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Another ‘meh’ week. I went 10-6 for an overall record of 104-55, three upsets came close, but the favored team won in those.  Crunch time has arrived across the NFL with only five games left to try to reach the postseason. Here is my take on the playoff race:

AFC:
Done: Chiefs, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, Chargers, Bills, Titans, & Jets
Life Support: Dolphins
Still Kicking: Bengals, Steelers, & Colts
In: Texans, Patriots, Ravens, & Broncos

NFC:
Done: Eagles, Panthers, Cardinals, Lions, & Rams
Life Support: ‘Skins, Cowboys, Saints, & Seahawks*
Still Kicking: Packers, Vikings, Giants & Buccaneers
In: Falcons, 49ers, & Bears

*Seahawks face significant defensive suspensions for PED usage.

The AFC division leaders all lead by at least 3 games; the fight appears to be for the 2 Wild Card slots.  

On to the games:

Intro

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New Orleans Saints (5-6) at Atlanta Falcons (10-1) - Not Dead Yet at Living Dangerously
 This is the last stand for the Saints…lose and it is over, win and live for another day. The Falcons fail to impress anyone. No matter what they do it is all about the post season for them. The Matt Ryan for MVP bandwagon has emptied to the last few hanging out for some free food and balloon drop. Not happening. I hear Al Michaels in my head. Yes I believe in miracles. Pick: Saints

San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) – Bay Area Brawlers at Do we have a Plan?
 These teams fought to a draw a few weeks ago. Colin looks to be the man in SF. Can the Niners defeat the pesky Rams outright on the road? Not sure what to make of this game. However, the Niners have more talent and I expected them to win the last time. Here’s hoping the second time is the charm. Pick: 49ers

Houston Texans (10-1) at Tennessee Titans (4-7) – Great Expectations at Nashville Follies
The Texan D is gassed. They get the goof-ball Cody back. The Titans fired O-coordinator Palmer. Not sure how that man keeps getting jobs, he’s terrible. Texans can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Titans are now auditioning for next season. Pick: Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7) – Florida Revival at Overpaid
 The Jags might have life! They’re ALIVE! Meanwhile the Bills have spent a king’s ransom on a D that has been horrific. Not sure what the plan will be for the Bills, but suddenly the Jags look like they can find one. Pick: Jaguars

Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Chicago Bears (8-3) – Secondary issues at Midway Maulers
 The Seahawks face a huge loss in the secondary if the PED suspensions are upheld. If the dudes are having issues concentrating then maybe Cornerback isn’t the best position for them. “Look! Shiny!” comes to mind. The Bears with a less snarly Jay Cutler are a formidable team. They adjusted his attitude in the locker room and it did wonders!  Pick: Bears

New England Patriots (8-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-6) – The Empire at Progressing Nicely
 The Sith are on a tear, ripping up lesser teams like tissue paper. However, the Sith have historically had issues down in South Florida. The Dolphins will hang with the Empire for a half, before Lord Brady carves them up like a turkey in the second half. Pick: The Empire

Arizona Cardinals (4-7) at NY Jets (4-7) – Desert Disaster at Media Hos
 This could be it...the ZOMBIE Apocalypse! Both teams are terrible and full of coaches expecting walking papers in Jan. At one point the Cardinals were undefeated! The Jets talked about being the best team in Gotham! The Jets talked…period. I’ll go with the loud mouths because they are at home. Pick: Jets

Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7) - Surprise of the Year at Michigan Mess
 Lions are a zoo. Andrew Luck is Rookie of the Year so far. The Lions are a mess and it starts with the head coach. The Colts don’t have a head coach right now, but their success is based on him. Strange how things work. Colts sit in the five seed slot right now. Pick: Colts

Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4) – Uneven vandals at Suspect Bunch
 The Packers looked pedestrian last week. The Vikings begin and end with All Day. Mr. Rodgers will welcome back one of his weapons this week. I look for the Pack to prove they are playoff worthy. The Vikings are in the mix, but not this week. Pick: Packers

Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) – Very Confusing at Terrible
 Cam may be making a return appearance. This is a chance to the Panthers to put together a winning streak! Chiefs are awful, but did make the Broncos sweat last week. I can see a huge axe heading to KC as soon as the season is done. In this game? I think the Panthers keep cooling Ron’s seat a bit. Pick: Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at Denver Broncos (8-3) – Tough Pirates at Peyton’s Place
 I can’t help it! I have to do it! Upset alert!!! The Bucs are better than expected and the Broncos struggled with the Chiefs. Watch Doug Martin have fun running against the Broncos if Peyton doesn’t get them the lead. Pick: Bucs

Cleveland Browns (3-8) at Oakland Raiders (3-8) – Signs of Life at Lost in a Black Hole
 Talk about two teams with the same record and a totally different feel. The Browns are a ‘good’ 3-8 while the Raiders are a terrible 3-8. The Browns have some weapons and some hope. The Raiders need to keep a plan in place, ANY plan in place for more than a season. Right now the Raiders appear to be designed by Escher. Pick: Browns

Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-7) – Resurgent Sophomores at Fire Norv!
The Bengals had a mini-swoon there for a bit, but seem to be ready to make a playoff push. Meanwhile Norv is walking the plank and going to be pushed into the Pacific surf. The Wild Card is there for the taking. The Bengals just have to make Norv walk further down that plank. Pick: Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2) – Old & Rusty at The Contenders
 Unless Ben gets healthy quick, this season is in jeopardy. The magic elixir of life is needed to restore Ben’s ribs in time for this game. The Steelers have looked mortal on D this season, but the team is lost without Ben. The Ravens are looking to wrap up the division with this win. Pick: Ravens

Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) at Dallas Cowboys (5-6) – Bye Andy at Egomaniacs
 How much does NBC wish it could flex this game? People will watch a car wreck and this is an epic train wreck happening in Philly. The Cowboys aren’t that good, but people love to say how talented that team is. The Eagles have collapsed. I’m not sure they can play for pride anymore either. Pick Cowboys (bleck!)

NY Giants (7-4) at Washington ‘skins (5-6) – The Champs at Wonderboy
The ‘Skins playoff fate is in the balance with this game. A loss puts them three back with four to go. The Giants are starting to wake up from their mid season nap. People love RG3, but I think the Giants will remember their last meeting and adjust. Pick: Giants

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