Let’s get right to the action for this penultimate week to the 2014 regular season… 

Tennessee Titans (2-11) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) 
Look at the records and ask yourself if you were really interested in my thoughts for the winner.
PICK: OMITTED 

Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) @ Washington Redskins (3-11) 
No upset here, the Eagles still have much too much for the Redskins and are looking to turn around a two game slide. 
Pick: EAGLES 

San Diego Chargers (8-6) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-7) 
This one is going to be tough, but I’m going to pick the Chargers to end their winless drought on the road thanks to vintage Philip Rivers at QB 
Pick: CHARGERS 

Detroit Lions (9-4) @ Chicago Bears (5-9) 
The Lions are surging, beating the teams that they should for the last three weeks.  Benching Cutler as QB will not bring enough continuity to beat a league leading defense.   
Pick: LIONS 

Cleveland Browns (7-7) @ Carolina Panthers (5-8-1) 
A neophyte at NFL QB Manziel vs a QB returning from a car accident, Cam Newton.  The one thing that the Browns do well is force turnovers, but if the offense doesn’t stay on the field long enough they’ll get what happened last week, a loss.  Same story here. 
Pick: PANTHERS 

Atlanta Falcons (5-8) @ New Orleans Saints (6-8) 
The only thing worse than a Saints defense is the Falcons, which perplexes me because they each practice against an elite QB week after week.  Pick the Saints to seize and hold the division lead 
Pick: SAINTS 

Green Bay Packers (10-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) 
Expect Green Bay to win this one, no upset this week.  Aside from the Saints (who could still end up at .500) the Packers have not lost this year to a sub .500 team.
Pick: PACKERS 

Stay Tuned for more Picks!!!

D. Gulley for The Shop Report

I’ve made the obscure proclamation that I believe that Pacquiao will beat Mayweather in a match, until Mayweather decides to fight him.  Now, it appears closer to becoming a possibility.  But TBE must realize that his legacy, great as it is, needs Pacquiao while ‘Pac Man’s does not.  I’ve been rather hard on Mayweather in the past on this very topic; fight selection.  It’s the only flaw in his fighting style, if fight selection were ever to be considered a component of style.  Nonetheless, Mayweather has created this flaw for himself, at least when it comes to Manny Pacquiao and the best non-fight to have never happen (yet).

The Blame Game is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The following were the most persistent excuses for not having this fight:

    • Manny Pacquiao initially refused to agree to Olympic Style drug testing.
      Fueling speculation that the Pac Man packed something extra behind his punch, Manny initially refused to agree to such terms, which had never been placed on him by any previous opponent (even from his rival Juan Manuel Marquez).  For that matter, speculation of Pacquiao’s use of PHDs was not widespread until the accusations by Mayweather.  Though Manny eventually agreed to such terms, Pacquiao’s refusal for any duration should be a credit – not a discredit – to Mayweather’s claim.  Advantage – Mayweather
    • The two sides could not agree to purse split.
      Even though Pacquiao has relented his rather soft stance on the issue in recent days, he should have never done relented in the first place.  This is Mayweather’s fault exclusively, as Pacquiao never demanded more than 50% of the purse, never.  More on this later… Advantage – Pacquiao
    •  The fight can only be promoted by Showtime
      Here’s an argument that I can both understand and disagree.  Mayweather the boxer also has a heavy hand in his fight promotion and the deal he has with Showtime is the product this arrangement.  Manny Pacquiao is promoted by Bob Arum, one of many nemeses of Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and therefore Pacquiao has much less do to with promoting fights as Mayweather.  Consequently, Mayweather the promoter can claim that only Showtime can promote the boxer’s fights but the boxer terribly misguided in thinking that his opponent would not want to be represented by his promotion company. No Advantage – push.

Certainly, there could be many more, but there merely white noise when compared to these three fickle ideas that impede the biggest prizefight in sports history.

Mayweather initiates the value of the fight…

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.  Critics deride his purported ‘cherry-picking’ of opponents but there is a measure of consistency in each of his fights: Mayweather’s supreme skill.  Compubox numbers show better than I can tell that Mayweather is arguably the most highly skilled tactician ever seen in the sport.  He both lands and evades punches more often than all of his opponents.  What Compubox and no other statistical analysis cannot show is how Floyd always adjusts to a fighter during the fight.  Floyd Mayweather is Shang Tsung personified; if his default strategy is somehow not effective, he will use his opponent’s strengths against them (reference his matches against Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley).  This is why he’s unquestionably the best pound-for-pound and his matches, snoozers that they can be at times, are still a sight to see.  Fans, haters and everyone in between can actually watch a fighter show you how to box and protect yourself.  There is no part of his style that would be a risk to emulate, unlike volume punchers who are high risk-high reward (see Manny Pacquiao).  47 victories, no defeats, and always firmly in control of any situation makes him the ulitmate prize-fighter.  Among the many rewards for a prize fighter are many millions of dollars, which is something that Floyd so eagerly enjoys mentioning.  Add to this his arrogant persona, which makes many seethe to see him beaten and you have a certifiable drawing attraction.  This is why the boxing world is waiting to see what’s next for a fighter who has offered so much already and has one, possibly two, more achievements left to accomplish.

