Friday, December 29, 2006

Week 17 picks

Giants at WASHINGTON (+2.5) When you put Shockey, Strahan, Barber and Burress on the same team, you are asking for inner turmoil, dissension and, ultimately, underachievement. On the bright side, they wouldn't be a bad foursome for a male version of The View.

Pittsburgh at CINCINNATI (-6) If this is the end of road for hometown-boy-made-good Bill Cowher, The Chin has had a long, successful run that might even be Canton-worthy.

NEW ENGLAND at Tennessee (-3) First of many wacky, trying-to-anticipate-what-teams-will-be-trying week 17 lines. Seeing as New England can still pass Indy and gain home field advantage in a potential AFC title game, I don't see why the Patriots won't end the Titans' ridiculously lucky six game winning streak here.

Oakland at JETS (+12.5) Despite having, at 28, a steadily declining career, Ex-Oakland Athletics Barry Zito has signed the richest pitcher contract in MLB history with the cross-bay Giants. In another ominous sign for San Fransisco, baseball's only other 100 million dollar pitchers have been Mike Hampton and an aging Kevin Brown

ST. LOUIS at Minnesota (+2.5) Baring any ice-fishing expeditions gone awry, in three days the Vikings will have completed a football season without an embarrassing maritime "incident."

Jacksonville at KANSAS CITY (-2.5) Kansas City's best off-season move might be getting Larry Johnson some counseling.

SEATTLE at Tampa Bay (-3.5) I wonder if the surprisingly effective Tim Rattay and his perfectly good spleen will challenge the newly re-signed, but still spleen-less, Chris Simms for Tampa Bay's starting QB job next year.

DETROIT at Dallas (-13) Romo may be losing his mojo on the field, but Carrie Underwood is a substantial upgrade over Jessica Simpson in my book.

Cleveland at HOUSTON (-4) Officially, the least important game of the year.

CAROLINA at New Orleans (+3) Now that John Edwards has used New Orleans for his presidential declaration backdrop, other potential democratic declarers have to hope another American city is destroyed by a natural disaster -- and quick

SAN FRANCISCO at Denver (-10.5) The contingent of scouts and football pundits who rated Cutler above Leinart and Young seem to like what they have seen so far from the Vanderbilt product, and have been enthusiastically doubling down on this assertion.

Arizona at SAN DIEGO (-13) The highlight of the Cardinals' season had to be when a defiant Dennis Green angrily refused to "crown" the Chicago Bears' "ass."

Miami at INDIANAPOLIS (-9) It is extremely rare -- and possibly unprecedented -- that a backup NFL quarterback enters a game before I've ever heard of him. But that's what happened on a rainy Monday night in Dolphin Stadium when Cleo Lemon replaced Joey Harrington. And Cleo Lemon is a name I would have had no problem remembering.

Atlanta at PHILADELPHIA (-6.5) In an interview this week, Michael Vick claimed he was "keeping it real." Really, I didn't think we were still using that phrase.

Buffalo at BALTIMORE (-9.5) Could it be, in this year full of high profile quarterback shuffling, the most significant change was McNair going to Baltimore?

GREEN BAY at Chicago (-3) When I go to bed at night, I pray for a Philly vs. Green Bay first round playoff match up. And then I dream of Brian Dawkins returning Brett Favre interceptions for touchdowns.

Last week: 8-7-1. 108-111-7 for the year. So it comes down to this: I need to go 10-6 to finish the season over the magic number of .500. I might need to do a little better than that to beat my unrequited nemesis Bill Simmons, who's currently three over .500 (but still losing to his non-sports fan wife.)

It could be worse. I could be the guy who gets paid to make the picks for the Sporting News. He's 42 games in the red. You couldn't do that if you tried.

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