Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Week 16
Last year, each Friday the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (yours truly, BigSnakeMan & Chris Richards) would square off in picking the winner of the Packers, Sunday night & MNF games in an attempt to prove their football acumen and entertain. We’re not sure either of those things happened. So this year, the Founding Fathers will be joined by two Pocket Doppler veterans: favored stepson Rich & Senior Angel Colleen. Like last year, we’ll keep a running tally throughout the season.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators. Entering into Week 16 the current standings are:
Was the quite the down week for all of the Prognosticators in Week 15. BSM, Chris, Rich & myself each picked only one game correctly & Colleen put up a goose egg. Even with the poor picking all around, there was a little movement & seperation at the top due to my pick of the 49ers vs Colleen banking on the Steelers for the MNF game. With two games in the regular season to go, I would say nothing’s quite decided yet though.
SPECIAL ANNOUCEMENT: The Prognosticators, as well as everyone here at PocketDoppler.com, would like to congratulate Rich Ward, Jr. on his engagement to long time girlfriend Lora, which happened last weekend. We’re all very happy for both Rich & Lora & a word of caution to the couple: If you’re crazy enough to invite any of the PocketDoppler.com group to your wedding, you had better make sure you double the initial beer estimates. You’ve been warned!
Giants at Jets (Make-up Game) – The ‘Battle of New York’ convenes at the Meadowlands this week with a playoff spot likely in line for the winners….and an early tee time more probable for the losers. My boy Rex Ryan sounded almost humble (for him) in talking about this game, saying something to the effect that he still thought the Jets could be a good team. That’s real progress for Rex; in the past he would already have assumed it to be so and would have no compunction whatsoever about telling you. Of course, that could be just a side effect of the beatdown that Philly laid on his team last week. I fully expect Ryan to be back to his old, obnoxious self in no time. As for the G-men, it will be interesting to see how they react to having to go ‘on the road’; that is, travelling clear across the field to the visitor’s sideline. It also remains to be seen which Giants team will show up this week. Every time it looks like the Giants are gaining some traction, they start to backslide as in last week’s loss to Washington. Frankly, I’m stalling because I have no feel for which team will win this game. I find myself leaning toward the Jets, so that probably means the Giants will tower over them.
Da Bears at da Pack – It’s a popular notion this week that last week’s loss at Kansas City was a blessing in disguise for Green Bay, serving as a ‘wake-up call’ for a team that allegedly had grown to take winning for granted. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that opponents now have concrete evidence that the Packers can be beaten and perhaps also have a blueprint for how to accomplish that feat. On offense, the Chiefs controlled the ball and dominated the time of possession; bending the Packers defense to the point where it finally broke. The turnovers that have been the saving grace of the defense all season (and often provided the offense with a short field) failed to materialize against KC. And on defense, the Chiefs relentlessly pressured GB QB Aaron Rodgers, aided and abetted by an offensive line that by the end of the game was held together by duct tape and baler twine. So the question for this week is whether Chicago has enough of a team left to take advantage of the infirmities that KC exploited so effectively a week ago. In that regard, Green Bay has a few things going for them that weren’t the case last week. First and foremost, Lambeau Field should give Green Bay the same bounce that Arrowhead provided for the Chiefs against Packers. Second, their patchwork O-line will have the benefit of a week’s worth of practice time and (hopefully) won’t have to adjust on the fly due to further injuries. Third, the Packers should be a refocused and highly motivated (angry?) team that will eliminate the repeated mistakes that disrupted them in their sole loss. This could very well be an ugly affair (as this rivalry tends to inspire) but it says here the Packers will return to the win column and clinch Lambeau Field advantage for the playoffs.
Falcons at Saints – No need to overthink this one. Atlanta has been playing better recently and this appears to be one of the better Monday night matchups; especially since the bar on that has been set like a limbo stick this season. The bottom line here is that New Orleans is simply the better team and is especially tough to beat in the Superdome. Gotta like the Saints to march on to a victory.
BigSnakeMan’s Picks: Giants, Packers & Saints
Giants at Jets (Make-up Game) – This looks like a tough road game for the Giants, as they have to travel to face the hostile crowd at MetLife Stadium…
Wait a second…
Well, in any case, it’s got to be weird to be the visiting team at your home stadium. Not only that, it has to be really weird to be the Giants, who came out of the gates so solidly this season before dropping the past five of six, winning on the road two weeks ago against a good DAL team only to follow that up with a pratfall against a mediocre WASH squad — at home — last week. The J-E-T-S are no easier to figure out, having taking the momentum from a three game winning streak to PHL to face a pedestrian Iggles’ outfit only be be dispatched with extreme prejudice. Being totally confounded by a game featuring two home teams, I am going to go with the one that has the better QB, so give me the G-Men on Xmas Eve.
