Jeff Boswell's Blog

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

New Orleans @ Chicago (-3)

The Saints and Bears are both 7-6 and alive in the extremely tight NFC playoff race. Despite being last in the NFC South, the Saints could pull out a wild card berth, but would need to win out, and would also need help from several teams, as well as some higher powers, such as the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy, for example.

"Basically," says Sean Payton, "we need every team ahead of us in the NFC standings to lose every one of they're remaining games. Sure it's unlikely, but when hoping for such unlikely events to happen, it helps to have faith in such entities as the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy."

"As for the Bears, it's always difficult playing at Soldier Field in December. It will be cold and dreary, with no signs of pink pull-ups or painted fingernails. One thing's for sure: Chicago is a difficult place to play, if you're the opposing team, and it's a difficult place for a boy to become a man, if you're Brian Urlacher's son."

Chicago trails the Vikings by a game in the NFC North standings, and with the North likely to send only the division winner to the playoffs, the Bears can ill afford to fall two games behind.

"We're not in a position to look for help from anyone other than ourselves," says Lovie Smith, who insists on being addressed by his nickname, "Lovie," as opposed to his given name, Mrs. Thurston Howell, III. "Although we surely won't turn down help from the office of the commissioner in the form of the upheld suspensions of Minnesota's Kevin and Pat Williams, and the Saints' Deuce McAllister, Charles Grant, and Will Smith. Those would all benefit us. Hopefully, the NFL will have its way and Roger Goodell will prove that he not only 'wears the pants' in matter such as this, but also keeps those pants up with 'suspenders.'"

Saints win, 27-24.

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta (-3)

A week after losing the battle for first place in the NFC South at Carolina, the Buccaneers take to the road again, this time facing the Falcons, whom the Bucs beat in Week 2. The Panthers avenged an earlier loss to Tampa by rushing for 299 yards and 5 touchdowns. Atlanta's hopes for revenge lie on the legs of Michael Turner, while the Bucs' game plan is intent on stopping him.

"It's unconscionable that we gave up 299 yards on the ground," says a perturbed Jon Gruden. "That's not Tampa football. I'm not sure if Monte Kiffin's head was completely into the Carolina game. It sure didn't look like it. It seemed to me that Monte's thoughts were somewhere else, which makes me want to put my foot 'somewhere else.' If Monte wants to go to Knoxville, it's only common courtesy to give me fair warning, and any other Van Halen albums he chooses. I'll really miss Monte if he leaves, particularly his defensive knowledge, but mostly the smell of mothballs and Old Spice. Monte's old and faithful, and just like 'Old Faithful,' he's a 'geezer.'"

Turner was held to 42 yards on the ground in Atlanta's 24-9 loss to the Bucs in Week 2. In most of their victories this year, success on the ground by Turner has opened up the passing game. If Turner, the NFL's second-leading rusher, can find success early against the Tampa defense, Matt Ryan should find more one-on-one matchups to exploit in the passing game.

"That's called 'Turn' and Burn,'" says Ryan. "Now, in Atlanta, when someone says 'Turner,' Michael's is the Turner to which they're referring. In times past, when someone said 'Turner' in Atlanta, it was often in reference to 'Ted,' or sometimes in reference to a 'trick,' depending on one's vicinity to a sleazy juice bar or a Waffle House."

Turner rushes for a short score, and Matt Ryan hits Roddy White for a touchdown pass. The Falcons get their revenge, 23-19.

Detroit @ Indianapolis (-16½)

With the NFL's longest winning streak at six, the Colts are positioning themselves for a playoff push that will likely start on the road against either the AFC East or AFC West champion. Indy is 9-4, and with a 10-6 record not necessarily looking good enough for a wild card spot, the Colts would like to register two more wins just to be sure. One of those victories will likely come against the winless Lions.

"We're more than happy to be hosting the Lions in the comfortable confines of Lucas Oil Stadium," says Peyton Manning. "Did you hear that? I just pitched Lucas Oil and didn't even realize it. And I didn't even get paid for it, which is truly amazing. Anyway, we've started a tradition in our new home in which the name of every team we defeat is placed on our 'Wall of Victims,' which is also unofficially known as getting 'lubed up.'"

"But seriously, we're in good position as far as seeding goes. Obviously, we'll be a No. 5 or No. 6 seed, which puts us in line face either Denver or the AFC East champion, which may not be determined until late in Week 17. I'm confident we can go anywhere and win, and win 'going away.' However, I would be a bit apprehensive about a January trip to snowy Foxboro, although knowing that Tom Brady is somewhere cuddling with Giselle Bundchen and not on the field of play eases my mind a bit."

