Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Week Fourteen Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on December 6, 2008

I’ll admit, the joke is on me.   Clearly I misfired on last night’s game.  Why don’t we just pretend I didn’t make a fool of myself with that pick?  Clearly I should have realized that the Raiders are always too much of a mess to rely on for a pick in any scenario, especially on the road.  I have to admit I really thought the Chargers had essentially given up on the season and that the Raiders had actually been playing well on defense and would be fired up for a division rival.   I really thought San Diego would not be able to throw the ball against them, but the Raiders secondary was not up to the task last night.  Last night’s performance by the Chargers was what we had actually been expecting to see from them all season.  They got an actual good game by LT, a 3 touchdown performance by Philip Rivers and an aggressive effort on defense.  I still think it will be too little too late for the Chargers, who must win out if the Broncos win on Sunday to even have a chance at the division.  San Diego is still an awful 5-8, and they do still have a trip to Tampa Bay, while the Broncos get to host the Chiefs and Bills down the stretch.  It will take a lot for the Chargers to end up as division champs.  Anything is possible in this wacky NFL season, but I just don’t see it.  Let’s forget about last night’s disastrous pick and let’s just move on to the rest:

Last Week:  11-5 (.687)   Season: 119-72-1 (.620)   Season record includes last night’s incorrect pick

– Dolphins over Bills:  Dolphins coach Tony Sparano really needs to need the league office a big thank you gift, because this Bills “home” game will be played in Toronto.  It my personal opinion that this is laying the groundwork for an eventual move of the Bills franchise to Toronto.  The Bills also played a preseason “home” game in Toronto, and are also signed up for two more regular season games there over the next four seasons.  The Bills ownership has long complained that they do not have the revenue to compete, and Ralph Wilson Stadium remains one of the oldest stadiums in the league (never mind that means it is one of the few genuine home field advantages that still exists, but since it doesn’t bring in revenue that doesn’t seem to matter anymore).  The Dolphins benefit big time in that this game will be played indoors instead of out in the wind and snow of Buffalo.  Miami should be able to run the ball, although Ronnie Brown has struggled recently, and the Bills crashed back to Earth last week in an embarrassing home loss to San Francisco.  I think the Dolphins defense will be able to force Trent Edwards into mistakes, and I think Chad Pennington will be able to make enough good decisions to be able to make plays against the Bills defense.  If this game was in actually in Buffalo I would be tempted to go with the Bills, but the neutral location eliminates any advantage whatsoever the Bills would otherwise have in this matchup.  Some Bills fans may travel, but really how many will make the trip in this economy?  Miami wins. 

– Patriots over Seahawks:  New England really shot themselves in the foot last week and is now in a position where they may need to win out to make the playoffs.  They trail the Jets by one game in the division, and also trail the Colts and Ravens in the wild card while being on the wrong end of tiebreakers.  In any case I think it is safe to say that after last week’s game, talk of the Pats keeping Matt Cassel and trading Tom Brady will be significantly cooled.  I still think Cassel has performed admirably this season, but he has not stepped up in a couple of big games.  The Patriots will be helped by a really friendly schedule down the stretch, including this game against a hapless Seattle team.  The Seahawks have looked lost from the word go this season, and Matt Hasselbeck’s return has not helped out the offense in any way.  NBC made a very wise decision to dump this sure blowout in favor of a more competitive game.  New England will roll, especially factoring in that Bill Belichick does not lose back-to-back games. 

– Jets over 49ers: The Jets had a letdown last week after they had won five in a row.  This week they should be able to regroup, although they do have the long trip west.  By the way, I never heard from any Jets fans explaining why they thought it appropriate to boo Broncos injuries last week, so if you’re still out there I’d love to hear from you.  Otherwise I will assume that Jets fans admit there is no justification for such poor and embarrassing behavior.  As for the team, I expect Brett Favre to rebound from one of his worst efforts of the season, and have little trouble picking apart San Francisco’s suspect pass defense.  If Thomas Jones has another big day, the Jets offense will be able to do whatever it wants.  The 49ers did get a surprising win last week in Buffalo, but they will not have the horses to keep up here.  Frank Gore’s numbers have really slipped the past few weeks, and if he doesn’t have a big game, the Niners have no chance.  The Jets withstand an early punch and then pull away for the win. 

– Colts over Bengals: This will be a guaranteed blowout.  I give the Bengals a zero percent chance to win.  Even if the entire Colts offense were forced to exit due to injury, I still give the Bengals no chance to win.  Granted, Indianapolis has been probably the luckiest team in the league this season.  The Colts could have easily lost in Minnesota week two, and in Houston week five if not for boneheaded plays by the opposing quarterbacks.  They also benefited last week from an outstanding game by their defense in a rare case where nobody on offense showed up.  Still, the Colts with Peyton Manning are not a team I would want to see in the playoffs, and that’s exactly where Indianapolis looks headed with their super friendly schedule down the stretch.  The Bengals have been awful all year, and changes have to be coming next season.  If they retain Marvin Lewis as coach, which it sounds like they might, then ownership really needs to get its head examined.  The Colts should have no trouble getting the offense back on track in this one and getting momentum going down the stretch.

