It's 888 Miles to Chicago...
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Another weekend of the NFL is fast approaching...the playoff picture is coming into sharper focus, fantasy seasons are in the home stretch, several teams are making 2007 draft plans already, and the NFC has a different Super Bowl favorite every 5 minutes.

Let's get right to the picks this week, no random thoughts or snide comments...I'll save those for the picks themselves.

Oh, one other note, Mr. Peeps is on vacation this week, something about his mother and fleas.  Truth be told I only listen to every 5th thing he says, he's kind of a chatterbox.

On with the picks!  I feel a little musically inclined today...you'll see...

Baltimore at Cincinnati

Sorry, you can only see my thoughts on this one if you have the NFL Network.  If you have the NFL Network, please type "NFL Network" on your keyboard to reveal my pick.

Ah hell, I'll go ahead and predict that the Bengals win this 13-7.  That sounds about right.

(Editor's note: Please disregard the time stamp on this story, it was written well over a week ago.  The author is just that good.)

(Editor's note: Disregard the above note, the real fact of the matter is the author is a lazy sack of crap that couldn't get around to making his picks till after the Thursday night game.)

Minnesota at Chicago

You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim

-Don't mess around with Jim by Jim Croce

Out of no where, Darren Sharper is complaining and calling out Rex Grossman for talking trash after throwing the winning TD against the Vikes...in week 3!!  I mean, jeez, Darren...the phrase "after the fact comes to mind" as well as "grasping at straws". 

First off, Rex said he probably did say something, and that in his mind it was in the heat of the moment celebration.

Second, who can blame Rex for saying something?  He just threw the game winning TD in a close fought game?  Then factor in the fact that the Vikes DB, at their own admission, were talking trash all game...and who wouldn't say something?

Finally, do you really need this extra motivation Mr. Sharper?  It takes some kind of slight to get you up for a division rivalry game?  Especially when your team is in a fight for their playoff lives?  Man, that's just sad.

But like the song says, "You don't tug on Superman's cape"...and right now in the NFC North, the Bears are Superman...they win this one, and Sharper looks like a moron for ever bringing this up.

Kansas City at Cleveland

You gotta run, run, run, run, run
Take a drag or two
Run, run, run, run, run

- Run, Run, Run by Velvet Underground

This is simple advice for KC...take LJ, and just ride him till he can't run no more, the tell him to suck it up, and ride him some more.  Cleveland, fresh off a whoopin' from the Bengals is letting up 133 yards a game on the ground...not good when you have LJ walking into your house.

I'll keep this one short and sweep, the Chiefs ride LJ to another win, thus scaring the Broncos and Chargers more, and creating a great race out west.

San Diego at Buffalo

I was caught,
In the middle of a railroad track! (Thunder!)
I looked 'round,
And I knew there was no turnin' back! (Thunder!)
My mind raced,
And I thought, "What could I do?" (Thunder!)
And I knew,
There was no help, no help from you! (Thunder!)

-Thunderstruck by AC/DC

I have a feeling that every defender that has to face LT has thoughts like this go through their minds..."What could I do?"  Just when you think you have him stuffed, he frickin' rears back and throws a strike to Gates...THUNDERSTRUCK!

The man is on pace for 35 Tds!!  It's like HRs in baseball right now, the TD record was just broken by Alexander last year, now LT is on pace to just utterly shatter it.  Maybe the balls are juiced?  Nah, it's probably the quality of pitching that has declined....or it could be the smaller ballparks...

I'm going to go with the fact that there seems to be a very high number of really crappy defenses out there.  LT is awesome, I'm not trying to take anything away from the guy.  I love watching him in action, cause he just finds a way...but you gotta admit, Defense seems to be on a down swing this year.  There are a few really good ones...but then there is a large drop off to the next tier, and all the teams on that next tier can be majorly bruned on any given day.  Of course I have no hard facts to back this up...just a feeling.

The Chargers take this one, LT notches 2 more TDs, and Lee Evans really wishes he had Philip Rivers throwing to him.

Indianapolis at Tennessee

Gonna stand my ground, wont be turned around
And Ill keep this world from draggin me down
Gonna stand my ground and I wont back down

-I won't back down by Tom Petty

The Titans are starting to gain a little momentum...with their miraculous win over the G-men, these guys are riding high.  Things are starting to click in place, and VY has the team rallying, and trusting that they have a chance to win with him out on the field...good times all around.

The Colts meanwhile are their normal high scoring selves...but they have this really large problem...they can't stop the run to save their life.  I think I could gain 100 yards against these guys.  Basically, it goes like this, if Bob Sanders plays, they have a solid run D...if he doesn't...they have no intimidator in the middle.  Plus, it's a bad sign when your SS is the whole key to your run D.  But the fact is, he's a very important part, and he's only played like 3 games this year.

