I'm sure everyone has read John Bena's article on how the Broncos can secure a playoff spot this weekend. The playoff picture is rapidly clearing. In the AFC, New England and Houston have won their divisions while Baltimore and Pittsburgh have both secured playoff spots. This leaves the AFC West title and one AFC Wild Card spot up for grabs. In the NFC, Green Bay has clinched their division and a first round bye, while San Francisco has clinched the NFC West and New Orleans has secured a playoff berth. The NFC East and both NFC Wild Card spots are up for grabs. Ten teams have been eliminated from post season play (Miami, Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Carolina, Washington, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and St. Louis). It could well be that we will see further clarification of the playoff picture after this weekend.
This week our reader is that MHR member known as Turnertwo2003. Turnertwo2003 writes:
I am Walt Turner, aka Turnertwo2003. I'll start by wishing all a Merry Christmas or Happy Hannuka or Happy Holidays. Best wishes to all.
I have been a regular on MHR for a couple years now, even though I don't post any thing. I do read and absorb a lot of info on the site daily. I have been a Bronco fan since the first day of their existence. Will never change. I gazed into my glass ball and this is what i see. Go Broncos.
OK, on to the picks
Turnertwo2003 will be competing with Luke Clementson. Luke wrote:
I am currently enrolled in Liberty University's Bachelor of Science in Business and Accounting programs through their online school. I hope to graduate within the next 12-18 months. Along with my civilian schooling, I have been trained by the Army in intelligence. I spent 17 weeks at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona last summer and am stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia. With my unit now deployed in Iraq, I will be able to spend time finishing school.
Even though I live near Richmond, Virginia, I will always be the biggest fan of Colorado. I was born in Arvada on Christmas day, 1987, and my mom needed a neighbor's 4x4 to bring us home in a four-foot blizzard. I don't care what anyone says, but the weather in Colorado is the best in the world.
Let's take a jump and look at their predictions.
|Season to Date||91-51||92-50|
Turnertwo2003: Have to go with Houston here, Indy got their one win this season. Don't want to lose that first pick
Luke: Indianapolis finally won this past week against Tennessee, but will face a much tougher task playing one of the most efficient teams in the NFL. Unless Indianapolis plays a near flawless game, they will struggle to pull this out. Still. with rookie TJ Yates, Houston has scored only 17.5 points per game over the last 4 games. Houston should win because of their strong defense.
Turnertwo2003: KC, Only have two favorite teams,Denver and whoever is playing the Faiders.
Luke: This is the first of many games this weekend where a coin flip might as well determine the outcome. Since Palmer has been the QB for Oakland in Week 7, he has 14 total turnovers (1.8 TO /G). Oakland will struggle against a good secondary and defense overall that ranks in the top 10 in pass defense. However, Kansas City averages 13.7 PPG as a team, 31st in the NFL. With the Chiefs at home and playing with momentum, I expect them to win a close one at the end.
Turnertwo2003: I will take Carolina here. Cant think of one good reason though. It depends on who shows up, flip a coin
Luke: Both teams make plenty of mistakes each week, which explains why they are a combined 9-19 on the season. Tampa Bay has gotten very little out of Josh Freeman this year, who has one of the worst passer ratings in the NFL. Meanwhile, Carolina's defense is uninspiring and Newton makes costly mistakes in the second half of almost every game. Still, I expect the Panthers to score enough to offset those mistakes to defeat a Tampa team that averages only 17.6 p/g.
Turnertwo2003: I'll go with Min in this one. Just think they are a more complete team.They could be really good next year.
Luke: Washington is simply a better team here and is playing at home. However, Minnesota has lost 8 of their 12 games by 7 points or less and an average of 5 points per game. I expect a close game that Washington pulls out in the end.
Turnertwo2003: Miami is not as good a team as our Broncos so New England wins this one easily.
Luke: This game could be closer than people might think. Denver ran all over New England in the first half. Miami's defense is stronger in the secondary than Denver's defense and could provide a stiffer test. Reggie Bush has averaged 5.0 YPC for 973 on the season and could be a tough player for New England to defense. Still, New England is averaging 31.2 pts/g as a team and will be tough to stop at home.
Turnertwo2003: Pit is too much for the Rams. This one should be easy.
Luke: The one statistic that matters most: St. Louis averages 11.9 points per game, last in the NFL. It has been a rough year of Sam Bradford, who ranks at the bottom of the NFL in almost every quarterback rating. Pittsburgh wins at home to keep pace with Baltimore.
