Punt, Pass and Pick: Week 15
Munch: Well Towson, the football season is finally coming to an end. Well, there’s still a few weeks left of actual football, but does it really matter if there’s no Punt, Pass and Pick to go along with it?
Plus, with the Browns becoming more and more of a disgrace and inching closer to drafting Johnny Manziel, I’m pretty much abandoning following the NFL until playoff time.
Until then, go Wizards!
Wait, I still haven’t introduced my opponent. It’s Jesse Jones. He usually beats me at this.
Thundercat: I would just like to take this time to thank Mr. Munshaw for inviting me to participate in a third round of Punt, Pass & Pick. Apparently he enjoys losing to me, kind of like when the Browns lose all the time.
Also, shout-out to my fantasy team – “Miley’s Foam Finger” – for making an epic comeback after a 1-4 start and securing the final seed for the playoffs. It appears that just like in real life, Joe Flacco can lead my team to the promised land!
Arizona -3 at Tennessee
Munch: On the surface, this game may seem like it doesn’t mean much. But the Cardinals are still in the hunt for the last Wild Card spot in the NFC with San Francisco’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Titans could conceivably sneak in to the playoffs in the AFC, but that’s an outside shot.
Anyway, the Cardinals really need this one, because they take on the Seahawks next week and San Francisco after that, but I like their chances to challenge San Fran in the last week of the season for the Wild Card spot.
Arizona’s wide receivers are really starting to come alive, with Larry Fitzgerald scoring five touchdowns since the beginning of November, and Michael Floyd averaging 19.9 yards per catch in that same span. In the last two games, the Titans have allowed a total of 73 points, while only scoring 42 themselves. I like the Cardinals a lot from here on out.
Cardinals 22, Titans 17
Thundercat: What an epic quarterback battle we have here. On one side you have the bearded beast, Ryan Fitzpatrick. On the other, you have Carson Palmer. At the beginning of the season I was bashing Palmer (my dislike for him dates back to the Bungles) for being old and washed up. Well, he’s proven me wrong and is actually having a really solid season. Over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns; you go Carson!
The Titans are on the outside looking in now at that final Wild Card spot in the AFC, and the Cards are right there in the AFC. I’ll take the Cards with this one because of their defense led by Prince George’s finest Darnell Dockett. They should make it a long day for Fitzpatrick, despite how manly that beard is. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out.
Cardinals 24, Titans 17
New England -2.5 at Miami
I just can’t with New England right now. Tom Brady ripped my heart out on Sunday. OK, well maybe the Browns defense did because of how poorly they played in the fourth quarter, but I still blame Brady.
If Miami wants to push the Ravens out of the last Wild Card spot in the AFC, they need this one. Unfortunately, the Dolphins are 9-18 against the Patriots since 2000.
But they’ll break their poor history against the Patriots on Sunday. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is completing 62 percent of his passes this year, and the Patriots have needed a ridiculous amount of luck to pull out some wins this year.
The Dolphins’ last two losses have also been by four or less points (one of which was to the incredibly hot Carolina Panthers). I just have a feeling about this one, and I’m still bitter about Brady.
Almost forgot, Rob Gronkowski is out. Where is your receiver god now Brady?
Dolphins 27, Patriots 24
Thundercat: How many close games are the Patriots going to win? And how much are the refs going to help them as always? What a pathetic pass interference call against the Browns that kept the game alive for the Patriots on Sunday. Did Brady give you all free Uggs or something? Terrible!
Now, as much as I hate New England, the Ravens need them to win this game. Baltimore is tied with Miami for the final Wild Card spot (Ravens have the tie-breaker) and there’s a high chance that the Ravens will lose at Detroit. But we’ll get to that game in a little.
The Dolphins are good, but even without Gronk, Brady is a beast and you can never count out him and grumpy Bill Belichick.
