Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
BASN NFL Picks: Week 13
By Tony McClean
Updated: November 30, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — To bite off that old yuletide standard (pause to clear throat).
“Tis’ the season to be clinching. Fa-la-la-la. La-la-la-la.”
“For losing teams, it’s time for grinching. Fa-la-la-la. La-la-la-la.”
Okay that probably wasn’t my best effort, but you get the idea. In fact, by the time you read this, one team may have already punched their ticket into the playoffs. With a win against division rivals Cincinnati Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens can clinch the AFC North title.
Two other teams can possibly clinch this weekend as well. The Chcago Bears can clinch the NFC North with either a win or tie against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday. In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts can clinch the AFC South with either a win or a tie at Tennessee.
Indy can also clinch if Jacksonville loses or ties at Miami. There are three other possible scenarios that will have Tony Dungy’s boys clinching at least a playoff berth, but I’d like to get the article done before Christmas. Plus, I know you’re still reeling from my sad attempt to write a new Christmas ballad. My bad.
As for football, there are a lot of races that still will need a little more time to be decided. In fact, in five of the eight divisions, no more than two games separate the first- and second-place clubs, and in four of those divisions, those teams still have to play each other.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Tony Romo has led Dallas to victories in four of his first five career starts. He has completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 1,394 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for a 115.8 passer rating. Romo can become the fourth quarterback since 1970 to complete 70 percent of his passes in his first six starts and the third to post a passer rating of at least 110.0 in that span. The other three: Kurt Warner in 1999, Chad Pennington in 2002, and Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
LaDainian Tomlinson has an NFL best 21 rushing touchdowns, more than every other team in the league. He can become the fifth player in history with more rushing touchdowns than every other team in the league. Who was the first player to perform this feat?
A. Jim Brown
B. Emmitt Smith
C. Gale Sayers
D. Priest Holmes
(The answer comes at the end of this column)
LAST WEEK: 11-5 (103-69)
We knew this was going to be a good week when we got all three Turkey Day games correct. We took a chance of Denny Green’s return to the dome and just fell short. As for the Giants (YUCK), Panthers (DOUBLE YUCK), and Jags (TRIPLE YUCK) all blowing late leads, look for a huge lump of coal in your Christmas stockings from me down the road.
CHARGERS at BILLS
A trip to Buffalo in December would scare most football teams, especially if they’re from the West coast. However, when you’re one of the hottest teams in the league, it almost doesn’t matter where you’re playing. Plain and simple, if the Bills’ D can’t either contain or handle LT, it will be a long afternoon for them no matter what the temperature. Me thinks it will be a long day for them.
COLTS at TITANS
Back in October, the Titans fell to 0-5 following a disappointing 14-13 loss to the Colts at the RCA Dome. Tennessee gave Indy all they could handle before losing late. Now, the question is: Can VY and the boys use the momentum from last week’s miracle finish to help them pull off the upset? As much as I’d like to see it happen, I think the Colts are trying to keep up their own momentum as well.
COWBOYS at GIANTS
If you listen to most folks in the Big Apple, this game should be canceled and just start printing NFC Eastern Division Champion shirts for the Tuna Helpers today. So I ask, if Big Blue comes back and wins this game, what will they say then? Is it totally impossible for the Giants to win this game? Not really. In fact, a win would give them a sweep against Dallas. While the Cowboys may eventually win the division, I think New York will win Sunday’s game.
SEAHAWKS at BRONCOS
Rookie Jay Cutler now takes over from Jake Plummer in a key Sunday night game for the Broncos. While Plummer is one of Denver’s many problems, the biggest may be the overall defense. The unit has allowed 12 touchdowns in the past five games after giving up only two in the first six. After watching Shaun Alexander get his groove on against Green Bay this past Monday night, the Denver slide looks like it might continue.
PANTHERS at EAGLES
Both teams are still smarting from ugly road losses last week. Carolina’s stay on top of the NFC South was brief as they fell to Jason Campbell and the Redskins. Philly got ambushed at Indy and never did recover. The Eagles could be dangerous for the Panthers because they have nothing to lose and would love to be a spoiler. Now I know Carolina’s offense has been up and down all year, however I think the Panthers’ D will help them pull this thing out.
Bears over Vikings: Even a wreckless Grossman can do damage to this bad secondary.
Packers over Jets: Just a hunch that the Manginis will be a bit flat on Sunday.
Chiefs over Browns: Reverend Herm’s team could upset the AFC order of things if the make the playoffs.
Pats over Lions: The Boys from Motown have officially changed their team name to bye week.
Saints over 49ers: San Fran will make Brees and company struggle, but the Bayou Boys will still outlast them.
Rams over Cardinals: Two teams waiting for the NFL Combine.
Falcons over Redskins: As bad as the Dirty Birds looked last week, they could still sneak in the backdoor of the postseason.
Dolphins over Jags: If anyone can figure out Jacksonville, lemme know.
Texans over Raiders: Just because…..I’m sorry, that’s all I got for this one.
Steelers over Bucs: This is the ultimate “How the mighty have fallen” game.
TRIVIA ANSWER: B. In 1995, Emmitt Smith scored a then-NFL record 25 rushing touchdowns in a single season. The closest team to Smith that season was the Bengals who scored 20 rushing TDs as a team that year.