By Doug Halberstadt
Without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and featured running back Matt Forte, the Chicago Bears’ offense is bad, very bad. They are not only very bad, they are inept. Replacement running back Marion Barber committed two huge blunders that cost the Bears the game against Denver Sunday, Dec. 11. I’m not going to dissect those errors; I’m sure by now you’ve heard or read about them plenty of times.
This Sunday, the Bears have a home game against the Seattle Seahawks (5-7 at press time). If the Bears’ players continue to make mistakes and their coaching staff continues to give away games, I think the Class 7A State Champion Boylan Titans would give them a pretty good challenge. At least Boylan has a competent coaching staff. Once again, it pains me to go against the Bears, but I’m taking the Seahawks.
Green Bay continues to dominate. The Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) are the next team to endure the “Wrath of Rodgers.” The Packers will remain undefeated and win their 20th game in a row dating back to last season.
Tomorrow night (Thursday, Dec. 15) the Falcons (8-5) host the Jaguars (4-9). Jacksonville has only won one game on the road this year. Atlanta is a pretty tough place to play for visitors. I’m going with the Falcons in their home nest.
The Cowboys (7-6) play on the road on Saturday night, Dec. 17. They will be in Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers (4-9). The Buccaneers have lost their last seven games. The Cowboys are fighting for playoff position. I’m taking the Cowboys; they have a lot more at stake.
The Giants (7-6) are also fighting for playoff position in the same division as the Cowboys. This week, they have a home game against another division rival, the Washington Redskins (4-9). The Redskins have only won two of their seven games at home this year. The Giants are 3-3 on the road. Eli Manning will find a way to win this game.
The next match-up features the battle of the bottom of the AFC East. It’s the Buffalo Bills (5-8) against the Miami Dolphins (4-9) in Buffalo. Despite having lost their last six games, I’m picking the Bills to triumph over the fish.
It’s almost like a guaranteed win if you play the Indianapolis Colts (0-13) this season. This week, the Titans (7-6) invade Indianapolis to add the easy “W” to their record.
The AFC South champion Houston Texans (10-3) are at home against the Carolina Panthers (4-9). Look for the Texans to continue their winning ways and make it eight in a row.
Another team that should pick up an easy win is the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6). They are on the road in St. Louis. The Rams (2-10 at press time) don’t have the ability to match up either offensively or defensively with the Bengals. I’m taking the Bengals by double digits.
Speaking of double digits, look for the Saints (10-3) to beat the Vikings (2-11) by that margin.
The Raiders (7-6) host the Lions (8-5). Oakland is my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team this season. I never know which team is going to show up. I’ll assume the team that can beat the Lions will be in Oakland. Come on, Mr. Hyde. Both teams should come out of this one with 8-6 records.
The New York Jets (8-5) travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (5-8). The Jets are on a three-game winning streak. The Eagles won last week against the Dolphins. I think New York will make it four in a row.
The Arizona Cardinals (6-7) upset the San Francisco 49ers (10-3) last week. This week, the Cardinals host the Cleveland Browns (4-9). This time, it won’t be an upset when Arizona picks up the win.
Tom Brady and his Patriots (10-3) visit Denver to take on the second-hottest quarterback in the league right now, Tim Tebow. He has a 7-1 record as the starter for the Broncos and has won his last six in a row. I think the miracles will come to a screeching halt this week. I’m taking the Patriots.
I look for the Ravens (10-3) to make it five straight this week when they travel cross country to sunny San Diego. The Chargers (6-7) have won two in a row, but won’t get by Baltimore.
I think the best game of the week will come on Monday night. The Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) will be in San Francisco against the 49ers (10-3). The Steelers are looking for their fourth win in a row, and San Fran will be trying to ease the sting from their upset loss to Arizona last week. I look for Pittsburgh to add some insult to injury and drop the 49ers to 10-4.
I’ve won the last two weeks against the NTA 100.5 radio guys. This week, I had a 12-3 record heading into the Monday night game. I took the Seahawks over the Rams in that one. After a two-week hiatus, we should all be back on the air this Friday morning, Dec. 16, at 7:35 a.m. on the Doug McDuff and Company show. Listen for Ken DeCoster to bring everyone up to the minute on the season standings and overall records.
From the Dec. 14-20, 2011, issue