Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys cut Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

So I’ve had a full day to completely take this in.
The Dallas Cowboys, my favorite football team, cut its best wide receiver (and playmaker … and athlete) today and took a big salary cap hit in doing so. They’ve left themselves with a receiving corp of Roy Williams (jury’s still WAY out), Miles Austin (potential to be really good), Patrick Crayton (OK, but just OK) and Sam Hurd (exactly), and they’ve only made two free agent signings this year — Keith Brooking (aging slow linebacker) and Jon Kitna (decent Romo back-up) while the rest of their division is swinging for the fences (Skins get Haynesworth, Giants get Canty and Eagles … well, OK, we’ll leave Philly out of this for now).

On paper, this looks like a bad move. But I think I speak for most Cowboys fans in saying this — It had to be done.

T.O., we appreciate the numbers you put up. We appreciate the work ethic. And we appreciate the double teamings you took (from the defense and the media). But your “suicide attempt,” your crying for your quarterback in 2006, your tossing your QB and coaches under the bus at any other time, your beef with Jason Witten, your poor pass routes, your many dropped passes and your overall attitude were just too much. In other words, when Jerry Jones is willing to admit a mistake, then it’s a mistake.

I’m not saying the Cowboys will be better off without him on the field in 2009. But, by God, I will not miss the constant stories about him (and Pacman Jones, for that matter … another good cut). Perhaps Cowboys fans — and the team itself — can focus on other things like, oh, football. Perhaps.

I was sadder to hear Dallas let Roy Williams (the defensive one) on Thursday, but besides being a hell of a hitter, he couldn’t cover “Margaritaville” in a karaoke bar.

I’m not ready yet to say 2009 will be an interesting year, because there’s no telling who’ll land in Dallas by then. I’m hoping Marvin Harrison gives the team his final two years, only because it’d be nice to have a vet on the receiving corp who can actually run a good route. I know he’s lost a step, but he’s the anti-T.O. … and Dallas apparently needs those right now.

The state of the Dallas Cowboys

It’s taken me a day … just a day … to get over that 44-6 thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia Sunday. A 44-6 flop in a game that meant do or die for the Cowboys. A 44-6 loss that could very well have — and should have — meant the jobs for several Cowboys coaches and players.
Jerry Jones says head coach Wade Phillips’ job is safe. I wish that weren’t so.
There are several other things I wish about these Cowboys as well. This is where I think they are and where I — a lifelong Cowboys fan — think they should go.

HEAD COACH
Wade Phillips is a great defensive coach. His tinkering with the defense led to a near record number of sacks for Demarcus Ware, a Pro Bowl year for Jay Ratliff and what should have been Pro Bowl years for linebacker Bradie James and cornerback Terrence Newman.
But he’s not a good head coach. He just isn’t.
He hasn’t kept this team motivated. It’s embarrassing watching him on the sideline … giving that dough boy grin and fist pump when something goes well and that “what hit me” look when things go bad. I know 30-year-old millionaires shouldn’t need “motivation,” but the do need a coach who shows them who’s boss … who makes damn sure things are going to change if a player isn’t performing. Phillips says he’s that person now.
Well, that person all along has been owner Jerry Jones, and Jones doesn’t want to dump a coach early — ala Chan Gailey — especially when that coach doesn’t mind being a puppet.
I am one of the few who thinks Jason Garrett, the current offensive coordinator, should run the show. He’s young, he’s an Ivy leaguer, he’s a Cowboy, and he could be around a long time. Garrett stuck around with the job pretty much promised to him. I think he should get it sooner than later.

QUARTERBACK
Tony Romo is a Pro Bowler, but he’s becoming the problem too. One minute, he’s turning a fumble into a touchdown. The next, he’s turning a roll out into a fumble and defensive touchdown.
Romo has showed us the flash. He needs to show us the smarts now. Quit forcing the ball to receivers. Quit dropping the damn ball. Scramble every now and then.
My friend Tony says Romo is the next Danny White — a talented Dallas QB who won’t win the big one.
I’m starting to disagree with him less.
And Dallas absolutely needs to dump Brad Johnson and whats-his-name third stringer and either A) draft a quality backup or B) sign a starter who will compete with Romo. Dallas was flat-out pathetic without Romo, and that loss to the Rams ended up costing us big-time. Not that it mattered in the end, but still.

