Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sportszilla's NFL Picks: Week 15
By Zach

For the first time in a long, long while I'm ahead of Ben in the pick standings. Hell, with a good week I can get back over .500. As always, home teams are bolded.

This Week:

Ben: 8-8
Zach: 8-8

Patriots -5 vs. Buccaneers

Ben: Buccaneers. The Bucs have played well enough to earn my respect, even with the illustrious Chris Simms at QB. No, Pete Prisco, I don’t think he’ll ever be an All Pro. Kyle Orton was the starting QB for an eight game Bears’ winning streak after all. Is he headed to Hawaii? It’s that defense and a resurgent Cadillac Williams which has led the Bucs back. I figure this one will be close and the Pats haven’t shown me they can beat anyone outside of the AFC least yet. Let’s see how that one dimensional offense fares here against a good D. Wrong.
Zach: Buccaneers. See, this is one of those games which could give us some perspective as to whether the AFC really is superior to the NFC. These are two fairly even teams (at least in terms of positioning in their respective playoff races). But with Brady a question mark for the Pats, I gotta go with the men in burnt orange. Wrong.

Giants -2.5 vs. Chiefs

Ben: Chiefs. I cannot get a Giants game right. I think I’ve been burned nearly every game I’ve picked this year. I have even less luck with them than I do with the Jets. Anyway, I’m taking the Chiefs here. The Giants defense is hurt by the loss of Antonio Pierce and William Joseph, evidenced by the amount of success a banged up Eagles line and running back core had against them last week. Larry Johnson and the Chiefs should have success and the Chiefs’ blitz packages should give Eli Manning and the banged up Giants line some trouble. Expect points and some key turnovers; with Eli making a lot of those lately I’ll take the Chiefs. Wrong.
Zach: Chiefs. I agree with Ben, the injuries on defense are really going to hurt the Giants. Couple that with the struggles Eli has had, and I don’t like the chances of the Giants mounting a last-second comeback. Wrong.

Bills +8.5 vs. Broncos

Ben: Bills. The Bills burned me last week so I’d have to be a fool to take them again right? Well Denver hasn’t played great the last few weeks either. With the way their offense is sputtering lately, I can’t give up that many points in a tough road environment. It is Jake the Fake here. Wrong.
Zach: Broncos. I don’t like laying the points, but I can’t see the Bills stopping the run at all. According to Football Outsiders, they’ve got the 30th ranked rush defense in the league, going up against the fourth-ranked rushing game. Right.

Vikings +3.5 vs. Steelers

Ben: Vikings. I’m telling you, the collapse is coming. But not yet. The Vikings still haven’t put themselves in the driver’s seat. When that happens, you’ll know it’s about to fall apart. The Steelers are a better team, but that Minnesota D has been great lately and at home, I’ve got to take the points. Wrong.
Zach: Steelers. Right.

Colts -7.5 vs. Chargers

Ben: Chargers. I’ve picked them to go to the postseason and if they’re going to make it, they need to win here. LT is banged up, but so is every other half back in the league this time of year. The Colts run defense is suspect and the Chargers should be able to put up a lot of points. The Colts will too, but I’ll take my chances with the points in a high flying shootout at the RCA dome. Oh yeah and the Chargers haven’t lost by a TD all year. Right.
Zach: Colts. Ben loves this Chargers team, and while they have plenty of talent, there’s a reason they’re 8-5. Sorry Bolts, come back when you beat Miami. Wrong.

Jaguars -16 vs. 49ers

Ben: Jaguars. What’s more frightening to a Niners’ fan than Alex Smith at home? Alex Smith on the road. One day maybe, just maybe, the former Utah QB will have his QB rating crack the fifty point barrier outside of the Bay Area. Poor San Fran. If only the Texans game was in Houston the last week of the year. Then the Niners would be assured of Reggie Bush. Oh well. Jags start their roll to the postseason over the bottom of the NFL with a laugher here. Wrong.
Zach: Jaguars. Will Alex Smith ever post a QB rating over 50? Wrong.

Titans +7 vs. Seahawks

Ben: Seahawks. Shawn Alexander, meet the terrible Titans run defense. Titans, meet potential MVP candidate. Results? Hopefully at least 2 TDs for Alexander and a win for my fantasy football team. Maybe he’ll actually play in the second half this week. Wrong.
Zach: Seahawks. Wrong.

Texans +2 vs. Cardinals

Ben: Texans. The Texans are evil. The last two weeks they’ve lost in the most excruciating ways possible; blowing games late. Thus they hurt the Jets’ chances of securing the top pick, and by doing it close cover as well. So, figure they’ll lose this one by one point. Seriously though, the Cardinals don’t have much of a pass rush, so David Carr might actually have time to throw this week. If he doesn’t, it just lends credence the fact the Texans should be looking elsewhere from Mr. Bush come April. That’s right folks, I’ve gone insane. I’ve actually picked the Texans. Right.
Zach: Cardinals. Remember, the Texans are trying to lose. Wrong.

