by Patrick Stanton
JetNation Senior Columnist
DETROIT LIONS (4-8) @ GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-10)
Can you smell that? Thatâ€™s the stench emanating from this game of two NFC bottom feeders. What used to be a great rivalry has become nothing more than an exercise in futility as the Lions, featuring the new â€œQB of the weekâ€? offense, face off against the Packers in a battle for a top 5 draft pick. Brett Favre seems to be content on throwing the ball to anyone wearing a football uniform, while the Lions would just like to see their QB complete a pass to someone. What a dilemma I face. I live in Detroit, but consider the Packers my #2 team behind the Jets. If only ties were easier in the NFL. Iâ€™m not sure why, but Packers win.
HOUSTON TEXANS (1-11) @ TENNESSEE OILERS ERRRâ€¦.TITANS (3-8)
If you live anywhere in the central or Midwest United States you are probably suffering from â€œStench in Stereoâ€? as this game promises to stink up the joint as well. What happened to these two teams? Houston had been showing signs of improvement up until their current disaster while Fisherâ€™s Titans always managed to be competitive regardless of talent until recently. David Carr has been heating up as of late, but hasnâ€™t been able to seal the deal. Although, in the past 2 weeks, I seriously believe that Iâ€™ve seen the first thrown football games in my life. Meanwhile, the Titans excite no one and are surviving on the arm of Steve McNair. If youâ€™re a fan of Reggie Bush and your favorite team has a record of say, 2-10, then thereâ€™s only one team to root for. Karma alone requires me to pick the Texans to win.
CHICAGO BEARS (9-3) @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7-5)
Da Bears!!! Herman Edwards, Donnie Henderson & Company should take a hard look at the Bears as to what is possible with a tough defense. With mere mediocrity, Kyle Orton and the Bears have managed to rattle off 9 wins by doing just enough on offense and coupling it with a stifling defense. Pittsburgh is reeling right now and is in jeopardy of not making the playoffs as 3 teams sit above them. While commendable, Big Ben is playing with a broken digit and has had to turn to the air to make up for an ineffective ground game that is uncharacteristic of the Steelers. The Steelers were shut down by Indyâ€™s defense and I can see no reason why Chicago canâ€™t do the same. As much as Iâ€™d like to make this the upset special, it isnâ€™t happening this week. Bears win.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (7-5) @ BUFFALO BILLS (4-8)
Have you heard? The Patriots are the greatest 7-5 team in football history. At least thatâ€™s what their fans would have you believe. Meanwhile, Buffalo was ready to host an AFC East Championship parade before the season started, but now would just be happy to beat out Miami for 2nd place in the division. Like them or not, the Patriots always have found a way to win and this season is no different. Their defense is absolutely horrendous (unless youâ€™re the Jets offense) and the Bills arenâ€™t the team to exploit it. Patriots roll easy.
CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-8) @ CINCINNATI BENGALS (9-3)
Baby, have you ever wondered? Wondered whatever became of me? Iâ€™m living on the air in Cincinnati. Cincinnati, WKRP. Cincinnati, the perennial laughingstock of Ohio, are the only ones laughing as they face their replacement, the Cleveland Browns. You have to admire what Cincinnati has done this year. Back in Cleveland, success is dictated on whether their 1st round picks can make it through a season. Cleveland saw some good things from Charlie Frye last week begging the question for rookie coach Romeo Crennel, â€œWhy not leave him in there?â€? We all know Dilfer isnâ€™t the answer for the future of Cleveland, so why not leave Frye in there. Anyways, back to reality, Bengals win.
ST. LOUIS RAMS (5-7) @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS (7-5)
While no one will ever admit it, some NFL coaches are secretly looking into throwing riverboat sex parties for their squads as a way to turn around their respective train wrecks. The Vikings are red hot and if Johnson can manage to get this team to the playoffs, one has to wonder if there wonâ€™t be QB controversies brewing in the land of 10,000 lakes come next summer. Speaking of riverboats, the S.S. Rams have sprung some leaks and are about to sink in the middle of the Mississippi. With 5 teams above them in the wild card playoff race, they are clinging to their playoff lives behind the â€˜not so greatest show on earthâ€™ offense and a turnstile defense. No reason to think it will be any different this week. Get ready to hear the frequent call of the Viking horn in the Metrodome. Vikings pillage the Rams.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (12-0) @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (9-3) ***UPSET SPECIAL***
I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve nailed an upset special yet, but I refuse to be deterred. Ladies and gentlemen, I smell a trap game. The Jaguars are by no means pushovers, but with 2nd string QB David Gerard behind center, they would provide an unlikely source of the Colts 1st defeat. You have to wonder if this is the type of game the Colts might get caught napping in. A win this week gives them the division and puts them in the driverâ€™s seat for the home field throughout the playoffs. The Jags have a tough defense and are playing at home to also cement their playoff hopes. 12-0 has been the magic number for a lot of undefeated teams and why shouldnâ€™t this be any different. Iâ€™ll probably eat my words, but Jags pull the upset and beat Indy.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (8-4) @ CAROLINA PANTHERS (9-3)
After dispatching the Falcons in a game everyone thought the Falcons would take, the Panthers are ready to put distance between them and another division rival at home. The Bucs come to town knowing this is a must win game to stay ahead in the NFC wild card race and hope that Chris Simms can rediscover the QB he just a few weeks ago. The Panthers are playing solid football right now and have to be considered alongside Seattle as NFC title game favorites. I think the Bucs put forth a valiant effort, but in the end, the Panthers pounce away with a win.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-10) @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-2)
If youâ€™re not a Seahawks fan and you plan on watching this game, there are phone numbers you can call for help. You are not alone. You donâ€™t have to face this problem by yourself. Call now and get some professional help. Operators are standing by. (Seahawks win).
