Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 2011 Top Rope Awards

You voted! (ok not may of you, but to those who did vote you know who you are) And now the results are in. It is time to look at the winners, or in some cases losers, in the 2nd annual 2011 Top Rope Awards. In addition to the awards I made public, I've also added some secondary awards to hand out.

2011 was a very up and down year for the WWE. It was up at the start and heading into Wrestlemania. It went back down until C.M. Punk began his main event push in the summer. Ever since SummerSlam it has been a very hot and cold time for the WWE. Hopefully the WWE can put together one solid year of booking, but that is about as likely as The Rock, Steve Austin, and Brock Lesnar all deciding at the same time that they want to come back to the WWE full time. There are some things I would like to see happen in the WWE in 2012, and that is something that can be saved for a later blog.

For now though, onto the Awards!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NFL Week 17 Picks

Last week of regular season picks. I will do a preview for each round of the Playoffs as well, then more than likely an off-season preview in March and April, along with a Draft preview as well.

Last Week's Record: 10-6
Year to Date Record: 153-87

Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints
This is a match-up of two offenses that are fun to watch for different reasons. For Carolina, they have the always entertaining Cam Newton for them at QB. Newton's big arm and play making abilities on the ground make him a duel threat under center. Along with Johnathan Stewart and DeAngleo Williams, the Panthers have one of the best running attacks in the league. The Panthers are going to be a popular playoff pick next year, and this match-up could be a bigger game next year for both teams. The Panthers need to get healthy on defense and if they do that, watch out. The Saints offense is fun to watch because they have Drew Brees at QB. Brees has one of the best football minds in the game. He finds his open WR every play. It doesn't matter if it is his first option or fourth option, Brees finds him. Brees just broke Dan Marino's single season passing record, so he doesn't have that to play for this game. But the Saints are still fighting for a 1st round bye, but that seems unlikely with the 49ers easy match-up. But the Saints will play hard here. The Panthers almost knocked off the Saints earlier in the season, but a late Saints TD drive stopped that. I think the Saints pull out a close one here. Brees will pick apart a weak Panthers secondary.

New Orleans 35  Carolina 24

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NFL Week 16 Review

It is almost Playoff time. Lets take a look at Week 16 action first!

Team of the Week: Detroit Lions
-The Lions get this spot for clinching their first playoff berth since 1999. There were high hopes for the Lions at the start of the season, and they lived up to that hype with a 5-0 start. The Lions encountered some road bumps in the middle of the season but have won three in a row, and they dominated the red hot San Diego Chargers on Saturday to secure their Wild Card berth. Matthew Stafford has turned into a promising franchise QB, and the Lions have found ways to make their offense work when teams shut down Calvin Johnson. The defense is still a bit shaky, but if the Lions passing game keeps playing as well as they are, they can give teams fits in the playoffs. The Lions would be a tough out for the Giants or Cowboys.

Game of the Week: Indianapolis Colts 19  Houston Texans 16
-Not a lot of good choices this week. Nothing really stood out. So I'm giving the nod to this game. The Colts drove down the field on the Texans and Reggie Wayne caught the game winning TD pass with under one minute left to win their second straight game and put their chances at Andrew Luck in jeopardy. The Colts face a bad Jaguars team next week, and with the Rams facing a good 49ers team, the Rams could steal the #1 pick. And the Rams could get a boatload in return for that pick. The Texans have lost two in a row and the offense has sputtered a bit in recent weeks. The Texans defense also shouldn't let Dan Orlovsky drive down the field like he did on Thursday. The Texans have some kinks to work out before the Playoffs start, otherwise they could be one and done.

Dog of the Week: Rex Ryan, NY Jets Coach
-I'm sorry Rex, but it is time to shut that yap of yours and only open it when you are able to back what comes out of it up. Ryan talked a big game heading into the big Giants/Jets showdown in the Big Apple, and his Jets didn't show up. Apparently, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs told him to shut his mouth after the game, and it is about time someone else did. Even if the Jets find a way to sneak into the Playoffs, they won't have the success they have had the last few years. The team regressed badly this year, especially QB Mark Sanchez. Why is he throwing the ball 40+ times in a game. He isn't that good of a QB to do that. Ryan's mouth hasn't backed up anything yet, and until he gets a ring of his own, he will always be second fiddle in New York.

Other Week 16 Notes
-I think it is safe to say that the luster is finally off of Tim Tebow. Tebow's Denver Broncos were blown out again, this time by a Buffalo Bills team that had lost seven in a row headed into this week. The Bills defense used a four man front and forced Tebow to stay in the pocket and throw. And watching Tebow in person, he does not have a very good arm. If Tebow can't run and make plays, he isn't a very good QB. Now the Broncos face a must win situation this week against Kansas City. Win and the Broncos are in the Playoffs. But you know Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, is dying to help keep his former team out of the Playoffs. The Chiefs defense has been playing very well as of late. Even in defeat, the Chiefs have only allowed one team since Week 12, the Jets in Week 14, to score more than 16 points. Tebow might need all of the magic he has left to help his Broncos win the AFC West.

-If I look back at my AFC Preview, I'm pretty sure I said the Bengals would be the worst team in the AFC this year. Well, it looks like I was completely wrong. The Bengals are one win away from getting the last Wild Card Spot in the AFC. Beat Baltimore at home this week and the Bengals are in. The Bengals got lucky against the Cardinals. Had Cardinals WR Early Doucet not tripped over the goal line, that game would have been going to overtime. But the Bengals control their own destiny, and that is all you can ask for heading into Week 17. The question is: Can a young Bengals team rise up to the challenge and beat a very good Ravens team that will be fighting for the AFC North Title? With the Steelers playing the Browns, the Ravens know they are going to have to win this game to clinch the AFC North and get a first round bye. The AFC North may be the best division in all of football.

-Watching Drew Brees and the Saints offense on Monday night, you have to wonder if they are the actual favorites to win the NFC. The Saints offense with Brees under center is almost unstoppable. They put up 41 points against a good Falcons defense. With the Packers heading into the Playoffs, you have to worry about their defense and if it can stop Brees for even one possession. Brees broke Dan Marino's NFL single season passing yards record last night and deserves some consideration for MVP this year. I know Aaron Rodgers had his team undefeated all year, but the Saints would be absolutely nowhere without Brees. I don't see anything preventing a Saints/Packers rematch for the NFC Championship, and I think these two are the heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl again.

Hey I'm Just Sayin...
-Good thing it isn't up to Raheem Morris if he has to fire himself or not.

-Do the Rams take Andrew Luck and trade Sam Bradford? Or vice versa?

-Can T.J. Yates get the Texans out of the 1st round?

-The only way the 49ers are winning in the Playoffs is if the defense shuts down everyone.

-How did the AFC South become the worst division in football?

-Watch out for the Panthers next year.

1. New England Patriots  12-3  vs Buffalo
2. Baltimore Ravens  11-4  at Cincinnati
3. Houston Texans  10-5  vs Tennessee
4. Denver Broncos  8-7  vs Kansas City
5. Pittsburgh Steelers  11-4  at Cleveland
6. Cincinnati Bengals  9-6  vs Baltimore
7. Oakland Raiders  8-7  at San Diego
8. Tennessee Titans  8-7  at Houston
9. New York Jets  8-7  at Miami

The Wild Card Scenarios for all of the 8-7 teams are a bit complicated, so let me just tell you what I think happens. I think every team in the Wild Card race loses except the Titans. In that scenario, the Bengals and Titans both finish 9-7, and the Bengals would get in because they beat the Titans earlier in the year. I also think the Broncos beat the Chiefs and win the AFC West. The Pats clinch home field, and the Ravens win the AFC North, leaving the playoffs like this in the AFC.

1. New England
2. Baltimore
6. Cincinnati Bengals vs 3. Houston Texans
5. Pittsburgh Steelers vs 4. Denver Broncos

1. Green Bay Packers  14-1  vs Detroit
2. San Francisco 49ers  12-3  at St. Louis
3. New Orleans Saints  12-3  vs Carolina
4. New York Giants  8-7  vs Dallas
5. Detroit Lions  10-5  at Green Bay
6. Atlanta Falcons  9-6  vs Tampa Bay
7. Dallas Cowboys  8-7  at NY Giants

Everything spot wise is set in the NFC besides the NFC East crown. Seeding is still up for grabs. I think the Giants beat the Cowboys in the finale. I also think the Lions beat the Packers in Lambeau. The Lions will play for the 5 seed because it means not going to New Orleans or San Francisco in Round 1. I think the seeds stay exactly as they are now in the NFC.

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants: The team that makes the least amount of dumb mistakes wins.
Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals: Can the Bengals cap a surprise season in front of 45,000 "fans."
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos: Can TEBOWMANIA rebound after two bad performances.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Monday, December 26, 2011

WWE Raw Review 12/26/2011

John Laurinaitis As C.M. Punk? AWESOME
RAW is in Chicago tonight, so C.M. Punk's music hit to start the show. But alas, it was John Laurinaitis, doing the complete Punk entrance and all! Classic! Laurinaitis called himself Mr. Excitement and he did that to honor C.M. Punk. Cult of Personality hit again, and this time it was C.M. Punk to a huge pop. Punk said if he didn't know any better Laurinaitis was trying to antagonize him. Punk asked what was stopping him from kicking Ace in the face. Laurinaitis said he is his boss and he can fire him. Laurinaitis said since it is the holiday season, Punk can get the night off. Laurinaits said HA, see I can be unpredictable. Punk mocked him for that. Laurinaitis said he gives the WWE Universe what they want. He said Punk will be in a Gauntlet Match tonight, and if one of the three men pin Punk, they get a WWE Title match next week. Punk asked what he gets when he beats all three men. Punk said they should get a fourth match if he wins, and that match be Punk vs Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis said that Punk doesn't want any of this. Laurinaitis said it wasn't good business for him to beat the WWE Champion. Punk asked Chicago and they cheered. Laurinaitis said it was on. Great opening segment. John Laurinaitis has become great as a character. Him and Punk click so well. Survey Says: 5/5

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Did I Ever Doubt C.M. Punk?

When C.M. Punk came back to the WWE in late July this summer, he promised change. Punk promised to bring a drastic overhaul to the WWE. He started that at Money in the Bank, when he "left" the WWE with the WWE Title. Now sure, he only left for a week, but during that time it pretty much brought an end to the Mr. McMahon character on television. Punk continued to say the reason he cameback was because he wanted to change things in the WWE. Punk's character was already breaking from the norm before he left, and he continued to do that upon his return.

NFL Week 16 Picks

Not a good week for me last week, maybe I can rebound.

