Let's step back in time about six weeks. It was the second Sunday in October. The 3-1 San Diego Chargers had forged a 26-10 lead in the fourth quarter. Then the 1-3 Broncos did the unthinkable: they surged for fourteen unanswered points. A 2-point conversion would tie the game. San Diego held and then added one last field goal to bring the score to its 29-24 conclusion. Since that fateful game, the Broncos have won five out of their last six games, including an overtime win over the Chargers they had very nearly defeated six weeks earlier. In that same span, the Chargers -- who held on for the win that day -- have dropped six straight games. Karma? Fate? Who knows. What we do know is that the Staffers are hoping for a similar run of luck (wherein the Staffers win several straight weeks while the Readers drop) so that the Staffers can cut into and maybe even surpass the record set by the Readers thus far in the face off.
This week our reader is that MHR member known as Mikebirty. Mikebirty writes:
So how does a guy from Manchester, England become a Broncos fan? To put it quite simply it dates back to "The Drive". At the time I had a passing interest in the sport but didn't have any reason to follow any of the teams. However, after you watch 96 yards of magic how can you not be a Bronco fan? Apart from the Superbowls, my favourite Bronco memory was from last year's Wembley game when Eddie Royal took a punt and ran it into the corner of the end zone where I was sitting. Unsurprisngly my worst memory is about half a second later when I saw the flag for an illegal block.
Anyway, in preparation for this - I have had the Simpson's episode "Lisa the Greek" on a continuous loop ever since I was picked, so hopefully I'll do OK
So, anyway, on with the picks!
Mikebirty will be competing with Sayre Bedinger. Sayre writes:
I'm here to give you picks for this week, and if you give me a quarter, I will also read your palm. If you want to know just exactly what is going to happen this weekend in the NFL, look no further because here come the answers.
Let's take a jump and look at their predictions.
|Season to Date||75-37||72-40|
Mikebirty: Winner Phi Seriously, who'd have thought that these two would have had the same record going into week13? Probably about the same number of people that would've owned up to thinking that Vince Young could actually turn out to be effective.
Sayre: PHI over SEA--the Eagles are down right now, but I think this is a very manageable game for them. The Seahawks have gotten better at running the ball, but they can't defend the pass well at all. I think Vince Young channels his inner self circa 2008 and the Eagles win this one.
Mikebirty: Winner Bal Baltimore look like Baltimore - strong defense, good running game and a quarterback that doesn't lose games. Sounds like a good recipe for success to me.
Sayre: BAL over CLE--The Browns are a solid young team, but which Colt McCoy will show up? Will Peyton Hillis be able to run on Baltimore? The Ravens are among the best teams in the NFL, and I think they take care of business.
Mikebirty: Winner Was Tough one to pick this. The Jets are going backwards which is slightly better than the Redskins who seem to be going nowhere. Will Shanny last long enough to draft a top QB in this year's draft?
Sayre: NYJ over WAS--The Jets are overall the better team here, but don't put it past ol' Rexy to pull off some kind of upset against an extremely up-and-down team like New York. I don't expect Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Fred Davis, or any Redskins player to fake shoot their leg, either.
Mikebirty: Winner Pit The Bengals have, for me, been the surprise team winning seven games so far and proving that Gingers can have success at quarterback. But Pittsburgh are at home and should win, giving the Raiders a better shot at a wild card.
Sayre: PIT over CIN--The Steelers struggled against Kansas City, and a lot will ride on whether or not Troy Polamalu plays. He has a similar effect on the Steelers as Peyton Manning has to the Colts. I still like the Steelers and their experience over a young Bengals team, but this could be a statement win for Cincy.
Mikebirty: Winner NO Good job I'm not being asked to put a score on this one as I reckon this will get wild. But Drew Brees will stamp his class all over this one.
Sayre: NO over DET--The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL, and I think they take care of business against a talented but troubled Lions team that is turning the ball over far too much.
