2 weeks to find7 playoff teams

Dec 20, 2005 2:46 AM

This weekend, 17 teams continue to battle for seven available playoff spots in the final two weeks of the NFL regular season.

Only five teams have cinched a ticket to the money games through 15 weeks of the regular season. The favorites put the pedal to the metal, winning games at a 60 percent clip through the first 13 weeks. The dawgs took a 16-15 mark during the past two weeks into last Monday night.

Maybe the dogs can ease off that pedal and begin applying those brakes in Week 16 and 17. Let’s hope Santa brings us some winners this weekend.

Bills +13 at Bengals: Classic matchup of a team going nowhere against a club going somewhere. The postseason is somewhere Bengals fans haven’t been lately. But they’re excited about the possibilities after a four-game winning streak started following a close loss to Indy. Bills have a decent defense, but the positives stop there. No QB or running game makes the task tougher for Buffalo, even if weather is bad. BENGALS.

Steelers -7½ at Browns: Both teams have won all the money the last two weeks. Improved running game and more mobility with Charlie Frye make the Browns a live home dawg. BROWNS.

Chargers -3 at Chiefs: After big wins over Pats and Broncos, the Chiefs had little reason to go into the tank the last two weeks. But that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished with huge losses to Cowboys and Giants. KC tackling effort versus Tiki Barber might be the worst the NFL has recorded. "Lights Out" Merriman on D and Antonio Gates on O make the Bolts the play. CHARGERS.

Titans +6 at Dolphins: Don’t look now but Miami has put four straight wins together. I believe the Dolphins will make McNair feel like a fish out of water by taking his running game away. and possibly a six-game win streak if they can win here and at New England. DOLPHINS.

Jags -6 at Texans: Jags’ one point win over 49ers left me scratching my head. Only explanation is that Jax plays to level of its competition. Texans have found ways to lose all season long and may find another here. But they’ve been covering more spreads the last few weeks than their opponents. TEXANS.

Lions +3 at Saints: The Saints have been searching all season long for — a place to call home, a consistent QB, a healthy running back and a win. They’ve only managed to find three victories. Lions have four, but have lost five straight. Believe it or not, they are in more disarray than their wandering opponent. SAINTS.

Cowboys +6½ at Panthers:Still waiting for solid effort from a Cowboys club that should be hungry for a win. Dallas should be starving for a W after being embarrassed by Skins. COWBOYS.

Giants +3 at Skins: Bill Parcells must have felt a little like George Custer last week after the massacre the Skins put on the Cowboys. Will the Skins have anything left to revenge that spanking G-men put on them up north in Week 8? GIANTS.

Falcons + 3½ at Bucs: Both teams stumbling down the stretch. When both clubs are falling, I’ll take the dog. The points help break the fall. FALCONS.

49ers +9 at Rams: As bad as the Rams are this season, they’re better than the Niners. As weak as Fitzpatrick looks at QB, Alex Smith looks worse. RAMS.

Eagles + 3 at Cards: It’s been a season to forget for both clubs. Warner is done and Cards fans will probably be treated to McCown. I’ll take McMahon plus the points. EAGLES.

Colts -4 at Seahawks: The Colts may look back on loss to Chargers as a blessing. Indy may rest several starters, but so might Seattle. COLTS.

Raiders +14 at Broncos: I think Shanahan wants a big win to close out the home schedule. But I can’t lay 2 TDs in this rivalry. The Raiders have to show up for the game don’t they? And if they’re going to be in Denver, why not win one last game for Norv! RAIDERS.

Bears -4 at Packers: Rex Grossman may be the offensive spark Bears need to win a couple games in the playoffs. Bears handled the Pack three weeks ago with Orton. I think the Bears improve with Grossman. BEARS.

Vikings -4 at Ravens: Vikes playoff party boat started to take on water last Sunday against Pittsburgh. It may capsize this week in Balitmore. RAVENS.

Patriots -5 at Jets:: Herm Edwards has the Jets playing tough, even though they’re actually using a fourth string QB and third string RB. Bollinger played solid game against Dolphins , throwing for over 300 yards and 2 TDs. Do the Pats really need an inspired effort? JETS.

Last week: 8-7

Season: 117-101