Carolina Panthers

NFL picks: Panthers to keep rolling against Bucs

To tank or not to tank? That shouldn’t be a question for the Bucs.

Thanks to how bad the team is, and thanks to how bad the NFC South is, Tampa Bay owns the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft as of Week 14.

There’s no reason why the Bucs should let go of that. I say, lose out, finish 2-14 and hope for tomorrow.

Tanking in any sports league is usually frowned upon, but it’s smart business. This year is shot and winning now only hurts your chances at someone who can help you for years to come.

I believe the Bucs are in full tank mode. Mind you, the players aren’t tanking. They want to win. I have no doubts about that.

But here’s what tanking looks like. Rather than plan for the future, you start Josh McCown, who you know won’t be your guy next year and who arguably doesn’t give you the best chance to win now.

As for me, I have a .671 winning percentage and should be near the top of any postseason picks category. I’ll happily take the last pick in the first round.

Last week: 11-4

Season: 131-66-1

Lock: The Colts made me sweat it out, but Andrew Luck came through for me with three minutes left.

Season: 9-5

Upset: I still like the Dolphins, but the Ravens weren’t going to let me down.

Season: 9-5

This week’s picks, with the home team in CAPS:

PANTHERS 21, Bucs 10: If it didn’t get through to you before, I don’t think this Bucs team is very good. They are what their record says they are. Look, the Panthers beat the Bucs at their place when they were much healthier. Now the Panthers-designated Bucs quarterback Derek Anderson gets to beat Tampa Bay for the second time this year at home. It may not be pretty, but the Panthers pull this out.

Saints 28, BEARS 17: The Bears are a complete mess right now. The offensive coordinator tearfully apologized for being a source to a story slamming the quarterback. Receiver Brandon Marshall is done for the season. Under different circumstances I’d take the Bears at home on Monday night. But even though it’s cold, the Saints can keep warm next to the dumpster fire that is the Chicago Bears organization.

The rest

Steelers 33, FALCONS 28

GIANTS 28, Washington 10

PATRIOTS 38, Dolphins 24

CHIEFS 30, Raiders 17

COLTS 27, Texans 14

RAVENS 42, Jaguars 13

Packers 35, BILLS 14

BROWNS 21, Bengals 20

Jets 3, TITANS 2

LIONS 28, Vikings 14

Cowboys 24, EAGLES 21

Upset of the week

CHARGERS (plus- 4 1/2) 35, Broncos 24: I think Manning and Co. have gotten a little comfortable, and I believe Philip Rivers has a big day at home.

Lock of the week

SEAHAWKS (minus-10) 38, 49ers 17: The Seahawks are about to be a 10-win team after nearly everyone had written them off following their 3-3 start. If Seattle finishes behind the Cardinals in the NFC West, the Seahawks will likely by the No. 5 seed and travel to play the No. 4 seeded playoff team. If Carolina wins the NFC South, they’ll have the (dis)pleasure of hosting the Seahawks in January.

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