By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN NFL Picks: Week 14
By Tony McClean
Updated: December 7, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. – Alright, football fans. This is it. The home stretch. The ending kick. The last mile. The end of civilization as we know……..Okay, okay, enough. Welcome to the final four weeks of the NFL regular season.
Over the next month, get familiar with the phrases like “strength of schedule, head-to-head match up, tiebreaker, two for one sale (THAT’S FOR YOU SHOPPERS), and spoilers” to be used by us writing and talking folks when the NFL is mentioned in conversation.
This week, at least eight teams can clinch either a playoff berth and or division title with a win, tie, or solar eclipse this weekend. Then there’s the other teams on the outside looking in hoping things can break for them to get an invite to the playoff party.
Now I could give you all of this weekend’s scenarios verbatim, but by the time I got finished, 2007 training camps will have already opened. When things become a little more clearer (and less wordy), we’ll kindly break it down for you.
However, if you must, must know what your teams playoff chances are, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com. I can’t promise you a happy ending, but I will tell you if your team has a shot (or not) at the postseason.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
With four weeks left to play in the season, there are four teams: the Baltimore Ravens (9-3), New Orleans Saints (8-4), New York Jets (7-5) and Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) – in first place or within two games of first in their divisions after finishing in (or tying for) last place last season.
26 teams in history have won their divisions after finishing last the year before. Two teams have accomplished the feat in each of the past three seasons — the NFL’s longest such streak. If three or four teams this year achieve this “worst-to-first” turnaround, it will mark the first time there has been more than two such teams in any one season.
In his last four games, Cincinnati’s Chad Johnson has 32 receptions for 664 yards (20.8 avg.), the fourth highest total by a receiver in a four-game span in a single season. Which player has the highest reception yardage total in a five-game game span in a single season?
A. Jerry Rice
B. Charley Hennigan
C. Randy Moss
D. Flipper Anderson
(The answer comes at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 8-7 (111-76 overall)
Geesh, another week where we barely get over .500. Now I’ll take the hit for going with the Cheeseheads and the Giants at home. But the Chiefs and Panthers got some ‘splainin’ to do to me. These two “playoff contenders” looked and played like chicken tenders in their losses. And once again, the Jags decided to play this week so we lost on that. Also, for the second straight week we happily see our Titans pull off the upset. Could you imagine where they’d be if they hadn’t opened the season at 0-5?
COLTS at JAGUARS
The NFL’s version of Sybil hosts the somewhat reeling Colts at Alltel Sunday. While the Jags defeated the Dolphins last week, Indy was nipped at the buzzer by the surging Titans. Should there be concern in Horseshoe land? Chew on this: Over the past five games, Indianapolis has committed 11 turnovers compared with only four in the first seven games. If I knew which Jacksonville will show up, it would make this pick easier. Against my better nature, I’ll lean toward the good Jags.
RAVENS at CHIEFS
Possible playoff preview? Perhaps, it depends on which squad shows up at Arrowhead. K.C. allowed Romeo Crennell’s bunch to hang around (with a backup QB, no less) before they fell in overtime while the Ravens also struggle on the road before losing to the Bengals. We’re still trying to figure out which Baltimore team is the real one: the guys who punked San Diego early in the season or the ones who got punked at Denver. The Chiefs have been riding that same roller coaster as well, especially on the defensive end. I’ll got with my gut and say that the Ravens pull off a big road win.
BRONCOS at CHARGERS
Well, we now know that no one does a better Jake Plummer impersonation than his backup. The Broncos not only lost, but may have doomed the remainder of their season. On the other side, the Bolts and LT (Is he the league’s MVP or what?) just keep rolling along. Since this is a divisional game, we’ll give Denver some respect in the sense that they should probably keep it close. But in the long run, Bronco backers will likely not see any postseason this year while Jay Cutler painfully gets some on the job training.
SAINTS at COWBOYS
Okay, okay. We admit it, Tony Romo can play. We’ve elevated him from Clint Longley status to Danny White status after leading the Tuna Helpers past Big Blue. This week will be a interesting game against the Bayou boys in what could be a playoff preview. There are some that are calling Dallas a legitimate Super Bowl contender now with RomoCop leading the way. Hold on there, buddy! They’ll definitely be in the mix, but they still have some flaws that the Giants exposed a bit last week. As a matter of fact, I think their defense will have their hands full with the New Orleans offense. Sniff, sniff. I smell an upset.
BEARS at RAMS
While everyone in Chicago continues to trash both Lovie and Rex, let’s take a long look at this “controversy” Almost a year ago to the day, these same folks were screaming for coach Smith to sit then rookie Kyle Orton. When Lovie made the switch, it looked good until Rex’s rustiness led to a bitter home loss to Carolina. Me thinks Lovie is not looking to repeat recent history and let’s be honest — Brian Griese is not an upgrade at the position. As for the game, I look for Mr. Grossman to recover from his woes beginning this week against the reeling Rams.
Giants over Panthers: The lesser of two evils pick……Plus Jake Delhomme is questionable for Sunday.
Bengals over Raiders: Will the Lewis gang have enough kick left to sneak in the playoffs? If so, they’d better not fall to Da Raidahs.
Vikings over Lions: If Matt Millen still has his job at the end of this season, something is truly rotten in the state of Michigan.
Titans over Texans: Note to Bud Adams: Re-sign Jeff Fisher now!! With each additional win, his price tag goes higher and higher…….
Patriots over Dolphins: The Fish will keep it close, but New England should still pull this off.
Falcons over Bucs: Mora Sr. had it all wrong. Vick is really a radio commentator killer.
Eagles over Redskins: We all may have to take back the nasty things we said about Jeff Garcia. He could get the Birds in the playoffs after all.
Seahawks at Cardinals: The defending NFC champs may not get back to the Bowl, but they’ll be in the playoffs again.
49ers over Packers: Look at this as a preview for 2007.
Jets over Bills: Mr. Mangini can now allow his players to say the p-word in public.
TRIVIA ANSWER: B. In a five-game stretch in 1961, Houston Oiler Charlie Hennigan had an NFL-record 822 receiving yards.