Thursday, December 31, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 17

The NFL might not have flexed the Cowboys-Eagles game to Sunday Night, but I'm guessing it's the best game of the weekend anyway.

Late in the NFL season making picks gets tricky, as not everyone puts forth their best effort. Some teams have everything to play for such as the Jets, Ravens, Eagles, and Cowboys. Other teams have zero reason to play hard such as the Colts, Saints, Bengals (maybe), and Chargers. Still other teams just don’t care anymore…see the Seahawks, Lions and Redskins. Finally, some teams have nothing to play for but pride, but seem to be playing hard anyway…such as the Titans, Buccaneers, and Panthers. In this difficult landscape, I venture forth…trying to bring home a decent season of predicting. It’s been a good season for me when it comes to making guesses about the NFL. I am still alive in the eliminator game of which I am taking part, I am in first place out of 50 some guys making picks against the spread each week, and I just won the championship in the 16 team fantasy football league made up of guys from Then of course, I’m in first place out of hundreds of entries in The Ed’s Super Deluxe Football game…so I’m having quite the pretend football season. With all of those impressive credentials on my resume…I proudly present my final week of regular season picks for the year:

Indianapolis at Buffalo – How weird is the final week of the 2009 NFL season? The Bills are favored over the Colts. When you factor in that the Colts have exactly zero to play for, and it’s likely that Curtis Painter will be behind center for the lion share of this game for Indy, it makes more sense. Still…doesn’t it seem like the Colts backups should beat the Bills starters? In a game that is completely impossible to predict…here is a prediction. Colts 20 Bills 14

Jacksonville at Cleveland – Improbably the Cleveland Browns are riding a three game win streak. Jacksonville has to be down in the dumps after blowing a chance to make the playoffs, but seriously, there was no reason the Jags should have been sniffing the playoffs. In one of the crazier developments to end the season, I’m going to say the Browns go out feeling good about themselves by improbably winning their fourth straight game. If you told me a month ago that I’d be picking Cleveland to finish with a four game win streak, I’d have told you to lay off the crackpipe. Browns 21 Jaguars 10

San Francisco at Saint Louis – Week 17 is a land of uncertainty. In these uncertain times, it’s good to know that the Rams are truly putrid. In a game that I feel so confident about that I’m sure to be wrong, but I’m going to pick it anyway. 49ers 30 Rams 7

Pittsburgh at Miami – The heart wants the Dolphins because that would be better for the Broncos. The head says that the Steelers are back, winning two tough games versus the Packers and Ravens after their late season swoon placed them in the unlikely position of being nearly eliminated. Heart wins on this prediction, Go Fins! Dolphins 24 Steelers 21

New York Giants at Minnesota – Do I take the slumping team that is eliminated or the slumping team that is in contention for the 2 seed? The Vikings have more to lose, obviously, so they may be tight. However, with as crappy as the Gigantics looked in the Giants Stadium Finale last week losing 41-9 to Carolina, I can’t in good conscious pick New York. Vikings 30 Giants 17

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – The Bucs are another crappy team that has decided to soar late in the season. They went into Seattle and crushed the Seahawks, then more impressively toppled the Saints in New Orleans the next week. With that kind of momentum, why not pick Tampa to keep up the hot streak? Especially since it’s not exactly like the Falcons are world beaters. Buccaneers 22 Falcons 19

New Orleans at Carolina – I’m feeling better and better about the Saints as they currently remind me of the 1998 Denver Broncos team that also started out 13-0, lost two straight games, and then finished up by polishing off a division rival (the Seahawks) before going on a rampage in the playoffs and sweeping to a Super Bowl Championship. I think Drew Brees has a similar run in him. The playoffs are totally unpredictable, and though the Saints are on a tiny slump, I think they right the ship in Carolina and get things in order for a deep playoff run. Saints 24 Panthers 17

New England at Houston – I’m definitely pulling for the Texans to win here and have their first ever winning season, but I don’t know if they have what it takes to take down a Patriots team that would probably like to be a 3 seed over a 4 seed. Patriots 27 Texans 13

Chicago at Detroit – The Bears actually looked solid against the Vikings winning on Monday night, so I’m going to guess that they can at least approximate what they showed six days earlier in the friendly confines of Detroit’s Ford Field…where almost everyone leaves happy except the home team. If the Lions keep improving by 2 games each season, they’ll be a .500 team by 2012! Bears 27 Lions 0

Baltimore at Oakland – The Raiders ruined the Broncos season two weeks ago in Denver, and now when the Broncos could use their help, I’m guessing they get stomped. Stupid Raiders. Ravens 34 Raiders 10

Green Bay at Arizona – Chances are good that these two teams will be facing off again next week in Arizona with a lot more on the line. Not sure how much they want to show each other, as this will feel more like a warm-up than an actual game. Both of these teams have made the postseason, and there are some interesting scenarios for the Cards that could include them getting a bye, but it’s unlikely, and I’m guessing this game will be pretty vanilla. Packers 13 Cardinals 10

Washington at San Diego – I feel like the Redskins are going to continue not trying for a head coach that is going to be cleaning out his office on Monday or Tuesday. “Thanks for the memories, Jim Zorn. Here’s one final beatdown to remember us by, with love, -The Redskins” Chargers 27 Redskins 6

Tennessee at Seattle – The Seahawks clearly don’t care about this season anymore, and I think the Titans want to finish at .500 to put a final stamp on their recovery from an 0-6 hole. Titans 29 Seahawks 20

Philadelphia at Dallas – This should be the best game of the weekend, and the winner gets the NFC East crown. Both of these teams look to be peaking as the playoffs come into view. I’ll call for overtime to decide this contest which should be an exciting one. I say the Cowboys get it done and avenge their season ending thumping at the hands of the Eagles last year. Cowboys 30 Eagles 27 (in OT)

Kansas City at Denver – In a second half of the season marked by indignities, the Broncos avoid what would be the worst mark on their record of all by taking down the very untalented Chiefs at home in a game that may or may not mean something for Denver. Broncos 26 Chiefs 13

Cincinnati at New York Jets – Hopefully this game means something for Cincinnati by the time it rolls around on Sunday Night, as I really don’t want the Jets to make the playoffs on the strength of two late season wins against teams that aren’t trying. Bengals 20 Jets 16

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 8-8
Season to Date: 152-88

Christmas Decorations of the Twisted Mind. (So Good!)

I came across this story HERE, but I had to post it it's so good! I didn't write this, and this isn't my house, but wow do I dig this guy's sense of humor. It's a little late in the Christmas season to post this...but how could I NOT post something this good.

Best Christmas Decorations Ever.

“Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after two days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories. But two things made me take it down.

First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn’t realize that it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of the many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn’t take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Powerlines: Week 16 NFL Power Rankings

Now THAT is how you rock a yellow scarf. Well done!

