE SPREAD: 98-89-4 = 52% Correct

There are only five weeks left till the conclusion of the regular season, and if the season ended today, this is what our playoff picture would look like:

AFC

1) Bengals (10-2) 1st Round Bye + Home Field

2) Broncos (10-2) 1st Round Bye

3) Patriots (10-2) AFC West Winner

4) Colts (6-6) AFC South Winner

5) Chiefs (7-5) Wild Card Winner

6) Jets (7-5) Wild Card Winner

 

NFC

1) Panthers (12-0) 1st Round Bye + Home Field

2) Cardinals (10-2) 1st Round Bye

3) Packers (8-4) NFC North Winner

4) Redskins (5-7) NFC East Winner

5) Vikings (8-4) Wild Card Winner

6) Seahawks (7-5) Wild Card Winner

 

1ST QUARTER: SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ON THURSDAY NIGHT

Carson Palmer - Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire
Carson Palmer – Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire

Vikings (8-4) @ Cardinals (10-2)

Line: Cardinals -7.5

Last week the Vikings got absolutely obliterated, pillaged, embarrassed, knocked around, destroyed…shall I keep going or do you get the point, at home vs. the Seahawks, who look like they did the last two years. Cards are rolling, as they lead the league in points per game, 31.8, and yards per game 419.5, and have outscored opponents 80-47 the last three weeks. Carson Palmer is making his push for consideration for MVP, and another big win on prime time against a good Vikings team should at least keep him in the hunt. Cards are looking like a Super Bowl contender, as they sit at 9-2 favorites right now. Cards will have to deal with AP, but I think AP will get his, but he shouldn’t dismantle the Cards on his own, but 7.5 is a lot of points to cover on a short week.

Cards SU, Vikings ATS, 31-27.

 

2ND QUARTER: SUNDAY MORNING & AFTERNOON

Redskins (5-7) @ Bears (5-7)

Line: Bears -3.5

Both of these teams are coming on losses, as the Bears loss was embarrassing, but the Redskins managed to outdo them. The Skins, had the lead in a game, and as I was watching this game, I came to realize that it was virtually one of the worst played games and one most unwatchable games I have ever come across. The Skins’ Jackson fumbles away the game in the 4th quarter on a punt return for the Skins, as he ran backwards about thirty yards, trying to do too much, and ended up cough the ball up. They did manage to score again, but they might have been able to run out the clock had Jackson just gone out of bounds. If you haven’t seen that play, go watch it, it’ll make you feel better about yourself. And the Bears, well, they lost to Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers. That should be enough of an explanation. Bears are 1-5 at home this year, and the Skins are 0-5 on the road, so something has to give. Guess the good thing about being in a division full of hot garbage, is that even with the loss last week, the Redskins are still in 1st place at 5-7. Imagine if Tony Romo was playing all year long, the Cowboys would have wrapped this division up by October.

Bears SU, Redskins ATS, 27-24.

 

Antonio Brown - Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire
Antonio Brown – Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire

Steelers (7-5) @ Bengals (10-2)

Line: Bengals -3.0

This is the game of the week, and I really wish they’d flex this game to prime time and move Tom Brady vs. Brian Hoyer, as the Steelers are just raking up tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of yards each week. They have had over 450 yards of offense in four straight games, which is an NFL record. Last time out, Ben threw three picks vs. the Bengals, and Dalton wasn’t much better, as he threw two. But, Dalton threw a big touchdown score in the 4th, and drove his Bengals down for a Nugent field goal to go up 16-10 for good. Deangelo Williams looks like the best free agent signing in a long time by any team, as he has rushed 697 yards this year and six touchdowns. Pittsburgh offense is the cream of the crop, but their defense needs to be vastly improved. This should be a great matchup between division rivals, and will encase a top offense vs. a very good defense. Pittsburgh nearly had them last time, but their offense wasn’t clicking like it is now.

Steelers, SU & ATS, 31-27.

 

49ers (4-8) @ Browns (2-10)

Line: Browns -1.5

Ugh, another dog of a game. But basically every time the Browns are playing it is a dog of a game. Browns are now starting Johnny Football in this matchup, after he was benched. The Niners coming off an upset of a win at Soldier Field, as they got their first road victory against a Bears team that is now 1-5 at home. So much for home field advantage. This game could go either way, so your best bet is to just close your eyes, flip a coin, and roll with it. Both teams are 1-5 at home and on the road, so it’s a crap shoot.

49ers, SU & ATS, 17-14.