– Titans over Browns: Tennessee bounced back in a big way last week against Detroit and is all but sewn up home field advantage in the playoffs.  The Titans sport a two game lead for the top spot in the AFC with four to play, and they kick start the home stretch with what should be a guaranteed win at home against a bad team that is playing out the stretch.  I still fail to see how anyone fancied the Browns as a true contender in the preseason.  To be fair, they have dealt with numerous injuries and will be forced into starting their third string quarterback in this game (Ken Dorsey), but Cleveland never had the look of a contender even in the preseason.  Romeo Crennel will surely be one of several coaches on the firing line at the end of the season, and I just don’t see the Browns being able to put up much of a fight on the road in this one.  Tennessee found its running game again last week, and they will have no trouble piling up yards on the ground against the Browns.  The Titans defense will also be able to force turnovers and control the line of scrimmage.  Tennessee has had 10 days to get ready for this one and this will be a game many viewers will be flipping away from early.  Titans roll. 

– Steelers over Cowboys: This was a really hard game to pick.  Both teams are coming off big wins and both teams will be able to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.  Marion Barber is slightly hobbled for Dallas, and though he will try to play, I think his not being 100 percent will really hurt the Cowboys running game.  This will allow the Pittsburgh defense to put pressure on Tony Romo.  I think the Steelers will also put the clamps on Terrell Owens and really make it hard for Dallas to move the football.   Despite all that, this game could ultimately be decided by how well Pittsburgh can move the ball against the Cowboy defense.  The Heinz Field turf is quickly getting a reputation for being the worst in the league, and it will be interesting to see if that is a factor also.  I do think Pittsburgh will be able to run the ball, and the Steelers seem to usually step up for big games like this.  If Pittsburgh plays as well as they did last week, they will be able to win this one as well.  The good news for Dallas is since this is an interconference game, it will not cripple them for playoff tiebreakers.  Pittsburgh wins. 

– Packers over Texans: Matt Schaub returns to quarterback the Texans, although Sage Rosenfels looked like he was finally getting some rhythm last week.  Houston has the potential to play spoiler for a lot of teams down the stretch, and they do have the talent to win a few games here and there.  I still think if everyone is healthy next season, they really could be a team to watch.  This however will be their first ever trip to Lambeau Field, and that’s usually bad news for opponents.  Green Bay has really been a tough team to figure, although they are still in the NFC North race despite their 5-7 record.  The offense scored 31 points against a good Carolina defense last week, but they still couldn’t figure out a way to win.  Green Bay’s problem all year has been their defense, so they will have an interesting matchup trying to contain Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton.  This pick is really more about a gut feeling than anything else.  I think Houston is more than capable of winning, but Green Bay has more on the line and they will have the elements and the crowd behind them.  I say Aaron Rodgers makes one more play than Schaub to lead the Packers to a win, keeping their slim hopes alive.

– Bears over Jaguars: This is a game matching two struggling teams.  Jacksonville has clearly given up on coach Jack Del Rio, and I wouldn’t be shocked at this point if they failed to win another game.  Del Rio is clearly on the chopping block at the end after his team was picked by many (including me) to have a really good year and possibly represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.  Now, the Jaguars are in such a mess that David Garrard can’t even drop back to pass without tripping over one of his own linemen.  Fred Taylor has reportedly made comments that it’s the worst team he’s ever played on, and the chemistry is non-existent.  The Bears should roll in Soldier Field against this mess of a team, except for the fact that Kyle Orton hasn’t exactly performed well in recent weeks.  The good news for Chicago is they do have talented rookie Matt Forte in the backfield, and he should have no trouble running for more than enough yards to make up the difference.  The Bears defense certainly has its faults, but forcing turnovers isn’t one of them.  They’ll get a couple here and win comfortably against the fading Jags, keeping their NFC North hopes alive in the process.

– Broncos over Chiefs: Denver suffered an extremely embarrassing loss to the Chiefs in week four, and will clearly be looking for revenge.  The Broncos are certainly a hard team to figure because they seem to play to their competition, but if they lose this game it will be even more of an embarrassment than the week four loss.  The Broncos allowed Larry Johnson to rush for 198 yards in the first meeting, the most they’ve ever allowed to the Chiefs, but they have really made an effort to shore up their run defense since then.  The Broncos defense has been banged up, and may or may not get some of their injured players back, but they managed to force Brett Favre into one of his worst games of the year last week, and they will come after Tyler Thigpen.  Denver’s offense is clicking again now that Tony Scheffler is finally healthy.  The Chiefs will not be able to cover all of Denver’s receivers, and if the Broncos avoid turnovers they will be fine.  After the horrendous home loss to Oakland two weeks ago, Mike Shanahan will make sure his team is focused and ready for this one and will ensure the Broncos don’t take the Chiefs lightly.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the game was close owing to the nature of the rivalry and Denver’s propensity for letdowns this season, but I don’t see any way the Broncos lose this game and allow themselves to get swept by one of the worst teams in the league.  Denver wins. 

– Giants over Eagles:  I pick the Giants even in the wake of the Plaxico Burress debacle for a couple of reasons.  One, they are the best team in the league by far, so if there is any team that can overcome this kind of distraction, it’s the Giants.  Second, Tom Coughlin is the kind of coach that can keep his team focused in any situation.  It does remain to be seen what will happen with Antonio Pierce and his potential involvement, but I expect a big game from him Sunday as he welcomes the distraction of being back on the field.  Third, The Giants are playing a Philadelphia team that once again does not appear to have Brian Westbrook at 100 percent (despite his four touchdowns last week) and is still inconsistent.  I think the Giants defense will harass Donovan McNabb, and the Giants’ offense will run the ball effectively as usual.  I think the Giants will win, and it could well be by a lot. 

– Vikings over Lions: I thought about picking Detroit to end their winless slide here, but I just don’t see it.  Kevin and Pat Williams will play for the Vikings after their suspensions have been blocked in court, so Minnesota will have no trouble stopping the Lions’ running game.  Detroit looked so bad last week in every area, that I do not see how they will possibly be able to have any kind of offense against the Vikings.  Minnesota has Adrian Peterson and that will be more than enough offense for them.  This does seem like a trap game for the Vikings in light of their big win against the Bears last week and their division lead, but I think Minnesota will do just enough to win this one and keep their lead.

– Saints over Falcons: Atlanta won the first meeting at the Georgia Dome big, and I think the Saints will return the favor in the Superdome.  Drew Brees and company are much more effective at home than on the road, and the Saints do have Reggie Bush back after he had one game last week to get back in the swing of things.  I think the Saints will cause trouble for teams even though their playoffs hopes are about done because they have so much talent on offense.  Atlanta has proved it is for real with a road win in San Diego last week, and I think they will put points up in this game too.  Michael Turner scored four touchdowns in the first meeting, so the Saints will be sure to key on him, but a  hunch says that while the Falcons will score points, New Orleans will get a few more.  This will be an entertaining shootout and a good reason to have DirecTV.  I say the Saints win one of the higher scoring games of the year.

– Cardinals over Rams: Arizona is dominant at home.  The Rams stink on the road.  The Cardinals won the first meeting 34-13 and will win this one by at least that.  Nothing more needs to be said.   Arizona will have no trouble bouncing back from their loss in Philadelphia.  The Cardinals win the NFC West with a victory, meaning they will host a playoff game for the first time in their entire lifespan in Phoenix.  The apocalypse must be near. 

– Ravens over Redskins: This will be a better Sunday night offering than the originally scheduled Patriots-Seahawks blowout, although this could easily be a blowout as well.  The Redskins are quickly fading, and Clinton Portis really does appear to be hobbling now.  That is bad news when you hit the road to face the Ravens’ ballhawking defense.  Baltimore is quickly closing in on the Steelers, and while there may be slight concern about looking ahead to next week’s showdown with Pittsburgh, this one is for regional bragging rights in the Beltway.  Baltimore has an offense to go with their defense in this one, and I think the Ravens will stomp Washington from the word go and blow the Redskins right out of M&T Bank Stadium.  Baltimore is for real, and I would not want to see them in the playoffs. 

– Panthers over Buccaneers: This could well be the game of the week on Monday night.  Tampa Bay won the first meeting emphatically 27-3, but the Panthers are at home this time.  It will be critical for Jake Delhomme to not make mistakes because the Tampa defense will make him pay if he does.  Delhomme threw three picks in the first meeting and that was the difference.  I envision a strong run game plan from John Fox, as the Panthers will use both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  The Panthers defense may not be as talented as the Bucs, but they can cause trouble for Jeff Garcia.  If the Panthers running game gets going, it will be tough for the Buccaneers to be able to keep up.  Both teams will make the playoffs, but the winner of this game could get a first round playoff bye which would be huge.  This will be a great game, and I think the Panthers will be able to pull it out.

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One Response to “Week Fourteen Picks”

  1. Zackary said

    Tampa Bay entered with eight sacks, the fewest in the NFL. They have two sacks in the first 12 minutes.

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