Good news, everyone! I have a special guest with me to help make my predictions blog! Meet Professor Hubert Farnsworth of Futurama. Ready to get started, Professor?
Farnsworth: You look beautiful. Incidentally, my favorite artist is Picasso.
Dan: Um... thanks.
Denver at Houston
Farnsworth: Who are those horrible orange creatures over there?
Dan: As far as I know, the Broncos won't be wearing throwbacks tonight, so I can only assume you're referring to Mike Shanahan and seeing double. Gross, isn't it? So at running back we're going to have Selvin Young vs. Darius Walker. That's 2007 for you - starting at running back and doing a damn fine job: two people you'd never heard of. Well, both teams are coming off of important wins; with Jay Cutler playing perhaps the best game of his career, and Sage Rosenfels playing well, getting his second win in relief of Matt Schaub. But home field advantage has been huge for both teams; the Texans haven't lost yet at home with Andre Johnson healthy; and the Broncos are 2-4 on the road, with Cutler playing fairly at best in both wins. That's why I'm going with Houston. Broncos 24, Texans 31. Game MVP: Mario Williams - 6 tackles, sack, FF, PD
Farnsworth: And so we say goodbye to the Broncos' playoff hopes, which have gone to a place I, too, hope to go... the toilet.
Cincinnati at San Francisco
Farnsworth: You broke my heart. Of course, that was four or five hearts ago.
Dan: You're right, Professor, this is a grudge match. I almost forgot, what with both teams being (as Hank Hill would say) "sodanged awful" this year. Another thing these teams have in common is that they both have coaches I respect who are in grave danger of being unemployed this offseason. And while I just got fantasies of the Redskins promoting Gregg Williams to head coach and bringing on Marvin Lewis as DC, it'd still be sad to see him leave the team that he would have brought back to respectability were it not for the rap sheet. Anyway, I think his players will fight for him and beat up on the 49ers, who are just a mess. Bengals 38, 49ers 16. Game MVP: Carson Palmer - 25 for 38 passing, 311 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT.
Farnsworth: Choke on that, causality!
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Dan: Oh, so much to say about Bobby Petrino. Take it away, Professor.
Farnsworth: Oh, I always feared he might run off like this. Why, why, why didn't I break his legs?
Dan: Didn't he just say recently that he wasn't interested in returning to college coaching?
Farnsworth: But, like most politicians, he promised more than he could deliver.
Dan: Bet they wish they could go back in time and not hire a college coaching star.
Farnsworth: Ooh... a lesson in not changing history from Mister I'm-My-Own-Grandpa.
Dan: You said you wouldn't tell anyone...Moving right along. Is there any hope for the Falcons' near future?
Farnsworth: Ask a question that isn't idiotic.
Dan: Fine... you know that drafty-thingy? Are they still going to take Brian Brohm, or does you think they'll pick someone who never once played for Petrino?
Farnsworth: That question was less stupid, though you asked it in a profoundly stupid way.
Dan: All right, enough about Saban II: The Razorbackstabber [coming to a SEC near you]. It wasn't as good as the original anyway; it started off exciting with the whole Vick thing, but really dragged toward the middle, and the conclusion seemed abrupt and forced. But really, enough. Jeff Garcia's back in the saddle, though the Buccaneers have three quarterbacks and the rights to a fourth (Jake Plummer) who could win this game easily. They've lost only one home game, and it was by 1 to a very good team. Falcons 10, Buccaneers 27. Game MVP: Barrett Ruud - 9 tackles, FF, INT.
Seattle at Carolina
Dan: Where Vinny Testaverde is, there are old jokes to be made. Professor? If you were Testaverde, what would you say about the fact that you're still playing football?
Farnsworth: I've got to find a way to escape the horrible ravages of youth. Suddenly, I'm going to the bathroom like clockwork, every three hours. And those jerks at Social Security stopped sending me checks. Now I have to pay them!
