By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN NFL Picks: Week 16
By Tony McClean
Updated: December 20, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Before we get started, let us be among the first to wish all of our readers out there a very happy holiday season. And aren’t you glad I didn’t break out in song like my lame attempt of a few weeks ago?
See, Christmas is the season for miracles now isn’t it?
As for the weekly task at hand, six NFL teams have already made the playoffs. That means half the postseason field is set, leaving six more spots (Note: see this week’s factoid of the week) open with a mere 18 clubs going for them.
Of course, the picture will become even clearer following this weekend’s action. And for the second straight week, all of Week 16′s nationally televised games will have a bearing on both the AFC and NFC playoff push.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
With two weeks to go in the season, there are 24 clubs still in Super Bowl contention, the second most ever (26 in 2004) since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978. That means that in two of the past three seasons, more clubs have been in such contention than in any other time in history.
Earlier this week, Tiki and Ronde Barber became the second set of brothers to be named to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons. Which brother combination was the first?
A. Clay & Bruce Matthews
B. Shannon & Sterling Sharpe
C. Ross & Joey Browner
D. John & Charley Hannah
(The answer comes at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 12-3 (134-83 overall)
Alright, another double-digit win week for the second straight week. We had to sweat out overtime with Da Bears, but we did warn all you Giant fans about the Eagles. Also, we knew we were taking a chance with the Falcons, but got serious burned by the flat Saints and dreary Panthers at home.
VIKINGS at PACKERS
While many will be looking at this as Brett Favre’s “final” game at Lambeau Field, black college football fans will be able to see former Alabama State standout QB Tavaris Jackson make his first professional start for the Vikes. Minnesota’s second round pick, Jackson played well in the preseason and was 10 of 17 for 96 yards and a touchdown in the late stages of the Vikes’ loss last week to the Jets. Here’s hoping that Jackson will represent himself well against the veteran.
CHIEFS at RAIDERS
Sunday’s night loss at San Diego has added to the sense of urgency surrounding this Saturday night tilt at the Black Hole. K.C. still has an outside chance at a wild card berth and they get a Raiders squad that they have pretty much owned over the years. Counting last month’s last month’s 17-13 win at Arrowhead, the Chiefs have won seven straight against the Silver in Black. In fact, Reverend Herm has won four straight regular-season meetings against Da Raidahs. Ya probably can guess where I’m going here can’t ya?
TITANS at BILLS
Shhhhhhhhh!! Folks, this is the most dangerous pick of my career. My favorite team (Titans) is taking on my bosses team (Bills) in what appears to be a semi-elimination game. I’ve been trying to avoid this all week, but he keeps calling me wanting to talk about the game while I switch the conversation to Christmas shopping. What am I to do? In my heart of hearts I know VY and the bunch should kill these guys, but I wanna keep my job. I feel like Craig when Deebo got released from jail in “Next Friday”. Hey, I’ll try this………
Pick: snatit (Ya think he’ll notice it??).
SAINTS at GIANTS
Two teams coming off tough home losses meet at the Meadowlands. While the Bayou Boys hit a rock against the Skins, Big Blue became the latest team to fall under the Eagles’ late season surge. So which team steps it up for this one Sunday? Usually I’ll use my most desperate team theory here, but except for the Carolina game, the Giants have been just awful the last few weeks. Plain and simple, I’m just not feeling Lil’ Eli and his bunch right now.
BENGALS at BRONCOS
Speaking of desperate, the Lewis gang comes to Denver trying to recover from Monday’s loss at Indy. They’ll face a Denver squad that just needs a win to secure a playoff berth. While Jay Cutler won his duel with fellow rookie Matt Leinhart, both sides of the line for Cincy had an awful night in their loss against the Colts. This ones a hard pick because I don’t like how both teams are playing down the stretch. Here’s a shot in the dark that the Bengals will be the one that rights its ship.
CHARGERS at SEAHAWKS
One team is streaking while the home team is reeling. That in a nutshell is this game between two former AFC West foes at Seattle. One more win for the Bolts and the AFC road to Miami goes through San Diego. The Seahawks have been trying to clinch the NFC West for what seems to be the last month. They failed again last Thursday when they lost to the Niners. However, a win Sunday would give them the division crown. Unfortunately, I think they and their fans will have to wait another week.
EAGLES at COWBOYS
Okay Dallas fans, I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong. I predicted that the Tuna Helpers wouldn’t make the playoffs this year. Now that they’ve clinched a postseason berth, I’ll be adding a heaping helping of crow with my Christmas dinner this week. But the real question that remains is: Can they win the NFC East? Everyone I’ve heard talking about this game has used the “No way can Philly win this game” mantra this week. You know that’s way too much of an invitation for yours truly to go the other way. Can Philly really go into Big D on Xmas Day and pull off the upset? Why not!!
JETS at DOLPHINS
Adding to my Dallas crow meal, I may have another one later this month if the Manginis get in the playoffs. New York got themselves back in the hunt with a impressive win at Minny while the Fish were squished in Buffalo. With the exception of a home loss to the Bills, Gang Green has been playing well down the stretch. The one wild card here is that you’re not really sure which Dolphins team will show up from week-to-week. To be honest it may not matter right now, because the Jets are clearly the better team. I think they show that on Monday night.
Falcons over Panthers: Rumor has it that this game will be played in Seattle to accommodate Coach Mora’s wishes.
Bears over Lions: Should Lovie be concerned about the defense? Yes! Are they still the team to beat in the NFC? Yes!
Patriots over Jags: It won’t be a blowout, but New England should still win.
Ravens over Steelers: Only if McNair is playing. If Boller starts, go with Pittsburgh.
Colts over Texans: In most states, this game would be considered child abuse.
Browns over Bucs: Yeah, like you really care who wins this game.
Niners over Cards: No they’re not Super Bowl contenders, but Frisco will definitely be a team to watch for in 2007.
Redskins over Rams: Imagine if Jason Campbell had been handed the reins a little earlier in the season.
TRIVIA ANSWER: B. Shannon & Sterling Sharpe were the first set of brothers to be named to the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons. They turned the trick for the Broncos (Shannon) and Packers (Sterling) from 1993-95.