11.23.2006

The Office Pool: Week Twelve

by Rick Rockwell

Hope is slipping away that this column can replicate the prognostication rate of last year, now some 90 points off the pace. Last week was an improvement, but far from stellar.

Last Week: .563
This Season: .594

Game of the Week: Saints at Falcons

Both of these teams have hit some midseason adversity. Acrobatic quarterback Michael Vick is back to his inconsistent ways: playing tall against superior teams and slacking against the dog teams of the league, which has led to a rash of upsets. Meanwhile the Saints have unleashed a torrent of offense but are asking Drew Brees to pass too much. Whichever team wins this one will contend for the National Football Conference (NFC) South division championship or a wildcard spot, while the other sinks into oblivion. This week, the Saints have the edge, but it is ever so slight.

Thanksgiving Night: Broncos at Chiefs

If the Chiefs want to compete in the American Football Conference (AFC) West, they must win this game. Some are saying the Chief's new coach Herman Edwards should be considered for Coach of the Year, rallying his team after a slow start and key injuries. Meanwhile, the Broncos are limping after a tough home loss last week. They too must win to keep pace in the league's toughest division. Even in hostile Arrowhead Stadium, the Broncos will find a way to pull it out, but by less than a field goal and in the closing seconds. This should be exciting, for those lucky enough to see it.

Cardinals at Vikings


This week's Loser Bowl puts the hapless Cardinals on the road to face the underachieving Vikings. This week, more rumors surfaced that the Cardinals are close to ending their association with Coach Dennis Green. That would be a mistake. But Green can't feel good with all that talk swirling about while he returns to Minnesota where he enjoyed his greatest success as a head coach. As usual, a sloppy game by two inconsistent clubs should produce a last minute showdown where the Vikings, barely, win by a point.

Bears at Patriots

Here's where we get to see if the Bears are really what the hype makes them out to be. If they can beat a tough opponent from the AFC, maybe they are one of the best the NFC has to offer. This year, the Patriots are not among the AFC's elite, but they are still a division leader. This should be a close defensive struggle, with the Patriots winning, late in the fourth quarter, by less than a touchdown.

Texans at Jets

The Jets may have made the Patriots look over their shoulder a time or two this year, but they are probably not going to really challenge for the division lead again or for a wildcard. However, they are having a respectable rebuilding year. Meanwhile, quietly, David Carr is having a strong year at quarterback for the Texans. This will be a close match-up but the Jets' defense will be the difference maker and Gang Green will be the victor.

49ers at Rams

If the revival of the San Francisco 49ers is real, they must show it on the road in St. Louis. This is a real changing of the guard game, with the 49ers on a midseason upset tear. Running back Frank Gore is galloping through teams. The Rams may slow him a bit, but they are not the same team as earlier in the year. Injuries have taken their toll. San Francisco should pull out a win here.

Giants at Titans

The Titans have proven to be strong contenders against NFC teams this year so far. Last week, they could have finished off the season for the Eagles. Will the same happen to the injured and sometimes confused Giants? Don't count on it. After being embarrassed on Monday night, Coach Tom Coughlin should have some answers for the trip to Tennessee. Giants win.

Monday Night: Packers at Seahawks

It won't matter who is at quarterback for Green Bay, this is a mismatch. The Seahawks may bring Matt Hasselbeck off the bench after his injury, and he should have an easy time with the young inexperienced Packers. Quarterback Brett Favre is likely to press too much which is when he makes game-changing mistakes. The Seahawks should cruise.

Steelers at Ravens


The World Champs should put up a strong fight: they don't want Baltimore waltzing away with the division crown so easy. But the Ravens will be too much, playing at home. They should have some defensive schemes that will puzzle the Steelers' offense. Here's where the Ravens exert their dominance.

Panthers at Washington

The Panthers need more consistency if they truly are one of the best teams in the NFC. They should find it against a slumping Washington team, which put up the white flag last week.

Thanksgiving: Buccaneers at Cowboys

The Bucs are struggling and have managed to find a way to win a few but Dallas has finally emerged as the best NFC team. (Yes, that's right Bears fans. Name one other team that has beaten the Colts?) Dallas should be carving up these turkeys just about the same time the rest of the country is doing to the same.

Jaguars at Bills

Why don't the Jaguars wear those cool black uniforms all the time? It seems David Garrard has finally settled in at quarterback for Jacksonville. He should direct the dissection of the Bills with ease.

Sunday Night: Eagles at Colts

Without quarterback Donovan McNabb (lost last week to injury for the season) this is no contest. NBC must be kicking itself for switching to this game in the featured spot. The Colts should crush the Eagles, easily by two touchdowns or more.

Bengals at Browns

The Bengals are turning on the afterburners now, just as the Browns are shutting down for the season. This should be a runaway, with the Bengals roaring victoriously at the end.

Thanksgiving: Dolphins at Lions

Why did I mistakenly put my faith in the Lions the past few weeks? Same reason I mistakenly put my trust with the Dolphins at the beginning of the season? Look for the strong Dolphin defense to throttle the Lions and for once Joey Harrington will look good in Detroit, except now he's throwing passes for Miami.

Raiders at Chargers

The Raiders do play better in these divisional contests, but can anyone stop the Chargers' offense? This is my pick for runaway game of the week, with the Chargers winning big.

Enjoy the Thanksgiving games and enjoy the viewing this weekend!




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1 comments:

Gun-Toting Liberal said...

I hope you're right about the Niners! Happy Thanksgiving and good luck :-)

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