Happy 2023 and whatnot! I had my best week of the year picking games, even though I botched my favorite team’s pick again. After the world was put in a freezer for a few days, it’s back to moderate weather in the Carolinas, which means being able to wear short sleeves before the holiday season is over. A perk of Southern living. Let’s see if we can keep the picks nice and hot.

Dallas at Tennessee (Thur) – The NFL probably thought the Titans would be at least 9-6 at this point, fighting for good playoff seeding. Instead, they get a very injured Titans team that just lost to the Texans. At home. This game will get the “f’ugly” designation. Cowboys 44, Titans 10

Arizona at Atlanta – The Who Cares Game of the Week. Falcons 19, Cards 10

Chicago at Detroit – My team cooled off the red-hot Lions last week. But they get a terrible team at home to recover. Playoff hopes not yet dead. Lions 28, bear cubs 17

Cleveland at Washington – Riverboat Ron’s team is still in playoff position even as they also play Musical QBs, inserting the forgotten opening day starter Carson Wentz in the lineup. Fortunately for them, they have the most under-achieving roster this league has seen in years. Commanders 23, Browns 20

Denver at Kansas City – After their epic LA meltdown, Denver canned its rookie head coach. There will be the “circle the wagons” adrenaline at the start of the game, but the overwhelming talent disparity will eventually rule the day. Chiefs 33, Donkeys 16

Indianapolis at NY Giants – Do you remember when Jeff Saturday was THE rookie sensation among coaches? Neither do I, but we now know why high school coaches rarely jump right to the NFL. NY was the league darling, then they slumped, now they’re among the teacher’s pets again. That status will elevate after this silly matchup. Giants 30, Dolts 10

Jacksonville at Houston – I don’t think enough attention is being paid to the difference between the 2021 Jaguars, with absolutely zero coaching, and the 2022 Jaguars, who have proven that quality coaching is vital to a team’s success. This 2022 Jags team has a lot of potential. Jags 31, Texans 13

Miami at New England – Tua is out. Us Tyreek Hill fantasy owners can kiss whatever financial interests we had goodbye. Fortunately, the roster from positions 2-53 is a blowout for the visitors. Fish 20, Pats 13

New Orleans at Philadelphia – How delicious. With Hurts still on the shelf and New Orleans sucking at a level unseen since 2005, this should be a comedy of errors. Eagles 19, Aints 9

LA Rams at LA Chargers – The “road” team had a nice week last week, but that was against a junior league organization. They will have more fans in the stands than the “home” team, but they are too injured to stop a playoff team. Clippers 26, Rams 17

NY Jets at Seattle – The “Geez, Everything Was Going So Well” Bowl. Which sinking ship is sinking faster? I’ll give that nod to the home team since Mike White is back at QB for NY. J-E-T-S jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets 23, Seahawks 20

San Francisco at Las Vegas – Vegas couldn’t possibly be a hotter mess than they are now. McDaniels has now proven twice he is not qualified to be a head coach, although he might not get fired. He’s decided to give his fellow Patriots import Jarrett Stidham the QB job. On the other side is the hottest team in the NFL. The only reason the margin won’t be bigger is that Frisco will put all their 3rd-stringers in after halftime. 49ers 38, Fakers 7

Minnesota at Green Bay – I’m in my fantasy playoff 3rd place game. The QBs on our rosters are Rodgers, Picket, Tua, and Jalen Hurts. The only one not on the injury report is Pickett. I’m starting Rodgers on a prayer. On the reality scene, Green Bay has won 3 in a row, and Minny has had better luck than any team in history. I anticipate another 1-score game. But the obnoxious horn is not available. Skol doesn’t work on the road. Packers 27, Norwegians 24

Pittsburgh at Baltimore – Even with Pickett back at QB, neither of these offenses provides any reason to expect fireworks. Both teams live off their defense being better than the opponent’s defense. Slight edge to the home team’s defense. Ravens 19, Steelers 12

Buffalo at Cincinnati (Mon) – Easily the game of the week, and it’s all by itself on Monday night. Two of the league’s best QBs and offenses. Should be a track meet, and a possible AFC title game preview. Slight edge to the road team. Buffalo, NC 35, Bengals 31

Carolina at Tampa Bay – My remarkable run of not predicting my team’s games continues. A Twitter user pointed out that every coach in team history has a losing record in his first 10 games – except Steve Wilks, who is 5-5 this year. Imagine life today if DJ Moore hadn’t taken his helmet off in Atlanta. As for this week, it’s not so much of a Jedi Mind Trick as much as it is my expectation that the rapidly fading Tom Brady suddenly becomes Prime Tom Brady again and destroys our playoff hopes. Bucs 23, Panthers 20

Last week’s record: 13-3

Season: 143-95-2