Bears at Packers – There will be no Christmas Miracle for the Staleys. Well, at least I hope not. A loss for GB on the heels of that debacle in the Chef’s kitchen would not provide the 13 Time World Champions with the sort of momentum they need to become 14 Time World Champions. The issues for the Packers are legion: An injury depleted OL had difficulty protecting MVP-in-waiting Aaron Rodgers, who in turn had trouble finding open receivers who couldn’t get off man coverage in the absence of the sublime Greg Jennings. Of course, even when Rodgers could find someone open, all too often those tight spirals clanked off hands that suddenly had turned to steel (I am looking at YOU, J-Mike!). And I haven’t even gotten to the defense, a subject best left undiscussed so near to Christmas. The good news is that times are even harder for The Mortgage Lenders of the Midway (presented by Chase!): They’ve lost four straight, just cashiered Johnny Knox for the season, Devin Hester is banged up, Matt Forte looks to miss yet another game and, most terrifying, are playing with Caleb Hanie at QB — even Oliver Wendell Douglas, Eb Dawson and Arnold Ziffel are looking to swap out Mr. Hanie for Josh McCown. So in a match-up of two broken rivals, who wins? The less mangled team, of course. Pack moves to 14-1 and locks down home field (dis?)advantage.
Falcons at Saints – Here’s a game with a distinct southern drawl, pitting two warm-weather teams who, curiously, play inside domes. ATL is coming on, having won four of five. But they are traveling to Nawlins, where the Saints are perfect and on the march overall, winning seven of their last eight. ATL needs this one more than NO, but with a chance to gain a first round bye still in play, it’s not like the Saints ain’t got motivation themselves. ATL is a solid team, but NO is terrific team on its homefield. Give me NO to notch a hard-fought win.
Chris’s Picks: Giants, Packers & Saints
Giants at Jets (Make-up Game) – So who is the best team in the Big Apple? Time to find out on Christmas Eve. I’m leaning towards the Giants here purely based on quarterback play. Between Sanchez & Manning, Eli is the more consistent of the two so have a little more trust in him to get the job done vs the streak Sanchez.
Bears at Packers – Now that the bugaboo of the perfect season is over, I expect the Packers to come out tough vs their division rival Bears. You have to be a little concerned how the patched up O-line will hold up, but I think this is one of those ‘prove things’ game where the entire Packer team wants to establish last week was just a fluke & they are just as dominant as ever.
Falcons at Saints – The last Monday Night game of the year, at least it’ll be worth watching. The Saints playing for a playoff bye, Atlanta playing to secure a spot in the playoffs. In what I think will be a high scoring, offensice laden game the Falcons will pull the upset here by the narrowest of margins.
Wally’s Picks: Giants, Packers & Falcons
Giants at Jets (Make-up Game) – While I can’t wax as eloquently as Big Snake Man on the oddity that is Rex Ryan, Rexy does score a high rating on my Ickiness meter. He’s loud, he’s obnoxious, he’s stupid (I’m sorry, he really is stupid, he guarantees his team will go to the Super Bowl?)…in other words…he’s the anti-Belicheat. The Giants and Jets both struggled last week, but both are still in the playoff hunt, Giants being a bit more desperate than the Jets right now. Neither team has “home field” advantage as I see it, though technically this is a home game for the Jets. Ugh. Even the bookies don’t know who’s going to win this, the Giants are an “underdog” at -3. All right, Miss Polly Purebred, who is coming in to save the day? I’ll say the Giants.
Bears at Packers – The Packers are 13-1 and can eliminate the Bears from even making the playoffs this year, much less hosting a home playoff game (or two). As well, we can lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, if San Francisco doesn’t do us any favors Saturday and lose. I’m not only proud of that, I’m smug about it. Not so smug as to overlook the Bears; I did that last week and look how things turned out. Chicago, too, has a “new” quarterback, but unlike Neckbeard, I’ve never even seen flashes of greatness out of McCown. I’m not sure I’ve even seen flashes of competency out of him. Aaron Rodgers made some good points about how much Chicago was scored upon last week – there were a couple of pick sixes, etc. Well, I’m looking for a couple of pick sixes this week too. The Packers are embarassed, if you will, coming off the loss last week and they have an ax to grind. It will be right in the middle of the Bears’ shoulders at game’s end. Packers win.
Falcons at Saints - The Saints are still technically playing for the #2 seed, however if San Francisco wins (which I think will happen), then the 49ers own the tiebreaker and whether or not this is the case will obviously be known by the time this game rolls around. The Falcons are playing for a playoff berth as well, but they definitely aren’t anywhere near the team they were last year. Plus they’re playing in the Superdome against the guy that’s suddenly got the MVP all locked up since Aaron Rodgers now sucks. (My eyes just got sprained, they rolled so hard.) Saints win.
Colleen’s Picks: Giants, Packers & Saints
In the interest of brevity, this late in the season, homefield advantage wins out.
Rich’s Picks: Jets, Packers & Saints