…but Pacquiao sustains the value of the fight

As previously stated, we are already aware of what Mayweather brings to a match, well too aware in fact.  When explaining why the two haven’t met, Floyd always regurgitates his body of work, undefeated streak, the win-loss record of Pacquiao and his earning power for each fight.  Yet these are the reasons why he hasn’t fought the next best fighter of his generation?  Manny Pacquiao’s body of work includes winning titles in 8 weight classes.  This feat can also be a latent reason for Mayweather’s PHD accusation lobbied against Pacquiao, as the record outdoes Mayweather’s titles in 5 different weight classes.  He is not undefeated, obviously, but two of his five losses to date include a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley, and a knockout loss to a rival Juan Manuel Marquez who was knocked down earlier in the fight and behind on the judges’ score cards until he rocked the Pac Man.  Nonetheless, he avenged the loss to Bradley and owns the career matchup over Marquez in four fights (which is why we don’t need to see this again).  Pacquiao is nothing if not exciting, and for fans of the action more than the sweet science of boxing, he delivers ten-fold.  He’s a volume puncher who’s increasingly becoming a smarter boxer.  Most significantly, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t have the stigma of dodging opponents in their prime.  Pacquiao didn’t wait long to meet Erik Morales once arriving in the weight class, and avenged his loss in their March 2005 bout only 10 months later.  Pacquiao scored a TKO against Miguel Cotto in 2009 a full 18 months before Cotto met Mayweather.  Aside from Ricky Hatton in 2008, none of the common opponents that Mayweather met first were in their prime (Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, Rafael Marquez in 2009 and Shane Mosley in 2010).  All told, the pound for pound rankings in the eyes of the public have remained Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao respectively, but it has been Floyd Mayweather pushing the discussion further down the road by fighter selection.

The peculiar mind of a multi-millionaire

Strangely, stretching the machine behind this super-fight makes some sense in Floyd’s case.  The frustration of the boxing world behind the non-fight thus far is because Manny has been recognized for years as the last guy left.  This would imply that as previously mentioned, Floyd’s body of work is largely completed if and when the fight happens.  And if so, then what?  Imagine if Mayweather and Pacquiao would have met in 2010 when originally planned, and Floyd won.   What interest would the public have in any of the subsequent fights; what about even a rematch between the two?  What interest would there be in Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero fight after Mayweather beat Pacquiao? Or, how about Mayweather vs Maidana the first time after a Mayweather victory over Pacquiao?  The difference in these fights occurring before and not after Pacquiao is millions (and The Rock means MILLIONS – check the WWE reference) of dollars.  Floyd would likely tell you that being the number one money earner and earning as much money as you can are in fact mutually exclusive.  Floyd Mayweather has become the highest earning athlete by having never fought the second biggest draw in the sport, Manny Pacquiao – a guy who arguably eclipses Mayweather’s popularity outside of the mainland USA.  So, the case of Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao may not be one of procrastination but of maturation, with an tremendous ROI at start that has amazingly gained interest several years after it would have peaked.  There has been no fighter or matchup able to “shale” the demand of a Mayweather-Pacquiao matchup, so it has not plummeted like oil in recent days.  Rather like gold over the last ten years, it has remained increasingly high.  It remained high because Mayweather kept winning, and Pacquiao kept bringing excitement.  For this reason, Floyd must understand that half of the value in this dream matchup is with Pacquiao, because he’s done his part to remain to sustain the interest.    Pacquiao deserves what two fighters would split.  Mayweather is more than welcome to finagle his “promotional” works into some revenue stream leading from this green lake.  Perhaps too, it annoys Mayweather that his pristine body of work is continually compared to Pacquiao’s which has lost some luster in recent years.  But testing one’s mettle and getting scarred is no excuse for refusing to reward a guy who has ultimately brought half the interest to the fight, no more but certainly no less.  This is why Pacquiao’s legacy is complete with or without a Mayweather match and Mayweather’s is…

The AFC has two teams that can clinch divisions this week in Denver and New England.  The AFC South was once a foregone conclusion is actually a race with the Texans and Colts meeting this week.  The NFC is still a huge mess with each division race separated by one game or less.  If you were waiting until the matches became relevant, then now is the time to tune in…

Arizona Cardinals (10-3) @ St. Louis Rams (6-7)

The Rams have a two game win streak versus teams in much worse shape, this is good for the Rams.  The Cardinals are a different story, far from hapless and close to clinching a division and a conference.  The difference though is the Cardinals top 5 INT total and rushing TDs allowed.  Defense wins championships…

PICK: CARDINALS

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

Look for Baltimore to win this one, Ravens run well and the Jaguars don’t defend well.

