So here we all are then, last week of the DiS championship regular season with no team fully qualified just yet and at least 8 who technically can still get in (though more realistically, there are 3 teams and 2 places left)
Meanwhile, in the real world, there is a whole weekend's football to be played, so here is the preview:
Tonight sees Cleveland visit Pittsburgh, and though, like on Sunday, Cleveland would hate to roll over on close rivals, they're going to have to do ALOT more to convince anyone that they have a chance tonight. If they could do it at a cold windy one at home vs Baltimore, I don't see much difference here, Pitt by 7
On the Sunday earlies, there aren't many standouts, probably the best matches being Houston trying to maintain their slightly unreal form at Cincy, a team who are desperately trying to stay in playoff contention after straight losses to divisional rivals and the Jets, Titans and Chargers all winning last weekend. Will be a tough one to call, Houston keep finding a way to win despite their highly depleted roster, and Cincy have shown they can compete with the best of them, and perhaps need this more. It's likely though that Arian Foster will be the difference maker here, Houston by 6.
The other notable match is New Orleans travelling to Tennessee, who have quietly been racking up a solid season despite major backroom changes over the summer and their star performer only just waking up these last couple weeks after taking his team to the cleaners. This one has the biggest potential for an upset, as the Saints hate playing outdoors and Tenessee have proven they can knock off the big guns at home (well Baltimore anyway) and have a tough secondary. New Orleans will probably be too much, but you never can be quite sure in this league, NO by 4-5
Not much else to report. Baltimore should finally get over their Indy hijinx, albeit in much easier circumstances, but who knows, they have lost to some truly terrible teams this year, the ghosts of Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts may still have the last laugh yet. (Bmore by 7)
Atlanta have been maddeningly inconsistent given their squad, and Super Cam already beat them in "fortress" Georgia Dome, so this very well could be another rookie win, Panthers by 4-5
Detroit beat Minnie by 7
Bucs and Jax will either be miserable or amazing, no idea how to call it, JAX by 3?
Miami beat Philly by 7
Jets beat Kansas by 7
New England beat Washington by +7
Later games have some tasty ones including free-falling Chicago at Denver. The Bears have been pretty depleted by injury, and well, the less said about Tebow the better. Denver by 4-5
Arizona will give the Niners a game, for divisional pride, but the Niners should be too strong, by 7
A couple of weeks ago the Raiders may well have given the Pack quite a challenge, but they're another highly depleted team and Packers at Lambeau are formidable, pack by 7
San Diego remembered who they were on Monday night by easily trouncing Jax in a performance they had started this season, and now that they've remembered how to win, they should dispatch Buffalo at home fairly easily, by 7.
Game of the week easily goes to SNF's NFC East grudge-match between the two slightly less awful teams of that division, as New York visit Dallas. It's always good fun when these two meet up, and the division will belong to one of these two so there's plenty to play for (though they will meet up again at the Meadowlands in the final weekend. They've had pretty similar seasons so far, and are relatively well matched, so this should be an exciting one right until the end. It's going to be very hard to predict, if the Giants play like they did against the Pack last week then they should wrap this up, but Dallas/Romo are generally formidable at home. That said, will the Romo December hoodoo carry on? They threw a silly game in the desert last week to the already eliminated Arizona Cardinals, and Romo is known to throw winnable games, so who knows. Just for my heart's sake, I'll go Giants by 4.
And then, barely even worth mentioning, monday night football sees a dreadful affair between St. Louis and Seattle which nearly one year ago was a preliminary playoff match between a rookie qb and a reserve to win the NFC West division. Maybe thats what ESPN were hoping when they banked on this one at the start of the season, instead they got a game between two no-hopers who to be honest aren't much different from the two extremely lucky teams from last year. Seattle are the lesser of two awfuls, and will have the 12th man on their side, so by 7, could be amazing, but St. Louis are truly awful.