The 2009 NFL Picks
Week fourteen

 

Dad didn’t do wonderfully last week, but at 6-10 he did add a game over Mike and I at the top of the standings. So he finally caves… finally turns in a sub-par week… and neither of us take advantage of it. And there is even more interesting news to bring you…

Terry’s back.

Not back strong or as a major threat… yet. Those are definitely the headlights of her car a mile or so back on the highway though. She turned in an 8-8 mark last week to lead the way. That puts her within 10 games of the dogs, and roughly 15 wins behind the leaders. With 4 weeks to go… and last week showing that some floundering may be on the horizon for all of us… if she can turn in a strong effort this week or next we could find an amazing battle heading in to the end of the year.

Can it happen? Well… a little history…

Last year Mike, Terry and I exited week 13 with the following records:

Terry: 108-82-2
Mike: 97-93-2
Bob: 91-99-2

At that point, she led Mike by 11 games and me by 17. Over the final four weeks she added 34 wins to her total… nothing spectacular, just even or winning records each week… toss in a couple of ties… and yet that steady pace extended her lead to 21 games as Mike and I crashed.

Terry: 142-110-4
Mike: 121-131-4
Bob: 118-134-4

Not only was she the only one to finish above even… she was 32-games over even, above .500 for the entire year, and… most importantly… after dancing with the two of us until mid-season, she created that margin of victory by passing Mike in week 8 and effectively never looking back. In other words, she gained an average of 4 wins per week for the entire second half of the season.

So… can it happen this year?

Yeah… definitely. If Mike is going to average 6 wins a week like he did last year… if I’m going to average 7 wins a week to wrap things up like I did last year… both scenarios that I hope don’t happen, and I’m not saying it will… then Terry can gain roughly a dozen games or more in the standings.

The dogs went 6-10 last week… which again, isn’t great, but like Dad it did allow them to gain ground on Mike and I. They are just four wins away from the top three.

A couple of weeks ago I told you some truths had been revealed. Turns out… I picked the wrong truths.

I underestimated Arizona. Little did I know the post Super Bowl appearance fade that happens year after year would nail Pittsburgh and not them. After a solid showing against the Vikings, it won’t shock you to learn I think we need to take the Cardinals seriously. (Provided Warner doesn’t get hurt.)

The Patriots have no running game. Ok… sure… I know that isn’t news either, and that their problems go deeper than just running the ball. But consider… they are scoring roughly 20-points per game in the first half and less than 10-per in the second half. Multiple times they have squandered second half leads of 10 or more points. And on Sunday, when they had a lead and a need to kill time, Miami got the ball back before you had a chance to sweep a chip through some dip… which is exactly what happened against Indianapolis. And… gee… in debating that fourth and two play, did you notice that on both third and fourth down, the plays were passes? This team is having troubles managing the clock and their game plans, and part of it is no faith in their running game.

On top of that, Cleveland and Kansas City continue to lose, but those big spreads just aren’t happening. Five teams had spreads of more than 8-points last week… Pittsburgh lost outright… New Orleans went to overtime… and none of the five favorites covered.

Yup… welcome to the mess. When examining those truths, I should have pointed out a bit more strongly that the spread offers no favors. Picking the games should have gotten easier… as far as picking winners. But the spreads are never easy. That’s more along the lines of what I meant to say… and apparently the Redskins, Raiders, and a few other teams didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to lose.

It’s time to start explaining playoff scenarios… so there will be some words offered to that in some of the thoughts about each game below. And… in the interest of “I’m an idiot, so don’t listen to me” thoughts that I have rattling around in my brain, I’m going to conclude each section with a “Is that really what I think?” summary. Here I’ll expand briefly on everything to tell you if I trust the research and thoughts I have about the game.

This week we begin kicking off the holiday spirit by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and using quotes from Scrooged… and we start things off with a timely bonus quote…

“I was a captain of industry. Feared by men. Adored by women.”

“Adored? C’mon, let’s be honest, Lew. You paid for the women.”

