If you're American, the New England Patriots' season is looking like the Alamo, with guys dropping around you as the Mexicans fire away.
If you're French, it's like Dienbienphu, watching your guys struggle to defend a nearly indefensible position as the Vietnamese keep coming and coming.
The reinforcements used to be young and able. Now, they're aging and decrepit. Hope Junior Seau and Roosevelt Colvin have been sufficiently duct-taped to withstand 60 minutes.
And then a green kid like Kevin O'Connell may have to be dropped in to lead them at Oakland Sunday, if Matt Cassel hasn't returned following his father's death Monday night. I choose to take heart in Brett Favre having one of the greatest games of his career in Oakland 24 hours after learning of his father's death, but as we know, Matty's not...you know the drill.
Brady. Maroney. Harrison. Thomas. Perhaps Bruschi after the Seattle game. They keep falling. How is this team 8-5?
They looked doomed early in the second quarter Sunday after the 2-10 Seahawks moved the ball down the field on them with a backup quarterback like, well, the '07 Patriots. Deion Branch was sticking it to his old team the way he fantasized about it probably every night since the Pats shipped him west.
Yet, they found a way. The defense plugged some gaps. After the Seahawks drank his milkshake the whole first half, Brandon Merriweather came up with the big play, forcing a fumble on a safety blitz to save the day. Meanwhile, Cassel and Wes Welker were making like Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. Just don't ask me to explain how Welker came up with 12 catches after being absolutely decleated his previous two games (and seemingly kayoed in the Pittsburgh game).
This team could win its last three games, go 11-5, and still not make the playoffs. It could also lose the last three, despite being favored.
But you know (maybe it's a little easier to say because of how the season ended) ... the rewards of surviving another week under siege are greater than simply shlepping around the burden of a perfect record every week.
Anyhow, on to the picks (13-7 last week; 179-100-1 overall). Confidence points in parentheses:
BEARS 24, SAINTS 20 (5): Just seems like New Orleans is in a life-or-death game every week. Can't win em all.
PATRIOTS 17, RAIDERS 13 (8): Four words for the Pats: Make. JaMarcus. Russell. Throw. Yes, even with their secondary.
COLTS 42, LIONS 6 (16): They! Could! Go! All! The! Way! To! O-16!
JAGUARS 23, PACKERS 21 (1): This game looked great back in May, didn't it?
FALCONS 30, BUCCANEERS 24 (11): Six days is not long enough to fix a collapsed run defense, Tampa Bay.
SEAHAWKS 23, RAMS 14 (2): Seattle may be 2-11, but still looks interested.
DOLPHINS 19, 49ers 13 (4): San Francisco looks like a real team since Mike Singletary took charge.
JETS 24, BILLS 13 (7): I compared the Jets to Ric Flair beating The Man two weeks ago. The past two weeks has been like Nature Boy following up wins over Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giants with losses to Special Delivery Jones and The Unpredictable Johnny Rodz.
REDSKINS 27, BENGALS 10 (10): Cincy can't stop a disgruntled Clinton Portis, let alone a satisified one.
CHARGERS 26, CHIEFS 20 (3): Let's see how badly the Bolts want to save Norv Turner's job.
TITANS 24, TEXANS 12 (12): Tenny can smell home field.
CARDINALS 31, VIKINGS 25 (13): Even if this is extended garbage time for Arizona.
PANTHERS 30, BRONCOS 20 (14): Does anybody really want to deal with the one-two of D'Angelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart right now?
STEELERS 20, RAVENS 7 (6): You don't bet against Pittsburgh on the road.
COWBOYS 21, GIANTS 20 (9): Team Turmoil vs. Team Chaos? Take the one that's more desperate.
EAGLES 31, BROWNS 20 (15): Philly's hot, but be mindful that the Jints laid a fat stinky one in Cleveland on a Monday night, too.