PICK: RAVENS

Houston Texans (7-6) @ Indianapolis Colts (9-4)

As potent as the Colts offense is, especially at home, the Texans are a never say die team that has already played the Colts tough earlier in the year.  But I like the Colts to continue winning today with Luck continuing to help T.Y Hilton firmly establish himself as a top tier receiver.

PICK: COLTS

Washington Redskins (3-10) @ New York Giants (4-9)

It appears that the Giants just have more effort and pride in the season that remains than the Redskins.  For that reason, they’ll look like the team of yester-year for the home fans

PICK: GIANTS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) @ Carolina Panthers (4-8-1)

You know, Tampa Bay is not actually eliminated from playoff contention just yet.  This is a tough one to call, but I think Derek Anderson is just the right quarterback for the Panthers to lose this game with.

PICK: BUCCANEERS

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-8)

It’s going to get ugly for the Falcons, as Big Ben doesn’t turn the ball over often and while they don’t rush for many touchdowns, they wear down the body of the defense like a champion boxer, then deliver knockout blows over the air.

PICK: STEELERS

Green Bay Packers (10-3) @ Buffalo Bills (7-6)

The Packers will win today in Buffalo, given their ability to force turnovers and score at will.  Rodgers is preparing for ring #2, and today will be a case-study on how they may get it.

PICK: PACKERS

Miami Dolphins (7-6) @ New England Patriots (10-3)

Three of Miami’s wins were against teams with a winning record; ALL of their losses were against teams with a winning record.  Today is not the day that they’ll turn the corner on that stat. New England will clinch a playoff birth and yet another division title

PICK: PATRIOTS

Oakland Raiders (2-11) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-6)

Oakland has really embraced the role of spoiler, and the Chiefs losing streak started when they met Oakland the first time.  The Chiefs need to return to form quickly, and I believe they will, at home.

PICK: CHIEFS

Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) @ Cleveland Browns (7-6)

Hard to believe but formerly Hoyer-led Browns and the Bengals are nearly identical in Rushing TDs, and Interceptions.  The Bengals reach the end-zone more frequently, but we don’t know (good or bad) about Manziel. However, Browns D leads the league in INTs and rushing TDs allowed.  All things considered…

PICK: BENGALS

New York Jets (2-11) @ Tennessee Titans (2-11)

I think the Titans win this game because they’re at home.  That’s all I got

PICK: TITANS

Denver Broncos (10-3) @ San Diego Chargers (8-5)

A win for Broncos clinches a division title and a win for the Chargers may only prolong the inevitable, but look for the Chargers to pull the upset in their last home game of the season.

PICK: CHARGERS

San Francisco 49ers (7-6) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-4)

The Seahawks did what surprised many in soundly containing the Eagles offense last week.  San Francisco is not looking too good, and Seattle is tuning up.

PICK: SEAHAWKS

Minnesota Vikings (6-7) @ Detroit Lions (9-4)
Pick the Lions to win with top tier defense that will frustrate the Vikings something terrible.

PICK: LIONS

Dallas Cowboys (9-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)

The Cowboys owe the Eagles some get backs on count of the Thanksgiving day embarrassment that the Eagles doled out.  Will it happen, I think so due to the Cowboys re-discovering their offensive identity against the unfortunate Bears.

PICK: COWBOYS

New Orleans Saints (5-8) @ Chicago Bears (5-8)

The Saints are polar opposites, among the league’s best offense yet worst defenses.  They practice against Brees every week, how can they struggle like this?  I like the Saints in this game because as bad as the Saints are at D, the Bears are worse, and the Saints have a QB that knows how to thrive when something is on the line, a playoff birth.

PICK: SAINTS

There you have it, folks! Enjoy your football weekend!

D. Gulley here with this weeks predictions . Playoffs are in the air, and the smell maybe the closest that some teams get. All these games are tougher because the records no longer matter to the outcome, as we’ve already seen last week. Prepare for much more of the same.

Dallas Cowboys (8-3) @ Chicago Bears (5-7)

The Cowboys need this victory so much more than it shows, and the challenge, while tougher than it looks is not quite like the Eagles.