RUNNING BACK
Perhaps the strong point, and will be stronger next year. A healthy Marion Barber with a healthy Felix Jones and now proven Tashard Choice will rival the Giants’ three-headed backfield monster. Jones may be the best of that bunch.

WIDE RECEIVER
I wouldn’t mind seeing T.O. go. When he isn’t dropping the ball, he’s almost fumbling it. He doesn’t know where the first down marker is. And he’s getting closer and closer to being the problem he was in Philly and S.F.
Roy Williams will improve with a training camp with Dallas, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin are decent backups and Marcellus Bennett’s a hell of a backup TE. Jason Witten’s still the best in the league.

OFFENSIVE LINE
A big problem, except for Gurode and Davis. If I see Flozell flinch another 16 times next year, I’ll just scream. Left guard was a rotating mess all year. Romo took a beating in the final four games, and this was a big reason for his inadequacy.

DEFENSIVE LINE
Jay Ratliff was a monster, and he will continue to anchor a strong defense next year. I’m a big fan of Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, but I’m waiting for them to do something. I understand a defensive end in a 3-4 isn’t going to get the big numbers, but Spears was practically unheard from.

LINEBACKER
Demarcus Ware and Bradie James, along with Ratliff, were the only consistent weapons on defense. I liked Zach Thomas at times, but our run defense in those last two games was awful, and Thomas wasn’t helping. I think Dallas needs a bigger, quicker middle linebacker and something better opposite Ware.

SECONDARY
Aside from Newman, awful. It will be nice to get Roy Williams back, but he can’t cover the deep ball, and that still seems to be a problem (though not as bad as 2007). I liked the draft picks last year, and I think the secondary gets better.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Nick Folk and Mat McBriar will be just fine. Quit letting Pacman Jones return kicks though. He’s not fast enough anymore, and he can’t hold on to the ball. I like Austin returning kicks and Crayton on punts. They’re not flashy, but they’re safe. And Austin will break one or two.

INTANGIBLES
Dallas gets a big, bold new stadium next year … so maybe that helps. Wade Phillips says he’s going to be a hard ass. That remains to be seen. Dallas has drafted well these past two-three years, and I still think they’re building a hell of a team.
They just need to get it all together.
As long as we have receivers pointing fingers at tight ends and that December hangover looming over this team, though, nothing will ever be a given.
I still think this is a playoff team in 2009 if the team remains as-is. I’m just not so sure about it anymore.

Either way, this team is fun to watch. Frustrating as hell. But at least the ride is interesting.

Pretty bad week to be a Cowboys fan …

Tony Romo pinky

Consider the following:

• Cowboys lose a game in overtime to the Arizona Cardinals on a freakin’ blocked punt
• In said overtime, Tony Romo breaks a pinky and is out a month (although I predict he’ll be back in 3 weeks for the Giants game)
• Also in said overtime, our Pro Bowl punter, Mat McBriar, breaks his foot on said blocked punt and is out for the year
• Our potential Rookie of the Year running back, Felix Jones, tears a hamstring and is out a month
• We just learned that our starting cornerback, Pacman Jones, has been suspended indefinitely for getting beat up by his bodyguard.

It’s enough to make you want to cry. But I’m an optimist. Consider the following:
• The Cowboys are 4-2 and this week alone, the Giants lost to the Browns, the Redskins lost the Rams and the Eagles clawed back to 3-3 by edging the 49ers. We’re a game out of first with a lot of season left
• Dallas travels to St. Louis to play the Rams next week … a Rams team no longer hungry because they won an improbable game last week. 5-2 is very likely.
• The following week, our 40-year-old backup QB, Brad Johnson, faces the Bucs and a defense he’s all to familiar with … since he won a Super Bowl playing with the same team and the same coach. 6-2, even without Romo, is very likely.
• Dallas, before its bye week, takes on the Giants at home. The Giants looked very human in a big loss to Cleveland, but even if you want to mark this as a loss (even though I do believe Romo is back by then), Dallas is still 6-3 heading into a bye week and coming back with a healthy QB, a healthy Felix Jones and a new look on life.
• UPDATE: ALSO, we just traded for Lions’ game-breaking receiver Roy Williams … which should open up the passing game even more and take some pressure off Owens. Story here.