Pittsburgh (9) at Cleveland“I want to see her nipples.” “But this is a Christmas show.” “Well, I’m sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples.” “You can barely see them nipples.” “See? And these guys are really looking.” If you want to use the expression “shooting yourself in the foot” for a project, clip and paste the logo of the 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers into the effort. At 6-6 they aren’t out of it… but let’s add some stuff up. (1) The division is gone. Cincy leads by 3 games, but since the Bengals swept the season series they really lead by 4. (2) They are tied with Baltimore, but the Ravens won the first match between these two clubs. The second game is approaching, but for now this is a mark against them, because today the tie goes to Baltimore. (3) After Cleveland this week, they get to play a simply brutal finish… Green Bay, Baltimore and at Miami. Every one of those clubs is in the playoff hunt, and every one of them currently resides at .500 or better. (4) They’ve lost 4 in a row, and not in some warm and fuzzy way either… two in overtime, and we need to bring into account that Kansas City and Oakland are involved. I could go on, but you get the point… things are rough right now. In road games this year the Steelers are 2-4 so far… not great, though one of those was an impressive win over Denver. Their six victories, at a quick glance, all hover around the 10-point mark. And this literally has all the markings of a game where the Steelers are going to be asked to show you what they’re made of. All of that means… there is reason to think a big victory could happen… so let’s take a look at Cleveland. In the past 3 games, the Browns have lost all of them. But they frustrated the heck out of the Ravens for the first half, played an amazingly enjoyable contest against the Lions, and gave the Bengals fits. But here’s the thing… and it’s a three-part-summary to get to the actual thing… (1) Of their 10 losses, only 2 are by less than 6 points, and only 4 by less than 13. (2) They are scoring about 12-points per game, while giving up about 26. (3) At home, the Browns are 0-5. If this game happened after a full week off, I’d probably take Cleveland. Strange stuff happens in divisional games. And although they’ve lost 12 straight to Pittsburgh (last win was in October of 2003), over that time they’ve put up a heck of an effort at least once a year against them. Of course… the other side of that is that once a year they usually get decked, and it’s normally the second game… 31-0 loss in 2008, 27-7 in 2006, 41-0 in 2005… and the list goes on, and it doesn’t matter if it’s home or away. And… I don’t think I need to say it, but for the sake of clarity… lose this one and the Steelers are toast. I don’t see how they make the playoffs. I like Pittsburgh. And is that really what I think? Nope. Pittsburgh has been favored in 11 of their 12 games this season. (The Baltimore game was a pick ‘em. They’ve never been the underdog.) They’ve covered the spread 3 times… at 3-points, 4-points, and 6½-points. Big spreads and the Steelers as your choice equals flushing the toilet and waving goodbye to the money.
Bob: Cleveland
Terry: Cleveland
Dad: Pittsburgh
Mike: Pittsburgh
Molly: Cleveland

Denver at Indianapolis (7½)“I can’t get the antlers glued to this little guy. We tried Crazy Glue, but it don’t work.” “Did you try staples?” I’m giddy about this game. Just after hitting 12-0, the head coaches were asked about their chances at going undefeated. Sean Payton said he was going for it as long as it was possible. Most importantly, he wanted his team to stay sharp. But he also wanted his team to take chances and strive for great things. I love that answer. Go Saints! Jim Caldwell said once home field and other factors are wrapped up, he’ll be resting people for the playoffs. And to me… that’s way to casual. I suppose I’d feel much differently about this contest if the Broncos hadn’t looked solid for the past couple of games. But as of right now, I love this contest for Denver. (Oh yeah… playoff thoughts… we have a 12-0 Indy team and a 8-4 Denver club. Both teams are likely headed to the playoffs. Indy is a no-brainer on that idea. They’ve already won the division. Denver finishes up with Indy, Oakland, Philly and Kansas City. Considering where the other AFC teams sit, 10 wins will put them in, and they should win at least 2 of the remaining 4. (And if they win this one, the division still is within sight.) And is that really what I think? Yes… actually… this time it is. I don’t believe Indy is an elite team… certainly not worthy of undefeated dreams… but they’ve proven me wrong time and again all season long. I do think they’ll lose this game.
Bob: Denver
Terry: Denver
Dad: Denver
Mike: Indianapolis
Gus: Indianapolis