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (6-6) @ ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-8)
Breaking news from Washington: Santana Moss has a sore hamstring and may possibly not play on Sunday. Itâ€™s make or brake for the Redskins. As Danny Snyder finds himself asking â€œWhat happened to my fantasy football team?â€? While the Cardinals donâ€™t have a great record, Iâ€™ve seen some fight out of them the past few weeks and the Redskins had best beware. Call me crazy, but I see the Cards pulling this one out behind the arm of Kurt Warner.
NY GIANTS (8-4) @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-7)
After a few ups and downs, the Giants are in the driverâ€™s seat in the NFC East and can ill-afford to let this one slip away. The Giants defense has to be salivating after watching Seattle absolutely dismantle the Eagles offense on Monday night. Detmer, McMahonâ€¦it doesnâ€™t matter. The Boo Birds in Philly will be out early as the Eagles face another possible shellacking in front of their home audience. Giants win big.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-4) @ DALLAS COWBOYS (75)
Are the Cowboys done? With their ground game going nowhere and their air game not far behind. The Cowboys face a must-win game against a scorching Larry Johnson & Company. After enjoying an apparent rebirth earlier in the season, Bledsoe has looked like his old self folding time after time against relentless blitzes and pressure. Meanwhile, the diapers are definitely off as Larry Johnson has almost single handedly sparked the offense and has the Chiefs in the midst of the playoff race. I I like Johnson and the Chiefs to come away with the win. Maybe next year, Tuna.
MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-7) @ SAN DIEGO SUPERCHARGERS (8-4)
Brees>Ferotte/Rosenfels,Tomlinson>Williams/Brown, Gates>McMichael, Chargers>Dolphins. Chargers roll.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-8) @ DENVER BRONCOS (9-3)
Thereâ€™s something about watching Brian Billick suffer that brings a smile to my face. Ray Lewis called it a season, Boller is the Jekyll & Hyde of NFL QBs, and Jamal Lewis is still feeling the effects of prison food. The Broncos are one upset squad right now after blowing another must-win game in Kansas City. Regardless, the Broncos have to be worried about a resurgent Jake ‘the Mistake’ Plummer. Lucky for them it doesnâ€™t matter this week. Broncos buck the Ravens.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (3-9) @ ATLANTA FALCONS (7-5)
How in the name of the continental congress is this game on Monday Night Football. Can you imagine how bad John Madden will be kissing Michael Vickâ€™s rear end this week with nothing else to talk about? Poor Aaron Brooks, talking about quitting next year if the team doesnâ€™t stop moving around. Hey Aaron, youâ€™ve obviously never been in the military. They move more and get paid a fraction of your salary. Shut up. Nothing more to say. Falcons fly away with the win.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (4-8) @ NY JETS (2-10)
Remember when this game meant something? My, how times have changed. This game generates the anticipation of a root canal bringing pain to anyone who watches it. Sneaky Herm Edwards has dropped hints in the media this week that Testaverde could possibly start at QB, a tactic that only generates more laughter throughout the league. For the Raiders itâ€™s â€œTuiâ€? time as the Raiders bench Collins and give the youngster a shot behind center. The scary thing is the Jets have a habit of making of making backups look like superheroes and with the Jets defense, itâ€™s definitely possible. Speaking of backups, former NY Jets backup RB Lamont Jordan comes back to NY with the silver & black and looks to make the Jets pay for letting him get away. Expect Jordan to run all over the Swiss cheese defense of NY and be laughing all the to the bank as he and the Raiders embarrass the Jets.
Last Week: 13-3
Season to date: 39-21