The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 46.0°F | Light Rain

NFC East Gridlocked as Denver Cruises in AFC West

By Chris Brocoum
sports columnist

Well-rested from a week off and well-fed from the turkey, I find that it is time to delve into the intricacies of the NFL once again. Any football fan has to be thrilled with the way the season has unfolded thus far, especially in the last two weeks.

In the NFC, a classic battle has developed in the East. Dallas, Washington, and Philadelphia are all tied. Is this epic or what? Dallas and Philly have come on strong while Washington has faltered in two key games against Dallas and San Francisco. It will all come down to the remaining three games for these teams.

I don't think anyone can argue that the season finale between the archrival Cowboys and Redskins at RFK is looking to be a game for the ages, especially if the little traffic jam atop the NFC East continues. Every play of every game can make or break the season for any of these teams.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Green Bay and San Francisco have regained their early momentum to take solid leads in their respective divisions. A pesky Carolina team keeps bugging San Fran, but the Niners are looking good lately. This points toward a big match up this week as the Panthers come to town. Denver is also coming to Green Bay this weekend in a potential Super Bowl match up.

In the AFC, there is even more intrigue as four teams are jockeying for a playoff position with 94 records. New England pulled of a big win over the Chargers to catapult themselves back in the race while Pittsburgh and Buffalo suffered disappointing losses to foul up their game plans.

Like I said, the season is winding down into a fan's dream.

Here we go: the picks, week 15

Philadelphia finds themselves with the easiest schedule of the tied NFC East trio. They can't afford a slip against the gutsy Colts.

If New England waxed the Chargers last week for 45, I hate to see what they are going to do to the lowly 112 Jets. Parental advisory: It won't be a pretty sight.

Atlanta is playing the New Orleans Saints in the Baddest of the Bad contest (not bad as in good; I'm talking bad as in terrible, horrible, banned-from-the-league bad). Take New Orleans to avoid the basement.

Baltimore surprised the heck out of the Steelers last weekend. I don't think they'll be as lucky in Cincinnati.

Denver is heading to Green Bay. This looks to be a good one, folks. Strap yourselves in. I'm thinking Elway just might give Brett Farve a personal clinic.

Take the Oilers over Jacksonville.

Miami must be distraught by the disappearance of Dan Marino last week. Three interceptions is not exactly his signature performance. Hopefully, he will be back in attendance this week against the Giants.

Da Bears are playing St. Louis in Chicago. Da Bears win da game easily.

I want to take a minute to explain Pittsburgh's disaster last week. See, in a long-gone time, the Baltimore Ravens were known as the Cleveland Browns. The Browns and the Steelers enjoyed one of the most serious but fun rivalries in professional sports. The Ravens must have had visions of their former selves. The Steelers need to have visions of their former selves in a must-win game this week against a reeling San Diego team after last week's debacle against the Patriots.

Washington should end its losing streak and regain its confidence while cruising to victory over Tampa Bay.

Buffalo is in a dead heat with the Patriots. They need a win at Seattle. It shouldn't be a problem.

Carolina is heading to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. This is a decisive game for both teams. Carolina can stay in it with a win, but San Fran can pretty much clinch it with a victory. This situation favors the Niners' tradition over the upstart Panthers.

Dallas is playing in Arizona. The Cowboys should maintain their position. But in a closer game than people think.

Minnesota is playing Detroit in a classic but meaningless NFC Central match up. Take the Vikings.

Monday Night Special: Kansas City, yet another of the 94 AFC teams, should have no trouble dispatching the Raiders and staying in the race.

Last week's record: Turkey. Two weeks ago: 114, tying my season best. Season record: 9158.