Cincinnati at Minnesota (6½)“Sometimes you have to slap them in the face just to get their attention!” (Which brings us to a bonus quote…) “The bitch hit me with a toaster.” (And ultimately to another bonus quote…) “You know I like the rough stuff, don’t you Frank?” Last week’s loss to Arizona makes things a bit strange for the Vikings. They still have a 2-game edge over the Cardinals, but suddenly there’s no tie-breaker in their favor if they falter. They literally could go from 10-1 and a 3-game lead in the bye week race to playing a round one game at home. I doubt that happens… but it certainly could. Cincy on the other hand is in the more difficult spot. At 9-3, they are in a flat-footed tie with San Diego for the second seed in the AFC. But… not only do they play the Chargers head-to-head in a game that could decide that second seed, check this out… at Minnesota, at San Diego, Kansas City, and New York (Jets). Frankly, if they can go 1-1 in the next two weeks, they’ll be good… but I think they’re going to lose them both. Thanks to sweeping Pittsburgh and Baltimore, the division is just about locked down for them… but 9-5 heading in to the last two weeks seems about right. For the first time all season, the Vikings looked bad last week. And I say that knowing a few of their wins are shaky, close, last-second variety wins. When they lost to Pittsburgh, they weren’t really dominated so much as victimized by a few key plays that stopped them. (Victimized isn’t the perfect word there, since they made mistakes. Just understand that against Arizona… they were beaten.) But they haven’t lost at home yet… and I think that they’ll come out firing on all cylinders in this game. And is that really what I think? Yup. Vikings. By about 10. 27-17 sounds right.
Bob: Minnesota
Terry: Cincinnati
Dad: Minnesota
Mike: Cincinnati
Molly: Cincinnati

New York (Jets) (3½) at Tampa Bay“All day long I listen to people give me excuses why they can’t work. My legs hurt. My back aches. I’m only four. The sooner he learns life isn’t handed to him on a silver platter, the better.” The reality is, the Jets can not make the playoffs. Oh sure… that’s not official… and they have some interesting tie-breakers, such as the victories over Tennessee and Houston. The problem is that they don’t have the tie-breakers they need. Both the Texans and Titans are out of the picture right now. The Jets are tied with the Dolphins… and the Dolphins swept them. The Jets are chasing the Jaguars… and the Jaguars defeated them. The Patriots have secured a better division record regardless of what happens against Buffalo, currently have a better conference record, and appear to have a more favorable season-ending schedule. The interesting thing is this… the Jets end the season with Indy (who, as I mentioned, plans to retire once they wrap up their official positioning) and Cincy (who should officially have the division clinched by then, and after playing Minnesota and San Diego should already know the fate of the second seed by this season-ending contest). That means it isn’t outrageous for the Jets to get to the final weeks still in the race. They could win four in a row. It’s just that so many other things really need to break their way, and those things are more likely to give Miami a shot instead of New York. Enter Tampa… a club that is scoring about 3-points more per game than Cleveland, while giving up about 2-points more. And they are about as unpredictable as it gets. They beat Green Bay… fought against Miami… and folded against New Orleans in recent weeks. Their only win was a home game… and yet you could argue they do better offensively on the road. Here’s something interesting… in two previous contests with extra rest (they played Monday night for a one-day bonus, and then had their bye week), the Jets lost both times (Miami won 31-27, Jacksonville won 24-22). They’ve had extra time to get ready for the trip to Tampa. I’ll take the Bucs. And is that really what I think? I wouldn’t say I’m convinced that it is. But I’ll stay with Tampa here. Normally I look for what is clicking for a team… probably just like you do. If a quarterback is having a great run, or if an offensive unit has been playing well, or if there is a mismatch where a strong defense is taking on a weak offense with a backup quarterback… it tips the way you view a game. Here we have the Jets running the ball really well and the Jets playing defense really well. There’s not a whole heck of alot else to think about. But that same Jets team that would seem to have the two or three determining factors in their favor is also the same team that blows out Oakland while committing 45 turnovers at home against Buffalo.
Bob: Tampa Bay
Terry: New York
Dad: New York
Mike: Tampa Bay
Gus: Tampa Bay