Detroit lost 20-16 last week to the Vikings in a game the Lions could have easily won. The Lions took the lead into the fourth quarter, but Ryan Longwell's field goal sealed it for Minnesota.

"Hey, let's not read too much into Dominic Raiola's obscene gesture to our fans last Sunday," says Rod Marinelli. "I don't think he's going to win over any fans acting like that. It's just another case of a Lion going winless. But Dominic meant no harm. He was just indicating where we'll be selecting in the 2009 NFL Draft. I guessing we'll take a quarterback, unless Matt Millen uses the same evil mind games that kept him around for eight years to trick us into taking a wide receiver. Of course, if they asked me, which they probably won't, although I wouldn't be surprised if they asked me to leave, I'd say pick Georgia's Matthew Stafford, if he declares for the draft. He's got all the skills you'd want in a young quarterback, although he lacks the brute strength and adorable smile of a Tim Tebow. But we're looking for a franchise player, not someone who looks good with a baseball cap and a clipboard."

Indianapolis wins, 38-13.

San Diego @ Kansas City (+4)

The Chargers were impressive in Thursday night's 34-7 win over the Raiders, but it is probably a case of "too little, too late." San Diego is 5-8 and trails the 8-5 Broncos by three games. If the Chargers win their next two games, and the Broncos lose their next two, then the season's final week could see a Denver at San Diego game with the division title on the line.

"That's the matchup everyone wants to see," says Philip Rivers. "A Chargers/Broncos matchup is already a huge rivalry. Plus, Jay Cutler and I hate each other's guts for reason unbeknownst to us and anyone else. Toss in playoff implications, and referee Ed Hochuli suspended in a cage high above the stadium, and you've got the makings of a classic."

To even get to that point, the Chargers needn't look past the Chiefs, who have been slightly more deadly at home (1-5) than they have been on the road (1-6).

"I know it's been a frustrating year for the Chargers," says Herman Edwards, "just as it has been for us. But I'm a 'glass half-full' kind of guy. Ask the right lady in a local bar, and she'll tell you the same thing about Larry Johnson, while she wipes the other half off her face."

San Diego wins, 20-10.

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-7)

What's going on with the Jets? After upsetting the undefeated Titans in Week 12 and being anointed Super Bowl-caliber, New York has lost two in a row, including last week's 24-14 loss in San Francisco.

"I wish I could explain it," says Brett Favre. "Not our two-game losing streak, but the definition of the word 'anoint.' Is that what Shaun Ellis with a lisp would make with some rolling paper and marijuana? However, unlike those times when I discuss retirement, I'm at a loss for words to explain our troubles. It's times like these that the word 'retirement' starts creeping back into my head. Boy, if I had a nickel for every time that happened."

"Against the Bills, we'll have to control the clock with our running game, which is apt to produce longer gains than our pedestrian passing game. Against the 49ers, we lost the time of possession battle. Winning the time of possession battle is usually a good indication that you'll win the game. Now, as far as Ellis' arrest for marijuana possession, he'll tell you that 'time of possession' apparently wasn't long enough to smoke it. Otherwise, he wouldn't have 'possessed' any to be charged with 'possession.'"

With last week's 16-3 loss to Miami in Toronto, the Bills joined the Chargers as the only teams in the NFL to lose in two countries this year. Buffalo totaled a paltry 163 net yards, and has lost six of seven after a 5-1 start.

"I guess you could say we've gone 'down the river' since our 5-1 start," says Dick Jauron. "But at least we're not headed 'up the river,' like O.J. Simpson. The 'Juice' is headed to prison in Nevada for a long time. The good news: there's a much better chance he'll find the 'real killers' there. The bad news: instead of worrying about the recovery of souvenirs, O.J.'s likely to become one."

Jets win, 20-12.

Seattle @ St. Louis (+3)

NFC West bottom feeders face off as the 2-10 Seahawks visit the 2-10 Rams, with the winner getting out of the division cellar. It's the final year for Mike Holmgren as Seattle coach, and in an injury-riddled year, it hasn't been the "ride off into the sunset" that Holmgren had hoped for. Assistant coach Jim Mora, Jr. will take over for Holmgren in 2009.

"Oh, there's been plenty of rides off into the sunset," says Holmgren. "They've just been on injury carts. But I'm not one to make excuses, although I do have this laminated, color-coded, 8x11 sheet listing several, should you be interested in hearing some."

