Hooooooo boy … if you’re a 49ers fan who either doesn’t drink or cares little about celebrating New Year’s Eve, tomorrow’s Niners/Rams game’s start time — 10 am PST — shouldn’t be a problem. But if you plan on heading into 2012 with a lampshade on your head and mysterious scrapes on your knees and elbows when you wake up the next morning, watching the entire game is going to be a chore. A challenge many won’t be up to, which means Twitter might be quiet tomorrow morning as some Niners fans decide to DVR the game and catch up or simply miss the first quarter (or three) altogether.
I’m about ready to head out to dinner to get this New Year’s Eve rolling, so let’s head to the picks. Otherwise known as my last pathetic excuse to reach .500 or above. I’ve hovered around .500 all season and actually had a few good weeks in a row to get a nice cushion, then a pathetic last few weeks (17-28-1) crushed my hopes at respectability. Sigh…
Onto the Week 17 picks, with odds courtesy of 5dimes.com from around 5 PDT Saturday (12/31/11):
Bills @ Patriots (-10.5)
Besides their ridiculous tight ends, these Patriots don’t seem like a 13-3 team. But all they have to do is crush the Bills to gain homefield throughout.
Bears @ Vikings (-1)
This game doesn’t matter at all, so who knows (I’m slowly realizing that I have no chance of reaching .500 this week).
Panthers @ Saints (-7.5)
I’d love to see Carolina crush Sean Payton and Drew Brees after they brazenly threw and threw and threw so Brees would get Dan Marino’s record, but I have have a hard time imagining that happening in the Super Dome.
Jets @ Dolphins (-3)
I don’t know what’s going to happen here, but I can guarantee you this: “Time to shut up, fat boy” will definitely be the name of one of my fantasy football teams next season (characters permitting from the ever-strict folks at Yahoo).
Titans (-1) @ Texans
I know the Titans need this game, but Andre Johnson’s coming back and the Titans have screwed me all year on these picks.
Colts @ Jaguars (-3.5)
Would Indy possible screw up the No. 1 pick by winning three straight games to end the season? If they were playing this game at home, I’d say yes. On the road, I think the Jags take care of this (I’m hoping to avoid every second of this game if at all possible).
Lions (-4.5) @ Packers
The Packers have nothing to play for, and after suffering numerous injuries recently they’re going to be careful here.
Redskins @ Eagles (-8)
A bad showing for either team could lead to a head coach getting fired.
Ravens @ Bengals (-2)
I really shouldn’t pick Baltimore on the road. I really, really shouldn’t…
Seahawks @ Cardinals (-3)
Good, these two teams can try to injure each other after attempting to maim the 49ers at every opportunity.
Chiefs @ Broncos (-3)
If this was the NBA, the Broncos would get EVERY call. Every Raiders fan reading this is saying, “Wait, isn’t that exactly what’s going to happen?”
Buccaneers @ Falcons (-10)
The Bucs should be ashamed of themselves for how they’ve played this year. They had 9-7 talent and 2-14 heart in 2011.
Steelers (-6.5) @ Browns
Will Cleveland ever be good again?
Cowboys @ Giants (-3)
People act as if the Giants are this amazingly resilient team, but where’s that coming from? Because they beat the Jets? Didn’t the Giants lose to the Redskins at home two weeks ago? Haven’t they lost five of their last seven, starting with that game in San Francisco? Call me crazy, but I see Tony Romo shutting a few people up here. For five or six days, at least.
Chargers @ Raiders (-3)
If the Raiders lose this game, Hue Jackson should be fired. He probably won’t be, because he’d have to fire himself, but losing to a Chargers squad that (1) isn’t very good and (2) has nothing to play for would be inexcusable.
49ers (-10.5) @ Rams
Okay, I’m almost late for dinner so I’ll make this quick. The 49ers’ defense (hopefully without Patrick Willis, who they should rest on Sunday) can handle the Rams, who’ve scored just over 11 ppg.
However, the Rams will play hard, despite their best intentions (to tank and get the No. 1 pick if the Colts lose). The 49ers have very few healthy receivers, they won’t want to expose Frank Gore, and even though they shouldn’t … I think they’re going to overlook the Rams here. Look for a closer-than-comfortable game early, with the Niners’ defense keeping the Rams in check and the offense accidentally scoring some points here and there.
Pick: 49ers 23, Seattle 10
Last week: 6-10