PICK: COWBOYS

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) @ Cleveland Browns (7-5)

Regardless of who’s behind center, the Browns have the toughest matchup yet of their season.  The amplified angst that Hoyer’s starting instead of Manziel will only make matters worst.  Expect a WIN for the Browns, the enigma of the NFL

PICK: BROWNS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) @ Detroit Lions (8-4)

The Lions will win this game on the strength of the Lions D, which has allowed the fewest yards per game.  Interestingly enough, both teams rank in the bottom the league in offensive TDs.  Nonetheless, Detroit will win this one

PICK: LIONS

Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) @ New Orleans Saints (5-7)

I’ll give the edge to New Orleans, after a solid performance against Pittsburgh last week, I think that they’re ready to force themselves into the conversation for playoff contender. And like the 2012 Giants proved, 9-7 can win a Ring (can, but not likely)

PICK: SAINTS

Houston Texans (6-6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

I pick the Texans to win this week on the road and not make it close.

PICK: TEXANS

St. Louis Rams (5-7) @ Washington Redskins (3-9)

I like the Rams on the road today, though they have yet to win back-to-back games this season; look for that streak to end.

PICK: RAMS

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) @ Miami Dolphins (7-5)

This is one tough game to call.  The Dolphins currently own the playoff tie-breaker, but the Ravens don’t have as much a problem scoring as one would think.

PICK: RAVENS

New York Jets (2-10) @ Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

Minnesota has lost only 2 games to sub .500 teams, and there’s a reason why.  Minnesota’s problem is their offense, not their defense, and the Jets are in even worse shape.

PICK: VIKINGS

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) @ Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1)

Pick the Bengals to win this game and hold fast onto their lead in the AFC North.  The Bengals have figured themselves out and will continue the trend

PICK: BENGALS

New York Giants (3-9) @  Tennessee Titans (2-10)

The Giants have a slight advantage here, advantage being several of the 9 losses being tough.  They will win today.

PICK: GIANTS

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (9-3)

Both teams need to win to resolve confidence in themselves and keep the playoffs in sight.  While this is less of a problem for Arizona, the Chiefs are in a tie with virtually half the conference for a wild card spot.  Nonetheless, the Cardinals with Drew Stanton will play well at home and get a quality win at home, call it the Fitzgerald affect.

PICK: CARDINALS

Buffalo Bills (7-5) @ Denver Broncos (9-3)

Don’t let the records fool you; Buffalo as a tough defense and the Broncos haven’t looked as dominant as earlier in the season.  Home field advantage may prove with an even tougher test in the Broncos offense at home.  But give it to the Broncos

PICK: BRONCOS

San Francisco 49ers (7-5) @ Oakland Raiders (1-11)

Tough as the talk may be, the 49ers still have a better team.  Expect a big win in the Black Hole.

PICK: 49ers

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)

Tough offense versus a tough defense.  This is a tough one two pick but I think the Eagles win this in a dogfight.  They’ve really found and sustained an offensive identity that will be hard to stop going forward.

PICK: EAGLES

New England Patriots (9-3) @ San Diego Chargers (8-4)

I’ll pick the Patriots to win this tough one on the road; shame too, because I kinda want Philip Rivers to see some sustained post-season success and a loss will make it tougher to see that through.

PICK: PATRIOTS

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) @ Green Bay Packers (9-3)

The Packers are at home again and outlasted the Patriots in Lambeau last week.  The Falcons have been a completely different team since their bye week but this is one matchup that heavily favors a team with the skill to win.

PICK: PACKERS

So many games with playoff implications,  so many relevant matchups. And how about the AFC North with every team at 7 wins. Toughest Division in football.  Let’s get right to it.

Chicago Bears (5-6) @ Detroit Lions (7-4)

PICK OMITTED AS GAME COMPLETED BEFORE POSTING. (JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY)

Philadephia Eagles (8-3) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-3)

Pick the Cowboys to perch themselves atop the Division and solidify themselves as a true Super Bowl contender with a win today for no other reason than its a home game.

Pick COWBOYS

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) @ San Fransico 49ers (7-4)

The definitive rivalry of this era, two teams that have a disdain that runs close to personal.  The Seahawks will utilize Mr. Lynch to the fullest and win on the road.

Pick SEAHAWKS

Washington Redskins (3-8) @ Indianapolis Colts (7-4)

Colt McCoy, fearless and underrated, will lead the Redskins to a hard fought and tough loss against the Colts who have better at home then the Redskins on the road

Pick COLTS

Tennessee Titans (2-9) @ Houston Texans (5-6)

Houston is still alive (barely) in the playoff hunt and they are just now turning it up. Getting to 10-6 is both necessary and possible for the Texans with the Titans this week and two of their remaining six against Jacksonville. Here’s to a softer schedule..

