This N’ That With Tony Mack: NFL Picks: Week 16

By Tony McClean
Updated: December 23, 2004

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Welcome to Week 16 and the “Desperate Housewives” part of the NFL schedule. Some teams that are just on the outside looking in at a possible playoff berth, while others are just hoping to stay healthy for another week.

The season-ending injury of Philly’s Terrell Owens has now given some hope to many of the teams in the NFC. How wacky are the remaining possibilities? Believe it or not, there’s a crazy scenario where the Arizona Cardinals (yes, Denny Green’s Cards!!!) could possibly win the NFC West.
There’s NFL football all weekend beginning Friday through Monday Night’s game at the Edward James Dome with the Rams hosting TO’s Eagles. Now that No. 81 is injured, maybe he’ll get the chance to spend some “quality time” with Ms. Sheridan.
In fact as I make these picks, I’m imagining the beautiful Rachel True (Mona from UPN’s “Half and Half”) tapping me on the shoulder while I do this……Oooooops!! I gotta stop talking out loud while doing this.

Six division titles have been taken, and that “Sensational Six” is also a record-breaker. The six teams – Atlanta, Indianapolis, New England, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Diego – have combined for a 71-13 (.845) record, the best mark through 14 games in a season in history. The next best such record came all the way back in 1968 — .839 (70-13-1; Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, LA Rams, NY Jets and Oakland).

LAST WEEK: 8-8 (127-98 overall)
We told you we had a feeling about the Dolphins didn’t we? No applause please, just throw money. We took a serious chance on Carolina, Baltimore, Seattle, and the Boys from Motown only to get burned. It’s too bad I’m not a long snapper, I might have at least gotten the Lions to overtime.
The NFC South gets decided Sunday at Brett Favre’s house of horrors (3-9 career there), the Metrodome. While the Purple Gang barely left Ford Field with a win, the Cheeseheads got skunked at home by the Jaguars. Green Bay won the previous matchup (a 34-31 shootout) at Lambeau last month, but MInnesota was without Randy Moss. Remember this, Moss has more career receiving yards (1,213) and touchdowns (11) against the Packers than any other team.
Pick: Vikings.
If you don’t feel like watching the Shaq-Kobe “lovefest” early in the day, you probably should sit back and watch this game. The Broncos, already teetering on the playoff brink, got hammered by the Chiefs last week while the Titans lost a shootout to Da Raidahs. Billy Volek has done his best “Air” McNair impersonation since taking over for No. 9, throwing for over 400 twice with eight TD passes along the way. Given the way Denver’s defense has been, that should continue with a twist — a Tennessee win.
Pick: Titans.
Sunday’s game at the RCA Dome will be a litmus test for the young Chargers. While Pittsburgh, New England, and Indy have been getting all the hype, The Bolts haven’t been getting the love from most of the national media. While Peyton’s place in the record book may be set in Sunday’s game, I think the Chargers will win the game outright. They have something that Tony Dungy longs for — a good and consistent defense.
Pick: Chargers.
What will be Chad Pennington’s biggest opponent Sunday: New England’s defense or the New York tabloid media? No. 10 took offense to some of the scribes following Gang Green’s dismissal of Seattle last Sunday. Meanwhile, the champs have been feeling the wrath of Belichick all week since Monday’s upset loss at Pro Player. If nothing else, the Dolphins finally let everyone know that while using Troy Brown on double-duty is kinda cute, it could prove to be dangerous in the long run.
Pick: Jets.
So how will the loss of TO effect the psyche and play of the Eagles? Despite clinching home-field for the playoffs, how Philly comes out against the Rams will be a good gauge. As we said last week, Philly couldn’t even afford another small nick. Losing TO will either be a crusher or the best motivation this team ever needs. One gets the feeling that Philly will play with a purpose, not like a certain team from St. Louis who couldn’t even beat the woeful Cardinals on the road.
Pick: Eagles.
Chiefs over Raiders: At the half, Karl Malone and Vanessa Bryant debut a new game show, “Who Wants To Slap A Millionaire”.
Ravens over Steelers: Sorry Big Ben, the streak ends where it began.
Bengals over Giants: More education for Lil’ Eli.
Jaguars over Texans: Fred Taylor, Byron Leftwich, and a tight defense could make Jacksonville a spoiler if they get in the playoffs.
Saints over Falcons: Only because the Michael Vick Experience has been grounded for a week.
Bears over Lions: This game will be played by just long snappers (No, I’m not too bitter about last week game…..Am I???)
Panthers over Bucs: Carolina bounces back and puts Tampa out of its misery.
Bills over 49ers: For my bosses’ sake (Hi, Roland!!), I hope Buffalo sneaks in the playoffs.
Cowboys over Redskins: The Tuna Helpers win in a tossup.
Seahawks over Cards: Lemme be honest, I have no idea who will win this game. I went with the Birds because it’s at Seattle.
Dolphins over Browns: I’d rather watch reruns of “Saved By The Bell” than this game.