So don’t worry Cowboys fans. There’s hope.
Football, football, football

Football, football, football

The NFL released its 2008 schedule today, just in time for the start of baseball season (imagine that, the Pirates are still in the playoff race, and I’m talking football).
Of course, all that matters to me is the Dallas Cowboys, and that’s what you’ll get below. For a full link of all the games this year, click here.

Dallas Cowboys’ schedule
Week 1: at

Week 2: at

Week 3: at

Week 4: at

Week 5: at

Week 6: at

Week 7: at

Week 8: at

Week 9: at

Week 10: BYE WEEK

Week 11: at

Week 12: at

Week 13: at

Week 14: at

Week 15: at

Week 16: at

Week 17: at

Why the Cowboys lost Sunday

I hate football sometimes.

I’d put a lot of emotion, a lot of time into the Dallas Cowboys this season, and once again, I’m the guy who’s “done” for the rest of the season after one playoff game. Needless to say, my week will be bad because of this. It’s depressing. Any of you who are big fans of a certain team know what I say.

This week, I wrote a post going in detail why the Cowboys were going to beat the Giants Sunday. I did it to prove the many out there who predicted an upset. Turns out, many knew what they were talking about.

But it wasn’t Tony Romo’s Mexico vacation or any other distraction that did Dallas in. It was a surprisingly poor gameplan.

Dallas rode a 12-1 start on having an offense that went for your throat no matter what defense you threw out there. Sunday, they “dinked and dunked” all day long. Yes, the 20-play and 16-play scoring drives were great, but this wasn’t Dallas’ M.O. this year. And their defense showed that it was not equipped to keep New York from being that quick-strike team.

I thought Romo played well, save a few bad passes. I thought Patrick Crayton’s drop in the third quarter and his inexplicably stopping his route in the end zone on 3rd-down on the game’s final drive were huge. But Crayton’s not blame either.

Truth is, Dallas is still a young team. Romo is a young quarterback. There’s still a lot of good football left in this team, and I predict many will predict them to be in the Top 5 entering next season.

Just remember, Peyton Manning lost three times in the playoffs before he ever got over the hump.

Dallas will be fine. I just hate that I have to wait another 8 months to see them again.

College basketball, anybody?

Why the Cowboys will win Sunday

Romo Giants

NFL Picks: Divisional Playoff Edition

I’m going to do this a little differently this week. I’ll have my picks for this week’s four playoff games (Jennifer’s will be added Saturday) just like I’ve done every week, but I’m going to begin this with a sort-of essay on this weekend’s Cowboys-Giants game.
As a Cowboys fan, I’ve been truly sick of hearing all the talking heads on sports radio and on ESPN feed me a ton of bull about why Dallas will lose this week. Things like:
• Tony Romo’s head is still in Mexico with Jessica Simpson
• Terrell Owens’ ankle will slow him down
• Eli Manning’s finally coming into his own
• Dallas looked like hell their past four games
• The Giants are 8-1 on the road this year
• You can’t beat a team three times in one year
• Wade Phillips has too much pressure on him to win
• etc. yadda etc.