Pick TEXANS

Cleveland Browns (7-4) @ Buffalo Bills (6-5)

One thing about the Browns is they the are no surprise, they do the good things well and the the bad things poorly.  Last week was a case in point, and this week Buffalo will be a stronger test for them, but one they should surpass if they hope to remain in the playoff hunt.

Pick BROWNS

San Diego Chargers (7-4) @ Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

Baltimore plays well at home this year, and Justin Forsett could break 1000 yds this week against a team that gives up about 100 yards per game.  Look for the Ravens to win this one fairly easily

Pick RAVENS

New York Giants (3-8) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)

Hard to pick games where neither team has anything to play for.  For the Giants, the effort vs Dallas last week is enough to show they have much more left in the tank.

Pick GIANTS

Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9)

Look for the Bengals to hold on to the Division lead with a win in the Big Pirate Ship as the Bengals only concern going into this game is making sure they can play within themselves.

Pick BENGALS

Oakland Raiders (1-10) @ St. Louis Rams (4-7)

Hard to pick a game when two teams have only pride to play for.  But the Rams have proven to be better than their record. Expect them to improve

Pick RAMS

New Orleans Saints (4-7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4)

The Steelers, fresh off a bye week face a Saints team that has not figured out how to beat this AFC North divison.

Pick STEELERS

Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-7)

The Vikings will win this Matchup of teams with only pride to play for.  Minnesota is at home and the Panthers aren’t the best defensive team by any stretch.

Pick VIKINGS

Arizona Cardinals (9-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-7)

The Cardinals stumbled a bit in a tough played loss last week. Atlanta also had a tough loss but to a arguably weaker Browns team. Cardinals will continue to prove their dominance of the league.

Pick CARDINALS

New England Patriots (9-2) @ Green Bay Packers (8-3)

Both teams are riding high but the Packers have a Swiss size hole in run defense that The Patriots look to exploit.

Pick PATRIOTS

Denver Broncos (8-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Denver has the Chiefs number, usually. That loss to Oakland is still heavy on their minds, hopefully not too heavy to remember that Peyton Manning does not like thinking under a rush

Pick CHIEFS

Miami Dolphins (6-5) @ New Jets (2-9)

Signing Vinny Testeverde is the only hope for the Jets to pull off another Monday Night Miracle. Actually,  this might not be a bad idea for the Jets.

Pick JETS

D Gulley from The Shop Report with this week’s NFL Picks.

As the playoff picture really starts to take shape, there are some who are already in grave danger of missing out.  Let’s see how week 12 looks for the teams.

Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) @ Oakland Raiders (0-10)

  • Against better judgment, I picked against the Chiefs last week vs the defending champs.  The Chiefs league best pass defense and punishing running attack should make themselves at home in the Black Hole keep the Raiders winless this week.

Pick CHIEFS

Cleveland Browns (6-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

  • Both of these teams are worse than they should be; the Browns had better exploit the league’s worst pass defense (especially with Josh Gordon’s return) because the running game may have a tough time against the top 10 run defense of the Falcons. I’m taking the Falcons.

Pick FALCONS

Tennessee Titans (2-8) @ Philadelphia Eagles (7-3)

  • Every game counts; and margin of error decreases at week 10.  Philadelphia and Chip Kelly know this – which is why they’ll win this one handily vs the Titans who had everything slip away (including their momentum) last Monday.

Pick EAGLES

Detroit Lions (7-3) @ New England Patriots (8-2)

  • The best overall defense in the league travels to Foxboro in what could quietly be a Super Bowl matchup.  I actually like the Lions to win this game in Foxboro.  Stranger things have happened (the tuck rule… oh wait…) Still, I’m going with the Detroit.

Pick LIONS  

Green Bay Packers (7-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-6)

  • The Vikings claimed Ben Tate off waivers from Cleveland this week and he plays running back; not corner back, or safety.  Aaron Rodgers is Green Bay’s quarterback.  See the problem that the Vikings haven’t solved?  Good for Tate to become a feature back, but wait until next week perhaps for it to spell a victory.

Pick PACKERS

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) @ Indianapolis Colts (6-4)

  • I have no idea what the Jaguars can do to mimic the Patriots who visited and thrashed the Colts last week in Lucas Oil Stadium.  Furthermore, I haven’t seen Luck and company ever play the same type of bad game two weeks in a row.

Pick  COLTS

Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) @ Houston Texans (5-5)

  • I’m struggling to figure out why the Bengals beat the Saints but won’t beat the Texans, I’d like to not make a gut feeling about this one.  Thank you Ryan Mallett, your running game and receiving core, and the front 4 on defense for bailing me out.

