It's 888 Miles to Chicago...
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Now is the time of the year where things get weird in the NFL...

The playoff races are narrowed down, the scenarios are crystal clear.

Teams that have all that they can locked up, are resting people and preparing for the playoffs.

Most of us are done with our fantasy seasons, and searching for a reason to watch these last few weekends.

Some of us are in the Championship game for their fantasy league, and are screaming at teams not to rest key players.

And through all this, the NFL starts giving us games on more days...Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and 2 Monday night games...the hits just keep on coming....

On top of the assault on our football senses, it's the holidays, family is in town, or you're traveling...and the football routine hits another snag.

Every football fan has a football routine...you grab a certain breakfast, throw on a favorite jersey or shirt, have a favorite spot on the coach...know when you'll order food, or make food....have the fridge stocked with beverage of choice...and has the normal invite out to the normal group of friends...

But the holidays come around, and all hell breaks lose with regards to these routines.  This in combination with the change in game schedule and the loss of a real urgency due to being knocked from contention (fantasy or real) means that there are a lot of football fans out there that are lost, and searching for meaning...

Maybe, just maybe, I can give you a little something to help in the confusion...or maybe not....

Minnesota at Green Bay

Wow, talk about ways to make the NFL Network less valuable; have a meaningless NFC North game on this late in the season.  Yes, it's a good rivalry, but man, can you think of a more boring game?  I mean the Pack managed 17 points against the Lions...although they could have had 2 more scores, but the Great Favre threw 2 picks in the red zone....and the Vikes will be starting a rookie QB...yep, the NFL Network is excited about this one.  What can you watch?

Well, Favre will be pressing to get his TD record, he has 8 more to go, and 2 games to do it in.  He needs some big numbers quickly, and don't think for one second the Vikes are going to "let" him get any.  But he's going to try, and the coaching staff is going to call his number...should make for a lot of picks.  So watch for how many times the Pack gets in the Red Zone, and start throwing even though the better play is to run...and then count the number of incomplete and INTs that come out of Favre forces.

On the other side of the ball, watch the Rook Jackson.  See if he truly looks the part of a NFL QB.  If he can offer a few glimpses, the Vikes can go into next season with a positive in terms of having a young QB to groom in the offense.  But if he looks bad, watch Brad Childress start slowly going nuts...facing another season of Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.

Mr. Peeps has been drinking since 9am today, so he might not be super reliable here...after another shot of tequila, he puts on a Cheese head, and parades around the room.  Pack win a close sloppy game at home.  Favre gets 1 TD,  but tries for several more....let me break the bad news here Brett...if you want the record, you'll need to come back next year.

Kansas City at Oakland

Ah, Saturday football...just weird to say.  And once again, just a boring game.  And what channel is it on?  Yep, the NFL Network.  Huzzah!

There is always hope for an amazing individual performance when LJ is involved, and that's what all us football fans should be rooting for...of course, only 18 of us will see it, as the game is on the NFL Network.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are in a heated battle for the #1 pick in the draft.  The Lions draw the Bears this week, so the Raiders will need to play extra inept to make sure they keep pace.  Look for signs of obvious throwing of the game...poor play calling, unexplainable trick plays, completely absent blocking, kicking FGs when a TD is needed...you know, typical Art Shell moves.

Also watch for any signs of life in the Chiefs D...they have not looked good lately...if they can't hold down the pathetic Raiders O...well, I won't say it's a sign of the apocalypse...but Dogs and Cats would start living together.

Crap, Mr. Peeps already passed out.  I'll need to try to revive him...nothing like trying to revive a passed out Chimp...let's go with the Chiefs in this one.  LJ rolls, and Raiders sink lower...one step closer to that #1 pick.

Chicago at Detroit

Rex is the NFC Player of the Week.

The Bears have 7 Pro Bowlers.

They have clinched Home Field advantage through out the playoffs.

And yet, every where I turn, the only thing I read about them is doom and gloom.  I will say, I see the holes in the armor...and I have my worries about this team...but I'm also really excited about the season they've had, and the possibilities of what might come.

