Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sportszilla's NFL Picks: Week 16
By Zach

Two weeks left, and it's do or die time for a lot of teams, including the Montreal Expos (Ben's fantasy team). As always, home teams are bolded.

This Week:

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

Bengals -13.5 vs. Bills
Ben: Bengals. The Bengals and big lines… it hasn’t been pretty this year. But at home against a Bills team that is awful against the run I can’t pick against them. Rudi Johnson has been the second hottest back in the NFL not named Alexander. If you also take out guys named Larry, then he has been the best. He should run wild in this one as the Bengals continue to fight for a first round bye. Wrong.
Zach: Bengals. Wrong.

Browns +7 vs. Steelers
Ben: Browns. I’m jumping on Wiggles’ (aka Charlie Fyre) bandwagon. Okay not really; this team put up a measly nine points against the Raiders’ awful secondary. However the Browns have been feisty all year and the Steelers don’t inspire me with confidence against a big line. I figure Pittsburgh wins this one but Cleveland covers. Wrong.
Zach: Steelers. Right.

Chiefs +2 vs. Chargers
Ben: Chargers. It really got awkward on the Charger bandwagon last week. I didn’t feel at home with all of those actual Chargers fans from San Diego on there after everyone else in the country bolted after their loss to Miami. (Ha, like the pun?) Now people are starting to scramble back on after their victory over the previously undefeated Colts as the Chargers gear up to face an even tougher task; a desperate Chiefs team, at Arrowhead, in December. Will it be tough? You bet. But San Diego has risen to challenges all year. Besides, I picked them to win out and take the division. You think I’d pick against them here? Wrong.
Zach: Chiefs. Right.

Dolphins -6 vs. Titans
Ben: Titans. How odd has it been for the Dolphins this year? They stand at a quite surprising 7-7, yet have a QB controversy on their hands. The battle is between Gus “Head Banger” Ferrotte and Sage Rosenfels. How are they 7-7 again? Last week the Dolphins surrendered their first 300 yard passing game in years. Who was it to? Not Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or anyone of that ilk… how about Brooks Bollinger? Again, how are they 7-7? The Fish make no sense and the Titans play up and down to their competition. Titans play this one closer than a TD. Wrong.
Zach: Dolphins. Right.

Texans +6.5 vs. Jaguars
Ben: Jaguars. I was so tempted to pick the Texans again with their inspired play as of late and the Jaguars tendency to keep terrible teams like this around in games. But I get the feeling: A. Houston has peaked; B. the Jags will make everyone pay who is writing them off after the Niners game; C. David Carr will revert to getting crunched again this week. I’ll be rooting for the Texans of course, but I don’t see them hanging around in this one. Right.
Zach: Texans. Wrong.

Saints -3 vs. Lions
Ben: Saints. Every year there is always a team that by the end of year may not have the worst record in the NFL, but is clearly playing as bad if not worse than the current bottom feeder. That team this year is the Lions. Joey Harrington is back at QB with Jeff Garcia mercifully dropped to emergency role. That means Dan Orlovsky is a typical Harrington half from getting in this one. Hooray for the Big East! The Saints have been a decent team at “home” this year and inside the Alamodome should play with some life. The Lions have none. Wrong.
Zach: Lions. Right.

Panthers -4.5 vs. Cowboys
Ben: Panthers. I hate the NFC South; I really do. I can’t figure out any of these teams except the Saints; and that’s simple because they’re just terrible. Speaking of terrible, have you seen the way Dallas has played the last month and a half? They’re lucky to have a win in that span. The team is falling apart, especially on defense. I think this one will be ugly for both teams but the Panthers are playing a little better. They take it. Wrong.
Zach: Panthers. Wrong.

Redskins -3 vs. Giants
Ben: Redskins. I find this to be one of the more interesting lines of the week. The Skins got roasted by the G-Men 36-0 nothing earlier this year, are two games worse in the standings, and yet are the favorites here. The reason? They’ve played better as of late and the Giants inspire no one on the road. They certainly haven’t inspired me to take them. The Skins win here and make the Giants sweat about winning the division for another week. Right.
Zach: Redskins. Right.

Buccaneers -3 vs. Falcons
Ben: Buccaneers. I think the easiest game in the NFL to pick nowadays is Michael Vick against a good defense. 9 times out of 10 he’s going to get bottled into the pocket, struggle and turn it over. The Falcons thus struggle to win. It happened last week and my money (figuratively of course, this is a family website) is on it happening to him again. Figure the New England game was the end result of three straight road games and a short week for the Bucs. At home finally and against a turnover prone Falcons team, their opportunistic defense should generate the offense necessary to win. Push.
Zach: Buccaneers. Push.

