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Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 15

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And the pendulum swings back.

It’s definitely starting to look like this season’s Kibbles and Picks is going to go right down to the wire. In Week 14, Stella repeated her solid 9-7 from the previous week, but I managed an 11-5 record. This means that what was once a one-game lead for Stella has once again become a one-game lead for me. And with just three weeks left, it couldn’t be any tighter.

Of course, considering we differ on fully half the schedule again this week – eight games – there’s still room for one of us to make a big move. My expectation, however, is that the tightly-contested back-and-forth continues.

First up is the Houston/Tennessee matchup. Despite my better judgment, I’m going with my gut and picking the Texans here. I know they’ve been inconsistent this season, but they need this game; I expect Deshaun Watson to come out firing, but more than that, I think the Titans are overdue for regression. Stella disagrees and is confident that Tennessee continues its red-hot winning ways. She likes Ryan Tannehill to keep on doing what he’s been doing and expects a very busy and productive day from running back Derrick Henry.

In the first of the week’s two “Who gives a crap?” contests, I have gone with the Giants and Stella has gone with the Dolphins. I picked the Giants because they’re at home and Stella picked Miami because she felt like it. Nothing else to see here.

Next, in another dice roll, I’m picking the Jaguars to win on the road against Oakland. It’s not that I think Jacksonville is a better team – though I do like me some Gardner Minshew – so much as that I think the Raiders are sinking a bit. Stella’s not a big believer in Oakland either, but she thinks coach Jon Gruden will be able to lead his guys to victory over a less-than-stellar Jags squad. This one will boil down to which QB makes the fewest mistakes.

The second “WGAC?” game is Cleveland at Arizona. I picked the Browns to win their division back in August – whoops. Still, I have to think that they’ll be able to muster up something, particularly against this Cardinals squad. I’m guessing we’ll see a ton of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, which will play to Cleveland’s current strengths. Stella likes Arizona at home; she thinks that QB Kyler Murray is due for a breakout game and that this underperforming Browns D is just the place to find it. Expect both scoring and sloppiness in this one.

I’ve got another road winner in Minnesota, picking the Vikings to beat the Chargers in Los Angeles. Minnesota is competing for a playoff spot and need this win; while the receiving corps remains injury-riddled and star runner Dalvin Cook is less than 100%, I still like the Vikings to figure out a way to pull this one out against a star-crossed Chargers squad. Stella concedes L.A.’s bad luck, but also thinks we might see some fireworks courtesy of the Chargers backfield – she likes both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to go off. If they do – and if Philip Rivers can take care of the ball – the Chargers have it in the bag.

The Rams/Cowboys tilt is one that has the potential for some fireworks, as neither team’s defense has looked super impressive in recent weeks. I'm going with the Rams; while I  appreciate the hunger of the Cowboys, I've really liked what she’s seen out of Rams RB Todd Gurley, who has looked much more like the dominant force of a couple years ago. Jared Goff can sling it; if the Rams can avoid turnovers, they could take down the Cowboys in Dallas.Stella's taking the Cowboys at home; they know they have to win the division to make the postseason and this game would go a long way toward procuring that triumph. This is the time where Dak Prescott earns (or doesn’t earn) the lucrative extension we all think is coming. 

This Pittsburgh Steelers team has looked awfully interesting. I’m picking them to win in at home over the Bills. I like the Bills defense a lot, but think the Steelers will find ways to keep the score close and pull it out in the end. This game may well feature multiple turnovers on both sides; whoever best mitigates the damage will win. While Stella's not sure that Josh Allen is up for it, she thinks this is his time to shine. Time to step up. He won’t need to do much; the Bills defense is legit.

Finally, in the Monday night game, I went ahead and picked New Orleans to win at home over Indianapolis. Kind of a no-brainer for me – Drew Brees and company scored almost 50 against a good 49ers defense last week … a defense much better than Indy’s. Oh, and Michael Thomas is the best wide receiver on the planet. Stella, in perhaps her most inscrutable pick of the week, has gone with the Colts. She’s betting on a little bit of a letdown on the part of the Saints, plus a push from the Colts in an effort to get back into the postseason mix. It’ll be an upset, but one that she thinks is coming.

And that’s that. Eight games. We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out, but if I had to guess, I think it’ll still be pretty close at this time next week.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 12

NY Jets at BALTIMORE

Sunday, Dec. 15

NEW ENGLAND at Cincinnati

TAMPA BAY at Detroit

Chicago at GREEN BAY

HOUSTON at Tennessee

Denver at KANSAS CITY

Miami at NY GIANTS

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

SEATTLE at Carolina

JACKSONVILLE at Oakland

CLEVELAND at Arizona

MINNESOTA at LA Chargers

LA RAMS at Dallas

Atlanta at SAN FRANCISCO

Buffalo at PITTSBURGH

Monday, Dec. 16

Indianapolis at NEW ORLEANS

Week 14 record: 11-5

Season record: 128-78-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Thursday, Dec. 12

NY Jets at BALTIMORE

Sunday, Dec. 15

NEW ENGLAND at Cincinnati

TAMPA BAY at Detroit

Chicago at GREEN BAY

Houston at TENNESSEE

Denver at KANSAS CITY

MIAMI at NY Giants

PHILADELPHIA at Washington

SEATTLE at Carolina

Jacksonville at OAKLAND

Cleveland at ARIZONA

Minnesota at LA CHARGERS

LA Rams at DALLAS

Atlanta at SAN FRANCISCO

BUFFALO at Pittsburgh

Monday, Dec. 16

INDIANAPOLIS at New Orleans

Week 14 record: 9-7

Season record: 127-79-1

Last modified on Thursday, 19 December 2019 15:41

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