For the rest of the teams, parity has struck, and the bookies are running. This has been a terrible year trying to pick winners. I didn’t do any stats on our own illustrious Patriots fans’ picks because I’m sure that we are no better than the professionals this year, but it’s always fun to hear us rattle on about nothing.
This week we have in our panel Eric Annette , C. Douglas Baker , Steve Frith, and myself. Unfortunately, TR couldn’t join us this week to round out a full boat, but he states the weather blew down his house, his computer is on the fritz, and besides, the dog ate his picks.
Speaking of which, let’s move on to the picks.
Thursday, Dec. 10
DB: Pittsburgh is not a good team this year, but the Browns are far worse. Even though this is a division rival on the road, and Hines Ward will likely be out, I find it hard to believe the Steelers will lose to another rotten team this week. Pittsburgh.
SF: Polamalu is probably out for the season...what a blow to the Steelers, defensively. I don't think they'll need him to stop the 1-11 Browns. Steelers take this one early in the fourth quarter.
GC: OK, Steelers fans, if your team can’t win this one, it is really not worthy of defending its championship. I’m going to say that the Steelers win in a blow out.
Sunday, Dec. 13
New Orleans at Atlanta
EA: I don't care where this game is played. With a banged up Matt Ryan, or Chris Redman in any condition, the Falcons have no chance of winning this game.
DB: I would think the Saints are ready for an upset, but the Falcons simply have too many injuries to overcome against a great team. New Orleans.
SF: The Saints continue their winning streak...but just barely. The lowly 3-9 Washington Redskins had them beat, but blew a field goal, which cost them the game. Teams are starting to make game plans based on previous teams' strategies, much like every team did in 2007 for the undefeated New England Patriots.
Expect one of these game plans to work, much like the Giants game plan did in the Super Bowl. If a 3-9 team nearly defeated the Saints, then the Falcons, at 6-6 have just as good a chance.
I'm rooting against the Saints for what they did to my beloved Pats earlier this season. Falcons take this one late in the fourth quarter...maybe earlier...if both Matt Ryan and Michael turner start (they both missed last week due to injury).
GC: I grew up in Georgia. Go Falcons!
EA: As a fantasy owner of Baltimore's defense, I have to say it feels like it has been the longest time since I have been searching for a weekly pick-up for a defensive unit. Baltimore dominates this one, and hopefully helps propel my fantasy team into the two-week championship round of the playoffs.
DB: Baltimore Ravens. What to say about this talented team that has underperformed so miserably this season. But I can’t see the Lions pulling off the upset. Well, I could but I just don’t think it will happen
SF: Not even worth commenting on. Sorry, Lions fans. At least you've won two games thus far. Ravens spank the poor Lions. Badly. Really badly. Really, really badly. I mean, really, really, really...you get the idea.
GC: Who thought the Ravens would be a .500 team at this point in the season? The Ravens play for pride first so they will win this home game.
Denver at Indianapolis
EA: I'm not a big fan (and that's being generous) of either team here, but I'll take my official upset of the week (since the Steelers suck, it's not a whole lot of an upset at this point, champions or not), and I will go with the tail-spinning Broncos to come out of nowhere and shock the Colts.
DB: Now this is an interesting matchup. I have picked the Colts to get upset two weeks in a row, and it hasn't panned out. Can it happen this week? Will it happen this week? I doubt it, really, but I am taking Denver anyway. Denver.
SF: The Colts are the only other team (Saints) that remains undefeated. Denver will test them, and you can expect head coach Josh McDaniels to come up with a plan that will hand the Colts their first loss. Denver takes this one and is the upset of the week, as it capitalizes on Peyton’s (very) few mistakes.
GC: I wish I could say that the Broncos will test the Colts, but, unless there is a blizzard during the game, Peyton Manning will pull another rabbit out of his hat, and escape Mile High with another win.
EA: I am honestly convinced that Andre Johnson can net more touchdowns on his own in this game than the Seahawks can as a team. Houston, easily.
DB: Houston is an enigma, but the Seahawks are an enema. Houston.
SF: Hmmm...two 5-7 teams here. I'm going to give the edge to the Texans, because they've lost four in a row now, and need snap out of it. The Seahawks had better hope that Hasselbeck is back up to snuff by game time, or Houston will win this one.
GC: I quit. I’m not picking the Texans to win anymore this year. The Seahawks win this away game.
Green Bay at Chicago
EA: Sorry for all the plugs about my fantasy team, but still, I'm very thankful to have had the opportunity to draft Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay will have a blast showing off its amazing aerial attack at Soldier Field, much to the dismay of Bears' fans who remember when their team actually had a defense.