Buffalo at Kansas City (Pick)“Grace, put yourself down for a towel too.” “What about my bonus?” “Towel and a facecloth.” The thing that makes this so tough is that the Chiefs have scored less points than the Bills while giving up more than them. So knowing that, take a look at recent games. Pittsburgh… a reeling Pittsburgh… lost in overtime to Kansas City. San Diego and Denver squashed them. Buffalo hasn’t been brilliant, but they stayed close to the Jaguars, crushed the Dolphins, and played a somewhat close yawner against the Jets. And the Jets have a much better defense than the Chiefs. I’d like to make a case for Kansas City… but there isn’t one. And is that really what I think? Kind of. I’m going to take the Bills because I just don’t see what is holding the Chiefs up at times, and on the road they are still sort of playing the role of the underdog.
Bob: Buffalo
Terry: Buffalo
Dad: Buffalo
Mike: Buffalo
Molly: Buffalo


Green Bay (3) at Chicago “I don’t mind you shooting at me, Frank, but take it easy on the Bacardi.” The NFC is suddenly developing an interesting race to the finish. Just a few short weeks ago, it looked like the AFC would require 10 wins… and maybe 11… to get invited to the postseason. It was narrowing down to an exclusive club. Heck… we’ve mentioned… Indy already has clinched their division. And these days, especially since I still don’t trust a 7-5 Jacksonville club, 9 wins may just allow a team to sneak into a wild card slot. (Let’s face it… if New England doesn’t steady their footing… 9 wins might take the AFC East.) But with Green Bay and Philadelphia at 8-4, it looks like separation is getting clearer and 10 wins is a must in the NFC, and 11 wins preferable for comfort… which puts the Bears on the outside, because they can only get to 9. The Packers biggest concern is the Giants… sort of. See… the Eagles are 8-4 and the Giants are 7-5. This week, Philly and New York play each other. That means a ton of funny possibilities in the wild card race coming out of these games. Philly could be ahead by one… Green Bay could be ahead by one… and there could be a 3-way tie for the two spots. But… my point about Green Bay and New York comes from this… if Philadelphia wins the game this week, the Giants at 7-6 give the Packers a bit more breathing room than both the Giants and the Eagles at 8-5. The Packers have 3 rough road games to finish the year… Chicago, Pittsburgh and Arizona. (They should win against Seattle, who is coming to Green Bay for that one.) Lest thing need is a couple of teams on their heels. At this point, Chicago has not defeated a team that currently has a winning record. (They beat Pittsburgh… currently 6-6. After that, all losers.) Playoff teams… Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona… flattened them. (Although they did play Philly tough, and could have defeated Green Bay in the season opener.) I’m going with Green Bay… even though Chicago is tough to gauge at home. And is that really what I think? Absolutely. No way I’m taking the worst quarterback in the division in a game with playoff implications for the opponent.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Chicago
Dad: Green Bay
Mike: Green Bay
Gus: Green Bay

New Orleans (10½) at Atlanta “It’s a bone you lucky dog!” I don’t know what to tell you… with Matt Ryan out, the Falcons aren’t winning this game. And at 6-6, with what I showed you about New York, Philadelphia and Green Bay, Atlanta needs every victory they can get. A loss here will put them 2-games out of the wild card race with 3 to play. And with losses against the Eagles and Giants, you could pretty much consider them eliminated because they will not catch and pass both of those clubs, no matter what happens in new York this week. For the Saints, the coaching staff took the chains off last week. They told the team that at 12-0, they’re going to be given every chance to look for perfection. I love the attitude. And is that really what I think? Yes. Even with Matt Ryan, I think the Falcons are going to make a run at 8 or 9 wins, and then set their sights on next season. The Saints seem to be getting excited about how they’ve responded to the past couple of weeks.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: Atlanta
Dad: New Orleans
Mike: Atlanta
Molly: Atlanta

