Mac's NFL Picks - Week 15

I don't have any Peter King-esque "Enjoyable/Aggravating" travel notes to share after my weekend spent in Seattle, but I do have a rather comical story to pass along.

About an hour after the Seahawks disposed of the Arizona Cardinals, Q13's post-game show was on in the hotel room. The analyst for Q13 is former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen, who spent time with six NFL teams, including a stint in the early 90s with the New England Patriots. When Millen was with the Patriots, current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck, then a local high school quarterback, worked for the team as a ball-boy.

Towards the end of the show, that little nugget of information came to light, and Millen told the joke that he is "the only guy who can say that Matt Hasselbeck, it was once his job to keep my balls clean."

Fortunately, video proof of this is alive and well on YouTube.

This week: 0-1
Last Week: 9-7
2007 Season: 100-103-6

Cincinnati (-8 ½) at San Francisco – It's safe to assume that the phone lines at cable companies headquarters won't be burning up with people clamoring to see this turd of a game on Saturday night. Pick: Bengals -8 ½

Arizona at New Orleans (-3 ½) – One of these teams is going to walk off the Superdome turf with 8 losses and their eyes fully focused towards 2008. Even with the expected return of Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin, I think it's the Saints who will keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Pick: Saints -3 ½

Tennessee (-4) at Kansas City – This hasn't been a good stretch for the Tennessee Titans, who once appeared a lock to make the playoffs. They've dropped 4 of their 5 games, and last week's blowing of a 14-point 4th quarter lead is the sort of the thing that usually sticks with teams for awhile.

Fortunately for Jeff Fisher & Co, they get to redeem themselves against the 2007 Kansas City Chiefs. Pick: Titans -4

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (-4) – Doesn't it seem like everyone is jumping off the Steelers' bandwagon in the wake of their blowout loss at the hands of the New England Patriots? Well, I'm not one of them. I still think they're a team that's fully capable of representing the AFC in Super Bowl 42, just so long as they keep Anthony Smith from all microphones.

This week, though, I'm taking the Jaguars for two reasons: 1.) The Jags are a very solid and underrated team, and 2.) Ben Roethlisberger has struggled against the Jags in the past and has a shoulder injury that has kept him out of practice this week. Pick: Jaguars +4

Baltimore (-3 ½) at Miami – Brian Billick has conned another season out of Ravens owner Steve Bischotti, but I wonder if all that would change if the Ravens lost to Cam Cameron, Cleo Lemon and the hapless Dolphins. Pick: Ravens -3 ½ (Sorry, Ravens fans)

Green Bay (-9 ½) at St. Louis – There was a time when you'd never take Brett Favre in a domed stadium. There was also a time when the St. Louis Rams were a good football team. We no longer live in those times, my friends. Pick: Packers -9 ½

Buffalo at Cleveland (-5 ½) – Again, if you told me before the season that this particular Week 15 match-up would have serious playoff implications in the AFC, I would've had you committed. Pick: Browns -5 ½

NY Jets at New England (-23 ½) – The weather in Foxborough, Massachusetts will be a factor on Sunday. Temperatures are going to be in the 30s, there's going to be wind, rain, snow, a mixture of both, and depending on which Boston-area television station you watch, there could be locusts.

Still, don't expect Mother Nature to slow down the Patriots offense this week. Rumor has it that the Patriots have an axe or two to grind with Eric Mangini and the New York Jets. I don't know what it's all about, but I think it has something to do with videotapes. Pick: Patriots -23 ½

Seattle (-7 ½) at Carolina – With the Seahawks heading to Charlotte this weekend, I'm sure I'll pull up the 2005 NFC Championship Game on the DVR tomorrow and re-live the greatest game in Seattle Seahawks history. Pick: Seahawks -7 ½

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-13) – Isn't everyone hoping the Falcons rally together and get a win as a giant "F you" to Bobby Petrino? I sure am. Pick: Falcons +13

Indianapolis (-10 ½) at Oakland – Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin has spent much of the last few weeks deflecting questions about whether or not he's a candidate for one of the many collegiate job openings, which strikes me as being odd.

Kiffin is a head coach in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! There's only 31 full-time NFL head coaches in the world right now (30, if properly exclude Cam Cameron), so why would anyone want to pass over that job for one on a college campus? Did Art Shell ruin the position of "Oakland Raiders head coach" to the point where it's ranking somewhere between UCLA head coach and Starbucks barista right now? Pick: Colts -10 ½

Philadelphia at Dallas (-10 ½) – The Cowboys stomped the Eagles last month in Philadelphia, so conventional wisdom suggests that with this game in Dallas, it should be another Cowboys blowout, right?

That's probably true, but I just have a gut feeling that Jim Johnson is going to have a game-plan that knocks Tony Romo off-balance and Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb plays just well enough to keep the Philly Phaithful from burning him in effigy on Philly area sports radio in the week leading up to Christmas. Pick: Eagles +10 ½

Detroit at San Diego (-10) – Even though their 7 losses make it seem a mathematical impossibility, Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna believes his team can still make good on his pre-season guarantee of a 10-win season. Ah, the beauty of technicalities. You see, if they win out and make the playoffs, and win just one playoff game, they'd have 10 wins, thus allowing Kitna's prophecy to be fulfilled.

Hey, Jon! Don't forget those two wins your team picked up in August! Now all you've got to do is win two of your last three! Pick: Chargers -10

Washington at NY Giants (-5) – Yeah, yeah, yeah. Washington Redskins quarterback Todd Collins was the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for Week 14, but c'mon. You don't really think Collins is going to put up back-to-back weeks like that, do you? Pick: Giants -5

Chicago at Minnesota (-10) – I'd feel better about the Chicago Bears ability to play the role of "spoiler" this week if this guy wasn't their starting quarterback. Pick: Vikings -10 Top Stories