By Tony McClean
Updated: December 16, 2005
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Three weeks and three games. That’s all that’s left for some NFL teams this year. For others, its three weeks and three games left before the “real” season starts.
The next three weeks we’ll see if the Colts can run the table, if the Bears can hold off the surging Vikings, if Marvin Lewis will take Coach of the Year honors, and if the Seahawks are truly for real.
The action for Week 15 will get started on Saturday.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Through the first 14 weeks of the season, five running backs (Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, Larry Johnson, Rudi Johnson, and La Dainian Tomlinson) have rushed for 1,000 yards and scored at least 10 rushing touchdowns. Six more players are within 150 rushing yards and/or four rushing TDs of those totals. If all six accomplish the feat, the 11 running backs with 1,000-yard/10-TD totals would be the most in a season in history.
Cadillac Williams is 76 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. Who is the only rookie running back in Tampa team history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season?
A. Ricky Bell
B. James Wilder
C. Gary Anderson
D. Errict Rhett
LAST WEEK’S ANSWER
Lance Alworth reached 10,000 career receiving yards the fastest in NFL history. The Hall of Famer known as “Bambi” took 120 games to reach the mark while with the San Diego Chargers.
LAST WEEK: 8-8 (123-78 overall)
Remember the Chris Rock movie “Down To Earth”? That describes our picks last week. After having a couple of double digit win weeks, we got a jolt of reality going with some upsets (Jaguars, Eagles) and being the victim of some upsets (Dolphins, Cowboys). I wonder what Pootie Tang would do after this?
BUCS at PATRIOTS
Chucky returns to the scene of his worst nightmare (don’t say tuck) as the Bucs invade Foxboro. Both teams are seeking division crowns while also making serious playoff pushes.
Phil’s lil’ boy, Chris has won 4 of his last 5 starts and has solidified his hold as the starter. Even though the Pats need this, I think Tampa will find a way to win this.
CHIEFS at GIANTS
This is all but an elimination game for the Chiefs. Especially after losing a heartbreaker to the Tuna Helpers. Big Blue had its ups and downs but they were able to hold off Philly at the Linc. The Jints come into this game banged up on both sides of the ball. Will that be enough for a desperate team like K.C. Lets just say, it won’t hurt them.
CHARGERS at COLTS
Enough with the what’s more important for the Colts and Tony Dungy. Whether they go undefeated or not, the fact that TD has a chance to coach in a Super Bowl will be just as historic if not more than a possible 19-0. As for Sunday, the Bolts come in another desperate team. Losing at home to the Fish in an important December game is inexcusable. As punishment, I think the Horseshoes will make them pay.
STEELERS at VIKINGS
What looked like a mismatch a few weeks ago now appears to be a very intriguing battle at the Dome.
While to Steelers have up and down, the Vikes are arguably the NFC’s hottest team. They now find themselves not only in the playoff hunt, but possibly in line to steal the NFC North from Da Bears. This one looks to be too close to call. So I’ll do what I always do — take the home team.
COWBOYS at REDSKINS
A funny thing happened to the Tuna Helpers the last time they faced the Redskins. On a Monday night way back in September, Washington stole a game in Dallas. You just know that still burns a hole in the heart of Cowboy fans. Now with a possible playoff berth on the line, here they come again. But this time, it’s in D.C. Can lightning strike twice? Me thinks, yeah.
FALCONS at BEARS
A possible playoff preview. It depends on your perspective. The Dirty Birds righted the ship Monday night by thrashing the Saints while Lovie’s boys took it on the chin against the Steelers. With Ol’ No. 7 still a bit groggy, facing an angry and embarassed Bears D may not be the greatest medicine. Especially when Chicago has Minnesota in their rearview mirror.
Broncos over Bills: If it snows (What? Snow in Buffalo? Impossible!), maybe the Bills keep it close.
But after last week’s debacle it may not matter.
Panthers over Saints: Carolina is angry and unfortunately the Saints will have to pay.
Seahawks over Titans: Yes, they’ve thrashed two bad teams. But good teams are supposed to do this. I really believe the Birds are for real.
Bengals over Lions: Hey, Mr. Millen. You could have had Mr. Lewis coaching your team awhile back if you had just interviewed him.
Jaguars over 49ers: The education of Alex Smith continues.
Browns over Raiders: Romeo’s boys get a much deserved win while preparing for 2006.
Rams over Eagles: Wasn’t this the NFC title game just a few years back? Wow, how the mighty have fallen and can’t get up.
Texans over Cardinals: So let me get this straight. Dan Reeves is a “special consultant”? Yeah, just like Pat Riley was to Stan Van Gundy.
Jets over Dolphins: I just don’t have anything to say about this game.
Packers over Ravens: And even less to say about this one.