Last Week's Record: 7-9
Year to Date Record: 143-81

Houston Texans vs Indianapolis Colts
Could this be another trap game for the Texans? The Panthers went up early on the Texans last week and didn't look back. T.J. Yates didn't play terrible, but he didn't do enough to help his team win, and that could be a problem come playoff time. The Texans pass defense, which had been strong all year, was beaten by Cam Newton. Maybe it was Wade Phillips not being there, but the Texans defense just seemed a bit off last week. The Colts finally won last week, and it was their defense that made some plays. Surprisingly, the Colts shut down Chris Johnson last week. The Colts have been playing hard the last few weeks, and it finally paid off for them last week. You bet the Colts remember the beating the Texans gave them in Week One, but I don't know if the Colts have enough to pull off an upset for the second week in a row. I think the Texans right the ship this week and win a close one.

Houston 21  Indianapolis 17

Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs
The slow collapse of the Raiders continues. Losers of three in a row, the Raiders once bright Playoff chances now appear to be dim. The Raiders had a win in their sights last week, but they let the Lions drive 96 yards downfield to take the lead. A lot of the poor play can contributed to the defense, which has given up 34, 46, and 28 points during this three game losing streak. But a lot of the blame can be given to Carson Palmer as well, who hasn't been playing as well as he did during his start with the Raiders. He sure doesn't look worth a 1st round pick right now. The Chiefs, meanwhile, pulled off the upset of the year last week when they handed the Packers their first loss. The team played hard under interim coach Romeo Crennel, who made a strong case to get the permanent head coaching gig. The defense stepped up big time for the Chiefs, holding the Packers to their lowest point total of the year. If the Chiefs can hold the Packers to 14 points, I think they can keep the Raiders in check. Give me the Chiefs here.

Kansas City 23  Oakland 13

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tennessee Titans
What else is their to say about the Jaguars at this point? Blaine Gabbert continues to look terrible, the defense got shredded by the Falcons last week.This is an organization in need of a complete overhaul in the off-season. The Titans lost a crucial game last week against the then winless Colts, pretty much crushing their playoff chances in the process. The Titans have looked better the last few weeks with Jake Locker in at QB and not Matt Hasselbeck. I think Locker is the QB next year for sure, but who gets the nod this week? It's Hasselbeck if he is healthy, but does he give the Titans the best chance to win? I don't think so. I would start Locker, but I'm sure Coach Munchak thinks the veteran gives him the best chance. Either way, the Titans should take care of the lowly Jags here. The Titans playoff hopes stay alive.

Tennessee 20  Jacksonville 10

Miami Dolphins vs New England Patriots
The Dolphins are doing just enough to make sure they aren't in position to get a top QB in the draft next year. Matt Moore is playing well enough to warrant a chance at the starting next year, but he did the same thing when he was with Carolina, and it didn't work out as well as they hoped. The good news for the Dolphins is that Reggie Bush is surprising everyone with his performance as the featured back in Miami. I never thought Reggie Bush would be a featured back, but he's proving me wrong. The Patriots showed last week again why they are the constant class of the NFL. Going into Denver against a red hot Broncos team, the Pats put up 41 points against a good Broncos defense. Tom Brady relied on some of his secondary options in the game, specifically Aaron Hernandez and Chad Ochocinco. The defense did enough to help its team win. They still aren't all the way there, but if the offense can put up 30+ points on a constant basis, then the defense's flaws can be hidden. The Pats win here. They are the better football team.

New England 38  Miami 24

Arizona Cardinals vs Cincinnati Bengals
All John Skelton does is win. The Cardinals are now 7-7 and are clinging to their playoff lives. I don't think they make it, but they definitely showed signs of improvement towards the end of the year. I don't think Skelton is the QB of the future either, but it definitely shows that the Cardinals may have made a mistake in trading for Kevin Kolb this off-season. Beanie Wells is finally living up to his potential at RB, and the defense has played better in recent weeks. And Patrick Peterson is turning into the next Devin Hester of punt returns. The Bengals are in a tie for the last playoff spot in the AFC with the Jets. The Bengals play their last two games at home, but that may not even help considering no one shows up for those games. The defense will face a big test with Larry Fitzgerald coming to town. Skelton looks his way often, and the Bengals pass defense has been shaky the last few games. I expect a heavy dose of Cedric Benson from the Bengals in this one, especially with A.J. Green a bit banged up. The Cardinals are playing good football right now, but I'm not a fan of teams going from west to east coast to play early games. Give me the Bengals here.

Cincinnati 24  Arizona 21

Denver Broncos vs Buffalo Bills
TebowMania was brought back down to Earth last week. Tebow himself didn't play bad, but the defense did not hold up its end of the bargain. If the Broncos expect to make the Playoffs and compete, then they need to put up a better showing then they did against New England. The good news for the Broncos is that they face an easy rebound game here against a down and out Bills team, losers of seven straight. Their run defense is still awful, so expect a lot of Tebow and Willis McGahee here. With Von Miller and Elvis Dumervill rushing Ryan Fitzpatrick, expect a lot of bad throws leading to turnovers. The Bills may already be regretting Ryan Fitzpatrick's contract. The Broncos know a win here could clinch the AFC West for them, so they give their all and take down the Bills.

Denver 28  Buffalo 17

St. Louis Rams vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers don't know if Ben Roethlisberger can play this week, but does it really matter? A Charlie Batch lead team should be able to beat this lowly Rams squad. All they have to do is take advantage of cornerbacks number 11 and 12 who are starting for the Rams this off-season. And they can do that when they pound the ball with Rashard Mendenhall, setting up the play action. I don't know if Kellen Clemons can lead the Rams into the end zone in this one. Steelers win easily.

Pittsburgh 27  St. Louis 6

New York Giants vs New York Jets
It's the Battle of New York, and both of these teams are coming off horrible losses. The Giants, after going to Dallas and winning, lost to the Redskins at home last week. That's a bad thing to do. The Giants looked like they had all of the momentum headed down the stretch, but they just hit a serious road block. It was the Giants second bad home loss of the season, with this loss going with their Seattle loss. The Giants offense was shut down by a defense that gave up 30+ points to the Patriots and Jets the last two weeks. The secondary, which was burned by Tony Romo two weeks ago, was burned again by Rex Grossman. The Giants can still make the playoffs if they win out, but they are facing a just as hungry Jets team in this one. The Jets were embarrassed in Philadelphia. They were never even really in the game. Mark Sanchez looked awful. The defense was burned by Mike Vick constantly. The Jets just looked like they didn't show up to play. The Jets have played well against bad teams this year, but have only beaten one team with a record over .500, and that is the Cowboys in Week 1. This one really is toss up, but I think the Giants are the slightly better team, and they win this one.

NY Giants 27  NY Jets 23

Minnesota Vikings vs Washington Redskins
The Redskins have shown signs of life in the last few weeks, and it makes you wonder why Mike Shanahan ever switched to John Beck during the season. The Redskins improved play can also be contributed to the emergence of Roy Helu in the backfield. Helu has become the centerpiece of the Skins offense, and it is allowing the passing game to open up with Santana Moss, and Brandon Banks throwing trick passes.The Vikings are also showing fight on offense, but the defense is so banged up that it is tough for them to stop anybody, especially in the secondary. The Vikings offense is better because everyone is finally healthy. Percy Harvin is now a duel threat and just as dangerous as Adrian Peterson. I'm still going with the Vikings here. They are playing the better overall football right now.

Washington 31  Minnesota 24

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers
Tampa continues falling, falling falling. They didn't look like they cared last week against Dallas. Just like Jacksonville, there is nothing new to write about this team. It looks like the Bucs have packed it in and are ready to hit the off-season. The Panthers are coming off of a big road upset last week against Houston. I said during my Week 15 Review that the Panthers are a team to watch next year, especially when they get healthy on defense. Cam Newton is the next Mike Vick at QB, and the running game has finally emerged after a slow start. They also have a duel threat at TE with Greg Olson and Jeremy Shockey. The Panthers are the better team, and they win here.

Carolina 34  Tampa Bay 23

Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens
The bad Joe Flacco showed up last week for Baltimore, and that is a bad thing if he is going to play like that on the road in the Playoffs. The good news for the Ravens is that they may only need to go on the road once during the Playoffs. But they also steered away from Ray Rice too early in last Sunday's loss to San Diego. Rice should be getting 30 touches a game through the air and ground. It takes the pressure off of Flacco. But you also have to be worried about the defensive effort of the Ravens last week, giving up 34 points to the Chargers. They shouldn't do that against the lowly Browns this week. Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, Bernie Kosar couldn't help the Browns now. They could be the least relevant team in football. The Ravens win here.

Baltimore 28  Cleveland 10

San Diego Chargers vs Detroit Lions
To me, this is a more intriguing game then the Battle of New York. The Chargers are riding a 3 game winning streak and are one game out of the AFC West and the last AFC Wild Card spot. Phillip Rivers has lost only two games as a starter in December. There's something about this month that he likes. The Chargers running game has also come alive, with Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews complementing the other very well. The Chargers defense, which had been shaky all year, has given up 14, 10, and 14 points the last three weeks. And in the week they gave up 10 points against the Bills, the one touchdown was scored by the Bills defense. The Lions are one win away from clinching the team's first playoff berth in a decade. The Lions had a great come from behind win last week against Oakland. The Lions offense has done a good job of adjusting to the double and triple teams on WR Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford is spreading out the ball more to WRs Titus Young and Nate Burleson, as well as TE Brandon Pettigrew. The Lions defense is still a liability in the secondary, and that could be a problem with the Chargers coming to town. Even if the Lions shut down Antonio Gates, they still have to worry about all of the other Chargers weapons at WR. I've been switching my pick for this game all week. The Lions know they go to Green Bay next week, so they need the win. But the Chargers are red hot right now, and I don't think I can bet against them.

San Diego 35  Detroit 31

Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones said that he is scared of the Eagles. And he should be. Mike Vick and the Eagles offense has come alive in the last few weeks. It is the way they should have been playing all year. The Cowboys have had problems in the secondary this year, and you know Mike Vick and Co. will take advantage of it. If the Eagles played like they did all year the last two weeks, maybe they would actually be leading the NFC East right now. The Eagles three headed trio will look to shut down the Cowboys three headed trio of WRs. But they also have to worry about Jason Witten. The Cowboys passing attack, and offense hasn't been the problem this year. The defense, specifically the secondary, hasn't improved much under Rob Ryan. Tony Romo doesn't play the best all the time, but the secondary has been constantly bad all year. The loss of DeMarco Murray hasn't slowed down the Cowboys offense with Felix Jones playing his part well. This game has high scoring affair written all over it. The Eagles whipped the Cowboys in Philly, but it will be closer here. But I still like the Eagles to pull off a mild upset.