Turnertwo2003: Tennessee wins this one 12-9
Luke: Jacksonville is almost a mirror image of St. Louis. Struggling young quarterback with few quality receivers? Check. Talented running back carrying the offense? Check. Team near the bottom in points scored? Check. Strong defense that gets worn out in the 4th quarter? Check. Tennessee wins this time around.
Turnertwo2003: Balt wins if Flacco shows up, Hillis is good for 100 and a td but it's not enough.
Luke: Baltimore is 7-0 at home and 3-4 on the road. They looked completely disinterested in San Diego this past week. I expect the Ravens to come out fired up on defense and take care of Cleveland at home.
Turnertwo2003: Both at home? Go figure. Tough pick. I'll take the younger Manning bro. in a close one
Luke: Here is the next coin-flip game. Statistics apparently don't matter with them because they can be so tough against some of the best in the NFL, and then lose like they did last week. Still, the Jets do boast one of the best pass defenses and will be at home, where they are 6-1 this season. I don't even want to pick this game because I have no clue, but I will go with the Jets in a close one.
Turnertwo2003: Both teams are hot right now , Who wants it more? Cinci in a shootout.
Luke: Amazingly, Arizona is in the same boat and has gone 6-1 after starting the season 1-6. Good stuff. They also play a Bengals team that is only 3-3 at home. However, the Cardinals defense is not very good and will struggle to contain the Bengals offense. AJ Green averages 16.5 y/rec and has 1006 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. I expect Cincinnati to win a close one at home as they fight for a chance to get a playoff spot.
Turnertwo2003: SD is hot but it's too little to late, can't save their season this late in the game, SD in another shootout
Luke: Here is another coin-flip game, and I really have no clue. Both teams have explosive offenses, even if they are sometimes one-dimensional. Both have glaring weaknesses on defense. San Diego has a huge edge on offense because they can actually run the football, averaging 117.4 (15th) yards per game, while Detroit averages 97.4 ypg (28th). The key will be the offensive line of San Diego against the defensive front of Detroit, where Suh and company are tied for 7th in the NFL in sacks with 38. Detroit is also tied for 4th in the NFL with 18 interceptions on defense. This is a huge game that has playoff implications for both teams (a SD loss eliminates them from the playoffs). I expect a close but high scoring game and tend to go with the home team in most of these scenarios. Detroit wins, somehow.
Turnertwo2003: Philly,cause i hate the Cowboys with unbridled passion.
Luke: Although I hate the phrase "revenge game", this is applicable because Dallas got destroyed in Philadelphia this season. With both teams playing as predictable as the rest of their division, I really have no idea who will truly come out on top. Both teams have excellent pass rushers. Babin and Ware have combined for 34 sacks and rank 1st and 3rd in the NFL in sacks. Both rank in the top 10 in total points scored. The choice here is simple, Philadelphia and Dallas have a lot of talent on offense and defense, but the Eagles have made so many mistakes that have cost them games this season. I'll go with Dallas at home, and since Romo is playing extremely well with 30 TDs to just 11 TOs and a NFL passer rating over 100 (4th in the NFL).
Turnertwo2003: San Fran coming off a tough game in a short week. I think the Seahawks win this one
Luke: This is another tough one because Seattle is just weird at home. Like the Cardinals, they have played much better in recent weeks and have a great running game with Marshawn Lynch. Unfortunately, they are facing the number one ranked run defense that has yet to allow a touchdown all season long and only allows 71.5 yards per game. This is a bad match-up for Seattle, even though the play inspired football at home. San Francisco wins a low scoring game with great defense.
Turnertwo2003: Oh-oh someone dun pissed the pack off. look out Bears, Pack wins this one big
Luke: While Green Bay did suffer their first loss of the season, they still boast one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and have the best rating in quarterback differential. On the other side, Caleb Hanie, not Tim Tebow, is arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL right now. His passer rating is 41.8, which would rank dead-last by a wide margin if he had enough passes to qualify in NFL.com's rankings. Green Bay has no reason to lose this one. I talked about Caleb Hanie, but he won't be starting. Even with Josh McCown as the starter for the game, my pick stays the same. Just wanted to clarify this.
Turnertwo2003: Don't think the Birds can hang with the Saints for a full game, NO wins this one easily
Luke: Unfortunately for Atlanta, a talented team that always plays New Orleans tough, will struggle to slow down the top ranked offense in the NFL. Drew Brees has 16 touchdowns, 1 turnover and has been sacked only 4 times in his last 5 games while completing 72.5 percent of his passes. Teams that win the quarterback battle win around 7 out of 8 games, and it will be tough for Atlanta's defense to force enough pressure on Drew Brees, who has one of the best offensive lines in football. New Orleans is also a great home team and is 1 of 3 teams (GB, BAL) that are still undefeated at home and should win this one as well.