Sunday Line Chatter, Week 16: Games We Want to Watch
Steelers (-2) at Titans
Matt: Can I make a bold prediction?
Dave: No Haynesworth is not far removed from no chance for the Titans
Dave: And of course you can
Matt: Eh, maybe it's not so bold. But what the hey: The Titans are done. D-U-N.
Dave: No chance, at least historically
Des: just because Big Albert wont be there?
Dave: Writing the Giants-Panthers and Titans-Steelers capsules has got you feeling sorta chesty, Bonesy
Matt: there's the Haynesworth factor, plus the fact their offense is sickly.
Dave: I believe Bonesy has the Titans' record without him in recent years
Dave: Not to put Bonesy on the spot
Matt: 3-13 without Haynesworth since 2004.
Dave: There y'go, Thank you.
Des: So it's not like the Titans have never won without Haynesworth. They've done it before, and they can do it again!
Matt: Now, wheezing their way to the finish, they get to face the Steelers' and their muscular defense.
Matt: And that is why I'm banking on the Steelers to snap my lock putridity: Pittsburgh is my lock.
Dave: I've been riding the Steelers for several weeks. The only way I've gone wrong is not locking them
Des: I'm more concerned about the Titans' offense with Kerry Collins than their defense without Haynesworth
Dave: Wait, Bonesy's lock was so subdued I'm not truly convinced it was a lock
Des: yeah, he was trying to just sneak it in there
Matt: "Inside the Red Zone" has a calming effect on me. It's like chamomile tea.
Des: celestial cerrato-ings
Dave: What a letdown. Anyway, I agree with the pick, if not the sobriety with which it was delivered. Gimme Steelers.
Matt: MY WILL IS OUTSTANDING.
Des: ah, jeez
Matt: MY SHOVEL IS SHARP.
Dave: That's better. He is locking teh dreaded road favorite, tho.
Matt: MY PICK IS ALSO SHARP.
Matt: SHARP SHARP SHARP
Des: You know, the thing about this season is that it seems like every time a team just looks cooked, it's not, and just when we think we definitely know something, we don't. So I take the Titans
Ravens (+4) at Cowboys
Dave: Unlike the Steelers, I've been repeatedly picking against the Cowboys lately. And, except when they played said Steelers, I've been wrong
Des: The Dallas defense has been looking pretty swell of late. Of course, the Ravens defense always looks swell
Dave: The Cowboys defense has been great--27 sacks in the last five games, which is more than half its season total, which leads the league.
Des: think they get a lift from bidding a Texas-sized farewell to their stadium?
Matt: Against the strongest teams on their schedule (the Steelers, Giants, Colts and Titans), the Ravens have scored 32 total points.
Dave: They've needed it too, b/c their backbiting offense has really only lived up to its rep against bad teams lately
Matt: The Ravens are just like the Steelers, except the have less-talented players at every skill position on their offense.
Matt: I can't think of any other ways to bad-mouth the Ravens, so I guess I'll go ahead and take the Cowboys.
Dave: And yet, the Ravens coulda shoulda beat teh Steelers and Titans. (The Giants and Colts, not so much.)
Matt: that, I think, has to do with the whole "less-talented skill players on offense" thing.
Dave: I think Vegas did a good job setting this spread.
Des: It will be a lot different for the Cowboys than their visit to Pittsburgh. Playing at home in front of an emotional crowd, everyone crying into their 10-gallon hats, Romo and Witten likely in the same book if not on the same exact page, God staring down while munching on some Jacklinks... I take Dallas
Dave: Okay, you swayed me with the Texas-sized nostalgia for that stupid stadium. I'll take the Cowboys too
Chargers (+3 1/2) at Buccaneers
Des: Tell me this is the week the Chargers officially get knocked out of the playoff chase
Matt: Ah, a Norv Turner-coached team making a 3,000-mile trip to play a team fighting for a playoff spot.
Matt: yes, the Chargers will be eliminated, finally, with one more loss.
Matt: I wouldn't trust a Norv Turner-coached team to make a three-mile trip to the grocery story without messing things up.
Dave: For this pick, I will assume the character of the Judge. And the Chargers are the defendant.
Matt: Ooooh, a crime drama.
Dave: San Diego, you have flouted the rules of common decency in playoff contention for the last time....
Matt: this is riveting.
Des: it's all about ellipses
Dave: You have neglected to uphold your responsibility as an AFC favorite, and now through sheer skullduggery have contrived to steal teh division
Des: the word "the" seems to give Dave fits
Dave: This court, the Ninth District of Toutery, finds you guilty of fraud! You are sentenced to fall to the Buccaneers and spend an offseason in shame!
Des: but will they fall by more than 3?
Matt: didn't see that one coming.
Dave: and so the steel prison door slams on the Chargers's season. Ka-CHUNK. That's a Bucs lock
Matt: I thought the Chargers would get last-minute clemency from the governor. But I guess that's why you're the judge and I'm the law...talkin'...guy.
Matt: Bravo. I would throw roses onto the stage, if this were a real stage play. Please make that happen.
Dave: Sorry. Takes me a minute to get out of character. Wow. That felt so organic.
Des: Seriously, how much better a coach is Gruden than Turner? Norv has had the luxury all season of Rivers, Tomlinson (albeit an over-the-hill-looking LT), Gates, Jackson, Chambers, while Gruden has had a rotating cast of rejects, has-beens and reclamation projects at every skill position. But you know what? I think it's coming back to haunt the Bucs a little bit, and I like that li'l half-point. I'll take the Chargers to lose by less than 4.