Philadelphia 35  Dallas 30

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
The 49ers fought through two separate power outages on Monday night to beat a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team. It keeps the 49ers hopes of a first round bye alive. It also showed just how dominant the 49ers defense is. They shut down the Steelers offense. Now sure Ben Roethlisberger was hurt, but it still takes a lot to shut down the Steelers. Alex Smith did just enough to help his team win. He still missed a couple of throws, but as long as he doesn't make mistakes then he will be fine. Seattle's hot streak continued with their third straight win last week in Chicago. They essentially ended the Bears playoff hopes while strengthening theirs. It will still take a lot for Seattle to get in. The only way Seattle gets in is with two straight wins and two straight Lions losses. It isn't out of the realm of possibility, especially with the Lions difficult schedule. The 49ers haven't given up a rushing touchdown all year, and Marshawn Lynch has scored a TD in 10 straight games. Something gives here, and I think Lynch finds his way into the end zone. I'm giving the edge to Seattle in a close, low scoring affair.

Seattle 16  San Francisco 13

Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers
This Christmas night game looked way more appealing about a month ago. Now the Bears are starting Luke McCown at QB after Caleb Hanie has looked terrible the last three weeks. It isn't all his fault, if Matt Forte was still in the backfield I think the Bears offense would be better. But Hanie also threw a couple of bad interceptions last week which were inexcusable. The Bears playoff hopes are on life support at this point, and they are getting an angry Packers team in Lambeau. The Packers suffered their first loss of the season last week at Kansas City. The offense finally met its match with a very good Chiefs defense. The Bears defense is just as good, but the Packers also put up 27 points on the Bears in Week 3. Aaron Rodgers should be able to pass the ball on the Bears. The Bears have a good run defense but the Packers don't rely on the run, so that doesn't matter too much. The Packers defense also should rebound nicely after last week. They didn't play terrible, but they also couldn't get the Packers offense the ball back when they needed to stop the Chiefs. The Packers clinch the #1 seed in the NFC with a win, and they get that here against a bad Bears offense.

Green Bay 34  Chicago 14

Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints
We all remember what happened the last time these two teams played. In over time, the Falcons went for a 4th and 1 at their own 28 yard line and they were stopped. Many people questioned Mike Smith's tactics. Did he not trust his defense to stop Drew Brees? Hell, I wouldn't trust the 85 Bears defense to stop Drew Brees at this point. Atlanta has won four of five since that game, and they still have a shot at winning the NFC South if they win in New Orleans. The Saints defense hasn't been that intimidating in recent weeks, and Matt Ryan has been playing very well. His WRs, Roddy White and Julio Jones, have played very well in recent weeks. While the Falcons offense has been playing well, the Saints offense is on another level. Drew Brees is trying to force his way into the MVP discussion. Brees has so many targets that it is almost too easy for him. He also has Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas at his disposal in the back field. The Saints offense is just too difficult to focus on one person to stop. You have to get pressure on Drew Brees, but even then, he can still get rid of the ball in a quick and timely manner. I think this game is high scoring, but the Saints pull out the win. Just too many weapons all around.

New Orleans 31  Atlanta 27

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week's Record: 0-4 (Not So Money Huh?)
Year to Date Record: 34-25-1

Denver -3 at Buffalo: Bills can't score, and the Broncos defense is better than they showed last week.

NY Giants +3 at NY Jets: I think the Giants have more talent and have a better offense.

Pittsburgh -14 vs St. Louis: Rams might not score 14 points.

Green Bay -13 vs Chicago: The Bears offense is BAD.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NFL Week 15 Review

Quite the newsworthy week in the NFL. Lots of upsets. Lets take a look at everything.

Team of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs
-With the Chiefs firing their coach earlier in the week, and the undefeated Green Bay Packers coming to town, Chiefs fans probably weren't expecting much. The Chiefs got out to an early 6-0 lead, and shut the Packers out in the first half. Then the Packers started mounting a comeback. But in the end, the Packers defense couldn't get Aaron Rodgers the ball back, and the Chiefs turned the NFL World upside-down. You have to wonder if the players really hated Todd Haley, because it looks like they played their hearts out for interim coach Romeo Crennel. In his first game as interim head coach, Crennel made as strong a case possible to become the permanent head coach in Kansas City. The Chiefs have played very erratically this year, so they could come out and lay a giant egg next week. But for now, the Chiefs are walking around with a bit more of a strut today after their huge upset.

Monday, December 19, 2011

WWE RAW Review for 12/19/2011

Is This RAW or Ring of Honor?
RAW started with a drum roll. C.M. Punk's voice introduced RAW. He ripped on John Laurinaitis, then asked who won the Triple Threat WWE Championship Match at TLC. Was it Alberto del Rio? Miz? Or C.M. Punk? The correct answer? Me. Punk said. Punk said much to the chagrin of John Laurinaitis, he managed to retain the WWE Title. Punk said it is a Title not a lot of people expected him to hold. Much like the United States Championship match. He did another drum roll, then introduced Zack Ryder. Punk then did the drum roll for the World Heavyweight Championship. He introduced Daniel Bryan. Punk said who would have ever thought C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan would be holding their brand's respective Titles in a WWE ring. Same with Zack Ryder. Punk said this was all crazy. Punk said he had nothing to say, but appreciated that these two busted their butts to get where they are. He handed the mic to Ryder.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

WWE TLC Review

Hey everyone, I will be doing live blogging on Tables, Ladders, and Chairs tonight!

The show opened with a video package with the WWE's version of "Twas The Night Before Christmas." Got to love the WWE's production crew, they always find creative ways to make PPV hype packages different.

United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs Zack Ryder
Ziggler started the match with a couple of leg sweep takedowns. Ziggler had control early and locked in a chin lock. Ryder fought out but ate an elbow in the corner. Ziggler hit a backdrop for two. Ryder gained control and hit a missle drop kick from the top for two. Ryder hit some clotheslines then hit the Broski boot in the corner. Ryder went for the pin but Vickie put Dolph's foot on the rope. The ref tossed Vickie from ringside. Ziggler hit Ryder for a kick, went for the ZigZag but missed. Ziggler then hit a leg drop for two. Ryder countered out of a sleeper attempt but ate a drop kick. Ryder knocked Ziggler off the top rope, then hit a hurricarrana for two. Ryder went for the Rough Ryder but Ziggler tossed him onto the turnbuckle, then rolled up Ryder for two. Ryder got up, hit a double knee, then the Rough Ryder for the win.

WINNER: Zack Ryder to win the United States Championship in 10 minutes
**1/2: Match was only 10 minutes so it didn't amount to much. The last few minutes were action packed and quick. Ryder finally wins the U.S. Title. Hopefully Ziggler moves on to a possible feud with C.M. Punk. Solid opener though.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

WWE TLC Preview

Hey, there is a WWE PPV this Sunday! And if you watched the end of RAW this week, you wouldn't even know there is one. RAW ended this week with the return of Masked Kane choke-slamming John Cena. I'm all for the return of Kane with the mask, but they couldn't have waited to do that one more week? If I were the WWE, I would have been more concerned with selling my PPV on Sunday then Kane's return. At this point, I don't see how TLC does good at all in the PPV buy rate department. The build that the WWE did do on RAW this past Monday was ok, but it would have been served better had it been the main point of the show. The Slammys distracted from the TLC build. It is a problem with having a 3 hour RAW before a PPV.

NFL Week 15 Picks

Only 3 weeks to go!

Last Week's Record: 11-5
Year to Date Record: 136-72

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Atlanta Falcons
I guess Jacksonville just needed to face a team in worse shape then they were to get going. The Jaguars scored 41 points last week against Tampa Bay. Now two of those TDs were from the defense, but the offense still put up respectable numbers. Maurice Jones-Drew had one of his best games of the year. That helped take the pressure off of Blaine Gabbert. Jones-Drew won't find the goings as easy though against the Falcons. The Falcons came back from 16 down in the 3rd quarter to beat Carolina and stay ahead in the NFC Wild Card Race. Matt Ryan has had a solid last two outings, and he's needed them due to the groin injury that RB Michael Turner is dealing with. Turner has struggled the last 3 weeks. I thought he would break out against Carolina, but that didn't happen. The Jags defense has struggled against the run in the last month of the season, so if Turner can't get going here, something might really be wrong. This is a game the Falcons should easily win. They have more talent everywhere and are actually playing for something.

Atlanta 31  Jacksonville 13

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NFL Week 14 Review

I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who want a 3,000 page report on Tim Tebow. It isn't in the cards. Instead, it is our weekly review of NFL Action.

Team of the Week: New York Giants
-The Giants had many doubters heading into this week, with me being one of them. I just didn't see how the Giants went into Dallas on Sunday night and pull off a win. Well, I shouldn't have doubted Eli Manning. Eli lead another 4th quarter comeback that gave the Giants the lead. Then Jason Pierre-Paul, who has been a beast for the Giants all year, blocked a potential game tying field goal by Dan Bailey that sealed the victory for the Giants. The win gave the Giants 1st place in the NFC East. They now control their own destiny in the NFC East. Win out and the Giants are in the playoffs. After the Redskins at home this week, the Giants have the Jets "on the road" even though the game is in New York, then host the Cowboys to end the year. Even if the Giants lose to the Jets, they can still get in with a home win against Dallas. The Giants still have some flaws, specifically in their secondary, but this was a much needed win for a team that was losers of four straight heading into Sunday night.

Monday, December 12, 2011

RAW Thoughts for 12/12/11

Maybe They Are Getting the Worst Out of the Way First

The first Slammy was for the "Tell Me I Did Not Just See That!" Award. Booker T was out first, followed by Hornswoggle sporting an afro? Hornswoggle talked like a black man from the hood. Jim Ross Dancing won. Michael Cole interrupted J.R.'s victory speech. Cole said all J.R. did was get "jiggly with it" because his fat was flopping around. Booker T called Cole a loser and suggested Ross and Cole have a rap off. Cole went first: My name is Cole. That's my name. I'm like J.R. but even smaller. I went to Wrestlemania and beat Jerry Lawler. I tried to keep up but it got stupid. Cole called J.R. a tub of goo and said he just got schooled. J.R. called Cole a fool and said Cole kissed Lawler's feet and can now kiss his ass. Ross "won" and kept the Slammy. Booker T did a Spinarooni, then Ross did a J.R.-a-rooni. The Slammys are off to a great start.... Survey Says: 1/5

Wade Barrett! I Told You This Would Get Better!
Ted DiBiase and Mick Foley were out for the "HOLY @#!*" Award. Big Show and Mark Henry won for their ring explosion at Vengeance. Big Show came out to accept. He said the World Title would look nice next to the Slammy. Show went to the ring for a match with Wade Barrett. Barrett said giving out that award was premature, because what he is going to do to Randy Orton at TLC will be just as shocking. Barrett told Show he better hope he doesn't win the World Title, because if he does, the Barrett Barrage will take him out next. It was nice to see Barrett get some mic time there.