"But I have the utmost confidence in Jim Mora's coaching ability, despite the fact that here in Seattle, he's even closer to the University of Washington, which happens to be his real 'dream job.'"

In St. Louis, the Rams have lost seven in a row, and like the Seattle coaching situation, there is likely to be a "passing of the torch" in the near future. Jim Haslett's prospects to maintain the head coaching job grow dimmer with each loss. And it doesn't help that Haslett has a chilly relationship with running back Steven Jackson, the Rams best player, a loosely defined term.

"Hey, torches are best used for one purpose," says Jackson. "In the hands of enraged villagers when they want to run a monster out of town. Just ask Frankenstein. Coach Haslett doesn't have bolts in his neck, but he is one hard-headed son of a gun. Me? I have the talent to be a one-man wrecking crew. The problem is, I'm never sure whom I'm going to wreck - the opposing team with touchdown dashes, or the Rams with fumbles and the inability to play hurt."

Suffice it to say the Rams are neither "great," nor a "show," although they are definitely a "spectacle." And "turf" would care not to be associated with them anymore. The Rams are in a sad state, which brings a tear to Dick Vermeil's eye. Then again, what hasn't?

Jackson sucks it up, and the Rams play the kind of inspired football that led them to wins over the Redskins and Cowboys earlier in the year. Jackson rushes for one score and catches a touchdown pass from Marc Bulger.

St. Louis wins, 27-20.

San Francisco @ Miami (-6½)

The Dolphins have won two straight and again share the AFC East lead with the Jets, who have lost two in a row, and the Patriots. Should they claim the division crown, Miami will have completed a remarkable turnaround from a 1-15 season last year. Quarterback Chad Pennington has made all the right moves at quarterback, and linebacker Joey Porter has anchored the defense and leads the NFL in sacks with 16½.

"When the 'Tuna' talks," says Bill Parcells, "people listen. At least that's the case in a downtown Bangkok, Thailand X-rated cabaret show. Or so I'm told. When I talk, people listen as well. I've resurrected the careers of Pennington and Porter. Pennington doesn't make mistakes; he doesn't throw the ball far enough to. And Porter finally realized that listening is just as important as being heard. He still doesn't know when to shut his mouth, though. That's earned him the nickname 'The Miami Sound Machine.'"

The 49ers have won three of their last four games, including last Sunday's 24-14 win over the Jets. Interim head coach Mike Singletary has made a strong case to have the "interim" tag removed and be officially named San Francisco's head coach.

"If I don't get the head coaching job," says Mike Singletary, "then I'll be forced to take legal action against the 49ers administration for their failure to hire a minority. That minority being a coach who likes to drop his pants in the locker room as a coaching tool. Hey, I'm a hard-working guy. I'm no slacker, although I am a 'no slack'-er. If they don't give me the job, then I'll drop my trousers again. This time, I won't be facing them."

The AFC East title is up for grabs. It all comes down to which team, the Dolphins, Jets, or Patriots, is willing to go 3-0 down the stretch, then bask in the spoils of victory, which likely will include a home date against the Baltimore Ravens, a pummeling that, if it doesn't result in an outright loss, will certainly render the victor weary for a road game in the second round.

Miami wins, 23-20.

Green Bay @ Jacksonville (+1)

In lieu of the pre-game national anthem, both the Packers and Jaguars have agreed that it would be fitting if Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers' "Free Fallin' filled the public address system before kickoff. The visiting Packers have lost three straight and watched helplessly as the Vikings and Bears have pulled away in the NFC North race. Jacksonville has dropped four in a row, and the team seems increasingly ambivalent as the season winds down.

"In most situations," says Jack Del Rio, "I love Tom Petty. For example, there was the time I banished Mike Peterson while 'Don't Come Around Here No More' blared in the background. That was classic."

"But let's be serious for a bit, which, ironically, is something I've been telling my players for weeks now. I don't know if they're just being 'careless,' or if they could 'care less.' Honestly, though, nothing has gone right for us this year. If it wasn't injuries on the offensive line, it was insubordination, or losing to the Bengals. Now, to compound things, our best receiver, Matt Jones, has been suspended for the final three games after his appeal of his substance abuse suspension was upheld. That's ridiculous. No, not the fact that his suspension was upheld. But the fact that the NFL doles out harsher penalties than the legal system. There's a message for the kid in this story - if you really want to do cocaine, become a white NFL wide receiver."

