The 2010 NFL Picks
Week Seventeen


21 games.

After 16 weeks of football, Mike has selected 21 games correctly that Sam missed. That’s what separates the top of our standings from the bottom.

21 games.

Mike has delivered an impressive performance. He has a winning record for the year right now, and getting over even against the spread deserves significant praise and celebrating.

Still… 21 games.

Perspective on the moment: The three dogs picked based on treats. The top two, Gus and Molly, have chances at even records if they can deliver strong results in these final 16 games. The last place finisher is Sam, currently holding down that spot 21 games behind Mike. And 21 games over 16 weeks means he has missed roughly 1 game each week that Mike got right.

Think about that for a second. The difference between the top of our board and the bottom is pretty much one game per week.

A tremendous run from Mike Jr… even after once again missing a pick… has put him into the areas of those that have made all the selections. He’s now tied with Terry for wins on the year, and enters the final week with a shot at getting over the even mark.

And what faces all of us is the toughest week of the year.

Who will play?

What teams with playoff spots and seeding locked up will actually put forth a focused effort?

What team with zero to play for will show some pride?

Amazingly difficult week of the season, often filled with surprises and no shortage of frustrations.

For the quotes this week… The Incredibles.

Arizona at San Francisco (6) “Where’s my super suit?” As if designed to prove my point… the first game on our list is Arizona against San Francisco. Two teams playing the final game of a season filled with disappointment, underachievement, and any other crushed-optimism-description you’d like to use. In giving a fair evaluation to their game, here’s what we come up with… Arizona plays horrendously on the road, having scored more than 13 only twice out of seven games so far… when these two teams met in Arizona, a joke was played instead of a game, with the Cardinals getting destroyed. Starting with those two concepts… yeah… points against Arizona. Heck… even if you want to give them credit for defeating Dallas at home last week, you have to take it away for losing on the road to Carolina the week before. And hey… look at that… this one is a road game for the Cardinals. Since that farce of a football game when these teams first met, the 49ers have been on a mission to look worse than the Cardinals… which should seem impossible considering that Carolina fiasco… with the 49ers getting clobbered by Green Bay and San Diego, and losing to St. Louis. Only in spanking the Seahawks did they do anything. But hey… look at that… it also just so happens that the only home game in December was that that Seattle game. The only teams to beat San Fran in San Fran this year are clubs with winning records (New Orleans, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay… two playoff teams and a hopeful that likely won’t make it). So the question here doesn’t seem to center on which team should be favored, but rather on that touchdown spread they’re getting. The reality is… the Cowboys game was one of those funky events that likely wouldn’t happen again. Turnovers for touchdowns supplied points. The quarterback completed 44% of his passes. Somehow they won. Something to keep in mind… as much as Arizona is going with youngsters… San Francisco is likely to do the same thing, but may start Alex Smith at quarterback. I’m not a huge supporter of him, but for some strange reason I like him… since I believe he gets more bad press than he deserves considering the team effort we’ve seen.
Bob: San Francisco
Terry: Arizona
Mike: San Francisco
Mike Jr: Arizona
Molly: Arizona
Gus: San Francisco
Sam: San Francisco

