Last week of the year, and this is a make or break section for El Lucky Lester. As I rest 1 game up on the season, 116-115 and some ties, I need some solid picks to assure that I finish at or above .500 for the 3rd time in as many chances. Put on your reading glasses and pay full attention, as these picks will rock your world!
Gimmie-GamesJaguars over the Chiefs
Bears over the Packers
Saints over the Panthers
Rams over the Vikings
Seahawks over the Buccaneers
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins (+3):
It’s going to be fun to talk about when the Giants, who only needed a win to reach the playoffs, lost to a Redskins team, that just happens to be out of the playoffs, and playing for nothing but the right to say, “ha-freaking-ha!” Ladell Betts is too tough a runner to allow a beaten Giants team to slow him. Jason Cambell will elude the Giant rush, without Strahan, allowing him to connect with Moss, Randel El, and Brandon Lloyd for some big plays in the passing game.
Atlanta Falcons (+9.5) at Philadelphia Eagles:
I love the Eagles, and think they’ll win this game at home against Mike Vicks and the Falcons, but, but the Falcons play a close style of football, and to think the outcome will end with more than a touchdown difference seems like a stretch to me. The Eagles would love this game to finish off the division, but Atlanta also has hopes of improvement, and maybe a playoff birth.
Buffalo Bills (+10.5) at Baltimore Ravens:
The Ravens are one of my favorites to make it to the AFC Championship round, but the Bills have been playing tough lately, and this will surely be the last game in this season, so they’ll be playing with nothing to lose. With JP Losman, Willis McGahee and Lee Evans allowed to fully use their athletic gifts, expect the Bills to possibly pull out a season finale shocker on the road.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (+3):
The Saints will be playing a dumbed down style, with back ups playing later in the game, but they have enough skill position depth to ruin yet another Panther game to end the season. The Saints don’t “need” this game, but the Panthers’ players have all but written off their chances, after struggling two weeks in a row. Carolina will continue to be one of the leagues’ most disappointing teams.
Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans (-4.5):
While Houston is relatively healthy, (sans out for the entire year RB, Dom Davis) the Browns could very well be starting their 3rd quarterback on Sunday. Cleveland wasn’t deep at the position to start the season, let alone know. The Brown rushing attack has been suspect throughout the year, so it’s not like they’re ready to run to the rescue. Thus, the Texans, David Carr, Andrew Johnson, and Ronald Freaking Dayne, will all get their chances to win yet another game. Winning that last game is important for “next season”. Houston gets the job done.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys (-12.5):
The Cowboys are ready to come back this week, despite their donkey-airhead WR running his yap. All in all, the Cowboys are feeling their way into the playoffs, and possible make a run at a title. Dallas has to play better defensively, and Tony Romo needs to limit his mistakes, and the Boys can easily win a few games in the very near future. This spread is huge, but you’ve got to admit, the Boys are 2 touchdowns better than the Lions.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-3):
I guess I’m tired of the Packers in the Playoffs talk that seems to be following me around everywhere I go. The Bears are just as good with Brian Grease running the show, so even if Rex doesn’t play much, it’s not as if the backup is a no show. The Bears have wonderful special teams play, a great 1-2 Punch at running back, and plenty of speedy young WRs that need more reps, so they should get in plenty of practice against the Packers’ secondary.
Jacksonville (+3) at Kansas City:
Unless Damon Huard comes with it and stars for the Chiefs, this is going to be a boring battle, headlined by Maurice Drew outperforming Larry Johnson. Not because LJ isn’t absolutely legit, but because the Jaguar defensive front, teamed with a line backing corps that knows Green isn’t much to be scared of,
Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts(-9):
It’s very tough for me to trust the Colts against anyone, but I have a gut feeling that Indy is on the way back this year. They certainly struggled last week, but they’ll get back in the swing of things just before the playoffs begin. I also don’t think the Dolphins can offensively match what the Colts are about to do.
New England Patriots (+3) at Tennessee Titans:
I know Vince Young had his best game as a pro last week, but do you think Bill Billichick will allow Young to do the things he likes to do? Hell no! Vince will get a little lesson on intelligent defenses in the NFL. The Patriots have struggled off and on, but they’ll definitely have a quick and tricky scheme set up for Yong.
Oakland Raiders (+13) at N.Y. Jets:
Everyone and their mother knows how I feel about the Raiders, and there is no reason to take them, unless they’re getting mucho points in the spread. Well as it turns out, neither of these teams plays in too many blowouts, and especially with a playoff birth on the line, expect the Jets to me safe. I hate safe, because it rarely is safe, it’s ugly, it renders points for your opponent, and keeps your defense on the field to lose the game. Another boring one, with a nice Raider defense performance, this game will be too close for that huge spread, so, gulp, take the Raiders.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-6):
The Steelers (huge losers last week) are now officially eliminated from a chance at the post-season. The Bengals need some help, but they still have a chance, and are actually a good football team. Take Chad, Carson, Rudi, TJ, Chris Henry, and the rest of the Bengals in an annihilation of the Steeler defense that loves to give up big plays in the most inopportune time.
Seattle Seahawks (+3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Bucs are much better with Tim Rattay, I must say, but hey, they don’t live by the bay, they live where the water’s gray, and killer whales ride the waves. Say, the Hawks have to know the way, as it seems they’ve done this all before, just yesterday, not May. The Hawks dump the Bucs, with or without resting their starters on the road.
St. Louis Rams (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings:
Believe it or not, the Rams still have a chance at ending up smack dab in the middle of the first round playoff race. The way Steven Jackson has been playing, I have to take the Rams. And then there’s Marc Bulger, Tory Holt, and Isaac Bruce, amongst many other big stars. Minnesota have been underperforming all season long. Look for the Rams to continue to ride stud back Steven Jackson, and go for the jugular early.
Arizona Cardinals (+15) at San Diego Chargers:
I just think this is too much. San Diego will rest some key guys, as they go into the playoffs wrapping up home seed throughout. I think the Charges can easily pull this one out, but with Dennis Green fighting for his job, and the Cardinals rolling with Kurt Warner, Arizona has a swinging shot to down the league’s best on Sunday. And that’s why football is so brilliant.
San Francisco 49ers (+11) at Denver Broncos: I like the way the 49ers have stuck there hearts on the line lately, but they are tougher than they seem. Denver has more talent, and at the skill positions, the Broncos are dominant, but here’s this guy named Frank Gore, and he’s ready to cover al by his lonesome. This could very well be the finale for bother these teams. With all those points on their side, I’m rolling the dice on the 49ers in Denver. Plus, all the cold weather means for a tighter game all around.