Mac's NFL Picks - Week 16

Brian McIntyre of Seahawks.net comments on the closing of Texas Stadium, $300 urinals, broken shoulders and the Arizona Cardinals' prolific passing offense in this week's edition of "Mac's Picks".

Baltimore at Dallas (-4 ½) – I'm not from Texas, and I'm not a Cowboys fan, so I never understood what the big deal was about Texas Stadium.

It had a hole in the roof, which lead to the obnoxious line (Q: "Why is there a hole in the roof?"; A: "So God can watch the Cowboys play") and an incredibly pronounced crown on the field. Other than that, it looked like every other cold, boring football stadium built in the 1970s.

For example, I have no idea why anyone would be compelled to bid on a urinal (starting price: $300) from a 37-year old stadium. Think about that for a minute. There were thousands of events at Texas Stadium over the years, so that urinal got quite a workout from males, from Texas, who had been drinking. I'm sorry, but there's not enough 409 on the planet to make me want any stadium urinal in my home, let alone one from Texas.

So, in honor of Texas Stadium, here are my Top 5 Texas Stadium memories:

1. Plano East vs. John Tyler High School football game in 1994.
2. Leon Lett's Thanksgiving Day blunder in 1993.
3. Seattle's 31-14 win over Dallas on Thanksgiving Day 1986, which I have on DVD.
4. Cowboys safety George Teague smacking Terrell Owens while T.O. celebrated on the Cowboys' star at midfield.
5. Emergency starter Jason Garrett out-dueling Brett Favre in 1993. I think Favre came out of that one ok, though.

As for this game, I think DeMarcus Ware has another monster game and the Cowboys keep their playoff hopes alive with a win. Ware is rarest form of Dallas Cowboy. He's such a likeable guy, you don't have to feel guilty for rooting for him. Pick: Cowboys -4 ½

Cincinnati at Cleveland (-3) – Don't worry, Ohio. The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl is only 17 days away. Pick: Browns -3

Pittsburgh (-1 ½) at Tennessee – If you've watched the Titans the last few weeks, being home underdogs this week shouldn't be a surprise to you. Kerry Collins is playing like he's back on the bottle and Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch won't play until January. Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin has the Steelers playing like the team that should be the prohibitive favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLIII. Pick: Steelers -1 ½

San Francisco (-5 ½) at St. Louis – San Francisco easily handled St. Louis last month's 1st NFC West Interim Head Coach Bowl, and I suspect they'll do the same this week in front of a lot of empty seats in the Edwards Jones Dome. Pick: 49ers -5 ½

San Diego at Tampa Bay (-3) – Both teams are in "must-win" mode. The bad news for the Chargers is they no longer have the running game to pose a threat to the suddenly sieve-like Buccaneers run defense.Pick: Buccaneers -3

New Orleans (-7) at Detroit – I want to pick an upset here and see the Lions avoid the stigma that comes with an 0-16 season, but then I remember that the Saints have a solid running back now (Pierre Thomas) and a quarterback that doesn't make many mistakes. Against the Lions, who rank 32nd against the run (168.7 yards per game) and interceptions (4), seven points isn't enough to make me pick Detroit.Pick: Saints -7

Miami (-4) at Kansas City – Between the Dolphins' single-wing/Wildcat offense and the Chiefs' use of the spread offense, this game may feel like it should be sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Pick: Dolphins -4

Arizona at New England (-8) – Considering the struggles the New England Patriots has had this season against the pass (they rank 26th in opponent's passer rating), having to face an Arizona Cardinals passing attack that is sending its quarterback and two wide receivers as starters in the Pro Bowl with the playoffs on the line isn't the most ideal of circumstances.

So why am I taking New England? Well, Arizona has struggled against playoff-caliber teams, they're heading to the East Coast, and Sunday's forecast calls for snow. That's not a good combination for a passing-based offense that resides in the desert. Pick: Patriots -8

(How prolific has the Cardinals' passing offense been this season? Steve Breaston has more receptions (71) and yards (909) than Randy Moss.)

Buffalo at Denver (-7) – Denver may have the AFC West wrapped up before kickoff, but Mike Shanahan knows his team needs to play better as it heads into January. Pick: Broncos -7

NY Jets (-5) at Seattle – There's no way I'm picking against Mike Holmgren in his final home game as head coach of the Seahawks. Pick: Seahawks +5

Houston (-7 ½) at Oakland – I know he's been hampered by a toe injury, but shouldn't the Oakland Raiders have gotten the ball into Darren McFadden's hands more this season? He's touched the ball 122 times, but last week was just the 3rd time he's had more than 15 in a single game. Pick: Texans -7 ½

Atlanta at Minnesota (-3) – One half of the Williams Wall has crumbled, and unfortunately for the Vikings, there's no court in the land that can issue an injunction to stop a shoulder from breaking.Pick: Falcons +3

Philadelphia (-5) at Washington – A lot of people knock Andy Reid for his horrendous clock management skills or because he has a moustache that appears to be dyed by Cheetos dust, but here's one thing Reid has that other coaches don't: A stellar record at FedEx Field. Pick: Eagles -5

Carolina at NY Giants (-3) – They may still feel as though they're capable of winning without Plaxico Burress, but between the offense sputtering in recent weeks, and the team auditioning 57-year old Joe Horn, I get the sense that the New York Giants are feeling a little vulnerable as the playoffs get near.Pick: Panthers +3

Green Bay at Chicago (-4 ½) – The same week two members of the Packers secondary (Charles Woodson, Nick Collins) get free trips to Hawaii, another one (Atari Bigby) goes on injured reserve. It's been that kind of a season for the Pack. Pick: Bears -4 ½

This week: 1-0
Last week: 6-7-3
2008 Season: 109-111-5



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


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