A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Sixteen
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Despite the fact we’re entering the NFL’s Week 16, this week’s picks are being brought to you by the number 15. Why 15 you may ask? I’ll tell you.
Basically with 15 weeks in the books, 15 teams are still in contention for the remaining eight playoff spots. In fact, 12 out of this weekend’s 16 games play a role in tiebreaker scenarios.
That includes Thursday night’s affair in Jacksonville between the Colts and the Jags which got this week started off.
September, October and November is long gone. Winter begins on Sunday.
Boys and girls, i t’s a two-game season. May the best teams win.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Five teams — the Titans (12-2), Panthers (11-3), Giants (11-3), Steelers (11-3), and Colts (10-4) — have won at least 10 games. In Week 16, eight clubs will seek to reach double-digit wins, including those in match ups between 9-5 teams (Baltimore at Dallas ; Atlanta at Minnesota ). T here are 17 teams that can finish the season with at least 10 wins apiece, which would be the most double-digit-win teams in a season in NFL history. The current high is 13 which happened in 2003 and 2005.
Which one of these brother combinations weren’t chosen for the Pro Bowl during the same season?
A. Clay and Bruce Matthews
B. Joey and Ross Browner
C. Tiki and Ronde Barber
D. Sterling and Shannon Sharpe
(The answer comes at the end of the story).
LAST WEEK: 3-2 (128-82-1 overall)
Thanks to Tavaris Jackson and Donovan McNabb, we were able to finish over .500 for the week. However, we got let down by Big Blue in Dallas and a controversial call in Baltimore. Just for the record, I thought Santonio Holmes scored a legitimate touchdown.
RAVENS at COWBOYS
The last game in Texas Stadium will be the backdrop of the Cowboys’ biggest game of the season. Big D used defense, big plays, and (cue Mary J. Blige) no more drama on the field to beat Big Blue. They’re gonna need it even more as an angry bunch of birds get set to the close the dome with a big ole hole in it. Baltimore’s struggles on offense came back to haunt them in last week’s last gasp loss to the Black and Gold. I would go with the Birdies in an upset if I knew that the offense is gonna show up. But since they’re so damn inconsistent on that side of the line and Dallas will be psyched for a grand sendoff, I gotta go with the home team.
FALCONS at VIKINGS
A playoff preview at the dome?? It’s very possible. Both teams are coming off huge wins from last week. With a win Sunday or a Bears’ loss on Monday to Green Bay, Minnesota would clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2004 and a division title for the first time since 2000. While Matt Ryan is till shining in Atlanta, Tavaris Jackson has regained the starting QB job in Minny after his four TD performance at Phoenix. However, the loss of Pat Williams (broken scapula) will hurt the Viking D. Get ready for a face off between Pro Bowl backs Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner. I’ve been drinking the Falcon Kool-Aid over the last few weeks, however I think they’ll meet their match on Sunday.
STEELERS at TITANS
In the first of Sunday’s two battles for the top seed, the AFC tilt is a reminder of when these two teams used to butt heads two times a year in the old AFC Central. Much like those great match ups from back in the day, defense will be the order of the day on Sunday. The Titans defense will be without both Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch, but you get the feeling that they’ll still keep this a close game. The Black and Gold are seeking their fifth straight win and they’ve been doing with a defense reminiscent of their Steel Curtain days. Even though they’ve been struggling a bit on offense, I get the feeling that much like last week, Pittsburgh will find a way to win.
EAGLES at REDSKINS
What a difference just a few weeks can make. When they met back in October, Washington came into Philly and started the Eagles on their slump with a 23-17 victory. Since then, both teams have done a complete 360 — one for the good, the other for the embarrassingly bad. Right now, the only thing that they have in common is that both play horribly against the Bengals. While the Redskins have forgotten how to win, Andy Reid finally realized that passing on every down might not be a good idea. The Monday Night win against the woeful Browns showed just how far the Eagles have come. Sunday shouldn’t be any different.
PANTHERS at GIANTS
Battle No. 2 for the top seed matches the two teams that have pretty much dominated the NFC all season. While the Giants have struggled over the last two weeks, the Panthers offense appears to be reaching their stride. They’ve scored at least 28 points in five straight games, gaining at least 400 yards of total offense in the last two. The backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have been wreaking havoc all over the NFC over the last same span. While we know Big Blue will be in the playoffs, I think that they’ll get a serious wake up call from Carolina.
PACKERS at BEARS
Just because they’re out of the playoff race, don’t you dare think that the Packers wouldn’t mind messing up Chicago’s playoff run. However, since the Packers 37-3 thumping of Da Bears last month, these teams have gone in different directions — Chicago has won three of their last four and Green Bay has lost four straight. Lovie’s bunch sits a game behind the Vikings in the NFC South. They’re also a game back of Dallas, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and a half-game behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race. Needless to say, they need to win and get some help. I’m not sure they’ll get the help, but I think they can win Monday.
B. While Joey Browner made the Pro Bowl six times (1985-90 with the Vikings), Ross Browner was never chosen for the Pro Bowl.