DB: Green Bay beat Chicago last time they played, and they will beat them again.
SF: Plain and simple, if the Packers don't stop it with the penalties, then the Bears are going to walk away with this one. I actually think that the Bears will take this one, due to mistakes on the Packers offense. Bears win in the last two minutes of the game, thanks to a solid late showing by Cutler.
GC: I'm making this pick only because the Bears are playing at home, and it is now time for Jay Cutler to prove the franchise did the right thing in reaching to bring him to Chicago. Earn your pay Jay, get the Bears a win.
EA: Run, Ricky, run! Maurice Jones-Drew might help make this an interesting game, though. Two of the most explosive running backs in the game will be stealing the show, because, in general, both teams are pretty soft on D, and have mediocre passing attacks at best.
DB: Tough game to call, really. Miami had a nice win over the Patriots last week, but the Jaguars are on a roll. My gut tells me to go with the home team. Jacksonville.
SF: All hatred and sour feelings aside for the Fish, I don't think they'll be able to beat Jacksonville. If the Jaguars don't stop Miami's rushing game, then the Phins will scrape by. If they can stop the rushing game, look for the Jaguars to easily take this one. My guess goes to Jacksonville.
GC: I feel as if the only thing the Dolphins can hope for is to be a spoiler for the rest of the season this year. It’s not because I don’t like what’s going on down there. I really feel that they might have found their next QB with Henne. It’s not too late for a playoff berth, but they are going to need the help of other teams to make it. The Dolphins will keep their hopes alive against the Jaguars.
EA: I like the thought of Cin at Min. It reminds me of cinnamon. Back on topic, though, the loss of E.J. Henderson is huge for the Vikings, and I think the Bengals have enough firepower on O to take advantage. And if the Vikes thought the Cards were hard on Adrian Peterson, wait until he runs into the Bengals' front seven.
DB: Now this is an interesting matchup. One of the best performing teams in the AFC versus one of the best teams in the NFC. Two good defenses head up this one. But I think Minnesota, despite its bad loss against the Cardinals, is the better team, and the Vikes are at home. Minnesota.
SF: Have we seen the old Brett Favre rear his ugly head? Are we going to see more and more interceptions? Don't count on it. I hope his coaches can calm him down, and allow him to utilize the running game more.
What you can count on is, as promised, yet another outrageous TD celebration from Chad Ochocinco. You can also count on an outrageous fine for it, too. Look for Roger Goodell to have a "closed door" meeting with Ochocinco in regards to his post TD antics. Look for Ochocinco not to care.
This will be a good game, but I think that the Vikings lose this late in the fourth quarter, thanks to a failed last second attempt by the Vikings.
GC: I like the Bengals this year, but I also like the Vikings at home. Favre has to keep his ego in check and let the team help him win this one.
NY Jets at Tampa
EA: Only one team has lost to Tampa Bay this year, and the Jets are good enough to keep that a trend. Jets.
DB: Even with Kellen Clemens starting at QB this week, I don’t think the Buccaneers can generate enough offense against the Jets still-tough defense to come close to winning. New York Jets.
SF: Jets are 6-6. Buccaneers are 1-11. I'm rooting for the Bucs. They've had a few blowouts, but they've had a few close ones, too. I just don't think the Jets can do it without Sanchez.
If the Bucs are smart, they'll resort to short, quick passes to keep from getting sacked from Rex Ryan’s heavy blitzing defense. Tampa Bay takes this one in the third quarter, doubling their amount of wins.
GC: The Jets started this year steaming hot and fizzled fast. They are not done sputtering. Next year may be their year. The Buccaneers need the end of the year to build on, and I think they will come away with this win.
Carolina at New England
EA: "The Patriots don't lose big games," has turned into, "the Patriots don't lose consecutive games," for us Pats fans. Now that both have happened for us, what can we hang onto now? Well, fortunately, it's a home game, and if there have been two things the Patriots have shown us this year, they are, that they can beat up on bad teams and that they really beat up on opposing teams at home. Good news, this one's at Gillette, so guess whom I'm taking.
DB: If the Patriots lose to the Panthers...New England.
SF: Look for me to be drunk by the end of the first quarter. Sooner if the Pats play like they have the last two weeks.
They're in a slump right now, and BB needs to snap them out of it. Peppers and the Panthers' defense are no joke, and can be brutal at times. If the Pats offensive line doesn't protect Brady, then he'll be put on his butt more times than Peppers can count.
