Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Week 13 and no one's lucky

Ugh. 8-8 this week in the picks. I take solace in the fact that no one did better than 10-6. It's cold comfort, but hey, it's December.

New England 28, Detroit 21: "Frankly, the Lions deserved to beat the Patriots." I don't know that that sentence has been written before, at least not sarcastically. Arizona's win at St. Louis has cleared room in the league cellar, so now Detroit just has to get past Oakland for the right to draft Brady Quinn, who will then bear the blame for everything that's wrong with the Lions.

San Diego 24, Buffalo 21: Just because a team hails from a warm-weather city doesn't mean it's totally incapable of playing north of the equator after Oct. 1.

Chicago 23, Minnesota 21: Remember when the Bears beat the Cardinals, and everyone said it was a wake-up call for the team? How they couldn't keep counting on defense, special teams, and the other teams' errors to bail them out? How they just had to play better on offense? And yet they keep playing worse. Vital stats from Chicago's Week 6 victory at Arizona and Sunday's game vs. the Vikings:
Yards gained by Bears 168 107
Yards gained by opponent 286 348
Bears 1st downs 9 6
Opponent 1st downs 17 21
Points by Bears offense 3 7
Points by Bears defense/special teams 21 16
Rex Grossman passer rating 10.7 1.3
Win? Yes Yes
Score 24-23 23-21
All Kyle Orton does is win!

Atlanta 24, Washington 14: I had originally written "The Falcons may have saved their season," but in reality they did no such thing.

New Orleans 34, San Francisco 10: There's a guy in your office who picked Reggie Bush way too early in his fantasy draft and had started him every game, hoping each time that it would be the week Bush finally broke out. Then, this Sunday, he finally gave up and benched Bush in favor of, I don't know, Laurence Maroney. Then Bush went for four TDs. But I don't have to tell you any of this, because he won't shut up about it.

Pittsburgh 20, Tampa Bay 3: I thought it was a bit silly for Green Bay to go for the field goal while losing 31-0 in the third quarter. Then I saw Tampa Bay go for a field goal when down 20-0 on the final play of the game. Talk about ridiculous. I wrote last year that putting up only 3 points is even more pathetic than getting shut out, and I stand by it. I'm sure this game was nice and cathartic for Steeler fans, but from a distance, it was just sad. Both these teams were in the playoffs last year, and it's likely that both Fox and the flex-schedule people at NBC at one point saw this as a marquee matchup. Instead, it was just another late-season collision of two buses headed nowhere. Well, only one bus, when you think about it.

Jacksonville 24, Miami 10: Here's how to pick a Jaguars game: Select a number at random. If it's an odd number, multiply by 3; if even, by 2.5. Now double it. Subtract from it from the square of your original number. Now close your eyes and flip a coin.

Dallas 23, N.Y. Giants 20: Sunday's adequate performance aside, everyone in New York is screaming about Eli Manning, but what are the Giants going to do? Bench him? For whom? Elisabeth Hasselbeck's husband is in uniform mostly for self-esteem reasons, and Jared Lorenzen remains on the roster only as a cruel frat prank.

Cincinnati 13, Baltimore 7: I heard more than once, "If this game had been played in Baltimore in January, the result would have been different. Yes, but it wasn't. And it wasn't. Me, I'm as guilty as everyone else.

Tennessee 20, Indianapolis 17: This would normally be the space in which the Titans are praised for again devising a game plan that matched their strengths to the Colts' weakness. But I can't get past the powder-blue pants.

Arizona 34, St. Louis 20: Those fantasy owners who took a chance on a certain Arizona Cardinals running back are looking pretty smart today. I mean, I wish I'd had the foresight to pick up Marcel Shipp.

Cleveland 31, Kansas City 28 (OT): Who is Derek Anderson? Suddenly the most popular guy in Cleveland. Just like Charlie Frye was for a few weeks before him, Trent Dilfer for a few weeks before him, Kelly Holcomb for a few weeks before him and Jeff Garcia for those bizarre six or seven weeks in 2003.

Houston 23, Oakland 14: If you can't beat the Texans and their putrid offense (minus-5 yards net passing) when you have an excellent defense and are playing at home, don't even bother coming out.

N.Y. Jets 38, Green Bay 10: CBS has to have a pretty weak slate of games to send its No. 1 announcing team to call the 7-4, probably-not-going-anywhere Jets against the 4-7, definitely-not-going-anywhere Packers. In picking Green Bay, I had this whole "feisty, upset minded Packers playing at home" thing spinning in my head. Then Jim Nantz reminded me that only one team has been shut out at home twice this year: the Packers. Thanks, dick.

Seattle 23, Denver 20: The Broncos put Jay Cutler in at quarterback because Jake Plummer kept fumbling snaps and exchanges and throwing costly interceptions.

Philadelphia 27, Carolina 24: Jeff Garcia was this close to being put out of our misery.

SEASON: 115-77
(2005 through Week 13: 132-60)

Down and Distance's exclusive KA-POWER RANKINGS are back for their second year. The product of a simple formula, the rankings have predicted 10 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners. Further, 14 of the last 16 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the KA-POWER RANKINGS system. Unlike with other, lesser rating systems, no opinion is involved in formulating these rankings. None. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. Don't like where your team is ranked? Blame science. (Key: W13 = This week's ranking. W12 = last week's ranking. POW = KAPOW-ER centigrade score)
11 Bears 100.001715Panthers44.50
22 Patriots 85.101814Dolphins 40.63
33 Ravens 80.681917Vikings 39.08
44 Chargers 80.262021Falcons 38.63
55 Cowboys 77.142122Bills 33.80
66 Jaguars 75.482220Rams 33.08
77 Colts 65.262328Cardinals27.10
810Saints 61.752423Redskins 27.02
98 Bengals 60.122527Browns 24.92
109 Broncos 56.002626Titans 24.54
1111Eagles 54.292730Texans 23.08
1212Chiefs 52.322824Lions 22.85
1313Giants 48.802925Packers 16.76
1419Jets 46.84302949ers 14.50
1518Steelers46.483131Raiders 8.61
1616Seahawks45.033232Bucs 0.00
Teams eliminated this week from Super Bowl championship consideration (what?): Chiefs, Broncos. Teams previously eliminated: Raiders, Titans, Lions, Dolphins, Cardinals, Redskins, Browns, Bills, Texans, Buccaneers, 49ers, Steelers, Packers, Bengals, Vikings, Rams, Jets, Eagles, Falcons, Jaguars, Giants, Panthers.

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