The Office Pool: Week Thirteen

by Rick Rockwell

Perhaps too late for this season, last week, this column finally hit the same pace of prognostication as the 2005 season. Can that pace be maintained though?

Last Week: .688
This Season: .602

Game of the Week: Ravens at Bengals, Thursday Night

This week the best game comes early with two American Football Conference (AFC) North teams clashing on the NFL's network. (For this column's take on these games, go here.) The Ravens seem unstoppable after they dismantled the World Champs last week. But hold on, the Bengals are fighting for their lives at home. This game should be full of hard hitting defense. Bengal's quarterback Carson Palmer will suffer some lumps, but in the end the Bengals squeeze by, although by less than a field goal.

Falcons at Washington

The fans in Atlanta may have had enough of quarterback Michael Vick. His coach may secretly (or not so secretly) have had enough of Vick and his prima donna ways this season. But you have to admit, the guy can run! He piled up 166 rushing yards last week. So can inconsistent Team Gibbs stop him? After last week's revival in Landover, why not? Washington will escape with a white-knuckle, hang from the edge of your seat, last minute, one point win.

Cardinals at Rams

The Cardinals tried to keep up with the Vikings last week but fell short. But they will give the Rams quite a game. The Rams are over-rated, but play above their heads at home. Both teams should score often on the fast carpet in St. Louis. The Rams escape with a win, but by less than a field goal.

Texans at Raiders

Week by week, the Raiders are playing better football. Maybe by the end of the season, they'll realize the preseason ended weeks ago. Texans' quarterback David Carr has been strong all season, although as usual he's one of the few bright spots in Houston. The Texans should spring an upset on these down-in-the-mouth Raiders.

Cowboys at Giants

This match-up is billed as one of the marquee games of the weekend, with control of the National Football Conference (NFC) East at stake. But the Giants are imploding (evidence: that total collapse in the fourth quarter last week against the Titans) just as Dallas is peaking. After this game, the sports pundits will agree the Cowboys are the best in the NFC; Dallas should win by more than a touchdown.

Monday Night: Panthers at Eagles

Lucky for the inconsistent Panthers, they get the wounded Eagles this week. Carolina should cruise to a win, even in the unfriendly confines of the Linc.

Buccaneers at Steelers

Speaking of elixirs, the Bucs are just what the ailing World Champs need this week after the Ravens crushed them. Sometimes the National Football League (NFL) is all about getting even. This week, the Bucs are the victims.

Jaguars at Dolphins

Apparently, Jacksonville can't win on the road, and the Dolphins are finally playing like some of us predicted they should have been all season. (Can I blame the Dolphins for my prediction woes?) Look for lots of defense and a low score but the Dolphins should notch another win.

Sunday Night: Seahawks at Broncos

The problems in Denver will be evident for at least a few more weeks as rookie quarterback Jay Cutler settles into his new role as a starter. Broncos fans are going to be disappointed that this kid is not the immediate savior they all dream he should be for their team. As for the Seahawks, running back Shaun Alexander showed through his performance on Monday that he is finally back in real form. The Seahawks will take this win.

Colts at Titans

The Titans shouldn't be able to sneak up on anybody for the rest of the season after they exploded against the Giants last week. And the last time these teams played, the Colts escaped with a one-point victory. This time the Colts will roll like an offensive machine, as they have all their cylinders firing.

49ers at Saints

Maybe if this game were on the West Coast the 49ers would have a chance. But the Saints showed off their dominant offense on the road last week, and they are beasts in the Super Dome. The Saints will rumble to another win.

Jets at Packers

The Vegas experts say the Pack should be favored when playing at Lambeau Field in December. Have they been paying attention to how the Jets have rebuilt this year? The Jets should win. Packers quarterback Brett Favre is pressing too much again.

Vikings at Bears

Nothing like a game in the Black & Blue NFC North to make the Bears look dominant again. With the Bears playing at home, the Vikes have no chance.

Chiefs at Browns

The Chiefs' premiere running back Larry Johnson is proving again that he is a human steamroller. The Chiefs' offense should go into high gear here and win easily.

Chargers at Bills

The Bills have proved they will play everyone fairly tough this year. Will the league's best, the Chargers, get sloppy on the road? Not likely. Not this week. Not unless Buffalo gets more than a foot of snow to slow down that Chargers' offense. The Chargers take the win.

Lions at Patriots

The Lions are back in a familiar spot: listed now as the weakest team in the league on my power chart. The Patriots are tuning up for the playoffs. Would the Pats get more of a contest if they scrimmaged against Boston College?

December is here already? Time flies: enjoy the viewing this weekend!

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Brill said...

I totally disagree with your assessmetn of Cutler. What team is better suited to baby a rookie? I say they actually open up the offense with his arm strength, but more than likely, they'll rely on Bell to carry the load. Look for Walker to love Cutler, til death do they part.

Anonymous said...

whyyyyy do the Redskins break my heart every year? It seems like it's always one thing that holds them back: last year it was offense and special teams, and this year it's a combination of a weak offense and a pourous defense, coupled with too much red tape on the coaching staff. Oh well, at least I will always have my Hokies.

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