Bleh. Truly sick of it all.
So I’m here to speak the truth, brother. I’m here to soothe the troubled souls of Cowboys fans who are starting to believe all the doom and gloom forecasts. Consider the following:
Romo in Mexico: The only reason people know Tony Romo went to Mexico this weekend is because some fat guy with cheetos breath hid in some bushes with a long lens and got a photo of him — gasp! — reading while sitting near a pool with Jessica Simpson and her family around. For all we know, he could have been reading the playbook. Consider that players in the past have spent their bye weeks losing $20s at strip clubs, doing lines in bathroom stalls or worse. Tony Romo went to a tranquil beach for a few days with a girlfriend. Please.
Owens’ ankle: I recall Owens playing in a Super Bowl with a barely healed broken leg. He played amazingly. He’ll do well.
Eli Manning: Yes, he’s played well, but I’m more worried about the Giants’ running game with Jacobs and Bradshaw. But consider Dallas only allowed one 100-yard rusher this year, and that was Clinton Portis in Week 17 in a game that only mattered to one team. Eli may play well, but that may not be enough (recall Week 1). My money’s on him throwing an early interception, getting the Eli face and his wheels falling off.
• Dallas looked like hell: This is true, I won’t argue that. But they did beat Detroit (which at one time was 6-2), and they beat Carolina pretty easily in the only game that mattered (for home field). The loss to Philly was a fluke game that they only lost by 4 despite 43 turnovers and the loss to Washington was a trap game anyway, what with the Skins’ riding the Sean Taylor high (did anybody bring up that they lost to Seattle by 21 this week? … sorry, mean).
Giants 8-1 on road: That road loss was to Dallas. Next issue.
Beat a team 3 times: This argument really baffles me. Don’t you think your chances of beating a team INCREASE if you’ve already beaten them twice in a year? What in the world gives a team an advantage when they’ve lost to a team twice already? Proves you can spin anything the way you want to if you truly try.
Wade Phillps pressure: I’ve never been a coach, but by this time of year, what could Wade Phillips do to ruin this game? He doesn’t call the plays, he doesn’t take the snaps and he doesn’t kick field goals. I guess he COULD call two timeouts in a row and blow it at the end, but what are the odds?
Etc. yadda etc.: What people fail to realize is Dallas is one of the only teams this year (New England also) that beat New York by simply outscoring them. The Giants do have a great offense and a great defensive line … but the secondary is poor, and teams with solid receiveing corps (Dallas, New England, Green Bay) have put up big points on them this year.
Consider this — many thought New York would win the opener, and they did not. New York hosted Dallas riding a six-game winning streak and got beat handily. And the Giants also struggled in the second half of the season, getting ripped by Minnesota, barely beating a bad Bears team, edging Philly, losing to the Skins, beating Buffalo thanks to a flukey second half and then finally putting up strong games against New England and Tampa Bay.
Simply put, they’re not on the same level as Dallas this year. I’m more worried about Green Bay next week.
So, I hope that helps you out, Cowboy fan … Now for my picks:

giants at cowboys
Line: Cowboys by 7.5
My pick: I think the Giants win this one. Whatever.
Cowboys 35, Giants 24
Jennifer: Jennifer’s actually picking the COWBOYS. Couldn’t bring herself to go against America’s Team.

seahawks at packers
Line: Packers by 8
My pick: I think Seattle has a chance in this one, but only because the cold will stifle Green Bay’s offense. Still, the Packers’ defense is rested and too good.
Packers 24, Seahawks 20
Jennifer:
Go Pack, Go Pack, Go Pack, PACKERS!!

jaguars at patriots
Line: Patriots by 13
My pick: Jacksonville had a great run this year, but they’re not strong enough to be the team to knock New England from its date with destiny. Now, Indy on the other hand …
Patriots 31, Jaguars 21
Jennifer:
Jennifer says the PATRIOTS will win, and she’ll get to see Tom Brady on HD.

chargers at colts
Line: Colts by 8.5
My pick: I have a feeling San Diego’s just happy with their win last week. I know that thought process doesn’t go into their preparation or even mental state when they play each week, but still …
Colts 33, Chargers 17
Jennifer:
Jennifer cheered the COLTS to the Super Bowl last year. What will she do when they face New England next week?

OUR RECORDS
Straight up
:
Jennifer 2-2 (162-98 overall)
Billy 2-2 (162-98 overall)
Against the line:
Billy 3-1 (127-125-8 overall)

NFL Picks: New Years Edition

Week 17

Well, well, well. It’s the final week of the regular season, and I still trail my wife by 3 games in our picks. I plan on picking through the playoffs, but it’s up to her if she wants to continue the competition into the playoffs, not that we’re competing or anything.
This is a hard week to pick since many teams won’t be fielding a full team. Teams like Dallas, Green Bay, Indy and others will be resting starters since their playoff positions are locked. Other teams will be fighting for the playoffs, while still some will be playing for pride (which, last I checked, doesn’t come with a trophy).

From Jennifer: Sniff, sniff. That’s me crying because it’s the last week of regular football.