Down the stretch they come. The NFC is decided. The Packers, Vikings, Saints, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Eagles will vie for the NFC crown. The AFC is a bit more complicated. The four divisions are sown up, as the Patriots, Bengals, Colts, and Chargers are in. However, there are seven different teams that could potentially win the wildcards. Should be a fun final weekend. Here is how the power lies in one man's not so humble opinion...

1. Chargers - The Chargers have been red hot for the past two months, and right now I have them winning the Super Bowl. Yes, I know Norv Turner is in charge in San Diego, but I don't care. I think they can do it, and I think they will do it. There are many other teams who have garnered more press than San Diego, but they've won 10 straight and have looked impressive in doing so.

2. Colts - Peyton Manning wearing his helmet on the sidelines looking on helplessly as Curtis Painter and the Colts backups coughed up a lead and the perfect season in two quarters was a sad sight. Someone wins a Super Bowl every year, but a perfect season has only happened once. You need to go for immortality there, and Jim Caldwell's decision to punt away the game to the Jets made me sad. I think it also may have shifted the AFC karma to San Diego.

3. Eagles - If the Eagles can play the way they did in the first half against the Broncos, they could win the Super Bowl. If they play the way they did in the second half, they will lose in the first round. This team is very up and down. When they're up, they're very up. When they're down, they do things like lose to the Raiders. Philly feels like they may have revved it up at just the right time. I could see them making a run to the NFC Championship.

4. Saints - Losing to Tampa? I have to admit that I didn't see that coming. However, when a team has lost it's motivation to need to win, anything is possible.

5. Cowboys - The Pokes are looking strong, and with all that talent, Dallas sure has reason to feel good heading towards the playoffs. They'll have to win some big games on the road, but Dallas is definitely in the NFC mix.

6. Patriots - Like a bad guy from a bad horror movie, you have to cut the head off of the Patriots or else they just keep coming back. After seeming like they were dead for a large portion of the season, New England has done enough to win their division, and are one of those teams that no one will want to play in the postseason. I don't know if they have enough to win it all, but after doubting them all year...I'm beginning to fear them again.

7. Vikings - The Brett Favre implosion is happening, and not a minute too soon. It's possible that Minnesota is going to be able to put things together again and go on a run, but it's also possible that the constant attention that comes with having Brett Favre as your quarterback is starting to wear on this team. I'm rooting against Minnesota making the Super Bowl if for no other reason than I've already heard enough about #4, and if I have to endure two weeks of Super Bowl hype surrounding that man...I may lose it.

8. Packers - Green Bay is in the playoffs. Is it too much to hope that Aaron Rodgers and company get one more shot at Minnesota and make good this time? I'm definitely cheering for the Packers. They're probably not going to be able to make it all the way in a talented NFC field, but they are the team I'm pulling for.

9. Bengals - Cincinnati is a good team, but their method of winning games involves a very conservative game plan and just trying to get enough points and let their defense hold on to get the win. I don't think that's going to work against the Chargers, Patriots and Colts of the world.

10. Ravens - Baltimore controls their destiny, and with a win becomes a team that could put a scare into some favorites in the postseason. The problem with the Ravens is their propensity to drop games they should win with boneheaded mistakes. Never has that been seen in greater detail than against the Steelers on Sunday. The Ravens were the better team, but they buried their chances to win in an avalanche of mistakes.

11. Steelers - Pittsburgh looked dead a few weeks ago, but some gigantic wins against the Packers and Ravens have them back in the thick of things. They need some help to get into the playoffs, and you can be sure that the playoff favorites are hoping that they don't get that help. No one wants to play the Steelers in the playoffs.

12. Cardinals - This is about where the Cards were last season...they were winning the NFC North and heading into the playoffs with no one expecting much. The next thing you knew, they were a few minutes away from winning a Super Bowl. I doubt that kind of lightning can strike twice, but it's not impossible. The Cards are one of those teams that are better than everyone realizes.

13. Dolphins - Miami is a good team, but they will need a mountain of things to fall their way in order to make the playoffs. It's not going to happen, but they've done a good job in light of a mountain of difficulties which include losing their starting quarterback and best running back.

14. Broncos - The Broncos are probably about where they should be. They aren't eliminated from playoff contention, but it'll be unlikely that they get there. I'm hoping they get the bounces they need, but all in all, this kind of season has been far in excess of expectations and it's been fun. I'm guessing that a lot of playoff teams would rather play Denver in the playoffs than Baltimore or Pittsburgh, though.

15. Texans - Houston needs to beat the Patriots and get some help to make the playoffs. Not likely, but even if they fail, this will tie for the best season ever for the Texans. Yup, best season ever.

16. Giants - Needing a win in the final game at Giants Stadium to stay alive for the postseason, the Giants laid an tremendous egg. 41-9 to the Panthers? Poor way to say goodbye to the Meadowlands, Gigantics.

17. Titans - Tennessee is not going to advance, but what a crazy season they have had. The mere fact that they might finish at .500 after opening 0-6 is insane. Vince Young and Chris Johnson have turned a lot of heads this year, and the Titans look good for 2010.

18. Jets - It's pathetic to me that this team controls their own destiny for the playoffs. If they beat the Bengals, they're in. The Jets are not very good. In fact, if the Colts had done the rest of the AFC a favor and actually played the second half instead of basically punting the game away with something called "Curtis Painter" then we wouldn't even be talking about the Jets. It's possible that by the time this game rolls around, the Bengals will have nothing to play for and take it easy on the Jets...creating a scenario in which the Jets make the playoffs due to fortunate scheduling. In the name of justice, I demand that the Bengals beat the Jets.

19. Panthers - Matt Moore is 3-1 as an NFL starter now. Perhaps if John Fox and kicked Jake Delhomme to the curb earlier in the season, the Panthers would be in the thick of the hunt. Carolina has actually looked like a solid team since Jake got hurt and was finished for the year, and no, I don't think that is a coincidence.

20. Jaguars - I know I said that the Jets were bad, but thank God that the Jags have been taken care of for the most part. It's not impossible for them to make the playoffs, but it appears that the football gods are conspiring to make sure that it doesn't happen. The Jags would have been the worst playoff team in history.

21. Falcons - If Atlanta played in the AFC, they'd be in the heat of the mediocre wildcard team jamboree. Instead, they play in the much more sensible NFC where only good teams are making the playoffs.

22. Bears - If Jay Cutler had played all season the way he did against the Vikings on Monday night, the Bears might have been relevant in 2009. If nothing else, that performance has to give the Bears fans hope.

23. 49ers - After a first year that included publicly berating individual players and mooning his team during a postgame speech...Mike Singletary has been mostly dull and ordinary this season. A troubling series of events for people like me who prefer their coaches to be flamboyant. His boring coaching has also led to the Niners being a mostly boring team. They look destined to finish at 8-8. Zzzzzzzzz...

24. Raiders - You can accuse the Raiders of being a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. This has been a weird season for them, beating good teams like the Steelers, Broncos, Eagles, and Bengals, and yet only having won 5 games overall. In the cruelest twist of appears that I will be cheering for them on the final weekend of the season, as the Broncos playoff chances are much greater if the Raiders beat the Ravens.

