BUEHLER’S WEEK 15 NFL PICKS
Took a bath last week with the 4 games that changed direction in the final two minutes. This season we’ve seen 47 games decided in the final 2 minutes and 2 rookies, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have led the charge all season. But now we see Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins joining in. So the kids that are supposed to be rattled the easiest are the ones leading the teams to victory in the most strenuous of fashions. Love this game. Ok, enough slobbering love fest… here’s this week’s picks…
Thursday Night Football
Bengals at Eagles
It’s easy to look at a Bengals team vying for the playoffs, leading the NFL in sacks, facing off with a struggling Eagles team coming off a dramatic win featuring a rookie quarterback on a short week and think, Cinci wins. It’s easy to think that. So I will. Bengals win on the road and make the AFC North very interesting. 28-14.
Giants at Falcons
The Giants found a shiny new toy in David Wilson who became the first player in NFL history to run for more than 200 return yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game (227 and 100 respectively). That came against the Saints who have allowed FEWER rushing touchdowns on the season than the Falcons. See where I’m going here? BUT wait! You say! Matt Ryan is 32-4 at home. That’s the best a quarterback has been in the Super Bowl era. True. But half his losses came to defending Super Bowl champs. Which the Giants are. Giants win 35-31.
Broncos at Ravens
The Ravens fired their offensive coordinator and promoted Jim Caldwell who was in Peyton Manning’s corner for 9 years as a coach for the Colts. Odd coincidence. Or not. Ravens have lost 2 in a row for the first time since 2009. It doesn’t get to 3. For all the publicity the Broncos are receiving, they have a -2 turnover margin. The Ravens are 3rd in the AFC with +12. Ravens win 28-24.
Redskins at Browns
I like the Browns defense and there’s hope for the offense next year. But the Redskins are pulling off something special and even if RG3 isn’t 100%, Shanahan has been scheming all year to put his rookie qb in a position to succeed. So if Cousins starts, I still think the Skins get a win on the road and make the NFC East VERY interesting. Skins win 20-17.
Colts at Texans
Well, the Texans were awful on Monday night. You had to wonder what was going to happen first, another Patriots’ touchdown or another Tom Brady UGG commercial. Still, a good team can’t get embarrassed like that and not respond against a division rival who’s looking to take control of their own destiny. The Colts offensive line, which has allowed the second most QB hits in the NFL is facing off against the best pass rusher in the AFC in JJ Watt. Luck throws the ball more than any other QB not named Matthew Stafford and the Colts will need him to be almost perfect, which hasn’t happened yet on the road. While I think this game will be fun to watch, I think the Texans get the win 31-24.
Jags at Dolphins
I’m not sure a team that lost to the Jets at home deserves much ink. Phins win 19-10
Bucs at Saints
Four weeks ago, this game had playoff implications, but now it’s just the battle for who’s going finish second in the division. Bucs pass defense was lit up by Nick Foles last week. Not a compliment. Saints win 35-31.
Vikings at Rams
Rams are sneaky good at stopping the run, allowing only 4 yards a carry. They’ll need all the help they can get against Adrian Peterson as he became the 3rd player in NFL history that has 1600 yds, 10 tds and averaging 6 yards a carry through the first 13 weeks. The first two guys to do that? Jim Brown and OJ Simpson. I assume you’ve heard of them. Both teams on the cusp of playoff contention and/or irrelevance. Rams are in the middle of a 3 game winning streak and the Vikings are 1-5 at home. Rams win 17-10.
Lions at Cardinals
In general, the jeering “my Mother could play better than you” is NEVER true. But in Glendale, it’s not far off. Stafford is the most prolific passer in the NFL, and the Cards give up more sacks than any other team. So, let’s not drag this out. Lions win 27-10.
Seahawks at Bills (in Toronto)
How ‘boot this aye? … Sorry. Canadians laughed at that. Ok, so the Seahawks were pretty awesome at home against the Cardinals huh? And the Bills lost in the final seconds to the Rams and don’t even get to be home. They have to play in a dome. Neutral turf. Russell Wilson has 7 tds and 0 ints in 3 games versus the weak AFC, Marshawn Lynch is facing the team that gave up on him. So combine beastmode with Wilson’s heroics and it’s going to be ugly. Seahawks win 31-10.
Panthers at Chargers
Two of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL. BUT, Cam Newton is on fire. First player in NFL history to explode for 250+ passing yards, 100+ rushing yards and a score by land and air. And the Chargers are Norved. So the game they should have lost, in Pittsburgh, they won. By a lot. And this game, they should win, so they’ll lose. But a slim margin. Panthers win 34-30.
Steelers at Cowboys
Speaking of inconsistent… May I present to you the Dallas Cowboys. Naturally, an emotional week for the team and they responded admirably. Tony Romo was great down the stretch and the Boys’ running game was a big part of their win in Cinci. The Steelers are still without Ike Taylor and the Chargers passing game was able to exploit that. Cowboys will too, but in typical Boys' fashion, it's going to be odd. Still, Cowboys win. 25-16.
Chiefs at Raiders
Right. I know. Less is more. Raiders win 28-21.
Sunday Night Football
Niners at Patriots
The Niners are so good at scheming isolations for Aldon Smith and Justin Smith and bringing in reinforcements from the best linebacking corp in the NFL. But the Pats’ point differential (198) is more than the Chiefs (195) or Cards (186) have scored all season. This is a tough offense to slow down, but the other teams in the NFC West that have tried, this side of the Atlantic Ocean, were quite successful. The Pats 3 losses have come by a combined 4 points, while their 10 wins are by an average of 20 points a game. So while they can blow their opponents out, they tend to lose the close ones. I think this is a close game. Niners pull off the upset 22-19. (True, I was Steve Young for Halloween, twice, as a wee lass, so one could accuse me of a heavy Niners bias and have some strong evidence to support their claim. But nonetheless, I’m sticking with the Niners).
Monday Night Football
Jets at Titans
Ok, I know the Jets are “in playoff contention”… Mathmatically, yes. But if the Jets make the playoffs, I will don a Sexy Rexy belly and kiss the feet of every Jets fan I know. Titans should rebound after tough loss to the Colts and allow me to retain some semblance of dignity. Titans win 27-14.
Hope my 10-6 record from last week will improve this week. But I really just hope I’m right about the Titans.