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Kibbles and Picks 2018 - Week 16

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So I bounced back somewhat this week. Thanks to a 10-6 record for me and an uncharacteristic 8-8 out of Stella – her second in as many weeks – I gained two games. Of course, that basically just makes up for the two that I lost last week, but regardless – I’m 10 behind with two weeks to play.

Time for my Hail Mary.

This week, Stella and I differ on fully half the slate. Eight games. If I can pull off a big (and I mean BIG) run, I can erase a significant portion of Stella’s lead. However, all Stella has to do is keep it close and she more or less assures herself of a victory. Seriously – I have to go at least six-for-eight to have any shot. So here’s hoping.

Stella is unconcerned.

First up is a game about which I don’t feel at all confident. I’m going with the Lions to win at home against the visiting Vikings. Honestly, there’s no reason to genuine believe that Detroit will win this game, but I have to take some swings to move the needle. Stella thinks I’m nuts for picking this one; she thinks that Minnesota is ready to make a real push; she’s expecting a big game out of Kirk Cousins, though she’s unsure if Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs will be the big beneficiary. Still, she thinks this is an easy Vikings victory.

Next, I’ve got the Jaguars going into Miami and beating the Dolphins. Again, I’m not super confident in the Jags, but I feel like Jacksonville is due for one of their intermittent defensive explosions; this Miami team looks like it could be susceptible. Stella’s no fan of Miami QB Ryan Tannehill and she’s less than thrilled with the Dolphins skill players, but she thinks Jacksonville’s offense will stall hard this week and allow the Dolphins the win in a close, low-scoring game.

I’ve got the Jets winning at home against the Packers. Both of these teams are playing out the string; Green Bay is more talented, but Stella picked them, so I’m rolling the dice with Sam Darnold and company. Don’t watch this game.

In a game with potential playoff implications, I’ve got the Texans going into Philadelphia and beating the Eagles. While this one is a risk, it feels like a reasonable one – Houston has cooled off, but they’re still looking pretty strong. Plus, they’ve got a first-round playoff bye in their sights. Stella thinks that the Eagles are going to continue playing hard in their desperation push for the postseason. She’s impressed with the energy that Nick Foles has brought to the QB position for Philly; she believes it will run out eventually, but not this week.

I hate that I picked the Panthers to beat the Falcons. Yes, Carolina is at home, but Cam Newton is out for the season and the Panthers have nothing play for. Still, maybe Christian McCaffery can blow up and get me a win. Stella has no problem picking Atlanta. The Falcons have had their struggles – especially on the road – but she’s pretty sure that the Panthers have given up. It’ll be an ugly game, most likely, but one that she feels Atlanta will win handily.

Picking the Steelers to win after what they did to my Patriots last week feels weird, but it’s another calculated risk that I have to take. The Saints are scary – especially at home – but they haven’t looked like the world-beaters of the season’s first half for a while now. Pittsburgh could surprise. Stella scoffs at my grasping nonsense; she’s of the mind that Drew Brees and company will handle the Steelers with ease. She doesn’t believe that Pittsburgh will be able to keep up in a shootout, and that’s just what she expects from this one.

The Chiefs haven’t had many struggles this season; I think they’ll handle the Seahawks without too much trouble this week. While the running back turmoil has adversely impacted the offense somewhat, Patrick Mahomes has continued to put up great numbers. He might not shine quite so brightly against the Seattle D, but he’ll do enough to win. Stella disagrees; she thinks that the Seahawks will contain Mahomes and the Chiefs defensively in a way that few teams have this year. They won’t shut KC down completely, but they’ll do enough; Russell Wilson will do plenty of damage himself against the iffy Chiefs defense.

Finally, in the Monday night game, I’ve picked the Raiders to win at home. I have done that because Stella picked Denver. That is the only reason. See Green Bay/NY Jets.

And there we have it. I need a big number this week to keep it close. Let’s see if we can do it. Meanwhile, Stella silently (and adorably) gloats over her all-but-assured victory.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Saturday, Dec. 22

Washington at TENNESSEE

Baltimore at LA CHARGERS

Sunday, Dec. 23

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND

Tampa Bay at DALLAS

Minnesota at DETROIT

NY Giants at INDIANAPOLIS

JACKSONVILLE at Miami

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND

Green Bay at NY JETS

HOUSTON at Philadelphia

Atlanta at CAROLINA

LA RAMS at Arizona

CHICAGO at San Francisco

PITTSBURGH at New Orleans

KANSAS CITY at Seattle

Monday, Dec. 24

Denver at OAKLAND

Week 15 record: 10-6

Season record: 131-91-2

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STELLA’S PICKS

Saturday, Dec. 22

Washington at TENNESSEE

Baltimore at LA CHARGERS

Sunday, Dec. 23

Cincinnati at CLEVELAND

Tampa Bay at DALLAS

MINNESOTA at Detroit

NY Giants at INDIANAPOLIS

Jacksonville at MIAMI

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND

GREEN BAY at NY Jets

Houston at PHILADELPHIA

ATLANTA at Carolina

LA RAMS at Arizona

CHICAGO at San Francisco

Pittsburgh at NEW ORLEANS

Kansas City at SEATTLE

Monday, Dec. 24

DENVER at Oakland

Week 15 record: 8-8

Season record: 141-81-2

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