Gotta Go With Jesus on Christmas!16 promises to be a good one. There are playoff hopefuls, playoff doubtfuls, and downright bad teams that don’t stand a whoring chance. This is where the questions arise; which teams are going to hold ’em and which teams are going to fold ’em? What’s more important now is what I’m going to do. I’ve got professional poker star, Jesus Ferguson, in my fridge and he’s got some secrets for you. How can you turn down a guy named Jesus on Christmas Week? Even if he is a compulsive gambler.
Buffalo @ Cincinnati (-13.5) – The Bengals have clinched their division, but that doesn’t mean they’re resting their starters. Cincinnati can still finish the season with the 2 spot in the AFC Playoffs. That would mean every team aside from the Colts would have to come to Cinci to take down the Bengals. They like that idea. The Bengals can easily win out. They will destroy the Bills this week in Cinci and they could be playing a Kansas City team that has no chance to make the post season in Week 17. Jesus said he’d hold the Bengals. In fact, Jesus says come playoff time, the Bengals pose the biggest threat to the Colts. Then again, he’s just a card player.
Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Pittsburgh (-7) @ Cleveland – If the Steelers win out, they’ll find themselves in the playoffs. The Browns have played well of late, but there is no way they get in the way of the Steel Show making it to the post season. They just aren’t that kind of team. They’ll sneak by the Raiders. They’ll beat the Titans. They won’t upset the Steelers. Big Ben struggled to produce last week, but with the way his defense played he didn’t need to throw touchdowns. This week, Ben will attempt to get his cannon up to speed right before the playoffs. Take the Steelers in a little game of smash mouth pig skin. Does any team play as tough as Pittsburgh? Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
San Diego (+1.5) @ Kansas City – The Chargers are trying to wheel and deal their way into the playoffs, but they’ll need a big upset by someone else to get them in. That’s right. The Chargers could finish 11-5 and out of the AFC playoff picture. If that be the case, (and Jesus thinks it will be), the Chargers will be the only team watching the playoffs who beat the Patriots and the Colts. The Chargers have played in some tough games, but that just seems downright screwy. Larry Johnson will shine in this game. The Chargers have “the best back in the league”, so Larry will be at his best to change that title. As the last couple weeks have gone for the Chiefs, Larry’s big game won’t be enough to clear up the AFC playoff picture. Drew Brees will be the difference in this game, assuring a big pay day for him this off season. Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Tennessee (+6) @ Miami – I was thinking Miami, but when I went to the fridge I came back thinking Tennessee. This is my (Jesus’) thought process; Tennessee is 4-10, and the Dolphins are 7-7. The Titans play pretty well against average teams, and the Dolphins are definitely average. Gus Frerotte might not play, which means Sage Rosenfels is the starter. When Sage is the starter, good things don’t happen in Miami. Four of the Dolphins’ seven wins have been by less than 5 points. Tennessee is getting 6 points and coming off a good game against the best team in the NFC. Steve McNair can still wing it. In a tight one, I’ve been convinced, fold the Dolphins.
Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Jacksonville (-6) @ Houston – Jesus says, “Hold the Jags.” Who’s to argue? The Texans have been playing much better of late, and the Jaguars always have a tough time putting the Texans away. These things won’t matter on Saturday. Throw out all history and all the previous games this season. The Jaguars need to win this game to assure their place in the playoffs. Sure, they played more like pussy cats than Jaguars last week against the 49ers, but that was last week. The Jags will dominate the Texans, just as the Houston should hope. Expect Fred Taylor to shine in a game he’ll be relied on to move the ball. David Garrard will find Jimmy Smith, Reggie Williams, and Ernest Wilford for a couple scores as the Jaguars pummel the Texans. Don’t be confused by a couple out-of-character games last week. These two teams will return to their old selves.
Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Detroit (+3) @ New Orleans – I’m taking the Lions because, well, Jesus told me I had to do it. I was like, “Should I hold ’em or fold ’em Lions dog?” and he tells me “Hold ’em!” I was a little surprised, so I asked why. He gave me that look like not many people ask him why, then said, “Joey Harrington is auditioning for his next team. You’ve got to hold the Lions against the down-and-out Saints.” Then I was thinking Jesus’ got a good point. Joey gets the start this week in – wherever the Saints are playing this week. Joey will almost assuredly be allowed to look for a new team come this off season. Joey has two games to prove he could make it in this league. Next year will be Drew Brees time for Joey. Will anyone take a flyer on Joey Duck? The same goes for Charles Rogers. Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Dallas @ Carolina (-5) – The Panthers control the fate of so many, including themselves. If they take down the Cowboys, not only will they find themselves in the playoffs, but they’ll eliminate the Cowgirls as well. Carolina has a better defense than Washington, and look what the Skins did to Dallas. Julius Peppers will look like a world class sprinter chasing after Drew Bledsoe this weekend. Drew might not take 9 sacks in this contest. Shit, he might not make it that deep into the game. The way the Cowboys have been blocking combined with the way Drew moves, has the Panthers foaming at the mouth for this weekend’s game. Desahun Foster is a big, fast back. He’ll be given plenty of opportunities to end Dallas’ playoff dreams. Steve Smith will be unguardable, as he has been all year. Look for the Panthers to lambaste the Cowboys in Carolina. Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
NY Giants (+3) @ Washington – The New York football Giants match up well against the Redskins. New York allows Tiki Barber to carry much of the load. Washington has really struggled to stop the run lately. Even in last weeks dousing of Dallas, the Cowboys still had good rushing totals. Tiki Barber rushed for 220 last week. I don’t expect a repeat performance of that magnitude, but I do expect another giant week out of the little guy. Eli Manning might impress this week with the Redskins paying proper attention to Tiki. Amani Toomer could find more than his share of passes. The same goes for Jeremy Shockey. New York’s defense stops the straight ahead run pretty well, and that’s what Washington does on the ground. Don’t think for a second that Mark Brunell will toss 4 touchdowns like he did last week. Washington has played their way back into the mix, but this game belongs to the Giants. Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-3) – The Falcons looked absolutely terrible last week against the mighty Chicago Bears. Nobody looked as bad as Mike Vick. Brian Urlacher hit him hard early, and after that Vick couldn’t get anything done. I don’t question Mike’s winning percentage, but is it possible that he’s the problem in Atlanta? He’s one of the most dynamic players to ever play the position, but he doesn’t have the throwing ability that guys like Donovan, Daunte, Randall, or even Kordell Stewart. That’s right, even Kordell threw better in his heyday. Vick will have another chance to prove me wrong this week against the Buc’s, but I’ve got the NUTS, and something tells me that Atlanta will fold ’em this year. Tampa Bay controls their own playoff destiny. They’ve got the better team in this contest. Cadillac Williams should find plenty of rushing room against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Williams has the power to run outside and the toughness to get the tough yards. Atlanta always struggles against running backs with that kind of skill set. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.
Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
San Francisco (+9) @ St. Louis – Jesus says “Fold both these teams.” I’ve got to agree, neither team is much of a winning hand. But, like cards, in the sporting business you don’t have to have a winner to win. The 49ers are getting too many points to bet against them this week in St. Louis. Plus, they’re playing against St. Louis. St. Louis is responsible for half of the 49ers’ victories this year. Half of San Fran’s 12 losses have come by 8 points or less. Most of their big losses have come to much better teams than the Rams. Look for the Niners to play close throughout, while magically losing at the end. (Ala Kris Brown’s missed field goal two weeks ago) The Rams don’t have the quarterbacking to get the job done. The Niners have played tough all year, they’ll continue that trend. Game Date: 12/24/05 13:05 ET
Philadelphia (+1) @ Arizona – Here’s a couple of Championship contenders. Jesus asked me if he could hold the Eagles for next year. I told him he couldn’t. He decided to hold ’em this week anyway. I agree. The real question is, which team is a bigger disappointment? The Eagles were picked to run away with the NFC crown. And it’s not like they were on that path before McNabb went down for the year. The Cardinals were everyone’s sleeping pick to take the NFC West Division crown. Apparently, they missed the memo. Philly still has Andy Reid, and Reid still has one of the most explosive defenses in football. If any team in the NFL has the corners and safeties to match-up against Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, Philly does. With Kurt Warner done for the season, the hopes of getting those two playmakers the ball has greatly diminished. Expect the Eagles to do just enough to win their second straight game. That would be a winning streak. That would be Philadelphia’s second winning streak of the year. Who would have thought? Jesus shows me a printed piece of paper dated before the start of the season claiming the Eagles miss the playoffs and says, he would have thought. This guy’s good!