Dan: Really, though, I keep hearing that 44 is the new 35.
Farnsworth: I was inventing things when you were barely senile!
Dan: I know how you feel getting old jokes all the time. I was well on my way to 24 when I graduated, and most of my classmates were 21 or 22.
Farnsworth: Oh, I don't have time for this. I have to go and buy a single piece of fruit with a coupon, and then return it, making people wait in line behind me while I complain.
Dan: Fine, we'll move along. Seattle's traveling to Carolina, and while they're historically rather bad on the road, Carolina's even worse AT HOME! What kind of team goes 1-5 on their own turf? Well, it's soon to be 1-6. Seahawks 30, Panthers 20. Game MVP: Matt Hasselbeck - 30 for 41 passing, 338 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs. What do you think John Fox will say to the ‘Hawks after the game, Professor?
Farnsworth: "Are you by any chance interested in joining my new crew?" "What happened to the old crew?" "Oh, those poor sons of b---." But that's not important, the important thing is, I need a new crew."
Buffalo at Cleveland
Dan: The winner of this game has a solid shot at the playoffs.
Farnsworth: It's the apocalypse, all right. I always thought I'd have a hand in it.
Dan: Of course, it's dangerous for either team to think too much about the playoffs just yet. The playoffs are like Pandora's Box.
Farnsworth: No matter what happens, no matter how great your curiosity, you are forbidden to look in this box. FORBIDDEN! Pretty tantalizing, though...
Dan: Let's just say, hypothetically, that Adrian Peterson continues to get shut down like he did last week against San Diego. And that Trent Edwards takes the Bills to the playoffs, and wins eight of his nine starts. Is there a contest for Rookie of the Year? Just putting it out there. On the Browns' side of things, I'd love to see a Joe Thomas type win RoY someday. Obviously this year there's too much competition at the fantasy positions (I refuse to use the phrase "skill positions"). Cleveland hasn't lost yet at home with Derek Anderson starting, and though the Bills will be used to the weather, those rowdy fans are going to cause some problems. I hope this game airs in Chicago - I'm sure it won't, but there isn't an afternoon game I'd rather watch. Bills 24, Browns 27 (OT). Game MVP: Kellen Winslow - 8 catches for 99 yds, 2 TDs.
Tennessee at Kansas City
Dan: This is going to be one of those games that's deceptively in reach, though in reality it's never close. The Titans are going to absolutely shut down the Kansas City offense. Kolby Smith won't get anything going against Albert Haynesworth, they'll be forced to pass more than they want to... on the other side of the ball, Tennessee won't get a whole lot going, but it'll be enough. Titans 17, Chiefs 3. Game MVP: Albert Haynesworth - 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and constant double teaming allowing other teammates to make plays. Professor - wake up, you're supposed to say something.
Dan: What's Croyle going to say after he's sacked for the 8th time?
Farnsworth: Buddha! God! Zeus! One of you guys, do something! Satan, you owe me!
Baltimore at Miami
Farnsworth: I daresay we've discovered the smelliest object in the known universe!
Dan: Yes, and it's this game. It seems that Baltimore used all of their strength and resolve in almost beating the Patriots and had none left for the Colts. However, I'm a firm believer in the Doughnut Principle, which I made up. A team that just got demolished by a very good club will often turn around and cream a lesser team. It's like swinging with a doughnut before going up to bat, so your bat suddenly seems light as a feather. Well, the Ravens have played some pretty heavy-duty opponents the past two weeks, and now it'll feel like a heavy lourde has been lifted off their shoulders and everything will magically go right against the Dolphins. Word of warning: the Doughnut Principle works in reverse too. Ravens 41, Dolphins 17. Game MVP: Willis McGahee - 26 carries for 149 yds, 3 TDs.
NY Jets at New England
Dan: Farnsworth, what do you think about Bill Belichick?
Farnsworth: Being coach is about intuition and heart. A good coach can't have either one. That's why cold, logical Belichick is perfect for the job.