Pick TEXANS

New York Jets (2-8) @ Buffalo Bills (5-5)

  • This is going to be a bit of an emotional game for the city of Buffalo, where The Day After Tomorrow poured mountains of snow on the city and on a serious note, some people have died as a result.  This will be a rallying cry for the team to play Grade C football, which is all it takes to beat the Jets.

Pick BILLS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) @ Chicago Bears (4-6)

  • I’m going with the Bears and to continue to correct the ship, and win another one at home.

Pick BEARS

Arizona Cardinals (9-1) @ Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

  • I like the Seahawks to win this game at home, getting back to their old ways and figuring out how to win despite their lingering Lynch problem . Still, a loss this week doesn’t mean that the Cardinals aren’t still the best, it’s just that you can’t win them all.

Pick SEAHAWKS

St. Louis Rams (4-6) @ San Diego Chargers (6-4)

  • The Chargers need it more, and the playoff (and legacy) window is closing quicker by the week.  Expect the Chargers to defy the “Any Given Sunday” axiom and beat an inferior Rams team.

Pick CHARGERS

Miami Dolphins (6-4) @ Denver Broncos (7-3)

  • Since this is a home game for the Broncos, I expect that they’ll win this on that advantage alone.  Miami doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, but they don’t score a lot either.

Pick BRONCOS

Washington Redskins (3-7) @ San Franciso 49ers (6-4)

  • The only player more toxic on a team than Marshawn Lynch is for Seattle is RGIII for Washington. Compound that with a visit to San Francisco, with a league leading 16 interceptions and you have a victory for the Niners

Pick 49ERS

Dallas Cowboys (7-3) @ New York Giants (3-7)

  • Their team standings run parallel to each team’s progression.  The Cowboys are truly an elite team, and the Giants era of greatness is just about over.  The Giants do force a good deal of INTs but unfortunately, Eli Manning is giving them right back (if last week is any indication).

Pick COWBOYS

Baltimore Ravens (6-4) @ New Orleans Saints (4-6)

  • The Saints do not like the AFC North because they match up too well with them (reference losses to the Browns, and Bengals).  The Ravens are tougher than both of those teams, and I think Monday night will be another example, especially given the injury situation.

Pick RAVENS

BYE WEEK: Pittsburgh, Carolina

This is D_Gulley from The Shop Report making the picks this week, while Barbershop J is away.  Here’s my take on this weeks matchups…

Bills (5-4) @ Dolphins (5-4)

  • In September, a Bills-Dolphins matchup was not expected to be relevant for either one, let alone both, teams.  Alas, here we are.  Dolphins will get this one as the Bills continue to struggle with the enemy within (their division).

PICK DOLPHINS

Vikings (4-5) @ Bears (3-6)

  • The battle to get out of the NFC North cellar will prove futile for the bears against a Vikings team with a (long) shot to play in the post season.  Worse news for the Bears is that it’s a home game, where they’re 0-3.

PICK VIKINGS 

Texans (4-5) @ Browns (6-3)

  • Four weeks ago, a meeting against a winless Jaguars team proved to be a trap game for the Browns.  De ja Vu  – almost. This is a tough one, but the Browns have better options, given they have more options at the running game than one stellar Arian Foster.  Not to be overlooked are the Browns impressive D when it counts.

PICK BROWNS

Seattle (6-3) @ Kansas City (6-3)

  • This one is tougher to pick as both teams have been streaking lately.  I actually considered the Chiefs for a moment threw my self a challenge flag, and after review my pick is overturned.

PICK SEAHAWKS 

Atlanta (3-6) @ Carolina (3-6-1)

  • A late run starting with a win this week by either team could mean a good shot at narrowly missing the post season at best.  Carolina is best equipped for the task.

PICK PANTHERS

Cincinnati (6-3-1) @ New Orleans (4-5)

  • Look for the Saints to surge ahead of a winnable NFC South at home by confusing the reeling Bengals in an easy win

PICK SAINTS

Tampa Bay (1-8) @ Washington (3-6)

  • Washington – that’s it

PICK REDSKINS

Denver (7-2) @ St. Louis (3-6)

  • Another exhibition of greatness of Manning as well as the Broncos D, another easy win

PICK BRONCOS

San Francisco (6-4) @ NY Giants (3-6)

  • Look for the 49ers (without Patrick Willis) to win soundly here, despite other off-field distractions

PICK 49ERS

Oakland (0-9) @ San Diego (5-4)

  • Unfortunately for the Raiders, the season still isn’t over, and neither are the losses for a tragically talented team especially against a Chargers team that needs to end a losing streak to save a season

PICK CHARGERS

Philadelphia (7-2) @ Green Bay (6-3)

  • Expect the Packers to hold serve at home and mightily affect Sanchez ability to run the Eagles offense; that and Aaron Rodgers looking Better than the Super Bowl year of 4 seasons ago, which is scarier than Peyton’s current run

PICK PACKERS

Detroit (7-2) @ Arizona (8-1)

  • This has upset written all over it – Stanton will do just fine in his first start against a game Lions team riding a streak.

