Notes from the North

There is so much to talk about from that Green Bay/Dallas game last week, isn't there?

First of all, how about Tony Romo? Two picks in the last three minutes to throw away a game that should have been in the bag? A game the Cowboys desperately needed? As I've written in this space on several occasions in the past, Romo is the kind of player who will hit 15 free throws in the row before half time, then miss two with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.

He's Mr. September. But maybe it's time Dallas realises that, despite all the gaudy stats he puts up when the pressure is low, Romo is not going to win them a Super Bowl. They need to move on.

Second of all, what's up with Cowboy's coach Jason Garrett? Your team averages more than SEVEN yards a carry on the ground against a woeful run defence in the first half. Then, when you enjoy a big lead and just have to run time off the clock in the third and fourth quarters, you call nothing but pass plays? With Tony Romo as your quarterback?

I don't care if Green Bay had a safety in the box, run the effing ball. Even if your average gain per rush in the second half is only 50% of your average gain in the first, you are still going to pick up first downs. And the clock will not stop running. And Tony Romo won't be throwing picks.

Looks to me like Dallas needs to dump both Garrett and Romo if they want to be anything but a pretty good team.

My third question is about Matt Flynn, the erstwhile Green Bay quarterback. What's next for him? He dazzles in brief on-field appearances for the Pack, then goes elsewhere for big free-agent money and disappoints all around, then returns to Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers (and several others) go down and suddenly he's All-Pro again.

Does Green Bay keep him, recognising he's a perfect fit for its offensive system but knowing he'll only see the field again if Rodgers gets hurt? Does Flynn stay in Green Bay and accept that he may never get serious playing time again? Would any other team ever consider taking a gamble on him and signing him as a free agent?

I like Flynn. But it's hard not to write him off as a system quarterback who can only succeed in the Green Bay offense, with the Packers coaches and the Packers players. My feeling is that he should settle in with the Pack and accept that his fate will be to win Super Bowls as a back-up, rarely seeing the field.

It's not going to get him in to the Hall of Fame but it seems like a pretty good gig.

On to the World's Worst Football Picks for NFL Week 16:

Dolphins over Buffalo: Miami can taste it. At this point in the season, always pick the more desperate, more hungry team. (8)

Carolina to beat New Orleans: I think the Saints got exposed a bit last week. And I think the Panthers, at home, want to make a statement in their battle for the playoffs. (1)

Cincinnati over Minnesota: Now that's tough to type! The Bengals are clinging to a divisional lead and a playoff spot. The Vikes are playng for pride and, even if he plays, Adrian Peterson is not at his best. Go with the team with more at stake. (7)

Denver to beat Houston: Is it as amazing to you as it is to me that the Texans started the season at 2-0 and have lost 12 straight since? Denver, meanwhile, is fighting for home-field advantage for the playoffs. Now if only they can get that dome built in time for the post season! (16)

Jacksonville over Tennessee: Speaking of amazing, with a win here the Jags will pull into a tie with the Titans for second in the AFC South. Three weeks ago, the Titans were 5-6 and pushing toward a playoff spot. Meanwhile, Jacksonville is 3-1 in the division. (6)

Kansas City to beat Indy: A classic game in which the team with the lesser record (the Colts at 9-5) have already clinched their division and have little to play for while the better team (KC at 11-3) has a lot on the line thanks to its dog fight for the division title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. (15)

Jests over Cleveland: Is it sufficient to say that I couldn't not pick a winner here? (5)

St. Louis to beat Tampa Bay: Neither team has much to play for but I think the Rams are trying to use the last month of the season to set the table for next year. And they're looking pretty good. (14)

Washington over Dallas: I'm picking Washington because the 'Skins are in a complete mess and should lose big here. But, as discussed above, it's GaRomo for the Cowboys and that's just a disaster. (4)

Seattle to beat Arizona: With a win here, Seattle ensures that the NFC playoffs run through their park. Huge advantage for the Seahawks. Otherwise, I'd say the Cards (9-5 and playing well) have more at stake. (9)

Detroit to beat the Giants: Bumbling, stumbling, fumbling. To which team do you apply those terms? Who knows and who cares. But Detroit still, amazingly enough, has a shot at a division title. (3)

San Diego over Oakland: LIke Arizona, I get the feeling the Chargers are trying to use the last part of this lost season to create some momentum going into next year. (13)

Green Bay over Pittsburgh: I'm leery of this pick. I like the Steelers, despite their struggles. But whether it's Rodgers or Flynn at quarterback, the Packers need this game to stay in the playoff battle with Chicago and Detroit. (10)

New England to beat Baltimore: This game actually matters for both teams. The Patriots are fighting for top spot overall in the AFC while Baltimore, winners of four in a row, can still catch the Bengals for the divisional title. I still like NE in any big conference game. (12)

Philadelphia to beat Chicago: Both 8-6 and both leading their divisions, at least for now. Big, big game. It will come down whether or not the Eagles' defence can recover from the last debacle against Minny and shut down Jay Cutler and Co. I think they can. (11)

San Francisco to beat Atlanta: If I were picking with my heart, I'd go with the Falcons. And I think Atlanta has the talent to win this one. But San Fran has won four in a row and wants to keep pace with Seattle. If the Seahawks lose to Arizona on Sunday, of course, the San Fran pick gets even better. (2)


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