Dan: So you like him?
Farnsworth: I've been a Bill Belichick fan since back when my hips were made of bone.
Dan: But what about the way he snubs opposing coaches after games?
Farnsworth: He may have Ocean Madness, but that's no excuse for Ocean Rudeness!
Dan: Agreed. And then there's the whole Spygate thing...
Farnsworth: Accusing gentle Belichick of a misdeed? Now you've gone too far!
Dan: So... pretty safe to say this'll be ugly. There will probably be fights. And the score won't be close. Try... Jets 10, Patriots 49. Game MVP: Tom Brady - 31 of 36 passing, 371 yds, 6 TDs, 0 INTs. Boy, that's an awful game. They can't swallow that.
Farnsworth: Well, then good news! It's a suppository.
Arizona at New Orleans
Dan: This could be a fun game. Both teams with potentially dangerous passing games, 6-7 records, all but mathematically eliminated in their division but holding 2nd place thanks to weak competition; both scoring and allowing around 24 points/game, both would prefer this game played in Arizona (Saints are 2-5 at home, Cards 2-4 on the road); 27th and 28th in rushing offense, both top 10 in passing offense, 8th and 11th in rushing defense, 23rd and 29th in passing defense, tied for 24th in forced fumbles even... and both had high hopes for this season and are disappointed with the outcome. These guys are a lot alike - should be an exciting game, right Professor?
Farnsworth: Now, now. Perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.
Dan: You're right - this game won't solve much. Draft and playoff implications are minimal at best. These guys are pretty much locked into 7-9 or 8-8 finishes. How boring. I like the Cardinals to win, for one main reason. When running has to happen, it's Aaron Stecker vs. Edgerrin James. Cardinals 31, Saints 27. Game MVP: Antrel Rolle - 3 tackles, 2 INTs, 4 total PDs, TD.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
Farnsworth: Good news, everyone. On Sunday you'll be taking a trip to Ebola 9, the virus planet.
Dan: Ha! You wish, Jaguars. Nope, you're going to Soup-in-a-Stadium, aka Heinz Field, and the weather report is currently calling for 33 degrees as a high, snow showers, and wind. That tells me that around 1 pm, it won't be snow, but slushy rain. There's a reason that the Steelers are 7-0 at home thus far, and it's because their field is absolute crap, and weather like Sunday's will completely neutralize a good passing game. Clearly the Steelers will make it 8-0 and-what's that? Oh, you say the Jags don't rely on their passing game? But this is today's NFL, all the good teams are high-flying, pass-heavy... no, that's not true at all, huh? The more I think about it, the more I like Maurice Jones-Drew in this game. On slippery fields, the guy with a lower center of gravity is going to have a major advantage. The guy is 5-7. The fact that the Jaguars have two good options in the backfield will help too. You know the other team's going to run a lot in a game like this, but Jacksonville can still surprise a bit thanks to their two-headed monster. Jaguars 13, Steelers 10. Game MVP: Maurice Jones-Drew - 15 rushes for a game-high 71 yds, TD.
Green Bay at St. Louis
Dan: The good news is, Marc Bulger should be able to play. But that's based on the logic that a 50% Marc Bulger is way better than a 100% Brock Berlin. The Rams throw in the towel early on this one, and Aaron Rodgers sees a good amount of playing time
Farnsworth: Oh, how awful. Will they at least die painlessly? To shreds, you say? Well, how are the fans holding up? To shreds, you say.
Dan: Packers 45, Rams 14 (31-0 at the half). Game MVP: Ryan Grant - 31 rushes for 159 yds, 2 TDs.
Indianapolis at Oakland
Farnsworth: Doomsday device? Ah, now the ball's in Farnsworth's court! I suppose I could part with one, and still be feared.