Here are the things that really worry me about the team right now...

The mounting injuries - Mike Brown and Tommie Harris gone for the season...not good.  That's a big chunk of the D, not to mention 2 of the leaders as well.

Rex - which QB shows up?  300+ Yards?  1.3 rating?  You just never know.

Defense looks vulnerable - They were once lights out...not sure if it's the injuries or what, but the last few weeks they haven't looked like the Monsters of the Midway.

Now the good news...

They are 10-0 against the NFC - last time I checked, they only needed to beat NFC teams to reach the Super Bowl.

They seem to always find a way to win - This should not be underrated.  Some times teams just have that mojo where they seem to find ways to pull out games.  The Bears have had that all year...just making things work.

Not a single NFC teams scares me - I know this sounds like a totally lame argument, but seriously, what NFC team out there is really any good right now?

All in all, I think the Bears can and will make it through the playoffs and to the Super Bowl.  But that's me, I'm a nutty Bears fan, that loves to blindly believe his team is great.

Oh, right, they are playing the Lions...

Don't need Mr. Peeps for this one, Bears roll, as they play mostly their B-team....and Lovie just keeps chanting "No whammies, no whammies"...hoping that the injury bug holds off for another week.

Tennessee at Buffalo

The 2 AFC upstarts...this could actually be one of the most underrated games this week...just 2 teams on a roll, and playing hard.  They both have an outside shot at the playoffs, but the loser of this game will not.  This is the kind of game you hope for at the end of the season...

I don't think I need to drum up any reason to watch this game, so let me just say 2 things about these teams...

I've already stated many times over that I'm a big fan of VY.  Just think he's the type of QB any team would love to have, someone who just finds a way to win games...someone that has the belief of his teammates...if the Titans make the playoffs, he gets my vote for Rookie of the Year.

What in the hell has gotten into Jauron?  Is this his 2001 season with the Bears?  Were the Bears just that untalented when he was coaching them?  Or during the time since he was canned by the Bears did he have an epiphany, and figure out how to really coach a team?  I have no clue on the answer, but let's just say, I'm completely confused.

Mr. Peeps has groggily awoken from his sleep...only to puke all over a Bills poster...not sure if that means he's picking them...ah, he puked again...I'm guessing he's going to pick VY and the Titans.  Ride'em till they buck you...

Carolina at Atlanta

Wow, 2 teams playing like dog snot, out of the playoffs...the NFL at it's finest!

Everyone wants to heap the blame for these teams' seasons on the QBs.  And it's not all their fault...

But, they haven't been the solution either.

First Vick...

He's not calling the plays, which is the biggest problem for their offense, and he's not dropping the passes.  But he's not helping anything by being a "me-first QB", and whining and complaining.  Also, he hasn't grown or gotten better since he entered the NFL...he's always been an amazing athlete...and that's it.  And at this point, that's all he'll be.

Delhomme, he's living off his Super Bowl season...and that's it.  He consistently throw into coverage, and gambles when he shouldn't.  He tends to have blinders for Smith, which isn't terrible, but the other teams know it.  When things break his way, he looks great...but he can't make things happen like a Favre or Manning.  He's a middle of the road QB, that had 1 great half season.  But we won't see him in this game at all...

So watch Chris Weinke...and remember that he's been in the league for 6 seasons, has played in only 18 games...and he's 34!  I think he's the only QB that was ever past his prime when he was drafted.

Watch the Falcons...if they insist on having Vick take 9 step drops...or go into shotgun and sprint away from the line of scrimmage, not only will they lose this game, but it's obvious they haven't learned a damn thing this season.  Keeping Vick close to the line of scrimmage, where the run is a huge threat, is essential to the Falcons success.  When they won those 3 big games in the middle of the season, that's what they were doing with Vick...and then they went to this present strategy, and have since fallen out of the playoffs.