25. Bills - Move to Toronto already.

26. Redskins - I really hope that the Skins don't get Mike Shanahan, because I don't want a reason to like this team.

27. Browns - So, it's probably safe to say that no one expected the Cleveland Browns to mount a three game winning streak this season, and yet, remarkably that is what they have done and are riding into the postseason feeling at least a little good about themselves as a result.

28. Buccaneers - Another team that has reason to feel good about themselves. Despite the fact that they aren't very good, they've won their past two games, including a remarkable win in New Orleans.

29. Seahawks - No one throws in the towel like the Seattle Seahawks. Case in point, they have lost their last three games 34-7 to Houston, 24-7 to Tampa Bay, and 48-10 to Green Bay. It has become remarkably apparent that the Hawks just don't care anymore.

30. Chiefs - Look Kansas City, just do everyone a favor and lie down and let the Broncos beat you like they should. It's better for your draft position, and it's better for the Broncos playoff chances. No one wins should the Chiefs be victorious on Sunday, okay?

31. Lions - If you've been a Lion since 2007, that means that you have only won 3 of your last 39 games. That has to be a bit demoralizing. The Lions are just very bad.

32. Rams - The Rams are terrible. No reason to belabor the point. These aren't the droids you're looking for...Move Along, Move Along.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game #15 - at Eagles

Leonard Weaver and the Eagles put a damper on the Broncos playoff chances on Sunday.

(Sorry this is being posted so late and is rather short, I've had family in town and then I got laid up with a nasty bug today.)

Brent Celek had a monster game against the Broncos

The Eagles game did an excellent job of showing what the Broncos are and what they are not. What they are is a plucky team who was hot at the beginning of the year and can keep it close against superior teams but what they are not is elite.

McNabb showed why he makes Philly fans crazy. In the first half, he was incredible, in the 2nd half he was terrible.

It was a story of two halves. In the first half, the Eagles were on fire and would have been up by even more had it not been for some interesting officiating and some critical turnovers that went the Eagles way. Halfway through the 3rd quarter, it was 27-10, and the game seemed all but over. However, the Broncos quickly put up 17 unanswered points to tie things up, and it was getting interesting.

Jason Avant gets lucky on a tipped ball for a touchdown.

Denver had their chance late in the 4th quarter, but Kyle Orton was unable to scramble for 9 yards, and with the ensuing punt, the Eagles were able to drive to the red zone and kick home the winning field goal.

David Akers gets the winning points, and then gets lifted off the ground.

Positives from the game:

Big game for Jabbar Gaffney, which helped since Brandon Marshall wasn't very explosive on Sunday.

Jabbar Gaffney: Jabbar had his best day as a Bronco with 7 catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

Turnover differential: The defense kept the Broncos in the game by turning over the Eagles three times and the Broncos only suffered one Orton interception.

Negatives from the game:

I do enjoy Kyle Orton more than I thought I would this season, but the guy just isn't very good.

Kyle Orton: Statistically, not a terrible effort, but the problem with Orton is that while he will never lose you a game, he's not very good at winning them for you either. A glaring stat from the game was that the Eagles averaged 8.3 yards per pass, the Broncos had a miserable 4.2.

2.0 Yards per carry will not take the Broncos anywhere, Knowshon.

The running game: 70 yards rushing for the game is not getting it done. Knowshon Moreno had a nice touchdown catch, but he also only averaged 2 yards a carry. Knowshon had a few decent games in the middle part of the season, but it's been over a month since he looked like anything special. I'm not giving up on the guy, as he obviously has talent, but he has not been doing much lately...of course, the offensive line isn't giving him much to work with right now either.

Stokley gets escorted off the field in the 1st quarter due to stupidity.

Brandon Stokely: Stokes got held and a penalty should have been called, but it wasn't and instead of just running off the field, he threw a hissy fit. He ran over to the ref and begged for a call, and when none was forthcoming, he threw his hands down in disgust. Unfortunately, he unintentionally smacked the refs hand when he did it, and he got kicked out of the game. Bush league move by a guy who has been very likable in his Denver tenure.

Final Thought:

Well, the Broncos aren't officially out of the playoffs yet. Part of me wants them to make it, because the playoffs are fun, however I realize it'll be a short visit if they do make it in. There are no fewer than 10 (Yes, TEN!) ways for the Broncos to make the playoffs, but they need some help. Perhaps most amazing of all is that five of those scenarios don't even require the Broncos to win.

1. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Ravens loss or tie
2. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Steelers loss or tie
3. Broncos win + Jets loss or tie + Texans win
4. Broncos win + Ravens loss or tie + Steelers loss or tie
5. Broncos win + Ravens loss or tie + Texans win
6. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss
7. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jets loss
8. Steelers loss + Ravens loss + Jaguars loss + Jets loss
9. Steelers loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss + Jets loss
10. Dolphins loss or tie + Jets loss + Ravens loss + Texans loss + Jaguars loss or tie

The games that are of interest to the Broncos are:

Chiefs at Broncos
Bengals at Jets
Ravens at Raiders
Steelers at Dolphins
Patriots at Texans
Jaguars at Browns

Lets hope we get lucky. Go Broncos!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 31: Down with Santa

It was the Christmas spectacular edition of VSR. Face Ventura came on and threatened to never come back if I played Feliz Navidad again. The Ed dialed in from pump 12 where he had gotten $20 worth of gas to promote the Super Deluxe Baby Fights and explain why if you're an American you must cheer for Floyd Mayweather.

I prepared to give last rites to the Broncos season as I talked about the weird loss of the Broncos against the Raiders at Invesco last Sunday. We did a magnificent 7 list of Seven great Christmas songs and I discussed why Santa and I are not on friendly terms. Rather than doing a music recommendation, I played us out with the Weird Al Christmas classic..."The Night Santa went Crazy"

Friday, December 25, 2009

How the Zoo Saved Christmas!

Here is the story I wrote and illustrated for my wife for one of her Christmas presents this year. I think it's pretty cool, so I thought I'd share it with my readers. Her copy is hardbound in it's own book that I had printed up with Vistaprint, so the real thing is much cooler, but it's still fun to check out it out in the spirit of peace on earth, goodwill towards men, and all that jazz...

Vertically Striped Books presents:

How the Zoo Saved Christmas!
by Craig Dodge
for Jennifer Dodge

I went to the zoo to find the perfect animal way to say Merry Christmas!

The Alligators said it was important to smile!

The Rhino said that I should play a horn for you, but I’m not much of a musician.

The Giraffes said I should say, “Have a Reticulated Christmas!” I had no idea what that meant, though. I’m pretty sure the giraffes are crazy.

The Gorilla just stood there and looked at me. (I don’t think he’s in the Christmas mood.)

The Elephant said it’s not about spending money, and I should just focus on something worth peanuts. (Or perhaps she said I should give peanuts…it was hard to tell, the Elephant had a thick accent.)

