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The Prognosticator: Week 15

Week 15


Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it lighten your heart and fatten your wallet as we speed toward ends game.  I hope you’re reading this week because you’re knee deep in your playoffs and you’re frantically searching for some enlightenment.  On to the enlightenment!

Roadmap to Victory

Team

Rush

Pass

Opponent

ARI

97

175

CAR

ATL

120

167

IND

BAL

140

193

OAK

BUF

117

167

TEN

CAR

116

240

ARI

CHI

127

196

MIN

CIN

125

216

SF

CLE

87

208

DEN

DAL

135

186

WAS

DEN

149

198

CLE

DET

125

197

KC

GB

167

196

SD

HOU

107

148

TB

IND

121

236

ATL

JAX

123

169

NE

KC

107

243

DET

MIA

130

163

PHI

MIN

115

228

CHI

NE

77

217

JAX

NO

162

176

NYG

NYG

117

205

NO

NYJ

128

221

PIT

OAK

127

162

BAL

PHI

117

215

MIA

PIT

120

222

NYJ

SD

111

177

GB

SEA

138

211

STL

SF

141

203

CIN

STL

105

235

SEA

TB

131

212

HOU

TEN

89

194

BUF

WAS

112

172

DAL

Red – Hot!  Play ’em if you got ’em.

Yellow – Warm.  A decent option.

White – Room Temp.  Not good, not bad, use if you have to.

Light Blue – Cold.  Better off looking elsewhere.

Dark Blue – Frigid!  Run away!!  


All times are Eastern

Wagers
Initial Bankroll: $500 Geoffrey Dollars.
Current Bankroll: $310 Geoffrey Dollars.
Last Week: Lost $55 on the Chiefs +3.

This Week: $55/$50 on the Redskins PK* over the Cowboys.  

*PK – Means the game is a pick ’em game, or, no point spread, just pick the winner.


Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday 1:00pm

*** QB of the Week Award: Trent Green ***

Don’t look now but the Lions have an aggressive defense.  They’ve been very opportunistic over the last few weeks, in fact, 4th best in the league.  The problem is, they’re playing the 2nd stingiest team in turning the ball over so the two negate each other.  What makes this also interesting is that we have the worst running team going up against the worst run defense in football.  If the Lions can get a head of steam together, they may be able to actually run the ball, as shocking as that may sound.  

The problem for the Lions is the Chiefs passing offense.  The Chiefs, very quietly, currently have the best passing game in the league and are ultra effective in the red zone.  They’re as dangerous a unit as any out there and the Lions simply won’t be able to cover everyone.  A very nice day for Trent Green in the works.  

The Chiefs defense is bad and that will keep the Lions in the game.  For a little while.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 – Lions 21  (Chiefs -14)


Seattle Seahawks at Saint Louis Rams – Sunday 1:00pm

*** High Score of the Week Award ***

A good old fashioned rock the house explosion of offense.  Seattle will have success running the ball which helps because it is integral they manage the clock.  If they don’t, this gets ugly in a hurry.  

The Rams at home are very tough, especially for the Seahawks who have a very difficult time stopping the pass.  You don’t want to be playing the Rams at home when your cornerbacks can’t keep up.  The Rams have been giving up yards on the ground, so look for Mike Holmgren to run the ball as much as humanly possible, to keep his secondary off the field.  My gut says Marshall Faulk will have some room to roam, as the Seahawks will be in their nickel a lot more than usual.  

The Rams and Ravens are an interesting statistical enigma right now.  Yes, I realize I typed Ravens and not Seahawks.  I’m talking about the Ravens now!  The Rams are second only to Baltimore in offensive efficiency, they’re tied for #1 with Baltimore as the most opportunistic defense yet the Rams are the 2nd worst team in turning over the ball and you guessed it, the Ravens are worse.  Not to mention both teams start with an ‘R’!  The Rams Jupiter must be in the Ravens house of Mars or something.

Prediction: Rams 33 – Seahawks 27  (Rams -7)


Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins – Sunday 1:00pm
The Cowboys will move the ball better than the Redskins but the Redskins win everything else.  The Cowboys have been horrid converting yards to points, they’ve been turning the ball over a ton and their defense, while they keep the yardage from piling up, can’t force a turnover for the life of them.  On the other foot, the Redskins have been tight with the ball and their defense has been creating chaos for opposing offenses.  Quincy Carter threw almost more balls to the opposition last week so look for the Redskins to get some short fields most of the day because of turnovers.  A short field means the Redskins don’t have to go the mile down field before hitting pay dirt and surprisingly, the Redskins have been very effective at putting the ball in the end zone when given the chance.  Opportunity = Win.  

Prediction: Redskins 27 – Cowboys 17  (Even)


Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears – Sunday 1:00pm

This is an interesting match up as the Bears are not only a division foe that traditionally plays the Vikings tight but the Bears match up well against the Vikes.  The Vikings are all offense and no defense while the Bears are turning into a no offense, all defense kind of team.  No matter what, you play Culpepper and Moss as both will have a solid day.

The difference in this will be the Bears at home which takes Minnesota off the carpet.  The Bears are more efficient in the red zone.  Bears win in a tight one!  

