You'd think I'd have a handle on picking games by this point in the season, but alas, I had to get the final two games right just to go 8-8 last week.
I was in a few pools before, similar to The Mining Journal one we run in a full-page advertisement on Tuesdays in the newspaper, and came up with a few goofy strategies, like making all my picks then reversing them. But that seemed pretty dumb, because no one in their right mind would pick the worst team in the league to win a road game playing the best team.
Then I tried making my picks, then selecting half of them I was most confident in, and reversing all the rest. That worked well for one week, then it went horribly wrong.
So I'm stuck just hoping my picks turn out for the best. And as someone once reminded me, most of you out there find it a whole lot more entertaining when I crash and burn anyway.
With a quick glance of this week's schedule, all I can say is there should be plenty of holiday entertaining going on, even for the parakeets who are trying to read this at the bottom of their cages:
Today, 8:20 p.m.
Cincinnati at Philadelphia - Is nothing sacred anymore? I just anointed Philly the worst team in the league and they go out and win last weekend.
Between Cincy needing this game to have a chance at the playoffs and the Eagles satisfied now that they won't end the season with a double-digit losing streak, Bengals, 24-20.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Green Bay at Chicago - No one addresses team depth in their preseason predictions, and the Bears are showing they have a lot less of it than Green Bay as the injury bug has hit both teams. Packers, 27-21.
N.Y. Giants at Atlanta - Two first-place teams on bumpy rides lately. Both, though, seem to struggle more on the road than at home, and I imagine the dome gets loud for visitors. Falcons, 28-24.
Denver at Baltimore - While changing offensive coordinators may help, how does that address the Ravens' now-porous defense when it's attacked by a well-oiled machine with Peyton Manning at the controls? Broncos, 42-31.
Washington at Cleveland - It's foolish for Washington to play quarterback Robert Griffin III if it could threaten his career, especially because fellow rookie Kirk Cousins did an admirable job in overtime last weekend. And because there isn't too much of a falloff with the ex-Michigan State QB, Redskins, 19-14.
Indianapolis at Houston - Those pass rushers in Houston are licking their wounds after what New England did to them Monday night. Watch out, Andrew Luck. Texans, 30-16.
Jacksonville at Miami - Two teams stuck in reverse, but it's the Jaguars that an even an experienced auto mechanic would find hard to get unstuck. Dolphins, 20-9.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans - Just for pride at home. Saints, 40-27.
Minnesota at St. Louis - Typical of mediocrity, six of Minnesota's seven wins have come in its indoor home. Its only road win was also indoors, at Detroit's Ford Field, and this game will be played in the Edward Jones Dome. Vikings, 27-26.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Detroit at Arizona - The only thing as decimated as Detroit's secondary is Arizona's quarterback. With Calvin Johnson blowing away the NFL record with 27 catches in one game, Lions, 38-28.
Seattle vs. Buffalo - Since this game is being played in Toronto, I'm wondering if they're using three downs or four, the 55-yard-line as midfield and whether a rouge counts for one point. Just in case they are, Seahawks, 18-1.
Carolina at San Diego - Betcha didn't know that the Panthers ended a 13-game losing streak on Sunday against Atlanta. No, not in the win column, but in the pregame coin toss. Here's to two in a row with the coin, but by the end of the game, Chargers, 23-20.
Pittsburgh at Dallas - They'll be talking about the these teams past battles in the Super Bowl, just to deflect attention from their current problems. I think Dallas has more, so Steelers, 27-17.
Kansas City at Oakland - Two more teams better off living in the past. Raiders, 13-9.
Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
San Francisco at New England - Doesn't New England coach Bill Belichick eat inexperienced quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick for lunch? Although I hate it when he licks his fingers afterward. Patriots, 33-24.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
N.Y. Jets at Tennessee - The Jets must be crowing about their two-game win streak. Just don't expect them to tell you it was by playing Jacksonville and Arizona, scoring 24 points total in those games. Titans, 24-16.
Last week - 8-8, 50 percent. Season, 128-79-1, 62 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.