The Jaguars’ season is kaput, done, no more. They had a little bit of hope as they went into the Steelers game, and as I went outside to put copious amounts of Christmas lights in my front yard, I had a good feeling. However, despite grand efforts by the Jags’ defense and Leonard Fournette, Blake Bortles looked awful again (surprise!) and the team was hampered by stupid coaching decisions. The sad part is, it’s sounding more and more like this season will be blamed on injuries, not “Blake sucks,” which he does, and not on “we should actually draft a competent wide receiver,” and “we should not bring in free agent linemen that take a vacation.” As a Jaguars fan, that really stinks. Maybe changes will be made at the end of the year. Dave Caldwell should go, and take Blake with him. Anyway, I talked a little about the AFC playoff picture last week, and even though the Jaguars are not mathematically eliminated, they are pretty much out of the picture.
Jacksonville will win maybe two more games (I’m thinking the ones against Washington and Miami). But that’s besides the point – Houston and Indianapolis are both hot; the East looks like garbage other than New England; the North looks like garbage other than Pittsburgh; and Kansas City and Los Angeles are the only teams in the West with a playoff prayer. The first three seeds will be some form of KC/LA, Pittsburgh, and New England. The fourth seed will be whoever wins the division between the Texans and Colts. The fifth seed will be whoever in the West doesn’t win the division, and the sixth will be whoever in the South doesn’t win the division.
We talk a lot about the Steelers and their win streak, but the Colts are low-key looking like a hot team in the league. They are sitting on a four-game win streak and Andrew Luck hasn’t been sacked in like five weeks. They are putting up at least 24 points a game since week 4 and have put up at least 29 points a game in their last four games. They are “only 5-5” but they have four very winnable games coming up against the Dolphins, Jaguars, Cowboys, and Giants, with games against the Texans and Titans as well. I see them being a sneaky-good team in the playoffs.
AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE
PICKS AND PREDICTIONS
BEARS @ LIONS – One of these teams looks like a fun, gritty playoff upset contender, and the other looks like the same sad old Lions. As I recover from eating copious amounts of food Thursday, I will note especially how former Jaguar Allen Robinson will be burning the Lions’ secondary multiple times.
CHI 24 DET 12
REDSKINS @ COWBOYS – It really sucks that Alex Smith is hurt, but Colt McCoy is a pretty good QB and doesn’t make them automatically awful. The Cowboys got a good win against a Falcons team that doesn’t know what it is other than bad, and should be heading into this week on a positive note. I think Washington “wins one for Smith” here.
WSH 28 DAL 24
FALCONS @ SAINTS – The Saints will demolish the Falcons. RIP Matt Ryan’s season. RIP Julio. Goodnight, sweet HAWT-lanta. The Saints are one of the best teams in football; the Falcons are the Jaguars of the NFC.
ATL 10 NO 52
GIANTS @ EAGLES – This game is less notable for being Eli vs. Carson, and more like blah vs. blah.
NYG 5 PHI 9
JAGUARS @ BILLS – The Bills are capable of being surprisingly good, except for when they’re bad. The Jaguars are just surprisingly bad. Now that the fog of optimism has cleared my brain, I don’t think the Jags can hang with the Bills.
JAX 17 BUF 21
SEAHAWKS @ PANTHERS – The Seahawks are on a bit of a comeback but the Panthers are on more of one; Carolina is looking to prove that they can still hang with the Saints and Rams in the NFC. They’ll make a statement here.
SEA 17 CAR 30
RAIDERS @ RAVENS – Lamar Jackson looks like a good starting NFL QB! Good job, Baltimore, says the Jaguars fan whose team could have drafted that player. Oakland stinks.
OAK 12 BAL 21
NINERS @ BUCS – Nah, I’m good.
SF 5 TB 9
BROWNS @ BENGALS – Yuck.
CLE 21 CIN 15
PATRIOTS @ JETS – Who’s gonna watch this? New England in a landslide.
NE 49 NYJ 3
CARDINALS @ CHARGERS – This is what we’re calling late-season NFL games now?
ARI 7 LAC 35
STEELERS @ BRONCOS – Because some of these games have the potential to be good, but only in an upset fashion.
PIT 38 DEN 21
DOLPHINS @ COLTS – And I would rather take a leftover turkey induced nap.
MIA 16 IND 24
PACKERS @ VIKINGS – The Packers are broken. Will McCarthy stick around? I don’t know. But his game management is questionable at best. The Vikings need a bounce-back win.
GB 20 MIN 24
TITANS @ TEXANS – Tennessee is regressing, and unfortunately Mariota is injured again. Houston is rolling to the division crown. The outcome of this game should be obvious, but the game should be good anyway.
TEN 18 HOU 24