1:00 p.m. ET
Buffalo at Atlanta (-9)
We have only two games left in the Terrell Owens Era in Buffalo. If he's going to single-handedly destroy the team's chances at a winning season, he better get crackin'!
My pick: Atlanta
Kansas City at Cincinnati (-13.5)
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, some things slip through the cracks. That's why I want to commend USA Today for their cover headline last Monday "Another heartbreaker" in regards to the Bengals losing to the Chargers after Chris Henry's death. That is some impressive work. Even epic prick Jay Feely usually needs 140 characters to write something that stupid.
My pick: Cincinnati
Oakland at Cleveland (-3)
The Raiders are getting there. They are not anywhere near the Commitment to Excellence level, of course. But on the Commitment to Excrement to Commitment to Excellence scale, I'd say they're around the middle about Commitment to Existentialism. They know their seasons are still meaningless. But they'll make the best of them.
My pick: Cleveland
Seattle at Green Bay (-14)
Since it appears that the Mora's become worse and worse coaches as the family line extends, it's quite obvious that Jim Mora, III will be the worst coach ever. That's why I've started working on a screenplay, inspired by Terminator, in which fans from the future come back to the present day to destroy the Mora line. So far I have "Time travel?! You want to talk about time travel?" And I'm stuck there.
My pick: Green Bay***
Houston at Miami (-1.5)
The loser of this game will likely see their playoff chances end. The winner, too. Because the winner might make the playoffs and well, these are mediocre 7-7 teams. The playoffs are not kind to such teams.
My pick: Miami
Jacksonville at New England (-10)
Prediction: The Jaguars will have one of their biggest home crowds of the season this week.
My pick: New England
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-14)
This talk of the Saints as "America's Team" is off the charts absurd. Fans of the Saints do not exist outside of the Gulf Coast. HOWEVER that does not mean we all didn't suffer greatly from their loss last week. Because the Saints lost in a game in which Jeremy Shockey didn't play. So now Shockey can tell himself it was because he didn't play. And when douchebags lose, we all lose.
My pick: New Orleans
Carolina at New York Giants (-7.5)
Statistically, Eli Manning is having the best season of his career. However, on my Eli Manning Does (And Always Will) Suck Rating Scale, he still rates a perfect 164.3.
My pick: New York Giants***
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3)
People are suddenly shocked that with a win today the Steelers may very well control their playoff destiny. Duh! I was saying before the season even started that they controlled their playoff destiny. Sometimes it's exhausting to be so smart.
My pick: Pittsburgh
4:05 p.m. ET
St. Louis at Arizona (-14.5)
The Cardinals have looked like crap coming down the stretch. Looks like they're a lock for the Super Bowl again.
My pick: Arizona***
Detroit at San Francisco (-14)
It's been a tough week for Alex Smith. He threw a bunch of interceptions against the Eagles to end San Francisco's playoff hopes. And then TLC passed on his pilot "Little Hands, Big Job."
My pick: San Francisco
4:15 p.m. ET
New York Jets at Indianapolis (-4)
The Colts plan to rest several injured starters. Whereas the Jets plan to play all their starters. Which pretty much ends their chances. You know, what with Mark Sanchez being a starter.
My pick: Indianapolis
Denver at Philadelphia (-7)
Playing in Philadelphia is big for Broncos safety Brian Dawkins or B-Dawk as he is called. And that's understandable. Of course he would feel a great bond to a city that bestowed upon him such a creative nickname. I still don't understand what it means. But it's PLENTY CREATIVE!
My pick: Philadelphia
8:20 p.m. ET
Dallas at Washington (+7)
It's pointless for me to even attempt to top comedic genius like this:
My pick: Dallas***
Minnesota at Chicago (+7)
Let's just relax about this Brett Favre, Brad Childress thing. It could be a lot worse. For example, in Chicago, Jay Cutler keeps audibling to interceptions.
My pick: Minnesota
San Diego at Tennessee (-3)
You might not want to watch this game with kids around. Philip Rivers strikes me as the kind of guy who would love to tell kids that Santa doesn't exist. Yes, because he bears a striking resemblance to this guy.
But more because he just seems like a dick.
Or maybe I have this all wrong. Maybe Rivers isn't The Grinch. Maybe Rivers is the one who was tormented by The Grinch. The Grinch Who Stole A Proper Throwing Motion. Philip Rivers was the quarterback of Whoville and The Grinch stole his throwing motion leaving him with crap. But then The Grinch saw Rivers still put up big numbers by throwing that way, as well as Vince Young winning with his motion, and learned that there is more than looking good to playing quarterback. Yes, that must be it. How heart-warming.
But still, don't let any kids watch this game. Heart-warming or not, you really don't want them to throw like that.
