29 December 2006

Weekly NFL Related Humiliation (Week SEVENTEEN)

The final week of football and a lot of teams' playoff hopes hinges upon the Saturday contest. All 7-8 NFC teams that are challenging for the final wild card spot find themselves on the road this week. I'll pick the winners in all five of those games.

On the AFC side, it's as good as over, if the NY Jets can beat Oakland and Denver beat San Francisco, then it's all done. They're both at home, and there's no reason to expect either of them to fail.

ESPN shows every game as a toss up, but that ain't right, so I'll go with the Bodog.com line as of 12:55am ET Sat December 30th.

NY Giants at Washington (+3.0) Washington (+3.0)
The Giants are an awful team right now that have given up on their coach. Even though the Redskins have had a disappointing season, at this moment in time they are a better team then the Giants and will happily keep their division rival from making the playoffs. Tiki Barber might as well take the week off and start his TV career now.

St. Louis at Minnesota (+3.0) Minnesota (+3.0)
Both these teams have had disappointing seasons. Both teams are 3-7 in their last ten games. I think the Vikings will play with some pride and defeat a mediocre Rams team. It's a bit of a coin flip as to which team to pick, though, neither team have been exactly inspiring this season.

Carolina at New Orleans (+3.0) Carolina (-3.0)
The Saints have nothing to play for, and probably won't play their top players throughout the game. That should make all the difference. Carolina doesn't control their own playoff destiny, and if the Giants win on Saturday (which I doubt they'll do), then this game will be meaningless for them as well. Carolina has a lot of talent and despite a recent four game losing streak can play as well as any team in the NFC. They have a real shot at making it back to the NFC Championship game again this year. But only if they get into the playoffs.

Atlanta at Philadelphia (-9.0) Philadelphia -9.0
I know I said last week that the Falcons had given up, and I was right. But, if everything breaks their way in the earlier games, they'll know by kick-off whether or not they have something to play for. Philly is playing for a division championship, and for them that means the difference between playing at home or playing in Seattle next week. I think Carolina will make this game irrelevant for the Falcons, and they'll be playing to get their coach fired once again this week. They'll get their wish, too. Mora is toast, let the coaching search begin! (though I don't know who would want this job). This game won't be close, Philly will earn themselves a first round game against a dangerous Panthers team.

Green Bay at Chicago (-3.0) Chicago -3.0
Lousy weather is expected in Chicago, rainy and in the 40s. This is possibly Brett Favre's last game (which is why it's getting the Sunday Night treatment). Chicago has nothing to play for, and the Packers might be in a do or die situation. But that won't be enough for Green Bay to win this one. The Chicago defense will outscore both offenses in this game. Grossman and Favre will both give up the ball at least 3 times on fumbles or interceptions, the difference being that the Chicago defense scores off of turnovers keeping their mistake prone offense off the field. Should be a lousy game.

I think Carolina will be the only 7-8 team to be able to secure themselves a victory this week. That simplifies all the various scenarios, but who knows, all these teams are 7-8 because they've been inconsistent, so that probably won't change this week. Any or all of these teams can win or lose.

So if my predictions are all correct the NFC playoffs next week should be Dallas at Seattle and Carolina at Philadelphia, with Chicago already securing the one seed, and New Orleans already securing the two seed.

On the AFC side, San Diego will clinch the one seed, Baltimore will be second. Both New England and Indianapolis should finish 12-4, but the Colts beat the Pats earlier this season and will get themselves the 3 seed. The playoff match ups next week should be NY Jets at Indianapolis and Denver at New England, but none of those four teams has a chance against Baltimore or San Diego the following week.

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