THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23
Carolina 2-12 at Pittsburgh 10-4 8:20 PM [Line: Pittsburgh by 14]
Carolina has the worst record in the NFL. If that holds up, they will get the #1 pick in next year's draft. Presumably that pick will be QB Andrew Luck from Stanford. The Panthers already have a pretty solid running game and a decent defense; their disastrous season can be blamed almost solely on awful play at the quarterback position. If Luck is really the next Peyton Manning (as some have suggested), Carolina could be seriously competitive as early as next season.
RJ's Pick: Steelers by 20
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 25
Dallas 5-9 at Arizona 4-10 7:30 PM [Line: Dallas by 6.5]
Forget about 5-9. The Cowboys are 4-2 in the Jason Garrett era, and those two losses were by a combined six points against two very good teams.
RJ's Pick: Cowboys by 11
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 26
Washington 5-9 at Jacksonville 8-6 1:00 PM [Line: Jacksonville by 7]
The Redskins have dropped four straight. Mike Shanahan has a lot of work to do in the offseason, especially fixing the defense and figuring out what to do at quarterback. Donovan McNabb is understandably unhappy and Rex Grossman is almost certainly not the answer.
RJ's Pick: Jaguars by 13
Detroit 4-10 at Miami 7-7 1:00 PM [Line: Miami by 3]
The Lions broke their NFL-record road losing streak last week. The Dolphins are just 1-6 at home this season despite their .500 record. Miami is the only NFL team this season with just a single home victory. You'd think a team with a 6-1 road record would be a shoo-in to qualify for the postseason, but the Dolphins will be watching the playoffs at home. (FYI: I will be attending this game, so if you are watching at home be on the lookout for a physically intimidating-looking** guy wearing a Matthew Stafford jersey and a Detroit Lions visor and holding a $7.00 "adult beverage" with a death grip.)