 

Jeremy Maclin - Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire (Photograph by Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire)
Jeremy Maclin – Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire

Chargers (3-9) @ Chiefs (7-5)

Line: Chiefs -10.0

Well the Chiefs have worked their way up into a playoff spot, winning six straight games. Everyone pretty much wrote them off once Charles went down with a season ending injury, and I figured they’d just tank it, apparently I was wrong. Alex Smith has been so good this year, as he should get an MVP vote or two Smith hasn’t thrown a pick since September 28th at Green Bay. as he is now pick-less in 278 straight pass attempts. San Diego is playing like a team that knows they aren’t going to be in SD much longer, you would think they’d want to go out with a bang, instead of a bust. They did manage to win vs. the Jags snapping that long losing streak, but turned around and lost vs Brock the Rock and the Broncos last week. Keep losing SD, winning will get you nowhere at this point in the season. I hate taking big double digit spreads, but KC is a tough place to play, and SD is awful.

Chiefs, SU & ATS, 30-10.

 

Lions (4-8) @ Rams (4-8)

Line: Rams -1.0

How in God’s name are the Rams favorite in this game? This should be a pickem spread of 0.0, or Detroit by 1. Rams have lost 5 straight games, and haven’t scored more than 20 points in a game since a week 7 win vs SF, when they won 27-6. Since then, well they have lost five straight games being outscored 132-54. 54 points in 5 games. 54. 54. The Lions on the other hand were up 20-0 on Green Bay last week in Detroit, and then the wheels fell off, as they lost 27-23, on a 61 yard Hail Mary heave by Rodgers. Detroit is as bad as Cleveland when it comes to football luck. Consider them the Cleveland JR.

Lions, SU & ATS, 23-7.

 

Titans (7-5) @ Jets (3-9)

Line: Jets -7.0

The Titans got revenge on their bottom feeder rival Jaguars in a shoot out last week, as they scored a total of 41 points in the 4th quarter combined. I don’t think Mariota will have that kind of success against a Jets defense that is actually a defense and not 11 guys in uniform trying to play defense like the Jags. It seems as if the Titans have found their QB, now they just need to draft smart and hope they get lucky and get some pieces around him. Mariota did it all last week, throwing for 268 on 20/29, with three touchdowns, and while rushing for 112 yards on nine attempts and a touchdown. He needs a lot of pieces before the Titans can become more than bottom feeders.

Jets SU, Titans ATS, 27-20.

 

Bills (6-6) @ Eagles (5-7)

Line: Bills -1.5

The Eagles are coming off a game that probably saved Chip Kelly’s, as they knocked off the Pats last week in Foxboro. And with a Redskins loss, they are now in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East at a soaring 5-7. Which Eagles team will show up this week? Who knows. The way the NFL has been this year, they will be shut out this week by Buffalo.

Buffalo, SU & ATS, 17-0.

 

Saints (4-8) @ Bucs (6-6)

Line: Bucs -3.5

The time of the ever dominating Saints is long gone, and maybe they should cut ties with Drew and Coach Peyton, and start anew. They need a lot of help everywhere, and you got a feeling that maybe this upcoming off season might be a dismantling, gutting, and tearing apart off season, since they shipped off Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks. I might have been wrong about Winston with Tampa, as he is definitely turning that franchise around in his rookie season, and should be up for rookie of the year honors. Sure he has struggled at times, but most rookies do. But there have been other times where he has shined as bright as ever. Overall though, he has led his Bucs to a 6-6 record, and vying for a playoff spot. Keep on winning, and you just might get in!

Bucs, SU & ATS, 27-23.

 

Falcons (6-6) @ Panthers (13-0)

Line: Panthers -7.0

Panthers, duh.

Panthers, SU & ATS, 34-20.

 

Colts (6-6) @ Jags (4-8)

Line: Off 0.0 Pickem

If the Jags win, they are within one game of first place with a 5-8 record, how I want to see this. Imagine two divisions having teams under .500 making the playoffs and hosting a playoff game. Last week Blake Bortles threw five touchdown passes in a shootout loss to the Titans. He can do it again vs. an anemic Colts defense that gave up thousands of yards vs. the Steelers last week. Bortles and Allen Robinson have keyed in and have become a great QB-WR duo, as the 2nd year receiver has caught 65 passes for 1080 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. I expect 10 catches, over 100 yards, and at least one touchdown this weekend vs. the Colts. The Jags are on the rise, just get some defensive pieces, tweak the offense, and with a little luck and they can be a decent team in the league.

Jags, SU & ATS, 28-24.