Mr. Peeps is wearing an FSU jersey, and giving a Heisman pose.  Good lord, he's picking the Panthers.  Looks like he's expecting the Falcons to continue to drop Vick WAAAY back...if Mora and/or Knapp don't get canned, it's ridiculous, this has been one of the worse coaching jobs in the league.

Indianapolis at Houston

I'll make this one quick...

Indy can't stop the run.

Houston can't run.

In a surly mood after passing out, Mr. Peeps simply poops on a picture of Gary Kubiak.  Strong "words" from a trained Chimp...Indy rolls.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland

Another ugly game, this is the type of game the NFL hates this time of year.  Pray that this isn't the game on in your area.  Can you imagine the look on the broadcasting crew when they get handed the assignment for this game?  Wouldn't you be re-evaluating your life if that happened?  "Seriously?  You want us to the Bucs-Browns?  Look, we're really sorry we slept with your wife and daughter, if we would of known we never would of done it."  Wouldn't it be great to have this as a TV show?  Middle of the week on the NFL Network, you have all the broadcast teams there, sort of like at the NBA draft lottery...and up on the board are all the games for the week.  You start with the big games...and then slowly work down the list.  Come on, who wouldn't take at least a little interest in that?

In this game, watch to see if Rattay repeats his "magic" from last week and shows up the Rook again.  If this happens, and with the uncertain health of Simms...what do the Bucs do next year?  Or is Chucky hoping he gets a shot at Brady Quinn?

For the Browns, it's simple, keep watching Derek Anderson...just love that he's starting in the league right now.  He could be the next Damon Huard!

Both Mr. Peeps and I are totally bored with this game...we'll go with the home team to get the meaningless win.  Browns win in an ugly one, and the broadcast team dies a little inside.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

The Ravens still have a shot at home-field...and the Steelers would like nothing more than to mess with their rivals.  This should be a good one.  You know the Steelers fans are looking for a reason to cheer...and the old saying goes, "If we can't win the Super Bowl, at least beat the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals".  Okay, that's a terrible saying, no poetry, and no history...and I just made it up.  But you get the idea.  It's the old, "If I'm going down, I'm taking the rest of you with me" mentality...yeah, there, that's better.  Forget the previous saying, let's go with that one.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, there's a chance that Boller might start.  Yuck.  He played well enough to beat the Browns, but come on, this is Kyle Boller.  This is a guy who has been given every chance in the world to succeed, and continues to fail.  It's not "if" he'll fail, it's When.  For the sake of this game, and the health and sanity of all Ravens fans, I hope McNair is a go.

The Steelers have won 5 of their last 6...their only loss?  A 27-0 beating by the Ravens.  Maybe the Steelers just needed a high degree of difficultly for the season, only thing to keep it interesting.  If they win out, and get some help...they could make the playoffs.  I know it's far fetched, but mathematically, it seems possible.  And that is just nuts.

Okay, sorry about this one, as note last week, Mr. Peeps is a little biased.  He's a huge Steeler fan...ever since the Bubby Brister days...yes I know it's whacky...he's just loved them.  He's got his Terrible Towel out, and it looks like he's going with the upset.  Steelers win, and the Ravens are scrambling for play off positioning.

New England at Jacksonville

What a surprise, the Jags fell flat on the road.  Just shocking.  And really makes this quote even funnier...

``The critics say we can't win on the road,'' cornerback Rashean Mathis said. ``Maybe this will do a lot to silence them.''

That was after they beat MIAMI!!  Who at the time was 5-7...Rashean, that's not a real "big" road win.  They followed that up with a big win against the Colts...and then lost to the Titans on the road.  They are 2-5 on the road...that is just awful.  The flip side, they are 6-1 at home, with some BIG wins.  But they've lost twice to the Texans.  But they've beat the snot out of the Colts...

So basically, we have no clue what the Jags will do, and we have no clue which version will show up.

Meanwhile, the Pats have almost as many injuries as the Bears...although, you never know if you should trust a Belichick injury report.  Still, due to the injuries and lack of real play makers on Offense (Outside of Brady, Maroney and Watson) they've been a little up and down this year as well.

