Denny the Dog by Dennis Ball |
The NFL always manages to come up with plenty of suspense for the final week of the regular season.
At the top of my mystery list is the Dolphins-Jets matchup. If the Fish of 1-15 fame a year ago win their last game for victory No. 11, they take the AFC East. You have got to be kidding me!
My mystery matchup No. 2 is Broncos-Chargers for the AFC West enchilada. The Bills hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record all season long until they tripped up the Broncos. San Diego can steal the title with a very mediocre 8-8 record.
The other shockers are Baltimore and Atlanta have great seasons with rookie quarterbacks.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank went from Michael Vick’s doghouse to the penthouse with the selection of Matt Ryan in the draft and Mike Smith as his coach.
The home puppies are now 12-4-1 ATS over the last three weeks! Let’s keep a close eye on all these thrillers as we head to the Week 17 grand finale!
Rams +14½ at Falcons: Steven Jackson was as good as he’s been all season against the 49ers and even that wasn’t enough to hold a 13-point lead. Falcons have clinched so I don’t like their motivation. Yet, I’ll take the club with more character and give all the points. FALCONS.
Jaguars +11 at Ravens: Jags QB Garrard made one fatal mistake against Indy and it cost his team the win. I think he’ll make more than one error in this game. Flacco remains seemingly unflappable as the playoff-bound Ravens keep plugging along. Ravens haven’t allowed a single 100-yard rusher in 33 straight games. RAVENS.
Patriots -5½ at Bills: Buffalo coming off gutsy upset of Broncos in Denver, but may have spent their high energy in Mile High country. Pats could end up with 11 wins and not make the money games. But I love the way Matt Cassel is playing. Pats have won three straight and are hot at the right time. PATRIOTS.
Chiefs +3 at Bengals: Chiefs can tie Cincy’s total of three wins with a victory here. This could be the swan song game for both head coaches. I’m sure Marvin Lewis realizes that, but who knows about wacky Herm Edwards. I think he still thinks the Chiefs are in the race! CHIEFS.
Lions +10½ at Packers: Lions will fight with their last breath to avoid being forever labeled as the NFL’s first 0-16 team. The Packers will not want to be tagged with being the only team to lose to the winless Lions. But I don’t trust the Packers giving this many points. LIONS.
Bears +3 at Texans: Houston was on a four-game winning streak before being ambushed at Oakland. Texans coming back home where they’ve won their last two, including a one-pointer over the AFC’s now No. 1-ranked Titans. Bears no ball of fire on the road year. TEXANS.
Titans -3 at Colts: This will be an interesting number since the Titans have already locked up the No. 1 seed. Titans shouldn’t want to risk further injury to anyone since they’re already missing Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch until the playoffs. COLTS.
Giants +6½ at Vikings: Everyone had the G-Men in the Super Bowl after their 11-1 start. Then they were out after dropping back-to-back games to Philly and Dallas. Now they’re back in after smash-mouthing the Panthers in OT. Vikings 4-1 in last five and catch G-Men with home field locked up. VIKINGS.
Panthers -3 at Saints: Someone forgot to tell the Saints they’re out of the playoffs. New Orleans has won four of their last six games. Carolina had three straight under its belt, but couldn’t step on the Giants’ jugular. Saints will quickly find out that the Panthers are a little more intense than the Lions. PANTHERS.
Dolphins +3 at Jets: I don’t think anything could make Chad Pennington feel any better than to clinch the division title against the team that gave up on him. The Jets peeked with their big win over the Titans, losing three of four since. Two teams going in opposite directions right now. DOLPHINS.
Cowboys +2 at Eagles: I thought the Eagles would destroy Washington. It looked like the Skins were the team in the playoff hunt and not the Eagles. If the Cowboys win, they’re in the money games. If Philly wins, the Eagles still will need help to cash their playoff ticket. COWBOYS.
Browns +10½ at Steelers: The Browns are playing so poorly since their first-and-second string QBs went down, that it’s almost impossible to back them. Now it’s more than impossible because their third string QB Dorsey is out. Cleveland may suit up Bernie Kosar for this one. STEELERS.
Raiders +13 at Bucs: The Bucs’ defense appears to have aged 10 years overnight since Kiffin announced he would be resigning to join his son’s staff at Tennessee. Bucs are still alive if the moons align properly. But the Raiders have decided to play out the remainder of the season after shocking upset of Texans. RAIDERS.
Seahawks +6½ at Cards: Arizona hoping not to travel east in the playoffs. Cards have lost four of their last five and really need to win here just to prove to themselves they deserve to be in the playoffs. Seattle used all their mojo to win the last home game for Mike Holmgren. CARDS.
Broncos +9 at Chargers: I’ve made much fun of nervous and notorious Norv Turner over the season. But the Chargers have a chance to win their division, as crazy as that sounds. This number is over-inflated for the homefield advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised to see San Diego win, but I can see a struggle. BRONCOS.
Skins +3 at 49ers: I think Mike Singletary earned his job for another season and happen to think he’s done an admirable job. The jury is still way out there on Jim Zorn. He had much more talent to work with than Singletary and didn’t do much with it. I believe the Niners will close strong at home. 49ERS.
WEEK 17’s BEST BONES: Cowboys, Raiders, Broncos.