The Season is winding down, and the Wild Card slots are slowly but surely being decided. Powerhouses like the Giants and Steelers are on the outside of the playoffs looking in while the Ravens, Broncos, Cowboys, and Packers are playing the best they can to hold on to their playoff spot. Home teams in CAPS.
Chargers (+2.5) over TITANS
Whoever made up this line is crazy. Aside from the Colts, the Bolts are the hottest team in the NFL and many have argued that they could beat Indy. The Titans are a team who capitalized on poor teams underestimating Vince Young and Chris Johnson. Give me the team with the taller receivers, better leader, and more ferocious defense. This is the Lock of the Week.
FALCONS (-8.5) over Bills
With Matt Ryan and possibly Michael Turner back, the Bills will stand no chance in the ATL. With Briam Brohm at the helm, who was recently cut by Green Bay, you can’t expect much out of former play-makers Lee Evans and Terrell Owens.
BENGALS (-13.5) over Chiefs
The Chiefs proved again last week how bad of a team they are when they lost to the lowly Browns and gave up 286 rushing yards to little known running back Jerome Harrison and two long return touchdowns to Joshua Cribbs. The Bengals, although they didn’t win, put up a great fight in San Diego after mourning the loss of fallen teammate Chris Henry. Gimme the boys with the stripes.
BROWNS (-3.5) over Raiders
Like I just said, the Browns actually showed up to play, perhaps to show off for new president Mike Holmgren. The Raiders showed us that they are the best of the fail-tastic NFL teams. They can beat the good teams (Denver, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh), but not the bad ones (Redskins, Chiefs, and now the Browns.)
Seahawks (+13.5) over PACKERS
Sure, the Packers are in line to make the playoffs, but that doesn’t make this team good, at all. They own a 9-5 record that includes wins over only the Bears, Rams, Lions, Browns, Cowboys, Niners, and the Bears and Lions again. Not so good now, eh? The Seahawks are too proud of a team to lose by two touchdowns.
Ravens (+2.5) over STEELERS
A 3-4 Defense needs two key components to succeed: A good pass rush and strong safety. Without Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith, the Steelers don’t have that, and their defense has become incredibly porous. The Ravens have a great run game centered around Ray Rice who will slice through the aging Steelers’ D.
Texans (+3.5) over DOLPHINS
The Dolphins are a nice sleeper pick, but the Texans have the most up-side along, yes higher then the Steelers, with their high flying offense, not that potential Defensive Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing hasn’t been great. As long as they keep feeding the ball to freakishly athletic Andre Johnson, they will be fine.
PATRIOTS (-7.5) over Jaguars
The Pats are the least talented on defense then they’ve had over the past decade with no more Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin, Richard Seymour, or Rodney Harrison. The veteran free agents they’ve brought in, such as Adalius Thomas, Derrick Burgess, and Shawn Springs, haven’t been so goo either. That being said, the are far more talented on offense, whether or not Randy Moss is giving it his all. I’ll take New England here big.
SAINTS (-14.5) over Buccaneers
Just like the ’07 Pats, the Saints started out the year winning big and slowly but surely, the margin of victory dropped and dropped. The Patriots never got to play the Bucs at the the end of the season, though, so I’ll take an exception to the rule here.
PANTHERS (+6.5) over Giants
The Giants are an over-hyped okay team. The Panthers are an under-hyped not-so-good team. The Panthers are playing to save their coach’s job, to their fans’ dismay. The Giants are playing to salvage any shot at making the playoffs. Sounds to me like a dogfight. One that won’t be decided by more then a field goal.
CARDINALS (-13.5) over Rams
As if it wasn’t bad enough already for the Rams, but a case of Swine Flu, or rather H1N1 virus has hit their team. Steven Jackson may miss the game. The Cardinals will have to try hard not to win by more then two touchdowns.
49ERS (-11.5) over Lions
I think that the Lions are trying to prove to the world that they are not that much better then last year. Two wins, maybe, but they are still dysfunctional with or without Matt Millen.
Broncos (+7.5) over EAGLES
I am probably one of the few people who still believes in the Broncos, and they really need a win here. There are six teams one game in the standings behind them, so a road win over a quality team would be huge. I expect this to be another dog fight and like the Giants/Panthers game, but with much larger implications, the game to stay very close.
Jets (+5.5) over COLTS
Jim Caldwell hasn’t been clear about how long he is going to play his starters, but it is pretty clear that going 16-0 doesn’t mean much to his team. Assuming Peyton won’t play the whole game, Rex Ryan will blitz the living daylight out of the Colts to get any shot he can on Peyton.
Cowboys (-6.5) over REDSKINS
The Cowboys can still win the division, and the Redskins can still rid themselves of Jim Zorn, so I’ll take the Cowboys here.
Vikings (-7.5) over BEARS
Even after a prime time collapse and an angry conversation between Head Coach and Quarterback, the Vikings are still clearly better then the Bears by more then a touch down. Expect Adrian Peterson to rush for over 100 yards, for only the fourth time this year.
Last Week: 7-9
Lock of the Week: 7-7