Now the Titans only do 1 thing really well...running the football.  And I have this feeling, that if nothing else, they are going to give the Colts all they can handle...sort of like 400 pound man and an Old Country Buffet...he might not eat everything they have...but he's going to make everyone sweat for awhile.

I think the Titans pull off the upset...I know I'm crazy...just see the Colts relaxing a little, and the Titans fired up to play.  If this does come to pass, I really look forward to the post game comments...cause there will be lots of great ones.

NY Jets at Green Bay

Yeah, I know nobody knows
where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

-Dream on by Aerosmith

Yup, pretty much sums up the Jets season for me.  How about some flapjacks?  (Sorry, Groundhog Day reference)

The Jets play every game tough, they are well coached, and have bought into the Mangenuis (thanks Shaun) system.  Because of this, they win some games they really shouldn't, like the Pats game.  But they are seriously lacking in talent, especially in playmakers on Offense, so they lose some games they shouldn't, like the Bears game.

This is a game that they should win.  The Pack is playing better, and they look to be on a path for recovery, but they're still not a very good team, and they still have a lot of holes...one of which was put on display last week against the Hawks...they have no run D.

I see the Jets taking this game...Favre keeping the home crowd interested till the very end, but throwing a careless pick trying to get a cheap Passing TD, when the right call would be to pound it in...those that shamelessly chase records, get bit.

Atlanta at Washington

I don't know what else to do
covered in hope and Vaseline
still cannot fix this broken machine
watching the hole it used to be mine
just watching it burn in my steady systematic decline
of the trust I will betray
give it to me I throw it away
after everything I've done I hate myself for what I've become

-Gave up by Nine Inch Nails

Do you think Trent Reznor wrote that with Vick in mind?  It seems he really nailed the feelings running through the guy's head.  All except the "I hate myself for what I've become"...cause Vick blames everyone else...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Vick is not a top 15 QB.  Yes, he's an amazing athlete, and is fun to watch.  And yes, in Madden, he's one of the best players to have, cause you can do all kinds of great things with him.  But a QB needs to be a leader.  He needs to be about the team.  When the game falls apart, he needs to step up and say, "this is on me".  He never blames his teammates.  For all the flack I give Peyton about not winning in the playoffs, the guy never blames anyone else.  And I admire that about the guy.  Until Vick understands what it means to be a leader, he'll never be a great QB.  And I'm just going out on a limb here...if he hasn't figured it out by now, he's never going to.

All that aside, the Falcons should win this game.  The Skins D is in disarray, and the Falcons will shred them with their running game.  The Falcons get a much needed win, but it won't last.

Detroit at New England

You better put all your eggs in one basket
You better count your chickens before they hatch
You better sell some wine before it's time
You better find yourself an itch to scratch

-Dare to be Stupid by Weird Al

Ah, Matt Millen...every week that you're still employed is another week that makes it easy to pick against the Lions.  And I think this song sums up his GM philosophy to a T.

Pats win this one easy...Matt Millen is overjoyed that it's a road game, so that he can "get lost" on the way home, and not face the Detroit media or fans.

Arizona at St. Louis

Who will take my place
When I sleep alone?
Who, when the day is done?

-Who will take my Place by Dusty Springfield

This one goes out to Denny Green...something to keep you up late at night dreaming about.  Cuddle up with a tub of ice cream, an afghan, and turn this one up on the stereo...and sit and wonder what life will be like for the Cardinals when you're gone.  Might want to include a box of Kleenex to wipe away any tears that might fall.

Two other thoughts about this game...

This should have been a Kurt Warner home coming game...oh wait, Warner has been dead for a couple years now, must have been thinking about someone else.

Remember how everyone was worried that the Colts would miss James?  You think maybe James misses the Colts a whole lot more?  He has a terrible O-line, a rookie QB, and a 2-8 team...yep, going to the playoffs every year really gets on a guy's nerves.

The Rams roll to another win, behind Stephen Jackson and Marc Bulger...thereby pounding another nail into the coffin of Denny Green.  Denny blows up at the press conference, screaming incoherently, and calling out anyone that will listen.

San Francisco at New Orleans

America, F#CK YEAH!
What you going to do when we come for you now,
it's the dream that we all share; it's the hope for tomorrow
F#CK YEAH!

-America, F#CK YEAH! By Trey Parker

The American Saints at home....always a good bet.

Plus, add onto that the fact that their passing game is clicking on all cylinders...and the Niners have a TERRIBLE pass D.  My daughter could play CB for these guys, and she's 18 months old...but even she knows you can't let the WR get behind you.

The only thing that the Saints have had problems with is turnovers...but the Niners DBs can't see the football, let alone catch it.  So that shouldn't be an issue this game.

Saints keep on Marching...F#CK YEAH!!!

