Freak fired up for Week 16 after last week’s nightmarish experience

John
John Turner
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The Freak’s worst nightmare came true on Sunday, as for the first time ever The Freak was unable to watch any NFL games.

That’s because the power at the in-laws was out due to the ice storm in Quebec. 

It was weird not to see a game-day highlight, and I had to get scores by plugging a cell phone into the truck lighter. Not a lot of fun trying to find out who were winning these huge Week 16 games.

Oh well, this will fire up The Freak up even more for Sunday’s final regular-season games. Guaranteed, it will be a full day in front of the television.

There is so much at stake from possible playoff berths, first-round byes, division titles and the top draft pick. Two games in the NFC will really be Week 17 playoff games as the winner moves on to the tournament while the loser goes home.

The NFL really knows how to build hype by having all divisional games, and stretching the excitement by putting one of these elimination games in prime time between the Eagles and Cowboys (winner takes NFC East) while the Packers and Bears (winner takes NFC Central) will be a late afternoon game.

With the Giants long out of the playoffs, this will make for a great Sunday watching these two games. Nothing like playoff football!

However, there are many other big games in terms of getting in the dance, especially for the last wild-card spot in the AFC as the Ravens, Chargers, Dolphins and Steelers all have a shot for that last spot. Each of these teams have a different scenario, but if they want to keep their dream of getting to the Super Bowl, the one common denominator is that each need to win.

In the NFC, the playoff picture is pretty straight forward as the only two teams with a chance at the final wild-card slot are the Saints and the Cardinals. Arizona needs to beat the 49ers, and have the Saints to lose while the Saints can claim the final NFC spot by just winning at home over the Bucs.

Finally, there are too many scenarios for first-round byes, but one thing for sure is that it will be a very exciting last week of the regular season.

The sure thing

There is no such thing as “sure thing,” especially when all the matchups are divisional games. But The Freak will try to find the best winning games for you.

Indy needed to get some playoff momentum going, and they did just that last week. They will continue to build on that with a home win over the Jags, who played some solid football over the last half of the season.

Denver needs a win to clinch home field throughout the AFC playoffs as they travel to Oakland. The Raiders have struggled as they are back and forth between quarterbacks, who both have different skill sets. It won’t matter who plays, Pryor or McGloin, as Peyton will show them a thing or two. Take the Broncos in the “Black Hole.”

Russell Wilson lost his first home game in his career last week, and he and the Seahawks won’t lose another one there until next season. The Rams come to town, and will feel the wrath of a Seattle team that was flat last week. Better to lose last week than in the playoffs. ‘Hawks win.

The Saints are home to the Bucs, and New Orleans is just a different monster at the Super Dome. New Orleans has too much on the line to lose this game to a team like Tampa. Great home cooking means a playoff-clinching win.

The Patriots showed some moxie going into the champ’s home field and pounding them, so do you think they will let the Bills come into their house and beat them with so much on the line? Take the Pats.

The Panthers have really matured as a team, and LB Luke Kuechly should be getting some MVP votes with an incredible 24-tackle game versus the Saints. Atlanta would like to forget this season, which was supposed to be special. Only thing special in this game is how convincingly the Panthers beat the Falcons.

Don’t mortgage the house picks

The Titans will squeak by the Texans in a yawner.

The Jets are up and down like a kid on sugar, and are unpredictable as that same kid! However, Miami blew it versus Buffalo last week in a game they needed, but still has a shot at the post-season. The Fish wins and starts watching the out-of-town scoreboard.

The Freak and all Giants’ fans are glad the 2013 season is coming to an end. It was bad for the Big Blue faithful, but must be worse for all the Redskins’ fans, who had very high hopes. Both teams will need to make some changes in the off season. Eli Manning will finally play a good solid game, and will go out with a win while the Redskins will finish dead last and have to give their first-round pick to St. Louis in the RG “III-10” deal, which has to hurt.

Congrats to the Steelers for starting 0-4, and still having a chance at the playoffs in Week 17. They beat the Browns in Pittsburgh, and cross their fingers.

Very simple in the Packers-Bears game: Rodgers plays, Packers win; no Rodgers, Bears win. Should be a great game.

The Freak thinks the Cowboys might be better without Romo. That’s not because Kyle Orton is better, but they will have a better game plan of running the football instead of throwing it all the time. The Eagles can score points and Cowboys can’t stop anyone, which will be the difference. The Eagles win the NFC East.

Talk about a team that quit was the Detroit Lions. With all the talent on that team there are no excuses. Detroit will try to end the season on a positive note in Minnesota. Don’t like the mental state of the Lions one bit. The Vikes are erratic, but will beat Detroit.

Chargers beat KC in Arrowhead, which is very tough to do. Bottom line is this game means more for the Bolts than the Chiefs, even though San Diego might know their fate before kickoff. Regardless, take the Chargers.

If Arizona can go into crazy Seattle and win on the road, they have a good chance to beat the 49ers at home. The Saints and Seahawks both play at the same time, so both teams will have to give it their all. Take Zona as they will be the more desperate team.

Upset special

There are two things against Cincy in its home game with the Ravens.

Teams trying to win games just for home-field advantage never seem to be motivated as much as a team like the Ravens, who are in a desperation state. 

Secondly, not many teams can go 8-0 (won-lost) at home like the Bengals are attempting.

The Ravens still keep the champ’s belt for at least another week with a road win.

Last week: 4-for-7.

Season: 75-for-109.

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

Organizations: Ravens, NFL, Steelers Seahawks Redskins Panthers Big Blue Browns Detroit Lions Bengals

Geographic location: Quebec, Seattle, New Orleans Miami Buffalo St. Louis Pittsburgh San Diego Summerside

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