Posted by

Allen Adams Allen Adams
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

edge staff writer

Share

Kibbles and Picks 2021 - Week 17

December 31, 2021
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Well … I suppose that’s that.

The combination of my utterly mediocre 8-8 Week 16 and Stella’s frankly mind-blowing 14-2 means that we’re pretty much done here. That’s all she wrote. Stella’s lead is up to 15 games, and with just two weeks remaining, it seems awfully unlikely that I’ll be able to take the power back.

Basically, I’m hoping that I can get her lead back down into the single digits before the season is over. If things stay as they are, this will be the largest margin of victory Stella has ever put up in all our years of Kibbles and Picks. And hey – she’s not even done with me yet.

We’re looking at seven games in which we differ here in the season’s penultimate week. Seven. So basically, if I get all of these right … I’ll still be eight games behind with a week to play. And considering how things have gone for me in recent weeks, getting all of them right feels pretty unlikely. Even so – that’s why they play the games.

First up, we have one of the dice rolls I’ve taken in an effort to make a play. I’m going with Cincinnati to win at home against Kansas City. Now, I don’t feel great about it – this Chiefs team makes a lot of doubters look foolish – but I think that if Joe Burrow can build on last week’s excellence and if Joe Mixon can keep the ground game up to snuff, there’s a chance that the Bengals defense can do just enough to hold off KC. Stella appreciates what I’m doing, but questions the wisdom of doing it here. She has the Chiefs not only winning, but winning rather easily – she expects Patrick Mahomes to exert his will all over the Bengals secondary and believes that Clyde Edwards-Helaire will have little problem against the Cincy front. As for defense, she’s not all that scared of the Bengals – she expects Burrow to wind up turning the ball over a couple of times in an effort to keep pace with the explosive KC offense.

From there, we’re off to Tennessee, where I have the visiting Dolphins taking down the Titans. While I’m not sure that Miami is the better team, they’ve done nothing but win for close to two months – tough to pick them over a Tennessee squad that has seen plenty of up-and-down struggles. It won’t be a sexy win – expect lots of low-risk throws from Tua Tagovailoa and plenty of rushes – but it will be a win. Stella thinks that the Titans have some fight left in them and expects that they’ll step up in what serves as a much-win game for them in many respects. QB Ryan Tannehill can open things up thanks in large part to the return of A.J. Brown; to her mind, the margin of victory is going to boil down to a couple of big plays courtesy of the Titans offense.

In an NFC East showdown, I’ve got the Eagles going into Washington and knocking off the Football Team. Is this a good Philly team? Not particularly … but they’re better than the WFT. I like QB Jalen Hurts to pull off some big plays with both his arm and his legs, leading his team to score just enough to defeat that anemic opposing offense. Stella’s not a big believer in either of these teams either, and recognizes that the WFT is reeling, but she’s going with her gut here. Her guess is that Washington may be able to step up and stop the run just enough to leave themselves a chance at the W. She’s not feeling super confident, but figures she has such a lead, why not take some swings?

I have the Rams going into Baltimore and beating the Ravens. While we’ve seen a good deal of regression from LA over the past few weeks, I have to think that this team is poised to bounce back here. This win could have real repercussions regarding the postseason; I’m counting on Matthew Stafford getting it together enough to push this hobbled Baltimore team aside. The return of Cam Akers for the first time this year could be interesting as well, while the Rams pass rush will be chasing backup QB Tyler Huntley all over. Stella’s hoping that Lamar Jackson plays, but even if he doesn’t, she feels reasonably confident that the Ravens can handle a Rams squad that has been all over the place for the past month or so. She thinks that they can harass Stafford into making a few mistakes, which will allow Baltimore to control the clock and keep things slow, taking away the explosive aspects of the Rams attack.

In another hope for the best matchup, I’ve got the Cardinals winning on the road against the Cowboys. Arizona is another squad that has struggled with consistency and dealt with some injury issues – the absence of wideout DeAndre Hopkins still stings – but I think QB Kyler Murray can cause some consternation for this Dallas defense, particularly if James Conner gets it going. Stella likes the Cardinals just fine, but she thinks that they are going to get absolutely manhandled by this red-hot Dallas D. She’s not worried about the offense – she figures Dak Prescott will handle his business just fine – but expects that the big plays are going to come on the defensive side for the Cowboys. They probably won’t score 56 again, but 40 wouldn’t surprise her.

This next one is perhaps most representative of my throw stuff at the wall approach to the week – I’ve picked the Lions to win. Granted, it’s against a Seattle team that doesn’t appear to be very good, but still – I’ve picked the Lions to win. I guess I’m hoping that the return of D’Andre Swift to the backfield will make the difference, but mostly, this is just a Hail Mary. Stella’s no big believer in the Seahawks, but she thinks that Russell Wilson will find Tyler Lockett and/or D.K. Metcalf often enough to easily handle a Detroit team that has far more feistiness than actual talent. She anticipates a pretty easy route to victory for Seattle, even if the Lions play hard.

Lastly, on Monday night, I have the Steelers winning at home against the visiting Cleveland Browns. I’m not enamored of this Pittsburgh team – let’s all collectively hope that this is it for Ben Roethlisberger – but I do think they’ll move the ball against this Cleveland front, particularly if running back Najee Harris can get going. And with the Browns still dealing with issues on the offensive side, that should be enough. Stella’s happy to go with Cleveland here – she’s expecting that injured QB Baker Mayfield will have healed a bit more, but mostly, she expects them to feed Nick Chubb all day long. They won’t ask much of their QB, opting instead for short passes and handoffs; it’s not a formula for exciting football, but she figures they don’t care how it looks so long as they get the win.

And there we have it. Seven games. Yes, this all basically a formality at this point. I recognize that, in all likelihood, I will have once more gone down to defeat at the adorable prognosticating paws of Stella for the seventh time in nine seasons. Am I a masochist? An idiot? Or perhaps a little of both? At any rate, let’s cross our fingers and hope I can keep it close.

(winners in caps)

-

ALLEN’S PICKS

Sunday, Jan. 2

Atlanta at BUFFALO

NY Giants at CHICAGO

Kansas City at CINCINNATI

MIAMI at Tennessee

Las Vegas at INDIANAPOLIS

Jacksonville at NEW ENGLAND

TAMPA BAY at NY Jets

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

LA RAMS at Baltimore

Denver at LA CHARGERS

Houston at SAN FRANCISCO

ARIZONA at Dallas

Carolina at NEW ORLEANS

DETROIT at Seattle

Minnesota at GREEN BAY

Monday, Jan. 3

Cleveland at PITTSBURGH

Week 16 record: 8-8

Season record: 141-98-1

-

STELLA’S PICKS

Sunday, Jan. 2

Atlanta at BUFFALO

NY Giants at CHICAGO

KANSAS CITY at Cincinnati

Miami at TENNESSEE

Las Vegas at INDIANAPOLIS

Jacksonville at NEW ENGLAND

TAMPA BAY at NY Jets

Philadelphia at WASHINGTON

LA Rams at BALTIMORE

Denver at LA CHARGERS

Houston at SAN FRANCISCO

Arizona at DALLAS

Carolina at NEW ORLEANS

Detroit at SEATTLE

Minnesota at GREEN BAY

Monday, Jan. 3

CLEVELAND at Pittsburgh

Week 16 record: 14-2

Season record: 156-83-1

Last modified on Friday, 31 December 2021 16:07

Latest from Allen Adams

Related items (by tag)

back to top