Rams -9 vs. 49ers
Ben: Rams. I used to think the easiest game in the NFL to pick nowadays was against the Niners on the road. Leave it to Jacksonville to throw a chink in those plans. By the way, remember when the Niners opened the season by stunning the Rams? Ah back then both teams had quarterbacks and dreams. Now Jamie Martin stands head and shoulders ahead of both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Smith in the battle of “QBs who shouldn’t be backups at this point, yet are starting.” Believe or not, Martin has kept the Rams respectable at times this year. Smith has not done the same for the Niners, aside from that game last week. Don’t expect lightning to strike twice for the historically bad rookie. Wrong.
Zach: 49ers. Right.

Cardinals -1 vs. Eagles
Ben: Eagles. Interesting note to me; formerly on the hot seat Rutgers coach Greg Schiano somehow managed to parlay his team’s 7-4 record and first bowl appearance in 25 years into a seven year extension. My response: wow, it’s amazing what getting Miami and Va Tech out of your conference can do for job security. Former Rutgers QB Mike McMahon could have been padding his stats against bad teams such as the Packers or Rams the last few weeks, but hasn’t. Unlike Schiano, the Commish hasn’t done the most with his opportunity. However he is 3-2 ATS and I’m taking him this week against the Cardinals, who are again football’s laughing stock. On the bright side another favorite of mine, Josh McCown, is back in for the red birds. At least one of the two QBs has to play well, right? Wrong.
Zach: Cardinals. Right.

Seahawks -9.5 vs. Colts
Ben: Seahawks. The Colts have nothing left to play for and now have a coach grieving the loss of his son. Just shows how trivial such things such as “the quest for perfection” are in the real scope of life. I give my condolences to the Dungy family. As for the game, the Seahawks can lock up home field with a win. Expect them to get it. Right.
Zach: Seahawks. Right.

Broncos -13.5 vs. Raiders
Ben: Raiders. I picked the Chargers to win the AFC West and Denver has to lose here for them to have a chance. At least I’m consistent people. In any case, the Broncos haven’t been reliable with big spreads and I’m always fearful of those in a rivalry game anyway. Lamont Jordan is out but the Raiders forgot about the run about seven weeks ago. They’ll throw against a weakened Denver secondary and make a game of this one. I can’t see both of the games between these two teams this year being blowouts. Wrong.
Zach: Raiders. Wrong.

Packers +7 vs. Bears
Ben: Bears. Rex Grossman is in, Kyle Orton is out. The bad news for the Bears: while Grossman is miles better than Orton he hasn’t proven himself to be better than mediocre in the league… or able to stay healthy. The good news for the Bears: It doesn’t matter this week. The Packers are done. Brett Farve is turning it over without the complementary TDs now and the Bears should make him do it a lot. Push.
Zach: Bears. Push.

Ravens -3 vs. Vikings
Ben: Ravens. The collapse is here. The Vikings tantalized their fans with their amazing recovery and return to the playoff picture only to lay an egg against the Steelers at home last week. On the road against the blitz happy Ravens, things will continue to descend into where things normally end up this time of year in Minnesota. Brad Johnson is old, nobody knows who’s starting at running back and the team is facing indictment on misdemeanor charges. On the bright side: Kyle Boller sucks so they still stand a chance. Right.
Zach: Vikings. Wrong.

Jets +6.5 vs. Patriots
Ben: Patriots : Ironically, as person who lacks cable TV, one would assume I’d be all geared up and ready to watch the last free Monday Night Football game, especially when it features my team. No, instead I’ll be at Giants Stadium for this one. Brooks Bollinger somehow threw for 327 yards last week against Miami. His reward? The Patriots’ resurgent defense, talk about getting Vinny Testaverde into these last two games and how he may have played his way off this team because of his expected cost for next year. Only on the Jets can having a good game doom you to getting cut. So the good news for Brooks is that he should come back to earth this week as the team suffers though injuries now on the defense as well as the offense. Trivia and more irony: Who’s been the healthiest Jet this season? The answer: John Abraham. Right.
Zach: Patriots. Right.

Last Week:

Ben: 8-8
Zach: 8-8


Ben: 84-99-9
Zach: 92-91-9


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