Back from break the match already started. Show shoulder tackled Barrett then put him out of the ring. Barrett shoved Show into the ring post outside. Barrett went to jump off the top, but Show broke the table with his fist. Show slapped Barrett back into the ring. Barrett grabbed a chair, and show punched it. Barrett was DQ'd. Well, you knew Barrett wasn't going over and neither was Big Show. Best finish I guess. But still not great. Survey Says: 1.5/5

Road Dogg came out next. He did the classic New Age Outlaws entrance. Time to award "Pipe Bomb" of the Year. C.M. Punk of course won. He brought out a model dummy that had a Dynamic Dudes t-shirt, John Laurinaitis former tag team. Punk said there is a man backstage that is boring, non-descript, and so bland that he doesn't get the credit he deserves. Punk played a John Laurinaits "tribute" video, with clips of him from the WWE and his time as a WCW wrestler. Funny stuff.

Lita came out to award the Divalicious Moment of the Year. Kelly Kelly won for winning the Divas Title. Beth Phoenix and Natalya came out. Beth took the award, but Kelly slapped her and took it back. Ok.

HHH Buries the Slammys
Next was the OMG Moment of the Year. How is this different from the "Holy #$@*" Moment? Santino and the Bellas came out to present. HHH tomb-stoning The Undertaker at Wrestlemania won. HHH came out with a sledgehammer in toe. He completely ignored the award. See, the Slammys don't matter. HHH said the "OMG" moment actually took place at Wrestlemania when Undertaker was taken off on a cart while HHH walked away. That's when the streak ended. HHH then replayed Nash's attack on him. HHH said this Sunday is doesn't matter who is right or wrong in their argument. HHH said at TLC, he's getting the sledgehammer because he is right. HHH said this Sunday, he will show the world that he is right, and that Nash is done. HHH scared poor Santino off and still didn't take the Slammy. HHH's promo didn't really sell me on anything. I don't want to all of the sudden by TLC on Sunday because of it. Survey Says: 2/5

Now We're Suppose to Believe Slammys Mean More Than A Match???
Next up is "Trending Superstar" of the Year, presented by David Otunga and Tony Atlas. Atlas continuously laughed at Otunga. Apparently the four nominees will fight in a Fatal 4 Way. Whoever is trending afterwards wins the award. It's Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder, and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler and Rhodes were dumped to the outside. Bryan hit a dive and Ryder hit a backflip to the outside going into the break. It was Ryder and Bryan back from break. Ryder hit the kick in the corner for two. They collided for a double cross body for two. The heels took control and agreed to work together. Ziggler drop kicked Bryan in the back of the head. He went for a pin, but Rhodes pushed him off. Rhodes and Ziggler argued. Bryan got a school boy for two. Rhodes and Bryan had a pinfall exchange. Ziggler and Cody fought. Cody hit an Alabama Slam for two.

Back from break, Rhodes had Ryder in the figure four. Ryder got out of it. Ziggler broke up Ryder's kick to the corner on Rhodes. A 3 way clothesline had everyone down. Bryan broke up a Cody punfall. Bryan hit a series of kicks on Rhodes in the corner than a dropkick. Bryan went to the top but Cody countered. Ryder ducked Ziggler. Ziggler and Cody each hit superplexes. Cody and Dolph exchanged punches. Cody lifted Ryder over, allowing Ryder to hit the Rough Ryder. Cody hit Dream Street on Ryder. Bryan went for the LaBell Lock on Cody, but Ziggler broke it up. Ziggler eventually hit the ZigZag for the win. That was a really good match. Ryder won the award, but ate a ZigZag as Dolph took the award. Match made up for the stupid award. Survey Says: 3.5/5

Next Award: Game Changer of the Year, presented by Christian. Christian wanted to present Courageous Person of the Year to him, just for being out their for still being injured. The winner was The Rock challenging John Cena to fight at Wrestlemania next year. Cena accepted the award. He then introduced The Rock, who didn't show up. Cena said he thought The Rock was never leaving. Cena then said that's right, this is when we introduces a video clip. Cena said he knew Rock would see this, and it would motivate him to put more "Boots to Asses." Cena said that him and Rock would make history at Wrestlemania.

Oh No! The Heels Are Teaming Up To Take Out the Face WWE Champion!
Tag match next. Miz/Del Rio vs Orton/Punk. Lawler and Cole talked about how Punk doesn't have to be pinned this Sunday to lose the WWE Title. No crap, because its a LADDER MATCH! Punk and Orton worked over Miz. Miz eventually hit a DDT to gain control. Orton started punching back but Miz hit a kick. Miz locked in a sleeper. Orton fought out with a back drop. Both men tagged in their partners. Punk hit a knee to the face then a bulldog for two. Punk went for a GTS, but ADR fought out, allowing Miz to hit a neckbreaker on Punk on the ropes. Miz had Punk in a chin lock back from break. Punk countered into a back slide for two, but Miz countered with a clothesline. Del Rio tagged in and worked over Punk's arm. Punk countered with an arm drag. ADR got to Miz before Punk could make the tag. As Punk crawled to make the tag, Wade Barrett came from the crowd and took Orton off the apron. Miz was able to counter a GTS attempt into a Skull Crushing Finale for the win. Afterward, ADR and Miz worked over Punk with a ladder. Ok match, decent push for the match at the PPV. Survey Says: 2.5/5

Goldust and Vickie Guerrero came out to present the "A-Lister" of the Year Award. Snooki won over the Muppets? BS!

Sheamus came out for a match with Jinder Mahal. Mahal was speaking Indian or something, so Sheamus hit him with a Brogue Kick before the match even started.

Rey Mysterio came out to present SuperStar of the Year. C.M. Punk won. John Laurinaitis came out. He accepted the award on behalf of Punk, who was in the back getting treatment for the beating he took earlier.

As Mark Henry walked backstage, the 2012 video interrupted. It talked about how "she" will control his return.

The Return of The Mask!
Main Event time. Henry over powered Cena by shoving him into the corner before going to break. Henry worked over Cena but missed a splash. Cena went for a bodyslam but coudn't lift Henry. Cena fought out of a chinlock. Cena hit the Five Knucke Shuffle, but again Cena couldn't lift Henry for the AA. Henry locked Cena in a bear hug. Henry hit a World's Strongest Slam. Suddenly, fire exploded on the stage and Kane's music hit. Kane came out in new attire and a mask similar to something a guy working with a blow torch would. He walked to the ring as Henry bailed. Cena walked right into him and received a chokeslam. Kane then took off the mask to reveal in old Kane mask, the one he wore as a face with the chin part cut out. So, no hype for the PPV to close the show Sunday? They couldn't have waited a week for that? And why is Kane not mad at Mark Henry? Survey Says: 2/5

Continuing with the Slammy Award trend, this wasn't that great of an episode of RAW. The Kane return could have been saved for next week and they could have hyped the TLC PPV at the end. I'm curious to see what the Kane return leads to. The build that they did use for the PPV was good. The four way match was the most entertaining match on the show. Nobody in the crowd really cared about the Slammy Awards, and I don't think anyone watching did either. HHH essentially buried the award when he walked away without taking his. Speaking of HHH, they did a horrible job of making me care about HHH/Nash for this Sunday. A below average show that is typical when it comes to the Slammys. I'm giving it a 4.

And remember kids, wearing a mask is always cooler than being bald.

Until Next Time
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Vote in the 2011 Top Rope Awards

It's time of year. Forget the Slammys, it is time for the Top Rope Awards. And I'm looking for your input in the award process. We want you to vote and help figure out who deserves the awards in various categories. From now until December 26th, I will have polls listed on the side of my blog and I want your help in deciding who gets each award. The winners of the fan vote and my vote will be revealed in my year end blog. There are a handful of awards to vote for, so lets get to it. I will give the nominees in each category with a quick write up about each. I will expand on the winner in my year end blog. This is strictly WWE, I don't watch enough TNA to include anything from there.

NFL Week 14 Picks

NFL Picks? Woo Woo Woo! You Know It!

Last Week's Record: 13-3
Year to Date Record: 125-67

Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers
This isn't too much of a rivalry in recent years. The Steelers have dominated the Browns. The Steelers continue to win while the Browns continue to float in mediocrity. Cleveland has definitely taken a step back this year. The distraction that Peyton Hillis has caused isn't helping matters. Colt McCoy has also regressed a bit, but it doesn' help when you have no real threats at WR. And the run defense is just getting gashed on a weekly basis. The most recent is Ray Rice's 200+ yard rushing performance last week. The Browns can't seem to find a winning way and stick to it. Pittsburgh continues their winning ways as they look destined for another playoff appearance. The Steelers have looked streaky at times this year. The offense has struggled in various games, but they had a good showing against Cincinnati last week. Their smash mouth football style helps them win in the winter months though, and that shouldn't be any different this week. Expect Pittsburgh to pound the ball with Rashard Mendenhall, which will open up the play action pass with Big Ben, Mike Wallace, and Antonio Brown. Steelers win rather easily.

Pittsburgh 24  Cleveland 9

Kansas City Chiefs vs New York Jets
Congrats to Tyler Palko on winning his first game last week. Sure, it was against a depleted Bears team. And sure, Palko was pulled at one point in the game, but he still got the win. But the Chiefs still looked terrible on offense. There only TD came on a hail mary pass at the end of the first half. Otherwise, it is the same Chiefs teams that hadn't scored a TD in their last two games. The defense shut down the Bears, but it was a Bears team that didn't have their star QB or RB. The Jets pulled away late against Washington, but the offense struggled early on. Mark Sanchez again looked off on multiple throws. The defense was also burned by the run early on. This, however, should be a cake walk for the Jets as long as they are focused. The Chiefs have no weapons on offense and should struggle against a tough Jets pass rush.

NY Jets 27  Kansas City 6

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Jacksonville Jaguars
This is the battle to not be considered the worst team in Florida. The Bucs are 4-8 and it looks like Raheem Morris is losing control of his players. The offense has looked stagnant and terrible continually. They were blown out by Carolina last week, which cements their status as the worst team in the NFC South. I would be surprised if Morris isn't fired at the end of the year. The Tampa job is semi-attractive, there is a lo of young talent on the team to build around. But they are in a tough division and need quick improvements if they want to compete in the coming years. The Jagaurs already fired their coach. And they still look terrible on offense. I know it is only his first year, but Blaine Gabbert is struggling mightily. With the success of Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, the pressure on him increases. But Gabbert can't handle pressure and often times makes bad decisions even without pressure. You have to feel bad for Maurice Jones-Drew. He's being a team player but you know the losing and struggles have to be eating at him on the inside. A new coach needs to decide if Gabbert has a future in the NFL, and also get some playmakers for him at the WR position. I've told you these teams suck already. So who wins? If you are one of these teams 25 fans and care, I'm picking Tampa. More talent.

