It is an unprecedented week for the NFL. Here we are in mid-December and nearly half – seven to be exact – of the games match up teams playing .500 or better football.
So don’t expect the 2-11 Jaguars playing at 5-8 Miami to get much national attention. For the record, the Jaguars game isn’t the biggest stinker of the mostly otherwise glorious week for the NFL. That distinction belongs to the Kansas City-Oakland game, two teams battling the Jaguars for the No. 1 pick in next April’s draft. Their combined record is 5-21.
I expect the Jaguars to stay in the thick of the race for that No. 1 pick. Although they play better on the road, better is a relative term. This is the worst team in Jaguars history and there are no sign of things getting better this season. The stress of trying to mold them into a competent team likely was a factor in Coach Mike Mularkey spending part of Monday in the hospital.
Mularkey’s stress won’t improve this Sunday. I see the Dolphins winning. Why would anyone at this point expect the Jaguars to win? Maybe having Chad Henne at quarterback will help because he’s so familiar with his former team, but, remember, the Dolphins know all about Henne as well.
It won’t be pretty to watch. The Jaguars are guilty of not only being a bad team, but a boring team as well. The Dolphins are favored by 7. Sounds about right. Miami 17, Jaguars 10.
It is difficult to pick the headliner among the highly regarded games. I’m going with San Francisco (9-3-1) at New England (10-3). It could be a preview of the Super Bowl. I like the Patriots, favored by 5, at home, 30-24.
The most meaningful game is Indianapolis (9-4) at Houston (11-2). A victory puts the Colts in the playoffs only a year after going 2-14 and strengthens Indy QB Andrew Luck bid not only as rookie of the year but MVP as well. The Texans, a somewhat puzzling 9½-point favorite, are battling self doubt after a blowout loss at New England, but I like them to win, 35-28.
Speaking of self doubt, the Falcons are 11-2 but all they’re hearing is how they’ve never won a playoff game with Coach Mike Smith and QB Matt Ryan. They won’t feel better about themselves after the visiting Giants (8-5), 1-point underdogs, win 24-17.
The grudge match of the week has Green Bay (9-4) visiting the Bears (8-5). The Packers are favored by 3, but I like the Bears in an upset, 24-21.
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