Happy Holidays from Football Baby, whose Week 17 picks are at the top. (You should be paying attention: he's now 26-9 lifetime)! His father's picks for the 2014 regular-season finale are upcoming, but a few things real quick ...
I've got a favorite new hobby: Watching the original broadcasts of old NFL games. Before Sunday's game between Dallas vs. DC, you can join me & Elliot Harrison as we hash through the best moments of CBS's coverage of the 1982 NFC Championship Game between the two bitter rivals. Go to hear the magnificent duo of Summerall & Madden, stay to see the ridiculous fashions that dominated the early '80s. Football nerds and/or pop culture aficionados are gonna love this ... almost as much as I do.
I'm neither the Grinch nor the Scrooge. It gives me no pleasure to say this, Broncos fans ... but something is plainly wrong with Peyton Manning. The numbers over the last month-and-a-half tell the tale of the future first-ballot Hall of Famer's recent struggles, but you don't need to Google 'em if you've watched Denver play of late. Yes, the guy who's been haunted by that Old Man Winter & Mother Nature power couple in too many Januarys now seems to have a new nemesis: Father Time. Meantime, I continue to be bemused by the NFL intelligentsia, the majority of whom are either unwilling or incapable of acknowledging this reality. Last Monday night, Jon Gruden -- said Manning's game-sealing pick-six to Dre Kirkpatrick: "You rarely see that from Peyton Manning in these critical situations." Speak for yourself, Jon.
Magnificent visit from NFL Media's Rookie of the Year, Nate Burleson, on the Dave Dameshek Football Program this week: The former teammate of Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson conducted a draft of those two all-time greats and Odell Beckham, plus weighed in on Tony Romo's MVP candidacy and Marshawn Lynch's recent run:
Late news of Alex Smith's injury likely creates an ironic sense of déjà vu for fans of both the AFC West and AFC North: In 2013's Week 17, the Chargers snuck into the playoffs with a narrow win against the Chiefs, who started Chase Daniel (and a bunch of other backups). Had KC won that game, the Steelers would've made the postseason. Jump to this Sunday: If the Chargers can beat Chase Daniel (this time in Arrowhead), they'll once again earn a playoff spot. If they lose, the Ravens will get that six-seed ... unless they can't beat the Browns' third-string QB Connor Shaw.
Sure, the Steelers would love to take the AFC North crown on Sunday night, but -- as our pal David Todd points out -- it'd be a costly win come the 2015.
Great fun kibitizing with DC Sackmaster Ryan Kerrigan on the DD Football Program this week. Please enjoy our beautiful duet.
Amidst a bunch of games with playoff implications, I'm gonna be sure to make time to watch some of the Bears at Vikes game. If you think Jay Cutler looks mopey in other games, just imagine his expression as he's forced back under center in the frigid Twin Cities, a week after getting benched for the now-injured Jimmy Clausen.
I'm excited for the start of the NFL playoffs next Saturday ... but New Year's Day figures to be glorious, too, thanks to the inaugural CFB Playoffs. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but I expect two closer-than-expected games between what are (sorry, Baylor & TCU) America's four best teams. My picks:
OHIO ST 20
FLORIDA ST 33
Crazy stat of the week, provided by Pro Football Talk's managing editor, Michael David Smith:
I can't decide which is the most stunning aspect of this list: Chris Johnson has four?!? Bo Jackson did it three times in 38 career games?!! Shaun Alexander, who was always more of a Clydesdale than thoroughbred, had one ... let alone two?!!
Alright, enough's enough ... let's get to the picks for the (sniff-sniff) last full weekend of pro football for a long, long time.
WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the final scores of the Week 17 games.
(10-6 last week, 161-77-1 on the season)
Enjoy Week 17! I hope your team wins (unless they're playing my team).