December 12th

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Hey, there ! Welcome to Week 15 of The GIST’s Football Pool!

This week we’re doing things a bit differently. In addition to making your picks using Facebook Messenger, we’re giving you #thegist of each game in this message too instead of sending you a GIST newsletter. Get it? Got it? Good.

Want to know if you won last week’s pool? Play and see if you won! We announce the winners at the end of the pool.

So, are you ready to play this week for your chance to win a prize from Lululemon?!

Thursday

LA Chargers (10-3) at KC Chiefs (11-2) at 8:20 p.m. ET

Now THIS is how you start a weekend full of football! KC and the Chargers are both in the AFC West division and are sitting in first and second place respectively. This game is a BFD because if the Chargers win, KC and the Chargers will be tied. You gotta love the drama.

There are a few important things to note with this game. Despite letting go of star running-back Kareem Hunt after he was caught on tape pushing and kicking a woman (SMDH), KC has won two straight games. They’re also undefeated at home and have won the last three games against the Chargers including beating them 38-28 earlier this season. That said, the Chargers are on a roll having won three games straight and are led by veteran quarterback (QB) Philip Rivers. This one’s a bit of a toss-up.

Ellen’s Pick: Chargers (because KC has to lose at home at some point right?!)


FYI: For weeks 15 and 16, the NFL has scheduled games on Saturday (likely as a way to get more people watching more games). TBH, we don’t hate it - bring on the football!

Saturday

Houston Texans (9-4) at NY Jets (4-9) at 4:30 p.m. ET

The Texans nine-game winning streak finally snapped last week when the Indianapolis Colts beat them 24-21. Meanwhile, thanks to an amazing fourth-quarter comeback, the Jets beat the Bills last week 27-23. Still, as much as the Jets pulled off a nice W last week, the Texans are far and away the better team, especially when it comes to defence and running the ball. The Texans have also won the last the last three head-to-head games.

Ellen’s Pick: Texans

Cleveland Browns (5-7-1) at Denver Broncos (6-7) at 8:20 p.m. ET

Remarkably, the down and out Browns beat the Carolina Panthers last week. On the other hand, the Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers - one of the worst teams in the league. Yikes. Both of these teams’ playoff chances are slim to none as they’re both sitting in third in their respective divisions (AFC North and AFC West). One player to watch on the field this week? Cleveland rookie QB, Baker Mayfield. He’s a bit arrogant… but so far, he’s backing up his confidence with his play.

Ellen’s Pick: Denver

Sunday

Green Bay Packers (5-7-1) at Chicago Bears (9-4) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Here we go! Another division game. Both the Packers (aka cheeseheads) and Da Bears are in the NFC North. Da Bears are leading the pack while the Packers are in third. Da Bears are coming off a HUGE 15-6 win against the LA Rams on Sunday. The Rams are one of the best teams in the league and have a stellar offence, so keeping that squad to six points is remarkable and proves that Da Bears defence is a force to be reckoned with. One guy on da Bears defence you gotta keep an eye out for? Linebacker Khalil Mack (#52). He’s an absolute tank and we almost feel bad that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has to deal with him on Sunday.

Ellen’s Pick: Da Bears

Detroit Lions (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (4-9) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Fun fact, I’ll be going to this game! And that’s honestly the most important fact we can give you on these squads. Both teams are pretty bad this season and neither has a chance at making it to the playoffs. Your guess is as good as ours. If you wanna join me at the game tickets are v cheap because these teams are so bad - only $25!

Ellen’s Pick: Bills

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-8) at Baltimore Ravens (7-6) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Both the Bucs and Ravens lost their games in week 14. Despite losing, it seems as though the Bucs have FINALLY decided that Jameis Winston (yes, that guy who was suspended earlier this season for allegedly groping a female Uber driver) is their number one QB. No more flip-flopping between him and Ryan Fitzpatrick (aka Fitzmagic). The Bucs have basically no chance of making it into the playoffs, whereas the Ravens actually have a chance because their AFC North division is pretty despicable this year.

Ellen’s Pick: Ravens

Arizona Cardinals (3-10) at Atlanta Falcons (4-9) at 1:00 p.m. ET

It’s the battle of the birds - tweet, tweet! Unfortunately, as you can see from their records, these birds have had a hard time flying this season. The Cardinals lost last week, and the Falcons have lost five games in a row. With records like these, they’re not going to be making it to the playoffs this season so we’re kind of considering this a throw-away game.

Ellen’s Pick: Falcons (that losing skid has to come to an end right?)

Oakland Raiders (3-10) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) at 1:00 p.m. ET

As much as the Raiders are sh!t this season (pardon our French), they’re coming off V BIG (and v surprising) win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. We definitely didn’t see that one coming. The Bengals have also been pretty sh!t -they’ve now lost five games in a row. Similar to the Arizona and Atlanta game, this game honestly doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Ellen’s Pick: Bengals

Tennessee Titans (7-6) at NY Giants (5-8) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Look what we have here, a coupla teams that are making a little bit of a resurgence. Both the Titans and Giants have won two games in a row and seem to be rockin’ and rollin’. While there’s basically no chance the Giants will make the playoffs (don’t @ me if you’re a Giants fan, we know there’s somewhat of a shot), the Titans have a sliver of a chance. Also, quick injury update for you: last week, the Giants were missing their star wide receiver (WR) and drama queen Odell Beckham Jr. (aka OBJ) as he’s currently sidelined with a quad injury. It’s still TBD if OBJ will be #inthemix on Sunday.