In Green Bay, a season that started with lots of promise has quickly disintegrated in the midst of a defense that has been unable to stop the run. The Packers are also 3-4 in storied Lambeau Field, and lost to the Texans, a warm-weather team, even as game-time temperatures hovered in the single digits.

"Hey, theories abound as to what our problem is," says Aaron Rodgers. "Is it me? Is it the defense? Is it the curse of Brett Favre? It could be any of those. But there's one unexplored explanation that hasn't received any publicity at all. Could it possibly be that it's the coach, Mike McCarthy? Could it be that instead of 'jetting' Favre, this organization should have 'jetted' McCarthy? Maybe there's something to Favre not wanting to play for McCarthy. Could it be that the enjoyment of a 'Lambeau Leap' was outweighed by Favre's desire for a 'Lambeau Leave?'"

Who will show up for this game? Definitely not the character known as "playoff implications." He's busy elsewhere. The strength of the Jags, their running game, certainly plays to the weakness of the Packers, their rush defense. But with Jones suspended, Green Bay will be able to commit a little more to stopping the run. And Donald Driver and Greg Jennings will put up points for the Packers. Green Bay wins, 27-22.

Tennessee @ Houston (+3½)

Tennessee clinched the AFC South division title and a first-round bye last Sunday, beating the Browns 28-9 as Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 235 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. Now, the Titans have their sights set on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and can move closer to that goal with a win against the streaking Texans.

"Streaking Texans?" says Jeff Fisher. "If I'm not mistaken, that's the name of the swingers club of which Bum Phillips is a member. Of course, he's the only member."

"As far as home field advantage goes, I've always preached patience with this team. When we lost to the Jets, we didn't panic and stuck to our philosophy. If we don't clinch home-field this week, we can always do it next week when the Steelers come to town. See, there's no hurry. Good things come to those who wait. That's a lesson Kerry Collins has learned, not only in a quarterbacking sense, but also when he waits patiently beside an oaken cask while his favorite whiskey slowly ages. That's patience. And Vince Young needs to show that same type of patience, whether he's waiting his turn to play, or healing from a thumb infection, which I believe he contracted hitching a ride out of town after a particularly depressing day. I've got a feeling we'll need both of those guys when the playoffs start."

Who's playing for respect here? The improving Texans, who want to prove they'll be a force to be reckoned with next year, or the 12-1 Titans, who are merely 3½-point favorites over the 6-7 Texans? Tennessee wins, 22-10.

Washington @ Cincinnati (+6½)

If it's any consolation to the Bengals, the Redskins are, like Cincinnati, a last-place team. The 'Skins have lost two in a row, and four of their last five, to drop to the bottom of the NFC East. And, there's a little friction brewing in a Washington mini-controversy. In the second half of last week's 24-10 loss to the Ravens, head coach Jim Zorn benched Clinton Portis in favor of backup Ladell Betts, and Portis was not pleased.

"Look, the last thing I want is a player-coach feud," says Portis. "Correction. The last thing I want is a player-coach feud that ends with me kissing Coach Zorn. He's a fairly good looking fellow, and it is the season of donning gay apparel, but it has to stop with a 'benching.' There will be no 'bedding' of Clinton Portis."

Washington wins, 26-14.

Minnesota @ Arizona (-4)

After nearly a month of trying, the Cardinals finally clinched the NFC West division crown, beating the Rams 34-10. As Kurt Warner and the other Cards whooped it up in the locker room afterwards, former coach Dennis Green was the first to call with congratulations.

"I want to crown them, so I'm gonna crown their ****!" says Green. "As division champs. That's something I couldn't do as Arizona head coach, so they let me off the hook!"

Poor Dennis. He was never one to play his Cards right.

The Vikings edged the winless Lions 20-16 in Detroit, boosted by the services of Pat and Kevin Williams, who had their suspensions blocked when a Minnesota judge issued a temporary restraining order against the NFL. The NFL is currently working fervently to overturn the judge's ruling.

"Good luck with that, NFL," says Kevin Williams. "The league will find out that blocking an injunction is like blocking a Williams:' a fruitless endeavor. Pat and I find it hypocritical that we can be punished for ingesting a substance that we were not even aware was in the product, while Jacksonville's Matt Jones can do cocaine and get off virtually scott-free. Also hypocritical: Jared Allen complaining about a dirty hit."

While the courts sort out legal matters, the Williams' will be on the field, with the intentions of pressuring Kurt Warner up the middle. Playing without the Williams' is something Brad Childress does not care to even think about. As you know, games without your dominating interior linemen can cause withdrawals, also known as the "DTs."