The King of the Jungle said that being honest during the holidays was important, but then he confused me by saying, “I ain’t Lion!”

The Zebra said that perhaps I should buy you a nice stripedy outfit!

In the end, the sheep had the best suggestion.

She said that I should just say… “I love ewe!”
(Sheep aren’t very good at spelling, but they have good hearts!)
Merry Christmas, Baby! I love ya!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas - The lost Kermit intro and We're not birds, we're a jug band. Merry Christmas!

So, apparently when Disney acquired the Muppets, Jim Henson kept the rights to Emmet Otter. However, because Kermit the Frog was part of the Emmet Otter Christmas special, they made Henson edit the Frog out of the show. Jerks. Anyway, here is the Kermit the Frog intro to the Emmet Otter Christmas show.

Plus, here's a little Emmet Otter Christmas bonus. "We're not birds, we're a jug band!"

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 16

It should be fun to see if the Titans can keep hope alive against the red hot Chargers.

Fun weekend if you're a fan of AFC football, we should have a slightly better idea of the playoff picture once this week is done, as of right now there are 8 teams in the hunt for the final 2 spots. The NFC is relatively boring, as basically it's down to whether or not the Cowboys or the Giants will get the last spot. Either way, as we near the playoffs EVERY GAME MATTERS...well, except for any games that include the teams that have been eliminated and the games for teams like Indianapolis, New England, and the like who are pretty much locked into their playoff spot, but other than those get the idea!

San Diego at Tennessee – Halfway through the season, the Christmas Night game looked dismal, now it’s a dandy. The Chargers don’t have a ton to play for, as they are all but locked into the #2 seed. The Titans need the game more, although I don’t think the Chargers will go easy on them, I’m going to say desperation wins the game. Titans 27 Chargers 24

Kansas City at Cincinnati - The Bengals offense may struggle at times, but this is the Kansas City Chiefs. A great team to work out your offensive struggles against. Bengals 27 Chiefs 7

Buffalo at Atlanta – So, I have to wonder who was the more disappointing fantasy player in 2009? Terrell Owens with his negligible stats, or Michael Turner who was taken second overall in most leagues and was no where near deserving of being taken that high? Both of these teams are eliminated, and unless you are in your fantasy football championship game (like me!) or you’re a Falcons or Bills fan, you probably don’t have any reason to care about this one. Falcons 29 Bills 13

Oakland at Cleveland – Cleveland comes into this game on a two game win streak against a Raiders team that went into Denver and won one of the weirder games of the NFL season last week. It’s almost incomprehensible yet true…no matter what happens in this game, the winner will emerge with at least a two game win streak. Raiders 23 Browns 20

Seattle at Green Bay – The Packers are desperate for a win to hold on to the wild card spot they currently occupy, fortunately for the Pack the Seahawks look to have thrown in the towel on this season, getting blown out 24-7 by a team that had previously only won games in which they were dressed like orange sherbet. When you’re losing in your own stadium by the New Economy score of 24-7 to Tampa, you’re not trying that hard anymore. Pack should win big. Packers 34 Seahawks 6

Baltimore at Pittsburgh – The second rematch this year of last season’s AFC Championship is on tap at Heinz Field on Sunday. Both the Steelers and the Ravens really need this game as they are in the bunch of eight teams trying to qualify for the final two spots in the AFC. Unlike the Championship Game in January, I think the Ravens will be able to win in the stadium with seats the color of bright redneck mustard. Ravens 19 Steelers 16

Houston at Miami – This is a defacto playoff game, the winner isn’t necessarily in, but the loser is most assuredly out. The Texans have pulled themselves to .500, but they have a nasty habit of pooping the bed in games like this. The Dolphins have been a well coached, well run, solid team with the unfortunate problem of not being terribly talented. Seriously, their current collection of wide receivers is one of the worst in the history of the league. Who on this list impresses you? Brian Hartline, Ted Ginn, Jr., Davone Bess, Greg Camarillo, Patrick Turner, Anthony Armstrong, and Ernest Wilford. Their receiving corps could double as the Federal Witness protection program. Even with this lack of talent, Tony Sparano has done a terrific job, and Chad Henne has had a better season that you’d probably believe. I’ll take the home team which is also probably the better team. Dolphins 26 Texans 20

Jacksonville at New England – My crusade against the Jacksonville Jaguars continues in Foxborough on Sunday. It’s gotten to the point where I’m actually rooting for the Patriots to win. The Jaguars will not make the playoffs if I have anything to say about it! (Don’t worry, Jags fans (both of you), I have nothing to say about it.) All of us together can band together and use the collective power of our wills to keep Jacksonville out of the playoffs. Come on people, "YES WE CAN!" (Hey, if it worked for Obama, I can try to co-opt it, right?) Patriots 33 Jaguars 16

Tampa Bay at New Orleans – Losing to the Cowboys is actually probably a good thing for the Saints. Yes, it takes away the fun story of the potential of two 18-0 teams in the Super Bowl, but it also provides New Orleans with a wake up call. It’s much better to get those kind of calls in week 15 than in the playoffs where you don’t get the chance to bounce back. The Bucs won in Seattle last week, but going to play the Saints is a bit of a tougher challenge. Saints 38 Buccaneers 13

Carolina at New York Giants – These two teams put on some impressive victories last weekend. The Giants slaughtered the Redskins mercilessly on Monday Night by a count of 45-12, and the Panthers induced Favre-Childress bickering on the sidelines of the Vikings. The Panthers have nothing to play for, but I’m sure they’d love to put an end to the slim hopes the Giants have for sneaking into the playoffs. I think they’ll get close, but I’ll take “Unstoppable” Eli Manning and the Giants to win in a squeaker. Giants 17 Panthers 16

Detroit at San Francisco – Both of these teams have slapped stamps on their seasons, yup. They’re mailing it in. This game reminds me of a song by “Ben Folds Five.” They are truly “Fighting the battle of who could care less.” I say the 49ers care slightly more about winning, if for no other reason than they don’t want Coach Singletary to moon them again. 49ers 23 Lions 10

Saint Louis at Arizona – The Rams fans don’t want their team to do anything that could damage the possibility that Saint Louis will get the first draft pick overall, and with it a chance to draft Ndamukong Suh. I don’t think their team will let them down, as even though the Cards don’t seem to have much possibility of moving any higher than the 4th seed in the NFC, they should easily make quick work of the hapless Lambs…er, Rams. Cardinals 30 Rams 10

New York Jets at Indianapolis – The Jets are desperate to get a win not only to ruin the Colts perfect season but also because a loss will mean that they have no shot to make the postseason. The Colts have no reason to play hard other than the fact that it’d be pretty cool to go 16-0. If the Jets don’t send the house after Peyton Manning early and often to take big shots on the Colts Quarterback in order to discourage Jim Caldwell from leaving him in the game, then they don’t have a strategic bone in their body. The best way the Jets can get a win in Indy is to scare the Colts coach out of keeping the franchise player in to play a meaningless game. That said, I’m rooting for the Colts to stay in and keep their perfect season alive. Not only because a perfect season is cool, but also because it would help out my Broncos. Colts 30 Jets 27