San Diego (3½) at Denver“Listen closely. I’d like to help you, but I can’t. I’d like to tell you to take a copy of your policy to Norma Wilcox on... Norma Wilcox, W-I-L-C-O-X... on the third floor, but I can’t. I also do not advise you to fill out and file a WS2475 form with our legal department on the second floor. I would not expect someone to get back to you quickly to resolve the matter. I’d like to help, but there’s nothing I can do.” It is virtually impossible to make a case for the Broncos in this game. They haven’t been good or consistent this year, and we only need to consider the game against Oakland that took place on this field to blow a huge hole in any attempt to mount a home field defense. And recent play? Heck… Arizona pummeled them three weeks ago. I repeat, Arizona lost to a team that cannot score, and yet they destroyed Denver. The victory over Houston last week? Well, I’m the one that said: “I’m taking the Broncos for no other reason than Houston sucks. S… U… C… K… S… sucks, sucks, sucks.” But there is the Tebow question mark going on here… emotional question marks to consider. And last week San Diego not only had that magical little elf of late season heroics swatted off their shoulder, the Chargers watched as the Bungals flattened it. As if the emotional bomb of the season being over isn’t enough… and let’s face it, we on the outside really can’t predict what does and doesn’t inspire a team in games like this… injuries come in to play. Sure… Philip Rivers will play. Mike Tolbert won’t. Antonio Gates won’t. At least two wide receivers will likely be questionable for the finale… from which you can likely expect Patrick Crayton to give it a go and Malcom Floyd to be at the game in sweats. All the talk coming out of Denver is that the team likes Tebow. So… is their rallying around a young quarterback enough to complete against the deflated and banged up Chargers? Honestly? I don’t know. (1) I told you, Houston sucks. Against Denver, Houston passed for 310-yards with Schaub completing almost 70% of his passes. Arian Foster ran for 91-yards at almost a 5-per carry rate. (2) I told you, Houston sucks. Denver needed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game… Tebow is completing less than 55% of his passes… and the Broncos have suffered all year long to put points on the board early in games. (They average 4 points per game in the first quarter and 9 in the first half. Opponents are scoring 14 in the first half. Now… the news gets better for the Broncos. They are averaging 7 points per game in the fourth quarter and 12 in the second half. And… the news gets worse for them. Because opponents have scored more points in the second half against Denver than they have in the first half.) Most stats support a game that will finish about 30-26 with San Diego prevailing. I’ll go 31-23 with the Chargers on top.
Bob: San Diego
Terry: Denver
Mike: San Diego
Mike Jr: Denver
Molly: Denver
Gus: San Diego
Sam: Denver

Minnesota at Detroit (3)“Your boy’s suit I designed to withstand enormous friction without heating up or wearing out. A useful feature. Your daughter’s suit was tricky, but I finally created a sturdy material that can disappear completely as she does. Your suit can stretch as far as you can without injuring yourself, and still retain its shape. Virtually indestructible, yet it breathes like Egyptian cotton.” Let’s get ready for the basic debate in this game… the quarterbacks. Probably a strange place to start. But when you think about it… it’s the exact place to start. This is likely it for Favre, but he may not play. And, as we have seen in recent weeks, Favre’s replacement isn’t playing either. While I wouldn’t bet against Favre showing up for the last time… everything is pointing at Joe Webb playing this one. In Detroit, it sounds like we’ll be seeing Shaun Hill taking the snaps. And… without me rambling on forever… come on… did you think we’d be seeing Shaun Hill lead the Lions on the field to play Joe Webb and the Vikings? If Favre goes… I can definitely see the Vikings taking this one. A final rally of sorts. But for now, I’m going to go with the home team.
Bob: Detroit
Terry: Detroit
Mike: Minnesota
Mike Jr: Minnesota
Molly: Detroit
Gus: Detroit
Sam: Minnesota

New York (Giants) (3½) at Washington“Uh-uh! Don’t you think about running off doing no derrin’-do. We’ve been planning this dinner for two months!” “The public is in danger!” “My evening’s in danger!” “You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!” “‘Greater good?’ I am your wife! I’m the greatest good you are ever gonna get!” Do you feel that? Do you? It’s the atmosphere created by a meaningful game. After the first three we examined involved six teams with nothing at stake, we arrive here to find the Giants on the road and a playoff spot available in the outcome. And as if a streaky Giants club hoping for a win and some help isn’t enough folks… Washington loves those 3-point games, meaning this spread is designed to kick you in the head. The Redskins beat the Jaguars by 3 last week. Lost to the Cowboys by 3 the week before. Not a 3-pointer, but three games ago was a 1-point loss to Tampa, that was a loss because of a botched extra point… so heck, in overtime maybe it would have been decided by 3. In 2010 Washington has played 7 games decided by exactly 3… and they are 4-3 in those games. (How do you feel about that 3½ now?) Reality check though… the Jaguars sent a team to the field last week destined to lose the game, and Rex Grossman isn’t exactly putting a strangle-hold on the starter’s job for next season. Funny… but a 19 of 39 day with a pick will do that to a quarterback, especially when for the year Grossman has five touchdowns, three interceptions, and a completion percentage below McNabb’s. Let’s-be-realistic time… the Giants will put over 20 points on the board, and the Redskins don’t operate in that realm too often. Add to it that we’ve seen Washington blown out at home… and they are only 2-5 at home… along with a slightly less impressive under deeper review recent performance… and there is only one pick to make here. (By the way… overall the Giants beat the teams they should beat. I know the loss to Green Bay stings… and the come back by Philadelphia was embarrassing. Got it. Both of those are, potentially, playoff teams. For the most part, this season New York wins when New York should win.)
Bob: New York
Terry: New York
Mike: New York
Mike Jr: New York
Molly: Washington
Gus: Washington
Sam: Washington

