As the race to the playoffs heats up, The Coach and Dr. Football heat up. Talk about a great week. Our two pundits were sizzling in Week 15. In fact, The Coach was so good, he went 12-4 against the spread.
This week, it’s going to be a lot tougher for the boys. It’s going to be tougher because even though the Jets blew a great opportunity to stay in the playoff hunt last week, there are still 19 teams with a chance to play in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
Five teams – New England (AFC East), Houston (AFC South), Denver (AFC West), Green Bay (NFC North) and Atlanta (NFC South) – have won their divisions. Baltimore and San Francisco have clinched postseason berths.
Meanwhile, how about that football team in Washington? It finished in last place in the NFC East last season, but is currently tied for first place in the division now. If Washington wins the NFC East, 2012 would mark an NFL-record 10th consecutive season in which at least one team has gone from last to first in its division. This week Washington plays Philadelphia. That should put it one win away from finishing first.
Meanwhile, it is Week 16 in the National Football League and it starts Saturday night as the 12-2 Atlanta Falcons head to Detroit to take on the disappointing 4-10 Detroit Lions. 7:30 on TSN.
Then there are 15 games on Sunday including many games with big-time playoff implications: Chicago goes to Arizona; Minnesota plays at Houston; New Orleans is at Dallas; Cincinnati is at Pittsburgh; the Giants are at Baltimore; Tennessee is at Green Bay; and Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers go to Seattle to play the Seahawks.
I think the boys have a pretty good handle on all of those matchups this week.
Last week The Doc went 11-5 (144-80) straight up and 9-7 (112-112) against the spread while The Coach went 12-4 (146-78) straight up and 12-4 against the spread (115-109).
As always The Doc writes our insightful talking points while The Coach rants in sentence fragments.
Atlanta Falcons (12-2) at Detroit Lions (4-10) Line: Falcons by 3.5.
This one shouldn’t even be on National TV. The Falcons will clinch top seed with the victory. The Coach says, “Another loss and Jim Schwartz will have one more week as head coach in Detroit.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tennessee Titans (5-9) at Green Bay Packers (10-4) Line: Packers by 12.5.
Look for a lot of big plays by the Packers as Aaron Rodgers is warming up for the playoffs and should have a big game given that the Titans defense is terrible. Packers clinch a first round bye with the win. The Coach says: “The Packers just get better every week. I called Denver-Green Bay in the Super Bowl and I’m sticking with it.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Oakland Raiders (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (5-9) Line: Panthers by 9.
Cam Newton has played pretty well the last few weeks and should have a huge game against a horrible Raiders team. The Coach says, “Why did it take 11 weeks for the Carolina coaching staff to figure out that Cam Newton is actually good?”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Buffalo Bills (5-9) at Miami Dolphins (6-8) Line: Dolphins by 4.5.
It has to be tough to be a Bills player right now…all that hype in the preseason and then being humiliated last week in front of a bored Toronto crowd. And they remain on the road for this one… The Coach says “Wake me when this one’s over.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE DOLPHINS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE DOLPHINS TO WIN AND COVER.
Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) Line: Steelers by 4.
In years past the Bengals have never played tough in Pittsburgh. Cincinnati is a better team and with the win here they can set the pace for years to come. Huge playoff implications in this one. The Coach says: “We find out who the real Ben Roethlisberger is this week.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BENGALS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.
New England Patriots (10-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12) Line: Patriots by 14.5.
Oh boy. This should be ugly. The Patriots will be out for revenge after last week’s loss at home. I wouldn’t want to be a Jaguar this week. The Coach says, “This could be really, really ugly.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-12) Line: Colts by 6.5.
The Chiefs don’t have the talent to play spoiler so look for the Colts to get into the playoffs with the road win. The Coach says: “Andrew Luck gets into MVP consideration with a win this week. From 2-14 to the playoffs is a very big deal for a rookie quarterback.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE COLTS TO WIN AND COVER.
New Orleans Saints (6-8) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6) Line: Cowboys by 2.5.
Many are calling this one the Sean Payton Bowl as the rumors are flying that the Cowboys are interested in his services now that his Saints contract is void. The Cowboys are now proving they can win the big ones at home, and they’ll do it here. The Coach says: “Never thought I’d ever pick Tony Romo to win an important game, but I’m starting to think he’s ready.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
Washington Redskins (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-10) Line: Redskins by 5.5.
RG3 should be ready to go, but even if he can’t Kirk Cousins has proved he can play. The Eagles always have played tough at home, but this one will seal Andy Reid’s fate. The Coach says: “Washington can take a big step this week.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE REDSKINS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE WASHINGTON TO WIN AND COVER.
St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) Line: Buccaneers by 3.
Both teams are out of the playoffs and both were beaten up last week. I really think that 2013 will be the year that the Rams finally do something now that their leadership is solid. The Bucs? Not so much. The Coach says: “There was a time, maybe three weeks ago, that this looked like it might be a big game. Now? Not so much.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAMS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BUCS TO WIN AND COVER.
Minnesota Vikings (8-6) at Houston Texans (12-2) Line: Texans by 7.5.
Not even if Adrian Peterson gets 500 yards can or will the Vikings win in Houston. The Vikings are a poor road team, and not even with the chance of a playoff berth will they be able to compete with the Texans. The Coach says: “This is all about Adrian Peterson. Period.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at New York Jets (6-8) Line: Jets by 2.5.
Stinker alert! Mark Sanchez has been given the hook, Tim Tebow has been passed over, and Greg McElroy gets the start. The Chargers have quit already, and both teams are just putting in time before Christmas. Should be painful to watch. Home team wins. The Coach says: “Loved all the talk in the U.S. this week that Tim Tebow might end up in Canada. That’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The Montreal Alouettes own Tebow’s rights and that’s why he’ll never play in the CFL: (a) Not enough money and (b) too much Anthony Calvillo. The Alouettes just re-signed Calvillo, one of the three greatest quarterbacks ever to play in the CFL. Tebow wants to be released, but he won’t be released north.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN AND COVER.
Cleveland Browns (5-9) at Denver Broncos (11-3) Line: Broncos by 13.
Denver is at home for the first time in three weeks and can lock up the bye with the win. Watch for Peyton Manning to have big day as Denver wins its 10th in a row. The Coach says, “Peyton will likely be cooled out, sitting quietly on the sidelines early in this one.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Giants (8-6) at Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Line: Giants by 2.5.
Giants need this one badly and the Ravens have been brutal as of late dropping their last three. I think they make a statement at home as they have never been a team to roll over and play dead. The Coach says, “Time to end the Giants hopes of a repeat.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN EASY.
Chicago Bears (8-6) at Arizona Cardinals (5-9) Line: Bears by 5.5.
The Cardinals woke up last week after sleeping through most of the season, but they won’t have enough to beat the Bears, but the Bears won’t have an easy go of it. The Coach says, “We’ll see what the Bears are made of this week.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-5) Line: 49ers by 1.
The final game before Christmas and this should be a treat. Seahawks are almost unbeatable at home, and while Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers have been able to score at will, Seattle’s defense was taking notes from last Sunday’s game. Russell Wilson is the better QB in this one. The Coach says, “Can’t hardly wait.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN EASY.