USA About: Ravens Publish: 12/21/2021 Edit: 12/21/2021 Author: Gardener
I just finished a zoom call with Santa and I have good news: it seems each of you made the lovely list this year, so you're getting my week 16 picks as a gift! For me, the best thing about the holidays is that I can enjoy my favorite Christmas drink, which is known to be eggnog and tequila. Basically, I took the two things I like to drink most during the holidays and mixed them together. At Christmas, taste doesn't matter, you just need something to get you through the holiday season with your family and it definitely will. This drink is also a good mix for any Bears fan in need of something to numb the pain of the 2021 season. Okay, I'll stop talking about eggnog and tequila so we can get to the picks. I would also say I'll stop talking about the bears but I can't because I have to choose their game this week. Before we get into week 16 picks, here's a quick reminder that you can check out any NFL expert's weekly picks from CBSSports.com by clicking here. If you enjoy clicking things, I highly recommend that you also click here so you can sign up for CBSSports.com's NFL newsletter, which I send out four days a week. If you've forgotten to get someone a Christmas present, just sign up for the newsletter. I also have another present for you that isn't actually a present, but it's a podcast by Will Brinson and me going through the biggest games of week 16, which arguably is better than a present. Okay, let's get to the vacation version of the picks and I promise I didn't drink eggnog and tequila while I was writing. I'm not sure what's on Mike Vrabel's Christmas list, but I guess he really wants Santa Claus to give him a healed foot for Derrick Henry because the Titans Offensive has been a disaster since their star running back went under is. I don't think Santa Claus is delivering feet because that would be strange, but maybe he's making an exception in this case because the titans are desperate. The Titans offensive has gotten progressively worse since Henry dropped out of the season in Week 8, and the past four weeks have been particularly ugly. The Titans have been playing 1-3 since week 11 and I'm not even sure if a win counts technically because it came up against a team (Jaguar) that fired its coach three days later. As bad as the Titans' offense was, it could actually get worse this week. For one thing, Julio Jones left Sunday's game with an Achilles tendon injury, so there is no guarantee he will be able to play a game with a three-day break. J. Brown is eligible to come out of injured reserve this week but there is no guarantee that he will end up playing in the game. The Titans have played roughly eight quarters this season with all three of their main offensive players (Henry, Jones and Brown) sidelined at the same time, and they averaged 6.5 points per game. I'm not saying you can't win if you have an average of 6.5 points per game, but that's like asking Santa Claus to deliver all of his gifts on a night when three of his reindeer are positive for COVID have been tested. It all boils down to the fact that if Tennessee's defense doesn't play perfect football, the Titans can't win, and even if they play perfectly they still can't win. I mean, they played a near-perfect game against Pittsburgh on Sunday and somehow still managed to lose (The Steelers only had 168 yards offensive, which was the lowest total of any winning team in the NFL that year). I think the Titans need a Christmas Miracle to win this game and I'm just not sure if they'll get it. If I were the Cardinals I would ask the NFL to postpone this game, not because of COVID, but because I don't want to show my face in public for at least two weeks after losing to the Lions. If Kliff Kingsbury needs something for Christmas, he might want to ask Santa to get rid of Bye Week in the NFL. For the past three seasons, Kingsbury's pre-bye record was 17-11-1 (.603 win percentage), but his post-bye record is an ugly 6-11 (.353). We saw this game last year when the cards went 5-2 before their bye, only to collapse completely after their week off by going 3-6 down the track. That being said, Kyler Murray has tried to insist that this year isn't the same as last year and that there won't be a breakdown. I want to believe Murray, but I can't trust anyone who just lost to the Lions. Since their departure in Week 12, the Cardinals have been 1-2 and in those three games they give up 115 yards per game on the floor, which isn't ideal considering they're going to be dealing with the best running backs in soccer on Saturday. I'll say it crosses the century mark and the Colts end up having a Murray Christmas, as they say when you beat Kyler Murray on Christmas Day. The last time these two teams met came back in week 7, although Ravens fans probably can't remember much of that game because I suspect they have already pushed the memory of it off. My therapist tells me that repressing memories is not good for you, but this advice could actually be completely made up because when I say "therapist" I am really just talking about someone who happened to be in line in front of me to aim the other day. Anyway, the Bengals beat the Ravens 41:17 in October and the only big thing that has really changed since that game is the fact that the Ravens have even more injuries than they did back then, which doesn't even seem possible. because they had a lot of injuries back then. The Ravens quarterback missed week 15 with an ankle injury and even if he plays on Sunday he probably won't be 100%. This time around, they won't have Humphrey and they might miss some other key starters too, making it difficult to imagine a situation where they'll slow the Bengals offensive. The Ravens' defensive situation was so bad by week 15 that even the team's general manager's wife couldn't do anything but make a joke about it, and a pretty good joke at that. If this turns into a shootout you have to like the Bengals' odds against a depleted Baltimore defense. On the flip side, the Ravens offensive is led by either a hobbling Jackson or a backup quarterback (Tyler Huntley) as they battle a Bengals defense that kept them down to just 17 points last time. While the Bengals have a long history of suffocating in big