Hey, it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know. When it comes to the regular season, there’s just three weeks to go. There are only 48 games remaining! Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take the time to acknowledge that I’ve officially come through for you this season.
That’s right, Milwaukee Record readers, even if I manage to go 0-48 the rest of the regular season, I will still have a winning record on the season. Consider it my holiday gift to you that was 15 weeks in the making. Last week was a challenge, with games being moved and practice squad players being enacted, but I still went 10-6. Based on the latest news and developments, here are my picks for Week 16:
SAN FRANCISCO OVER TENNESSEE
In the final Thursday night game of the season, we have a contest between my preseason favorite to win the championship against a team I’ve been high on since the end of October. Tennessee probably needs to win two of their final three games to win their division and make the playoffs, but I’m not totally sold that they can get there. As for San Francisco, they are clicking at the right time, but I can’t help but wonder what they’d look like if they hadn’t used the third overall pick in the draft on Trey Lance. Can you imagine this squad with Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, or DeVonta Smith on offense? It’s hard enough to stop Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, and if they had one more elite player alongside them, they might be a favorite to win it all. As it stands, I think if they get the right matchups, they can make some noise in the playoffs this year.
GREEN BAY OVER CLEVELAND
You know this game won’t get moved, but it doesn’t feel totally fair that Green Bay gets to play a decimated Cleveland squad that is coming off playing on Monday. I know Cleveland is getting more rest than teams that play on Thursday following a game on a Sunday, but for some reason it feels different to me, and I feel bad for them.
“But Moneyline Mo, if Cleveland had played their game on Saturday like it had been scheduled, they would have an extra day of rest over Green Bay as opposed to the other way around!”
I suppose the strawman I created is right. There’s no room for pity or remorse. You play to win the game! DESTROY THEM! GO PACK GO!
ARIZONA OVER INDIANAPOLIS
Coming into this game, Indianapolis is playing with a little bit of house money after their win over New England. My outlook is that they had to win at least one game over either New England or Arizona, and they’ve already accomplished that! It would be nice for them if they can get this win over Arizona, but even with a loss they should still be in good position to make the playoffs if they can win their final two games against Las Vegas and Jacksonville.
For Arizona, following their shocking loss to Detroit, they might need to win their next three in order to secure the division now that they have the same record as Los Angeles. In terms of where these teams have been trending, the pick would be Indianapolis, but I think we’ll see a refocused Arizona squad get the win in the Christmas nightcap.
ATLANTA OVER DETROIT
Congratulations, Detroit, you got me good! Last week, I thought I was being cute, and I kept it pithy saying that Arizona was not going to lose to Detroit. I didn’t elaborate because I didn’t think I needed to. It seemed like a given. I’m sure my readers thought the same thing, too. Nobody believed in Detroit and they pulled the damn thing off! So, on behalf of me and everyone who assumed you’d get blown out, kudos on proving us wrong. I still think Detroit will lose this week though.
BUFFALO OVER NEW ENGLAND
I’ve checked the forecast and, unlike the game in Buffalo a few weeks ago, it doesn’t look like there will be extreme wind, so you can probably anticipate more than three pass attempts for New England. However, if I’m Bill Belichick, I might try to limit it to only two just for the hell of it. Sure, the division is on the line with this game, but why not try to have some fun?!
CINCINNATI OVER BALTIMORE
In each of their past three games, Baltimore has failed on a two-point conversion attempt. I haven’t disagreed with any of the calls by John Harbaugh, but what a gut punch for the team to not convert on any of them, especially in the Pittsburgh and Green Bay matchups, when a conversion would have likely sealed a win. I still think Baltimore is the best team in the division, but my gut feeling is that they won’t win this game.
LOS ANGELES (N) OVER MINNESOTA
I’m calling this one the “Battle of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.” The show was set in the Twin Cities but was shot in Los Angeles, so that’s enough of a justification for me to screen-print hundreds of T-shirts with the game name I created and drive up to Minnesota this weekend to try to sell them and make a quick buck. I’m thinking of leaving early Saturday morning, do you think my family will mind?
My parents are huge Mary Tyler Moore fans, so when I was a kid, we went on a road trip to see the house that was used for exterior shots on the show. The guy who lived there didn’t like people taking pictures of his house, so as we were getting in position to take the photo, he emerged from a second story window shirtless and laid on the roof like Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood so he could ruin our photo. It’s funny to me, but my parents are still bitter about that.
