THE WEEK 16 PICKS
Christmas Eve is tomorrow and then Christmas Day arrives followed by Boxing Day. I think the time has come to celebrate Boxing Day in the United States. Who wouldn't want to watch A Muppets Boxing Day featuring Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat trying to figure out what exactly is being celebrated on Boxing Day? They would even sing about it. It seems that Boxing Day, like any other holiday, gives the masses an excuse to eat food and drink alcohol while watching popular sporting events.
In other news, I WILL be following Santa's sleigh as he travels around the world on NORAD tomorrow evening. The jolly, fat man travels faster than the most expensive jets on earth. This man will deliver gifts to every man, woman and child in Moldova in less than 2 minutes and then travel to Romania in less than 30 seconds. The rein-deer's must be on steroids.
Anywho, I had an unspectacular 10-6 week 15. My overall record is 136-88. Blah. LET THE PROGNOSTICATION BEGIN:
Pittsburgh over Carolina
-At least the Panthers can celebrate Christmas with their families following the loss to the Steelers rather than travel on Christmas to Pittsburgh with the knowledge that Christmas will elude them as well as another win. The Steelers clinched a playoff berth on Sunday and have the opportunity to win the AFC North. I'm not sure how dangerous the Steelers are anymore. They're banged up. Karma's against them. Big Ben's definitely finding coal in his stocking. The Steelers have the good fortune of facing a bad, bad football team.
Dallas over Arizona
-The Cardinals lost to the Panthers on Sunday. Does anyone think the Cowboys will lose to John Skelton? Of course the Cowboys blew a huge lead to Rex Grossman on Sunday, and actually made Shanahan's decision look sane. I digress. I have the gnawing feeling that the broadcasters will spend too much time praising the Cowboys for their heart and lack of quit despite the obvious evidence that they quit on Wade Philips. The broadcasters SHOULD talk about how poorly the Cardinals planned for the post-Kurt Warner era. Max Hall, John Skelton and Derek Anderson? REALLY, Whisenhunt? I bet I watch most of the game though because I like football.
New England over Buffalo
-The Pats can't start the game in a post-Christmas sleep against the Bills. The Bills lost by 7 in their last meeting, and put up 31 points. The Patriots defense isn't all that and a plate of corn fritters. Chan Gailey and Harvard Fitzpatrick are crazy enough to pull off this upset. If the Bills can jump on the Patriots early like the Browns did, the Patriots will be in trouble. But I assume the team learned their lesson about starting games asleep from the stress Matt Fynn caused last week.
Chicago over New York Jets
-Oh the Foot Fetish story. Where the hell did it come from and why do so many people care about it? I bet some of these goody two shoes reporters have more bizarre fetishes than Rex Ryan. The man likes candy and feet. Who cares? I wonder if the offensive line will mistake a simple comment about footwork to be an attraction to the linemen's actual feet. Anywho, the Bears are like a fly that can't be killed on offense. They run so many slant and crossing patterns. It's amazing that skinny guys like Johnny Knox and Devin Hester haven't been killed by an insane linebacker. Sanchez's shoulder might keep him out of the game. If he plays, he won't be as effective. Chicago's going to be that team no one believes in when the playoffs begin until the team's in the conference championship game. When that happens, the media will retroactively jump on the bandwagon and act as if they never doubted the Bears. The Bears ARE last year's Jets.
Baltimore over Cleveland
-Cleveland gave the Ravens a scare in their first meeting. The Browns have faded since then. The same vigor they played with disappeared in a sea of terrible losses to the Bills and the Bengals. Ravens are fighting for the playoffs and the AFC North trophy. The win over the Saints was huge. Mike Lombardi chalked the win up to a bad Saints defense but the Saints were playing outstanding football and remain the defending champs. If the Ravens lose this game then let the criticisms rain down.
Kansas City over Tennessee
-Anytime a QB returns so soon after having an organ taken from his body, I'm rooting for that team to win the division. I have no interest in anything the Titans are doing. The team just happened to play a Texans team in worse shape than they are. If KC wins, they secure a tie for the AFC West crown. It's the Christmas season. Let's root for the hard-deserving team with one of the toughest QBs in the league.