games, they have actually won a ton of them this season, which is good as this is by far the biggest game the Bengals have played at home since at least the 2015 season . For some reason, I don't think they're going to screw this up. The fact that the Rams game against Seattle has been postponed to Tuesday this week is a good and a bad thing for Los Angeles. The upside is that all the players on their COVID list had an extra two days in which to potentially record a negative test that could potentially allow them to play against the Seahawks. The downside, however, is that the Rams now only have four days to prepare for their game against the Vikings. The real downside is the fact that the Rams have to fly across half the country on Christmas Day. I mean, have you ever been to an airport on vacation? It's like "The Hunger Games" meets "Jingle All the Way" meets "Passenger 57". Well, I know the Rams' trips are chartered, but let's face it, anyone who spends any time at an airport for Christmas is automatically at a psychological disadvantage if they do everything for at least the next eight days while mentally recovered from what he's been doing. Speaking of the psychological cons, Matthew Stafford could be one in Minnesota, and that's because he doesn't seem to have any idea how to defeat the Vikings. The Vikings are very familiar with Stafford due to his time in the NFC North and whenever they played Stafford they almost always won. In fact, Stafford is 0-6 in his last six games against Minnesota. Sure, the Rams have a much more talented team than anything Stafford has ever had in Detroit, but the advantage to the Vikings is that they know all of Stafford's tricks. One thing the Vikings likely know about Stafford is that if he gets nervous, he doesn't play well. There have been five games this year in which Stafford has been sacked multiple times and the Rams are 2-3 in those games. The reason that is noteworthy is that this season Stafford is facing the defense that sacked the NFL lead. The Vikings have 44 bags a year, which is pretty insane considering 12 teams in the NFL don't even have 30 bags this season. The Vikings have played 14 games this year and 13 of those have been decided by score and I expect this will be no exception. The last time we saw these two teams out on the field together, they were basically playing in a hurrinado, a word I've never used in my life but I use it now because it's the only one that is accurate describes what these two teams had to play through in week 13. I don't have that night's weather report in front of me, but the Patriots beat the Bills 14-10 in a game I'm pretty sure the wind is blowing at speeds of up to 700 mph. This was also the game the Patriots basically did every game in, and to be honest, I think half the reason for that is because they decided to set fire to the mating section of their playbook in order to watch the Sideline to stay warm. There won't be a hurrinado this time and I know that because I've just checked. The weather forecast for Foxborough on Sunday is 40 degrees and sunny, which at that time of the year is basically beach weather for that part of the country. The Bills had one of the best defenses in football that year: They gave up the fewest yards and the second fewest points, so I wouldn't be surprised if they kept the Patriots below 20 points. The biggest question in this game is whether the Bills offensive will be able to move the ball onto a Patriots defense, which has given up the fewest points in the NFL this year. When it comes to choosing this game, my puzzle is that I think the Bills have a slightly more talented team, but I think the Patriots have a little better coaching so I'm not sure what to do here . You know what, I'm going to take a quick swig of my tequila and eggnog and think about it. The offense of the Bills played as poorly as possible in the first game and Buffalo STILL almost won. This time around, I think Josh Allen will play a little better which will result in the Bills taking revenge and winning. Best Choice: Last week I predicted the Bills would score 31 points if they beat the Panthers, so guess what? The Bills scored 31 points in a win over the Panthers. If you haven't seen this game, and I suspect you haven't seen it because it only went to about 1.7% of the land, then you missed the Panthers who were holding what was possibly the saddest kicker tryout ever. After Zane Gonzalez went down with a pre-game injury, the Panthers needed a kicker, so they set up an impromptu tryout session with a running back, wide receiver, and linebacker, and the tryout session went just like you had imagined it. Worst Pick: Last week, I picked the Patriots to beat the Colts, and if you've watched the game, you've probably noticed that the Patriots definitely didn't win. I'm not one to apologize for my bad picks, but let's face it, this game was played on a Saturday and Saturday games shouldn't count towards your picking record. It would be like having a taco Tuesday on a Friday. Nobody wants Taco Tuesday on a Friday. If you've ever wondered which teams I'm good at picking, here's a quick look: Teams I was the best at picking this year: Texans (12-2), Colts (11-3), Jaguars (11 -3), dolphins (11-3), packers (11-3), rams (11-3), bears (11-3), steelers (10-3-1). Longest current run in the correct selection of a team's games: Bears (eight games in a row correctly selected) Teams that I picked worst this year: Washington (4-9), Cardinals (5-9), Saints (5 -9), Titans (6-8) Longest active streak of wrong selection of games on a team: Cardinals (two games in a row wrongly selected) Happy Holidays everyone and don't forget, if you need a gift idea at the last minute, just get them all in your family a DVD copy of "Fast Five". You'll love it, and my royalty check will go up next month so everyone wins. And to be honest, I should also win an award for my picks against last week's spread. Directly in week 15: 9-5 with remaining games from Tuesday SU total: 138-83-1 Against the spread in week 15: 10-4 with remaining games from Tuesday ATS total: 111-108-3 You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he doesn't do any of those things he's probably sipping an eggnog tequila.
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