Not sure how you feel about it, but that Monday night disaster between Tennessee and New York may have provided a new practical definition of the word “nadir” for Webster’s next unabridged edition.
The reaction since the game has been a tit-for-tat disaster control volleying of one-upmanship (or should that be “downmanship”) the likes of which we haven’t seen since…well…okay – the last Obama-Boehner fiscal cliff summit.
I guess we’re just getting used to passing bad bucks around.
As we come down the home stretch, it’s neck and neck to the wire. Last year at this time, the Giants were 7-7 and ran the table. This time they are at 8-6, not near as well off, and have to do it again; or as Apollo Creed once bellowed at Rocky, “There is no tomorrow!”
Falcons at Lions – The ESPN crew trades the last game of the week (Monday) for the first game of the week (Saturday). Who knows what Detroit is really going to do, but Atlanta is a good dome team and they have no worries where the Lions’ defensive secondary is concerned. Calvin Johnson’s potential record is the only reason to think the Lions care any more, but the upset risk is low, like a 2.5 on a 10-point scale.
Giants at Ravens – Here we have another headline act in our ongoing “Desperation Bowl” feature. Given a choice of a Flacco or a Manning, which way would you go? Just the sound of the name is all the clue you need.
Vikings at Texans – Another record is on the line so it’s AP all day once again, but it’s not going to be enough to get a victory in Houston.
Redskins at Eagles – Just look what the Shanahans and a little patience have wrought in D.C. land! With more time on the sidelines, RG3 has more time for hugs and kisses with his adoring public now, and he needn’t worry because his offense is in good hands. As for the Washington defense, London Fletcher is getting everyone firing on all cylinders now. Not much to say about Philadelphia now, except that their devolution continues.
Rams at Buccaneers – While St. Louis has not played as well on the road, Sam Bradford looked like he found the confidence to win last week even though they lost at home, so I’m taking them on the road against a slumping and forlorn Tampa Bay team that owes Ronde Barber a better Christmas present than this.
Colts at Chiefs – Who needs Luck when you’re playing Kansas City? Indy could win this without him, but thank goodness they don’t have to do it the hard way.
Saints at Cowboys – We’ll soon see just how much this Sean Payton saga gets played out in the pregame shows, but New Orleans has a lot of chips to cash in this season and they’d love to dump a pile of them on Jerry’s spiffy turf. The Saints also have a shot at the postseason too, but even when they win they’ll probably get booted, so a win here is likely the only satisfaction they’ll get.
Bengals at Steelers – As much as I’m tempted by Cincinnati’s potential (defensive front and really good receivers), we’ve all seen this sitcom before and every time they find a way to get off Loser Island fate intervenes, and then everyone points a finger at poor Gilligan who was simply being himself. Some things in life are just a given. When it’s Pittsburgh at home against the Bengals, as Keyshawn Johnson has copyrighted, “C’mon Man!”
Patriots at Jaguars – The Keyshawn button gets pressed once again.
Raiders at Panthers – Lots of passing yards are on tap for this one as Carson Palmer can get to 4,000 in a season and Cam Newton can carry on with his league-best streak of over 150 attempts without an interception, which is definitely not something Palmer can seem to do. Never forget, when West Coast teams come east, what do they do?
Bills at Dolphins – Here we have a running team on the road versus a passing team at home and two defenses that are equally middling. It just screams “Take the Home Team” when looking at it, but I wouldn’t give you three points for it.
Titans at Packers – Aaron Rodgers continues his solid play. Even without a running game, the Packers offense is hardly ever stymied. Now the defense is starting to play healthy and Tennessee doesn’t have the weapons to spread them wide or deep. Best keep your eyes on Chris Johnson up the middle though. It doesn’t pay to take too many chances this time of the year.
Browns at Broncos – At home I might give Cleveland about a 30 percent shot at upsetting these guys, but it would have to be a dark, frigid, and sloppy day near the shores Lake Erie. A sunny, snowy December afternoon in Denver leads me to an entirely different conclusion. Cleveland has a 30 percent chance of not getting beaten by 30.
49ers at Seahawks – Game of the Day honors are bestowed here, and NFC West bragging rights are on the line. As good as the 49ers are, there has been something special about the way Seattle has played at home all year and this is their biggest game yet with a national audience primed for the viewing pleasure. Of all the times to show up big, this is their shot. I can’t believe they’ll blow it.
Bears at Cardinals – Chicago has become less the Bears and more the Billy Goats Gruff. Playing in warm weather should do them some good. The problem for Arizona is that there is nothing uglier in the world than a flock of plucked Cardinals. Now a really good defense doesn’t matter any more. Larry Fitzgerald, we commiserate.
Chargers at Jets – San Diego’s defense is finally (after seven years) capable of winning games and if Philip Rivers can get to where he doesn’t try to force too many things (give the man a running game, please!) and keep mistakes to a minimum, an obstacle like some individual talents by the Jets will not make any substantial difference in the projected victorious outcome.