Detroit at Baltimore (13)“Would you please hold the goddamn hammering, now.” Would you believe I almost like where the Ravens are sitting? They play Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Oakland to finish off the year. A playoff team wins at least 3 of those. Since I don’t trust Jacksonville… more on them, including their loss to Miami this week, coming up next… and since they have a victory over Pittsburgh already, they are in a nice spot if they can just win. I say almost though because good lord… the Ravens have been inconsistent and tough to watch. If they lose to Pittsburgh and those clubs finish tied, all sorts of tie-breakers become involved since their head-to-head and division records will likely be the same. And… if they lose to Pittsburgh… that means 9 wins… brining Miami and everyone else right into the fold. I could definitely see them losing 2 of the 4 remaining to max out at 8-8 as the Dolphins pass the Jaguars for the final wild card slot. Here’s what we know about this week… the Ravens will score. They are averaging about 22-points per game… sort of ho-hum… but combine that with the 30 Detroit gives up per game. A deeper look at Baltimore’s schedule also reveals how tough they’ve had it so far… only two teams, Kansas City and Cleveland (representing 3 of their 12 games) currently have losing records. (6 of the other 9 games were against current division leaders.) Long story a bit less long… the Ravens have some reasons for their inconsistencies. The Lions turned in a great effort against the Browns, but really haven’t been the same since. And while 13 is a tough spread, I’ve got to take the Ravens here. And is that really what I think? Yeah. Detroit could put up 20-plus to spoil my prediction, but big spreads come with that risk. The Ravens are going to score 30 points in this game. The only question is whether or not the Lions get beyond 17. I’m comfortable believe 31-17 as the final score here.
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Dad: Detroit
Mike: Baltimore
Gus: Detroit

Miami at Jacksonville (3)“You left Claire for Frisbee the dog? Frank, let me sum this up for you: you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you want, and you don’t know what the hell is going on.” “I’ve made a few mistakes. I gotta live with that. But I do know who I am, I know what I want, and I know what’s going on.” “Hey, Frank! Up here!” “What’s going on?” Giddy again… Dolphins this time. Would you believe the Jaguars have been outscored on the season? It’s true. By about 3-points per game. (In fairness… Miami has been outscored too… about 2-points per game. But since the Dolphins have scored more than 50 additional points on the season, it’s more an indictment of Jacksonville and their house of cards that is 7-5 so far.) And check out these victories… Houston (twice), Tennessee (once, so far, during the Titans early-season floundering), St. Louis, Kansas City, New York (Jets), and Buffalo. Are you kidding me? That’s their seven victories? (The Dolphins have been outscored while playing New England twice, New Orleans, and San Diego. Look over those Jacksonville victories again. See… 7-5… house of cards, and it is going to fall.) Now I’ll grant you… they have been very solid at home… 5-1. But still… play a good team, and they generally struggle or lose. Heck… they’ve won four games since October 18th. Four of those were by 3-points or less. Only Houston last week… a 5-point victory… was by more. (By the way… another reason not to trust the 7-5 Jacksonville Jaguars as a playoff possibility. Miami… Indianapolis (while Indy might still care)… at New England. I say 7-8 heading into the season finale. They finish against Cleveland, but they’ll lose at least 2 and likely all 3 before that.) And is that really what I think? Definitely. Dolphins win this game with a solid showing.
Bob: Miami
Terry: Miami
Dad: Miami
Mike: Miami
Molly: Miami