Matt: I'll go ahead and concur with all Larimer has said, and take the Bucs. Norv Turner-coached teams don't win games like this.
Falcons (+3 1/2) at Vikings
Dave: Anyway, you know how I like picking against the West Coast team palying out East, and I've stated my disdain for tehe Chargers here before.
Des: To paraphrase Stephen Colbert: Tarvaris Jackson -- great QB or the greatest QB?
Matt: He has looked shockingly competent since getting his job back..
Dave: It seems the Vikings have finally started playing to his strengths a littlebetter
Des: shocking, indeed. so is he due for a comeuppance? after all, if he keeps playing this well, that might mean that Brad Childress can coach a bit
Dave: Before I forget, I have a seasonal observation: Brad Childress looks exactly like the Conductor in "The Polar Express."
Matt: I thought he looked like Gerald McRaney?
Dave: Well, that's true. But it's not seasonal.
Des: I'll have to take your word for that, not being quite as big a fan as you of treacly, animated holiday fare
Dave: I saw it just the other day--there's a scene toward the end where the Conductor doffs his cap. Trust me.
Matt: Hello: I point you to a little 1987 TV movie called "A Hobo's Christmas." Thank you, IMDB.
Dave: "The Polar Express" does traffic in that creepy, dead-eyed animation of human faces. That might entertain you.
Dave: Anyway, I'm totally torn on this one.
Des: So Pat Williams avoids suspension but is out for several weeks anyway after suffering an injury. Know what I call that? Diuretic justice.
Des: it bodes, if not well, than better for Michael Turner's chances
Matt: Yeah, could the Falcons scratch out a ground game with the Williams Wall one-half gone?
Dave: Hard to say. Neither oneof those two has missed a game since 2004, I think
Dave: Acutally, I believe it's 2005.
Des: Is there a bad-dum-bum in a Hobo's Christmas?
Dave: Well-timed, Des
Matt: Yep. He finds a severed hand in his bindle.
Matt: But it teaches him the true meaning of Christmas, so everything turns out okay.
Matt: moving along, I'll take the Falcons. I don't trust the Vikings just yet to beat a good-ish team by that much.
Dave: Clearly we have nothing meaningful to say about this game. I'll just take the Vikings, cuz they're at home, and I regularly fall back on being wrong about the Falcons.
Matt: oh right: CAW!
Des: the vikings have won four straight, and 3 of those wins have been resounding ones. of course, they did have quite the tussle with Detroit 2 weeks back, but who doesn't? Vikings
Cardinals (+7 1/2) at Patriots
Des: how fraudulent are the Cards?
Matt: More fradulent than that Madoff fella.
Dave: Lotta points, but there's the Travel Factor I Dare Not Name Again
Matt: There also is the Kurt Warner Playing in Crummy Weather Factor.
Matt: And the Cardinals as Frauds Factor
Des: and the possibly missing Boldin factor
Matt: So many factors, which makes my pick of the Pats rather easy.
Des: and the Pats playing for their playoff lives while the Cards are already in factor
Matt: there's that, tho one of the pats' playoff scenarios was eliminated when the Colts won last night.
Dave: And the Game Doesn't Mean Much, No Matter What Whisenhunt Says Factor.
Des: that just means their only hope is to win out. It still makes my lock rather easy. I feel it! I like it! Patiots, please
Matt: actually, they can go 1-1 and make the playoffs if the Ravens lose twice, I believe. but I agree with the gist.
Des: it's too many points for Dave, though, who's furrowing his brow even as I type this
Dave: Pats have won their last three road games, two inblowouts, and lost their last two home games. And yet, I'll take them, even tho the points give me pause
Des: let's pause less and plow ahead more
Eagles (-5) at Redskins
Des: One team is red-hot. One team is the Redskins
Matt: another game that could be played in messy weather.
Dave: What's left to say about the Redskins? Eagles will cover, that's what.
Matt: No team un-circles the wagons like the Redskins.
Dave: Lemme try that again. What's left to say about the Redskins? They won't cover on Sunday, that's what. Eagles.
Des: I think I'll file this one in the just-when-you-think-you-know-everything category. They look completely terrible, the Eagles look great, and yet...
Matt: I can't see the
Des: can't see the what? I'm dying of suspense over here
Matt: arg. I can't see the Redskins doing anything on offense to challenge Philly. Did you see their wide receivers coach admit, in print, that they RUN THE SAME PLAYS EVERY GAME? Eagles, please.
Dave: That's the second road favorite I've taken this week. That has the whiff of me gagging on my lead
Matt: taking favorites, home or away, was a bad move last week.
Matt: BTW, according to Covers.com, road favorites have covered 62 percent of the time this season.
Dave: And in 0 percent of my locks
Dave: You know I care not what they the tout web sites say. Altho I will give you credit for citing a realitvely straightforward gambling stat.
Des: I uncovered an interesting stat while writing the preview for this game (well, the preview of this game that Matt didn't write). The NFC East has a chance to set the all-time record for fewest yards allowed per game as a division. Philly leads the way, but Washington isn't too far back. What I'm getting at is that this is a game between divisional rivals in a division that;'s playing great defense all around. So I'll take the home team and the points. Redskins
December 19, 2008; 2:18 PM ET
Game Previews Week 16
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