Staring over at Mr. Peeps...he has a pretty confused look on his face...I'm with him, this game could go just about any direction...I really wouldn't be surprised with any outcome.  Wait, it looks like Mr. Peeps has an idea...he's scribbling something....not on the wall!  Damn it.  Ah, he's written Pats and Jags on the wall...and he's closing his eyes and spinning in a circle....and firing a football at the wall...damn it, there goes the drywall.  Looks like the Jags win this one, on the basis of a massive hole in the drywall where it used to say Jags.

New Orleans at NY Giants

How can you tell when the mojo is working for you team?  When you lose a game you shouldn't, but yet you still win your division.  That's a sign your team has something going for it...or that you're playing in a really weak conference....not sure yet.

Another word about this whole AFC is better than the NFC...

I really hate a lot of this talk.  It always a cycle in any sport...it's the nature of the game.  Some years one conference is just better, and you know what, that's okay.  It's not the end of the world, and it's not a reason to overhaul the playoff system.  This has always been the deal in sports, and no matter what changes are made, you know what, there will always be a "deserving" team left out.  But here's the thing, all the teams know the rules, and they all play by the same ones.  They know what it takes to make the playoffs...and if their team finishes 10-6, but misses the playoffs...their team didn't deserve to go.  It's as simple as that.  I'm tired of all the complaining and belly-aching.  We could expand the playoff system to 20 teams, and then there would be arguments how really the 21st was more deserving than the 19th team.  Get over it.  Okay, this rant has gone past the boundaries of this game....

The Giants play fantastic against the Panthers, crawling back into the playoff race...only to fumble the chance by playing like crap against the Eagles....seems to be the story for these guys.  It's hard to consistently win games when you've got 1 fingered pointed at someone else.

If the Saints want a home playoff game...a HUGE advantage for them...they are going to need to win this game.

What in the hell....yep...signs that a chimp has been drinking...he finds a need to write "Colston=Rookie of the Year" on the wall in his own...well, let's just say yesterday it was banana.  Saints march on in this one, and the Giants blame everyone they can...but we all know who's really at fault, Isiah.

Washington at St. Louis

Wow, another exciting, action-packed game.  Is this one on the NFL Network?  Could someone call them, and see if they'll take it?

Well, I guess, there is the chance to see Stephen Jackson again.  And Torry Holt is an example of all that is right at the WR position.  So that's something.

And the Skins have a rookie QB that is showing a little promise, so that's something to watch...

But that's about it.

Mr. Peeps, what have you got for me?  All he does is hand me a piece of Astroturf.  What?  Oh, I get it...in reference to the "greatest show on turf"...man, you are lame when you're drunk.  Mr. Peeps is taking the Rams.  Wake me when this game is over.

Arizona at San Francisco

Okay, if I told you at the start of the season, "the December game between the Niner and Cards would have playoff implications" you'd assume it was because the Cards were the team that was on it's way.  I mean, even Regis picked the Cards.

No one would have guessed that the Niners have a shot at the division crown.  Even if you were a believer in the Super Bowl loser Jinx, or the Madden Curse...the Niners?  But here they are.

But the Cards are playing to save Denny Green's job.  And the scary thing is they might just do it.  And you know what that means?  Another crappy season next year for the Cards.  You think things are going to change?  Nope, they'll start off with high expectations based off the late season run, and they'll stumble to a 1-4 start, just like they have the last 3 years.  Get a clue, ditch the chump.

Stop playing with the VCR...Damn it Mr. Peeps, if you're putting banana chips in their again...no, he's re-watching "the catch" over and over.  Looks like he's picking the Niners...but all will be for naught, unless they get a little help...

San Diego at Seattle

Let me paint a little picture for you...

LT, TD record holder.

Hawks D has let up more points than all but 9 teams.  Yuck.

The Charger D is first in Sacks with 54.

The Hawks O is 6th in Sacks allowed with 42.

To sum up, LT will be in the end zone a lot, and Hasselbeck will be on his butt a lot.