Prediction: Bears 24 – Vikings 21  (Vikings -1.5)


San Francisco 49’ers at Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday 1:00pm

Tim Rattay!  Tim Rattay!  Tim Ratt .. oh, never mind.  Mini-me tossed up a gem last week as all my taunting finally got to him.  Tim Rattay is still the better QB for the future though.  Jeff Garcia.  Please!

On paper this is the closest game of the week.  Both these teams have advantages and disadvantages in various areas.  The 49’ers will be able to run on the Bengals so look for Kevan Barlow to have a superlative day as he makes the most of an opportunity.

The Bengals passing game will be alive and that will carry them this day.  Chad Johnson will be fine.  The problem for the Bengals is their defense and will ultimately be their undoing.  They can’t stop the run and they aren’t aggressive enough to cause many turnovers which makes their offense work for everything they get.  The Bengals do not have a playoff caliber defense so don’t go picking them deep into the playoffs in your playoff pools.

Prediction: 49’ers 28 – Bengals 27  (Bengals -2.5)


Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans – Sunday 1:00pm

Everyone is talking about how Travis Henry won’t be able to run on the Titans because of their run stop ability.  You know what?  The Bills have been better at stopping the run.  In fact, the Bills have been a wall clogging up the middle.  If you don’t play someone, that someone is Eddie George.  Now temper your Travis Henry enthusiasm with some reality as the Titans do have a solid run stop unit but Henry hitting 100 is possible as the Bills are in for a long day if they have to start passing the ball.

The Titans will favor their passing game because they won’t be able to run the ball.  The difference in this game is Steve McNair’s efficiency as he will be able to pick apart the Bills defense past the line of scrimmage.  Look for McNair to use his TE more and test the Bills corners as he can take some chances.  The Bills have a league low 4 take-aways over the past 6 weeks.  

Prediction: Titans 27 – Bills 17  (Titans -6.5)


Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday 1:00pm

It all makes sense now and I’ll admit that I didn’t see this one but I should have.  As I’ve stated, there are a few coaches in the league that over the years I think I’ve figured out.  I know how they react to certain situations on the field and what they will try to do with each opponent each week.  Bill Parcells and Jon Gruden are two of those guys and although no one will believe me, I know Mike Shanahan a little, or at least his tendencies.  Dan Reeves was a guy I thought I knew until this season.  

By knowing the coach and knowing how he will react to certain conditions it gives me a leg up when predicting the future like I do.  It’s all part and parcel to what I offer here.  You may think I just make this stuff up but I pride myself in knowing what is going to happen before it happens and I think no one serves it up better.  Many try to imitate the Progno but if you’ve been following, this was the first column of its type on the web and if you’ve been around since the beginning, you know that.  Now where was I?  Oh yeah, Dan Reeves.  

Over the years I’ve come to be very good at reading Dan Reeves and I’ve mentioned several times this season that him not playing Warrick Dunn was very strange.  He does that for two weeks to try and get a momentum switch when he’s losing but I’ve never seen him stick so long with a poor philosophy.  As soon as Dunn came back, due to my taunting no doubt, he was rattling off hundreds of yards per game.  By that time it was too late.  The rest of the team, particularly the defense which was supposed to be a good one, had lost interest.  With the firing of Dan Reeves came a little light in my head and it all came clear why I was so confused about Reeves.  Dan Reeves wasn’t running his own team.  50% of what I saw, and the moves he made, were classic Dan Reeves.  The other half went completely against the grain and I should have seen that as a sign that Reeves and ownership weren’t agreeing on how the team should be run.  Instead I barked at Reeves and told him in this column what he should be doing.  I realize now I was just barking to Dan Reeves what Dan Reeves would do.  Dan, I for one will miss you.  I don’t think you’ve ever received half the credit you deserve as a coach.  There are some bumbling idiots in the ranks of coaching and then there are Dan Reeves type coaches, hang your head high brother, you are one of the best and I hope to see you again.

Legs of Vick vs. the routes of Harrison.  Advantage Colts.

Prediction: Colts 31 – Falcons 21  (Colts -7.5)


Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots – Sunday 1:00pm

Yes the Jaguars have been playing better ball lately but that wasn’t against the Patriots.  Yes we’re all starting to believe a little in Byron Leftwich but this is the Patriots D against a young QB.  Fred Taylor OK but even then I worry, although he should be good for 1 TD.

The Patriots are going to throw the ball well and look for Deion Branch to come up big in this one.  TE Daniel Graham will be a little more involved than usual as well.

Prediction: Patriots 24 – Jaguars 17  (Patriots -7)


Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday 1:00pm

A healthy Houston Texans team and I take them to beat the Bucs this weekend.  A banged up, beat down, smashed up team and I’m surprised I’m giving them 17.  I’m assuming David Carr will be able to go, but in a reduced capacity.  Either way, playing a Texan would be a mistake.

