This one's for all the marbles.
Only a few teams still have seeding or a postseason spot on the line; the rest have nothing to play for other than pride and principle.
This last week also marks the finals for most guys who play fantasy football as well as the finale for Pick 'Em.
Which teams are packing it in early, and which are too proud to quit? Which teams will play their starters and which will rest? Which records can still be broken?
While the Saints are on pace to break a few records, I'm also in a race to the finish and on pace for my best Pick 'Em year ever (I've played Pick 'Em since 1997).
Season Total: 162 wins, 78 losses
Last Week: 10 wins, 6 losses
Average: 10 wins, 6 losses
Last Year: 157 wins, 99 losses
Best Year: 170 wins, 86 losses
Yahoo Rank: 1st out of 84
Sirius Rank: 92nd out of 8,693
This Week's Picks:
Cardinals over Seahawks, 1 - I think Arizona has the better defense to go with better weapons on offense. I hope John Skelton plays for the Cardinals because he's got something going. I'll take the more traditional QB with Larry Fitzgerald over Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson and Marshawn "Skittles" Lynch.
Chiefs over Broncos, 2 - Upset #1 - Once again, I'll take the more traditional QB with the better weapons on offense and the better defense. Yeah, I know, Denver has a "good" defense, but I prefer Kansas City and Romeo Crennel. Which team has played better over the past month? Kyle Orton didn't play so well against the Raiders, and Denver does have a better defense, but I don't care.
Giants over Cowboys, 3 - Believe it or not, I think Tony Romo is the bright spot for Dallas (other than DeMarco Murray who's on IR). However, I think the Giants will come away with the win not because of ELIte Manning, but due to their rushing attack. Both teams are mediocre, and the Giants did have to come from behind in their last contest. While the Giants are in the habit of coming from behind, the Cowboys are in the habit of giving games away.
Colts over Jaguars, 4 - Upset #2 - I prefer Dan Orlovsky to Lame Gabbert. I think Maurice Jones-Drew will have a big day, but I think the Colts will continue their streak in an effort to save their coach's job. I think the Colts are a different team with that winless monkey off their backs.
Bengals over Ravens, 5 - Upset #3 - I just don't trust Joe Flacco. Cincinnati hasn't won a big game against the Ravens or Steelers this year, but I think they want/need it more now. Ray Rice can't do it all, and Andy Dalton has A.J. Green. The Bengals' banged up secondary is playing a little better now that they've adjusted to the injuries, and all they need to worry about is Torrey Smith because Anquan Boldin is out for the year.
Lions over Packers, 6 - Don't look now, but the Lions are back to their form from the first month. Matthew Stafford is lighting it up, and Detroit signed Joique Bell (NOoooo!!!). I don't want to play Detroit in the postseason. The Packers have nothing to play for.
Dolphins over Jets, 7 - I'd love nothing more than to see the better QB and better team shut Rex Ryan up. The Jets throw too much and can't run effectively or consistently. The Dolphins have the right mix and play better on defense.
Vikings over Bears, 8 - Josh McCown looked decent last week against the Packers, considering the circumstances. The Bears defense is playing at a high level. The Vikings don't have Adrian Peterson. So why do I like the Vikings? Because I think they give it to Joe Webb when the going gets tough, and I'll take him over McCown.
Raiders over Chargers, 9 - Detroit deflated San Diego's push for the postseason, and I think now that it's a given Coach Turner and AJ Smith will be getting Norv'd, the Chargers will pack it in. Oakland has too much to play for and Philip Rivers is a turnover machine, leading the league (along with Rex Grossman) in combined giveaways.
Titans over Texans, 10 - I hate picking the Titans to win anything simply because you can't trust them to act right, which might explain why I have nothing to say about the Titans. With that said, Houston has the third seed no matter the outcomes of games on Sunday, so they have nothing to play for. They finally get Wade back, along with Andre Johnson. I would not play Andre; I wouldn't play Arian Foster or Ben Tate either, but the new Houston wants to do their best to "look" good and beat the old Houston. They should save "trying to look good on offense" for the postseason. No use hurting another hammy in a meaningless game.
Eagles over Redskins, 11 - Add interceptions thrown to fumbles lost by Rex Grossman, and you'll find he has more turnovers in the NFL than almost anyone else (he's tied with Philip Rivers), which is remarkable considering he was benched for about a month earlier in the season. The Eagles look closer to becoming what they envisioned prior to the season. The defense has come around and Michael Vick looks to be healthy again. Washington looks to be on a RB carousel as well as the QB one. Santana Moss is the only target I trust, and though Jim Haslett's defense looks good in spurts, they do stupid things by design sometimes.
Saints over Panthers, 12 - The outcome of this game is dependent upon whether or not Sean Payton pulls his starters while "scoreboard watchin" and if so, at what point in the game. I think Sean does pull Drew Brees, but only in the 4th quarter after putting up 350 yards and 4 TDs.
Steelers over Browns, 13 - I don't care who starts at QB for either team, though I think Pittsburgh should definitely rest Ben Roethlisberger. I'll be picking the Steelers because they are better at everything Cleveland wants to do.
Falcons over Bucs, 14 - Tampa has lost nine consecutive games, the last four by double digit margins. It has gotten ugly. Raheem Morris has lost his team and there is some weird and bad stuff going on in the locker room. Half the team has quit. Too bad the Falcons don't look the same way.
Patriots over Bills, 15 - Yeah, the Patriots are still playing for a top seed, so they'll want to keep Tom Brady in at least until Dan Marino's record is passed for a second time. If Brady stays in for more than three quarters, I think the Patriots win big.
Niners over Rams, 16 - The Rams are the worst team in the NFL. They don't have a CB who was on their roster in training camp, and are down to the offensive tackles that come from hand # 2 if you are counting. Their QB lost his top WR targets very early in the season, in addition to Steven Jackson for about a month, in addition to being injured himself. Did I mention the Rams tried to change offenses during the lockout? Their OC became the HC of Cleveland, so they took the fired OC from Denver who may be going to KC. Anyway, I don't blame Steve Spagnuolo for this season and hate to see him fired.