Childress has been non-committal about naming a starter for Sunday's game. Is that by necessity, or design? Tarvaris Jackson was effective coming off the bench against the Lions. Maybe Childress doesn't want Jackson to feel the pressure of knowing he's starting.

"Gus Frerotte or Tarvaris Jackson," says Ken Whisenhunt. "It doesn't matter to us. If Frerotte starts, he'll get hurt at some point. Should we fear Jackson? I don't think so. Tarvaris hasn't been relevant since 1977's 'More Than a Woman,' which, incidentally, is something that can't be said of Frerotte.

Arizona wins, 34-27.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-1)

In one of the AFC's fiercest rivalries, the North division-leading Steelers head to Baltimore to face the Ravens, who are chasing a wild card spot as well as the division crown. Pittsburgh won 23-20 at Baltimore in the teams' first meeting, and the Ravens are out for revenge as well as a piece of the division lead.

"I love the smell of hatred in the afternoon," says Ray Lewis. "It smells like victory. There's no doubt that this will be a physical game. I expect hard hits, trash-talking, and lots of bruising. And that's just my pre-game ritual. If you don't have a bounty on your head, then you don't deserve to play in this game."

The Steelers are 10-3 after last week's comeback win over the Cowboys, and while Pittsburgh is unlikely to catch the Titans for home-field throughout the playoffs, they'll certainly in the driver's seat for a first-round bye. That is, if they can beat the Ravens in Baltimore.

"Boy, am I fired up for this one," says Hines Ward. "I've got a hop in my step, a bounty on my head, and a target on my back. Call this 'Bounty Bowl 2008.' I love games like this, and I love it even more when my offensive coordinator calls plays just so I can get in a dirty block. However, I've told Bruce Arians not to call a crossing pattern for me under any circumstances. If the NFL wants evidence that bounties do exist in this league, then they show go take a tour of the Baltimore locker room. That place is wall-papered with my wanted posters, which brings a smile to my face. But what doesn't?"

Will there be any bounties collected on Sunday? Heck yeah, probably before the game even starts. I'd say the number of bounties in this game will probably be greater that the quarterback ratings of Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Combined. There will be lots of sacks, lots of punts, and lots of run calls on third and long. The defense that is caught napping for that one big play may end up costing its team the game. Baltimore wins, 15-12.

New England @ Oakland (+7)

Randy Moss returns to Oakland, where he stagnated for two years before being traded to New England for a fourth-round pick in 2007. Moss and the Patriots are in a three-way tie for first in the AFC East, and will need the contributions of the Moss on Sunday as well as for the remainder of the year if the Pats are to make the playoffs.

"Hey, it will be great to go back to Oakland," says Moss. "I'm gonna give the fans in Oakland something they've never seen from me in McAfee Coliseum - effort. While I'm there, I'll have to give a shout out to my peeps, who will all be watching at home because they didn't make the effort to get a ticket."

The Raiders are 3-10 overall and 1-5 at home, but have had 10 days off after last Thursday's 34-7 loss in San Diego. And you know, when you give the Raiders at least ten days to prepare for something, they make brilliant decisions, like, for example, trading Moss for a fourth-round pick, or drafting JaMarcus Russell, or signing Javon Walker.

"I'll admit it," says Tom Cable. "The Raider black and silver really doesn't strike fear into the opposition as it used to. Neither does Davis' negotiating skills. He tosses money around like it's going out of style. When you're still using Confederate currency, I guess it really is."

"Our passing game is really ailing. We can't get vertical, and our quarterbacks are always horizontal. The intersection of a vertical and a horizontal axes gives you an 'X,' which often marks the location of 'buried treasure.' For this franchise, 'buried treasure' can be only one thing: Al Davis' grave."

The Raiders limit Moss, thanks to the coverage skills of Nnamdi Asomugha, who, unlike the Raiders, is unbeatable. Fortunately for the Patriots and their playoff aspirations, Wes Welker is there to take up the slack. Welker has 12 catches for 126 yards and a touchdown. Matt Cassel throws for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also learns the finer points of the 'tuck rule,' when an obvious third-quarter fumble is overturned. New England wins, 27-16.

Denver @ Carolina (-7½)

Denver has all but clinched the AFC West crown, holding a three-game edge on the Chargers with three games remaining. Barring a monumental collapse, or catastrophic injuries, or a total betrayal from referee Ed Hochuli, the Broncos will be sole representative of the AFC West when the playoffs commence on January 3rd. The only thing up in the air for Denver is their playoff seeding.

