Week 16: Don't sleep on Seattle, and don't trust the Eagles

OK, things are starting to get a little nuts. For the second week in a row my "crazy prediction" came true, thanks to the Colts. Where can I go this week? Seattle upsets the 49ers, that's where. The Seahawks are a different team at home, where their fans give them a huge boost. It doesn't always translate into wins, but they're fearless -- and hot. San Francisco is coming off an emotional Monday night win. But the Seahawks' winning isn't the real crazy prediction, because it's certainly plausible. This is: There won't be many points, and the game-deciding TD will either be on a special teams play or an INT return. The Alex Smith-to-the-Pro-Bowl talk will quiet after this week.

THE GAME WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT MONDAY: Eagles-Cowboys. It seems like every Eagles fan in the world is once again wearing his gear, talking trash about how Philly's going to win the NFC East. "All we need is for the Jets to beat the Giants, and the Giants to beat the Cowboys the final week and we win the division!" Like it's a given the Eagles are going to win out. The Cowboys are at home and their offense is humming. Philadelphia had a field day against a slow Jets defense. I'm not buying that the Eagles are back after one big week. I'm more confident in the Cowboys offense putting up another huge game than in Philadelphia keeping up its momentum.

Fantasy hero: Tony Romo throws for at least three TDs and 300 yards. Start him in championship week.

THE ELIMINATION GAME: Giants-Jets. The Battle for New York will come down to this: Will Mark Sanchez keep up his trend of playing well every other week? He's the big subplot to this game. Yes, playoff berths are at stake and it's the most important Giants-Jets game ever, but nothing less than Sanchez's future is at stake. If he falters again, the Jets will have to turn the page on him. By the end of Year Three, if you haven't made strides as a QB, you never will. For Sanchez, 28 turnovers in Year One, followed by 18 in Year Two, and 17 so far this season. I thought he'd take the next step this year to become the Jets' best offensive player, but that's just not happening. And as Jason La Canfora reported this week, the organization is losing confidence he'll be elite. Considering that this is a league where fifth-round picks are playing well right away, Sanchez is on the bottom end of that learning curve. The Jets are one game from trading for Peyton Manning. Saturday is EVERYTHING for Sanchez.

Fantasy hero: Victor Cruz has over 100 yards and a TD even though the Jets try everything possible to slow him down.

THE GAME I CAN ONCE AGAIN WRITE THE OPENING RECAP FOR: Broncos-Bills. Orchard Park -- It was one thing when Tim Tebow could control the outcome of games. Now, his powers are greater. Facing a 6-3 deficit in a driving snowstorm Sunday in Buffalo, Tebow took the field at his own 5-yard line with nine seconds left. Before taking the snap, Tebow raised his arms and in doing so, all the snow on the field magically swirled overhead and out of the stadium, along with the Bills defensive backs, who landed safely in a wheat field. Unable to call timeout, Buffalo had no choice but to play the final play with seven players. Tebow threw a quick screen pass to Demaryius Thomas, who held the ball until every Bills player converged on him, then quickly threw it back to Tebow who caught the pass, and was carried the 95 yards to the end zone on the shoulders of his offensive line.

You think Tebow's magic is over because of the loss to New England? The legend continues to grow. To quote Hans Gruber: "It's Christmas! The season for miracles!"*

Fantasy hero: C.J. Spiller. In defeat, he totals over 100 yards of offense and scores a TD, vaulting many an owner to a fantasy championship.

BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO WATCH SOMETHING BESIDES "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE" (AGAIN) ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT: Bears-Packers.Josh McCown gets the start for the Bears, but more interesting is the car dealer in Chicago who's offering free cars if the Bears shut out Green Bay. The catch is you buy the car first, then it's free if the shutout happens. Shut out the Packers? Sure -- why not offer free cars for the rest of your life? But this game is interesting for a couple reasons. While Green Bay should win at home, how do they bounce back from losing to the Chiefs? Did Kansas City find a flaw in the Packers or was it just a flat performance? If the Pack has another lackluster performance offensively, we'll wonder if Greg Jennings doesn't have everything to do with Aaron Rodgers' success. Jennings allows the rest of the Packers' WR mismatches and Rodgers is masterful at always finding the right guy. But when you don't have to account for Jennings, things are a little bit easier on the defense. Jordy Nelson, who's never been a possession guy, draws the top CB, and James Jones the number two. An aging Donald Driver is eminently coverable by your nickel. Another bad game means rejoicing for the rest of the league, because then we'll know Green Bay is beatable without their No. 1 WR.

THE OPPOSITE OF RAVENS-STEELERS: Falcons-Saints. I feel like we know the final score and how the game will go every time Baltimore plays Pittsburgh: 13-10, with sacks, no offense except for a game-winning drive, and bone-crunching hits. The Falcons and Saints is the same thing, only different. In domes, plenty of points, toss a coin for the winner. These games are fun. But while the Ravens and Steelers fight over which team is more ready for the playoffs, Falcons-Saints to me is a game of flawed pretenders. Atlanta has beaten exactly one team with a record over .500. They're the definitive example of a good team that will beat everyone below them but no one above them. New Orleans is filled with Super Bowl experience and a ton of firepower. But their last playoff win away from home was ... never. Not one. But this year is different? They'll win in Green Bay or San Francisco? Nope, I'll just enjoy this game on Monday night, with a ton of fireworks and a loud crowd decked out in black and gold Santa gear, and hear people proclaim the Saints as Super Bowl threats, but I'll know better. Treat this game like you would one of your favorite movies: sure, you've seen it a hundred times, and it's fun to get lost in it for a couple hours, but it doesn't change your life. Now I want to go watch "Caddyshack" again.

Fantasy hero: Darren Sproles has over 50 yards both rushing and receiving with a TD.

*"Die Hard" is supposed to take place on Christmas Eve, yet during the movie one of the characters is watching Notre Dame-USC on TV. Really? They don't play that late in college football, and don't try to tell me it was a bowl game.

See Jason Smith on "NFL Fantasy Live," airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the NFL RedZone channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes Fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.