PICK CARDINALS

New England (7-2) @ Indianapolis (6-3)

  • New England will exploit the porous pass defense of the Colts to win this entertaining game – yes I know it the Colts, I know they’re at home, and I know that Luck is they’re quarterback.

PICK PATRIOTS

Pittsburgh (6-4) @ Tennessee (2-7)

  • There’s nothing about the Steelers’ loss last week to the Jets that tells me Tennessee will win at home.  Pittsburgh will resume their winning ways and serve notice to the rest of the league (especially their division) that they’re not done yet

PICK STEELERS

BYE WEEK: Dallas, NY Jets, Jacksonville, Baltimore

If you think the first  half of the current NFL season were a sight to behold,  you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  There may be a couple of 10-win teams that don’t make the playoffs, and some new kids on the block as well.  Here are the week 10 predictions:

 

Browns @ Bengals:  If the Browns are going to make the post-season, they must beat the Natti and use Crowell in the screen game from here on out. PICK:  Browns

 

Chiefs @ Bills:  This is as good as it gets for a matchup this late in the season; Bills and Chiefs?!!  I know right?!!!  PICK:  Chiefs

 

Dolphins @ Lions:  Phins are tryin’ real hard to not be forgotten; I bet the Lions don’t after this one. PICK: Dolphins

 

Cowboys @ Jaguars: PICK: Cowboys

 

49ers @ Saints: Both of these two have fallen off the wagon. PICK:  Not sure

 

Titans @ Ravens:  I still can’t get over what the Ravens allowed  “Hamburger”  to get away  with Sunday night. PICK:  Ravens

 

Steelers @ Jets:  Steelers are makin’ a serious playoff push; we all know what can happen if they get in! PICK: Steelers

 

Falcons @ Buccaneers:  Lovie & co. finally get off the snide. PICK:  Bucaneers

 

Broncos @ Raiders:  Raiders will put up a fight, but Peyton preys on the bums. PICK: Broncos

 

Rams @ Cardinals:  Arians is tough to beat at home. Rams have a way of doing the unthinkable.  PICK: Cardinals

 

Giants @ Seahawks:  Eli may not be  “Elite”  after all. PICK:  Seahawks

 

Bears @ Packers:  Cutler is overrated. PICK:  Packers

 

Panthers @ Eagles:  Panthers have been decimated by injury.  Can the Eagles still soar under Sanchise?  PICK:  Eagles

 

Bye week teams:  Colts,  Vikings,  Patriots,  Chargers,  Redskins,  Texans

 

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Now that we’re at the halfway point of the 2014 NFL season,  thing’s are going to get real serious; especially for those teams who are in contention. There really are no clear cut favorites after the Cowboys,  Ravens, Colts and Packers lost. Patriots seem to be hitting their stride, while Broncos have a much improved defensive unit. Which should be more than enough for ” The Great Manning.”  This week’s matchup predictions:

Saints @ Panthers:  Without a running game, Panthers are a one-man show with Cam; what a shame. Brees looks to be hitting his stride. Or is he?  PICK:  Saints

Buccaneers @ Browns:  Even in victory, Browns wins’ seem like an uphill battle; Lovie’s  D will be ready, but will his quarterback Glennon?  Home games are for establishing the culture. PICK:  Browns

Cardinals @ Cowboys: R-O-M-O-L-A-X!  Boys will be fine. Cleveland will really regret not gettin’  Bruce Arians if Cards pull this one out!  PICK: Cowboys

Eagles @ Texans:  Fitzpatrick is the only reason Texans are not SB  XLIX contenders. Depending on what Eagles team shows up, this could be a barn burner.  PICK:  Texans

Jets @ Chiefs:  Jets have the NFL’s version of Jim Buss;  Chiefs could win this one with Charles takin’ a spa day.  Countdown to Rex Ryan becoming a candidate for Browns D coordinator begins…

Jaguars @ Bengals:  As painful as it is for me to say, this is equivalent to a bye-week for the Bengals;  Jags are ” growing pains”  personified.  PICK:  Bengals

Chargers @ Dolphins:  Dr. Jeykell & Mr. Charger best describe the Bolts. One minute they look like a contender and the next minute they don’t LOOK at all. PICK:  Chargers