"We're not worried about seeding at all," says Mike Shanahan, who, if you ever saw him really angry, you would even say he glows. "What I'm most concerned about is Travis Henry continually showing up at my doorstep under the guise of Christmas caroling 'Let it Snow,' when obviously all he wants is some cocaine. Well, Travis, you, I, and everyone knows that you 'blow' chances like you cherish chances to do 'blow.' If I was just a tad more unscrupulous, I would do my best to sign you, because heaven knows, we need a running back."

If the Panthers can rush for 299 yards against the Buccaneers, then there's no reason to believe they shouldn't have great success against the Denver defense. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart give Carolina probably the most potent one-two rushing punch in the league.

"We certainly had a lot to cheer about last Monday," says John Fox. "Even 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair was loving the action, not only because of the win, but also because his album collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan, called 'Enter the Woo,' just dropped."

"We can't afford a letdown against the Broncos, because we want next week's showdown in Giants Stadium to be for all the marbles. That will be our most important road trip of the year. I'll make sure all my guys, especially the gun owners, 'pack' carefully."

Carolina was 'scary-good' last Monday. Williams and Stewart were 'good,' and Jake Delhomme and his two interceptions were 'scary.' A horrible day by Delhomme, and a 400-yard day by Cutler, are the only things that give Denver a chance. Panthers win, 38-34.

NY Giants @ Dallas (-3)

Despite losing to the Eagles, New York still clinched the NFC East when Dallas fell at Pittsburgh. In the wake of the Plaxico Burress shooting incident, the Giants seemed distracted and unmotivated as Bryan Westbrook recorded 203 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Not only is the loss a blow to their psyche, the loss also opened the door for the Panthers to join the discussion for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

"Hey, I said to my players what someone should have said to Plaxico Burress and Antonio Pierce post-discharge," says Tom Coughlin. "'Don't panic.' As you saw against the Eagles and Bryan Westbrook, Pierce's 'coverage skills' leave as much to be desired as his 'covering-up' skills. It's unfortunate that Burress got him into this mess. He's spent a career in football beating safeties. Then, in one moment, he let a 'free' safety get the best of him. Now, he's 'shot and bothered.'"

After former Cowboy and semi-analyst Emmitt Smith categorized the Cowboys as "mediocre," Dallas spent three quarters in Pittsburgh proving him wrong. The Cowboys took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter, then gave up 17 unanswered points, losing on DeShea Townsend's touchdown return of Tony Romo's third and final interception.

"I'm amazed," says Romo, "that Emmitt can even pronounce 'mediocre,' much less describe the Cowboys as such. Anyway, even with the loss, we're still in second place in the East. I guess Dallas Stars controversial left winger Sean Avery would call that 'sloppy seconds.' And who wouldn't want a piece of that?"

"As if we needed more controversy, Jerry Jones had to go and question Marion Barber's decision not to play against the Steelers. That's a great way to alienate one of your best players, Jerry. In Jerry's defense, at least he didn't taunt Marion by saying 'this little piggy went 'Wee! Wee! Wee!' all the way home.'" Dallas wins, 29-24.

Cleveland @ Philadelphia (-8)

While the Eagles are battling for their playoff life, the Browns are falling further and further away from last year's promising 10-6 finish. After being thoroughly dominated by the Titans in a 28-9 loss, the Browns are 4-9, and a regime change is imminent. Already, in the span of a week, discussions have progressed from Romeo Crennel's rumored firing to Marty Schottenheimer's rumored hiring.

"Look at all these rumors, surrounding me every day," says Crenel. "I just need some time, some time to get away. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'm not going anywhere. I'm no quitter, and neither are ... never mind. So far this year, we've had an outbreak of staph infections. The last thing I need is an outbreak of staff defections. We're 2-0 on Monday Night Football. Apparently, this team really cares about impressing Tony Kornheiser."

The Eagles currently sit in the eighth spot in the NFC playoff race. They'll need to run the table to have any shot at the postseason.

"That tie in Cincinnati may come back to haunt us," says Donovan McNabb. "So, should we fail to make the playoffs, my extra time will be spent reading the rule book to find any other obscure rules that everyone else on earth has been conspiring to keep from me."

"But our run to the playoffs starts here, in Philly. We'll be fired up. The defense already has a sack dance prepared, called the 'Ken Dorsey-Doe.' Hopefully, Braylon Edwards won't have a big game and keep the Browns in it. Hey, if Edwards was an Eagle, what would you call him? 'Bird droppings.'"

Philadelphia wins, 30-14.


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