Tampa Bay 23  Jacksonville 19

New England Patriots vs Washington Redskins
The Patriots are quietly putting together another typical Patriots season. Remember when we were questioning if this team was a legit playoff team? They still struggle a bit on defense and don't have too much of a running game, but they keep winning and that is all that matters in the end. But if Tom Brady keeps throwing to Rob Gronkowski at will, then this team will be tough to beat. Gronkowski is such a huge target and runs his routes so well that it makes him difficult to cover, especially in the red zone. You need a quick, physical safety to even just keep up with him. Even if Gronkowski gets shut down, you still have that pesky Wes Welker to deal with. The Redskins have given the Cowboys and Jets fights in recent weeks, but they can't find a way to close out games. The defense keeps the Redskins in it, but the offense fails to convert come late in the game. That is partly do to Rex Grossman's inability to perform in the clutch. The one bright spot for Washington has been Roy Helu, who had a good game against the Jets. Helu should have another good game against the soft Patriots defense, and Grossman should do ok as well. But the Patriots offense wins out here. Grossman and Co. can't keep up.

New England 31  Washington 20

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers
This has all the makings of a trap game for Atlanta. The Falcons offense struggled last week against the Texans. They only managed 10 points and couldn't get anything going, especially the run game. That should be different this week. Michael Turner should take advantage of a weak Panthers run game. Matt Ryan should also be able to burn the Panthers secondary with some deep plays. The Falcons have the talent to burn the Panthers that the Bucs don't have. The Falcons defense played well, but they will be without Corner Brett Grimes this week, which could hurt. The Panthers could struggle with their running attack here as the Falcons are pretty good at stopping it. Cam Newton might need to rely on his arm more here, and that should wake up the sleeping giant known as Steve Smith. You have to like all of the progress the Panthers are showing this year. They are a fun team to watch, and when they get healthy next year on defense, could be the Lions of this year's NFL. A young team that has the potential to make the playoffs. And that is why I'm picking the Panthers to get the upset win here.

Carolina 24  Atlanta 21

Indianapolis Colts vs Baltimore Ravens
It's a revenge game for Baltimore. Indy stole their franchise years ago and they want revenge! The Colts tried to make a comeback against New England last week but couldn't. But their offense woke up last week under Dan Orlovsky, which is a weird thing to say. Problem for Indy is that their defense is still terrible, and Ray Rice should expose that. He's coming off a 200 yard performance against Cleveland, and could easily top 200 yards again this week. Joe Flacco might have a good game too. Again, I don't see anyway the Colts compete here. The countdown to 0-16 continues. Baltimore wins.

Baltimore 35  Indianapolis 17

Philadelphia Eagles vs Miami Dolphins
Both of these teams are 4-8, but they are heading in completely opposite directions. The Eagles appear to have already packed their bags in for the season. DeSean Jackson looks to have quite on the team. The players seem to have given up on Andy Reid. And the much hyped defense has been torn apart for most of the season. The Eagles will probably get Mike Vick back this week, but that won't so much for them. If the team isn't going to give their effort, then Vick's comeback means nothing. The Dolphins are 4-8 but have been playing some of the best football in the NFL the last 5 weeks. The Dolphins are making it mighty hard for ownership to fire coach Tony Sparano at the end of the year. For some reason, the Dolphins have decided to get going right now rather than the whole season. Nothing changed in Miami, other than the fact that they started trying after 0-7. Reggie Bush should take advantage of the weak Eagles linebackers. The Dolphins improved defense will pressure Mike Vick, and the Dolphins will continue to roll and make the Eagles Dream Season one to forget.

Miami 26  Philadelphia 20

Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions
Can the Lions stop shooting themselves in the foot? They continue to take dumb penalties and cost themselves games. They've gone 2-5 after starting 5-0. The offense hasn't been the problem for the most part. The defense for some reason cannot stop anything in recent weeks. The Lions have been plagued with injuries in the secondary. And they will be without Ndamukong Suh again for this game as he sits out his two game suspension. The good news for the Lions is that it looks like Adrian Peterson will also be out for the Vikings, so the Vikings offense looks a little less threatening. Christian Ponder made a terrible throw last week that lead to an interception and set-up the Broncos game winning field goal. The Vikings defense is also depleted with injuries in the secondary. Expect a big game from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. The Lions should rebound here with a nice win against a down Vikings team.

Detroit 34  Minnesota 21

New Orleans Saints vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans are the least talked about team in the AFC Playoff Picture, but they may be the team no one wants to play in the Playoffs when it is all set and done. Chris Johnson has regained his 2011 form, and that is bad news for his opponents down the stretch. Johnson is hiding the ineffectiveness of Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck isn't playing bad, but he isn't doing enough to help get his team into the playoffs. The defense has been in shut down mode in recent weeks which also helps. But that defense faces a daunting task of trying to shut down the high powered Saints offense this week. But the Saints have struggled on the road this season. They are only 3-3 on the road, and there only double digit win came against lowly Jacksonville. But Drew Brees and the Saints offense should take the momentum they've had after winning two big games and carry it to the road. You know the Saints defense main task will be to shut down Chris Johnson and force Matt Hasselbeck to win the game for Tennessee. I expect a close one here, but in the end I have to go with the Saints and there array of weapons on offense.

New Orleans 28  Tennessee 23

Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals
How can this game not sell out in Cincinnati? Bengals fans should be ashamed. Sure the Bengals have struggled recently, but they are still right in the thick of the AFC Wild Card Race. Plus, they are getting a wounded Houston team coming to town. With no Andre Johnson for Houston again, expect a heavy dose of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. But you know the Bengals will be expecting that, so expect a lot of eight man fronts from the defense. That means this game is on T.J. Yates shoulders. Yates performed all right last week against Atlanta, but he will need to do better in his first road start. The Bengals will also have a tough time against a very good Texans defense that shut down the Falcons last week. Andy Dalton will rely heavily on A.J. Green, but he will more than likely face constant double teams all day. This will definitely be a defensive battle, so expect a low scoring affair. If the Bengals are successful in shutting down the Texans run game, then I find it hard to believe T.J. Yates scan win the game for them. I'm giving a slight edge to the Bengals here, and think they pull out a mild upset at home.

Cincinnati 16  Houston 13

Chicago Bears vs Denver Broncos
This is a bad time for the Chicago Bears to come up against TEBOWMANIA. The Bears are down Jay Cutler for the rest of the season and Matt Forte for at least two weeks. And the offense looked terrible without both of them last week against Kansas City. The Bears only managed 3 points verses the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. Marion Barber becomes the feature back in Chicago, but he isn't an every down back. Caleb Hanie hasn't played well, and he doesn't have any weapons at WR that would scare the Broncos defense. If the Bears want to win this game, they will have to rely on their run defense to shut down the running game of the Broncos. The Vikings shut down Tim Tebow last week, but they failed to stop Willis McGahee, who ran for 111 yards and a touchdown. Tebow showed last week that he isn't afraid to throw the ball. It still isn't pretty, but he can avoid pressure and allow his WRs to scramble and get open. The Broncos defense isn't bad either, as they have defensive scores in their last two games. This one has low scoring, defensive struggle all over it. But it is too hard to bet against Tebow and the Broncos here, and they continue their winning ways.

Denver 17  Chicago 13

San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers may have already wrapped up their division, but don't expect them to take their foot off the pedal quite yet. The 49ers still want that 1st round bye and still only have a one game lead over the Saints for that in the NFC. The defense looked dominant in their win over the Rams last week. Sure it was the Rams, but it still takes an all around team effort to shut out a team. If there is one person the 49ers may rest, it might be Frank Gore who has been a bit banged up all year. But Kendall Hunter is a good enough back to handle the work load for the 49ers the rest of the way. The Cardinals won again last week, this time in over time over the Dallas Cowboys. The Cardinals have been playing in recent weeks like I thought they would all year. Similar to the Dolphins, if the Cardinals played like this all year maybe they would be in the hunt for a playoff spot right now. The offense has looked better in recent weeks and the team's overall play is probably saving Ken Wisenhunt's job. This is a dangerous spot for the 49ers. Coming off a big game last week they may suffer a bit of a let down. The Cardinals are a dangerous team right now and I think they pull off the upset here at home.

Arizona 20  San Francisco 19

Buffalo Bills vs San Diego Chargers
These are two of the more disappointing teams this year for different reasons. First the Bills. They started the season 5-2 and appeared on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. But the Bills have lost five in a row. They have been decimated by injuries. Teams have also found out how to shut down the Bills spread offense. And the defense is still getting shredded. Expect defensive coordinator George Edwards gone at the end of the year. The Bills have a tendency to abandon the run like they did last week. They were only down seven at the half, but only ran the ball FOUR times in the second half. C.J. Spiller has shown promise in recent weeks, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has regressed. The Chargers, meanwhile, are the constant favorites in the AFC West. But after starting 4-1, the Chargers lost six in a row before winning last week in Jacksonville. Philip Rivers looked like the old Philip Rivers last week. The defense has struggled to stop anyone as well, which hasn't helped the Chargers offense. The Chargers don't consider them out of the AFC West race, especially with the tough schedule the Broncos and Raiders have ahead. Being two games out with four games left, the Chargers pretty much have to win out if they have a chance. They start here with a win over the Bills in a shootout.

San Diego 38  Buffalo 31

Oakland Raiders vs Green Bay Packers
Last week's performance is something the Raiders absolutely had to avoid. They were blown out on the road in Miami and gave up the lead in the AFC West via tiebreaker to the Broncos. Now the Raiders have to go into Lambeau and try to hand the Green Bay Packers their first loss. The Raiders running attack was finally stopped last week by the Dolphins. Don't expect it to get going again against the Packers. That means Carson Palmer will have to win this game with his arm. But Palmer isn't Aaron Rodgers. Despite the Packers shaky pass defense, Palmer isn't a good enough QB to win the game for the Raiders. Aaron Rodgers should have a field day taking advantage of a weak Raiders secondary. He makes playing QB so simple in the NFL. His 1 minute drive to get into field goal range last week at the end of regulation against the Giants was a thing of beauty. There is no reason to think that won't continue here. The Packers are the better overall team, and with the 49ers losing (in my opinion), they get one step closer to winning home field throughout the NFC Playoffs with another win here.

