BASN NFL Picks: Week 15

By Tony McClean
Updated: December 14, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct.– With three weeks left in the NFL’s regular season, here’s what we do know for a fact. The Bears and Chargers are division champs. Chicago has in fact clinched at least a first-round bye.
For fans of the Cardinals, Browns, Lions, Texans, Bucs, Raiders, and Redskins (As if you didn’t know!!), you are all officially on the clock. Don’t hate!! You’re just out of this season’s postseason mix.
As for everyone else, no other playoff spots have been claimed. However, five division titles can be won this week. In the AFC, two clubs are 8-5 and three 7-6. In the NFC, three teams are at 7-6. And then there are the teams bunched right below that level.
In fact, 13 of this weekend’s 16 games have tiebreaker implications, including Week 15’s four nationally televised match ups beginning with Thursday night’s 49ers-Seahawks battle on the NFL Network.
San Francisco’s Frank Gore leads all NFL rushers with 13 carries of at least 20 yards or more. Atlanta’s Michael Vick is second with 11. San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson and Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker each have 10.
Drew Brees has thrown for over 300 yards in six of his last seven games. Which quarterback holds the record for the most 300 or more passing yard games in a single season?
A. Rich Gannon
B. Dan Marino
C. Kurt Warner
D. Dan Fouts.
(The answer comes at the end of the column.)
LAST WEEK: 11-4 (122-80 overall)
Not to pat myself on the back, but we told you about the Saints, Jags, and Ravens. However, we weren’t warned when the Pats decided to lay an egg in Miami and when Seattle decided not to show up at Arizona. But still, a double digit win week this late in the year is still good.
It’s amazing what catching the ball can do for a team huh, Mike? The Dirty Birds have won two straight following the “Finger” game against the Saints from a few weeks back. As for the Tuna Helpers, their “savior” Tony Romo came back down to us mere mortals last Sunday night against that same Saints team. (Do ya notice a trend??) While Dallas appears to be headed for the postseason, it’s still up in the air if Atlanta will be part of the party. This looks like it could be a bounce back game for the Cowboys, but the Falcons are clearly desperate for a win at they’re at home. We’ll stick our neck out a bit and go with No. 7.
Pick: Falcons.
Just when you thought it was safe to mention Gang Green and playoffs in the same sentence, New York forgets how to stop Willis McGahee in a tough home loss. The Vikes went into Motown and pimp slapped the Lions (Doesn’t everyone??) to keep their faint playoff hopes alive. Minny is just .500 (3-3) at the Dome this year and really haven’t been able to generate a home-field advantage. We’ve already seen the Manginis go into Foxboro and win this year. Me thinks they can do the same at Minnesota.
Pick: Jets.
Way back in Week Two, Big Blue overcame a 17-point deficit at the Linc and pulled out an overtime win against Philly. They now meet at the Meadowlands Sunday in a game where the loser will likely not make the playoffs. Both teams had huge road wins last week: New York at Carolina, Philly at D.C. While the Giants have played well over the last two weeks, the Eagles have been as equally impressive. I’m going out on a limb here and say that Andy Reid’s bunch can pull off the upset.
Pick: Eagles.
The death of longtime Chiefs owner and AFL patriarch Lamar Hunt will cast a large pall over this game. In many ways, these teams and this rivalry are and will be a living testament to the man who was a big part of the NFL-AFL merger. The Chiefs and Chargers are also a part of the lasting legacy of men like Hunt, who were mocked by the media as the “Foolish Club” when they began the AFL back in 1960. It’s very appropriate that these teams will meet just days after his passing.
Pick: Chargers.
Could it be time to push the panic button in Indy? After allowing what seemed to be a million rushing yards to Jacksonville last week, the Horseshoes come home to the Dome with another strong running team waiting for them. As for Cincy, the Marvin Lewis defense appears to have finally caught to the offense. And just in time as the Bengals make another postseason run. But can they realistically go into Indy and win outright? My heart says they can, but my mind says they can’t. It will probably be an entertaining game, but I think Indy will find a way to pull it out.
Pick: Colts.
Patriots over Texans: This will get very ugly very quickly.
Saints over Redskins: There’s still room to jump on the New Orleans bandwagon before it’s too late.
Titans over Jaguars: Tennessee officially sends Jacksonville home for the holidays.
Ravens over Browns: The win at Arrowhead just adds even more to this team’s 2006 resume.
Bills over Dolphins: Just a feeling that Willis McGahee will go off on the Fish.
Bears over Bucs: Okay! Okay! Will everyone in Chicago now please shut the hell up and let Lovie coach the team the way he wants to??
Panthers over Steelers: Too little and much, much too late for Carolina.
Packers over Lions: What will happen first: The Iverson trade or the Millen firing??
Broncos over Cardinals: In about two years, this will be a good match up between two good quarterbacks.
Rams over Raiders: Just a few more weeks, Coach Shell. Then you can breath again.
TRIVIA ANSWER: A. In 2002, Oakland’s Rich Gannon had 10 games of 300 or more passing yards. Marino (1984), Warner (1999 & 2001), and Warren Moon (1990) all had nine in one season.