 

Seattle Seahawks - Rich Gabrielson/Icon Sportswire
Seattle Seahawks – Rich Gabrielson/Icon Sportswire

Seahawks (7-5) @ Ravens (4-8)

Line: Seahawks -6.0

Who wants to play the Russell Wilson and the Seahawks right now, or let alone in the playoffs. They are clearly not missing Lynch, as Rawls has stepped in very nicely. He went for over 100 last week against the Vikings, and has rushed for 390 yards in his last three games. Russell Wilson is on fire as well the last three week, throwing for 879 yards, 11 touchdowns and 0 picks, while adding 95 rushing yards and a score. They have looked like the Seahawks of old and have now woken up, which is scary for any NFC opponent. And their remaining schedule is very soft, as they should win at least the next three, as they have @BAL, vs. CLE, and vs. STL. And now Matt Schaub is questionable with a chest injury for Sunday. That means newly acquired Jimmy Clausen might be under center against this Seattle defense…I would not want to be him!

Seahawks SU & ATS, 34-10.

Michael Crabtree - Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire
Michael Crabtree – Daniel Gluskoter/Icon Sportswire

Raiders (5-7) @ Broncos (10-2)

Line: Broncos -7.5

Brock The Rock is still undefeated as a starter in the NFL, and the only thing between him and another win is a division rival. Michael Crabtree just inked a new deal with the Raiders, as they now have two solid wideouts at Carr’s disposal for the next number of years. Cooper and Crabtree have been making one another great, as you cannot double team one, because the other one is going to beat you. Broncos might have the best defense in the game, and Ware is slated to come back after a four game absence, which should provide a boost, even if he’s playing in minimal snaps. I have to keep rolling with who has been hot, and that’s the Broncos.

Broncos SU, Raiders ATS, 20-14.

 

Cowboys (4-8) @ Packers (8-4)

Line: Packers -7.5

This could have been a NFC Championship preview had Romo not been injured the first time, or for that fact, the second time. Packers coming off a HUGE win last week vs. Detroit, as Rodgers chucked a 60+ yard bomb up in the end zone for the game winning Hail Mary Pass. Cowboys had a huge win last week as well at Washington, and are now only one game out of first place, with a stout record of 4-8. If the Cowboys lose this one and slide to 4-9, there is still a great chance for a division title, that is how bad the NFC East is this season.

Packers SU & ATS, 31-20.

 

3RD QUARTER: SUNDAY NIGHT

Patriots (10-2) @ Texans (6-6)

Line: Patriots -3.5

JJ Watt has been diagnosed with a broken hand, but he is playing Sunday night come hell or high water, as it appears that not even a broken swatter will stop him. Pats have lost two in a row at home for the first time in since 2012, and as stone handed as Tom’s wideouts have been since just about everyone is hurt, I don’t see them losing three straight. People are getting up in arms about the Pats losing two games in a row, but are you really worried? They have no Gronk, no Julian, and even Danny has been banged up. Once all three are back and in playable condition, the Pats of weeks 1-8 will be back and in full force and ready to defend their crown.

Patriots SU & ATS, 21-17.

 

4TH QUARTER: MONDAY NIGHT

Giants (5-7) @ Dolphins (5-7)

Line: Giants -1.5

If the Dolphins played in the paltry NFC East, they’d be tied for first place. But, they don’t so they will have to settle for the bottom of the sea floor in the AFC East. The Giants have now lost three straight, all being pretty close games, where the largest loss margin was 20-14 to Washington. They have looked lost, confused, and unable to really sustain any kind of momentum in the games. And to boot, their defense looks as terrible as JPP’s oven glove he wears on his severed hand. This is another crap shoot of a game to pick, as it seems as though there are countless mediocre matchups week after week after week after week after week.

Dolphins SU & ATS, 27-24.

 

OVERTIME: THE WRAP UP

The countless matchups of average teams facing off, or terrible teams facing off is getting really irritating, as picking the winners of these games is so difficult. Football overall has been awful this year, as so many, nay, too many teams are dumpster diving. Does anyone want to try and be good this season? And that last sentence also is directed at the referees.

 

REVIEW OF PICKS

STRAIGHT UP

AZ, CHI, PIT, SF, KC, DET, NYJ, BUF, TB, CAR, JAX, SEA, DEN, GB, NWE, MIA

AGAINST THE SPREAD

MIN, WASH, PIT, SF, KC, DET, TEN, BUF, TB, CAR, JAX, SEA, OAK, GB, NWE, MIA

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Sammy Mastroianni
Sammy the Blade hosts a weekly sports radio program on Kbeach Radio called On the Bench. On the Bench can be heard live at 2 PM PST by going to Kbeach.org and by download the Kbeach App on your smart phone. On the Bench can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/onthebenchradio and Sammy can be found on Instagram and Twitter at Sammy_The_Blade. He also hosts two music shows on Kbeach, a Beatles themed show airing Mondays at 3PM and a Bruce Springsteen themed show airing at 5PM on Mondays. All three shows can be heard by going to Kbeach.org and clicking listen live, or by downloading the free Kbeach App for your mobile device.

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