Green Bay 35  Oakland 23

New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Huge showdown in the NFC East. These two teams play each other twice in the final four weeks, so the loser isn't necessarily out of the NFC Playoff Race. Both teams are coming off of bad losses last week. The Giants stood toe-to-toe with the Packers last week, but the defense couldn't stop the Packers in the end to force overtime. The Giants are a better team with Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield. That helps them mightily. Eli Manning is having a good season, but the problem is the defense has struggled to stop teams at times. That has been evident the last two weeks against the Saints and Packers. If the Giants front four on defense is silenced, it exposes holes in the secondary. The Cowboys lost to the Cardinals in Arizona after horrible clock management at the end of the 4th quarter. With two timeouts left, Tony Romo wasted about 20 seconds getting his team set up for a spike that brought the clock down to seven seconds left. Then, Coach Jason Garrett called a timeout before a made field goal by Dan Bailey. Bailey missed the next kick, and the Cowboys lost in overtime. Both of these teams will have their moments on offense and defense. I expect it to be close throughout. They key will be which ever team gets their run game going. That opens up the play action pass for both teams. I think in the end, I like the Cowboys here. I expect Jason Witten to have a big game here, just like the Jermichael Finley did last week for the Packers. A close one throughout that goes to the Cowboys, with a late field goal.

Dallas 27  NY Giants 24

St. Louis Rams vs Seattle Seahawks
I bet ESPN wishes they could flex games to Monday night. The second straight game between bad teams on Monday night. Even if ESPN was going off last year's successes of teams, they still should have thought that both of these teams could be awful this year. The Seahawks have played better in recent weeks. They throttled the Eagles last week. Marshawn Lynch has been in full beast mode the last month of the season. Expect another big game from him here against the Rams. The Rams are down to Tom Brandster at QB, which is all you need to know about their offensive struggles. Steven Jackson should have a decent game, but the Seahawks win here thanks to Lynch.

Seattle 28  St. Louis 10

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week's Record: 3-1
Year to Date Record: 31-20-1

I hope no one tries a four team parlay with my bets, because I always get one wrong.

Seattle -5.5 vs St. Louis: Tom Brandster at QB for St. Louis, enough said.

Cleveland +14 at Pittsburgh: I'm still expecting a low scoring affair here.

Carolina +2.5 vs Atlanta: Panthers are a dangerous team.

NY Jets -9 vs Kansas City: Tyler Palko hasn't shown much in recent weeks.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NFL Week 13 Review

NFL Review time? You bet!

Team of the Week: San Francisco 49ers
-I think this may be the third time the 49ers won this award in the season. But the 49ers won the NFC West on Sunday with a great all around performance against the lowly St. Louis Rams. The 49ers shutout the Rams and had a great game offensively, taking the Rams to the wood shed. Alex Smith continues his career resurrection under Jim Harbaugh, which comes as a complete surprise to a lot of people. The defense is going to make this team a real threat come January. One under-rated guy on this team? Kicker David Akers. Akers has been pretty spot on this year, and he hit another four field goals on Sunday. I don't think Jim Harbaugh rests any players yet. Frank Gore may see a slightly lighter work load, but I don't know if anyone else rests considering the 49ers are still fighting for a 1st round bye. I predicted the 49ers to finish last in the NFC West. I will eat crow here, Congrats to the 49ers on a great season.

Game of the Week: Green Bay Packers 38  New York Giants 35
-This one really isn't close. The Giants were blown out at New Orleans on Sunday night, so you were kind of expecting something similar here. But the Giants stood toe-to-toe with the Packers on Sunday. They drove down the field with less than 5 minutes remaining to tie the game with a touchdown and 2 point conversion. Problem is, they left time on the clock for Aaron Rodgers to go 4 plays down the field to get into field goal position. It reminded me a lot of the Giants/Patriots game from the Patriots undefeated season. The Giants hung with the Pats the entire game before Tom Brady & Co. pulled it out in the end. The Giants fell to 6-6, but the Cowboys also lost so it wasn't a season-ender. The Packers just continue to roll and have already clinched the NFC North. The Packers are showing some flaws on defense, and I wouldn't consider them a lock to roll to the Super Bowl in the NFC.

Dog of the Week: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
-Come on man, really? That was some terrible clock management by the Dallas Cowboys at the end of their game against the Arizona Cardinals. They wasted 20 seconds getting lined up to spike the ball when they still had two timeouts in their pocket. Then, Garrett called a timeout right before kicker Dan Bailey booted the kick right through the uprights. So what happened on Bailey's next attempt? He was short and to the left. Garrett said after the game he thought the play clock was getting low. It wasn't low enough to prevent Bailey from getting the kick off on time. If you think the kick isn't going to get off on time, call the timeout before your kicker gets set. The Cowboys went on to lose the game in overtime and blew the chance to take a two game lead on the Giants.

Other Week 13 Notes
-Did you know that all Tim Tebow does is win? He did it again on Sunday, and this time he did it with his arm. Tebow had 2 TD passes in Denver's win over Minnesota. The Broncos are now 6-1 this year under Tebow, and that is all that matters when it comes down to it. Tebow won one of those games by only completing two passes, and he won another by scoring all of the team's points in the final 3 minutes. The Broncos now sit on top of the AFC West thanks to Tebow, and some much better play by their defense. The next two games are huge for the Broncos, home against the Bears and Patriots. If the Broncos can win those two, especially against the Patriots, then there's no reason to think they won't make the playoffs.

-At what point do you just start feeling bad for the Bears and Texans? Lets start with the Bears. First they lose Jay Cutler for what looks like the rest of the regular season. Then, they lose Matt Forte for 2-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. Now who do the Bears turn to on offense? Caleb Hanie has not done well his first two games, and Marion Barber is not an every down back. The Bears remain in a 3 way tie with the Falcons and Lions for the last 2 Wild Card spots, and it won't be easy. The Texans lost Andre Johnson again for another couple weeks after injuring his other hamstring. So the Texans lost Mario Williams, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub. They get Johnson back then lose him again. They still pulled out a good win at home against Atlanta. The defense stepped up big time, holding the Falcons to only 10 points. It was big because it doesn't look like the Titans are going away. Being up 2 games with 4 games left is a huge advantage.

-The last Wild Card spot in the AFC may very well come down to the final week of the season. The Bengals, Jets, Titans, and Broncos/Raiders are all 7-5 and all have difficult schedules ahead. The Bengals looked particularly bad this past week against Pittsburgh. They went from being competitive against the Steelers at home to getting blown out on the road. Youth may be catching up to Cincinnati. The Jets pulled away late against Washington but looked shaky for 3 quarters. The Raiders were blown out in Miami and now go to Green Bay next week. Tennessee has won three of their last four but go to New Orleans next week. The Broncos are playing the best football, but they will win the AFC West in my opinion. If I'm a betting man, I'm going with the Jets to get the last Wild Card spot. They always find a way to sneak into the playoffs and I think they will again.

-I think it is finally to the point where this dysfunction in Philadelphia will cost Any Reid his job. The Eagles look like they have given up on Reid, and you don't need any more evidence than Thursday nights game against Seattle. That team just doesn't care anymore. They were suppose to be Super Bowl contenders but now they are contenders for a Top 10 pick. If Reid is back, DeSean Jackson won't be. I doubt Jackson will be back anyway. The defense, specifically the linebackers, look like a joke. I guess that is what happens when you make your offensive line coach your defensive coordinator. At this point, I wouldn't even  risk further injury to Mike Vick. Finishing 4-12 isn't out of the realm of possibility if this team really has quit, but I think they win their final game against Washington to get to 5-11.

Hey I'm Just Sayin...
-Are you happy you gave Jacksonville two home MNF games now, ESPN?

-Is it really just Ndamukong Suh that is dirty in Detroit?

-I would still take all of this Tebow talk over a potential Brett Favre return.

-Is the NFC West actually better than the NFC East?

-Can I play QB for the Rams this week?

-Hey Donovan McNabb, take all of this as a sign that it is time to retire.

1. New England Patriots  9-3  at Washington
2. Baltimore Ravens  9-3  vs Indianapolis
3. Houston Texans  9-3  at Cincinnati
4. Denver Broncos  7-5  vs Chicago
5. Pittsburgh Steelers  9-3  vs Cleveland
6. Cincinnati Bengals  7-5  vs Houston
7. Tennessee Titans  7-5  vs New Orleans
8. Oakland Raiders  7-5  at Green Bay
9. New York Jets  7-5  vs Kansas City

This week would be the perfect opportunity for the Jets to grab the #6 Wild Card spot. They get a bad Kansas City team coming into their building. The Titans and Bengals both have tough home games, while the Raiders travel to undefeated Green Bay. If the Jets can win this week, they may be all alone in the #6 Wild Card spot come weeks end.

1. Green Bay Packers  12-0  vs Oakland
2. San Francisco 49ers  10-2  at Arizona
3. New Orleans Saints  9-3  at Tennessee
4. Dallas Cowboys  7-5  vs NY Giants
5. Chicago Bears  7-5  at Denver
6. Atlanta Falcons  7-5  at Carolina
7. Detroit Lions  7-5  vs Minnesota
8. New York Giants  6-6  at Dallas

Obviously the big game this week is Giants/Cowboys. Winner takes the lead in the NFC East race. Atlanta and Chicago have tough road tests. That gives the Lions the opportunity to take advantage with a win against a bad Vikings team.

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
New Orleans Saints vs Tennessee Titans: If the Titans want some attention, a win here would help.
Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals: Can the Bengals stop their apparent downfall?
Dallas Cowboys vs New York Giants: Hopefully Jason Garrett freezes the other kicker this week.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Monday, December 5, 2011

RAW Review for 12/5/2011

Do You Want To Be WWE Champion? Then Come On Down!
RAW started with John Cena again. Cena kissed the WWE's Universe ass. He said they've earned the right to tell him how they feel about him. Cena said they've earned the right to chant "Fruity Pebbles" at him, and you can't find energy like that on any other show. Cena said he's been getting reactions like that forever, and it isn't a big deal to him. Cena said the only slapped that mattered last week was the referee's slap tat counted to 3 when C.M. Punk defeated Alberto del Rio last week for the WWE Title. Cena said he wanted another WWE Title match with C.M. Punk.

Alberto del Rio interrupted. He said he deserves another Title match, not Cena. ADR showed the clip of Punk using the exposed turnbuckle to get the win last week against him. ADR said he should be the new WWE Champion because of that. Vickie Guerrero interrupted with Dolph Ziggler. Vickie said Dolph deserves a Title shot. Dolph said he beat Randy Orton, is the longest reigning Champion in WWE, and has the best match on WWE night in and night out. Cena made fun of Dolph's past names. Dolph said it's not showing off if you back it up every night. Miz said he took out John Morrison & R-Truth, beat Cena at Wrestlemania, had a WWE Title reign longer than ADR, and doesn't need Vickie to get a reaction like Dolph does. John Laurinaitis interrupted. He said each man in the ring will face a Smackdown superstar, and if they win they are in the WWE Title match at TLC. Except John Cena, Cena's match is a "social experiment." Miz's match is first. He faces Randy Orton. Typical way for the WWE when they have multiple people they want to get involved in the Title picture. Dolph stood out and didn't look out of place at all. Survey Says: 2.5/5

Lets Keep Making Miz Look Strong! Oh Wait....
Back from break Miz worked over Randy Orton. He hit a neckbreaker for two. Orton fought out of a sleeper hold with a backdrop. Clotheslines than a scoop slam. Miz countered the middle rope DDT by tossing Orton over the top. Miz charged out of the ring but Orton caught him and hit a scoop slam. Wade Barrett came out. Orton stared him down. He put Miz back in the ring then chased Barrett, which got Orton counted out. Barrett than came back and took out Orton from behind. Miz can beat up Morrison and R-Truth, but he can't beat Orton clean. Way to continue Miz's strong push. Survey Says: 1.5/5

Promo for WWE Network, starting in April 2012.

