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Kibbles and Picks 2019 - Week 17

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It’s so close.

The end of this whole embarrassing stretch is within reach. With just the season’s final week to be played, I have a solid four-game lead on Stella, a lead that carried forward from the previous week thanks to the matching 10-6 marks Stella and I put up.

Obviously, it’s all in good fun, but let’s be real – consistently being slightly worse at picking football games than a dog is something wears on you. Particularly when knowing about football is a part of your job. A small part, sure, but still – part of the job.

So to be this far along in this grand experiment, to have gone through six seasons prior to this one, and to have come out on top exactly once (and that was in the second year – I’ve lost the last four) is both hilarious and sad. But with a four-game lead, my victory seems imminent.

But a loss isn’t impossible, with Week 17 yet to be played. And there’s room to move, with Stella and I differing on seven of the week’s contests. It would take a borderline miracle for her to pull enough to move ahead. At worst, she’s have to go 6-1 to seize the win. Basically, as long as I’m right on at least two of those seven games, I win for the season.

So let’s see what we’ve got.

First up, we have the Jets/Buffalo game. I went with the Bills to win at home, though if they decide to sit the stars in advance of the playoffs, who knows what they’ll look like. Still, I like this defense a lot against a Jets team that has struggled offensively. Stella thinks that the Bills will be checked out; this game means nothing to them. She’s no huge fan of the Jets, but she’s counting on this team trying to close out the season with a win. The Jets will be trying, the Bills not so much; she thinks that’ll be the difference.

Next, the Battle of Ohio! I’m picking Cleveland to go into Cincinnati and beat the Bengals. I like the Browns and their talent considerably more than Cincy’s roster; these guys are going to want to go out strong. I’m guessing Nick Chubb goes off, but it could be Odell Beckham or Kareem Hunt or somebody else just as easily. Stella thinks the Bengals will play hard; the team has the first-overall pick locked in, so the win won’t hurt them. It’s a matter of pride – she thinks Andy Dalton will want to go out big in what may be his last game in a Bengals uniform.

I’ve got Oakland winning against the Broncos in Denver, though if I had to be honest, I couldn’t really tell you why. The Raiders have been feisty at times this season; even without running back Josh Jacobs, I still have a hunch about them. Stella doesn’t care about my hunch; she’s unimpressed with the Broncos, but even less impressed with Oakland. She thinks that Denver will not only handle their business at home, but do so with relative ease.

Speaking of hunch picks, this next one might be my biggest of the week. I’ve got Jacksonville winning at home against the Indianapolis Colts. It feels weird to pick the Jaguars to beat a team that I consider to be significantly better, but I have a feeling. Something tells me the Jags are going to take it. Stella scoffs at this nonsense (and with fair reason) and feels VERY comfortable picking the Colts. She likes what Jacoby Brissett and company bring to the table – particularly against the lowly Dolphins.

As for Pittsburgh/Baltimore, well … who knows? I’m well aware that the Ravens will be resting everybody to help them get right before the playoffs, but I still think that there’s enough talent on the Ravens roster to hold off the Steelers, who have been more lucky than good this season. I’m going with my gut on this one. Stella thinks that’s all nonsense; she has little doubt that the Steelers will win with ease. She’s not expecting a high-scoring game, but she does anticipate a Pittsburgh W.

I like the Titans to leave it all on the field and take down the Texans in Houston. I think that Ryan Tannehill and company will pull out all the stops with the Titans still having a shot at the playoffs. A team that motivated against a team that may not have any reason to play the starters? I have to go with the hungry squad, road team be damned. Stella likes Houston, though she’s uneasy about it; if the Texans decide to underplay or outright sit their stars, she’s much less enthused about the pick. If Houston benches everyone, she reserves the right to disavow this call.

And finally, in the regular season’s final game, I have the Seahawks holding off the 49ers and winning at home. Yes, the Seattle running game – a huge part of their success – is decimated, with Chris Carson and Rashad Perry hurt and Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to suit up for the Seahawks. Russell Wilson will be able to throw against the San Francisco secondary. Stella’s not buying it; she’s liked this Niners defense all season and expects they’ll have no trouble handling a Seattle offense missing two of its most dynamic pieces. She also thinks QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco running game will put up some numbers against the somewhat iffy Seahawks D.

Again – not trying to count chickens and whatnot, but I’m feeling good about things. It would have to be an epically bad slate of picks on my part to even make it close (not that that is outside the realm of possibility) – and I don’t think these picks are bad. I think I’m going to win.

Stella concedes nothing.

(winners in caps)

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ALLEN’S PICKS

Sunday, Dec. 29

NY Jets at BUFFALO

CLEVELAND at Cincinnati

GREEN BAY at Detroit

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

Chicago at MINNESOTA

Miami at NEW ENGLAND

ATLANTA at Tampa Bay

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

Washington at DALLAS

Oakland at Denver

Arizona at LA RAMS

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

Indianapolis at JACKSONVILLE

Pittsburgh at BALTIMORE

TENNESSEE at Houston

San Francisco at SEATTLE

Week 16 record: 10-6

Season record: 151-87-1

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STELLA’S PICKS

Sunday, Dec. 29

NY JETS at Buffalo

Cleveland at CINCINNATI

GREEN BAY at Detroit

LA Chargers at KANSAS CITY

Chicago at MINNESOTA

Miami at NEW ENGLAND

NEW ORLEANS at Carolina

Washington at DALLAS

Oakland at DENVER

Arizona at LA RAMS

PHILADELPHIA at NY Giants

INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville

PITTSBURGH at Baltimore

Tennessee at HOUSTON

SAN FRANCISCO at Seattle

Week 16 record: 10-6

Season record: 147-91-1

Last modified on Saturday, 28 December 2019 01:44

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