Tennessee at Indianapolis (9½)“Did I do something illegal?” “No.” “Are you saying we shouldn’t help our customers?” “The law requires that I answer no.” Can you tell me how many teams have scored more than 400 points so far this year? Ok… without waiting too long… the answer is four. New England and Philadelphia… nothing stunning there. Both heading to the playoffs. Both getting credit for the points they put on the board. The other two though… hardly a surprise since you would have expected both to be capable of it at the beginning of the year. But when you consider the inconsistencies of their seasons and the struggles that result in only one of them having a shot at the postseason, it makes it interesting. They are San Diego and Indianapolis. No team other than these four is over 383 points this season after 16 weeks and 15 games played… and none of these four is below 408. Let those numbers roll around for a while. Each of the top four scoring clubs in the NFL is roughly 2-points per game clear of the fifth highest scoring offense and below. The Colts… whatever you think of Manning’s struggles, the team and its injuries, or any other factors… are one of those teams. The Titans have one win since October… over Houston, a team which, as you may have heard, sucks. The Titans haven’t been consistent with their offense… normally scoring at will or not at all. Honestly, the trouble I’m having here is the point spread. (I know… amazing and unexpected.) But let’s consider why. If Indy gets up by 17, do they pull starters with a playoff game to host next week against Pittsburgh, Baltimore or New York? The Colts haven’t put many teams away lately… can they really win by 9 or more? See where this is going? It’s not just a matter of can Indy score and Tennessee look lousy. Both of those are very probable. It’s a matter of Indy’s history when it comes to finishing a season off and turning attention to the playoffs. They not only struggle, they regularly lose games outright. But this isn’t a normal season for them. Nothing is wrapped up. A win is almost a necessity. Since I can’t see the Titans winning the game, I have to go with Indy. But it’s a hesitant endorsement of a club that has stumbled at times this year… and it isn’t exactly worthy of gambling real dollars.
Bob: Indianapolis
Terry: Indianapolis
Mike: Tennessee
Mike Jr: Tennessee
Molly: Indianapolis
Gus: Indianapolis
Sam: Tennessee

Oakland at Kansas City (4) “I didn’t know the baby’s powers so I covered the basics.” “Jack-Jack doesn’t have any powers.” “No? Well, he’ll look fabulous anyway.” Ok… let me see if I’ve got this. If Kansas City wins, they’re the third seed. If Kansas City loses and Indianapolis loses, they’re the third seed. But… if Kansas City loses, and Indianapolis wins, and since Indy won the head-to-head, Kansas City becomes the fourth seed. Right? I think so. And effectively that gives some importance to this game. Kansas City hasn’t lost at home all year. And… if miracle of miracles should come true… the third see could be an important slot when it comes to hosting a championship game. (Sure… I know it won’t be. The championship game should be headed for the home of the number one or number two seed. But Chiefs at home equals win. Chiefs on the road greater than or equal to loss. And the AFC having Baltimore or Pittsburgh as a wild card could be very interesting.) Truth be told… I find myself liking this Kansas City team. A balanced, not spectacular, offense combined with a steady defense. What scares me is simple… the Raiders have scored 26 or more in every December game. Oh sure… they went 2-2. Still… they scored. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I trust them to be able to score more than clubs like Tennessee and Washington. But this week… on the road… give me the Chiefs.
Bob: Kansas City
Terry: Kansas City
Mike: Kansas City
Mike Jr: Kansas City
Molly: Oakland
Gus: Oakland
Sam: Oakland

