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Week Fifteen Postmortem

December 21st, 2004

Week fifteen was all about quarterbacks, for better and in some cases (see Monday night) for much, much worse. Except when it wasn’t. Here’s what I saw.

Pittsburgh (-10) at NY Giants
I said: Take the Steelers and give the points.
The final was: Pittsburgh 33, NY Giants 30
So what happened? Someone told Eli Manning he’s supposed to be a superstud. And if the Giants’ D weren’t so beat up, this one might easily have turned out to be the second biggest upset of the week.

Washington (-5) at San Francisco
I said: Take the Redskins and give the points.
The final was: Washington 26, San Francisco 16
So what happened? San Francisco quarterback Ken Dorsey threw four picks and even the best teams in the league can’t win when their quarterbacks perform that poorly (see New England at Miami below).

Carolina (+3.5) at Atlanta
I said: Take Carolina straight up and with the points.
The final was: Atlanta 34, Carolina 31
So what happened? Panthers coach John Fox didn’t have the cojones to let his offense try to win it at the end of regulation and, with their coach’s lack of faith in them fresh in mind, the Panthers blew it in OT.

Buffalo (-1) at Cincinnati
I said: Take Buffalo and give the point.
The final was: Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 17
So what happened? No real surprises here. The Bills are fighting to get into the playoffs. The Bengals are, as always, still the Bengals.

Dallas (+12) at Philadelphia
I said: Take the Eagles straight up, the Cowboys with the points.
The final was: Philadelphia 12, Dallas 7
So what happened? I’ll be honest. I just felt like 12 was a lot of points to give in an NFL match. I had no idea the Eagles were gonna lose Terrell Owens for the balance of the regular season and most of the playoffs (it’ll be all of the playoffs if they continue to perform this poorly without him).

Denver (-1) at Kansas City
I said: Take the Chiefs to win it outright.
The final was: Kansas City 45, Denver 17
So what happened? The Broncos are melting down. What a pity. No, no, really. I mean it. I feel awful for them.

Houston (+1) at Chicago
I said: Take the Texans to win it outright.
The final was: Houston 24, Chicago 5
So what happened? The league’s worst offense committed more turnovers (four) than it scored points (three). What a surprise.

Minnesota (-3) at Detroit
I said: Take the Vikings and give the points.
The final was: Minnesota 28, Detroit 27
So what happened? In truth, I should have been wrong on both fronts. The Vikings had no business winning this game. And if Detroit’s rookie long snapper Don Mulbach hadn’t fucked up the PAT with eight seconds to play, the Lions would have won it in overtime.

San Diego (-9.5) at Cleveland
I said: Take the Chargers and give the points.
The final was: San Diego 21, Cleveland 0
So what happened? I made the easy prediction that Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson would have a huge day against the league’s 31st-ranked run defense. He did just that, logging 111 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. And that’s the rest of the story.

Seattle (+6.5) at NY Jets
I said: Take the Jets and give the points.
The final was: NY Jets 37, Seattle 14
So what happened? The Seahawks took another giant step toward winning the NFC West with a record of 8-8 or 7-9. And won’t that be exciting for everybody.

New Orleans (+7.5) at Tampa Bay
I said: Take the Buccaneers and give the points.
The final was: New Orleans 21, Tampa Bay 17
So what happened? The league’s second best pass defense gave up a game-winning touchdown pass at the end of regulation. You can’t predict shit like that.

St. Louis (-3) at Arizona
I said: Take the Cardinals to win it outright.
The final was: Arizona 31, St. Louis 7
So what happened? Rams quarterback Chris Chandler lasted one quarter, during which time he threw six passes, two of which were caught, one by wide receiver Torry “Big Play” Holt (for a whole yard), the other by Arizona cornerback David Macklin. Then Jamie Martin stepped in. And he sucked, too.

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Green Bay
I said: Take the Packers to win, the Jaguars to cover.
The final was:
So what happened? Brett Favre is still one of the all-time great quarterbacks, but nothing lasts forever. A team can’t overcome three interceptions and a lost fumble by its quarterback, not even at home in the cold vs. a warm-weather squad.

Tennessee (+2.5) at Oakland
I said: Take the Titans to win it outright.
The final was: Oakland 40, Tennessee 35
So what happened? The good Kerry Collins showed up for a change..

Baltimore (+7.5) at Indianapolis
I said: Take the Colts and give the points.
The final was: Indianapolis 20, Baltimore 10
So what happened? Peyton Manning did something far more impressive (and far more frightening if you’re a fan of other AFC teams) than break Dan Marino’s single-season touchdown record (which Peyton will break before the season’s out): He put winning ahead of racking up individual stats. And while the Colts still have a long way to go and a lot to prove, there’s no denying that’s the kind of playing style that wins championships.

New England (-9.5) at Miami
I said: Take the Pats and give the points.
The final was: Miami 29, New England 28
So what happened? Possibility one: Somebody pulled some kind of Freaky Friday shit on Tom Brady and A.J. Feeley. Possibility two: Tom Brady got to thinking he could throw a completion from flat on his ass every week, and his team paid the price. Take your pick.

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