My pick: San Diego (and to win)
Little Eli Manning threw a tantrum on the Manning Family's living room floor Christmas morning after all the gifts were opened and he realized he wasn't getting the one present he told Santa he wanted most a new Plaxico Burress.
"I want a Plaxico! AHHHHHHHH!" Manning screamed, crying and kicking and pounding at the floor. "AHHHHHHHHH! I want one NOW! Gimme a Plaxico!"
The boy's mother, Olivia, tried to calm her son by saying he might be able to get a Plaxico next year with early parole.
"Honey, I told you that you might not get a new Plaxico this year, sweetie," she said, rubbing Eli's back as tears streamed down his face. "I know it's hard for you to not have your Plaxico. But look at all the great stuff you got a Zhu Zhu pet, some trucks, a sweater, a Domenik Hixon. It's not all bad."
But the youngest Manning could not be consoled.
"I wanted a Plaaaaaaxico-o-o-o," he sobbed, barely getting the words out through his tears. "I wanted to throw the ball way into the air and have him catch it. All my receivers are short."
Thankfully Eli finally stopped crying after his big brother Peyton let him play with his Austin Collie for a while.
Yes, Philadelphia Eagles fan Brett Tompkins penetrated a Santa Claus against its will on Sunday in the Lincoln Financial Field parking lot. But Tompkins says people need to understand there's a lot more to the story than that.
"Oh, jeez. Here we go again with people bringing that up," said a clearly perturbed Tompkins, talking between sets at a suburban Philadelphia gym this afternoon. "First the cops, now you. It was three goddam days ago, okay? Three goddam days. Get over it. Move on. This is only getting attention because an Eagles fan raped Santa Claus. It probably happened in every other stadium this week."
According to security reports from the other 16 NFL venues in use on Sunday, no other incidents of Santa rape were reported. Nor were even any incidents of Santa-related crime.
"Sure. Whatever," said Tompkins. "Look. The fking guy was asking for it. You don't walk around in the upper deck at The Linc dressed up like that and expect to not get raped. You're asking for it. It would almost be wrong to not rape him. And then when I see Santa out in the parking lot standing by some red pot and asking for money, well clearly he was some kind of prostitute or something. So I decided he should give me a freebie. I made Santa squeal like Tony Homo. E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!" he added, his chant joinedenthusiastically by everyone at the gym.
And while Tompkins says his incident with Santa is getting unfair attention from the media, his bench partner, Tony Shett, says there should be no confusion about what went down.
"We get unfairly painted as drunks and thugs," said Shett. "But don't get it wrong, bro. We will fking drink any other fan base under the table and then kick their ass, too. We got a reputation to uphold."
Unable to think of an effective game plan for Kansas City’s upcoming game against the Bengals, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley decided to just tell his team today that the outcome of the game will come down to who wants it more.
“It’s that simple, men,” said Haley. “The team that goes out onto that field and gives it their all will win the game. The team that holds something back and doesn’t lay it on the line? They will lose. It's not complicated.”
Haley then walked out of the locker room and took a four-hour nap in his office. But his message worked.
“Coach knows what he’s talking about,” said quarterback Matt Cassel. “This is our fifteenth game of the season. There’s nothing new we can put into the game plan. No, this will be all about desire. What a great coach.”
“I think they bought it,” said Haley. “Which is outstanding. Because now I pretty much have the rest of the week off and I can finish my Christmas shopping.”
Haley said he briefly considered trying to come up with a unique approach to playing the first place Bengals, but quickly realized it would be too much work.
“I've tried that before this season and we've only gotten crushed,” he said. “Do you have any idea the time it would take to watch all their game film, just to find one or two ways we can tweak our approach or to discover where they might have a weakness? No, thank you. This is my first year on the job and I'm exhausted. A coach can only do so much. It’s on them now.”
Linebacker Tamba Hali says the team won't let Haley down.
“He is putting his faith in us,” said Hali. “So we have to dig even deeper, give 120-percent. It will be a battle of wills. Wooooo!”
Haley isn't worried.
“Hey, the pressure is off of me,” he said. “If we lose, I can just say that they didn’t execute the game plan. I’m golden either way.”
1. Tommy Kelly There are two Tommy Kelly's in sports. One is the former Twins manager who won two World Series titles and happily retired in 2001 at the relatively young age of 51. Also, we never saw his ass. The other is Tommy Kelly of the Raiders. He plays for the Raiders. And we've seen his ass.
So the winner here, of course, is Tommy Kelly: Twins edition. Because he was never associated with the Raiders.
2. Benjamin Brady Our prince has a name! The son of Thomas Edward Brady, Jr. and Gisele Caroline Bundchen finally has a name: Benjamin Brady! I can't wait to see the movie about his life, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Brady." It will be about a boy whose father lives his football career backwards, going from calm, cool champion at the beginning of his career, to a loser who's prone to rookie mistakes at the end. And, like the movie with the similar name, it will take nine years to watch.
