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Kibbles and Picks 2017 - Week 16

December 22, 2017
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For the love of … what’s a guy got to do to make a move?

I went 13-3 – 13-3! – yet only managed to pick up one lousy game thanks to Stella putting up a 12-4 week of her own. We’re down to the wire – just this week and next remain – and Stella’s current lead of four games appears to be close to insurmountable.

It’s particularly tough sledding in Week 16, as there just aren’t that many matchups where Stella and I are at odds. Just five, in fact, and most of those are ones where I made contrary picks because we’ve reached a point where I have to gamble to have any shot at making up ground.

Our first head-to-head comes in the Lions/Bengals contest. Despite many misgivings, I’m going with the Bengals. While I don’t love what they’ve got going, they are getting Joe Mixon back and he could prove to be a difference maker on the offensive side of the ball. They need the defense to step up to have any shot, but hey – it could happen. Stella is going the far more sensible route; she’s assuming that Matthew Stafford and company will have no problem moving the ball with impunity against this suspect D. She also thinks that there won’t be much to fear from Andy Dalton.

Next up is what could prove to be a marquee game; if nothing else, it will certainly have playoff implications. I’m picking the Falcons to go into New Orleans and take down the Saints. It’s going to be a tough one for Atlanta, but I think Matt Ryan will be able to make it happen - particularly if the Falcons running game can stay on point. Stella scoffs at the idea; she thinks the Saints will dominate on their home turf. She anticipates that the offense will keep on humming and that the defense will force Ryan into a mistake or two. In her mind, that adds up to an easy win.

I’m picking Denver on the road against Washington – much against my better judgment, for what it’s worth. However, I think the Broncos at least have a shot. Not much of a shot, but a shot, which is honestly about the best I can hope for at this point. Stella feels fairly confident in her pick of Washington; she thinks they’ll have no problem handling their business at home. She thinks I’m foolish for this pick, but again – I have to make a move.

It’s another road pick for me in this next one – I’ve got the Seahawks beating the Cowboys in Dallas. This one at least doesn’t seem ludicrous on its face, though the truth is that Seattle has been struggling big time. Is Dallas the place where they right the ship? All I can do is hope that Russell Wilson works his usual magic. Stella thinks it’s too late for the Seahawks; she anticipates that the Cowboys will be able to pick apart the depleted Seattle secondary and use returning running back Ezekiel Elliott as a battering ram to control the ball. Both teams are playing for postseason spots as well, so expect some fireworks.

And finally, in a game that no one in their right mind cares about, I’ve got the Giants beating the Cardinals in Arizona. The Giants have been terrible all year and will almost certainly continue to be terrible, but again – I have to take a shot. Stella’s not a fan of what Arizona brings to the table, but they are at home … and they’re absolutely better than the Giants. Our biggest hope is that neither of us has to spend a single second watching this disaster waiting to happen.

And there it is. If I win out, I take the lead. Anything less and Stella will be on top going into the season’s final week. I’m not even a little bit confident about many of these picks, but desperate times call for desperate measures – I had to roll the dice to have any kind of a shot. So roll them I did.

As always, Stella remains unconcerned.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Saturday, December 23

INDIANAPOLIS at Baltimore

MINNESOTA at Green Bay

Sunday, December 24

Cleveland at CHICAGO

Detroit at CINCINNATI

LA RAMS at Tennessee

Miami at KANSAS CITY

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND

ATLANTA at New Orleans

LA CHARGERS at NY Jets

DENVER at Washington

Tampa Bay at CAROLINA

JACKSONVILLE at San Francisco

SEATTLE at Dallas

NY GIANTS at Arizona

Monday, December 25

PITTSBURGH at Houston

Oakland at PHILADELPHIA

Week 15 record: 13-3

Season record: 142-82

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STELLA’S PICKS

Saturday, December 23

INDIANAPOLIS at Baltimore

MINNESOTA at Green Bay

Sunday, December 24

Cleveland at CHICAGO

DETROIT at Cincinnati

LA RAMS at Tennessee

Miami at KANSAS CITY

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND

Atlanta at NEW ORLEANS

LA CHARGERS at NY Jets

Denver at WASHINGTON

Tampa Bay at CAROLINA

JACKSONVILLE at San Francisco

Seattle at DALLAS

NY Giants at ARIZONA

Monday, December 25

PITTSBURGH at Houston

Oakland at PHILADELPHIA

Week 15 record: 12-4

Season record: 146-78

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