Five NFL Franchises in Need of Fixing, Plus the Week 16 NFL Picks

By 12.22.12

New York Jets
We’ll start with everyone’s favorite team to bash. We all know the team has a quarterback problem, but that’s not the only issue. They need to improve the receivers because Tom Brady couldn’t make the current receiving core look good even with an eventual return from Santonio Holmes. They need more talent in the backfield because Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell are not explosive. It would help if they improved their offensive line to actually open up some holes. The defensive is good, but it can definitely improve. The team hasn’t had a legitimate pass rusher in years.

Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals have the worst quarterback situation in the league. They’re obviously in need of a signal caller, but that’s not their only offensive issue. In order for whoever starts at quarterback to be upright, Arizona needs to invest free-agent money and draft picks into one of the worst offensive lines in the league. There’s no quarterback in this draft who stands ou, so it’s not worth wasting a first-round pick on one. It’s also not the best draft for elite offensive linemen, but the Cardinals are better off filling that need and trading down if they have to. They’d also do well to find a good pass-catching tight end to improve the chances of whichever veteran quarterback they eventually decide on starting.

San Diego Chargers
Here we have another team with a massive offensive line problem. Yes, their coach sucks (he’ll be gone) and the quarterback is prone to mistakes, but there are bigger problems. The offensive line was an issue before the season started, it wasn’t addressed, and San Diego has now given up the third-most sacks this season. On the other side of ball, the Chargers need to chase the sacks they give up on the offensive end. They drafted Melvin Ingram to be a dominant pass rusher last season, which may or may not ever happen, but they need to continue to improve that area. They only have more sacks than six other teams in the league.

St. Louis Rams
If you’re going to draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, you might as well give him some weapons to throw to. The Rams have failed in that area since taking Bradford in the 2010 NFL Draft. While Danny Amendola is obviously a good NFL receiver, he can’t do everything and his recurring injuries have been a problem. They’re reaching the point of Bradford’s career where they need to figure out if he can elevate his game and drafting receivers won’t help. They need to trade or sign a legitimate receiver this offseason, (Greg Jennings or Dwayne Bowe?) and it wouldn’t hurt if they find a veteran tight end with ability either.

Miami Dolphins
There are a lot of teams who need secondary help (New Orleans and Tampa Bay come to mind), but none is as frustrating as the Miami Dolphins. They traded away cornerback Vontae Davis to the Colts before the season started and didn’t have a suitable solution to replace him. While Sean Smith can hold his own at the other cornerback spot, their safeties are in need of a major upgrade. The Dolphins need a ball hawk out there, as is evidenced by the fact that they’re tied for 26thin interceptions. The offense isn’t devoid of issues either. You know that wide receiver problem St. Louis has for its first round quarterback? Brian Hartline and Davone Bess aren’t helping Ryan Tannehill get to an elite level either.

There are three Bros tied with two weeks left in the BroBible NFL Pickem Challenge. Eric Putz, Jerry Rivera, and Zachary Viskovich all have picked 120 games correct through 15 weeks, but they have many a Bro snapping at their heels. Chuck Daleiden isn’t in the running for the season crown, but he pulled off 14 correct picks in Week 15.

I admittedly haven’t had my year picking games. Last week’s performance was the worst I’ve had in five years. One guy who isn’t having such trouble this year is ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd. His “Blazing Five” NFL picks of the week are coming in at a ridiculous 70 percent and he came in as the best pundit for 2012. Like any smart person, I’m willing to admit when someone’s doing better than me and I’m riding Cowherd’s picks with my own this week. Hopefully I won’t be the mush.{pagebreak}

Survivor Pick of the Week:
CAROLINA over Oakland
It’s not often that last week’s survivor pick becomes this week’s survivor opponent. Carolina has quietly won three of its last four games. The Raiders should’ve thrashed Kansas City last week, yet they only managed five field goals. It’s back to reality.

Locks of the Week:

DALLAS -3.5 over New Orleans
This may be the time of year when the Cowboys melt down, but I think they’ll keep their fans excited until at least next week. The Cowboys have a defense good enough to stop the Saints at least a few times.

Indianapolis -6.5 over KANSAS CITY
The Chiefs have lost four of their last five games by at least 8 points and the game in between was their emotional following the terrible situation involving their teammate. Indianapolis has everything to play for and the offense to deliver.

CAROLINA -8.5 over Oakland
As mentioned above, I see Carolina taking care of business. Before last week, Oakland had lost their previous six games and only one of them was by less than double-digits. That was against Cleveland, a team without an offense.

Trap Game of the Week:

Cincinnati +4.5 over PITTSBURGH
The Bengals’ best wins are against the volatile Giants and the Redskins, who were still growing in Week 3. Their other six wins are against teams that are all currently under .500. The Steelers, however, just seem a little off and have lost four of five. Is it possible they’re just not that good?

Rest of the Picks:

Atlanta -4.5 over DETROIT
There might be a letdown from Atlanta after last week’s domination of the Giants, but the Falcons still need to win one more or have San Francisco lose one before they lock in the top overall seed in the NFC.

HOUSTON -7.5 over Minnesota
The Vikings’ secondary has holes that Houston will exploit and their inexperience quarterback is bound to make plenty of mistakes against Houston’s crazy-good pass rush.

JACKSONVILLE +14.5 over New England
New England has been favored by double-digits on four occasions this year, but they’ve only covered once.

TAMPA BAY -3.5 over St. Louis
Josh Freeman continued his poor play last week as the Buccaneers lost their fourth straight. When St. Louis loses, they lose convincingly. Five of their six losses have been by more than 10 points. I think Tampa Bay wins this game.

N.Y. JETS -3.5 over San Diego
The Greg McElroy era begins. If there’s anything that can make a Jets’ pass rush look good, it’s the Chargers offensive line.

Tennessee +11.5 over GREEN BAY
The Packers are perceived to have a great offense, but they’re not in the top 10 in either passing yards or rushing yards. They’ve only won one game this year by more than 11 points.

Washington -5.5 over PHILADELPHIA
RGIII will return and we saw last week that the Eagles will either let you beat them or they’ll beat themselves.

Buffalo +4.5 over MIAMI
Another sellout crowd is expected in Miami. (Cough…cough) I’m not going to overreact on Buffalo’s loss last week. Before that, they were playing much better football. Good enough football to keep this within a field goal.

As with Buffalo, I’m not going to overreact to Cleveland’s poor performance last week. It was one of only two losses that had been by more than ten points. They stayed strong in their other seven losses and should be able to hang with a Denver team who won’t be pulling out all the stops.

Chicago -5.5 over ARIZONA
Matthew Stafford gave Arizona a win last week. While Jay Cutler is also capable of doing that, I don’t expect that to happen this week.

N.Y. Giants -2.5 over BALTIMORE
Maybe this Giants fan will bet a Ravens fan this week and show even more skin. The Giants are a good team who plays bad every other week. The Ravens are just not any good despite their nine wins. Their early season luck is slowly turning.

SEATTLE +1.5 over San Francisco
Colin Kaepernick has done some nice things in his first year as a starting quarterback, but he’s never played a game in Seattle. The 12th man will cause him some problems.

Last Week: 3-13
Season: 106-116-3
Locks: 20-24-1
Survivor: 13-2



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