Denver at Philadelphia – The Broncos probably saw their playoff chances go up in smoke last Sunday as JaMarcus Russell played the unlikely anti-hero at Invesco Field that day, but the fact remains that they still do not need any help to make the postseason, they just need to win their final two games. However, the Eagles have really hit their stride in the past few weeks, and I will be shocked by any result that doesn’t include a Philadelphia victory, probably by a large margin, I’m guessing. This Broncos team looks to me like they are just about to give up. Eagles 31 Broncos 3

Dallas at Washington – These two classic rivals play a game that is exceptionally important to the Cowboys and almost completely meaningless for the Redskins. Part of me feels like the Cowboys win against the Saints was a bit of fools gold and that they are due for an upset in the nation’s capital, however the Redskins could not have looked any worse than they did on Monday Night against the Giants. Now they have a short week of prep with a lame duck coach against a team playing for their playoff lives and desperate to shake the December choker moniker. It doesn’t look good for the Skins. Cowboys 27 Redskins 10

Minnesota at Chicago – Brett Favre isn’t going to let anyone take him out of his game…not even his head coach. Since it is apparent that Favre is running this team instead of Brad Childress, many might say that is a bad sign. However, I say if there is ANYONE else running the team besides Childress that has to be a good sign for Minnesota. I even feel better about the Vikes chances to win it all now that they officially under the regime of Head Coach Brett Favre. I’m not sure if Coach Favre is going to be able to win it all, but he should have enough against the Bears. The most interesting thing about Chicago right now is seeing just how many more interceptions that Jay Cutler is capable of in the final two games of the season. He’s up to 25 at the moment, and he’s -120 right now to go over 30. (That’s gambling lingo, if you don’t know what it means, that just means you’re not a degenerate, so don’t feel bad.) I like Minnesota to bounce back HUGE here. Vikings 37 Bears 26

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 10-6
Season to Date: 144-80

I are a smart father.

Let's see, if I put my kid in a box, then spin around with him...what could possibly go wrong? America just keeps getting smarter. I'm glad that it looks like this kid is okay, otherwise this gene pool might not continue on, which would be a shame!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Powerlines: Week 15 NFL Power Rankings

I like her glasses.

The Chargers are rising, the Cowboys saved their season, the Broncos are choking, the Redskins gave up, and the Colts just keep chugging along. Oh, and the Rams are just all kinds of terrible. These things we know, although with eight teams vying for 2 spots in the AFC, what we don't know is who will make the playoffs. It's literally ANYONE'S game. I can never remember a scenario in which only four teams in a conference are eliminated with only two games to play. To contrast, in the NFC nine teams are already done. Weird finish to a weird year, here is how the power currently lies in my warped mind. Adjust accordingly.

1. Colts – The only question that remains for the Colts is how hard will they go in their final two games? Jim Caldwell hasn’t announced his exit strategy for the season, but I’m hoping he keeps the pedal to the metal and tries to run the table. Someone wins the Super Bowl every year, but to go undefeated makes you immortal. They should strive for immortality instead of resting people and acting like the final games are meaningless. That said, I just have a feeling that the Colts are not going to win it all this year.

2. Chargers – The Chargers are hot, the Chargers are good, and San Diego is the team I am anticipating will be holding the Lombardi Trophy once this whole thing is over with. Of course, at this time last year I was saying the Panthers would win it all, so take my prophecy with a significant grain of salt.

3. Saints – No shame in losing to the Cowboys, they're a solid squad. Going 13-1 is a mighty impressive accomplishment, and now they no longer have the undefeated thing hanging over them. New Orleans is an impressive team, and it’s going to be difficult for an NFC opponent to go into the Superdome and take them out of the playoffs. Losing at home to the Cowboys probably got that home loss out of their system, it may be the best thing that could have happened to them.

4. Eagles – Much like the Chargers in the AFC, the Eagles have righted the ship and are playing some inspired football right now. They are one of only two NFC teams that I can envision walking into New Orleans and emerging with a victory.

5. Vikings – This is the other team that MIGHT be able to bring down the Saints. Although, it may officially be time for Vikings fans to be worrying about how well the 40 year old body of Brett Favre is holding up. When your coach is having stream of consciousness thoughts about pulling you when you’re winning 7-6, that can not be a good sign. Of course, my guess is that when Brad Childress has stream of consciousness thoughts the main things that run through his brain are things like Spongebob Squarepants, internal debates with himself about whether or not he turned off the stove, and questions as to whether or not he has soup stains in his beard. I doubt football gets in there TOO often.

6. Cowboys – Just when you think they’re collapsing, they put together their best win of the season against the Saints. If you don’t think there is pressure in being the Cowboys coach, think about this…How many NFL coaches that have their teams at 9-5 are widely considered to be on their last legs with the organization? Despite the fact that Wade Phillips is doing a pretty decent job this year, people are speculating that he probably won’t be back next year. Man, tough room.

7. Patriots – The Patriots will most assuredly make the playoffs, however I don’t think they last too long. Perhaps they win in the wild card round, but I have a hard time believing this team will go into San Diego or Indy and win in the postseason. (Yes, I am aware that they were very close to beating the Colts in Indianapolis last month.)

8. Ravens – If you’re looking for a dark horse to go on a ridiculous run and come out of nowhere ala the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate than the Baltimore Ravens.

9. Packers – The Packers are playing very solid football right now despite the fact that they failed to beat a team that had lost to Cleveland, Kansas City and Oakland in the last month and a half. The NFL is a weird league, man.

10. Bengals – Valiant effort against the Chargers, it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we see that matchup again in a month. I don’t know if the Bengals can go on much of a postseason run, but this season is already a success in Cincinnati.

11. Giants – After scoring only six against the Broncos on Thanksgiving, the Giants have apparently figured out their offensive woes, they’ve averaged 38 points per game since in three games against their division foes. They looked amazing against Washington on Monday Night, but it’s important to remember that the Redskins are terrible.

12. Cardinals – Arizona is once again quietly lurking below the radar. It seems impossible that they could make another improbable run, but then it seemed impossible last year too and now they have experience to draw upon. Still, I don’t think the Cards are an NFC power broker but rather a team that is fortunate to play in the worst division in football.

13. Broncos – I was at Invesco on Sunday when the Broncos took on Oakland, and I am still at a loss to describe what happened. Somehow the Broncos run defense collapsed, and despite allowing only 102 yards passing, the Broncos lost at home to the hapless Raiders. It feels inevitable that the Broncos will finish 9-7 now, I don’t know if that’s going to be good enough to get into the postseason, but it definitely seems like destiny at this point. Unless they can somehow find a way to win in Philadelphia, which I don’t see happening.