Chicago at Green Bay (10)“Want to catch a robber?” “No. To tell you the truth, I’d rather go bowling. Look, what if we actually did what our wives think we’re doing… just to shake things up?” Back on September 27th, the Bears beat the Packers in Chicago by a score of 20-17. And at the time I basically said… believing like many others that Green Bay was the better team… that it was a case of right place, right night. Bears were at home, game finished close, and no big deal. Things would balance out. Green Bay would win the division… and maybe the importance of the win would be Chicago getting the wild card. Now we find Chicago playing with the division crown and a bye week wrapped up against a Green Bay club fighting for a place in the postseason. Not exactly what I would have planned. And, still I believe Green Bay is the better team. But, as usual, there is more going on here. First off all… the Bears are dynamite… I can’t believe I’m saying this either… dynamite on the road. Yup. Forget about going to investigate who they’ve played, just consider it as reference material… the Bears, with Jay “at least 2 interceptions on the road” Cutler, are 6-1 this season when they travel. And second, the game sort of matters to Chicago. See… if Carolina beats Atlanta… and New Orleans beats Tampa Bay… Chicago gets the top seed. So this isn’t one of those stay healthy and don’t go crazy games. I want to take the Bears here. Something tells me to take the Bears here. But I just get this funny feeling that the Falcons will win… taking the incentive away from the Bears to play hard. (Atlanta plays at 1pm. This game starts at 4:15pm.) And then if Green Bay gets rolling, the clubs might go into protection mode… looking to get everyone some playing time, but keep away from injuries and not show off anything new or fancy.
Bob: Green Bay
Terry: Chicago
Mike: Chicago
Mike Jr: Green Bay
Molly: Green Bay
Gus: Green Bay
Sam: Green Bay

Jacksonville at Houston (3)“Pull yourself together! ‘What will you do?’ Is this a question? You will show him you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who you are. Well, you know where he is. Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win! And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits.” I… uh… I got nothing. Jacksonville is still technically fighting for a playoff spot. Houston, in case you haven’t heard, sucks. (S… U… C… K… S… sucks, sucks, sucks.) Ah… but this game has some funny side notes. For one, Jacksonville has a history of collapsing late in the season. Their most important player… Maurice Jones-Drew… didn’t play last week because of a knee injury. Not only is he expected to miss this game, but their quarterback is taking the week off as well. Houston, as much as they suck, can score points. Houston can s-u-c-k all I want them to, but when Jacksonville lost to Indy by 10 on the road two weeks ago and to Washington by 3 at home last week, predicting great things here for the Jaguars gets really tough. I can’t believe I’m going to do this…
Bob: Houston
Terry: Houston
Mike: Houston
Mike Jr: Jacksonville
Molly: Jacksonville
Gus: Jacksonville
Sam: Jacksonville

Dallas at Philadelphia (Pick)“Mr. Sansweet didn’t asked to be saved. Mr. Sansweet didn’t want to be saved. And the injuries received from Mr.Incredible’s ‘actions’ – so-called – causes him daily pain.” “Hey, I saved your life!” “You didn’t save my life, you ruined my death, that’s what you did!” Would you believe the Dallas Cowboys… the 5-10 Dallas Cowboys… the playing without their starting quarterback for so long now it seems like he’s missed the entire season Dallas Cowboys… the one and the same Dallas Cowboys have only been outscored by two NFC teams this year? Yup. True. Their 380 points trail only Philadelphia and Atlanta. Without doing too much research, they are outscoring 75% of the league. Now… their defense and special teams have been brutally bad. Only Denver has surrendered more points. I honestly do believe that the Eagles have been punched in the nose in recent weeks. Now, here they come off of a short work week, zero to play for, figuring out how to rest starters (since they coughed up a bye week), and in comes a club that in recent weeks has tossed 26… 33… 38… 27 on the board.
Bob: Dallas
Terry: Dallas
Mike: Dallas
Mike Jr: Philadelphia
Molly: Dallas
Gus: Dallas
Sam: Dallas

Buffalo at New York (Jets) (1)“You mean Dad’s in trouble, or, Dad is the trouble?” “I mean, either he’s in trouble, or he’s going to be.” I don’t mind the Bills, but there is a problem. In December they went 2-2, scoring a grand total of 47 points. Now… 47 isn’t bad. Carolina would kill for it. Right? Sure they would. But Buffalo scored 17 in defeating Miami, and that was their top outpouring of points for the month. They’ve lost to every playoff team… and potential playoff team… that they’ve played. Sign me up for the list of people saying the Jets are a middle-of-the-road team that got lots of breaks and a good schedule in their favor. But I can’t pick the Bills on the road here.
Bob: New York
Terry: Buffalo
Mike: New York
Mike Jr: Buffalo
Molly: New York
Gus: New York
Sam: Buffalo

