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Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Week 17

December 30, 2020
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And here we are. One week left.

I managed to chip away a little more at Stella’s lead, but only a little. Our respective weeks matched our Week 15 output, meaning that I put up a strong 11-5 and Stella managed a just-slightly-less-strong 10-6. The result? I’ve reduced her lead to a not-quite totally insurmountable six games going into the season’s final week.

This means that the possibility of my overtaking her is still on the table, albeit highly unlikely. We differ on seven games; basically, if I get every one of them right, I eke out the win by a single game. However, if she is right on even one game, she locks in her victory.

I think we all know how this is going to wind up.

Let’s kick things off with the Pittsburgh/Cleveland matchup. I’m picking the Browns here, largely because they really need a win to ensure a spot in the playoffs. Plus, their receiving corps will be back from their COVID-related absence, leaving QB Baker Mayfield with some weapons and the rushing attack more room to run. Stella went with the Steelers; she liked what she saw from Pittsburgh’s bounceback performance against a very good Colts squad. She thinks Ben Roethlisberger regresses a bit, but will still be able to put up enough offense to overcome Cleveland. We both agree that it’s going to be a close one.

My commitment to being a homer continues this week, though it isn’t quite as egregious as it has been the past few games. I’m picking the Patriots to win at home against the inexplicably hot New York Jets. Not because I think that the Pats will somehow make big leaps, but because I assume the Jets will fail. Stella, on the other hand, thinks that since the Jets have already lost their shot at the number one pick, they’ll be looking to exact a modicum of vengeance against New England for their many years of divisional dominance. Regardless of who wins this one, rest assured that it is going to be a very bad game.

The NFC East has been bad all year, but hey – someone has to win it. The Cowboys and Giants both need a victory to keep their shot at the playoffs. I’m going with Dallas here, although I’m not supremely impressed with them. We’ll see if Andy Dalton has what it takes to pass this team to a win; I’m counting on the Cowboys being slightly less bad in this one. Stella has gone the other way, opting for a Giants team that has a legitimate shot at becoming the first 10-loss playoff squad in league history. Neither one of us is particularly enthusiastic about our choice, but hey – someone has to win it.

In the utterly meaningless category, we have the Las Vegas/Denver tilt. I’ve gone with the Broncos. Stella has gone with the Raiders. Honestly, it could have easily gone the other way – had Stella picked Denver, I’d have taken Vegas. This pick is based solely on me trying to game my way to a season win; we’ll have to see if it works.

One of the tricky parts about Week 17 picks is the fact that certain teams have nothing to play for and treat the game as meaningless. Such is the Chargers/Chiefs matchup; Kansas City has already established that they’ll be sitting a number of starters, including star QB Patrick Mahomes. Hence, I’ve gone with the Chargers here; I think it’s a chance for L.A. to close out strong behind likely Rookie of the Year QB Justin Herbert. Stella is going with the Chiefs despite the seated starters; she believes strongly enough in the schemes put forward by the Kansas City coaching staff that she’s anticipating enough offense from the Chiefs to pull out the victory.

Next up, we take on the Cardinals/Rams. I’m going with Arizona in this one; I think Kyler Murray has what it takes to put up some big plays against the Los Angeles defense. The Cardinals might struggle to handle the Rams on offense, but if it comes down to a shootout, I like Arizona here. Stella’s opting for the Rams here, expecting a quality performance from Jared Goff and his assorted receivers. She also thinks that the Rams D-line will be chasing Murray all over the backfield, anticipating at least a couple of sacks. Depending on how invested the respective squads are, this has the chance to be a really good game.

And lastly, in the final game of the regular season, we have Washington taking on Philadelphia. I’ve got Washington winning because they’re basically in a win-and-in situation w/r/t the postseason. Sure, they’re dealing with some injury issues and other personnel stuff, but I think they’ll do what it takes to get there. Stella is going with the Eagles here. She likes what she’s seen from Jalen Hurts so far at quarterback and believes that the fallout from the Dwayne Haskins release is going to undermine the Football Team’s efforts. Basically, she thinks this is going to be a WTF ending for the WTF season.

There we have it – the final Kibbles and Picks of the 2020 regular season. If I’m right on all seven of these games, I win. If I miss even one, Stella reclaims her crown and proves definitively that my triumph last year was little more than a statistical fluke. I know which outcome I’d bet on if I were you … and you probably do too.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Sunday, Jan. 3

Miami at BUFFALO

BALTIMORE at Cincinnati

Pittsburgh at CLEVELAND

MINNESOTA at Detroit

NY Jets at NEW ENGLAND

DALLAS at NY Giants

Atlanta at TAMPA BAY

GREEN BAY at Chicago

Las Vegas at DENVER

Jacksonville at INDIANAPOLIS

LA CHARGERS at Kansas City

ARIZONA at LA Rams

SEATTLE at San Francisco

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

TENNESSEE at Houston

WASHINGTON at Philadelphia

Week 16 record: 11-5

Season record: 149-90-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Sunday, Jan. 3

Miami at BUFFALO

BALTIMORE at Cincinnati

PITTSBURGH at Cleveland

MINNESOTA at Detroit

NY JETS at New England

Dallas at NY GIANTS

Atlanta at TAMPA BAY

GREEN BAY at Chicago

LAS VEGAS at Denver

Jacksonville at INDIANAPOLIS

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

Arizona at LA RAMS

SEATTLE at San Francisco

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

TENNESSEE at Houston

Washington at PHILADELPHIA

Week 16 record: 10-6

Season record: 155-84-1

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 16:22

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