Ellen’s Pick: Titans (think they’ll be playing desperate)

Miami Dolphins (7-6) at Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Okay. So. Last week against the New England Patriots, Miami managed to put together what might just be the play of the year when they made this RIDICULOUS game-winning play: https://twitter.com/espn/status/1071875920804397056. We put this play in our newsletter on Monday, but if you didn’t watch it then, we seriously recommend you watch it now. Just nutty.

Speaking of Monday, the Vikings got clobbered by the Seattle Seahawks 21-7 on Monday night. The Vikings paid QB Kirk Cousins a 3-year, $84M contract at the beginning of this season, and straight up, he’s not living up to his pay-grade. Let’s see if he can do better this Sunday.

Ellen’s Pick: Vikings

Washington Redskins (6-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Ugh. Washington. We don’t like ‘em. Why? Well on top of their horrible team name and signing Reuben Foster just hours after his latest arrest for domestic violence charges, we’re also not feeling their QB choices.  

They’ve had bad luck at the QB position this season with their starter, Alex Smith, breaking his leg in November, followed by their backup, Colt McCoy, also fracturing his leg. This is where we start to not like them. Since their two guys went down, Washington signed free-agent Mark Sanchez (who’s not a good QB) who sh!t the bed last week and are now leaning on another free-agent Josh Johnson. Johnson has only started five games in his life, all with the flailing Buccaneers.

But you know who is available and who is better than all of these random AF QBs? Colin Kaepernick, that’s who. Yep, the guy who started the #TakeAKnee movement in protest of police brutality and racial inequality toward people of colour. Learn more about Kap and why we’re fired up about this here: https://www.thegistnews.ca/take-a-knee/

Ellen’s Pick: Jags (TBH this is a spiteful pick)

Dallas Cowboys (8-5) at Indianapolis Colts (7-6) at 1:00 p.m. ET

Save a horse, ride a cowboy! The Cowboys look like they’re on cruise control. They’ve won five games straight and are now first in the NFC East division (granted the NFC East is pretty mediocre). It seems as though their QB, Dak Prescott, and their recently signed WR, Amari Cooper, are finally clicking and making things happen on the field. It also doesn’t hurt that the Cowboys have Ezekiel Elliott - one of the best running backs (RB) in the league. Still, the Colts are no slouches and we think this one is gonna be a hard-fought battle.

Ellen’s Pick: Cowboys

Seattle Seahawks (8-5) at San Francisco 49ers (3-10) at 4:05 p.m. ET

Both of these squads are coming off pretty huge *said in Donald Trump voice* wins. As mentioned, the Seahawks clobbered the Vikings and the 49ers managed to beat the Broncos. Still, Seattle’s playoff hopes are on the line whereas the 49ers are in the role of spoiler. Both squads are in the NFC West division with the Seahawks beating the 49ers earlier in December, and both of their matchups last year.

Ellen’s Pick: Seattle

New England Patriots (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1) at 4:25 p.m. ET

Alright. This is THE game of the week. Both of these squads are coming off hard-to-swallow losses. The Patriots should not have lost against the Dolphins and there’s a zero percent chance the Steelers should have lost against the Raiders. Tom Brady’s Patriots and Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers have a storied rivalry, so you can bet this game is gonna be intense. Also, you should know that the Patriots have won the last three matchups against the Steelers.

Ellen’s Pick: Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) at LA Rams (11-2) at 8:20 p.m. ET

The Rams have officially clinched a playoff spot and are now playing for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Home-field advantage is a BFD and something that will certainly help the Rams and their quest to win a Super Bowl. Speaking of, the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Philly Eagles lost to the Cowboys in overtime last week. With that loss, their playoff hopes are all but dashed.

Fun fact: of the 52 times teams have won the Super Bowl, there have been 16 instances where the defending champion has missed the playoffs the next season. And unfortunately, we think Philly is going to fall into that 30% group. Definitely not the group you wanna be in.

Ellen’s Pick: Rams

Monday

New Orleans Saints (11-2) at Carolina Panthers (6-7) at 8:15 p.m. ET

After beating the Bucs last week, NOLA clinched a playoff spot. HEYOOO. Meanwhile, the Panthers got beat by the lowly Browns. Still, on paper, these teams are evenly matched and are quite the offensive squads. With Drew Brees at the helm for NOLA and Cam Newton at the helm for the Panthers, it’s sure to be a high scoring one. Another thing to note, the Saints have beat the Panthers in their last three matchups. But can they make it four?

Ellen’s Pick: Saints

Congrats!

To see if you won last week’s pool, be sure to make your picks for Week 15. The winners are announced at the bottom of the game. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!

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