2019 NFL: When up was really down

Your last chance to win an "I Beat Burt" T-shirt like this is now, with the final week of the NFL season. Executive sports editor Bill Burt is shown holding up the shirt that will be sent to the winners in Week 16 of the  "I Beat Burt" contest. 

One. More. Week.

Welcome to the new fall and early winter. Because of the National Football League, and our obsession with picking winners, the months of September, October, November and December fly by.

The craziest, most unpredictable season in the three-plus decades I've been following this stuff is almost over.

Other than the Baltimore Ravens the last three months, there really wasn't a sure thing.

It was the year of the unknown quarterbacks, rookies we've never heard of before, beating decent veterans.

It was the year of flops -- see L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns -- with five of the top 13 teams (per Las Vegas oddsmakers) that didn't lose their quarterback yet they won't make the playoffs. That's a lot of flopping.

As for the Patriots chances of winning a Super Bowl, they are dwindling according to Las Vegas. The Patriots are tied with the Chiefs at the No. 2 spot in the AFC at 8-to-1

If everything goes according to plan the Patriot would have to beat the Chiefs, in Foxborough, and the Ravens, in Baltimore, just to get to Miami.

As for Week 17, it will be a tough week because of the variables: How many teams really want to win?

The Ravens will be resting several players, but playing at home I'd probably favor them over a weak Steelers team.

Are the Bengals, which host Cleveland, in win-mode knowing they have already locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft?

There will be several games on Sunday with nothing on the line.

Winners and more winners

There is a steadfast rule in the "I Beat Burt" Contest. If you pick more winners than I do AND you get the first tie-breaker (Patriots point total exactly), you win.

And while the usual maximum of 10 T-shirts are awarded he each week, there were 16 entries that had more than my 10 winners and predicted the Patriots would score 24 points. So they win.

There was only one home underdog (Eagles) that actually won their game on Sunday. A typical week is three to four home underdogs winning.

All of the this week's 16 T-shirt winners had 11 or more correct picks.

Week 16 winners

Ed Nassif of Lawrence

Mike Groves of Hampton, N.H.

Bill Sirois of Salem, N.H.

John Cliffe of Andover

James Freeman of Salem, N.H.

Robert D Smith of Salisbury

Steve Seero of North Andover

Kevin McElhinney of Methuen

Armand Boucher of Methuen

Jean Enright of North Andover

Joe Trombly of North Andover

John Warden Jr. of North Andover

Mike Davis of North Andover

Garrett Engels Jr. of Seabrook, N.H.

Joseph DiPaolo of Methuen

David Gramling of Chelmsford


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