18 December, 2008


December 18th, 2008

Two more games to go in this glorious season, y’all! Thanks for hangin’ on with me as I went through a pre-’08 Pantherlike swoon. I’ve gotten some serious correction, with a decent 9-6 mark last week, CORRECTLY handicapping that Indy-Leos game, and the Chefs-Boltz game, not to mention the BLOWOUT for the Panthers! This will be a week of separation for most, if not all of the playoff contenders. This week we’ve lost the Saints, Packers, and the DeadSkins for all intents and purposes. We’ve got a ton of clinching scenarios and I’ll run through them in a few more screen spaces… First, we examine the playoff status before I get into that, and the week’s handicapping-




TENNESSEE- Clinches #1 seed with a win.
INDIANAPOLIS- Clinches playoff spot with a win and loss by any AFC East team.
DENVER- Clinches AFC Worst Division with a win or Sad Diego loss.




NY GEEMEN – Clinches the #1 seed with a win
CAROLINA – Clinches the #1 seed and NFC South with a win. Clinches the NFC South division with a Tampa loss. Clinches a playoff spot with a loss by Tampa, Atlanta or Dallas.
MINI-SODA- Clinches the NFC Norris division with a win or Chicago loss.
TAMPA – Clinches a playoff spot with a win or Atlanta, Dallas, or Philthydelphia loss.
ATLANTA – Clinches a playoff spot with a win AND Tampa, Dallas, Philthydelphia loss or tie.

Allright- Biggest week of the season!!! Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go-

The elitist bastard NFL Network offers one more one-sided contest for our consumption for Thursday night. Last week, I couldn’t touch a –17 point spread for the Colts. This week, they are favoured by 6 over the Jaggy-whyers, who surprised the hell out of me by beating Green Bay last week. I guess the Packers D is really that bad. The Colts defense, on the other hand, will handle these guys. Coach Dungy, who is the black Tom Landry, has done a magnificent job with the team this year, and it will carry at least to the divisional rounds. Indy won’t overlook their divisional rivals this week, I guarantee it. This will be done by halftime, and the Colts can look forward to closing the season with the Titans.

For a second helping from the elitist bastard NFL Network we get a TREMONSTEROUS Saturday night tussle between two teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Both defenses are playing terrific ball right now, but the offenses are a little suspect. Dallas’ offensive team is a ticking time bomb, and not only is Marion Barber hurting, so is Romo the Homo. The Ravens offense is young and inexperienced in big games, as is rookie coach Johnny Harbaugh. For a second consecutive week, I’m waiting for Romo to make a game-killing mistake. This is going to be somewhat of a repeat performance of the Dallas/Pissburgh or Ravens/Pissburgh game. Field position will be critical here, and the better special teams will go a long way to deciding this one. Don’t discount the presence of ball-hawking Ed Reed. Something tells me he is going to make a difference in another body-bag kind of game. The Cowbabies are favoured by –4, but I’m leanin’ to the Ravens.

Uh-oh. Saints, out of the playoffs. Leos, 0-14. Seven times in NFL history a winless team, INCLUDING our Carolina Panthers, have notched their first win over the Saints. That has GOT to be on the mind of all involved with this appetizer of a game that registers on the interest meter like some nice stuffed mushrooms before the main course. The Saints DON’T want to lose to these guys, and Detroit DOESN’T want to go winless! Something is going to give in this contest. Detroit, with the exception of the Thanksgiving Day fiasco, has played competitive ball late in the season, and I think they’ll do the same here, sensing a chance to snag a victory, and not join the WRETCHED ’01 Carolina Panthers in the Hall of Shame. The Saints are favoured by –7, and they do tend to play well in a dome, but I like the Leos to at least cover. I just gotta hunch.

Before the loss of defensive MVP’s Hanesworth and VandenBosh, I thought this would be BodyBag Bowl 2, but since the team was exposed at Houston last week, I’m thinking this is a game the hungry Squeelers execute better, ESPECIALLY defensively. No one in the league is playing better D than Pissburgh right now, and all they’ll need to do is play field position and kick field goals. Roethlisberger gets a break this Sunday, and they get to close out the season and the #1 seed at home to Clevelandland next week. The Squeelers are favored by -2 points, and I say they win straight up.