Mikebirty: Winner Buf Another tough one to pick. I don't really have any justification for picking this one so lets call it a hunch.
Sayre: BUF over TEN--These are two teams I cannot figure out. I like the Titans about as much as I like the Bills here, but I'm taking Buffalo because their offense is capable of putting up more points on a regular basis.
Mikebirty: Winner Car I hate Tampa with a passion most people reserve for the Raiders. If you want to know why, ask me in the comments. Winter is coming.
Sayre: CAR over TB -- I keep picking the Pathers expecting them to actually finish a game. They beat the Colts but will that momentum be enough to beat a streaky Bucs team? I think Tampa Bay is one of the bigger head-scratchers in the NFL today.
Mikebirty:Winner Atl What has Gary Kubiak done to deserve this? He should be able to nurse a young or unfamiliar quarterback through the rest of the season with good defense and a strong running game. And Houston should be able to make the playoffs but this week Atlanta will have too much for them
Sayre:ATL over HOU--Houston fans are going to start getting a little nervous after they get whipped by Atlanta in this game. Or, Houston's quarterback situation will turn out to be a minimal problem and they could run all over Atlanta. Either way, I'm still picking the Falcons to beat Houston in this one.
Mikebirty:Winner Chi This isn't really about whose quarterback will suck less but more about whose defense will play harder. Being at home, I can't really see past Chicago, although I think this one will be very low scoring.
Sayre:CHI over KC--Mainly because I want the Chiefs to lose, but also because in a battle of terrible quarterbacks, the team who can establish the ground game is going to win. I think that will be the Bears.
Mikebirty:Winner Mia I want Miami to win, I need Miami to win, I implore Miami to win and I even think they will. The Raiders are due a bad game and Miami are a much better team now than they were when they played the Broncos.
Sayre:OAK over MIA--The Dolphins are playing similarly good football to the Raiders right now, and I think they are one or two possessions away from being 5-0 in their last five games. I think they are playing solid football right now, but the Raiders are physical, fast, and have good depth all around. If Carson Palmer doesn't make mistakes, they win this game.
Mikebirty:Winner SF OK so the 49ers actually faced a proper team last week in Baltimore and they struggled. Not that much of a surprise, no team could ever win a quarterback throwing for only 140 yards. They'll get the second seed and be one and done once the playoffs start.
Sayre:SF over STL--The Rams are an absolute mess, and the Niners are as tough as they come. This could be an ugly game for the Rams, but I guess they beat the Saints, so should we expect fireworks?
Mikebirty:Winner GB Oh poor Giants. After a short week and giving up 49 points to the Saints, who would you least like to face? The Pack move on to 12-0 but they'll lose soon, won't they?
Sayre:GB over NYG--The Pack face just another bump on the road to perfection. They might have to actually deal with a pass rush here, but Drew Brees just showed how to kill this team. I think Green Bay takes this one and moves to 12-0.
Mikebirty:Winner Dal Dallas are slowly looking like a good football team. They've had a couple of days extra rest and Arizona have very little going for them. Unless Patrick Peterson can return a dozen punts for scores Dallas should win easily.
Sayre:DAL over ARI--The Cowboys are playing like one of the best teams in football right now. One of my favorite parts about this team is the emergence of wide receiver Laurent Robinson.
Mikebirty:Winner NE Business as usual for Brady and co. The Colts will learn that you never get better by sacking Larry Coyer. Indy move on to 0-12 but they'll win soon, won't they?
Sayre:NE over IND--This won't be a classic battle like the days of old. The Patriots will coast to victory in this game.
Mikebirty:Winner Jac They have no coach, no owners and no fans and yet the Jaguars are still in a better position than Chargers. What are the chances one of these teams ends up in LA within a season or two?
Sayre:SD over JAC--The Chargers' losing streak will end against a Jacksonville team changing coaches, owners, possibly quarterbacks, and so many other distracting things.