14. Titans – If Jeff Fisher pulls the plug on Kerry Collins a week or two earlier, would the Titans rally have started earlier and would they now be a playoff lock? Of course, that’s impossible to know, but it sure feels like that would be the case. Tennessee has been a different team with Vince Young who’s career is following the path of the yo-yo right now. He started his playing days on a big up swing, dramatically dropped to tremendous lows, and now is on the way up again.

15. Steelers – For those who like the world to make sense, it would probably be best to avert your eyes from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Champs were as low as low could be after dropping five straight against the likes of Cleveland, Kansas City and Oakland, but now are in the middle of the AFC muddle after taking down a hot Green Bay team. I officially give up trying to figure out Pittsburgh. They could miss the playoffs or repeat as champs and either way I not going to understand it.

16. Dolphins – The overtime loss to Tennessee hurts, as if they had been able to pull that one out, they’d be sitting pretty for the playoffs. As it now stands, they’re going to need to win out and get some help.

17. Jets – Another team that missed out on a big chance at home on Sunday by falling to the Falcons. Gang Green (and many other AFC hopefuls) had to be whooping and hollering for the Raiders on Sunday, as Oakland’s win kept alive the chances for a whole host of teams.

18. Texans – A two game win streak is reason for hope in Houston after they had dropped four straight, but then you have to remember that the two wins were against the Rams and Seahawks, which takes away a little of the luster of being lumped in with all the other 7-7 teams fighting for their playoff lives. Add in that their remaining games are against the Patriots and Dolphins, and I think we can pronounce last rites on the Texans.

19. Falcons – Winning in the Meadowlands on Sunday kept hope alive in Atlanta for the first ever back to back winning seasons for the Falcons. It feels rather likely that they’ll get there with their final two games being against Buffalo and Tampa Bay, but even if they do, they’ve been eliminated from postseason contention, so it’ll be a hollow accomplishment.

20. Panthers – Julius Peppers looked like a man possessed against the Vikings on Sunday Night. Brett Favre is fortunate to still be in working order after that beating. The Panthers provided the definitive blueprint for the rest of the NFC playoff hopefuls on how to take down the Vikes.

21. Jaguars – Yes, this is probably too low for a team that is still in the playoff hunt and who just played the Colts extremely tough. I don’t care. The Jags are not good, they just aren’t.

22. 49ers – I have nothing interesting to say about the 49erzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

23. Bears – George Blanda’s record of 42 interceptions thrown in one season (back in 1962) is probably safe, but Jay Cutler can’t be happy at the rate at which he is tossing the ball to guys in different uniforms. 25 picks through 14 games is unheard of in 2009, Bears fans are horribly depressed right now.

24. Raiders – In a season that can’t feel good for JaMarcus Russell, Sunday was a rare bright spot, leading the Raiders to a last minute win in Denver. The Raiders might not be a great team, but they are certainly capable of taking down good teams. They’ve hung L’s on the records of the Broncos, Eagles, Steelers and Bengals this season.

25. Seahawks – So I hear that the Hawks are retiring the Green uniforms. I can’t imagine why, they looked so professional on the field in uniforms that resembled radioactive snot.

26. Bills – We are about to close out a decade in which the Bills never sniffed the playoffs. Poor Buffalo, that town really could use a turnaround of their fortune, it’s got to be getting tough to remain a Bills fan when your team is continually pummeled and beaten down. Somehow I feel like they aren’t going to make the playoffs until they come to their senses and return to the royal blue jerseys and white helmets which are massively superior to the dreadful uniforms they currently sport.

27. Redskins – Washington put on one of the worst efforts on Monday Night Football against the Giants that I have ever seen in the NFL. They just looked like they didn’t care at all as they were buried 45-12 by New York. Not that I blame the players, how hard are you going to play for a coach who has had his play calling duties stripped from him and it is public knowledge his replacement is being currently interviewed. The Redskins organization is a mess right now. I really hope Mike Shanahan settles on a different organization to take his football legacy; the Redskins seem like a hopeless case.

28. Browns – This is not a misprint, the Cleveland Browns are on a two game win streak right now with potential to stretch it to three games as they have a matchup on Sunday with the Oakland Raiders. A three game win streak by the Browns this season may be reason to run to the hills as the fire and brimstone that will accompany the end of the world may start falling immediately after the game ends. You may just want to prep the bomb shelter, you know, just in case.

29. Chiefs – The Chiefs are not very good, but it’s pretty cool to note that they have on their defense a guy named Andy Studebaker from Wheaton College. My brother-in-law played football for Wheaton, so the fact that someone from his football program is now in the NFL is pretty darn cool. I’m not a big Chiefs fan, but I wish Andy all the luck in the world!

30. Buccaneers – Hey, congrats to the Buccaneers, who finally won a game in 2009 in which they weren’t wearing Creamsicle uniforms. It only took 13 chances to get it, well done!

31. Lions – Do the Lions fans consider this season a success? They have improved by 2 games over their previous season’s record already. That’s progress, right?

32. Rams – Peter King ripped on the old royal blue and yellow Rams uniforms this week. Peter King is wrong, horribly horribly wrong. The new Rams uniforms are almost as ugly as the product on the field in Saint Louis.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Linus and the Real Meaning of Christmas.

This doesn't need much intro. Linus has it down.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Broncos Gameday Recap: Game #14 - vs Raiders

Sigh. The Oakland Raiders were too much for the Broncos today.

So, that was humiliating. As I was sitting in Invesco Field today, I couldn't bring myself to believe that the Raiders were really going to beat the Broncos. To be honest, I'm still in a bit of shock and disbelief. In the stages of grief, I'm still in the denial stage. Because, SERIOUSLY, that didn't happen, did it? The Broncos didn't lose to Oakland. I refuse to believe it! I actually may be at anger by now, as I'm ticked that the Broncos actually played THAT badly. Perhaps I even went through bargaining as I look at the logjam of 8 teams vying for the final 2 playoff spots in the AFC. Geez, I'm depressed, there is no way the Broncos are getting in now. Oh well, I guess I better accept it.

Chaz Schilens goes in for the winning touchdown.

And with that, you've just gone through all five stages of grief with me as I process through the horrible loss that now puts the Broncos perilously close to missing the playoffs yet again. In one of the weirdest games that I have ever attended, the Broncos stumbled and bumbled their way to a 20-19 loss to the football-challenged Oakland Raiders.

Part of the weirdness of today...Brandon Marshall pointing out where a laser pointer came from. Apparently some Oakland supporter was flashing a laser in Marshall's eyes. Stay classy, Raiders fans.

Let's recap, this game was terribly bizarre. This game featured a 7 yard punt, a play where Kyle Orton hurried the Broncos to the line on a 2nd and 4 to run a quarterback sneak that got about a yard and a half, there was a screen play that was thrown to an ineligible left tackle, and the game got stopped for about 10 minutes as Brandon Marshall tried pointing out someone in the crowd who tried to shine a laser pointer in his eye, The Raiders had three different quarterbacks throw a pass, and the fat almost universally-regarded as terrible JaMarcus Russell somehow was clutch; converting a 2nd and 25, 4th and 10, and then threw a game winning touchdown in the final minute with his team down by 6.

