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Washington on a Roll, Dallas Aided by Luck

By Chris Brocoum
sports columnist

The crazy, chaotic world of the NFL organized itself this past weekend, and things have returned as close to normal as could be expected.

The games with big bill-ings turned out one thriller and two blowouts. Of course, I am referring to Washington's skillful victory over the Eagles and the decisive victories of the Broncos and the Cowboys over close rivals the Patriots and the Packers.

Washington has maintained its fingertip grasp on the top of the NFCEast and faces strong challenges from both Dallas and Philadelphia. In order to maintain homefield advantage, the 'Skins will have to be perfect in their remaining five games.

The same, of course, can be said for the defending champion Cowboys. They have managed to turn things around after getting off to a terrible start, but if they have to face archenemy Washington in RFK, they will have to be playing good football. After all, a terrible Washington team owned the Cowboys last year.

Author's gloat:I just wanted to note how soundly John Elway and the Broncos beat the Patriots. Can this silence all the nonsensical playoff talk around here already?

This week, the main game of note is the New England-Indianapolis game. If Indy can pull a victory out, they will drag the Patriots down next to themselves on the brink of wild card elimination.

Also check out the Pittsburgh-Miami game on Monday night.

The picks, week 12

Indianapolis is coming to Foxboro, and the Patriots better play a whole lot better than last week. I really want to take the Colts, but they struggled with the Jets. Drew Bledsoe may not compare with Elway, but he'll light up Indianapolis. Patriots.

The Baltimore Ravens are playing the Jacksonville Jaguars? What is the NFLcoming to? Take the Ravens.

Look for Buffalo to pound on the Jets.

Da Bears are playing the Lions, and this figures to be a good game. Neither team is particularly good, but this is about pride and a good NFCCentral rivalry. Take da Bears.

Cincinnati has inexplicably beaten Pittsburgh twice this year. Atlanta has inexplicably won two games. Take the Bengals.

Dallas has playoff potential, the Giants have draft potential. Take the Cowboys (this may break my heart, but yes, the Giants are pretty horrible).

Denver has lost only one game this year, and Minnesota has managed to basically blow the entire season. The Vikings will blow this game, with style.

Green Bay may have looked impotent against the Cowboys, but look for Farve to demonstrate those quarterbacking skills against St. Louis.

Houston is playing Carolina. The Panthers are 74, the Oilers are 47. The Oilers are also sort of threatening the Steelers. Panthers.

Kansas City hasn't gotten a chance to shine while forgotten in Denver's shadow, but they are tied for second in the AFC. Take the Chiefs over San Diego.

Philly will be one mad football team after being beaten by Washington in Philadelphia. They have something to prove against Arizona.

San Francisco and Washington. The 'Skins are in the homestretch of a dream season. They pulled out the first game of a marathon Philly-San Fran-Dallas barrage. If they survive the next two weeks, they will be storming into the playoffs. They just have to remember, one win at a time. SanFran loses.

Oakland over Seattle, I guess.

Joke of the week:New Orleans at Tampa Bay. New Orleans lost to Atlanta last week, and it was not the Olympics folks. Tampa Bay.

Monday Night Special:This is a key game for me since my best friend is a devout Miami fan. Unfortunately, it is not quite a level playing field because since Bill Cowher's arrival, the Steelers are 270 in Monday Night games. Take the Steelers.

Last week: a stunning season best at 114. Season record: 8054.