The presence of Samurai’s Niners makes this game against the Sacrificial Lambs bearable. I knew they’d be a tough out for the Dolphins last week, and they will not lose to what I think is indeed the worst team in the league. The Lambs had their two-game shot this season, and they’re looking forward to their warm-weather offseason destinations. I’ve said it several times in this feature, and I’ll say it again- the SF players are responding to Singletary’s coaching like a coquette in front of a jewelry shop. Ok, I never said it like that, but he’s got these players fighting, and if he isn’t offered the position permanently, SOME NFL team, immediately following the end of this season, WILL. This game is part of his portfolio and interview process. He won’t screw it up. They are favoured by –5 ½ , and they will win BIG.

Uggghh. Remember what I said about last week’s Seattle/St. Looey game? Applies here. Won’t handicap it, won’t pick it.

This is a game that Miami MUST win to get to their penultimate game against the Brets next week. The Chefs are STILL fighting and playing hard, and Herm Edwards has GOT to be credited for keeping everything competitive. They will fight hard against the Fhish, but they’re lacking defensively in Broncoid proportions, and the Dolphin defense is playing particularly well. Tony Sorpano seems to me to be too good a coach to allow this team to look past these guys in getting to Noo Yawk. If they blow this game, he’ll be the one I’ll fault. But they won’t. Stone cold lock this week, Dolphins by –4 over the Chefs. At least.

A game full of trends to note: The Cardy-noles have struggled mightily when traveling east. The Patsies tend to perform much better in winter weather, which is forecast for this game. The Cardy-noles are pretty much locked in the #4 seed spot, and NewEnglandland is fighting for their playoff lives, and may not make it even IF they win their last two games. Cassle INDEED had the game of his life last week after his pop’s sudden death, and he might deflate here. The Patstry-Rot defense remains short –handed, but I’m favoring the cold-weather team. The Cardy-noles will get the Seadogs at home to close the season, and avoid going into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. For this game, the old axiom (which I DO like to occasionally trot out) about the size of the fight in the dog applies here, and the Patsies have the bigger fight. The line is –7 ½ for the Patsies, and I like ‘em in this one.

Two weeks ago, this looked like the next to last mark on the way to the NFC South checkered flag for the Buckies. Now it looks like the Buccaneers car is way too loose, and there’s no caution flag thrown to stall the race and pit. Carolina exposed the age of the defense, and now, with Garcia hurting among other Bucs, all of a sudden, with Denver losing last week, this game becomes vital to the Chargers, who sense a chance to make one last push to respectability, if not the playoffs. For two straight weeks, a punishing rushing attack has taken advantage of the Buc’s run defense, and here comes another of note. While LT hasn’t been himself this season, you can bet he’ll give his best this week. He can get back to a 1000 yd rushing season with a decent effort. They’ll be no scoreboard watching for the Boltz, as the Denver/Beefalo game is a 4 o’ clock game. A loss won’t be fatal to the Bucs, but they do need this game to have a chance at the division, and to guarantee a playoff spot. The size of the fight will be strong for both teams, and I’m anticipating a scorefest. I’ve got a straaaaaaaaaaange feelin’ about this game. The most benevolent karma continues to grace Panther Nation. The line is at a paltry -3 ½ for the Bucs, but I’m leanin’ to the Chargers!

I can imagine there’s some Texans fans upset that NOW is when the team has decided to play some good football, when the playoffs won’t happen. It IS entirely possible that Houston is building momentum for ’09. Problem is, that there’s a whole offseason to get through before you can resume that big “MO”. As it is, Matt Schaub is leading a very efficient offense that’s going to be tough for a listless Schraider team to stop. The Texan defense is also beginning to see dividends from their top selection of Mario Williams. Not too dumb now, are they? A winning season, their first, is certainly motivation enough for these guys, and I don’t see any scenario where Houston doesn’t clock CrOakland by at least the -7 points they’re favoured by. Take the Texans big.

I’ve got a squeamy, gishy, uncomfortable feeling in this game. Mike Holmgren will be coaching against his old QB’s team, who by the way, is struggling as of late, which you absolutely DON’T want to be doing at this point of the season if the playoffs and beyond is your goal! If the defense doesn’t score on the stupid fumble of JP Losman last week, we might be talking about desperation time for the Brets. I got news for y’all. It IS desperation time for the Brets! I see Vegas is a little nervous, too, favouring the Brets by a mere -4 ½ points over a wretched Seattle team. I’ve been doggin’ the SeaDogs all year, and I have this weird feeling they are going to rise to the occasion. The Brets have done poorly on the Worst Coast all season, and I won’t buck the trend. I can’t believe I’m telling you to do this, but take the SeaDoggies and the points.