Redskins @ Vikings:  Is Colt a ” one trick pony?”  We’ll know after this one. Vikes are scrappy and poised – at the same time – behind Bridgewater.  PICK:  Vikings

Rams @ 49ers: All the thing’s that could go wrong, have gone wrong for the Rams. Niners flyin well beneath everyone’s radar. How ironic if they win SB XLIX  the year they’re not the favorites?!  PICK :  Niners

Broncos @ Patriots:  This is the game every NFL fan in America will be watching. Winner of this one is most likely to end up playing in the AFC Championship.  PICK:  Patriots

Raiders @ Seahawks:  In the NFL, anything is possible. Unless you’re the Raiders. PICK:  Seahawks

Ravens @ Steelers: Regardless of record, this rivalry lives on. A  ‘Purist’s Delight’ if I do say so myself. The ” In-Crowd” will be watchin’ Peyton and Brady, but I’ll be watchin ‘ this one. PICK: Ravens

Colts @ Giants: Colts would do better to stop wastin carries on Trent Richardson; Giants are no longer CRUZIN!!  PICK: Colts

Teams on a bye:  Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans.

Read em’ and weep!!!!!   check us out at: http://www.theshopreport.com

While the Eastern Conference is vastly improved, make no mistake, the West is, and will always be– TOP DAWG!!!  And the NBA’s biggest money maker. Last time I checked, most of your foreign born players play out West; talk about going global!! Bottom line, watching East games can be a little ho-hum at times; better grab you a front row seat if there’s a West game on display. My West teams’ are as follows:

SPURS:  The term ”EVISCERATED” was used to describe what the Spurs did to not only the “2DayBA’s” (today’s NBA) best team, but certainly the NBA’s “Best on the Planet”, in one said LeBron James; the term eviscerated should not be synonomous with the 2DayBA’s best player, if in fact he is what most people think he is. It is because of this I believe the “Medieval” Spurs will once again hoist the gold ball. Coupled with the fact that Duncan says he’s out to get the one thing he has not accomplished throughout his entire run – A REPEAT.

MAVERICKS: This is the one team that gives me cause for trepidation when it comes to the Spurs. All the talk was centered around the additions of Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler (rightfully so), but it’s the not so mentioned Jameer Nelson  that may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered for these Mavs. The only possible weak spot I see is the bench; Devin Harris is too much the lose cannon. If Carlisle decides to move Harris to the 2-spot (shooting guard) and let Felton run the second unit, this is the only squad truly capable of dethroning the Spurs.

WARRIORS: As great a talent as he is (like Kyrie Irving),  Steph Curry is a turnover waitin to happen. And that can’t happen if the Warriors are to make some real noise come playoff time. New coach Steve Kerr undid what was former coach Mark Jackson’s undoing (I believe), and put Harrison Barnes back in the starting lineup. These cats can flat-out score with ANYBODY IN THE LEAGUE, BAR NONE!  Can they play D is the question.

BLAZERS: Have all the tools to win it all, but do they have the toughness? What will Thomas Robinson bring? Blazers will be in the thick of it because of the household names, but title contention this year may be askin a bit much.

CLIPPERS: Doc Rivers is a throwback coach if there ever was one, but not even he can fix DeAndre Jordan’s free-throw woes. Jordan was first in just about every defensive statistical category last season, and yet, is a major liability in the fourth quarter of games; How can one of the games best not be on the floor when it matters most??  I can’t put my finger on it right now, but something is missing from the Clippers. And it may turn out to be the thing that keeps them from gettin to the Finals – again.

ROCKETS: McHale is praying that the addition of Trevor Ariza can somehow make up for the loss of – star in the making – Chandler Parsons. Youth, and lack of defense could be the ultimate cause of their undoing; despite being fun to watch.

PELICANS: Monty Williams may now have the pieces necessary to make a significant run in the battle tested West. Unfortunately, injuries are still a major concern. Anderson, Davis, Gordon, and Holiday missed a combined 141 games last season!!  Can’t expect to contend if the core is broken. Still, I think there is enough here that the Pelicans will be a tough out, and no longer  NBA “Welcome” mats.

NUGGETS: These boys are gon’  get straight up medicinal on cats this season. Jusuf Nurkic and the return of Gallinari to go along with Mozgov, Lawson, Gary Harris (Mich St.), Chandler, McGee, Robinson, Faried,… Get the idea? Brian Shaw will have time to take a nap during games because these dudes will be that in control. Come playoff time, inexperience will tell the story.

Honorable Mention: Timberwolves – Rubio found a jumper, and newcomers Bennett, Lavine, Robinson the 3rd, Wiggins, and Gorgui Deng will have a big time impact.

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