Charlie "Toothpicks" Frye...not a good NFL quarterback.

Charlie Frye was atrocious. In fact, I nicknamed him "Toothpicks" because his arms and legs are impossibly thin for an NFL quarterback. His best play all day was a naked bootleg which he ran for a stunning 26 yard gain. Throwing the ball he was only 9-17 for 68 yards and an interception. In fact, getting his head slammed to the turf late in the game may have won the game for the Raiders, as JaMarcus Russell had a tremendous day by JaMarcus Russell standards. He went 5-11 for 47 yards and a touchdown. I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty sure those are the best numbers Russell put up all season. I'm just sick about this loss.

Positives from the game:

Broncos Goal Line Stand to end the third quarter: The positives section for the Broncos today is VERY short, but at the end of the third quarter they were leading 16-13 and the Raiders had 1st and Goal at the 3 yard line. On the previous three plays the Raiders moved the ball 86 yards on three basic running plays, yet on the next four rushing attempts, the Broncos kept the Raiders from getting in. It was an impressive stand after a horrible three play sequence that saw Denver's defense gashed by simple runs.

At least we know that Brandon Marshall came to play, the rest of the team? Not so much.

Brandon Marshall: The most exciting player on the Broncos put on another masterful performance with 7 catches for 73 yards and the only Bronco touchdown of the day. Sadly, Marshall cannot do it by himself, and the rest of the offense had a shameful performance.

Matt Prater had a good have to look for positives somewhere on a day as dark as this one.

Matt Prater: He didn't miss a kick, and his kickoffs were booming out of the back of the end zone. Yup, the game was so sad I had to list the kicker as one of the positives.

Negatives from the game:

2.2 yards per carry is not getting it done, Knowshon.

Offense: The offensive line provided Kyle Orton with very poor protection, plus they were unable to get any push into the Raiders offensive line. They were opening no holes for the running game, and it's not like Knowshon Moreno was running very hard even when he did get the chance. Moreno averaged 2.2 yards per carry. When the Broncos got the ball back with a chance to ice the game with less than four minutes remaining, they lost nine yards and took a whopping 30 seconds off of the game clock. The whole Broncos offense was pushed around, and apart from a few big plays, they offense was pretty much atrocious.

Michael Bush was like a hot knife, and the Broncos defense was like butter.

Defense: Pushed around all day, the Raiders almost completely abandoned the passing game because they didn't need to throw the ball, and the three guys they used to actually throw passes were Toothpicks Frye, JaMarcus Russell, and J.P. Losman...I wouldn't throw much either if those were the guys doing the throwing for me. They didn't need the passing game much at all, as they only three for 102 yards all day, but they more than made up for it by rushing for 241 yards on the day. Michael Bush went for 133 yards with a monstrous 7.4 yards per carry. The Broncos defensive line was shoved around almost as badly as their offensive line. It was a sad effort on behalf of the whole team.

How pathetic was the Broncos effort on Sunday? Freaking JaMarcus Russell led Oakland to a comeback win...Need I say more?

The whole stinking effort: I'm not even going to try to assign individual blame, I'm just putting the entire offense and the entire defense on the wall of shame. This was a team loss...almost everyone was terrible. There was no fire or passion, and the Broncos lost to one of the worst teams in the league in convincing fashion.

Final Thought:

The Broncos still control their own destiny, but they MUST defeat both the Chiefs at home (possible and even likely to happen) AND the Eagles on the road (If not impossible, the next closest thing to impossible). The AFC now has eight teams (Broncos, Ravens, Texans, Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, and Steelers) within one game of each other and all of them vying for for the 2 wildcard spots. There is no room for error, there just isn't.

Oh, and if they play like they did today, they have no shot. I now think that the playoffs are a pipe dream. They will finish 9-7 and will miss the playoffs yet again. Then again, After a game like today, this Denver team doesn't deserve the playoffs. I'm just bummed about the way the season has just come off of the tracks after the amazing 6-0 start. Today was yet another reminder that the Broncos really just aren't all that good.

What were they thinking? The Star Wars Christmas Special.

From one of the best Christmas specials in "The Grinch" to one of the weirdest (and worst) of all time. The following is the infamous Star Wars Holiday special from 1978. Yes, that's right. Star Wars Holiday Special. Apparently in 1978 Star Wars was so popular that they thought it would be a good idea to make a holiday special staring the Star Wars characters.

The Star Wars Holiday special is so bad that it's terrible. It includes Carrie Fisher (a.k.a. Princess Leia) singing to Wookies as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and assorted droids look on. It has assorted Wookies named Mala, Itchy and Lumpy. There is a scene where Bea Arthur plays a bartender who gets hit on by a weird old guy that drinks out of the top of his head and then she sings everyone out of the bar because the Empire shut it down. There is a random Star Wars cartoon that is some of the worst animation ever. There are several bizarre songs, and one of the old Wookies is given a present by one of the protagonists which sorta looks like some kind of weird wookie porn. Oh, and there is a Jefferson Starship music video. I don't even know how to describe how horrible this is. There is a very real possibility that this is the dumbest and worst thing ever broadcast on television. And yet, you need to watch it just so you can partake of it's crappiness. It's broken up by the occasional 1978 commercial, and these commercials are probably more entertaining than the show.

Here is the whole thing. (In eleven excruciating parts.) This is maybe the goofiest moment in the history of television, and I mean, what better way to celebrate Christmas and Star Wars than to put them together and mix in a little Jefferson Starship and Bea Arthur. Someone was clearly on some copious amounts of drugs here. This is just as goofy and corny as it sounds, actually it's probably even worse...Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

I'm starting to get into the Christmas spirit just a bit, and to celebrate, I thought I'd post over the next few days some of my favorite (or some of the most goofy) songs and videos about Christmas. I thought I'd start strong with one of the very best. It just doesn't get any better than Boris Karloff singing the Grinch song...

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 30: Signs of the End of the World or Come See my Ecstasy Collection!

Twas the show before Christmas...

Yeah, I'm not going to make the show recap a corny Christmas poem. The Ed dropped in to say hello to the show and spread his knowledge about sports in general as well as give some updates on the Convention and give us a preview of the 2010 edition of the Ed Times...which will apparently have a self-ignition switch so that it will start reading itself. That Ed is always innovating!

Face Ventura and The Whale, my two most loyal callers, chimed in to help me discuss my Magnificent 7 list which was a recap of Seven signs that our world is going to the dogs as seen from a hockey game at the Pepsi Center.

We also had some good conversations about a wide variety of sports related topics and I shared my hope to win the semi-Final of the fantasy league against Jerry Fairish so that I can change his avatar.