By the time the teams take the field at Invesco, the Broncoids will know their playoff fate. Should the Chargers beat the Bucs for the 1 ‘o clock game, they know it’s a MUST WIN game or else they must face the very same Chargers, IN Sad Diego for a do-or-die game. The Bills will be playing loose and motivated to despoil the Broncoid season. And Denver will be playing tight. While the Buffalo D isn’t the Panther D, the Broncoid offense, playing at home, should generate enough points to win, if the wretched defense can keep the Bills from scoring more. Why do I think this will wind up being a shoot-out? The line is a whopping -7 for the Coloradians, and I’m leaning to the Broncoids, but BOY would I love to see the Chargers win, and the Broncoids lose, and set up that pathetic matchup for a pair of underachieving football teams.

Right now, the Vikings are playing their best ball of the season, and Atlanta is beginning to regress. Perhaps their prize rookie is hitting that proverbial wall. This is the wrong time to be doing that. The Duckies will be playing a tough defensive team, and one that has their own power back. Even though the Duckies will be playing in the comfort of a dome, it’s a dome full of excited Mini-Sodans who will also be making a difference in this game. If the Duckies can get them quiet early, they might have a chance. Pat Williams, the Vike’s defensive stalwart, will be out for the remainder of the season, and that gives them a little hope of gashing that potent D. However, I think the Vikings’
defense and Adrian Peterson make the difference. Get your ten wins next week, you *($^##@ Duckies, and prepare to fight in the leagues’ toughest division next year. But on this day, victory will belong to the Vikings, who are favoured by -3 ½ .

Another tale of teams going in opposite directions. Somehow, the Fleeguls have found another gear, and another source of energy and confidence. With three straight wins, and ONE of them over the once-mighty GEEEMen, they are a breath away from serious playoff contention. The turnaround has come about with defense, a rejuvenated Bryan Westbrook, and a resurrected Donavan McSnabb. The DeadSkins, on the other hand, are in full meltdown mode. Coach Zorn’s arrogant stance with Clinton Portis and then astonishing self-defamation doesn’t help his standing with his players. I think the difference in attitudes will be palpable in this game. The line favours the Fleeguls by -5, and I think the Iggles win this one big, setting up a death match with the hated Cowpuppies in one of the most hostile environments to play in at Lincoln Financial Field-

The only stadium in the league with a jail.

Speaking of hostile environments, the Panthers come to Giants Stadium in the traditionally cold, wintery North Joisey December. You’d think that would be a problem, but they’ve done this before, and in the playoffs, no less. And shut them out. Don’t think the G’ints have forgotten that. But this is a different Giants team – their big playmaker, Plaxico Burress, is done. Their big bruising running back, Brandon Jacobs, has an injured knee, and his effectiveness will be limited. Down a couple of starting offensive linemen makes this an easier task for the visiting Panthers, who, by the way, are a different Panthers team than the one that blew them out in the ’06 playoffs. They’re BETTER. They are built for game situations like this. If the Panther’s FIVE GUYS can get the kind of push they’ve been getting for the past three games, they can quiet this hostile Noo Yawk crowd (save for Dano and James- be careful, guys!) and get control of this game. Peppers is the wild card in this game, as I’ve indicated in my last rant. A dominant performance by Pep seals the deal for the ‘Cats, and the vibe just feels so positive. G’ints are favoured by -3 as they should be, but I like the Panthers to win, STRAIGHT UP, and the NFC path to the Super Bowl must get through Cedar Street first!

It’s possible that before the Giants/Panther game kicks off, Da Bears will already know their playoff fate before this Monday Night tilt. Should the Vikings win, they will be finished. Should the Duckies sink the Vikings, then the game becomes a must win over their oldest and fiercest rivals. They SHOULD be able to puncture that wretched Packer defense, but they will have to do a better job against that potent passing attack led by Aaron Rogers. And speaking of Rogers, he’s NOT the reason that the first post-Favre season was a losing one, but the mess created by the un-retirement issue will be the lasting legacy of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy if a playoff berth isn’t forthcoming next season. This could wind up being TWO disappointed teams as opposed to one downtrodden team and one fighting for playoff life. If things go to my vision, this will be a disappointed and feisty crowd. And I think the Packers will add to the disappointment. Da Bears are favoured by 4, but I really like the Packers to grind their hated rivals nose in the dirt.

There you go, PantherFanz! The Cedar Street Seer sees the end of the season, and a nice winning margin for my first year’s clairvoyance efforts!
Again, Godspeed to Dano and James and anyone else from Panther Nation heading to JZ this weekend. Some of you I’ll see Sunday. The rest of you tune in for what I hope is a rant of joyousness not seen since we went to the Super Bowl-

Last week- 9-6
Season- 103-86

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E-mail me, The Cedar Street Seer

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