Game Date: 12/24/05 16:10 ET
Indianapolis @ Seattle (-7) – “Hold the Hawks. Seattle would win in a heads up game even if the Colts cared about the outcome of the game. Alexander’s going to be a Colt headache.” (Ferguson) I don’t know if I agree with Fergy on the idea that the Hawks would beat the Colts anyway, but I can’t argue that the outcome of this game will land in favor of Seattle. If Seattle wins this week they clinch home-field throughout the playoffs. That’s big for Seattle. If Shaun Alexander scores three more touchdowns this year he’ll take home the all time single season touchdown record. That’s big for Seattle and Shaun. In a game that means nothing for the Colts, I can’t expect more than a quarter out of Peyton Manning and even less from Edge. The same goes for Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Look for the Hawks to put a pretty good smack down on the best team in football’s second string. Game Date: 12/24/05 16:15 ET
Oakland @ Denver (-13) – The Broncos are still playing for a couple of home games in the playoffs. It’s between Cincinnati and Denver, and both teams are 11-3. This week should be an easy task for the Broncs. If Oakland hadn’t lost all hope before Week 15, they sure have now. A couple big miscues led to a game winning field goal by Phil Dawson last week in the game against Cleveland. The Raiders just can’t do anything right. Denver isn’t as good as people think, but they are a tower of greatness and success when placed next to Oakland. Kerry Collins is still a pile of crap and Randy Moss hasn’t done much to prove his worth. Lamont Jordan is having a solid year, but Denver’s defense is playing equally as good. They’ll have the upper hand on Saturday. Mike Anderson will eclipse 1000 yards in this game, making him the one billionth different back to gain a grand in Shanahan’s offense. Take the Broncos in what has the making of a shellacking.
Game Date: 12/24/05 16:20 ET
Chicago (-6.5) @ Green Bay – The Bears are a good football team. I made it on the bandwagon last week, and Jesus is on it with me this week. “Hold this hand! These Bears might even win a playoff game with Rex on board.” Ferguson is right. Rex Grossman gives the Bears a piece of the puzzle they have been playing without all year. Rex can get the ball to off season signee, Mushin Muhammad and speedster Bernard Berrien. Kyle just didn’t have the experience to do so. Chicago’s defense is much better than the Ravens. How does that sound Brett? Brett Favre might go his fourth straight game without a touchdown pass. Without Samkon Gado in the backfield, a shutout in Green Bay sounds like a very good possibility. Give it up to Lovie Smith. He handles everything with class and makes the right decisions for his football team. Good thing he doesn’t listen to Joe Theisman. Bad thing I have to hear that idiot talk. He must have said, “I would leave Kyle Orton in,” ten times during the Bears – Falcons game last Sunday night. Then Rex came in and played well. Theisman was still chattering away. Would someone fire that asshole?
Game Date: 12/25/05 17:05 ET
Minnesota (+3) @ Baltimore – When I asked Jesus what he’d do with the Vikings, he said, he’d hold ’em at least one more week. That makes perfect sense to me, hell, it makes dollars. The Vikings are better than the Ravens. Don’t be tricked by Boller’s big game and Jamal Lewis’ 100 yard performance on Monday Night. Boller threw a couple of passes, that if played right, would have been interceptions instead of touchdowns. Boller still doesn’t have the velocity to make most NFL throws. Jamal is still running tentative. Baltimore has played better the last few weeks, but Minnesota still has a chance. That alone should lead them over the Ravens. The Viking defense is one of the league’s best at getting takeaways. Baltimore will help them out in that area, Jesus and I are sure of it. Brad Johnson has had a Cinderella-type year, he’ll continue the comeback with a win in Baltimore. Game Date: 12/25/05 20:40 ET
New England @ NY Jets (+5) -This time Jesus and I disagree. I don’t think the Patriots have anything to play for, in which case they’ll sit Tom Brady in turn giving away all chances of winning, even against the lowly Jets. Ferguson thinks that Tom Brady’s presence on the sideline is enough to lead his team to victory. My good buddy, and advisor, Jesus, has made some very good arguments thus far, and he might have a point. But I write articles and he plays cards, and I’m taking the Jets. Bollinger is playing better lately, and the Patriot second stringers aren’t much to be scared of. Little Doug Flutie will be out getting reps. That’s always good TV.
Game Date: 12/26/04 21:10 ET
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