3. Cleveland Browns Joshua Cribbs, Jerome Harrison the Browns might actually have some hope! And if they're smart, they'll install an offense to utilize Cribbs and Harrison more. Call it the Not-Brady-Quinn-Cat. Sounds pretty successful to me.
4. Matt Moore You outplay Brett Favre on national television, you become your team's de facto starter. Of course, when you play for a team whose other quarterback is Jake Delhomme, if you don't die or become paralyzed on national television, you should become your team's starter.
5. Karma You think Jeff Reed is this generation's "idiot kicker"? Sadly, no. Take Reed's hair, place it inside a person's head where the brain should be, and you have Jay Feely, moron extraordinaire. If you ever wondered what Sarah Palin might sound like if she was stocky and not very good at sports, you need to follow Jay Feely on Twitter. This week on his Twitter page, on the day Chris Henry died, Feely decided to Tweet that Henry basically had it coming. So it was enjoyable to watch on Sunday as karma mishandled a hold on a Feely attempt, pushed another kick wide right, and blocked a third essentially ending the Jets' playoff hopes. Regardless of political bent, I think we all can agree that Jay Feely is a massive douche. And that if he gets cut, he had it coming.
1. NBCEEIT Any time there is a close call or replay during Sunday Night Football, NBC dials up their NBCEEIT "technology", a series of massive and extremely blurry photos which are extremely helpful if you are looking for inconclusive evidence. Yet we get Andre Kremer in full 1080p. No wonder NBC is going down the toilet.
2. Gus Johnson Sorry, Gus. I don't get your allure. You are the boy who screamed wolf. Well, you were the boy who cried wolf. Then yesterday you compared JaMarcus Russell to Johnny Unitas. So now you are the boy who cried: "HEY! LOOK AT ME! I'M A COMPLETE MORON! AND I SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF MY JOB AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!"
3. Mike Tomlin Your stock has plummeted since the Super Bowl. Not too many people are big fans of your decision to try an onside kick with the lead and 3:58 left in the game. You clearly need to enunciate more, as it seems you accidentally unleashed "What the hell?"
4. Randy Moss Randy Moss is 32. He is a 12-year veteran. And he makes $9 million a year. And yesterday Moss received effusive praise from announcers for appearing to try. Randy Moss, MY HERO!
5. Santa The Tiger Woods case showed me that no one can be trusted. And I'm on to you, Klaus! Don't think I don't know about you and all your goddam WHORES, FAT MAN!
New England Patriots running back Sammy Morris sounded off today, openly admitting that he hopes the now one-loss New Orleans Saints don't match the 18-1 record his Patriots achieved back in 2007.
"We are remembered as the only 18-1 team," said Morris, who joined the Patriots before their historic 2007 season. "Even with the three Super Bowls the Patriots won this decade, when the average fan thinks of this franchise, they first think of 18-1, not championships."
Morris said championships are actually probably fourth, behind 18-1, asterisks and cheating.
"The Patriots would really be a great Family Feud topic," he said.
With the New Orleans Saints now 13-1 following a loss at home to the Cowboys, some have said they are now even more of a sure bet for the Super Bowl.
"This loss can refocus them and remotivate them now that 19-0 isn't a possibility," said NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci. "I expect them to emerge from this loss stronger than before and win the Super Bowl."
Morris doesn't think that will happen.
"Let me know when they're in my neighborhood, when they're on my street, when they're on my block," he said. "13-1 is a long way from 18-1. Trust me on this. Once you lose once, it's easy to start losing again and again, as our last two seasons have shown. Plus, the Saints' 18-1 wouldn't be the same as ours, because that would mean they won the Super Bowl. We did not, as you may remember. Even if they do get there, I think fans will still think of our 18-1 much more fondly."
1:00 p.m. ET
New England at Buffalo (+6.5)
The Patriots have gone 16-1 over the last 17 games in this series. Since Buffalo doesn't really have anything to play for, they should just let New England win the next two to go 18-1 and then point and laugh.
My pick: Buffalo
Arizona at Detroit (+14)
The Lions have two wins this year, but are they any closer to being even decent than they were during last year's 0-16 season? They still have Calvin Johnson, which is nice. But running back Kevin Smith was lousy before he got hurt. Their defense remains terrible. And Matthew Stafford, Browns game aside, has been pretty bad. So where does that leave them? Well, they're currently only in line for the fourth overall pick, so no Ndamukong Suh. And with a sure thing gone, they'll probably just take the biggest bust still on the board.
My pick: Arizona
Miami at Tennessee (-5)
If the season ended today, the Dolphins would be in the playoffs. And we can't let that happen. Please, Titans please win. We beg of you. Nothing against the Dolphins, I like their style of play. But I can't take this:
Or Jimmy Buffet.