Mr. Peeps is just holding a copy of Madden 07 and laughing.  Poor Hawks, the season is slipping away...and after they lose this one, it will all come down to next week.

Cincinnati at Denver

Okay, so in my previous rant about the AFC-NFC disparity, I mentioned that all the teams know the rules, and have to play by them...and that no matter what happens to the playoff system a "deserving" team will always be at home.

Here's the problem, just how deserving are these teams?  Denver is one of the teams that could be left heading home...who cares?  Denver knew they were in a very tough division and conference...and they lost 4 in a row...3 of them to division rivals.  Sorry, but that's not a playoff worthy performance.  Even if a 9-7 team or even a 10-6 team stays home in the AFC...they all knew what was at stake, and that every game matters...and yet they missed the playoffs.  Sorry, but my heart doesn't go out to them.  And you know what, even if these teams did get in, they're one and done...we're not talking about the best teams here, we're talking about the 7th or 8th best teams in a conference...they're not good.

The best teams win when the playoffs roll around, and you know what...the current system gets the best teams into the playoffs.  End of story.

Sorry, had to get that out of my system.

The Bengals pass Defense is terrible...but the Broncos passing O...um, not very good.

Mr. Peeps has his USC jersey on again...looks like he's thinking he picked the wrong USC QB, having picked Leinart against the Broncos last week...the Bengals win this one, and another "deserving" team is struggling to make the playoffs.

Philadelphia at Dallas

Wow, 2 Monday night games...on Christmas no less.  Fun.

Hey, at least both these games have playoff implications...ESPN is in better shape then the NFL Network there.

This should be a great game...division rivals, both with a lot at stake, cool story lines...

And yes, don't worry, ESPN will totally screw it up.  This will be the most painful game of the year to watch.  We'll have to sit and listen to Tony, Joe and Mike wish us a Merry Christmas 800 million times, in 800 million different ways.  Tafoya will bring us hard hitting stories about how the players spent their Christmases...and we'll have at least 15 special guests that drop by.  It will be terrifying.  Lost among ESPN tripping over itself to suck off Disney, and the rest of corporate America, there will be a football game that should be entertaining, and intriguing.  My suggestion?

Turn off the sound.  DO NOT MUTE THE TV...that will only cause you to have to read these idiots in close captioning.  Trust me, it's even worse than listening to them.  Just turn the volume all the way down, flip on some Christmas music, and enjoy the game itself.  Let me know how it turns out, I'll be enjoying my daughters first real Christmas (she was too young to really get it last year).

Jeez...Mr. Peeps is wearing his Romosexual shirt...god lord, not him too.  Pretty soon all these Romosexuals will want equal rights, and be able to marry each other...oh, the anarchy!!  Get Dubya on the phone, he needs to put a stop to this!  The ‘Boys roll, and the Eagles sink out of the playoffs.

NY Jets at Miami

The final game of the week, also on Christmas.

Before I get to the pick, let me share one more Christmas thought.

I guess I don't love my wife.  I know, I'm shocked to find this out too.  I could swear I did...I don't know where it all went wrong.   But according to all these ads on TV and radio, I don't love her unless I buy her a diamond.  And so many places are selling such cheap diamonds these days...how on earth could I know show my love for my wife by getting her one?  Man, these places must be insane for selling them this cheap...oh wait, they are most likely African Conflict diamonds...so to show my love for my wife, I should buy something that several people died needlessly for?  Ah, true love.  Sorry, I just get sick of these ads.

The Jets-Phins game should also be a good one....if Saban's boys haven't quit on him for flirting with the Alabama job.

The Jets certainly have more at stake in this one...

In true Mr. Peeps style, he's donned a Namath jersey, and is "Garunteeing a win".  Where's Suzy Kolber?  Nothing like seeing a drunk Chimp, doing an Namath impersonation and making a pass at Kolber...Jets win, and move a step closer to the playoffs.

Well that's it.  With the extra time on my hands over the holidays, I'm going to try to put up some extra posts, but if I don't get anything up before Christmas, everyone have a Happy Holidays, and spread lots of good cheer!

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