Patriots 28, Dolphins 20
Baltimore +6 at Detroit
The only thing I enjoy more than a Browns win is a Ravens loss. Unfortunately, my heart was broken twice in about 10 minutes when the Vikings refused to hold the Ravens with less than two minutes to go and the Browns defense acted like the Browns.
Granted, Minnesota is a better team than their record shows, but the Ravens should have won that game, and basically needed two miracles to do it.
Baltimore is still 20th in the league in passing offense and 29th in rushing offense. This game is also in Detroit, where Matthew Stafford has been completing about seven percent more of his passes and has been sacked five less times than when the Lions play on the road.
Indoors, I like Calvin Johnson to tear up Baltimore’s suspect secondary, leaving Joe Flacco to try to use his mediocre core of receivers to keep up, which just won’t happen.
Lions 35, Ravens 20
Thundercat: This game terrifies me as a Ravens fan. I’ve never seen a defense play so well for the first three quarters of games and then play so pathetic in the fourth quarter. I’m not sure what it is, but this unit is awful in crunch time.
Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will need to run the ball to keep the Lions offense on the sideline, but I’m not sure that can happen with this zone blocking Juan Castillo brought over. Seriously, if it hasn’t worked all season, why not go back to what worked the past few seasons? It can’t get much worse!
I think Calvin Johnson will have a field day, and although the Lions have looked suspect at times, I sadly think that Detroit will leave the field with the victory. Don’t hate me Ravens Nation.
Lions 35, Ravens 24
Cincinnati -3 at Pittsburgh
Thankfully, the Dolphins ended Pittsburgh’s season last week barring some sort of miraculous three games.
With nine wins, the Bengals pretty much have the AFC North locked up, and could clinch with a win this week and a Ravens loss. Since I already predicted the Ravens to lose, might as well give the division to Cincy.
The Bengals hung 42 points on the struggling Indianapolis Colts, and held the Chargers the previous week to just 10 points.
I don’t like Andy Dalton, but I like Cincinnati’s rushing game and their defense.
Bengals 24, Steelers 21
Thundercat: Hey Pittsburgh (and the rest of your uneducated, fair-weather fan base), let me know how watching the playoffs from the couch goes, again. Funny how your coach steps on the field from the sideline and then the sideline comes back to haunt you against the Dolphins!
Started from the bottom, you’re still there!
I don’t think the Bengals are as good as their record shows, but they’ve been clicking recently and this offense can cause a lot of problems, especially when your star defensive player is too busy shampooing his hair instead of terrorizing teams like he once did.
Enjoy a third straight loss, Squealers.
Bengals 31, Steelers 20
Philadelphia -4 at Minnesota
I’m honestly not really sure why we’re picking this game. At this point in the season, there aren’t too many games that mean anything, and Philly is at least playing for the division win.
But if you’re looking for something to watch on television, I would pass on this one. It’ll be a blowout.
Minnesota is allowing the third most passing yards per game, and have allowed more passing touchdowns than any other team in the league.
Nick Foles, who just threw his first interception of the year on Sunday, is licking his chops looking at that matchup. He is averaging over nine yards per completion this year, and is completing almost 62 percent of his passes.
This will be another three-touchdown, 250-yard game for Foles en route to an Eagles win.
Eagles 37, Vikings 20
Thundercat: I cannot wait for the last game of the season when the Eagles and Cowboys meet, and Tony Romo chokes away another Game 17 that would clinch Dallas the division. Oh, I will be as jolly as good ol’ St. Nick.
As for this game, it appears Adrian Peterson will play after suffering a foot injury in a lovely loss in Baltimore on Sunday. Guess he won’t have time to complain on Twitter. All bashing aside, AP might be a god.
But the rest of the Vikings offense, with the exception of Cordarrelle Patterson, is weak. The Eagles defense has been playing pretty well this season, and that offense is clicking behind Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy.
Sorry, Vikings. Your team is not good.
Eagles 27, Vikings 14