PHILADELPHIA OVER NEW YORK (N)
Of all the playoff contenders, I personally feel that Philadelphia is the most nondescript. I think I’ve only seen two of their games this season–the Week 3 Monday night game at Dallas and the Week 6 Thursday night game against Tampa Bay–so it’s hard for me to have a full read on them since they have been much better since those two early season losses. I have a sinking feeling that they could ultimately be the 7-seed in the conference, and I’ll have to do a crash course on them ahead of the playoffs. They are likely facing either Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm this week, so I’m locking them in for a win.
JACKSONVILLE OVER NEW YORK (A)
What a shame that I finished my column last week before Urban Meyer was fired in the middle of the night. At least we got one last parting gift in his reported quote of “Hey dipshit, make your fucking kicks!” I can’t help but hear that delivered in Danny McBride’s voice. Can Danny McBride play Urban Meyer in a movie/miniseries? I think Kevin James as Sean Payton opens the door for this possibility.
TAMPA BAY OVER CAROLINA
Remember early on when Carolina was undefeated to start the season and I thought that the fact that they play Tampa Bay in both Weeks 16 and 18 could have huge ramifications for the division? Technically, Carolina is still “alive” for the playoffs, even with their 5-9 record, but this certainly isn’t the matchup I thought it would be. And come on, there’s no excuse for stacking these games as two out of the final three weeks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this absolutely looks like somebody fucked up and forgot that Tampa Bay and Carolina had to play each other twice. Whoever did this, I’m onto you!
LOS ANGELES (A) OVER HOUSTON
What do you consider the cutoff point for Christmas movies? Some might say Christmas Day is the last day to really get the full effect for the season, but I think there’s a buffer from the 26th-30th where you can still savor the afterglow of the holiday. And hey, is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Sound off in the comments below!
SEATTLE OVER CHICAGO
Watching Chicago get embarrassed on Monday night against Minnesota was bittersweet for me. On the one hand, it was incredibly entertaining to watch them self-destruct once again, but it also sealed that the Matt Nagy era is ending and that might be the final time I get to see him as a head coach. Based on Chicago’s schedule to end the season, I don’t know if we’ll get any of their final three broadcasts. We had a good run getting to watch every game of theirs since Thanksgiving on local TV, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that I probably won’t see a Matt Nagy-coached game again in my lifetime. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
KANSAS CITY OVER PITTSBURGH
If Benjamin Franklin had lived long enough, I think he would have amended the quote that “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and broadcasters talking about how loud Kansas City is during football games.” Even if Kansas City is down a bunch of players, I think the loud crowd helps them win this one.
DENVER OVER LAS VEGAS
I think both of these teams are on a road to nowhere. I don’t think the Las Vegas offense or the Denver defense is strong enough to overcome their weaknesses on the other side of the ball. However, barring a tie, one of these teams will be 8-7 after this week and still alive for now.
Speaking of “Road to Nowhere,” when I was getting into Talking Heads and heard that song at the end of Little Creatures, I knew I’d heard it somewhere before and it was driving me nuts. I was picturing kids on a beach, kind of like the ending of The Goonies and in the pre-internet days of research, it took me hours of thinking to realize that it’s at the end of Little Monsters.
Knowing what we know now, how much did Howie Mandel hated having all that makeup and prosthetics on him for Little Monsters? Is that what inspired the “There’s too much shit on me” sketch from I Think You Should Leave? Tim Robinson, feel free to let me know.
DALLAS OVER WASHINGTON
Is the selling point of this game that we probably get to see Dallas clinch the division? I know they’re a popular team and they draw viewers who either love or hate them, but I think it is a letdown to get this game on a Sunday night this late in the season when there are more meaningful contests that are more deserving of the spotlight. Give me Baltimore-Cincinnati or New England-Buffalo in prime time instead!
MIAMI OVER NEW ORLEANS
The last Monday night game of the year is kind of a mock playoff game between two teams fighting for the 7 seeds in their respective conferences. Miami shares a lot of the same traits as Philadelphia this season. Only two of their games have aired locally here in the Milwaukee market–the Week 6 loss to Jacksonville in London and their Week 10 win over Baltimore on a Thursday night–so this six-game winning streak to get them to 7-7 has kind of taken place in the background of the football landscape.
I don’t know what to make of New Orleans shutting down Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers this season, but being unable to stop Sam Darnold or Jalen Hurts. It’s close to a coin toss, but I like Miami to pull off a surprise road win. Happy holidays from the man in the know, and I hope you get what you want from the man with the ho ho ho.