Last week, we ran an NFL pick'em column that Korry Keeker, JDHS football coach Bill Chalmers and myself participated in. It was a lot of fun coming up with the pithy little captions and Ron Mexico references (just google it if you really need to know). So in that spirit, I will tabulate the results and do more of the same for week 15.
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Things ended up very close, as we all had an above-average week - sort of like kids in Lake Woebegone or something. Coach Chalmers and I both lit it up, calling 10 out of the 16 games correctly. Great minds think alike, I guess. Keeker came out of the fray with 9 out of 16 picks lining up in the win column.
Korry is on vacation, so instead of mixing it up with guest selectors, I'm going to go it alone this week, offering up something intelligible about each match-up in this pivotal week of the NFL regular season.
San Francisco at Seattle:
San Francisco is somewhat of a team on the rise. A few weeks ago, it looked like they just might climb into the division race. Alas, Mike Nolan's bunch has had a rough go of it down the stretch and I think they will be handled in Seattle in this Thursday night showdown, but watch out for this talented but young group.
Alex Smith looks like an NFL quarterback this year, and Frank Gore came out of nowhere to rush for an already incredible total of 1347 yards. If tight end and physical freak Vernon Davis is healthy next year, look for these upstarts to give a suddenly aging Seattle team fits.
Dallas at Atlanta:
Even though this game is in Atlanta, I expect the Cowboys to avenge their loss to the Saints by punishing the very up-and-down Falcons. Warrick Dunn is questionable for the game, as is impressive rookie Jerious Norwood, and Atlanta can't afford any slippage in what has been their one constant plus area, the run game.
Dallas has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and Tony Romo looks more like an NFL passer to me than Mike Vick, last week excepted. The Cowboys' running attack is also looking good with Marion Barber averaging more than 5 yards a carry and Julius Jones closing in on his first 1,000 yard campaign as a pro.
Cleveland at Baltimore:
Not much to say about this one. Cleveland has some decent skill players in Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow, but they just can't seem to get it together. I don't see them going into Baltimore and doing anything against a loaded Raven defense.
Detroit at Green Bay:
I guess I like Green Bay, but there isn't a game that's more up in the air this week than this one. Favre continues to be an enigma, but he is certainly better at this point than Kitna or whoever the Lions are going to throw out there.
By the way, how does Matt Millen still have a job? The Lions seem to be cruising to another high draft pick that will be wasted on a receiver with character issues. Detroit fans are too good to have a team this bad.
Houston at New England:
My Patriots looked bad last week. Luckily, the Texans looked even worse. Man, they wish they could turn back the clock and take Vince Young right now.
I do think the Patriots are playing with the house's money this year to some degree and it's a total shock that their record is as good as it is. What other team can you honestly say has a chance to win it all year after year in today's NFL?
Jacksonville at Tennessee:
I think the Titans are legitimate. Vince Young looks good in the shotgun, and I think he'll outplay Garrard on Sunday to lead Tennessee to another win.
Do you realize that if they beat the Jags they'll be 7-7? After starting 0-5, they are making a year of it, and just might slip into the playoffs.
It's not going to happen, but the fact that I spent two minutes looking at other team's records in the AFC says something about this upwardly mobile club.
Miami at Buffalo:
Miami looks like a playoff team right now with Joey Harrington at quarterback. Unfortunately, they started the year with Dante Culpepper's zombie twin as their field general. Fins roll.
NY Jets at Minnesota:
Who do I trust more, Pennington or Brad Johnson? This one is much like the Green Bay vs. Detroit game, a coin flip. Similar to having pocket deuces in Texas Hold'em and going all-in against two high cards, it's pretty much a push.
Jets win by a field goal.
Pittsburgh at Carolina:
I normally would have reservations about taking the Steelers to win a second game in a row this year, but the Panthers are on life support with Chris Weinke under center.
Peter King said something to the effect of "Weinke, stinky" in his normally astute Monday Morning Quarterback column this week, which I felt was a bit sophomoric, if not accurate.
Tampa Bay at Chicago:
Nothing to see here, folks. Bears crush men in pirate costumes.
Washington at New Orleans:
In New Orleans the 'Skins have no shot of taking out America's team. Bush is starting to come alive as a backfield threat, Colston might be healthy and Brees looks like an MVP. The Redskins, not so much.
Denver at Arizona:
I'll take Denver based solely on the fact the Champ Bailey will burn Jay Cutler badly in this game, that is if the rookie quarterback even throws to his side of the field. Arizona looks good, but when Regis Philbin picks you as a sleeper, I have zero confidence.
Philadelphia at NY Giants:
I think Garcia's magic will run out in this game, setting off riots in Philly when the combined news of Iverson getting traded for Bubbles the clown and an autographed photo of Chris Berman, plus the Eagles missing the playoffs sets off fits of rage in the hearts of fans. Hey, at least the new Rocky is coming out soon. You have that to look forward to.
St. Louis at Oakland:
Fans in Oakland, rejoice! You still lose, but it's not by that much this week.
Kansas City at San Diego:
The Chiefs may be mourning the loss of founder Lamar Hunt at this game, but it won't be enough to keep LT from padding the touchdown record. I think he's good for three in this game.
Cincinnati at Indianapolis:
I'm still in shock that eight Bengals have been arrested this season. That's a record that is in the neighborhood of Joe D's hit streak, untouchable. I'm guessing the finally tally will be around a baker's dozen. Give it time, they've got a fighting chance to make the playoffs.
I think Indy wins in the dome this week, however. Peyton Manning will be at his best dueling with Carson Palmer.