The Texans are just one hair below the Chiefs in bad run stopping.  Look for Thomas Jones to cement his hold on the Bucs.  The Bucs know they’re one ramming or stabbing incident away from not having an RB next season so they’ll audition Thomas Jones till the cows come home.  In case they have something in him, they have to know what it is before this season ends or they’ll be in a jam.  Mike Alstott and Thomas Jones next season could be deadly if Jones finally does what I’ve been saying he can do since he came out of college.  He was my favorite RB coming out of that class 4 years ago.  I think the same class as Ron Dayne and Jamal Lewis?  And I’ve stuck by him.  I still say Thomas Jones, though I am starting to waiver, will be the best RB out of that class in the long run.  It’s been 4 years long but I can be a stubborn so-and-so.  

Prediction: Bucs 21 – Texans 17  (No Line)


Pittsburgh Steelers at NY Jets – Sunday 1:00pm

You know, it’s really strange because we don’t tend to hear or see anything really positive out of the Steeler camp but they are doing one thing particularly well.  They’re playing solid fundamentals lately.  They’re holding onto the ball and Tommy Maddox is making sound decisions which makes them a little more dangerous.  

The Jets are going to answer the Steelers fairly evenly all day.  Both teams will be throwing the ball with success and both will emphasize it.  

The only difference is that the Jets are at home, field goal advantage Jets.

Prediction: Jets 27 – Steelers 24  (Jets -3)


Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders – Sunday 4:05pm

As already mentioned, the Ravens are #1 in many categories.  The problem is they’re #1 in a bad way just as much as they are in a good way.  They rule the red-zone and their defense is THE turnover machine in the NFL.  Their offense is also THE turnover machine of the NFL.  An ironic middle place to be.  What a roller-coaster-tight-wire act each Ravens game is.  If you take blood pressure medication, please, don’t watch the Ravens.  You just have to like Jamal Lewis in this and you should be licking your chops.  

Do I need to remind you?  Rick Mirer?  HEE!

Prediction: Ravens 33 – Raiders 20  (Ravens -6)


Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos – Sunday 4:05pm

Those that think the Couch led Browns have a shot against the Broncos, please raise your hand.  I didn’t think so.  Tim Couch will be OK but he has a tall order to fill.  If I were Cleveland I’d think long and hard about trading Tim Couch for some help and salary cap relief, bring Marc Brunell over and toss Holcomb back into backup status.  Not that he’d make a good fit for Cleveland but the team that wrestles QB Chris Redman away from the Ravens is probably only going to have to give up a late draft pick.  Guys, go get him.  The only thing I like about Cleveland is their Launcher 330.  A driver I’m proud to own and I’d love to grab a set of TA7 irons one of these days.  Cleveland has made the best wedges for years now and I encourage you to try one.  

The Browns will do a better job with Clinton Portis than the Chiefs did last week but he’ll still get his yardage and makes a very nice play.  

Prediction: Broncos 30 – Browns 20  (Broncos -10.5)


Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals – Sunday 4:15pm

The Panthers have a big advantage in the air and they will take it too.  The Panther passing game clicks this week against an absolutely horrendous Cardinals secondary.  At what point does the NFL intervene and just take this team away from the buffoons that run it?

Time to bring the rookie in at QB to get him some live work against the Panthers D.  Oh my.  Welcome to the NFL kid.  I’m not pleased with what this could do to Anquan Boldin’s numbers.  

Prediction: Panthers 21 – Cardinals 17  (Panthers -6)


Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers – Sunday 4:15pm

*** RB of the Week Award: Ahman Green ***

Watch Ahman run his fool head off in San Diego but watch for the Chargers to upset the Pack.  The Chargers are at home and San Diego is very foreign to the Packers both climate wise and stadium wise.  The Packers have had all sorts of trouble getting the ball in the end zone lately.    

LaDainian Tomlinson should be in for multiple scores but his yardage on the ground will be not quite as high as you’d like it.

Prediction: Chargers 27 – Packers 24  (Packers -5)


NY Giants at New Orleans Saints – Sunday 8:30pm

*** Low Score of the Week Award ***

If Tiki is out of the doghouse, the Giants will run him quite a bit as Kerry Collins has a high-ankle sprain and may be done for the season.  The Saints will counter with a lot of Deuce McAlister as they don’t want to put the ball in Aaron Brooks’ fumbling hands.  

This will be the Saints though, wire-to-wire.

Prediction: Saints 24 – Giants 14  (Saints -7.5)


Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins – Monday 9:00pm

You want to know what’s really astounding?  The Eagles have a 4:1 turnover ratio in the good sense.  They cause 4 to every 1 of their own as they’ve only turned the ball over a league low 3 times the past 6 weeks.  No one comes even close as only Cleveland can boast less than a 2:1 ratio, with the difference being it’s 2:1 in the bad sense! 

Let me try and compose myself.  The Dolphins are favored, what a surprise, the Eagles getting no respect yet again.  I’m not an Eagles fan but the only advantage the Dolphins will have on Monday night is that they’re at home and well, the Eagles can’t stop the run.  Maybe Ricky Williams comes out of his funk?  Maybe?

Donovan McNabb alone takes care of business on Monday Night.  

Prediction: Eagles 29 – Dolphins 23  (Dolphins -1.5)


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