Look for the Patriots defense to start coming back around, and for the offense to start clicking-but only a little. The Pats' weak secondary has been exposed the last few weeks, and you can bet that Matt Moore, who's replacing Jake Delhomme, is going to be attempting to exploit it.
Look for the Pats to take this one in the third quarter. My biggest question is if the Pats will establish a running game, and if they'll actually stick with it, or abandon it and go back to the passing game and painfully obvious passing formations that just shout "it's a pass play, " which allow teams to beat us down like unwanted red headed step children and leading to...oh, never mind. Games like the ones of the past two weeks are why I drink heavily on Sundays.
GC: I’ll make it easy, The Pats don’t seem to be able to win away games, but they give little hope to opposing teams when they play in the “Razor. ”
Buffalo at Kansas City
EA: The Chiefs might suck, but Matt Cassel sure can air it out against bad defensive units. Unfortunately, the Bills have a solid pass defense, so the Chiefs will have to turn to Jamaal Charles to run onward to victory at home.
DB: Bottom feeders. Who cares? Buffalo.
SF: OK, a 4-8 team against. a 3-9 team. Yawn. Look for the Chiefs to dispose of the Bills somewhat, easily-winning by two touchdowns thanks to an inspired KC offense (getting their inspiration from the risk of losing their starting jobs).
GC: These were two teams I had high hopes for this year. Not so much now. I’ll take the Chiefs at home.
St. Louis at Tennessee
EA: I'll take the Titans.
DB: Tennessee should easily take this one. Titans.
SF: What is it with teams with only one win this season? This will be another snoozer. Hope there are specials at a bar near you. Titans take this one with ease.
GC: The Rams get a rare road win. Hell, it’s a rare that they win at all.
Washington at Oakland
EA: The Skins put up a hell of a fight versus the Saints, so there is no reason why they shouldn't be able to take this one, even though the Raiders have sort have been playing the role of spoiler this year.
DB: If these two teams play like they did last week it would be a surprisingly good contest. I think the Redskins are, overall, the better team. Washington.
SF: OK, by a show of hands, who thought that Oakland would beat the Steelers? Put your hand down now. OK, by another show of hands, who thought that the Redskins would nearly win over the Saints? OK, put your hand down.
This game is going to be one of two things-exciting, or uneventful. I'm giving this one to the Raiders, because they've had a taste of victory, although it'll be a hard fought game against a team that nearly derailed the mighty Saints.
GC: I’m going to give the home team some props, The Raiders are starting to turn the corner, a bit late for this year but it is a ray of hope. The Raiders win this home game.
EA: I will definitely take the Chargers.
DB: Wow, wow, wow what an interesting game. Dallas is in a swoon, and San Diego is on a roll. Tough, tough game to call. I think Dallas will win.
SF: OK, you've got the 9-3 Chargers against the 8-3 Cowboys. Both are good teams. Both have high profile players. Look for both teams to fight tooth and nail the entire game hoping for a win. I'm giving this one to the Chargers because I don't think that Romo can keep from making bone-head mistakes.
GC: Again, only because they are playing at home will I pick the Cowboys over the Chargers this weeks match up.
Philadelphia at NY Giants
DB: Another good match up but I have to take the Eagles who tend to play the Giants well, even in New York. Philadelphia.
SF: Have I rooted for the Giants yet? No. And if I did, then I was drunk, and didn't mean it. I'm giving this game to McNabb and the Eagles. They'll have to pay close attention to Brandon Jacobs, and keep him from gaining any significant amount of yards. If they can contain him, the Eagles will run away with this one. If not, then it'll be close, but the Eagles will still take this.
GC: I’ve got a home-team theme going on with my picks so I’ll give this win to the Giants over the Eagles.
Monday, Dec 14
Arizona at San Francisco
EA: Even though the 49ers aren't overwhelmingly good, any road game against a respectable team is a test for the Cardinals, but they should still walk away with the W under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
DB: Arizona looked like the Super Bowl team of last year last week against the Vikings. This should be a close game though. Arizona.
SF: Hmm...The Cardinals have been doing decently all season long. I'd like to think that Kurt Warner has still got a lot of game left in him—and he's on top of his game now. He'll be slicing up the 49ers' defense with his accurate throws. Look for him to hit San Francisco so hard it'll hurt. The 49ers just don't have what it takes to defeat Arizona.
GC: Uh-oh, this game could kill my home team theme. Nah, I think the 49ers will find a way to beat the Cardinals at home.