Dan: The Colts' lineup is stocked with doomsday devices, and so far they've shown they can part with one, and still be feared. They were without two last week, and killed the Ravens. Now they're going to be missing Raheem Brock, Robert Mathis, and Antoine Bethea, as well as Marvin Harrison and IR listers Dwight Freeney, Booger McFarland, and Rob Morris. Guess what? They're still feared. When your coach is saying yeah, we're definitely going to play our backup quarterback, but he's not starting, you're basically saying you're not planning on winning this one. Colts 31, Raiders 17. Game MVP: Joseph Addai - 22 rushes for 127 yds, TD.
Dallas at Philadelphia
Dan: I can't figure out what to make of the Eagles. Can you, Professor? You're a professor.
Farnsworth: Those delightful birds with their chirp chirp chirp and their tweet tweet splat.
Dan: Well said. There'll be a lot of "splat" in this game. Romo's not going to be scared by the Eagles' rush, and they'll basically s--- all over themselves. I usually predict division rivalries to be closer than expected. Not this one. Cowboys 34, Eagles 14. Game MVP: Terrell Owens - 11 catches for 177 yds, 3 TDs, making Donovan McNabb cry.
San Diego at Detroit
Farnsworth: Oh dear! She's stuck in an infinite loop, and he's an idiot! Well, that's love for you.
Dan: I'm having a little trouble deciphering your senile ramblings there, Professor. Well, you said "idiot," so that has to be Dr. Zoidberg or Norv Turner... and the Lions seem to be going in circles... yeah, that works. And I'll just ignore the love part. And the "she" part. Well, I'm a firm believer in momentum, as well as in LaDainian Tomlinson being way better than the Detroit defense combined. Chargers 30, Lions 16. Game MVP: LaDainian Tomlinson - 24 rushes for 133 yds, 2 TDs, 4 catches for 50 yds, TD.
Washington at NY Giants
Farnsworth: Damn it, Giants, jump already! Quit hogging that healthy liver!
Dan: I don't get it. We all knew (okay, that means Josh and me) that the Giants were going to suck towards the end of the season, and all that, yet they keep winning games they play badly because their opponents are playing worse! They're hogging that healthy liver, which is OBVIOUSLY a metaphor for an NFC playoff spot. Well I think it ends this week. And I know hindsight is 20/20, but I have to say, I wasn't actually surprised that Todd Collins played well. As you've probably noticed by now, I'm a believer in a lot of things, and one of them is the ability of a long-time backup to perform well in limited stints. Collins knows Saunders' offense, and hasn't been on film enough for teams to figure out how to exploit him yet. He'll be facing a mean rush, also known as the Giants' saving grace, but he's got a great safety valve in Chris Cooley. The Skins get the win. Redskins 26, Giants 24. Game MVP: Todd Collins - 21 for 30 passing, 255 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs.
Chicago at Minnesota
Dan: It's official. The Super Bowl curse has struck again.
Farnsworth: Hmm... it is just a legend. Still, they called the Tooth Fairy a legend, and now he's head of the FBI.
Dan: I knew it! And my sister said it was my MOTHER that always forgot to put a quarter under my pillow when I lost a tooth. Sorry, where was I? Ah yes, Monday night's game. Should be a good'un. I see the Bears devoting all of their resources to stopping Adrian Peterson, who killed them last time. In the process, Chester Taylor has a great game. I have no faith in anything good happening for the Bears right now.
Farnsworth: Perhaps it's your outlook that needs a good bend, a ninety degree bend to a place where happiness is perpendicular to wonderment.
Dan: That was beautiful. All right, here's a little optimism. Kyle Orton will play well in catch-up mode, throwing a couple of TDs to Berrian. Bears 21, Vikings 34. Game MVP: Chester Taylor - 19 carries for 136 yards, 2 TDs.
Dan: Well, thanks for the help, Professor.
Farnsworth: Everyone, I have a very dramatic announcement. So anyone with a weak heart should leave now. Goodbye!
Dan: Um... bye. And remember - if you enjoy the ramblings of senile old men, check out Josh's blog.