2006 Season: 79-93-5
Baltimore at Cincinnati (-3) – Between Chris Henry, Ray Lewis, Eric Steinbach, Jamal Lewis and Steve McNair, tonight’s game could easily be dubbed “The Longest Yard Bowl II”. Baltimore won the 1 st meeting earlier this year, and with a win, the Ravens would essentially clinch the AFC North. Baltimore might be the best team in the NFL right now, so I think they get it done. Pick: Ravens +3 Result: Bengals 13, Ravens 7.
Arizona at St. Louis (-6 ½) – It’s not good for Dennis Green’s future in Arizona that Edgerrin James doesn’t mind carrying the ball just 4 times last week (“Hey, they’re saving my career”, he said). Nor is it good that Matt Leinart mentioned that “it would be pretty fun” to play for Pete Carroll again. Carroll is always mentioned whenever an NFL vacancy opens up, and as a fan of one of Arizona 's rivals in the NFC West, who had a real close view of Carroll's first head coaching stint in the NFL, I'd love to see Pete Carroll on the Cardinals sidelines next year.
Still, I think that offense puts up enough points against a pretty bad Ram defense to cover the spread. Pick: Cardinals +6 ½
Atlanta at Washington (-1 ½) – After flipping the Dirty Bird to Falcons fans following his team’s loss to the Saints, Ron Mexico (a/k/a Michael Vick) is probably happy to be out of town for a couple of weeks. I’m sure there are some in Atlanta who wish Vick would be out of Atlanta on a permanent basis. Pick: Falcons +1 ½
Detroit at New England (-13 ½) – Earlier this week, I got an e-mail from a friend of mine, who’s a Patriots fan, letting me know that Seattle’s schedule is loaded with cupcakes. Let’s take a look at the Patriots final 5 games, shall we?
12/3 – Detroit (2-9)
12/10 – at Miami (5-6)
12/17 – Houston (3-8)
12/24 – at Jacksonville (6-5)
12/31 – at Tennessee (4-7)
Bill Belichick is going to have to do some more alterations to fit into his NFL Equipment hoodie after feasting on those cupcakes this month. Pick: Patriots -13 ½
Indianapolis (-7 ½) at Tennessee – I’d be wary of the Titans. They’re playing very well with Vince Young (4-4 with Uncle Rico starting) and nearly beat the Colts two months ago. Still, the way the Colts beat the Eagles last week was a sign that they’ve got their swagger back. Pick: Colts -7 ½
Kansas City (-5) at Cleveland – I caught Larry Johnson being interviewed by Cris Carter on Inside the NFL this week. I’m sure that Dick Vermeil and Johnson’s current teammates were delighted to learn that Johnson ignored his former coach, slept in his locker, never carried his playbook, and generally just wanted to not be in the building because he didn’t like playing for Vermeil, who is widely regarded as being the quintessential player’s coach
So the people who thought that Johnson was merely a feline slang term were wrong, he just wasn’t interested in playing for a white coach. Oh, that’s much better. Pick: Chiefs -5
Minnesota at Chicago (-9) – Brad Childress isn’t going to discipline wide receiver Troy Williamson for being punched in the face at a Maplewood, MN nightclub earlier this week. And nor should he, since that punch is one of the few things Williamson has caught this year. Pick: Bears -9
San Diego (-6) at Buffalo – I’m 99% sure that the Chargers are going to win the game, the only question I have is whether or not they’ll be able to cover the spread. Buffalo always seems to keep things close, and it’s a long, cold trip for the Chargers to make. But the Chargers can run the ball against anyone, Buffalo was just gashed for 200+ yards by Jacksonville , and “Lights Out” is back for the Bolts defense. Therefore, I think the Chargers will get their first win in Orchard Park , New York since the Dan Fouts era. Pick: Chargers -6
San Francisco at New Orleans (-7) – San Francisco is the perfect opponent for Drew Brees to get his 6 th-straight 300-yards passing game. The 49ers are thin in the secondary and if the Saints get a big early lead, they’ll force San Francisco away from running the ball with Frank Gore against the Saints Achilles’ heel, the run defense. Pick: Saints -7
Houston at Oakland (-3) – Oakland needs this loss to keep pace with the Lions in the Brady Quinn Sweepstakes and Art Shell has shown little interest in improving the long-term future of the Oakland Raiders. They’re destined to win this game! Plus, Houston is the far more experienced team in games like this. Losing games where the 1 st pick is on the line is instinctual for this franchise. Pick: Raiders -3
Jacksonville at Miami (-1 ½) – Earlier in the season, the Dolphins were persona non grata in the Mac household, but I’m picking the Dolphins to win because the joy of seeing Joey Harrington start a playoff game may very well be the single event that leads to world peace. Pick: Dolphins -1 ½
Dallas (-3 ½) at NY Giants – This is why I hate the Giants. They have loads of talent, but after what happened last week, and what’s happened much of the season, how can anyone feel comfortable picking them? Even though they’re getting points at home, in a game they absolutely have to win, I don’t trust ‘em. To quote Gordon Gekko, the Giants are a “dog with fleas”. Pick: Cowboys -3 ½ (Blue horseshoe loves Endicott Steel)
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (-7 ½) – It’s a homecoming for Bucs QB Bruce Gradkowski, and the only other thing I can say about this game is that there’s no way in Hell I’ll watch it. Pick: Steelers -7 ½
Seattle at Denver (-3) – Denver fans crack me up. It took them all of 10 minutes to talk themselves into believing that Jake Plummer was the “next Elway” when he was signed. Since that ship sailed without a Lombardi trophy, they’re now convinced that rookie Jay Cutler is the “next Elway”.
Why the excitement? He has a cannon arm and had a very good pre-season. The arm strength is legit, but Cutler lit up the Lions, Titans, Texans and Cardinals in the pre-season. Cutler may very well become a good quarterback in the NFL, but those pass defenses rank 26 th, 27 th, 30 th and 32 nd heading into this week, and Cutler had success on the guys that didn’t even make those teams. So you’ll have to pardon me for not drinking from the initial batch of the Jay Cutler Kool-Aid.
He’s a rookie from a school (Vanderbilt) I forgot even had a football program, and is about to make his 1 st NFL start on national television in December, when his team needs him to play better than the guy who led them to the AFC Championship game a year ago for his team to get back to the playoffs. Oh, and his local fanbase expects him to be the next John Elway, who produced two Lombardi trophies in a Hall-of-Fame career.
No pressure, Jay. No pressure. Pick: Seahawks +3
Carolina (-3) at Philadelphia – ESPN’s exclusion from the perks of “flex scheduling” that NBC receives is the World Wide Leader’s punishment for:
- Michael Irvin's love affair with Terrell Owens.
- Sean Salisbury's resentment for quarterbacks that can actually start in the NFL.
- Tony Kornheiser's fantasy team.
- Mike Tirico's hairline.
- Michael Irvin's wardrobe.
- Joe Theismann's analysis. (Only 4-year olds should be that amazed by what happens during a game)
- The “MNF” Transformation intro
- Chris Berman's, Tom Jackson's and Steve Young's "Lead Pipe Locks" on Monday Night Countdown.
- Michael Irvin's "Crack Pipe Locks" on the same segment.
- Ron Jaworski’s eyeglasses
Pick: Panthers -3