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It’s the last week of the regular season, which means you have to be really careful because some teams will pack it in and give little effort while some teams are in playoff mode already. There are only two games that I like on Sunday, here they are:
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (Jax -4, 37)
The Pick: Indianapolis +4
Indianapolis and Jacksonville clash Sunday in a battle of two of the worst teams in the league. The Colts are playing their best football of the season right now though, and Jacksonville has far and away the worst offense in the NFL, they don’t have any business being 4-point favorites over anybody. The Jags are also decimated by injuries in the defensive backfield and the Colts have been throwing the ball better since Dan Orlovsky took over for Curtis Painter at quarterback. I guarantee you the Indianapolis front office wants no part of a victory in this game; if they lose they are assured the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft but if they win that pick will most likely go to the St. Louis Rams (assuming the Rams lose to San Francisco). Jim Irsay and Bill Polian may be sorely disappointed, though, because I like the Colts to pull the upset here. Jacksonville just can’t move the ball, their passing attack could be the worst I’ve seen in 30 years. Take Indianapolis and the points.
Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (Atl -11.5, 46)
The Pick: Tampa Bay +11.5
That’s right, I’m ending the NFL regular season by backing Indianapolis and Tampa Bay, two pitiful teams. If you think that’s a bit of a head-scratcher, you’re not alone. Sometimes I think I’ve been doing this too long… Anyway, I really do think Tampa is a good play this week. I know they’ve lost 9 games in a row and 4 in a row by 16 points or more, but they’re in a good situation here and I think they’ll play Atlanta tough. First of all, Atlanta has been a disappointment this year. They’re just not as good as everyone (myself included) thought they would be. Also, this game doesn’t mean much to them. They’ve already locked up a wild card and they know they’ll be playing on the road next week, either in New Orleans or San Francisco. Don’t be surprised if they rest some of their key players this week, especially if they have a double-digit lead in the second half. Tampa, meanwhile, will be leaving everything out there because they know that they won’t be playing another football game for 8 months. Atlanta is a hated division rival; I guarantee you Tampa doesn’t want to be embarrassed by the Falcons in this game. The Bucs know the Falcons’ personnel and schemes inside and out, they’ll know how to properly defend them and where to attack their defense. Coach Raheem Morris may be on his way out but I think he’ll get one last inspired effort from his players. I’m taking Tampa and the points here.