This is it - the final regular season picks in what has been a disappointing season for this column. Another 7-9 last week continued the downward spiral toward mediocrity, and with the lines so out of whack this week the choices are even more difficult.
New England (-14.5) over NY GIANTS
The Game Which Pissed Off Bar Owners From Coast To Coast. Thanks, Mr. Goodell, for arriving at such a royally screwy compromise to allow us all to see this classic battle. Hey, why not show it on Lifetime and Home & Garden TV as well, in case you missed some other potential audiences? As fot the game, we'll go with the Pats on the simple premise that they will want to keep the starters in since they will be off next week, while the Giants have to stay intact for the first round game in Tampa next week.
Patriots 27 Giants 10
ATLANTA (-2.5) over Seattle
Screwy line #1. Hawks, bad on the road and with nothing to play for, will mail one in and give the Falcs the chance to end this awful year on a positive note.
Falcons 20 Seahawks 17
CLEVELAND (-9.5) over San Francisco
Browns need this one badly, and Niners are not going to play so well in frigid Cleveland.
Browns 27 49ers 10
New Orleans (-2.5) over CHICAGO
No rational explanation, other than the fact that the Saints need to win in order to have any mathematical chance. We'll lay the figgie.
Saints 23 Bears 20
Cincinnati (-2.5) over MIAMI
Dolphins have been more competitive, and new honcho Bill Parcells will be in attendance actively evaluating players and coaches. Still, Bengals should be able to cover this small number.
Bengals 21 Dolphins 12
PHILADELPHIA (-7.5) over Buffalo
Eagles on late season tear, while Bills blew any chance by collapsing at home vs. Jints. Farewell game for Donovan McNabb?
Eagles 27 Bills 17
Carolina (-2.5) over TAMPA BAY
Screwy line #2. Bucs have zero to play for, and should rest key players, while Panthers look to close out on an upswing.
Panthers 20 Buccaneers 17
GREEN BAY (-3.5) over Detroit
This would have been another "rest the starters" game, but blowout loss in Chicago last week makes us think the Pack will stay on the gas pedal here and head into the bye feeling better about themselves.
Packers 30 Lions 14
Jacksonville (+6.5) over HOUSTON
Screwy line #3. We understand the sentiment behind making Texans the fave, we just don;t think they can cover this many points. Still think the Jags are rolling, and won't be deterred here.
Jaguars 23 Texans 16
Pittsburgh (-5.5) over BALTIMORE
Steelers need to re-establish the running game after losing Willie Parker, and will take it to overmatched Ravens.
Steelers 24 Ravens 9
WASHINGTON (-8.5) over Dallas
No T.O., no Gurode, a QB with a bad thumb, Skins need to win to stay alive. All these add up to the inflated number, and a Washington win.
Redskins 19 Cowboys 10
ARIZONA (-6.5) over St. Louis
Ugh. In a game nobody should have to watch, we like the Cards.
Cardinals 27 Rams 17
Minnesota (-2.5) over DENVER
Tough call, since Broncos play better at home. Vikes have incentive, and can run the ball against surprisingly porous run defense.
Vikings 27 Broncos 10
San Diego (-6.5) over OAKLAND
Raiders will go with Jamarcus Russell, who will become quite intimate with Shawn Merriman by the fourth quarter. Bolts will keep the throttle on and cruise into playoffs on an up note.
Chargers 37 Raiders 9
Kansas City (+5.5) over NY JETS
This was originally scheduled as the Sunday nighter - thank you Flex Scheduling! Chiefs finish worst year since '88 by watching Herm Edwards make a less than triumphant return to team he abandoned. Jets have a knack for keeping all games close, win or lose, so we can see a tight, boring one here.
Jets 17 Chiefs 13
INDIANAPOLIS (+6.5) over Tennessee
Screwy line #4. Colts getting 6.5 at home seems unthinkable, even if Jim Sorgi plays the whole game. Titans need the game, but it will not come easy.
Colts 23 Titans 17
Best Bets: Chargers, Packers, Eagles
Last Week: 7-9, again
Season Total: 125-115 (52.1%)
Last Week: 2-1
Season Total: 24-18 (57.1%)