Last week’s rundown:
Straight up:
Jennifer 11-5 (153-87 overall)
Billy 11-5 (150-90 overall)
Against the line:
Billy 7-9 (116-116-8 overall)

patriots at giants
Line: Patriots by 13.5
My pick: You don’t mess with a team that’s going for perfection. Then again, I seem to recall a late-season game in the Meadowlands where the Giants knocked off an undefeated Broncos team.
Patriots 34, Giants 28
Jennifer:
Holy Gamole! Thank goodness the greedy NFL was convinced that this game was greater than their need for more profit. (Although, I’m sure they worked out a sweet deal with NBC and CBS. I just hope that they don’t follow CBS’ commercial break pattern. I’d like to watch the game in 3 hours instead of 10.) I am so psyched about this game. I just love watching great things happen and I really hope the Pats pull off their perfect season. So much is made of the perfect-season Dolphins and I feel left out because it happened before my time. I want to be able to remember watching the Pats go 16-0 in years to come! So, who will win? I honestly think there is more pressure on the Giants this week, and we all know how well they perform under pressure. And I just can’t imagine that Tom Brady would let this be the game they lose. PATRIOTS. (And show more Tom Brady interviews, ESPN. I’ll watch all day!)

rams at cardinals
Line: Cardinals by 6
My pick: It’s not every year the Cardinals have a chance to finish .500. That’s so sad.
Cardinals 31, Rams 30
Jennifer:
Who cares? Seriously? RAMS.

seahawks at falcons
Line: Falcons by 1
My pick: In another bizarro week pick, the Falcons, who are playing with a chip on their shoulder, will knock off the resting Seahawks.
Falcons 24, Seahawks 10
Jennifer:
Easy cheesy. SEAHAWKS.

panthers at bucs
Line: Panthers by 3
My pick: What’s so incredibly sad is I don’t think Carolina can beat Tampa’s back-ups.
Bucs 17, Panthers 13
Jennifer:
Bor-ing. BUCS.

bengals at dolphins
Line: Bengals by 3
My pick: Miami’s got their one win, and Cincinnati won’t let their miserable season end with a loss to a one-win team.
Bengals 34, Dolphins 17
Jennifer:
You know what? I’m going to say the Dolphins take it to 2 and 14 this week. DOLPHINS.

49ers at browns
Line: Browns by 10
My pick: It’s an odd scenario, but no matter what Cleveland does Sunday, their playoff future will be determined by whether Tennessee wins or loses Sunday night. Still, I think Cleveland treats it as a playoff tune-up, though San Fran’s getting better.
Browns 31, 49ers 20
Jennifer
: I cannot believe the Browns lost to the Bengals. How crappy is that? BROWNS.

lionsat packers
Line: Packers by 4
My pick: Numerically, the Packers have nothing to play for. Realistically, they’ll want to rebound from last week’s embarrassment before the playoffs begin.
Packers 34, Lions 27
Jennifer:
Go Pack! Go Pack! Go Pack! PACKERS.

jaguars at texans
Line: Texans by 6.5
My pick: Jacksonville has nothing to play for, whereas Houston’s at home and playing for their first-ever non-losing season.
Texans 24, Jags 20
Jennifer: JAGS.

vikings at broncos
Line: Vikings by 3
My pick: Minnesota’s still playing for a playoff spot, and they’ll be scoreboard watching the Dallas-Washington game. But I’m picking the Vikings for another reason — Denver’s rush defense is awful, and Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor should have a field day.
Vikings 27, Broncos 14
Jennifer:
Hmmm…Both teams coming off losses. My gut says VIKINGS.

saints at bears
Line: Saints by 2
My pick: Seriously, who would have thought this game would mean nothing?
Bears 25, Saints 21
Jennifer:
Stupid Bears are ruining my Packers season!!! And, I can’t believe the Saints lost last week. This should be a good game considering what happened between these two teams last year. Will the Saints have their revenge? Yes! SAINTS.

chiefsat Jets
Line: Jets by 6.5
My pick: It’s the who-gives-a-damn game of the week. I’m honestly flipping a coin on this one … a coin that also predicts scores.
Chiefs 17, Jets 16
Jennifer:
What purpose does this game serve, other than deciding rank in next year’s draft? JETS

bills at eagles
Line: Eagles by 7.5
My pick: Poor Eagles fans. Donovan’s playing great these last few weeks, making some reconsider whether they should boo him out of Philly this year. My advice is this — he’ll be an injury risk for the rest of his career. Start booing now.
Eagles 23, Bills 20
Jennifer: EAGLES.