Carolina at New England (13)“You’re staying here with me. We’re working late.” “I have to take my son to the doctor.” “Grace! When I work late, you work late!” “But I made the appointment two months ago!” If the Patriots struggle this week, I’ll be stunned. New England will win this game. The only real question is, after building a 24-3 halftime lead, will they be able to protect the margin of the spread when Carolina starts heading in for cheap late points. On a column-related but not game relevant note, the only club in the AFC East threatening the Patriots is the Dolphins. They win the tie-breakers against the Jets based on division record, so they basically have a 2-game edge there. If New England loses here or next week, Miami could make things very interesting. And is that really what I think? Well, yes, it is. But New England has let me down mightily at times so far. I just think that they will take the field as a focused team against the Panthers, and will be looking to solidify their postseason chances as well as their egos.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Dad: New England
Mike: Carolina
Gus: Carolina

Seattle at Houston (5½)“Do you think I’m way off-base here?” “Yes. You’re, well, you’re a tad off-base, sir.” I’d love to take the underdog here. Houston has let me down in more ways than I care to count on some weeks. But this pick isn’t about the Texans. It’s about the Seahawks. And to say they suck on the road would be inaccurate… they’d need to improve to reach that level of poor play. They beat St. Louis on the road… so they’re 1-5. the closets they’ve been in the 5 losses is 11-points. And is that really what I think? Yeah. The records of favorites isn’t to be viewed lightly… they are about 8-games under .500 for the year… but at this point is about a wash. The way the Seahawks travel (they don’t), I don’t see this being a close game.
Bob: Houston
Terry: Seattle
Dad: Houston
Mike: Houston
Molly: Seattle

St. Louis at Tennessee (13)“Grace, what in the hell is this?” “Oh, it’s a painting, one of my kids did. See, there’s Santa Claus and there’s Mrs. Claus.” “Honey, how many fingers does Mrs. Santa Claus have here?” “Eleven.” “Eleven. Right. It’s crap. Lose it. I don’t want it on the wall.” The Rams suck. They score about 12-points per game… and on the road it’s about 7. (In 5 road games to date they’ve been shut out twice and have cracked the 10-point mark only once, against the Jaguars.) Last week Tennessee basically said goodbye to their season with a loss. Sure… it was nice to see their run and maybe even hope they could sustain it, but since they lose the tie-breaker to the Jets I don’t see where we need to start investigating what happens if they could get to 9-7 just yet… so, you know, enough said. (“But Bob” you say, “you’ve looked at the other clubs and 9-7 is possible.” Look. After this game the Titans face Miami and then San Diego. Win this week and defeat Miami, and we’ll look at all sorts of opportunities the Titans might have entering week 16. As of right now, a losing record does not scream 4-wins-in-a-row as a viable consideration.) So the question we ultimately arrive at is… will the Titans be interested in this game? Because, if they are, you would almost certainly think they can crack 20-points and shut the Rams down. Not so fast though. In the past 3 weeks the Titans have failed to generate more than 20 points. On the flip side, they played at Houston, Arizona and at Indianapolis… so take it for what it’s worth, because all three of those clubs have played some good defense at times. The funny thing is the turn around of the Tennessee defense. In their first six games, opponents scored more than 30 points 4 times. In the last six games, they’ve scored more than 20 just twice. I’m very tempted to take the Rams here… but I can’t. I think they’ll struggle to score against Tennessee… and Chris Johnson has been a monster this season. And is that really what I think? It is. I like the Titans. Next week… as I gaze ahead a bit too far… I think they lose to Miami and I don’t have to comment on their playoff chances.
Bob: Tennessee
Terry: Tennessee
Dad: Tennessee
Mike: Tennessee
Gus: St. Louis