Houston at Oakland

The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.
that suicide is painless
-Suicide is Painless by Mike Altman (MASH theme song)

What's sad about this game, the winner is really the loser.  Both these teams are key players in the sweepstakes for the #1 pick...so don't screw it up guys...don't win the game.

Meanwhile, we get to see the Great John Shoop back on the sideline calling plays!!!  What cracks me up about the whole thing...they demoted Tom Walsh to the TE Coach, which is what Shoop was...so the former O-coordinator is still on staff?  How does that work?  Would the B&B not take him back?  Does he have naked pics of Art Shell?  Why are either of these guys still drawing a pay check in the NFL?  It gives me hope that I can get a coordinator position based off my Madden skills.

Oakland wins the game, and loses the battle for the #1 pick.  Insuring a subpar draft position, and another mediocre draft!  B

Jacksonville at Miami

Forever Pride of old Florida
May She droop never
We'll sing a song for the flag today
Cheer for the team at play
On to the goal we'll fight our way
For Florida.

-Florida Fight song

It's the Battle for Florida!!!  Why isn't this played up more?  Tampa is in the NFC, so they won't play either team as often, but these guys will play pretty regularly...they need to build this up.  It could be Florida/FSU/MiamiU to a smaller scale...come guys, start bad mouthing each other, and getting something started!!!

Oh wait, maybe it's cause both these teams are kind of boring?

Miami is making a real 2nd half serge...and they're doing it with Joey Harrington...just totally crazy.  If Joey wins out, does Daunte get another shot?  Or is it the Harrington show from here on out?

I'm going to play the hot hand, Miami takes another one, and Joey gets one game closer to making it hard for Daunte to get his job back.

Dallas at NY Giants

He took in the four a.m. show at the Clark
Excitable boy, they all said
And he bit the usherette's leg in the dark
Excitable boy, they all said

-Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon

The Excitable Boy syndrome is all over the G-men...everyone is griping, yelling, complaining, blaming, sherking, pointing....just crazy.  That spells a lot of trouble for this team, and a lot of trouble for the coach.

This one is simple.  The G-men had the heart ripped out, and the Boys are rolling.

Romo's Boys win another, and the G-men sink deeper into the quagmire.

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh

The riders leaned on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from hell a riding on our range
Then cow - boy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Tryin' to catch this devil herd... a - cross these endless Skies.

-Riders in the Sky by Johnny Cash

Two dead teams...just playing out the rest of the season.

Here's the big questions these guys need to answer...

Will Chris Simms be healthy enough to play next season?

If not, is Gradkowski the QB you want to go into the season with?

How can the Bucs get younger on D?  A lot of the big contributors are on their last legs, with not a lot of good youngsters to step in.

Will the Cadillac be revved up for next season?  And if he is, will Chucky give him the ball?

Can the Steelers replace Bettis' leadership and locker room presence, something that seemed to lack from them this year?

Will the off season rejuventate Big Ben, and get him back on the path to glory?  Or has his head already taken one too many shots?

What's the story with the D?  Seems to be a lot softer than it was a year ago...

And the O line, the bocking has looked terrible this year, that's always been a strength, what needs to be done there?

I think the Steelers pull one out, but it's not a pretty game by any means.  If this is the only game on in your area, I'm really sorry.

Seattle at Denver

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
now every time I hear that whistle I hang my head and cry..
-Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
 

That seems to be Shanahan's philosophy with QBs, shooting them just to watch them die.  He signs Griese to a huge contract, anoints him as the successor to Elway...then cuts him.  Signs Plummer, anoints him as the real successor to Elway...then drafts Cutler...and benches the starting QB on a 7-4 team.  I'm just saying that is Cutler is faced with a similar situation in 2 years...let's stop blaming the QBs, and look at the coach.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have returned to full strength.  And got what they were missing back in a running game last week.  If they can continue to get the line to jell, and figure out a way to get the D to stiffen up...well, then they might be right back in business.

II think the Hawks steal one from the Rookie QB.  Cutler isn't ready for prime time just yet, and the Hawks take advantage.

Carolina at Philadelphia

Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid?

-Basket Case by Green Day

That's how the Panthers make me feel in a nutshell...one day they play like Super Bowl Contenders...the next day they lose to the Redskins and a rookie QB.

Plus, add onto that the fact that this team has both Steve Smith and Keyshawn...and well, the song then has double meaning.

So do the Eagles still have the juice to make a run without McNabb?  Don't see it happening.  McNabb is Philly...he's their leader and their best player.  Not going to recover from that.

The Panthers win this one...assuming that the don' t lose it.  Sorry, gotta hedge my bets on them...cause they are just all over the place.  I'm going with them, but with very little faith.  I think the last lyrics of the song really ring true...

Grasping to control
So you better hold on

And there you have it, other week gone and done...I can smell the playoffs...nope, sorry that was gas.

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