I know what you're thinking, and let me tell you that there is no need to thank me! You're very welcome!
After a six week slide that saw me picking games at a positively Chris Berman-ian clip, here I come, just in time for that last minute holiday shopping, putting money in your pocket! A 5-1 week last week, and with two weeks left in the NFL regular season and a ton of seemingly predictable bowl games, the "Run Back to .500" (yeah, I'm giving it proper noun status!) is entirely do-able.
So let's get the Christmas weekend best bets, because nothing says "celebrating the birth of Jesus" like going 6-0 in our football picks for the weekend!
EAGLES -3 over Redskins
Do we really think Kirk Cousins is going to win three games in a row? Do we really think Kirk Cousins is going on the road and clinching the division himself? Do we really think that, in a week where Cousins trademarked "YOU LIKE THAT! YOU LIKE THAT!", the football gods aren't going to make him throw four picks? I'm not a Cousins guy.
CARDINALS -4.5 over Packers
This is a highly meaningful game for seeding purposes in the NFC. The Cardinals are 12-2 and the Packers are 10-4. The Cards can clinch a first round bye with a win here, and if the Panthers lose in their early game, the Cards are still in the mix for best record in the NFC. The Cardinals have been the most consistent two way team over the last two months of the season, and I can't believe I;m saying this, but I feel better about Carson Palmer than I do Aaron Rodgers right now.
Steelers -10 over RAVENS
The Steelers are an offensive buzzsaw right now, having just sliced and diced the Denver Broncos top rated defense for 34 points last weekend, and most of those came after the Steelers trailed 27-10 and, theoretically, had to be more predictable. It didn't matter. Big ben is in a zone right now, and the Ravens are starting Jimmy Clausen....unless they go to Ryan Mallett. Read that last sentence. I'm telling you, this Flacco injury has been a Christmas miracle! (Sorry, Joe.)
Texans whatever-the-number over TITANS
The Texans have had a ton of misfortune, some bad luck and some self-inflicted, at the quarterback position, and they could be starting their fourth QB of the year at some point here soon, but the fact of the matter is they managed to make it through the AFC South without facing Andrew Luck or Marcus Mariota. The Titans' starting Zach Mettenberger is like putting a big huge bow on the AFC South title. They may as well have Mettenberger deliver a huge cardboard check to the Texans that says "AFC SOUTH TITLE" on it.
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Pitt +3 over Navy (Military Bowl)
I realize the game is being played on Navy's home turf, and the bowl is even named after them, in a way. But removing all those things from the mix, and looking strictly at football, the weakness for Pitt is their pass defense, and Navy hardly throws the ball at all. Pitt's run defense is ranked 20th in the nation. Also, having multiple weeks to prepare for Navy's triple option will be huge for the Panthers and head coach Pat Narduzzi.
Memphis +4 over Auburn (Birmingham Bowl)
It's always hard to gauge what these coaching changes mean for teams, such as Memphis head coach Justin Fuente leaving for Virginia Tech or Auburn DC Will Muschamp leaving for the head job at South Carolina. I just know that Auburn probably has zero desire to be here, and Memphis will be wanting to cap off a special season with yet another win over an SEC school. (What up, Ole Miss?)
Last Week: 5-1
Season Record: 43-52-1
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.