Lucky was too generous for Christmas going 5-10-1 which brings the season record to 116-111-7. This is a very tricky week with so many meaningless games. Stay tuned for Playoff Winners next week. Here goes crazy week seventeen.
Cincinnati ( -3.5 ) at Philadelphia – The Bengals should easily trump the Eagles who played third stringers most of last weeks loss to the St. Louis Rams. Damn them! Lost me money. Wouldn’t it be funny if the Rams made the playoffs, snuck out a win in the first week, and then upset Philly at home in week 2? Just a thought. Karma’s a son of a bitch, Andy Reid. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh. Andy is obviously more confident in his offense minus Terrell Owens than I am, but that’s why he eats like I do but still gets paid about 1000 times what I do. Livin’ larger in week 17, the Eagles will relax and let the Bengals play themselves into a lower draft pick.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Cleveland at Houston(-10.5) – The Texans should win and get to 8-8 to finish the year against the horrendous Browns. Unfortunately, this will do nothing for their team. I take that back, it gives them something to build on, a step in the right direction, and those are two good things for a team that was brand spanking new just three years ago. David Carr has some off-season improvement strides to make, though he did show some promise earlier in the year. The Browns, well, they have a lot to think about. Cleveland has a positive in Lee Suggs, and might look to unload William Green. This game should be a good old fashion lashing, leaving the Browns wincing in pain from another season spent at the bottom of the barrel.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Detroit at Tennessee(+3) – Billy Volek should rediscover the tricks that made him a fantasy stud for all those risk takers out there. He had a tough time of it against a possessed Denver defense, but should find open “Billy Volek” style pastures against the (yawn) Lions Roaring Defensive Unit. Look for Detroit to head into the off season limping, questioning their quarterback situation, and praying that Charles Rogers can make it a year without a broken collar bone. At least the Lions have found a running back worth keeping around, in Kevin Jones. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Green Bay(+3) at Chicago – Green Bay should beat the hapless Bears in Chicago. With the playoffs only a week a way, look for Green Bay to get back to what they do best, feed Ahman Green, and this week Najeh Davenport, the ball. Brett Favre will start, then give way to his back up who has played well this year. The Packers will be too much for a Bears team that has been flipped, powdered, and whooped every which way this year. The Packers are +3, and though this might seem like a useless game for the Pack, they won’t be excited about going into a big game after a loss to the Bears. Look for the Pack to win here. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Miami at Baltimore(-10) – The Dolphins have been an admirable foe of late, but will find a tough go at a ticked off Baltimore defense. AJ Feely will have his problems, and the Dolphins’ running game won’t do anything to help his cause. The Ravens will need some help from some AFC teams even if they win, a feat they should take care of easily against the visiting Dolphins. Let the Nick Saban coaching carousel begin. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Minnesota ( -3.5 ) at Washington – Minnesota should be able to corral another over priced, under productive Redskins bunch that still reflects the failure that was Steve Spurrier. This win is important to the Vikings, which could be a bad thing, if you remember last years last second debacle to the Cardinals. This year I see the finale being a little different for the Vikings, who could cause waves in the weak NFC playoff race. Minnesota will come out with guns blazing against a good Redskins D. The Vikings D will be able to slow a pathetic Redskin offense without Clinton Portis, and take this game with ease.
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
New Orleans at Carolina(-8) – Carolina takes this game, because it means something to the Saints. Unfortunately for New Orleans, that doesn’t bode well for their chances. Sure, the Saints have pulled off some wins lately, when they were all but dead. And now, at 7-8, a win could very well get them in. So that settles it. The Saints need to win so they won’t. Plus, there is no way their defense, which is horrible, could halt anything the Panthers will throw at them. Mushin Muhammed has done well for himself in this contract year, and I imagine he alone will put an end to New Orleans playoff hopes, in turn lighting the way for the once 1-6 Panthers. Amazing!
Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
N.Y. Jets(-3) at St. Louis – The Rams have only won 3 games this year by more than a touchdown. That includes last weeks 20-7 win against the Eagles B-Team. While they managed a much-needed W against the Eagles last week, that possibility seems highly unlikely in the last week of the regular season. Mike Martz found last week that if he gives the ball to one of his two stud running backs, or both of them, he can win a game. This week he will be back to his old stubborn self, directing futile bombs downfield. It’s also crucial that the Jets need to win this game to assure their spot in the playoffs. The Jets win this one easily, ending a year that might mark the end of Martz’s coaching era in St. Louis. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Pittsburgh (+9) at Buffalo – I think the Steelers will start Tommy Maddox, and he’ll be looking to make something happen. Unlike Philadelphia and Atlanta, the Steelers’ backup quarterback could start for at least 10 teams; Buffalo being one of those teams. The Bills have gotten so far and it would be a shame to see them lose to a Steelers team that has nothing more to play for. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. The Steelers have a lot of talented guys on their team, and should put up a good fight against a Bills team that will be doing everything they can to win. On a positive note for the Bills, Drew Bledsoe showed off those young legs last week with a 7-yard trot down field. I almost choked on my bratwurst. Speaking of choke, plan on watching Bledsoe do a lot of it in his last game as starter for the Bills. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
San Francisco(+14) at New England – I’m going to take San Francisco here. My only explanation is, why should New England play anybody worth a donkey’s ass? As the game has made clear, any injury can happen at any time, and why would a brilliant football mind like Bill Belichick make the mistake of playing anyone important to his title hopes? I believe the Patriots will win. But in a game where 14 points could easily win the game, I don’t see the Pats winning by 14. I hate picking a team that will share snaps between Cody Pickett and Ken Dorsey, but that’s my bet. Game Date: 01/02/05 13:00 ET
Atlanta at Seattle (-6 ) – Seattle should take care of the Falcons. I read that Vick would start but only play a couple of series against the Hawks. The article said; they just wanted Vick sharp for the playoffs. Okay. They need to do a hell of a lot more to than give him a couple series to do that. He hasn’t been sharp for two games in a row, this year. I’m a huge Vick fan, but he’s got some serious consistency issues. I also think his contract might be a little ridiculous, and think there are at least 5 better quarterbacks than him. (Culpepper, Manning, McNabb, Favre, Brady, and Drew Bledsoe) Okay just kidding about the last one. And I know, I’ve heard it all, Vick is more than just a quarterback, “he’s a playmaker”. Sure he is, and he’s a damn good one, but he needs to be a little more “quarterback” a little more often. Take the Hawks here, they haven’t mailed it in yet, they still have a lot to improve on before next week.
Game Date: 01/02/05 16:05 ET
Tampa Bay at Arizona(-3) – I like the Cardinals this last weekend. They’ve been learning the game under one of the game’s great coaches, and he knows how important it is to end the season on a good note. Gruden, a younger less experienced coach, just likes to make some good faces on the last day. Tampa Bay came up short the last few weeks, and will do it again in Arizona. Boldin’s getting yards and Fitzgerald is catching touchdowns, a combination that should flourish in the next few years. Green has coached a feisty team all year, I can’t wait to see them improve in the off season. Take the Cards in Arizona against a team that folded it up a week ago.
Game Date: 01/02/05 16:05 ET
Indianapolis(+9) at Denver – Look for mighty Joe Hamilton, or whoever plays for the Colts to light it up against Denver. Though Denver is fighting for their playoff lives, the prospect of them getting beat by a Colts team that has nothing to play for is too good to pass up. Give Peyton a solid 50 TDs, that’s a good number to finish the season on. The Colts have good back ups at all positions on offense, from Dominic Rhodes to a young wide receiver crew. Tony D isn’t one who appreciates ending the season on a loss to someone they might face in week one of the playoffs. Look for the Colts to jump out quick and then hold on by capitalizing on one of Jake Plummer’s 20+ interceptions. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET
Jacksonville ( no line ) at Oakland – The Jags showed their first signs of how young they are last week, when they had a diarrhea attack against Houston. Houston has played tough all year, but had nothing to play for, so c’mon Jag’s you’ve got to put in a better effort if you want to go to the playoffs. The Raiders are done, and looking for another high pick for the second year in a row. Al Davis can’t be excited about that. Don’t expect them to have the same problems next year. As for Sunday, expect Jacksonville to give the playoffs their best shot. They need help, but could get it, and they own some important tiebreakers. Fred Taylor needs to have a day for Jacksonville, and I believe he will. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET
Kansas City(-3) at San Diego – With the Chargers jumping on the “let your team rest” band wagon, properly led by the Eagles and Falcons a week ago, the Chiefs should pull this one off. I’d love to believe that the Chargers will keep their starters in all game, but LT has already been rumored to sit the second half off, if not more. Brees and Gates, and others will get the same treatment, and Larry Johnson will take advantage of the Charger second teamers on defense. Kansas City beats the spread, and ends a mediocre year. Watch out for them next year. Game Date: 01/02/05 16:15 ET
Dallas at N.Y. Giants(-3) – The Manning era has begun in NY, and he has done better lately. Everyone says he’s going to be great, and I can’t argue with that. Good genes will win out anyway. Tiki Barbar, will be looking to finish his great season off with a bang, and should get plenty of chances to do so against a weak Cowboy defense. Look for him to get involved in the passing game as well. The Giants gave their season away to train their future, and it might have paid off. The Giants will look to be back in the race next year, and it all starts with beating the Cowboys in week 17. Their first round pick goes to San Diego anyway, so there’s nothing to lose there. For the Cowboys, the question looms, will Bill Parcels pull his head out of his ass and start Drew Henson? Either way, the Boys end with another L.
Game Date: 01/02/05 20:35 ET