Dolphins -9 vs. Jets

Ben: Jets. You expected me to pick against my team in this rivalry match up? A quick look at the standings shows the Jets are in fact very much alive in the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, despite a damaging win against the Raiders last week. With tough games against the Bills and Patriots to close out the season, the Jets need to win here to officially kill their chances at securing a top #3 pick. I think they can do it. The offense has looked better two of the last three weeks and Miami isn’t the greatest of places to play. Don’t let their upset win in SD fool you; Miami is a bad football team. They just play hard. Right.
Zach: Dolphins. Why do I do this to myself? Wrong.

Saints +9.5 vs. Panthers

Ben: Panthers. You know the Saints could have kept Jake Delhomme a few years ago. Instead they elected to let him walk and keep Aaron Brooks. Of course, given his play this year, Delhomme might just be on the Brooks’ career path of early success then meteoric crash to earth which dooms everything around him to a violent extinction, ala the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Now that the Brooks era is over in New Orleans and Jim Haslett’s appears to be following suit, there’s a chance for something new to evolve here. But it won’t be starting with Todd Bouman. Right.
Zach: Panthers. Right.

Redskins -2.5 vs. Cowboys

Ben: Redskins. Dan Synder’s boys from DC inflicted the worst loss of the season on Dallas, one Parcells’ gang will rue if they miss the playoffs. (They may also rue the extra home game the Giants got, but that’s all moot at this point). Rivalry games are tough and the loser is fried in the postseason hunt. The Cowboys haven’t been playing well lately while the Skins have been up and down. So I’ll take the inconsistent home team in what figures to be an ugly, low scoring game. Right.
Zach: Cowboys. Wrong.

Lions +8.5 vs. Bengals

Ben: Bengals. Outside of the Jaguars, I don’t think any team has burned me more with big lines than Cinci. You’d figure I’d be pretty gun shy about taking them here. Well the Lions might just be playing worse than the Texans right now, if that’s possible. I mean at least David Carr, Dominick Davis and Andre Johnson are respectable skill players. Any team starting Jeff Garcia needs to re-evaluate their outlook as a franchise. To put it another way; fire Matt Millen. Or start Dan Orlovsky. Since neither Garcia and Joey Harrington are coming back, what’s the worse than can happen? The Lions keep losing? Then they can get another top five pick to take a wide receiver with! Ah Mr. Millen. You are great at making me feel less bad about being a Jets fan. Right.
Zach: Bengals. Right.

Raiders -3 vs. Browns

Ben: Raiders. Everyone says the Raiders are done, evidencing their sloppy line play and numerous terrible penalties they took against the Jets. Newsflash people; that’s Raiders football. There’s a reason ex-coach Bill Callahan called them the “dumbest team in football.” Always have been, always will be. But they’ve got talent and at home against an untalented Browns team, they should be able to pull out a win. Sure Mr. Frye has been good in his first two starts, but being a rookie will catch up with Wiggles eventually. I think at the Black Hole, this is the game it happens. Wrong.
Zach: Browns. Right.

Rams -3.5 vs. Eagles

Ben: Eagles. I told you Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t any good. Wait, were there people out there who actually believed he was? Anyway, the Eagles blitz heavy defense against the lousy Rams line should make the Harvard man long for the days of debutant balls and running around in sweaters, drunk with his fellow frat boys before the big game against Yale. (Yeah guess who didn’t attend an Ivy League school) The Eagles offense under the workman-like Rutgers grad Mike McMahon hasn’t been any good, but this week it shouldn’t have to be. Hey for all the knocks on the Commish, he’s 2-2 ATS. Right.
Zach: Eagles. Right.

Bears -3 vs. Falcons

Ben: Bears. I’m not a huge fan of this Bears team but they’re at home against a dome team. The weather will be cold, always bad for a dome team. The Bears thrive off turnovers. The Falcons are quite prone at doing just that. Rex Grossman is waiting in the wings. The change could happen this week. Whether or not it does, the Bears D wins this one (as usual). Right.
Zach: Bears. Right.

Baltimore -3.5 vs. Packers

Ben: Packers. I don’t really have an interest in this game, but I’ll take the Pack since I think this will be it for Brett Farve and it would be nice to see him go out on a high note in his last primetime, Monday Night performance. Oh and I’ll also throw in an obligatory “Kyle Boller sucks” comment. Wrong.
Zach: Ravens. Right.

Last Week:

Ben: 5-9-2
Zach: 9-5-2


Ben: 79-90-7
Zach: 83-86-7


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