steelers at ravens
Line: Steelers by 3.5
My pick: Who’s had a more brutal second half of the season than the Ravens? Three of your final four home games are against New England, Indy and Pittsburgh, and then you lose on the road to the freaking Dolphins.
Steelers 32, Ravens 14
Jennifer:
I’m going with the STEELERS this week.

chargers at raiders
Line: Chargers by 8.5
My pick: San Diego may rest starters in the second half, but they’ll do more than enough in the first half to win this one. I will be interested in seeing Jamarcus Russell’s first start.
Chargers 27, Raiders 14
Jennifer:
Should be in the bag for the CHARGERS. Should be.

titans at colts
Line: Titans by 6
My pick: Honestly, I don’t think Tennessee can do it. I know Indy’s resting its starters, and I know Tennessee needs the win to go the playoffs, but I just don’t see them winning. Enjoy the playoffs, Browns.
Colts 24, Titans 20
Jennifer: COLTS.

cowboysat redskins
Line: Redskins by 9
My pick: I see the odds makers are leaning heavily toward Washington, but I say Dallas can win if three things happen — 1) Todd Collins realizes he’s Todd Collins, 2) Romo sticks around longer than just a half to work out the kinks with Terry Glenn and 3) They don’t fall behind early and just pull all of the starters.
Hmm, I may be wrong, but Cowboys 20, Redskins 17
Jennifer: The Skins just about had the Boys number earlier this season. It’s the last week, I feel like taking a chance here. I hope I’m not sorry. REDSKINS. Oooh.

NFL Picks: Ho-Ho-Ho Edition

I hate Thursday night games. They screw up my picks, they’re on a station our cable provider doesn’t carry and they just all-around stink. That said, at about 8 p.m. last night I said to my wife … “Crap, there’s a game about to come on. Who do you want to pick?”We both picked the Steelers over the Rams, and we both won.I’m coming off the worst ever football week, ever. My Cowboys lost, my fantasy football team was killed in a game that would have put me in the championship, and I’ve had to spend all week listening to the Tony Romo/Jessica Simpson nonsense.
Here … let my wife further make me miserable:

From Jennifer: Boy, oh, boy! I just can’t tell you how much fun I have had this week over this whole Cowboys losing/Romo’s stinky game/Jessica Simpson jinx. Seriously. Every time I see another Jessica headline, I can’t help but laugh out loud. And I feel a little bad. I shouldn’t take this much pleasure over my husband’s favorite team crapping it up the way they did on Sunday. He certainly isn’t this gleeful when my Packers lose. Of course, he wasn’t raised to HATE the Packers, as I was to HATE the Boys. Still…


Last week’s rundown: 
Straight up:Billy 10-6 (139-85 overall);Jennifer 10-6 (142-82 overall)
Against the line:Billy 5-11 (109-107-8 overall)


