Friday, December 07, 2007

NFL Week 14 Predictions

"I wanna hear you play the small time blues."

The winter meetings have passed, and once again, a blockbuster deal centered around the Sox came and went. Why do I still get caught up in all the hoopla after all these years? Local news outlets making up stories to grab headlines and sell papers. "They're real close...there's a deal in place." Enough already. Anyway, the Sox are standing pat...for now.

Speaking of standing pat, everyone's new favorite team to hate won once again. The Pats escaped Baltimore with a win on Monday night, moving them to 12-0 on the season. Then, I get to hear the next day about how the refs were giving the Pats calls and that they didn't deserve to win. That's nice. So it's not enough that the Pats keep winning on the field, but afterwards, we have to defend ourselves as far as the game being called straight too? I guess it was ok for Indy to be given the game against the Pats on a silver platter, but yet one so called "questionable" flag at the end of the game goes against Baltimore...suddenly there's a conspiracy. By the way, how was that not defensive holding? The guy grabbed onto Watson after the five yards, but because it's fourth down, the refs shouldn't make that call? Look, I'm all for letting the players decide the outcome of a game...I always have been, but if you go against the rules, don't expect to slide by every time. Also, why wasn't there any outrage about the blatant offensive pass interference on Mark Clayton after he pushed down Asante Samuel to catch the hail mary at the end of the game, coming within three yards of killing the Pats' undefeated season. So I guess it's ok as long as it's against the Pats?Is that basically what the world is saying? I never like to be the villain, and I know the Pats are basically the '80 Soviet hockey team of football right now, but seriously, how good is this team? They are winning games despite the will of every non-New England fan, and, in my opinion, the league because of their stance on parity and trying to keep a lid on dynasties. Hey, what are you gonna do? I can sit here, write pages and pages about how everyone's against the Pats, but where will that get me? Pretty much nowhere right? So, I've said my peace. Now, let's move along.

The early favorite for backlash of 2008 has to be the Jose Guillen signing by the Royals. Here's a team that rarely spends money. They signed Gil Meche last year for $55 million, then this year, they go out and get Guillen for $36 million over three years. The problem is that Guillen just got suspended for the first fifteen games of next season for HGH a day after he signed the deal. Nice. Then, the Royals' GM, Dayton Moore, came out and said "we signed Jose knowing (the suspension) was a possibility." So, you know that there was a chance a guy would get suspended for violating league rules, but let's give him 12 a year anyway? Isn't that sending the wrong message? Basically, a guy does his time for breaking the rules and violating the sanctity of the game, and then, he can go back to making millions and millions of dollars. What is going on with baseball? And for that matter, sports en general? I will say this: I'm dying to read the Mitchell report because it will finally bring some closure to this whole issue. Who's been using, and who hasn't. Then, it will be very interesting to see what will be done about the players named.

Ok, no college games this week, so onto the NFL.

Pittsburgh vs. New England: So this was what everyone was looking forward to after the Indy game. The fact is that it looks like the Pats were also caught looking ahead as well, having to comeback from two fourth quarter deficits against under .500 opponents in a row. So, there's no more looking ahead now. The Pats' biggest test on the road to immortality (at least in the regular season) will be this week. While I would love to say that the Pats will just whoop up on the Steelers, I'm afraid this one will likely be a bit of a nail biter. New England (W), Pittsburgh (+12).

Carolina vs. Jacksonville: The Jags are great, but why do I get the feeling the Panthers will actually show up this week? Someone please help me. Jacksonville (W), Carolina (+11).

Dallas vs. Detroit: After what happened on Thanksgiving, it looks like Detroit's season may have taken a turn for the worse. Then the Lions played the Vikings last week...their season has officially taken a turn for the worse. Dallas (W, -11).

Miami vs. Buffalo: Ehhh...nope, not this week. Buffalo (W, -7).