Zack Ryder was backstage with John Laurinaitis. Ryder asked him about his online petition. Cena came in wearing Ryder's wig and sunglasses. Laurinaitis talked Cena's match later tonight, a "social experiment." Tonight Cena faces Zack Ryder. If Ryder wins, he gets a future United States Title match. If Cena wins, he gets put into the WWE Title match at TLC. Both men stared on in disbelief.

David Otunga talked to Kevin Nash backstage. At TLC, Nash takes on HHH in a Ladder Match, with a sledgehammer hanging above the ring. First guy to get it can use it. Nash is also in action tonight. Nash in a Ladder Match? This will be epic.

Taped Ribs? Is that Daniel Bryan or DDP?
Alberto del Rio was out next for his match. His opponent? Daniel Bryan. ADR worked over Bryan's injured ribs early. Bryan tried to lock in a submission but ADR countered by dropping Bryan rib first on the ropes. ADR immediately applied the cross armbreaker to pick up the in. Meh. Bryan's injured sure but they could have done better to protect him. At least ADR looked strong compared to Miz. Survey Says: 2/5

During a Divas of Doom promo, the 'It Begins" promo interrupted it. Apparently the announcers didn't see it. Kelly rolled up Beth to pick up the win.

How Could You Bro?
Cena got Ryder in an armbar early on. Ryder countered into a headlock. Cena got out, hit a hip toss, then applied a sleeper. Ryder countered out and hit a faceplant then applied a headlock. Cena powered out, but Ryder countered into a swinging neckbreaker for two. Another headlock. Cena countered out again, but Ryder hit a knee to the face on Cena than a missile dropkick for two. Ryder hit a tornado DDT for two. Ryder went for the Rough Ryder, but Cena ducked and went into CENA MODE. Ryder countered out of an AA than hit his knee to the face in the corner. He went for the Rough Ryder, but Cena countered into the AA for the win. Ryder seemed frustrated with Cena, asking how Cena could cost him his one shot at the US Title. Cena walked off apologizing. Alright match. You knew Ryder was jobbing, but it was better than the first two matches tonight. Still not saying much though. Survey Says: 2.5/5

Cena was backstage yelling at Laurinaitis to give Ryder a U.S. Title match. Laurinaitis said he could give him one more opportunity in another match, but Cena would have to give up his WWE Title match opportunity at TLC. Cena said he is a ten time WWE Champion, and he has had his opportunity. Now it is time for someone else to get theirs. Cena agreed to it. Laurinaitis said Ryder would have to wait to find out his opponent.

A new Kane promo aired. This time he was shown wearing his old mask.

Zack Ryder was out for his next match, a No DQ Match vs Mark Henry. Henry dominated Ryder. Ryder tried to fight back, bashing Henry's injured ankle into the ringpost. He hit his knee to the corner, but Henry shoved him away. Cena came out, hit an AA on Henry, and put Ryder on top of him for the win. That was stupid. Ryder looked weak, and so did Henry. Survey Says: 1/5

Vickie said she couldn't get Laurinaitis to reverse the decision, but she did find out Ziggler's opponent for later: Sheamus. Dolph said he didn't want Jack Swagger at ringside.

Kevin Nash vs Santino. Nash hit a side slam than a boot, then finished Santino with a powerbomb. Nash grabbed the sledgehammer after and went to hit Santino, but he held back.

Are Faces The Heels Tonight?
Sheamus/Ziggler. Sheamus hit a shoulder knock down but Dolph came back with a dropkick. Sheamus came back with his chest punches and then hit a back drop for two. Ziggler countered with a neckbreaker for two then applied a sleeper hold. Sheamus hit some axe handles then some head butts in the corner. Sheamus set up the Celtic cross but Ziggler countered out of it as Sheamus missed a charge in the corner. Zack Ryder came out to the ring. It distracted Ziggler, allowing Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick for the win. So it is ok for faces to distract heels. but not the other way around? Faces are being booked as heels tonight. Survey Says: 1.5/5

All 3 men arrived for the contract signing. Punk moved the tables and chairs. He said contract signings are the biggest cliche in wrestling. Punk said Laurinaits can play Jack Tunney, they can sign the contract and get to brawling like normal. Laurinaitis said that the match at TLC will be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match. Punk said all he has to do is beat they guy he's beaten twice and the guy that lost at Survivor Series. Miz asked if he's seen what he's done lately. He taken out Miz and R-Truth. Punk asked where he took them out to, the new Twilight movie. Miz said he took them to the stage and forced Morrison to get fired. Laurinaitis then looked right in the camera and wished John Morrison the best in his future endeavors. HA.

Miz said he's the most WWE Champion in WWE History, and that will make the WWE Title relevant again. Alberto del Rio chimed in. ADR said he's done everything this year, and he will win back the WWE Title. ADR was going to say why, but Punk stopped him and said if he was going to say because it is his destiny he was going to start drinking. Miz said that the one thing him and ADR agree on is that Punk is not leaving TLC WWE Champion. Everyone signed the contract. Laurinaitis wanted a photo, but Punk refused and started brawling. Punk ended up hitting a bulldog on ADR threw the table, then a GTS on Miz. Punk stood tall to end the show. Punk saved that from being a train wreck of a show, but it isn't saying much. Weird seeing Punk take out both men heading into TLC. Survey Says: 3/5

This was a down show compared to the last two weeks. No good wrestling on the show. They are rushing to get to TLC, so they had a lot to fit in to make people care about the PPV in two weeks. Of course that is no one's fault but the WWE's. The faces were made out to be total heels tonight, with Cena and Ryder interfering in matches to help other faces win. Miz didn't look strong after doing so the last few weeks. They did it with Alberto del Rio, but he's almost beyond repair at this point. Dolph Ziggler stood out in the beginning promo which was good. Cena's weird emotional trip continues and I still don't know exactly where it is going. Is Cena really not going to be on the PPV? And Nash/HHH in a Ladder Match: Epic. This show gets a 3 from me, for Punk and for Laurinaitis wishing John Morrison the best in his future endeavors.

And remember kids, cheating for your friends is cool, as long as you are the good guy in the situation.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

Saturday, December 3, 2011

How Close Is A John Cena Heel Turn?

So if you're like me, you have to be wondering: What has the WWE been doing with John Cena these last couple weeks? Two weeks ago, he appeared after Survivor Series just to talk about the crowd's reaction to him in MSG and to break-up Miz & R-Truth. Last week? He appeared on the opening segment of RAW with Roddy Piper. Piper basically called out Cena for not caring about some fan's negative responses to him. Piper slapped Cena and basically challenged him to stand up for himself. Instead? Cena "rose above hate" and walked away. The interesting thing is that after all of this, Cena did not appear on the rest of the show.

There have been a lot of people clamoring for a John Cena heel turn for a while now. Cena is arguably the most interesting character in WWE history when it comes to fan reactions. Ever since John Cena won the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 21, fans kept losing more and more interest in him. Cena's first reign lasted over a year, and by the end of it, fans were sick of seeing him come out on top every night. Not only that, but the WWE began to water down his hip hop character. They made him more of a kid friendly character. The WWE saw Cena as their future corner stone of the company, so they had to make his character suitable for that. It's a different era compared to when The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin were on top. The WWE feels their target audience is the youth demographic, but that's something that can be argued every day. The 17 and under crowd isn't buying your PPVs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NFL Week 13 Picks

More football, more picks!

Last Week's Record: 12-4
Year to Date Record: 112-64

Philadelphia Eagles vs Seattle Seahawks
This starts off a bunch of stinkers for Thursday night games in the coming weeks. Now of course, I can't blame the NFL for this one. On paper at the beginning of the year it looked like a good game. The "Dream Team" Eagles head to Seattle, which is always a tough place to win. But the Eagles have an array of problems at their hands. Mike Vick is out again. DeSean Jackson was benched last week. The only positive in the last few weeks has been the improved play of the defense, even though the Patriots had their way with them last week. Seattle has been playing well as of late, but they won't catch San Francisco for the division. Marshawn Lynch is running like a #1 running back which has been good for Seattle. You have to wonder if the Eagles haven't already packed it in. I'm taking Seattle here. They don't have a bunch of drama surrounding their team.

Seattle 23  Philadelphia 21

Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These appear to be two teams headed in opposite directions. The Panthers look like a team on the rise with Cam Newton under center. Their offense is fun to watch. Newton looks like the franchise quarterback everyone thought he could be. The Panthers have also finally got their two headed running attack of DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart going. The Bucs, meanwhile, have regressed mightily after a strong season last year. The offense isn't as potent, and the defense is having problems stopping the run. That's bad for Tampa considering that the Panthers love to run the football. Tampa coach Raheem Morris is on the hot seat, and this game here won't do anything to cool it down. The Panthers run wild on Tampa and win in this one, sending the Bucs to the bottom of the NFC South.

Carolina 34  Tampa Bay 28

Cincinnati Bengals vs Pittsburgh Steelers
A huge game in the AFC Playoff Picture. The Bengals have a one game lead on the Jets, Titans, and Broncos in the AFC Wild Card Race. They rebounded last week with a win against Cleveland, but didn't get the lead in the game until the final 2 minutes. The Bengals struggled to get anything going offensively. When the Steelers visited Cincinnati a few weeks ago, Andy Dalton struggled a bit against the Steelers defense. He threw a couple bad picks. Now Dalton will have to play better, but this time on the road. It's a shame that this team, even at 7-4, can't sell out their home games. The Bengals are a good football team. The Steelers survived last Sunday night against Kansas City. The offense looked brutal at times last week. The Bengals have a stout defense, so they may find more trouble to move the ball this week. Troy Polamalu will play for Pittsburgh, although you have to be worried about the "concussion like" symptoms he has. The defense will need to pressure Andy Dalton here and not allow time for him to throw. Expect a low scoring affair, with the Steelers pulling out a close one in the end.