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  steelers at rams
Line: Steelers by 7
My pick: Well, like I said, we both picked the Steelers last night, and I would have got with the points, too. Too bad about the Willie Parker injury.
Jennifer: STEELERS  
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 cowboys at panthers
Line: Cowboys by 10.5
My pick: Look, I think Romo hurt his thumb and had a bad game … but stop blaming his girlfriend. Nobody blamed Holly Robinson when Rodney Peete had a bad game (OK, kind of a dated reference, but you get the point). Dallas will rebound, and Tony will get his lovin’ afterward.
Cowboys 34, Panthers 10
Jennifer: Will Jessica be at this game? If so, they lose. But, I don’t think she’s brave enough to show her face around Boys fans for a while. (And, am I the only one who’s bothered by the fact that Romo hasn’t said anything to defend his girlfriend? Where’s the knight in shining armor? He should be defending her honor, while at the same time asking her to stay at home.) And, I don’t think that the ruinromo.com folks can really jinx him with pictures of his girlfriend. (Seriously, this is too much fun.) COWBOYS.
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falcons at cardinals
Line: Cardinals by 10
My pick: Another year, another no playoffs for Arizona. Yet, they’re still favored by 10 over an emotionally hurt Falcons team that two weeks ago found out their coach was leaving them and last week, found out Bill Parcells didn’t want them.
Cardinals 30, Falcons 14
Jennifer: Here’s a thought. If I ever have a football team in the NFL, I’m not going to have a bird as the mascot. CARDINALS.
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browns at bengals
Line: Browns by 2.5
My pick: It’s must-win for Cleveland, which actually has a chance to win the division, too. This shouldn’t be close, but what do I know?
Browns 28, Bengals 20
Jennifer: BROWNS.
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 chiefs at lions
Line: Lions by 4.5
My pick: The wheels have completely come off for the Lions, but I still think they have something to play for this week. An 8-8 record sure would be nice.
Lions 27, Chiefs 17
Jennifer: The Lions have more at stake here than the Chiefs do. LIONS.
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packers at bears
Line: Packers by 8.5
My pick: I’d like to think the Bears can win this one, but Green Bay’s still playing for home field advantage, and Chicago’s offense was flat out pathetic last week. Still, it may be close.
Packers 24, Bears 17
Jennifer: Oh, Pack. Now’s the time to make up for that ridiculous loss to the Bears earlier in the season. Go Pack! Go Pack! Go Pack! PACKERS.
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texans at colts
Line: Colts by 7
My pick: You know, I’ve come to think Houston may eventually be a good team. They’re just in the toughest division in football right now.
Colts 34, Texans 21
Jennifer: Sorry, Texans, you lose. COLTS.
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 raiders at jaguars
Line: Jaguars by 13
My pick: Aside from New England, Jacksonville’s the hottest team in the league right now. Too bad for Oakland, which by the way, I don’t even think I’ve seen highlights of this year. I’m just saying.
Jaguars 27, Raiders 10
Jennifer: This should be easy. JAGS.
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redskins at vikings
Line: Vikings by 6.5
My pick: You know, if Washington’s starting QB was healthy, I’d go with them right now, because I wasn’t at all impressed with Minnesota last week against Chicago. Aw heck, I need to make up some ground on Jennifer anyway.
Redskins 17, Vikings 16
Jennifer: Oh, definitely the VIKINGS.
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dolphins at patriots
Line: Patriots by 22.5
My pick: Well, Miami has their win now … they can pretty much mail this one in.
Patriots 37, Dolphins 13
Jennifer: I am so happy that the Dolphins didn’t have a winless season. I’m not a fan, but you can’t help but feel really good for these guys to get a win. It’s just too bad their win streak ends here. PATRIOTS.
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 eagles at saints
Line: Saints by 3
My pick: New Orleans still has a shot at the playoffs, while Philly doesn’t. This was a helluva playoff game last year (one I actually go to watch in a sports bar on Bourbon Street). This year, I don’t think it has the same luster.
Saints 29, Eagles 20
Jennifer: Well, the Eagles won’t have Jessica Simpson to help them win this game. I think it’ll be tough, but the Saints pull through. Right? SAINTS.
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 bills at giants
Line: Giants by 2.5
My pick: There isn’t a worse playoff lock than the Giants right now.
Bills 20, Giants 18
Jennifer: Bleh. GIGANTES.
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ravens at seahawks
Line: Seahawks by 11
My pick: The Seahawks stink, but the Ravens stink-er.
Seahawks 17, Ravens 10
Jennifer: Again wit the birds.
SEAHAWKS.
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bucs at 49ers
Line: Bucs by 5.5
My pick: Tampa Bay’s one of those teams that kind of scares me heading into the playoffs. I really have no idea what to expect.
Bucs 31, 49ers 14
Jennifer: This is my Sunday night game? (not from Billy: no, it’s not) BUCS
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Jets at titans
Line: Titans by 8.5
My pick: I’m so not interested in this game, it hurts.Titans 24, Jets 13Jennifer: Tough one. Tough. Real tough. TITANS.
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 broncos at chargers
Line: Chargers by 8.5
My pick: San Diego’s starting to look like last year’s team. Unfortunately, Denver is too.
Chargers 34, Broncos 24
Jennifer: Ooh, this might be a real nice foosball game!! I’ll take the CHARGERS.
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From Jennifer: Oh my…I just realized the saddest thing. Next week will be the last week of the regular season. Where does the football time fly?? Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your football!!