Washington at Oakland (pick)“Hello wabbit.” I know… I know… it’s nice to look at Oakland and actually have to give it some thought. But Washington has a significantly better defense, and a slightly better offense. (I should say better offense, but I’ll toss in the slightly as a nod to recent efforts from the Raiders.) In the past four games the Redskins knocked off the Broncos (with Orton hurting), and then scared the Cowboys, Eagles and Saints. Oakland has celebrated every previous victory this season by tossing up a stinker the game after. Yup… the three other victories were followed by losses of 20 (at home), 38 (oh look… at home again), and 17 (ok… than one was on the road). And is that really what I think? Not without hesitation, but I’m going with it. This is just one of those games where whatever happens, happens. Best wishes if you can call it in advance. The Redskins have the better club. I’ll go with it. (Hey… everyone says Jim Zorn is gone, and he probably is. But if they win here, they’ll be 4-9 on the year with New York, Dallas and San Diego left. Let’s just say they manage to run the table. I know… I know… they won’t. But let’s just say they do. Oakland is winnable… right? New York and Dallas are divisional games, and they most definitely could play both of those teams close. So San Diego… in a game that might mean zilch to the Chargers and involves Norv Turner. Is it really impossible for them to go 4-0 down the stretch? If that happens… do they still fire Jim Zorn? I say yes. But it’s one heck of a funny situation to think about for a second or two.)
Bob: Washington
Terry: Washington
Dad: Washington
Mike: Washington
Molly: Oakland

San Diego at Dallas (3) “We’re gonna need champagne for 250 people, and send the stuff that you send to me. Don’t send the stuff that I send to other people.” I’d like to make the argument that Dallas can win this, but… San Diego is a solid club that is outscoring opponents by just under 10 a game. And Dallas… well… they aren’t. The Chargers have a tough schedule remaining. They play Cincy after this, and then travel to Tennessee before closing it out by hosting Washington. Those are some very physical games, even if they win all of them. There is going to be lots of back-and-forth talk out there about the AFC bye week… and New England still isn’t out of it (though they are in trouble). Dallas hasn’t looked good playing outside the conference (2-1… but one win was over Oakland, and of course you remember the Kansas City game). San Diego is 2-0 against the NFC. Dallas has lost 2 of the last 4 games, and should have lost to Washington as well. San Diego has won 7 in a row, mostly in dominant fashion. And is that really what I think? Never trust Norv… but yeah, I’m good with this pick.
Bob: San Diego
Terry: Dallas
Dad: San Diego
Mike: San Diego
Gus: Dallas

Philadelphia at New York (Giants) (1)“How’s this for a deal? I hire you back, pay you twice your original salary, and offer you a vice president position. Would you like my office?” “No, I don’t like your office.” There is zero that I can tell you about this game that I would feel good about. We could examine it fifteen different ways, using the most important topics, and the reality is, fifteen other things could easily become more important in influencing this game. It could be the line play. It might be the running games. And perhaps one of the quarterbacks has a career passing effort. I could see an unheralded player getting a late turnover. Or maybe it will be rainy and windy and carry the late, last-second field goal attempt just wide. Look, King Kong could show up at this game and I really don’t think he would create any more of a strange event than what eventually does happen. So, with both teams turning in good and bad efforts in recent weeks, and even though Philly is probably playing better, I’m just going to take the home team here and move on. And is that really what I think? Nope. One, two, three or more wacky things are going to happen in this game to decide it, and there is no way to feel good about that.
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Dad: Philadelphia
Mike: Philadelphia
Molly: Philadelphia

Arizona (3) at San Francisco“Claire, the whole world. Whole world, Claire.” (And a final bonus quote…) “It’s Christmas Eve. It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w… w… we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” I will grant you… I didn’t believe. I thought a 1-2 start was reflective of this club. But week after week, they have more than faced up to the big challenges… defeating the Giants and the Vikings… dismantling the Bears… tough to play when they’re on the road (they’re 5-1 so far on the road, losing only to Tennessee)… it’s been impressive to watch if I’m honest with you. A win here would effectively settle the division… and definitely settle it if Seattle loses. I think the Cardinals are going to secure their week one home game in this contest. And is that really what I think? Yup. The 49ers show flashes of good things… usually in losses.
Bob: Arizona
Terry: San Francisco
Dad: Arizona
Mike: Arizona
Gus: Arizona

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dad – Last week 6-10, season 99-91-2
Bob – Last week 5-11, season 97-93-2
Mike – Last week 5-11, season 96-94-2
The Dogs – Last week 6-10, season 92-98-2
Terry – Last week 8-8, season 82-108-2

Molly: Last week 4-4, season 50-45-1
Gus: Last week 2-6, season 42-53-1


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com