Carolina at Atlanta (14½)“I should have told you I was fired. I admit it. But I didn’t want you to worry.” “You didn’t want me to worry? And now we’re running for our lives through some godforsaken jungle?” “You keep trying to pick a fight, but I’m still just happy you’re alive.” I don’t want to think about this game too long. Atlanta is at home, and looking to rebuild the good feelings that go with that thought after last week’s loss. Carolina can’t score. Is that enough? Actually… no… it’s probably not. The Panthers have had moments in recent weeks where they’ve been just a smidgen better than god awful.
Bob: Atlanta
Terry: Atlanta
Mike: Carolina
Mike Jr: Atlanta
Molly: Atlanta
Gus: Carolina
Sam: Carolina

Pittsburgh (6) at Cleveland“I cut it a little roomy for the free movement, the fabric is comfortable for sensitive skin. And it can also withstand a temperature of over 1000 degrees. Completely bulletproof. And machine washable, darling. That’s a new feature.” Game matters… Steelers playing well on defense. Browns really haven’t done much since that string against New Orleans and New England.
Bob: Pittsburgh
Terry: Cleveland
Mike: Pittsburgh
Mike Jr: Cleveland
Molly: Cleveland
Gus: Cleveland
Sam: Pittsburgh

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (8)“Put these on. Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it. And if anything goes wrong, use your powers.” “But you said never to use...” “I know what I said! Remember the bad guys on the shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys aren’t like those guys. They won’t exercise restraint because you are children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.” The Saints need to be concerned this week. At least… if they plan on doing anything except coasting into the playoffs. See… while no one expects New York and Green Bay to lose… creating a window for Tampa to make the playoffs… it absolutely could happen. But this is an early game. And I think the Saints are going to play like they have a shot at the division. Plus… win for them... loss for Atlanta… add a few other surprises, and they could get a week off out of this.
Bob: New Orleans
Terry: New Orleans
Mike: New Orleans
Mike Jr: New Orleans
Molly: New Orleans
Gus: New Orleans
Sam: Tampa Bay

St. Louis (2½) at Seattle“I can’t believe you don’t want to go to your own son’s graduation.” “It’s not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.” “It’s a ceremony!” “It’s psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional...” I would feel much more comfortable if this game was in St. Louis. It’s not. So what I have to go with is believing that the Rams won’t turn the ball over, the Seahawks will behave the way they have for several weeks now (outplayed, looking lousy, and every bit the team outscored by more than 100 points on the year), and the Rams win.
Bob: St. Louis
Terry: Seattle
Mike: St. Louis
Mike Jr: Seattle
Molly: St. Louis
Gus: Seattle
Sam: St. Louis

Cincinnati at Baltimore (9½)“Superladies? They’re always trying to tell you their secret identity. Think it’ll strengthen the relationship or something like that. I say, ‘Girl, I don’t wanna know about your mild-mannered alter ego or anything like that. I mean, you tell me you’re, uh... S-Super, Mega, Ultra Lightning Babe… that’s alright with me. I’m good. I’m good.’” Before you go all crazy and pick the Ravens… hold on. Cincy in the past two weeks has beaten Cleveland and San Diego. They scored 30 against New Orleans and almost pulled that one off. Baltimore is a team scoring about 23 a game. And… the Ravens aren’t exactly as dominant as everyone wants you to believe. On the other hand… those three great games from Cincy? All at home. Last two road games… 23-7 loss against Pittsburgh and a 26-10 loss against New York (Jets).
Bob: Baltimore
Terry: Baltimore
Mike: Cincinnati
Mike Jr: Baltimore
Molly: Baltimore
Gus: Baltimore
Sam: Baltimore

Miami at New England (3½)“That was totally wicked!” While I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Dolphins win this… they always seem to show up and threaten New England in amazing ways… I just have to go with what’s in front of me. The Patriots have been awesome at home. The Patriots are planning to start everyone… though they may not play the whole game. And the Patriots, despite having nothing to play for, deserve to be favored.
Bob: New England
Terry: New England
Mike: New England
Mike Jr: New England
Molly: New England
Gus: Miami
Sam: New England

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mike: Last week 7-9, currently 121-109-10
Bob: Last week 14-2, currently 120-110-10
Gus: Last week 7-9, currently 113-117-10
Molly: Last week 6-10, currently 110-120-10
Terry: Last week 7-9, currently 106-124-10
Mike Jr: Last week 12-3, currently 106-108-10
Sam: Last week 6-10, currently 100-130-10

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