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia: So McNabb will return to action in this game, which is good because I don't think A.J. Feeley would have ever come any closer to winning a game than he did the last two weeks, but in both, choked them away. The Giants are just a really bad team trapped in a winner's body. I don't know if that makes any sense, but think of it like this: Their QB is horrendous, and had it not been for Plaxico Burress, his numbers may actually show it. These games are always close at Philly. Philadelphia (W, -2.5).

Oakland vs. Green Bay: Do I want to give that many points with a less than healthy Favre behind center...yeah ok. Green Bay (W, -10).

San Diego vs. Tennessee: As soon as someone can explain this one to me, let me know. Otherwise, you're looking at a reasonably safe bet...but to cover my tracks, I'll say this: Every single time I have seen a spread and said the words "no way, that's way off," I've lost pretty much every time. So, here's what I'm thinking:

My pick: San Diego (W, -1)

What is likely to happen: Tennessee (W, +1)

St. Louis vs. Cincinnati: Hey, if Brock Berlin beats the Bengals, then he's a better man than I am. If there's anyone left in Bengal land...wake up! This team is up one week, down the next. With an offense that should be putting up 30 a game, they sleepwalked through the Steelers game. By the way, how do you not get the ball to Chris Henry in goal line situations? Is that not one of the safest bets in the NFL? I really think Carson's injury hasn't fully healed yet, and it's showing. Cincinnati (W, -7).

Tampa Bay vs. Houston: The Bucs showed tremendous resolve beating the Saints last week in the closing seconds. Jeff Garcia is the Trent Dilfer of the NFL right now, seemingly just willing his teams to victory...remarkable stuff. Houston put a good fight to Tennessee last week, nearly coming from behind before the door was slammed. Tampa has a big run going of covering spreads, and unless you play at a certain stadium located on Route 1, streaks tend to die out in the NFL. It's Sage Rosenfels time. Houston (+3).

Arizona vs. Seattle: While this has been a tight series at Phoenix, when the Birds come to Grunge city, it's a completely different story. Seattle (W, -7).

Minnesota vs. San Francisco: Alright, well, the Niners came back to earth after their stunning victory against Arizona last week when they literally handed the Panthers their first home win. Hey, good for us. Now, they have to take one Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson. Also, the only thing they can do is run...guess what Minny is excellent at? I hope the Vikes crush them. Seriously, after the way the Niners played last Sunday, they don't deserve to win a game. Minnesota (W, -8.5).

Cleveland vs. New York Jets: If you're not big into the Pats/Steelers, then you may want to keep your eye on this one, as it may become "co-Game of the Week." The Jets poured it on last week in Miami, and with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington having big games, the offense is looking strong. Cleveland got completely jobbed at 'Zona last week. Seriously, how can you not be able to review push-outs? What kind of craziness is that? Winslow clearly had a foot in, and would have had two had it not been for two Cardinals blasting him out of bounds. The NFL seriously has to look into that come next season. New York (W, +4).

Kansas City vs. Denver: While they have split the series over the last 15 years, Denver plays well at home. With a healthy Travis Henry at RB, and Brodie Croyle taking snaps for the Chiefs, I like the home team. Denver (W, -7).

Indianapolis vs. Baltimore: The Ravens will keep this game within reach. Ultimately though, Baltimore will not be able to keep their heads...again. Indianapolis (W, -9).

New Orleans vs. Atlanta: Reggie Bush is out for the season, which means you will be seeing a lot more of the artistic stylings of Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas. Atlanta has lost three straight...I think it comes to an end here. Atlanta (+4.5).

Last Week:

Oh, I completely forgot about updating my new segment: How the Niners sucking it up could fuel a dynasty for years to come. After the whooping Carolina put on the Niners, it dropped them to 3-9 on the season, good enough for the #2 pick overall in next year's draft. Oh, by the way, it's already a foregone conclusion that we will be trading out of the pick, but still, from now until April, all you will hear and see in mock drafts is this:

#2: New England Patriots: Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas

Imagine the possibilities. Take care everyone, and thanks for checking in. Peace.