Or Marc Anthony.
Or Jennifer Lopez.
I'd rather have Serena Williams shove a tennis ball in my ears.
My pick: Tennessee
Cleveland at Kansas City (-2)
These teams can only embarrass themselves by taking the field. What they should do is decide to just both take a tie no losers that way and then invite fans down onto the field to watch a highlights montage of their victories over the Steelers.
My pick: Cleveland (and to win)
Houston at St. Louis (+14)
West Texas A&M alum Keith Null, a Ryan Leaf protege no, really threw five interceptions in his NFL debut last week. It reminded me of the Johnny Cash classic that goes: "Out in the West Texas school near El Paso, I throw a ball like a Mexican girl."
My pick: Houston
Atlanta at New York Jets (-7)
Here's the opening paragraph to ESPN.com's preview for this game: "Three wins in a row over struggling opponents have revived the New York Jets'playoff hopes. Getting Mark Sanchezback could help." Hey! Leave some jokes for the rest of us!
My pick: Atlanta
4:05 p.m. ET
Oakland at Denver (-14)
The Raiders have signed J.P. Losman. Poor guy. He went from Tulane to the Bills to the UFL to the Raiders a downward trajectory the entire way. The only way for him to turn things around at this point might be to do some porn.
My pick: Denver
Cincinnati at San Diego (-7)
The NFL is prepared to fine Chad Ochocinco if he wears No. 15 in honor of Chris Henry. Classy, NFL! Really classy! Anyway, you have been warned, Ochocinco. If you choose to get fined, know you had it coming. Just like Chris Henry right, Jay Feely?
My pick: San Diego
4:15 p.m. ET
San Francisco at Philadelphia (-7.5)
This game was supposed to start at 1:00 p.m. but got pushed back so stadium workers would have enough time to clear snow from the field. Poor planning. Terrible planning. All they had to do to keep snow off the field was lay one of Andy Reid's windbreakers out on the field before the storm came. Why do I always have to think of everything?
My pick: San Francisco
Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-2)
Really? The Steelers are favored in a football game? Against NFL players? The Steelers the team that has lost to the Chiefs, Raiders and Browns in recent weeks? I guess it's out of respect for their accomplishments and what they're still capable of. Sports books of Vegas, Ryan Clark does NOT think you are turds!
My pick: Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay at Seattle (-6.5)
Mike Holmgren has turned down an offer to become general manager of the Seahawks. Nice. So he created the turd pile (turds!) that is the Seahawks, left for a few months, and now has decided he wants to be someplace else. He must be a great house guest.
"I'm not flushing that toilet."
"Why? You're the one who filled it."
"I want a new toilet that's not full of this mess."
"Just flush the one you have."
"I will not. Please show me to a new toilet. And give me money."
"Okay. But that one has been full of plenty of turds, too."
"Ahh, but they weren't my turds."
My pick: Seattle
Chicago at Baltimore (-11)
This game was also supposed to be played at 1:00 p.m. but got pushed back due to snow. But who cares about this game. Instead, let's look at some football-related snowman art. Here is the first one. And now, the second. What have we learned, class? Yes, blocks in the back, pass interference, unnecessary roughness snowmen are very undisciplined football players.
My pick: Baltimore
8:20 p.m. ET
Minnesota at Carolina (+8.5)
Brett Favre: "I don't think I'm falling apart in December like most people seem to think. So I feel fine. I don't feel much different than most guys in that locker room at this stage of the season." Way to throw your teammates under the tractor, Bert. So you're saying your entire team isn't playing well, huh? Same old jerk.
My pick: Minnesota
New York Giants at Washington (+3)
My pick: New York Giants
Dallas at New Orleans (-7.5)
The Cowboys are having another disastrous December. Some people like to make fun of them for this. But I am a giving sort. So I commissioned a song for the Dallas Cowboys.
Stupid British accents. When they say "There won't be playoffs in Dallas" it sounds like "There won't be snow in Africa." And "Win a game" sounds like "Feed the world." But other than that, great job, gents!
Except for you, Bono. "Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you"? Jeez. What a dick. I realize the Cowboys are easy to hate. But that was a little too cruel.
My pick: Dallas
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+3)
Hey! Exciting news! I got an exclusive interview with Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell for this game's preview.
SP: First of all, Coach Caldwell, thank you for your time.
SP: Okay. Moving right along. Coach, you're 13-0. Three games to go to a possible 16-0. Is that a goal for your team?
SP: I see. Well, coach, I'll get right to it and ask the question I think we all want to know are you just a new version of the Tony Dungy robot, pictured here, only without the software program that allows speech?
SP: Okay. Well, thanks for your time, coach.
My pick: Indianapolis***