The Vertically Striped Music Recommendation was "In Rainbows" by Radiohead, and the song I played was "Jigsaw Falling into Place."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 15

The ultimate battle of good versus evil, only evil is now completely and totally inept.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville – For the love of all things holy, the Colts better not play all their scrubs and act like this game doesn’t mean anything. They have a chance to be the first ever 19-0 team, and to give up that chance would be criminal. Not to mention that if they lie down and allow the Jaguars to win, we are that much closer to the Jaguars making the playoffs…which is unacceptable. I’m counting on Jim Caldwell to do the right thing here: Go for the throat and a chance at immortality! Colts 31 Jaguars 17

Dallas at New Orleans – The Saints have been living on the edge the past few weeks and are ripe for a Saturday Night upset, but fortunately for them they are facing a team that is suffering a massive crisis of confidence as they appear to be sliding down their usual December chute of ineptitude. Plus this is a night game in the bayou, Saints roll. Saints 35 Cowboys 13

Atlanta at New York Jets – This game is more important for the Jet Set than the Dirty Birds. The Falcons are questionable enough even without having Matt Ryan and Michael Turner officially listed that way on the injury list. Chris Redman has looked surprisingly effective filling in for Matty Ice, but there is too many things pointing against Atlanta. Jets 20 Falcons 13

San Francisco at Philadelphia – Lost in the hoopla of the national media saying that the Eagles are back and a team to be reckoned with is the fact that they gave up 38 points and over 500 yards of offense to the Giants in that win. Sure, they scored 45 points, but at some point during a championship run you have to stop somebody, right? Well, if you want to get better at stopping people, the 49ers are probably a good team to play against. They aren’t exactly exploding with offensive threats. Eagles 30 49ers 21

The Swine Flu, not the sole reason that the Rams are terrible.

Houston at Saint Louis – The Rams dumped Guard Richie Incognito this week as a result of his head butting ways which he showcased yet again in the loss to the Titans last week. The Bills promptly picked up Incognito which shot holes in my theory that other than Steven Jackson, no one would want to pick up any member of the Rams. Apparently the Rams cancelled practice today, the official reason given was that it was due to an outbreak of Swine Flu on the team, but I think the real reason practice was cancelled was due to general lack of interest. Texans 34 Rams 7

New England at Buffalo – The Patriots are getting dragged through the mud as a bunch of underachievers and a team that is past it’s prime and looking for a soft place to fall. I think reports their demise may be a bit over exaggerated, as I have a hard time seeing them missing the playoffs to a team like the Jets or the Dolphins, and they should slaughter a middling Bills team no matter where the game is played. Randy Moss may have starting acting like Randy Moss and quitting on plays, but there is still enough talent in New England to get them to the playoffs. It may be a short visit to the postseason, but they’ll be there, and they’ll definitely show up enough to put away the Bills. Patriots 23 Bills 13

Chicago at Baltimore – The Ravens are the team I predict will be flying high by the time they reach the playoffs, I have them running the table and rising all the way to the 5th seed in the AFC where they will put the Patriots out of there misery before finally having their season end either in Indianapolis or San Diego. The Bears are not bound for such glory, as they are probably going to finish 6-10. I’m guessing no one will commission a large statue of Jay Cutler in Chicago this offseason. I don’t see this game being very competitive. Ravens 29 Bears 13

Miami at Tennessee – This is a pretty good game, the Dolphins have a shot at the playoffs, but they really need this one. The Titans have a tiny shot, but if it’s going to happen they absolutely MUST win this game. Both of these teams are pretty hot right now, and even though I don’t think either will make the postseason, this may be the most competitive game of the week. Titans 19 Dolphins 16

Cleveland at Kansas City – This is the worst game of the week, and possibly the worst game of the year. What I want to do is predict a 0-0 tie as neither team deserves to win or to even score in this game. I’m not going to pick a tie, but I do think I’ll predict an epically bad field goal battle. Chiefs 9
Browns 6

Arizona at Detroit – The Cardinals lost a horrible game in San Francisco on Monday night. However, they only lost 24-9 despite turning the ball over 7 times. No team is going to win a game in which they turn over the ball seven times, and only losing by 15 in that scenario is not overly terrible. The Lions are flat out bad, and Arizona is due to get back on track. Cardinals 27 Lions 17

While they once were mighty, pretty much the Raiders now stink.

Oakland at Denver – The Broncos played admirably against the Colts in Indianapolis last week, and they now come home to face a terrible team starting a third string quarterback. Last year the Raiders came into Denver as a huge underdog and thumped the Broncos 31-10, that is not happening again. This Raiders team is not good enough to beat the Broncos on Sunday, I firmly believe the Broncos will win big. In fact, let’s just use that same score from last season in reverse. Broncos 31 Raiders 10

Cincinnati at San Diego – The Bengals offense is just not good enough for me to take them seriously as a major contender in the AFC. It will be interesting to see what the impact of the sudden death of teammate Chris Henry will have on Cincy as these types of things can sometimes energize teams. However, I don’t know if that will be enough to get the Bengals over the hump against a really good San Diego team. The Chargers are good enough to win the whole thing, and they haven’t lost in December in a long time. They’ll take care of business against Cincy and all but wrap up the 2nd seed in the process. Chargers 33 Bengals 19

Green Bay at Pittsburgh – The defending champs are all but finished for the season, they’ve lost five straight games, and I’ll be greatly surprised if it isn’t six in a row by the time Sunday’s game with the Packers is over. Green Bay is surging and look ready to roll into the postseason, a matchup in December in Pittsburgh looked like a heck of a game back in October, but now it looks more like a dud. I’m guessing the Steelers actually make a decent game out of this one, but I think they lose in the end. Packers 24 Steelers 21

Tampa Bay at Seattle – The Seahawks are not a good team at all, but they occasionally explode and destroy really bad teams when they are playing at home. Tampa definitely qualifies as a really bad team, and I think the Hawks get their last win of the season in blowout fashion once again Seahawks 31 Buccaneers 3

Minnesota at Carolina – This feels like the kind of game that the Vikes don’t really need and that Carolina will be playing as if it were their Super Bowl. Brett Favre has played one bad game in December, so why not one more? In a bit of a surprise I’ll take Carolina. Panthers 26 Vikings 23

New York Giants at Washington – The Redskins are bad, but they can be frisky. The Giants have definitely cooled since their fast start, and now desperately need wins to have a shot at the playoffs. I think the G-men win this one out of necessity and the Redskins lose as Jim Zorn plays out the string until his inevitable firing that will occur the day after the season ends. Giants 28 Redskins 24

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 12-4
Season to Date: 134-74

Playoff Preview: Here are my projections for the NFL playoff seedings.
Only one change this week in the playoff projections, I now have the Eagles in the 3 slot in the NFC and the Cardinals in the 4 slot. The AFC remains unchanged.


1. Colts
2. Chargers
3. Bengals
4. Patriots
5. Ravens
6. Broncos


1. Saints
2. Vikings
3. Eagles
4. Cardinals
5. Packers
6. Giants