St. Louis over San Francisco
-The 'Sam Bradford is getting worn out' talk makes me a bit worried to take the Rams but the 49ers are such a trainwreck of a team. Singletary's not the right coach for the team. Losing Frank Gore was absolutely huge. The offense doesn't have enough to get it done against a solid Rams defense. The whole West is pathetic though so I'm moving on.
Detroit over Miami
-I'll quit my incessant 'The Lions are a disgrace' nonsense because the Lions, indeed, have heart. They have the ability to play like they did against Tampa each and every week. They might need a new QB because Stafford gets injured early and often but the future might yet be bright in Detroit. It's a bit bleak currently because the Red Wings lost Pavel Datsyuk for 4 weeks. And Miami just sucks.
Jacksonville over Washington
-This game's a complete toss up. The Jags are just an average team in an average division because of injuries to the Colts. They make many mistakes. Grossman thrived against a weak Cowboys secondary and the Jags secondary isn't much stronger. I hope the must-win situation pumps the Jags up but this team has lost crucial games in past seasons so we'll see if the ol' Del Rio Choke Artist magic happens again.
San Diego over Cincinnati
-Did anyone else know the Bengals abandoned their reliance on the running game because Terrell Owens joined the team? Only a Mike Brown owned franchise would deviate from the style that got the team in the playoffs last year for a headcase receiver who last played for the Bills. Cedric Benson had actual tears in his eyes as he talked about his performance, the win and the re-focus on the run game. Marvin Lewis should stay as coach and the entire Brown family should sell the team.
Denver over Houston
-Tebow might be too much for the hapless Houston defense to overcome. I wouldn't be surprised if the Texans just fluttered about helplessly as Tebow threw strikes to Lloyd and ran for 30 yards. Moreno probably won't suit up so don't expect anything from any backup running back. I keep waiting for the Varsity Blues moment in reality, when the team turns on its coach in the locker room. Maybe the Texans make it happen. And, you know, there was talk of the Texans quitting on their coach LAST year.
Oakland over Indianapolis
-Peyton Manning's having an outstanding season considering the circumstances. The MVP race should come down to Peyton, Brady and Vick. Oakland's a feisty group though. They experienced growing pains, some horrific weeks and a bad luck kicking game in Arizona but they stand tall at 7-7. Now watch Tom Cable get fired after week 17 because Al Davis forgot what improvement actually was or something. As for Austin Collie, the man should just retire from football. Three concussions is not worth it in the long run. Poor guy.
Green Bay over New York Giants
-A playoff game in Week 16. The winner will be a wildcard team. Rodgers will start. The Giants will try to recover from last week's fantastic loss to the Eagles. Amazing how Coughlin singled his punter out when the defense broke down completely, David Diehl had a false start to keep the Giants out of field goal range and it led to the punt and the long-snapper snapped it high. Did Coughlin want the Birds to block the punt instead of running it back? If Dodge took the extra seconds to angle his kick out of bounds, Birds would've blocked and won the game. The Giants were simply destined to lose.
Tampa Bay over Seattle
-The Bucs might be too banged up to go into Qwest and beat a team that decided they had a better chance to win with Charlie Whitehurst. If the people of Tampa knew that they had professional sports teams, they would be proud of the Bucs. Seattle, meanwhile, leads the division with a 6-8 record. This is why we need relegation OR realignment.
Philadelphia over Minnesota
-The Eagles could be division champs if the Giants lose. I wonder if Andy would pull the starters at a certain point. Joe Webb will start for the Vikings. If the Eagles lose the game then I will be apoplectic afterwards. Joe Webb, on Monday, seemed like he ran with no rhyme or reason if he found no receivers open. And the Philly defense is fast. The Eagles need to avoid three bad quarters this time around. The Giants victory was thrilling and outstanding but they have to play complete football games.
New Orleans over Atlanta
-The Falcons won by three in the first meeting between the teams. Atlanta's basically secured home-field throughout. New Orleans needs this game especially after last week's surprising loss. I'm adding anything revelatory to this game at all. It's going to be a great football game. Friends and well-wishers, I wish everyone a fantastic holiday season and a Merry Christmas.
Last Week: 10-6
THE YOUTUBE CLIP OF THE WEEK