Let's just cut right through the intro. The Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Oakland Raiders for the second time in four weeks after losing the first matchup. The Chiefs need to win out for a playoff berth, and if they can't win this game at Arrowhead the whole team should be disbanded.
Onto the picks...
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-11.5)
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 27, Raiders 17
Kansas City can't stop the run and has not been getting much pressure on the quarterback lately. The offensive line is offensive, and the passing game is awful. Alex Smith needs to play better, check out of plays when he sees a blitz, and take a chance ever now and then. Hopefully, some of these things can happen.
Seth Keysor: Raiders 20, Chiefs 17
Until I see otherwise, I'm not going to believe the Chiefs can handle an aggressive defense sending blitzes and stunts. Let's not forget it was the Raiders who showed the whole country that very blueprint. Arrowhead could get burned to the ground after this one.
Clay Wendler: Chiefs 35, Raiders 10
No touchdowns to a wide receiver, but plenty of false hope. Two weeks left to fill Clark's pockets with Christmas money! Alex Smith jerseys on sale!
Matt Conner: Raiders 10, Chiefs 7
I am over my optimism. Lots of holes and the Raiders are playing like the inspired team of the two. I don't like it but I'll call the upset here.
Joel Thorman: Chiefs 28, Raiders 13
The Raiders lead the league in garbage touchdowns so they'll get one of those but the Chiefs will control this game.
Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams (-3.5)
This line is fascinating. Vegas is saying that on a neutral field, St. Louis (6-7) is a half-point better than Arizona (10-3). I'm very impressed by the Rams recent play with consecutive shutouts, but that is some serious lack of respect for the Cardinals. All that said, St. Louis will win and cover.
Pick: Rams 20, Cardinals 10
Pittsburgh Steelers at Atlanta Falcons (NO LINE)
Atlanta (5-8) is terrible and yet would host a playoff game if the postseason began today. Pittsburgh (8-5) is coming off a really nice win over Cincinnati and could vault itself into first place in the AFC North with a win and some help. However, is this not a game the Steelers have blown all season? I still say they find a way.
Pick: Steelers 33, Falcons 28
Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens (-14.5)
Baltimore (8-5) can smell the playoffs and an AFC North crown. Jacksonville (2-11) can smell another top pick and another wasted season. It will be a complete massacre.
Pick: Ravens 41, Jaguars 13
Green Bay Packers at Buffalo Bills (NO LINE)
Green Bay (10-3) is the best team in football right now. Buffalo (7-6) has a great defense but there is no way in hell that Kyle Orton keeps up with Aaron Rodgers. This game could be close early, but Green Bay will pull away and simultaneously crush Buffalo's postseason dream.
Pick: Packers 27, Bills 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-7)
This game is downright depressing. Tampa Bay (2-11) is worse than Justin Bieber and Carolina (4-8-1) has no business in a playoff race. I hope they both lose.
Pick: Panthers 20, Buccaneers 16, Football -50 years
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
This game should be a full-blown circus. Cleveland (7-6) appears to be getting the Johnny Football era underway, while Cincinnati (8-4-1) is impossible to predict in games like these. If Johnny Manziel plays well, the Browns will win. However, I think the Bengals find a way to frustrate him while Andy Dalton does just enough to win.
Pick: Bengals 23, Browns 16
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-7)
Houston (7-6) is not terrible, but it is not good enough to win this game. Indianapolis (9-3) won last week but played horrible football, so Andrew Luck and the boys will be motivated to play better. Additionally, a win here clinches the AFC South. It's going to happen.
Pick: Colts 37, Texans 24
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-9)
Miami (7-6) has to win this game to keep playoff hopes alive after losing to Baltimore. The problem is, New England (10-3) has not lost at home all season and is the top team in the AFC. The Patriots are not losing home-field advantage by losing to the Dolphins.
Pick: Patriots 34, Dolphins 20
Washington at New York Giants (-7)
At this point, the game should simply be awarded to New York (4-9). Washington (3-10) isn't even a franchise anymore. It's a stuffed suit in a luxury suite and a bunch of untalented, gutless guys in uniforms. The team should offer refunds.
Pick: Giants 44, Washington 0
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at San Diego Chargers
This should be a fun one to watch. Denver (10-3) can clinch the AFC West with a victory and it will find a way to get it. I can't picture San Diego (8-5) stopping Peyton Manning and a suddenly-potent running game with such a swiss cheese defense.
Pick: Broncos 31, Chargers 23
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (EVEN)
New York (2-11) and Tennessee (2-11) is simply horrifying. Both teams should try to lose, and God knows they will look like they are.
Pick: Titans 16, Jets 14
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-9.5)
Despite a solid record, Detroit (9-4) is fighting for its playoff lives. The Lions are not going to blow this game at home to Minnesota (6-7), although the Vikings are a frisky group. Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Zimmer look like a potentially formidable duo going forward, but not on Sunday.
Pick: Lions 30, Vikings 20
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10.5)
This is another line that jumps out at me. Who would have guessed a month ago that Seattle (9-4) would be a double-digit favorite over San Francisco (7-6)? Funny thing is, the line isn't high enough.
Pick: Seahawks 27, 49ers 6
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
Philadelphia (9-4) and Dallas (9-4) is absolutely the game of the week. The Eagles need to pray that Mark Sanchez doesn't screw them, while Tony Romo simply has to avoid the mistakes and hope DeMarco Murray can continue his magical season. This is going to be a great game, and Dallas is going to win with revenge in its heart.
Pick: Cowboys 28, Eagles 24
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) at Chicago Bears
New Orleans (5-8) and Chicago (5-8) are both embarrassments to the NFL. The Bears will probably win because they are at home, and the Saints vanish in the cold. Then again, Marc Trestman and Jay Cutler.
Pick: Saints 23, Bears 20