What a way for the season to end. The Broncos are peaking at just the right time. They have won ten straight games and will most likely win their eleventh in a row today -- for what it's worth, that is the second longest winning streak in Broncos' history, eclipsed by only the 13-0 run that started the 1998 season. The Readers/Staffers competition is a much tighter race. In Week 16, Topher Doll got the Staffers back in the win column and knotted the overall competition at 137-87-1. This week will be the deciding competition to see which group will have bragging rights for the 2012 season. This week, the Readers will be represented by SFK. SFK writes:
I am a pediatrician in Iowa who has loved the Broncos since the mid 80's. I have finally had the time over the last two seasons to attend a few games in Denver including the magical playoff win last year! This year, I anticipate a strong run at the Super Bowl, which would be amazing considering we are not that far removed from our 4-12 year!
Going against the Readers' SFK will be Staffer Troy Hufford. Troy writes:
Greetings, once again, MHR. If you’re not familiar, I’m MHR staffer, Troy Hufford, a recently graduated Bioengineer from the University of Louisville (still looking for a job, hint hint). I’ve already been around the block once in this pick’em competition. Don’t call it a comeback. When I took on the community in the past, I made my presence known in a big way. I come back again, this week, to pick these games correctly. Like Peyton Manning in the 2 minute drill, I’m going to move the chains, pick the correct teams, and win the week 17 pick ‘em. I’ll see you folks at the finish line.
And now, onto the picks.
SFK: Dirty Birds should win assuming they are not resting starters. TB has been disappointing the 2nd half of the year and are best known for trying to blast victory formations.
Troy: I’ll take the Falcons. They’ve got the bye week next week, so they’ll be looking to tighten up some loose ends before heading into the playoffs.
SFK: Jets look horrible and their QB situation is a mess! Would have liked to see Tebow in there. Love the kid and the attitude, but clearly not a franchise QB. However, he will always be remembered for his TD to DT! Bills in a close one!
Troy: Bills win. The Jets deserve to end their season with a loss and let Tebowgate roll on. I do love a trainwreck when it presents itself. The Jets are that trainwreck.
SFK: They are playing well and should win at home. Seeding is still on the line. Would love to play Ravens again in a Divisional game!
Troy: Give me the Bengals. It’s time for them to finally prove their worth in the AFC North. They beat the Steelers last week. A win this week and they’ll prove to themselves that they belong in the playoffs.
SFK: promising season turned out poorly! Jobs and pride, and most importantly playoff spot still on the line. Lions are one of the most disappointing teams. Bears win easily.
Troy: Lions. I expect Suh to stomp on the face of at least 2 Bear players.
SFK: I may have an obvious rooting bias, but I believe that with the return of their coach and playing at home with seeding on the line, they will win a close one! Texans don't look good!
Troy: I’ll go with the Colts. I’m a Broncos homer and I want homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
SFK: dangerous team with a bad defense. Should beat the Panthers who some thought as Super Bowl contenders.
Troy: Saints. I always like Drew Brees at home.
SFK: With an outside chance at the playoffs NY should beat the Eagles led by Reid for the last time. We definitely have the better Manning this year.
Troy: I’m going with the Giants. They have home field advantage and need to win for the NFC playoff picture. No excuses.
SFK: Steel Curtain Pride. No playoffs for Steelers sounds strange given their highly touted defense.
Troy: I’m going with the Browns here, surprisingly. They have been hot at the end of this season and the Steelers are struggling to stay afloat. After being bounced from playoff contention, I don’t think the Steelers will be making much of a fight.
SFK: who cares? Home field and trying to show some pride after a beating by the Packers should allow Titans to win a close one!
Troy: I think the Titans win this one. It’s fairly simple. The Titans are an average team. The Jags are a bad team. I’d be committing some sort of injustice to myself and others if I picked the Jags.
SFK: Metrodome is a tough place. I watched the Broncos beat the Vikings 35-32 last year. I think Packers will play tough for that first round bye and win a close one. AP will fall short of the record, setting up Manning for MVP.
Troy: Packers. The Vikings just aren’t the same team without Percy Harvin. Sorry Adrian Peterson. Oh, and shout out to Mr. Cobb from Kentucky… the dude is making Aaron Rodgers’ life much easier.
SFK: Pats should win, although Dolphins play them tough. I hope NE loses but don't see it happening.
Troy: I hate to pick the Patriots, but I’m going with them anyways. I’d love for them to lose in the playoffs because it’s the only team I think can beat us on our best day.
SFK: SD should beat the Raiders before huge changes are made with coaches and GM.
Troy: Chargers. Just because… it’s the Raiduhs.
SFK: Easy win for SF as they clinch the NFC West. Thank you for your win at NE!
Troy: The 49ers win. The Cardinals are just awful and the 49ers aren’t. That’s an easy one.
SFK: Seattle should win comfortably. Great home team, but I anticipate tough times with a rookie QB on the road during playoffs. Still a tough out!
Troy: Seahawks. I like defense.
SFK: Washington has made a great run with a phenomenal rookie QB. I don't trust Romo, Redskins in a tight one! Could Tebow run the read option in DC as a backup? Just a thought!
TroyHufford: I love me some RG3. Give me the Redskins.
What Denver Must Do to Win
SFKTroy: I was at the first Broncos- Chiefs game with my son and a few buddies from Iowa. A security guard let us checkout the practice facility, which turned into a tragic scene just six days later! I believe we will win 38-13 by stopping Charles and forcing Quinn to pass. He has looked absolutely horrible. I expect Miller to hit 20 sacks and Manning to throw another 300 yard game with at least 2 touchdowns.
Troy: We don’t pick the Broncos game, but we talk about what they need to do to win. Here’s what they need to do. All they need to do is show up and they will beat the Chiefs. That’s all they need to do.
Good Luck to both of our Contestants.