I probably got you to click on this link with that title, right? Classic.
Do I actually think Carolina, a sub-.500 team without an offensive line, is going to the Super Bowl? Maybe. But I’ve never been more confident in a single game than I am in the Panthers winning beating the Falcons today.
With a win against the Dirty Birds, the Panthers will head to the to the playoffs for the sixth time in playoff history. They have never been eliminated in the Wild Card round before and have a 6-5 all-time record.
The Falcons, on the other hand? They have the fourth-worst winning percentage in NFL history. Fourth-worst! Only the listless Lions, the only team to go 0-16, the 13-year old Texans, and creamsicle Buccaneers are worst.
Never before have I been more confident in an NFL pick. Never, I say. I would bet the Charlotte Hornets franchise, Cam Newton’s healthy vertebrae, and the Charlotte Checkers’ 1994-95 Calder Cup on it. Plus the Cats are 3-point underdogs? Please.
Am I riding a high off reading Scott Fowler’s Tales from the Carolina Panthers Sideline (buy it on Amazon here)? Maybe. Am I worried that the Falcons’ 32nd-ranked pass defense may be underrated? No (ha!).
The Panthers are perfectly set up for another Super Bowl run. They’ll be gifteed the gimpy Cardinals in the first round (redeeming the worst playoff game I’ve ever seen), take down the Lions in the Division round (who they easily dispensed of in Week 2), and then easily beat Dallas when they go full Romo (you never go full Romo).
This isn’t my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week. This is my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century.
Oh, and Matt Ryan can’t win big games.
As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:
Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.
Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.
KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.
Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:
Lions (+7.5) over PACKERS
For a game with so much on the line (a bye and potentially home field advantage in the playoffs), I am incredibly uninterested in this game. Take that, Midwest!
Browns (+13.5) over RAVENS
Which was more unlikely 12 months ago: Justin Forsett being the 6th-leading rusher in the league or Connor Shaw being a starting NFL quarterback?
Jets (+6.5) over DOLPHINS
Weird stuff happens in Week 17, especially in games with nothing on the line. Just take the points.
Rams (+11.5) over SEAHAWKS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17.
Raiders (+14) over BRONCOS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17, part II.
Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:
Colts (-7.5) over TITANS
It’s almost time to switch the weekly “things still better than the Jaguars” feature to “things still better than the Titans,” but it’s just too much fun making fun of Jacksonville.
PATRIOTS (-6) over Bills
What do you think Bill Belichick would enjoy more than making sure the Bills don’t have their first winning season in a decade?
Bears (+7) over VIKINGS
I know there’s a usual rule of never betting on Jimmy Clausen, but I’m not giving up a touchdown for a team that allowed Ryan Tannehill to throw for nearly 400 yards.
Saints (-4.5) over BUCCANEERS
Hey, remember when pundits thought the Bucs would be a .500 team?
NINERS (-6.5) over Cardinals
I’m not sure who is going to be sadder: The Niners without Jim Harbaugh or Harbaugh stuck at Michigan.
KFC Double Down Games:
TEXANS (-7.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. The NBA’s Christmas Day jerseys
2. Kansas City’s wide receivers
3. Mitch Albom columns
4. Shaq’s weird Christmas tradition
5. Josh Smith’s shooting
6. Kevin Garnett’s blowing
7. Kevin Garnett’s trash talking
8. Kevin Garnett’s biting
9. Kevin Garnett’s grace
10. Kevin Garnett’s acceptance of how others choose to dress themselves
Chargers (+2) over CHIEFS
Did you know that Philip Rivers is 8-0 in Week 17? #math
STEELERS (-3.5) over Bengals
Did you know that Ben Roethlisberger is also 8-0 in Week 17? #math
Cowboys (-5.5) over INJUNS
Washington is just an unmitigated disaster. This Washington Post article is just illuminating.
Eagles (+1) over GIANTS
I still pick Jordan Matthews over Odell Beckham Jr. Always go with your gut over your brain.
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century:
Panthers (+3) over FALCONS
Go read the intro.
Overall Record: 113-121-5
Last 5 Weeks: 34-44-1
Apple Total: -110
Apple Total Last 5 Weeks: -115