Santa always drinks the milk and eats the cookies we leave out for him. That’s a given. But what I’m really afraid of this Christmas is that Santa won’t leave his traditional home teams neatly wrapped and under the tree.
You see he does it every year. But I’ve been watching the presents stack up this year and have a habit of sneaking out at night and opening them ever so slightly, just enough to peak inside. And so far, they’re not there. Traditionally the home teams in the final month of the season have lit up the Christmas tree with winners. Not so this season. However, Denny The Dog has selected 10 home team gifts of his own below.
Home teams, along with visitors, favorites and dogs have all been mediocre. All these sides have been hovering around .500 the entire season. It’s been a tough battle, especially with none of these options showing a trendy side. But we’re winning the war.
Packers (+3) at Vikings: Looking for a possible late gift from the homies to be dropped under the tree on Christmas Eve. Packers won at Green Bay in Week 10, 34-31. But Favre and company have been struggling to toss up 20 on the road. Vikes control their own fate. Culpepper picked off once last week while Favre was intercepted three times. Pack racked up five turnovers versus Lions. Yikes! VIKES.
Raiders (+7) at Chiefs: Oakland laid an egg in last road game at Atlanta. In the road game prior to Falcons, they needed two long Collins passes in the Denver snow-bowl to beat Denver by a point. Chiefs having as many problems on defense as Raiders but the offense looks more balanced with Vermeil’s "baby" Larry Johnson losing the diaper and rushing for 150 versus Denver. CHIEFS.
Broncos (-4 Â½) at Titans: Broncos on the verge of back-to-back road games and a major collapse after losing three of their last four. Plummer is as desperate as a house-wife for a running game. Suddenly Tatum Bell is running like Tatum O’Neil and Droughns is about as much help as her father. Billy Volek is in a zone with four TD passes and nearly 500 passing yards against Oakland. TITANS.
Ravens (+5) at Steelers: Ravens coming off tough game with Peyton Manning. As good as Big Ben has been on current 12 game winning streak, Ravens will find out he’s no Peyton Manning. Ravens should be able to shut down Bettis and confuse Roethlisberger to pull off upset. But take the points, just as a precaution. RAVENS.
Bears (+6) at Lions: Detroit gave Vikes all they could handle and came up one extra-point short. Joey Harrington and Kevin Jones will carry the day. Bears have a problem with Chad Hutchinson under center. Looks like Chad produced one lucky game versus Vikings. Since then he’s looked helpless. LIONS.
Giants (+3) at Bengals: Three Dog Night warned us years ago that Eli would be coming along. And he finally showed up against Pittsburgh last Saturday. But I think you saw the best of Eli Manning for the entire season versus Pittsburgh. Bengals want to end their season at home with a big win! BENGALS.
Chargers (+ 7) at Colts: I think the Chargers are one of the best stories of the season. Unbelievably, they came from out of nowhere to win the AFC West. But I think they’ve overachieved and received many favorable breaks along the way on this current eight game winning streak. COLTS.
Texans (+7) at Jaguars: Texans looked great on the road in Chicago. But aside from that game, they’ve been horrible when they pack their bags and leave home. Jags doing nothing but winning the money the last three games. Two great young QBs and running backs competing here. Jags have big edge on D. JAGUARS.
Panthers (+3) at Bucs: Both teams playing playoff type football. Panthers five game winning streak was broken by Atlanta. But Carolina cats keep winning the do-re-me every week. Bucs up one week, down the next. They played very tough at home for two straight games and then looked helpless against Saints in final quarter. Bucs want to close out tough at home but Panthers will make it miserable. PANTHERS.
Falcons (—2Â½) at Saints: New Orleans too inconsistent and seems to play better on the road. Pattern continues here. Falcons were nearly caught napping while squeaking out a three point win four weeks ago. Vick won’t fool around here. FALCONS.
Patriots (-4) at Jets: NY Jets have more to play for in this spot and are playing typical Herm Edwards football. Jets fans have been able to count on few mistakes and great play at home. A win here by Jets to reach 7-1 at home would not surprise me. JETS.
Bills (-10) at 49ers: Niners can only beat Arizona. Bills are not the Cards. Buffalo has scored 187 points in their current five game winning streak. Once 0-4, Bills record now 8-6. BILLS.
Skins (+2Â½) at Cowboys: Washington has won the "skins" money game last two weeks. Ramsey is maturing and defense has been stingy. Skins playing very tough even though they know the playoffs are history. Dallas a little down for this game after realizing loss to Philly was a poisonous playoff pill to swallow. Ramsey over Testaverde. SKINS.
Cards (+7) at Seahawks: Seattle has blown opportunity after opportunity. The enigma continues this week at home. Seahawks are 3-3 at home and have lost their last two to Buffalo and Dallas. Seahawks go for the hat-trick at home and should get the job done. Cards won by eight in Week 7. Here we go again. CARDS.
Browns (+6) at Dolphins: Cleveland just happy to get out of the snow and away from angry town folk. Brownies without the icing on top in Cleveland will taste much better. BROWNS.
Eagles (-8) at Rams: I can find very little to hang my hopes on with St. Louis. Unless Bulger comes back, Jamie Martin and Chris Chandler are lousy options. Rams special teams are horrible and defense is worse. Eagles have little to play for after cinching home field advantage throughout playoffs. Also received wake-up call to rest players for the money games after T.O.’s knee injury. RAMS.
Last week: 10-5