Pittsburgh 17  Cincinnati 13

Atlanta Falcons vs Houston Texans
A big game for both teams. The Falcons are in a three way tie for the two Wild Card spots in the NFC. But the offense has finally gotten going for the Falcons and that will be a big help for them. Michael Turner is struggling through a nagging groin injury, and the Falcons need to hope that it isn't bothersome for him down the stretch. The Falcons might also be down their top two cornerbacks for this game. If that is the case, it should help new Texans QB T.J. Yates a bit when it comes to passing against the Falcons. Yates looked ok last week after being thrown into action after Matt Leianrt's injury. Yates might have to throw this week because the Falcons are good against stopping the run. Arian Foster and Ben Tate might have some trouble getting going here. The good thing for Yates is that he has one of the best defenses in the league backing him up. That should take a good amount of pressure off of Yates. Expect a close game here, but I'm still going with the Texans here. I guess I like their home field advantage. And they have a slightly better defense.

Houston 27  Atlanta 23

New York Jets vs Washington Redskins
The Jets found a way to win last week against the Bills. Mark Sanchez threw 4 TD passes, yet he is still getting booed by his home fan base. Sanchez did have his moments last week. He didn't put together a complete game. The defense was also thrown on a bit too much by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets need to establish their running game more. They haven't done a good job of doing that all year. Shonn Greene may be the most under-utilized running back in the league. The Redskins pulled off a good, come from behind win last week in Seattle. Rex Grossman hit a couple of nice deep passes, and Roy Helu had another strong game in the Washington back field. The Redskins defense will try to pressure Mark Sanchez into making bad throws here. Last week the Bills sat back in coverage, but the Redskins will pressure him instead. I think this is a close game, but the Jets pull out the win late because they are the more talented team.

NY Jets 20  Washington 16

Indianapolis Colts vs New England Patriots
Once a great AFC rivalry, this year it is a meaningless game. It was taken out of the Sunday night prime time slot, and for good reason. The Colts stink. They are starting Dan Orlovsky at QB this week, but it won't matter. The Patriots are clicking on offense and on defense. The Pats rolled through the Eagles last week, and look poised to win out for the rest of the season. There's just no chance for the challenged everywhere Colts team. Patriots roll, no need to over-analyze.

New England 38  Indianapolis 14

Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins
This has all of the makings of a trap game for the Raiders. The Dolphins are playing some really good football in the last month and had won three in a row before falling on a last second field goal against Dallas on Thanksgiving. Matt Moore is showing signs of being a competent NFL QB, Reggie Bush is looking like a starting NFL RB, and Brandon Marshall is playing like the #1 WR everyone thought he could be. And the defense is playing much better. If they played like this at the start of the year, they could be in the middle of the playoff race and Tony Sparano might have a job in Miami next year. The Raiders have a one game lead in the AFC West on the Broncos. The Raiders couldn't get into the end zone last week against Chicago. Only 1 TD and eight field goals. The Raiders are hoping to get Darren McFadden back this week. That would be a huge help for them. A two headed running attack of Darren McFadden Michael Bush is scary to think about. If the Dolphins can pressure Carson Palmer in the pocket they have a very good shot and winning, and I think they do. Miami pulls off the upset.

Miami 28  Oakland 23

Denver Broncos vs Minnesota Vikings
Tim Tebow is the messiah. I've come to accept it. The Broncos could be down by 21 with two minutes left, and I still think that the Broncos would come back and win. Tebow doesn't do it pretty, but he does enough to help his team win. The Vikings have one of the better run defenses in the league, but their pass defense is atrocious. The Broncos defense has also improved greatly in recent weeks. Von Miller is a beast in the linebacker core with 10.5 sacks. They should feast upon Christian Ponder this week. Adrian Peterson has a shot at playing this week, but even if he does he probably won't be at 100%. The Broncos should be able to shut down the Vikings offense. Percy Harvin might have a big play or two up his sleeve, but the Broncos just have this ray of luck shining over them right now, and I think they pull out another win. That means more Tim Tebow talk dominating ESPN for a week.

Denver 26  Minnesota 17

Tennessee Titans vs Buffalo Bills
The Bills had last week's game against the Jets last week all wrapped up. But defensive miscues caused the Jets to score the game winning TD late, and a dropped past and mis-thrown ball on offense stopped the Bills from scoring the go ahead TD in the final seconds. The Bills four game losing streak has made their 5-2 start a distant thing of the past. The offense finally looked better last week, but they didn't make the big play when they needed it, and penalties hurt them as well. Stevie Johnson has been talked about enough, so expect him to try and shut his critics up here. The Titans quietly keep winning and know they have a shot of winning the AFC South with the Texans now on their third string QB. Chris Johnson should have a big game here against the poor Bills run defense. He's finally gotten going after a slow start to the season. If Matt Hasselbeck can put together a strong outing then the Titans have a good shot to win. But you have to think the Bills will be motivated coming home after three straight on the road. While the Bills fans, this guy included, don't think they can make the playoffs, the team still does. The Bills pull out a win here and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Buffalo 30  Tennessee 27

Kansas City Chiefs vs Chicago Bears
I for the life of me cannot understand why Todd Haley is again going with Tyler Palko here. Even if Kyle Orton doesn't know the whole playbook, can he really be that much worse than Palko? What about Ricky Stanzi? Is he worse than Palko? At this point the Chiefs should at least give him one game to see what he has. But instead, Palko is the guy again and he still hasn't scored a TD in his two games as a starter. The Bears lost a close one last week against Oakland. Caleb Hanie didn't look terrible, but he did make a really bad decision driving late with the delayed spike. Hanie should have a good game here against the lowly Chiefs. But expect a heavy dose of Matt Forte here from the Bears. The Bears will lean on Forte here and will take down the lowly Chiefs lead by the lowly Tyler Palko

Chicago 24  Kansas City 10

Baltimore Ravens vs Cleveland Browns
This is one of those games where you expect the Ravens to win, but after their questionable losses this season, they could just as easily lose. The Ravens have been without Ray Lewis the last two weeks, but that really hasn't mattered. They shut down the 49ers last week, only allowing 6 points and sacking Alex Smith 8 times. Joe Flacco looked alright against the 49ers. He has his trio of weapons at WR back with Lee Evans returning. And he still has Ray Rice in the backfield, who should be leaned on heavily here. The Browns almost pulled off the upset of Cincinnati last week on the road, but they couldn't stop the Bengals in the second half and their own offense sputtered in the same half. The Ravens will bring the pressure on Colt McCoy and force him to make quick decisions. Even though the Browns offense looked better last week, I would expect them to struggle against Cleveland. There is always the original Browns leaving for Baltimore factor here that adds a bit to this rivalry, but I think the Ravens pull off the win. But I wouldn't be shocked to see the Browns win either given the Ravens road struggles against bad teams.

Baltimore 21  Cleveland 19

Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals
The Cowboys may have played the best football in the month of November. They went 4-0 and Tony Romo had his best month of the season. The Cowboys now have a one game lead on the Giants in the NFC East and control their own destiny. DeMarco Murray should have a field day against the poor Cardinals run defense. The Cowboys may get Miles Austin back this week, which adds another weapon to what has been a very good Cowboys offense in the last month. The Cardinals have won 3 out of their last 4 games with John Skelton at QB. Beanie Wells had a monster game last week running for 228 yards. And Patrick Peterson has been a beast returning punts for the Cardinals this year. While the Cowboys defense has been better, they can still be thrown on. Expect a big game from Larry Fitzgerald. I think this game is closer than people think it will be. The Cardinals can score, but the Cowboys score a bit more to get the win.

Dallas 35  Arizona 31

Green Bay Packers vs New York Giants
Going back three weeks, I thought the Giants had a good shot to win this game. But now? Not so much. The Giants have lost 3 in a row after beating New England. And the Giants did not look good at all Monday night against New Orleans. The defense couldn't shut down Drew Brees, which makes it highly unlikely that they will be able to shut down Aaron Rodgers. Eli Manning will be able to throw against the Packers secondary, but he can't play defense. The Giants will likely have Ahmad Bradshaw back, but I don't know if that will help them enough to win. The Giants pass rush needs to have an all star game for the Giants to have a chance, and I don't think that happens. The Packers have just as many weapons on offense as the Saints do. Aaron Rodgers should be able to find all of his weapons at some point during the game. The Packers are just playing to well right now to lose. Give me the Pack in this one.

Green Bay 31  NY Giants 23

St. Louis Rams vs San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have had more than a week to get the bad taste of their loss to Baltimore out of their mouth. The offense looked terrible last week. The Ravens showed that if you shut down Frank Gore, Alex Smith will not beat you. The 49ers defense held up their end for the most part, but the offense struggled. That may hurt the 49ers come playoff time. The Rams offense continues to sputter and coach Steve Spagnuolo may be the next coach to get fired. The Rams have only scored 4 TDs in the last four weeks, and 3 of them have been to Brandon Lloyd. The Rams woes continue here, as the 49ers are out to show that last week's game was not an indication of how they will perform against the better teams come playoff time.

San Francisco 24  St. Louis 9

Detroit Lions vs New Orleans Saints
This has all the makings of a shootout in the Big Easy. The Saints rolled the Giants Monday night. Drew Brees and Company just look unstoppable at times. The Saints look like a team ready to make a run into late January. Drew Brees has so many weapons that defenses just can't focus on one guy to stop. They also have a nice three headed trio at the running back position. Expect the Saints defense to blitz and blitz often, forcing Matthew Stafford to make quick decisions. The Lions don't have much of a running game to speak of, so if the Saints can shut down Matthew Stafford, they have a good shot of shutting down the Lions. The Lions will most likely be without Ndamukong Suh pending appeal of his two game suspension. But even with Suh, I don't think the Lions have a shot of shutting down the Saints. Drew Brees finds his open targets and the Saints continue their roll.

New Orleans 35  Detroit 28

San Diego Chargers vs Jacksonville Jaguars
How did the Jaguars get two Monday night home games? I can't wait to see how the ESPN crew tries to hype this game up as watchable. The Jaguars fired Jack Del Rio this week, so there's something to talk about. But Blaine Gabbert doesn't look like the franchise QB the Jags thought he could be. I don't think the Jags will attract a big name coach. The Chargers have struggled mightily this year, and that will probably cost Norv Turner his job. Philip Rivers may be playing hurt, and the defense can't stop anyone. It's been quite the disappointing season for San Diego, as their Super Bowl window for that team has come and gone. The Chargers still have a better offense, so they win here.

San Diego 21  Jacksonville 13

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week's Record: 3-1
Year to Date Record: 28-19-1

Houston +2.5 vs Atlanta: I still think the Texans are the better team.

Denver +1.5 at Minnesota: How can you bet against Tim Tebow at this point?

Buffalo -1.5 vs Tennessee: My Bills homerism lead me to this pick.

Carolina +3.5 at Tampa Bay: Panthers are playing better football.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka