Mac's NFL Picks - Week 14

What do Mike McCarthy, Dan Marino, Freddy Krueger and Archie Bunker have in common? They're all mentioned in this week's "Mac's Picks" column.

Houston at Green Bay (-6) – On behalf of all fantasy owners who have Ryan Grant on their teams, a certain finger located near the center of my hand has been extended in the general direction of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy all season long.


Grant has 3 touchdowns this season.


Grant had that many touchdowns in the playoff game against Seattle last January! No running back has as many carries as Grant has (228) with such few touchdowns. Grant's quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, has four rushing touchdowns this season.

The final straw for me was watching my fantasy team die a slow and painful death last Sunday while Ryan Grant, who the team said was healthy enough to play, sit on the sidelines for the entire second half. Why give the guy a 4-year, $30 million dollar contract, if you're just going to sit him on the sidelines during the biggest game of the season?

Good thing you released that punter, though. Clearly, that guy was the reason the Packers are 5-7. Pick: Packers -6

Atlanta at New Orleans (-3 ½) – Am I a bad person for wanting Drew Brees to not just break, but to shatter Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record?

Last week, when a clearly agitated Marino prefaced his comments about Brees closing in on his record by saying that it's easier to pass the ball these days, I found myself thinking "Wow, Marino is still the same pr--k he was when he played".

Let it go, Dan. Everyone acknowledges that you were one of the top quarterbacks to ever play the game. You re-wrote the NFL's passing record book and were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was only a matter of time before someone came along and broke a few of your records.

Marino bristled when Peyton Manning took aim at his single-season touchdown pass record in 2004, and now he can't set aside his massive ego long enough to applaud one of the NFL's classiest players taking a run at another one of his records.

It may be easier to pass the ball today than it was 20 years ago, but Brees has played half the season without his top wide receiver (Marques Colston) and a third of the season without his top receiver out of the backfield (Reggie Bush) and tight end (Jeremy Shockey). Five of the Saints' 12 games have been played against teams with pass defenses ranked in the Top 10, as well.

For Marino to not applaud the season Brees is having is just sad.

Even sadder? The New Orleans Saints defense. Pick: Falcons +3 ½

Jacksonville at Chicago (-7) – The best thing I can say about the Jacksonville Jaguars' performance on Monday was that they did an awesome job of supporting Fred Taylor's comments about them being the worst team he's ever been on. Pick: Bears -7

Cleveland at Tennessee (-14) – Were you as surprised as I was to learn that Ken Dorsey was still in the NFL? This one has the potential to get real ugly, really quickly. Pick: Titans -14

Philadelphia at NY Giants (-7) – The New York Giants are like Robert Patrick's "T-1000" character from Terminator 2. Whatever obstacle you put in their way (Missing both defensive ends from Super Bowl team, star wide receiver shoots self in leg), they just plow right through it. Pick: Giants -7

Minnesota (-9 ½) at Detroit – The NFL suspending the "Williams Wall" may hinder the Vikings' playoffs hopes, but it's not like they need those guys to beat the Lions. Pick: Vikings -9 ½

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-14) – Memo to Bengals president Mike Brown: Since 2005, your team has finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and soon-to-be 4th in the AFC North. I know it's Marvin Lewis' first really awful year, but the product on the field has gotten progressively worse and a change might be in order. Pick: Colts -14

Miami at Buffalo (-1) – Even though it'll hardly cheer up the Buffalo Bills fans who have had an inter-divisional rivalry game in December stripped away from them so that the NFL can play an annual game in Canada, Sunday's forecast in Toronto calls for temps in the low 20s. Of course, the Rodgers Centre has a roof. Pick: Dolphins +1 ("By a rouge")

New England (-4 ½) at Seattle – When Tom Brady went down with a knee injury, one of my first thoughts was that NBC was definitely going to "flex" this game out of its primetime schedule in December. I never thought that the actual reason behind it being flexed would be the Seahawks' miserable record. Pick: Seahawks +4 ½

Kansas City at Denver (-9 ½) – Denver has dropped three straight at home, but Mike Shanahan knows that if they win this game, they'll pretty much wrap up the AFC West title. Pick: Broncos -9 ½

NY Jets (-3 ½) at San Francisco – Two weeks ago, the New York media was trying to figure out the logistics of an all-New York (New Jersey) Super Bowl. A 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos later, they're now wondering if Brett Favre will fall prey to the "December Swoon" that's affected him in recent years. (His passer rating is 63.5 and he's thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns in his last three Decembers.)

So Sunday should be a good litmus test for whether or not the sky is falling. Favre has never lost to San Francisco, and the current 49ers have the NFL's 28th-ranked pass defense. If he can't get it done against them, the Jets may need to put the cork back in those champagne bottles. Pick: Jets -3 ½

St. Louis at Arizona (-13 ½) – How adorable: The old St. Louis football franchise can clinch their first division title since skipping town against the current St. Louis football franchise. And it only took them 20 years! In your face, St. Louis! Pick: Cardinals -13 ½

Dallas at Pittsburgh (-3) – With the Cowboys and Steelers making their quad-annual appearance against one another, those highlights from Super Bowls X and XIII will be replayed over and over and over, making this the wrong week for Jackie Smith to quit drinking. Pick: Steelers -3

Washington at Baltimore (-5 ½) – Redskins head coach Jim Zorn says the team's struggling passing game is why the team hasn't scored many points lately. Passing offenses usually don't get healthy against the Baltimore Ravens defense. Pick: Ravens -5 ½

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-3) – During a conference call on Thursday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and 80s horror movie icon Chucky look-a-like Jon Gruden compared Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith to Freddy Krueger, another 80s horror movie character.

Gruden wasn't saying that Smith is prone to invading the dreams of teenagers and killing them while they sleep, he simply meant to say that defending Smith can often be nightmarish. (Ken Lucas and Anthony Bright can attest to Smith's proclivity towards violence, though.)

The opposite of that would be if Panthers head coach and Archie Bunker look-a-like John Fox were to call Buccaneers tight end Jerramy Stevens "Meathead", because, well, that happens to be true. Pick: Panthers -3

This week: 0-1
Last week: A Dennis Ericksonesque 8-8
2008 Season: 93-98-2

Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog ( and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here. Top Stories